A little girl’s T-shirt stopped me in my tracks at Wal-Mart the other day. Right across the front, it read:
“My mom is hot.”
Really? Is that the message we want toddlers carrying around on their clothing? (But yes, I do realize that it’s the middle of August and the child’s mother was probably, literally, HOT! We’re all hot this time of year.)
Still, when I start my children’s clothing line, it will include shirts with sayings such as: “My mom is holy” or “Don’t I look virtuous today?”
I was lecturing my 7-month-old granddaughter on holiness one day in the Olive Garden while waiting for lunch with my mother (who is very holy!). “Emmaline,” I said, “I know that people always tell you what a beautiful baby you are – and you are! – but really, the important thing to remember is that you are made in the image and likeness of God, inside and out. So always take care of your virtues!”
I may be a little over the top talking to a baby that way (at least that’s what the waitress seemed to think), but maybe we should start when they’re young. Maybe then we’ll have a chance to raise our children so they stay on the path to holiness; maybe we’ll help them see that the “good life” is a life centered not so much on designer clothes as it is on Christian virtues.
Maybe we’ll get them to listen to Pope Francis! In his homily on June 9, (http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/06/09/pope_the_beatitudes,_a_practical_programme_for_holiness/1101553), Pope Francis spoke of the Beatitudes as a “program for holiness.” When we are meek, when we seek peace, when we show mercy, we are growing closer and closer to God.
And at the end of the day, God will recognize us not by our good looks but by our holy habits. So let’s all go out and try to be saints. If you don’t believe me, read this article (http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2014/03/lay_saints_find_god_in_everyda.html) by Dr. Tom Neal, dean of academics at Notre Dame seminary. It’s a great reminder of who we are called to be.
Karen Baker is a freelance writer with a Masters in Pastoral Studies from the Loyola Institute for Ministry. She works in the Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and in ministry at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville.