Carol Sbordon Bannon ponders our need to accept what God has prepared for us—and what He prepares for our families.
“You set a table before me, in front of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5)
There is one important principle every Catholic, every Christian needs to understand: God has a plan for each one of us.
Before we were even conceived, God was preparing our place in this world. Our parents were part of His master plan, as are our spouses, our friends, and our acquaintances. He calls us one by one to His table.
He creates a plate unique for each person. The one sitting near you is hand delivered another, filled with their one-of-a-kind feast. Your neighbor, your cousin, your sister will all receive theirs. These plates are overflowing with everything we will ever need on our journey home to Him.
During one's lifetime we may push our plate aside, tip it over, and demand something else. Like the children we are, we will get up and walk away from the table at times, turning our back on God’s feast, refusing to eat. Some may grab their neighbor’s plate, wanting what they were served because it looks so much better. Others may scream and cry about how unfair their plate is, only to pick it back up when they realize how hungry they are for Him.
We cannot switch plates with others—nor should we try. Would you return a specially made-to-order meal back to the cook if it was filled with everything you need to grow? God Himself has prepared our personalized plate. Receive it with outstretched arms, full hearts and hunger. Some of the things may be hard to swallow—but we must if we want to grow closer to Him. Some of the things might taste horrible at first but will go down easier when we surrender to God’s purpose.
And others are the sweetest thing we may ever taste.
On Holy Thursday Christ asked His father “Let this cup pass, but Your will be done.” So too do we many times ask for something different than what we possess. We see what our neighbors have, and we want it. We may see good things on a stranger's plate and wonder, "Why not on my plate Lord? Am I not worthy to have just a bit of what they are enjoying?"
But God created us to become what He wants us to be, not what we wish we could be. And as Catholic parents we need to understand our children were also created for His plan, not ours. I have prayed for so many years, fruitlessly it seems at times, for my children to achieve their dreams and accomplish the ideals I want for them, believing in my heart it will make them happy. All too often I have felt frustration and disappointment when my prayers appeared to go unanswered.
This Lent, though, I discerned—and was able to finally accept—that my children were created by God for Him, and He has a plan for them. They will never be truly happy until they are on His path for their lives … not the path I want for them. They need to eat off of the plate He gave to them, not the one I want for them.
Now my prayer for my family is simply: “God, please let them become what You created them to be.”
I am surrendering my family to His Will. It might not be what I envision for their future, or what I wish for them as their mother, but His Will be done.
We only get one plate, one life to live on Earth. Make every bite last, make it worthy, and when God calls you home? Present your empty plate, your life, back to Him with gratitude and love.
Copyright 2022 Carol Sbordon Bannon
Images: (top) copyright 2021 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved; (bottom) copyright 2022 Carol S. Bannon, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Carol Bannon currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband. She is a wife, mother, grandmother to seven, substitute teacher, and an active supporter of the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island (DSSRI). Carol is the author of Handshake from Heaven and Our Family’s Christmas Elf. She and her husband love to spend time boating on Cape Cod and traveling to new harbors.