As children grow into adulthood, Debra Black suggests parents ask Mary and Jesus for help in letting go.
That others may grow holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (The Litany of Humility)
June is a month of celebrations, especially of fathers, school graduations, and marriages. Graduations and marriages in particular inaugurate a season of change. Years of parenting, choices made to guide your child, sharing their joys and heartaches, all come to fruition at high school graduation. The child launches into adulthood, perhaps going to college, working, and eventually marrying. Left behind is their empty room to which they will come back frequently at first, then less and less often as they carve out their life as a young adult.
An empty space also remains in the heart of the parent as mom and dad strive to let go of their babe-cum-adult. Their child is now fully on his or her own to face and maneuver through the various forces of the world, finding those which are helpful to their happiness and future. Unfortunately, the enemy’s forces have always sought to capture souls for himself, and is doing so today in unthinkable and unpredictable ways.
Let the Holy Family guide you during this season of empty nesting. Mary was given the grace of being preserved from concupiscence in her human nature at conception. She was filled with and held in grace living her life. It is only by the grace of God that she did not succumb to personal sin. Yet just like Adam and Eve, her free will remained intact: she had to choose to love and to not sin. Raising Jesus, she would have been like any good mother teaching Him to properly take care of Himself, instructing and directing Him.
We see this is still a part of their relationship even at the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1-12). He was already 30 years old. Yet when He launched into His public ministry, she needed to let go. Some scriptures inform us that she traveled with Him, but we do not know if she did at all times—He travelled on foot continuously throughout those years. What was it like for her to transition from leading Him to being in the background?
Keep in mind your child is experiencing their own paradigm shift as they transform into a young adult. They too must learn to let go of dependency on you in a manner that will mature and strengthen their relationship with you. Talk with Jesus about His perspective and experience with launching. Until then, He had spent His days taking care of, and being taken care of by, Mary. Then His work, His mission, began. His focus had to be on bringing salvation to the world. What was that transition like for Him?
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. (John 14:2-3)
In our Church, June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus has a special place in His heart for each of us to abide in Him. Abandon yourself to His love and mercy. By abiding in Him, He will abide in you with His grace purifying and healing your heart. Freedom from the bondage of worry, anxiety, and panic brings freedom to love more fully and purely. This is the mature love your child needs in this season of their life.
As we see in the Litany of Humility, our goal as parents is for our children to be holier than us as long as we become as holy as God deems us to be. We have taught them their faith; our duty now is to pray for them.
Nothing has so great a power to obtain grace for us as prayer, and rightly made. Hidden in the mystery of prayer is a supernatural providence by which God had predetermined from eternity to bestow the graces he foresaw we would pray for. (Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, SJ)
This coming Sunday, the Church celebrates Corpus Christi. Take this opportunity to renew your faith in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, and ask Him to transform your soul with His gifts of understanding and wisdom.
As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God! (Psalm 84:4)
Copyright 2023 Debra Black
About the Author
Debra Black is a spiritual director, perpetual member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, international educator, and businesswoman. Her public service roles have spanned city commissioner, pregnancy clinic board of directors, youth and college ministry, public citizen activism, and homeless street ministry. Her writings can be found at TheFaceOfGraceProject.com, including her latest books, The Life Confession: A Discovery of God’s Mercy and Love and Kick Butt: The Quick Guide to Spiritual Warfare.