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I’m Forty, So Listen Up

First Reading: Titus 2:1-8, 11-14

Beloved:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37:3-4, 18 AND 23, 27 AND 29

R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

NAB

nov-8-1

I turned forty last month, so I figure as a reverent, responsibly drinking, non-slanderer, I’m officially authorized by Saint Paul in the First Reading to train y’all up. So get comfortable.

Here’s what I want you younger women to know, based on my experience:

  1. To those who are married, love your husbands: Love him emotionally. Love him physically too. If at all possible, have sex with your husband. Regularly. Maybe you’ll end up with more kids than you planned on. I did. But a happy marriage means you can probably handle more kids than you thought. I could.
  2. To those who are mothers, love your children: Loving them is what counts. Particular parenting styles are great resources for parents. But no one style guarantees “success” however you measure it. Strict or lenient, intense or easy going, working or stay-at-home, if your kids know that you love and like them, they’re probably going to be fine.
  3. Be self-controlled: Self-control is probably the least tempting of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but it’s key to so much more. As a younger woman, I used to lose my composure over traffic and long lines and other people being idiots. But realizing that *I,* not my circumstances, am in control of myself has made a huge difference in my peace of mind. Now that I’m forty, I can accept that toddlers will be unreasonable and teenagers will be dramatic and people on Facebook will be wrong, and I can do it without losing my cool (at least most of the time).
  4. Be chaste: Chastity is beautiful and misunderstood. What it really means is that we are meant to honor our bodies and souls with the sexuality appropriate to our state of life. So, rather than seeing sex as something to avoid (just barely) before marriage and then to exploit within marriage, let’s embrace chastity in all stages of life. Whether that means curfews and chaperones or creative NFP date-nights or going ahead and not having a headache tonight after all . . . chastity is a virtue that keeps on giving.
  5. Be good homemakers: There are two extreme camps on the subject of homemaking. On the one hand, you have Pinterest-y obsessive types with perfect Instagram feeds and guest towels no one is allowed to touch. And, on the other, women who seem to believe that to cultivate any level of skill in the domestic arts is to devalue oneself. As usual, virtue is to be found in the middle. As a young woman, I could not cook or clean or do laundry. Learning to take pride in my home and to care for my husband and children has made me an all-around more capable person, and having a bunch of kids means I can’t overvalue my domestic skills.
  6. Be controlled by your husbands: Yikes, right? But, we talked about this last month, remember? See my October 25th devotion to refresh your memory. It will be okay, I promise.

And that’s that. Easy peasy, right? Maybe YOU won’t have to wait until forty to have this stuff almost figured out.

What would you add to this list? Take some time to journal today about where you honestly see yourself and where you would like to be in the coming months and years. Take it to prayer.

Kendra Tierney lives in Los Angeles, CA where her interests include blogging, homeschooling, looking after her eight children, and fixing up a hundred year old tumbledown mansion. You can find out more about her here.

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