Sunday, March 04, 2012

Wherein the 10 year old tries to Bible me

My daughter totally tried to Bible me the other day.  It was pretty glorious.  I mean yeah, she was wrong, but the same kind of wrong that people twice her age often are.  And it warmed my heart.

We were in the last phase of their zero dollar room redos- that phase where you just wanna be done, but the walls are bare and all the stuff that you may want to put on the walls is piled up on the big table in the den and the baby is tearing through the photo album that was left out and the boy has absconded with the hammer that you were about to use to hang said photos.  So you just have to do it.  And everyone is annoyed (a little like being in transition during labor, but instead of getting a baby at the end, you just get to clean up your dang mess.), but I have to keep bugging her.

"What about your holy water font?  Do you like it here right by your closet?"
"Well, isn't that kind of weird?  Aren't they supposed to go by the door?"
"If you put it by the door, the door is going to block it.  You'll hardly ever see it.  If it's by your closet, you'll see it every time you walk in and it can be a nice reminder to you....."

(Now she has that look on her face.  That "can I just sit on the sofa and read a dang book, you slave driver?" look.  I brace myself...)

"But doesn't the Bible say we shouldn't be like hypocrites who put on a show of their piety but should pray in secret instead?  So isn't it BETTER if I hide it behind my door?"

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

It warmed my heart that she pulled that out so quickly.  And this was before Ash Wednesday, so we hadn't even heard this reading in almost a year!  It was really so sweet.  But she was still wrong.

Matthew, first and foremost, is admonishing us not to be hypocrites.  To avoid putting on a show of holiness in public while having no desire or intent to follow through with that holiness in private.  A hypocrite isn't someone who preaches certain principles and then struggles to follow them himself.  No.  That's just a human.  A hypocrite is someone who preaches certain principles but who has no love for those principles in his heart.  Who knowingly lives a life contrary to what he professes in public.

Matthew is not asking children to hide their faith from the world.  To keep it a secret even from themselves (if that's possible) in some sort of shamefaced way.  He's not saying "Hey, better hide your holy water font behind your door just in case you have a visitor.  We wouldn't want them knowing that you bless yourself in the name of the Holy Trinity!".  He's saying "The Lord wants your true devotion.  Don't flaunt it.  Just do it."

Whatever you might show or say to the world, be sure you are showing and saying the same in the secrecy of your own room.

"Giving yourself a reminder to pray every time you enter your room isn't being a hypocrite, Katie.  It might even be what prevents us from becoming hypocrites.  Unless you only do it when other people can see you or something and then...I don't know...think about how stupid holy water is all the rest of the time.  Then that would be bad."

And despite that miserable reply, I think she understood.  Because the Holy Spirit is good like that, overcoming my weaknesses and inability to have philosophical discussions at the end of a mini remodel.  We'd be in a heap o' trouble otherwise.

Saints and Scripture Sunday

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  1. I love this moment between the two of you. I actually struggle with that be a good example, don't hide your light under a bushel and yet, pray in the closet, don't let your right hand know what your left is doing thingy.

    1. I have a harder time with "not hiding the light under the bushel" than I have "praying in the closet", I have to confess. Thankfully, for as many ways as there are to grow in holiness there is sufficient grace to do so.

  2. I just came across your blog last night at my 4:00am feeding with my 3 month, & you have so many sweet experiences to I am reading this one on the way to Mass this morning. Thank you!

  3. We have lots of philosophical conversations at our house. That's probably why its such a mess!

    Nice try by the kid, though. My son is a lawyer; he argues based on family custom, or cites previous parental decisions as precedent. "Don't you understand?" I tell him, "this is a Dictatorship!" LOL.

  4. I love this --- I'm pouring over the pictures -- Love the one of St Helen (now I have to read about her!), and Blessed Kateri.

    This is one of my favorite Mass readings -- it just never gets old. "don't flaunt it -- just do it." AWESOME! Our priest on Ash Wednesday mentioned how ironic it was, that right after we read this passage, we mark ourselves with ashes - an outward sign for the world. You're exactly right -- we're not flaunting it - simply reminding ourselves and those we meet that this is a way of life for us.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and linking up today! So great to see you! ;)

  5. I love Katie. She is just amazing. And knowing how conscientious she is, she was probably really sincere in her challenge.

    1. Oh, I'm sure she was! That's definitely a big part of why it made my heart swell. The opportunity to get a little more subtle with who we're called to be and what's appropriate for us to do is a welcome one. Love her.

  6. A fantastic discussion of that passage, and a darling story to boot! What a sweet, sincere daughter you have. :)

  7. She is so smart. Wow! But since the font *was* going in her inner room anyway, you were totally right. :D

  8. Love it! What a thoughtful little girl she is.

  9. I give points to Katie for remembering the passage and attempting to apply it. I also give points to Dweej for explaining what hypocrisy truly is.

  10. As a mother you must feel so proud for her! Right now, I love it when my 3 year old reminds us to pray before we eat or remembers to thank God for something on his own. I look forward to watching my littles grow in faith and in understanding of the gospel!

    Also? I struggle with that verse myself. Thank you for explaining so that I could understand it, too!

  11. I so love getting "Bibled" by my Sunday School Class. We adults, we just struggle sometimes trying to explain God in just the perfect way. being so spiritual - but my kids, they just get Him on such a simpler, truer level and it amazes me every time.


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