Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you Mrs. Elliot

These are wise words, from a wise woman, and I think they apply as much to moms today as they do to dads.

It is sad to read that the average father nowadays spends three minutes per week with each child. Home, frankly, is just “not his scene.” He’d rather be elsewhere. What does he do with the rest of this time? Is it a relentless frantic scramble to earn money five or six days a week, with a frantic scramble on weekends to “relax” and enjoy himself, often in expensive and sometimes dangerous ways? Can this really be what God wants for Christian families? If there were the willingness to be content with less money, fewer activities which eat into the budget and take the family away from home, fewer possessions; if there were the willingness to “be content with such things as you have,” would we not sooner find the truth of God’s Word, “A man’s real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions” (Luke 12:15, Phillips translation)? The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that hte simpler the life, the greater the peace.

In Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, he describes as among the most remarkable people he ever knew a French peasant family with whom he ad his father boarded for a time. M. Privat was a short man, broad, of great strength. He wore a black broad-rimmed hat which “gave his face an added solemnity when his sober and judicious eyes looked at you peacefully... His little wife was more like a bird, thin, serious, earnest, quick, but also full of that peacefulness and impassiveness which, as I now know, came from a living close to God.” Merton was only a boy, and forgot most of the details about this couple, but remembered


their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity... They were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within, and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.

Their farm, their family, and their Church were all that occupied these good souls; and their lives were full.

This selection is from Elisabeth Elliot's book, The Shaping of a Christian Family.


Lord, give us wisdom to see what you call a full life and to live that, to live for you well and to the full. Please make our lives full with your kind of richness in hope and contentment and joy.

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