On this Sunday morning, with the two youngest kiddos on my lap, I read the Divine Office of Readings for today. The reading was about Ester. Here she was a young woman being rounded up, just because of her beauty and taken into the harem of the king.
I cannot imagine the thoughts and fears she had on that fateful day. She was nothing more than a pawn, in fact she was less than a pawn at that moment. She was a grain of sand in a vast desert. However, inside that grain of sand we know as Ester something stronger and more significant was ready to bloom through the grace of God.
See Ester had the seeds of faith planted inside that grain of sand through the gift of faith. Through the events unfolding around her she would receive the choice to stand fast with her faith or cover her face in fear. Her free choice to sacrifice herself for her people is a foreshadowing (one of many) of the type of life Christ led on his way to the cross.
As a parent Ester's story only tells part of the story's lesson. Her foster father Mordecai fulfilled his parental and priestly duties towards Ester by first forming her in faith, and then continually reminding her of God's covenant through to her people. A covenant which only survives if each generation embraces it freely in their hearts and deeds. That is why Mordecai continued to remind his adopted daughter of God's commandments and covenant until the crisis peaked.
The challenges we face in this world today are no different than those Mordecai and Ester faced. The way to overcome those challenges are also no different than their responses. Parents and children must respond to the hand in the sand, the love and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in all that we do.
Parents and clergy must form their children with wisdom and the fear of God (that is the desire not to disappoint God) so they can evolve their faith into Love of God (where we make his will our own). We parents can never stop living our lives calling out both ourselves and our children to holiness. We must never stop praying the gift of faith is given to our children.
Children must understand as early as possible, they have a great inheritance. The covenant of God passed down and expanded from God through Abraham, through David, through Christ to each of us. Through this covenant we bind ourselves to follow his law, and obtain the rewards of eternal unity with him in heaven. Their basic choice in life is to chose virtue over vice each day of their lives. Whether they choose to do it from fear or love will be their own, and a decision they must understand accountability falls on them alone.
Have a blessed Sunday while remembering how Ester and Mordecai listened to the hand in the sand.