The Carrying of the Cross
Fruit of the Mystery: Patience
Releasing Your Child to Jesus
A Crippling Fear
The more I witness the state of the world today, the more anxious I become at the thought of releasing my children into it. The violence, the betrayal, the heartache — the sin.
It puts a deep ache in my heart to imagine allowing my children to experience the hurt I have felt in my life.
I initially thought I would take a totally different direction in writing about this mystery. But after spending time in prayer, including the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Holy Spirit directed me in a completely different way, touching on one of my greatest anxieties as a mother instead.
And I’m sure I share this anxiety with you as well, my dear fellow mother.
The Greatest Example
Mary raised the Son of God, yet she still had to let Him go. When she met Him while He was carrying His cross, all she could do for Him was be present.
How painful that must have been for her!
As mothers, we understand the intense desire to protect our children, wishing we could take away their pain.
When my 21-month old daughter falls and is hurt, I instinctively put out my arms as she runs to me for comfort. Seeing her tears run down her face as her little red curls bounce behind her, I actually yearn for her to reach my arms so I can console her as soon as possible. I want to end her pain.
Yet, Mary was unable to do anything for Jesus as He walked the most excruciating Passion for us. Her only Son – the same Child who ran to her open arms for comfort with tears streaming down His face not so many years before.
Mary, enduring this devastation, set an incredible, courageous example for us: She trusted God more.
She let her trust in God override her human instincts.
Our job as Christian parents is to raise our children the absolute best we can.
We are to guide them spiritually and teach them about God, just as Mary raised Jesus, guided Him, and taught Him. I have no doubt that she raised Him better than any other mother in history, bringing him up in faith through study of the Scriptures and perfect relationship with God.
Through this mystery, though, I have learned that we cannot (and should not) protect our children from life and the pain that comes with it. It is actually a great thing to let them out into the world.
Even Mary couldn’t protect Jesus.
As hard as it is, we must allow our children to go their own way. They need to be free to walk their own path — the one that God has set before them. They need to make their own mistakes and experience their own pain.
Too often, our paths include brokenness, which makes it difficult for us mothers to let go.
I know that on my own life’s path, had I not experienced the consequences of my own sins, my life would not be nearly as joyful as it is today. We probably wouldn’t have our five beautiful children, my marriage would be crumbling due to my own issues, and I definitely would have never found my way to Jesus.
The mistakes our children will make, their pain — it might very well be our child’s only road to His merciful arms.
Just as Jesus’ seemingly broken path was His only way to obtain the salvation of the whole world.
The Power of Brokenness
During a recent meeting with my spiritual director, she explained to me that Christians are Eucharistic people. She told me that just as the Eucharist is chosen, blessed, broken, and given, so are we.
We are chosen. Just as Jesus was chosen by God to be born of Mary to save us from our sins, we are chosen for God’s specific purpose for our lives.
We are blessed. Just as Jesus was blessed by God to fulfill His mission, especially at His Baptism, we are blessed through our own baptism and set aside as holy, as daughters and sons of God’s family.
We are broken. Just as Jesus was completely broken when He was crucified, we, too, are broken, over and over in a world full of sin.
We are given. Just as Jesus was given to us on the Cross, an incredible gift that brought us back to our Heavenly Father, God gives us to others as a gift to lead them back to Him.
Without Jesus’ walking this Eucharistic path, the salvation of the world would have never come about.
It is the same for believers, and our children are no exception. Without walking our own paths, and especially without being broken, we may never experience the incredible fruit that’s possible in our lives.
Walking Their Own Passion
Our children must walk their own Passion, just as Christ did.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean walking a path of execution, but it does mean walking a path that isn’t easy.
We must allow them to walk the painful path of overcoming their fleshly desires and breaking away from the world. Without this step, their true path cannot begin. And, it is the prayers of a mother that will bring them to this place.
They must suffer the bruises and wounds of rejection, betrayal, grief, fear, and loss. Just as Jesus did.
They. Must. Fall.
Even our Lord fell three different times along His own path, under the weight of a cross He could barely embrace.
For a mother, it is not easy to watch your children stumble.
I have no doubt Mary prayed every second of Jesus’ Passion. I also know she trusted God. She placed Jesus entirely in the Heavenly Father’s hands. She knew good would come of it.
Mary wasn’t Christ’s only visitor. God also placed the feminine comfort of Veronica in his path. Likewise, God will provide people to guide and care for your child along the way .
Trust that people will show up to help carry your child’s cross. Even Jesus couldn’t do it alone; Simon of Cyrene was pulled from the crowd to help Him finish His walk to crucifixion.
Because of the broken path you’ll allow your children to walk on their own, they will gain more compassion and love for others. Their hearts will begin to be molded into hearts of flesh instead of hearts of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). They will be able to comfort suffering people in the midst of their own agony, just as Jesus consoled the weeping women in His own anguish.
The Fruit of the Mystery: Patience
The fruit of this powerful mystery is patience, something Mary practiced well. Her example teaches us to have patience in our children’s path to her Son and, especially, to practice prayerful patience in their suffering. This patience, prayer, and surrender will not only lead our children to God but will draw us nearer to the Lord as well.
Just as a seed planted in the ground takes time to grow roots in its foundation, we must allow God’s plan to take root in our children’s lives. And just as care for seeds brings a harvest, patience produces wonderful fruit in us. St. Monica prayed for her son for 40 years before he converted from a destructive, worldly lifestyle. Now, he is known as one of the greatest saints of the Church: St. Augustine.
Surrender your child to God just as Mary surrendered hers. You will be amazed by what God can bring forth from your surrender!
About Elaine: Elaine Sinnott has been married to her military sweetheart for nine years and is a mother of five plus one on the way. She lives for big family gatherings and enjoys reading conversion stories. She is the owner of militarywifeaftergod.com and is also writing a book about her reversion back to the Church. You can find her on Instagram @thecatholicmilitarywife and Facebook at facebook.com/militarywifeaftergod