My heart always sinks when I see my children sinning in the same ways I do—when I see my own selfish behavior, impatient outbursts, and slothful tendencies in them. This is when Jesus’s words in the Gospel of Matthew today hit home.
“[W]hoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
This teaching of Jesus comes right in the middle of His Sermon on the Mount. He goes on to explain that each of the Ten Commandments requires not just a literal interpretation but a much deeper spiritual application. Murder is still a sin but anger can be so as well. Physical adultery still violates the marital covenant but Jesus calls us to purity of heart, free of all lust. He teaches us that conversion should occur in both our actions and our hearts.
I want to teach my children the fullness of these commandments and to follow them out of love for God and neighbor. While I do this with my words, if I do not live them out with loving actions, I am also teaching them how to fail. (All of us sin because of fallen humanity’s tendency to sin, but I loathe my example of it!)
Jesus challenges us in His Sermon on the Mount to examine ourselves honestly, acknowledge our weakness, and to see the many layers of sin in our hearts. He wants us to know our sin and repent. He wants to forgive and free us from our sin.
Children are not the only people who see our lives, our good and sinful habits. Our friends, parents, siblings, and complete strangers see how we conduct ourselves. When they look at us, do they see lives filled with grace and Christian love? Do they see love for God reflected in all we do? Sisters, let’s not settle for less when He calls us to be great.
Let us ask Him to help us live the Commandments more fully each day.
Did you catch our examination of conscience specifically for women? It's an easy download and even printable to take with to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What's holding you back from going and receiving His forgiveness and graces?
Susanna Spencer is the Theological Editor for Blessed is She who studied theology and philosophy in her earlier life. She happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul when not writing and editing. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up and Theological Editor of both the Catechism Studies and the Mystery Studies. You can find out more about her here.