Messing Up

   As Catholics, it is important that we learn how to mess up well.  In fact, I typically devote each year to cultivating a particular virtue, and one year I chose “Messing Up Well” as the virtue I most needed to work on.
   The reason why it is so important is that our faith is all about messing up.  A core dogma of the Church is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  So, we should assume we are going to mess up, and then seek all the graces necessary to repent well, make amends well, restore well, and recover well.  Those things should get our best attention.  But when we mess up, it should be no surprise to us.  Furthermore, Jesus died on the cross, as a form of capital punishment.  Although he did not sin, he still endured tremendous shame, scorn, and humiliation.  Think of Mary, watching her son die in such an agonizing tragedy.  We Catholics should all be accustomed to humiliation, losses, and scorn.  It is part of, essential to, our faith.  
    The patron saint of messing up well, in my opinion, is St. Therese of Lisieux.  St. Therese says that everything that we do, so long as we do it with love, is of value.  So, if we make a huge mistake, but were acting in love, we are still on the right path.
    As moms, we mess up a lot.  We use the wrong discipline method–or forget to use one!–on our kids.  We let them whine too much.  We let them leave their room too messy.  We let them use the computer too much.  We raise kids who, once grown, break the rules, break our bank accounts, break our hearts.  Is that the end of the story?  Have we just failed, and that’s it?  No.  Therese’s message is: love your child in their failures.  Love them in their struggles.  Love them in your failures.  Love them in your struggles.  Love triumphs.  It triumphs over all.  It is not about the outcome.  It is about the love with which we live out each and every day.