By Anne Carraux
Christ-Centered Service Requires Less of Us, More of Him
It feels so good to get praise!
As a self-professed Church Lady, I hear today’s Gospel and realize the paradox that has crept into my life at times. I want to serve our parish and ultimately become more humble in my walk with faith, yet it feels good to be noticed for the effort.
Am I alone in this weakness?
James and John were not so different as followers. Their request for Jesus may seem bold, but is it different than a quiet request we make for Jesus in our hearts? “Help my child along this path, and I will serve You forever” or “Save a spot for me in Heaven and my works of faith will ever increase.” We want our effort recognized, and our humanity calls to us for a sense of control over where the plan is headed.
First, to the recognition. Lord, let there be less of me so that You may shine through.
This humble prayer has accompanied me over recent years as I realize the limitations of my human ability. I love to hear compliments for a job well done, but when I recognize the vastness of what I really want to transmit in serving others, I see that Jesus alone offers the healing or fulfillment or graces needed. This simple prayer takes me out of myself and to a more ordered realization of Jesus’ love for others, and my limited role in His great plan.
Secondly, our need for order!
Like James and John, we all have a need as humans to control some areas of our life. We can hardly blame them as they, looking forward to eternal life, want to lock down some of the details. I grapple with this in this very month, fixating on a few details of my kids’ education as they go back to school. Surely my mother-heart can help guarantee the best possible outcome for a year of study, right?
Something about parenting four kids has convinced me of the opposite in life. Maybe this is a blessing of my station that I have had to subtly realize. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control the outcome. My guarantee is impossible; rather, I must get on my knees and pray for our Lord to lead our family. I must ask our spiritual mother, Mary, to implore her Son for aid every day. I have a limit as a human mother in the outcome. This can be frightening, but also freeing, when I look to Jesus and the goodness of what He and our many interceding saints compel us toward.
My guess is that a few of you, dear readers, are Church ladies just like me, trying to do what Jesus calls you to do in your spiritual and biological families. My prayers are with you for humility and recognition of your limited humanity. May Jesus shine forth alone. His plan was greater, anyway.
About the author:
Anne Carraux married her college sweetheart and together they embarked on a journey of raising four exuberant children in Chaska, MN. Writing mostly in prayer and to make sense of her journey, Anne hopes her words help readers keep looking toward God, especially when it comes to living joyfully with faith. When not potty training or doing stress-maintenance in group exercise, you might find Anne hanging out in the sunshine with a good book.