Monday, August 09, 2010

How one generation loves – the next generation learns

After finishing my 30-day silent retreat in June, it took some time to get updated on what had been happening in Singapore, and also clearing all the emails that had piled up. One email I received was on the new video that the National Family Council has produced and currently showing on TV. For those of you who haven’t seen the ad, watch the video below before reading on.

This ad struck me because of the tagline at end – “How one generation loves – the next generation learns”. During my retreat, we were given many passages of the life of Jesus to pray and reflect on. And on one of the days, I was given the passage from Luke 2:39-40 to reflect on.
“When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”
This passage comes after the child Jesus is presented in the Temple. After that we see Jesus as an adult at his Baptism and starting his ministry. So my Retreat Master, told me to reflect on the life of Jesus growing up. The life of Jesus from the time that he was 12 up to 30 is not talked about in the bible. So I had to imagine what Jesus did during that time.

As I was praying, an image came to me of Mother Mary teaching Jesus, his Hebrew ABCs, maybe some mathematics, and St Joseph teaching him how to use the carpentry tools. Then I imagined Mary & Joseph teaching Jesus to pray to God. This was a bit surprising and funny, because I started to wonder, would Jesus need to be taught how to pray? After all he is the Son of God. But then I thought why not? Jesus would not only have learnt how to pray from His parents, but also their example of their love of God in their lives would also have been something that He learnt as he was growing up.

This led me to reflect on my own life. And it made me think of what I have learnt from my parents. Sure they taught me how to speak, how to write, how to ride a bicycle. But more than, that I was grateful for the lessons which I learnt from the example of their lives. I learnt about the faith and how to pray. I still remember once when I asked my mum about being a godmother, and she told me how she prays for all her god-children every night. It made me wonder, if she prays for her god-children every night, how much more must she be praying for me. From them I learnt how to be generous with my time, energy and possessions. And I came out of that prayer session feeling really blessed by God for the wonderful gift of my parents.

So today I would like each one of us here to reflect on two things. Firstly, what have we learnt from our parents? What kind of values and what kind of faith have we learnt from them?

And secondly, for those of you who are parents, what are you teaching your children? Not just by what you say, but by how you live your lives. I know of parents who will tell their children to pray and to obey God. But when it comes to their children’s studies, that will come before God. The children can have many enrichment classes, but Catechism class will be the first to be sacrificed if there is a clash.

So often we hear of parents telling their children to stop watching tv or playing the computer and to do their homework. How many parents tell their children to stop doing their homework because its time to read the bible or to pray? And this is not just for parents of young children. Even if your child is an adult, parents do play a role in the salvation of their children. St Monica prayed continuously for her adult son to change his ways, and God answered his prayers, he not only converted, he became a bishop and now we know him as St Augustine.

Let us give thanks for our parents and all that they have taught and inspired us. And let us ask our blessed Mother, to help us be good Christian examples for our children, the way she was for Jesus. Amen.