Our world, in many ways, has begun to crumble. Even the most level headed of my friends are beginning to question the sort of future our children may have. ISIS is on everyone’s mind these days, as are their numerous atrocities. Confusion among matters of the faith among Catholics. Escalating number of natural disasters. Trouble in our own government. And sometimes people closest to us seem to be turning on each other like vicious dogs, ready to devour anyone who dares express different opinions.
Unfortunately, with all of this happening in the outside world, it is hard to keep the stress of it all from seeping into our own hearts and homes. “I wake up in the morning, and all I can think about is ‘What will happen today?” one friend confided in me. “It is enough to make one want to hide one’s head in the sand.”
Which is exactly what we as Catholic mothers must do.
For quite some time, the ostrich has gotten a rather bad reputation for sticking its head in the sand as trouble looms. And on the surface, that seems like a bad thing to do. It reeks of denial and purposeful ignorance and to be accused of such behavior has always been viewed as a sign of stupidity or weakness. But do you know why the ostrich does what she does? Let’s take a closer look.
An ostrich nest is actually built just beneath the ground’s surface. Her eggs are safely nestled below ground level, and require frequent turning with her beak to keep the eggs viable. Her nest, full of her most priceless treasures, is almost impossible for predators to see from afar. But should a predator start sniffing around, the mother ostrich lowers her head and quickly buries her precious eggs beneath the sand before running away, distracting the predator and leading it away from her home.
I can’t help but think God has been trying to teach us a lesson through these magnificent birds. But we have been too proud or too blind to hear Him. You see, while most seem to think that being up to date and fully informed of the terrifying events taking place in our world is a good thing, it is not necessarily our role to do so. In fact it may be harmful. Horrific images come to our minds throughout the day. Fear, worry and undo stresses fill our hearts, distracting us from what really matters: home.
We cannot properly tend to our God given duties when we are trying to solve the world’s problems by debating others online. Or shushing a 4-year-old’s joy over a newly painted picture because we are engrossed in a news article. As we fill our time with researching these disturbing world events, anxiety crowds out faith, hope and charity at an alarming rate. We grow tense, short tempered and depressed. We suddenly realize how out of control we really are. And how vulnerable. We get scared. And our family suffers.
But I now ask you - could it be that for all the terrible things that seem to be unfolding, much grace is also given? Could it be that Our Lord is trying to tell us something through these natural and man made disasters? What is He asking of us today? To worry? To involve ourselves in heated debates about matters of which we have no control? To exercise our 'right to be right' at all costs? Or are we simply called to trust in Him and know that our ultimate sanctification is what He desires above all things? And pass our love and trust of God along to our children?
"In our ignorance of what the future holds, how can we be so bold as to question what comes about by God's permission? Surely it is reasonable to think that our complaints are groundless and that instead of complaining we ought to be thanking Providence."
St. Claude de la Colombiere
Yes, there are many scary things out there in the world. But they are not for us to worry about. In fact, the scarier things get, the more important it is that we keep our heads in the sand. Not to deny the harsh realities of life. But to tenderly care for our loved ones as Our Lord wishes. Surround them with love. Shield them from as much harm as possible. And when it feels as though the predators are at your door, draw the negative influences far from your nest, that your children may continue to look to your home as a safe harbor to continue to grow in their faith, unhindered by fear and distrust of God.
As mothers, we are truly the heart of the home. And as such, we have been blessed with this loving, nurturing ability to keep our homes a happy and safe refuge from the rest of the world. Bring your children up in the love of God through your example. Teach your children to trust in Him in all things by remaining unruffled and unworried. And no matter how terrifying the world may become, may your children rest easy knowing that you, without fail and for their sakes, will always have your head deep in the sand.