SHE PONDERED THESE THINGS IN HER HEART- A call to Greatness
“Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart,” Pope Francis exhorted young people early in his pontificate.
This call to greatness sometimes seems out of place here in the trenches of raising two young children. Still, his words resonate with me. My world is so small, and my routines are predictable and contained, but I’ve never felt my heart to be so enlarged as now–through long nights and lonely days of painful stretching, yes, but also through the simple bliss of playing raucously with my children on the floor.
I’m likewise drawn to the image of high stakes, of facing life with boldness and conviction.
There are times I feel that having a child is a sheer act of hope, a statement that, yes, we do believe the world is good and worth redeeming, so much so that we will bring children into it–not to hide in our bunkers, but to teach them to bring Christ’s love to where it’s needed most. And constantly I’m reminded how the sacrifices of parenthood and marriage fly in the face of a world so taken by self-centeredness, guardedness, and materialism. Our yes at the altar is repeated every day: to each other, to the needy toddler, to the invitation to allow our hearts to be stretched and filled.
The call to greatness, to holiness, is for all of us, regardless of how limited our spheres may seem. I can’t answer for others, but what I’m finding is that underlying my small world of home and family is something timeless, expansive, and beautiful. And that’s something to set my stakes on.
(BY Elizabeth Hansen writes from Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and two toddlers.)
A CALL TO GREATNESS, PARENTHOOD