By Mary Sayad
I came from of a family of teachers. While still in Syria, my mom taught French. She has a nephew who founded a language learning school in Syria. Both of our daughters are teachers. Our daughter, Mary Lou, substitutes at her town's elementary, secondary, and high school. Our daughter, Judy, teaches at a neighborhood pre-school (try that for patience!) and our daughter-in-law, Kathy, is a high school science teacher. I even have a cousin in Massachusetts who is a teacher!
Do they know the art of delegating?! When all of our families get together, their children are told how to behave, show respect to their elders and to be mindful of their manners, and the list goes on. Sometimes they get carried away and I need to remind them that I'm their mom and now the advice comes from me. It's good to be Grandma! Just like giraffes, wise, loving grandmothers are not afraid to "stick their necks out" to correct, inspire and encourage their families.
Speaking of giraffes, have you ever heard of the *Giraffe Program? Seriously, this is a program that allows parents and their children to work together in their community. The giraffe sticks his neck out and students are taught to "stick their necks out" and become more proactive for their neighbors and in their community. Mary Lou has been successful in reviving this much needed branch of learning. This is an after school curriculum that develops a hands-on approach in community charity. Several small groups of parents and children are formed and guided in projects towards either raising funds for an injured or disabled family member or for assisting in community activities as well as encouraging common sense civilities. This is truly a commendable and worth while program that teaches children humane values while affording them the opportunity of learning compassion as well becoming attentive to the world around them.
One of their programs at school involved becoming more aware of the need to care for our environment by recycling papers, cans, etc. Although paper recycling pails were provided at the school, the janitors did not utilize them and they were throwing the papers in the general garbage collection. Because the young students were taught awareness and were diligent in their observations at school, the janitors were instructed to dispose of the scrap papers in the recycling bins. This is an example of how to solve recycling negligence by a simple observation. Many times we, as individuals, have the power to resolve environmental problems by making small changes in our daily habits.
When recycling started approximately twenty years ago, it was inconvenient and bothersome for most of our households. We needed additional space for storing and separating these items and equally important, was remembering the scheduled pick-up dates. To cut down on garbage and abuse of our natural resources, we've learned to recycle glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic. Most towns and homes today have settled into a routine that is acceptable resulting in the reduction of garbage and abuse of our environment.
We are stewards and are called to be responsible in protecting and preserving our common interest of mother earth otherwise, we may suffer far reaching consequences.
It recently became apparent to me that we all need to recycle something-else; something that is equally important, definitely beneficial to our world and in accord with Christian discipleship. The choices we make today will determine our future destiny.
Do you have physical pain? Are you burdened by a family member who is ill? Are you suffering from emotional fears? Do family members cause you grievance? Are you faced with a life-long physical ailment? Have you lost a loved one? Is there an unresolved issue which haunts you? Has anyone fabricated lies about you only to learn about it after your reputation has been marred? Have you been financially exploited? Did you ever feel that there was no light at the end of the tunnel?
Ladies and gentlemen, the above lists a variety of suffering and it can be as long as the people on God's earth which probably also may include the blessed afterlife.
Don't despair! Although this is a broken world, there is also a world of true judgment. We are called to deepen our faith through our sufferings. All of the above mentioned frustrations are forms of suffering.
Nobody wants to suffer; naturally, we try to avoid suffering. Many people would look upon suffering as a curse. Maybe it is a curse. Certainly, Jesus Christ who is Divine, suffered horrifically, for he was the Innocent Lamb sent to the slaughter.
His pure Blessed Mother suffered for her Son and during the time of his Passion, she was inconsolable. Mothers are able to empathize with Our Lady's pain when they have an ill child.
Pain plays a more pivotal role when it's recycled. Pain and suffering and tragedy conformed to the suffering of Our Divine Jesus become the missing element between heaven and earth.
Empty complaints, moaning and groaning are wasted energy and have no merit. You are able to change the dynamics of mortal trials by focusing on God, Our Father, and until you are healed, challenge yourself by accepting your situation and allowing yourself to become a link in restoring the world to God's Kingdom.
A personal suffering offered to Jesus is a high minded form of atonement of your sins. Suffering may be directed for the Holy Souls in Purgatory or for the conversion of sinners as well as the conversion of those who take pleasure in blaspheming Jesus and Mary. Suffering genuinely offered to the Mystical Body of Jesus transcends fear and earthly time.
"Oh Jesus, this is for the love you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary." This is a redemptive prayer that may be recited in conjunction with your pain and sufferings.
Romans 8:18 - "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory revealed to us."
Phillipians 1:29- "For you have been granted for the sake of Christ, not only by believing in him, but also in suffer for Him."
Please bear in mind that Our Lady of Fatima calls us to prayer and sacrifice for many souls who, because they have no one to pray for them, will ultimately go to hell. You give them a chance towards salvation by offering your sacrifices, prayers and sufferings.
Beloved friends, besides recycling your trash, remember to recycle all of your pain and suffering for the good of your neighbor and the glory of God's Heavenly Kingdom!
Your companion in prayer,