Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honor thy father and mother

As my mother gets older making sure that she feels loved and taken care of is now very much in the forefront of my mind. As I look for ways to help her I came across this article which struck home and which I would like to share. Honor thy father and mother When we were children we were taught the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment “Honour your father and mother” was of special significance to us as our parents were everything to us at that time. We can recollect the sleepless nights they spent taking care of us when we were sick, the moments of anxiety they went through when we were involved in some accidents and the tears they shed during intense prayer for our recovery. We remember the strenuous labour and the mental stress they endured to earn a living to provide us with some basic comforts in life and a decent education, which they themselves were denied. All they lived for was the well being of our future not theirs. They did all that without any ulterior motive that one day we will repay that gratitude. Today many of us are parents ourselves and only now fully appreciate the extent of love parents have for their own children. We understand the pain and anxiety we have to endure when our children suffer from all forms of ailments and failures in their lives. We realize the severity of the heartache when our children refuse to heed our advice and meet disaster as a result. Today many of us may are successful and are better off in life than our parents. However, while we have grown older and become more successful the sin against the fourth commandment, honour your father and mother, is still our common weakness although we may not realize it. In our later life, disobedience to parents is expressed in the form of negligence and apathy towards them when they become older and of no use to us. We become calculative among our siblings of who should take care and provide for them when they are no more in a position to earn. When they become ill or handicapped we conveniently pass the responsibility of caring for them to others. We give the excuse we are too busy and have no time and no money. I admit it is not easy to take care of elderly parents who are invalid, especially in a fast moving materialistic world, but we fail to realize it is our responsibility and ours alone. We cannot run away from it. The greatest fear among elderly people is loneliness. This is particularly true for those who have lost their spouses and are all alone in this world. For many of them, it is not money, gifts or food that they need. All they ask for is the love of fellow humans in particular their children, to spare some time for them. It is shocking that even we as Christians sometimes shun away from this responsibility to our aged parents. We are too busy with our jobs and activities and pray hard that God will send somebody to take of them. We have the misguided notion that prayer alone without a heart and without lifting a finger would work miracles to provide the love longed for by our elderly parents. As children do we recognize their needs and try our utmost to fulfill them or are we too preoccupied with our own lives and pray that God will take care of them? One thing I am convinced; God does not come in person to do that. He works through His creations like you and me. If we just pray and wait for God’s miracle, we will be sadly disappointed. Very often we, the children are quick to get a priest to anoint the sick and dying when in coma and subsequently give them a grand funeral service. We even offer masses and hold elaborate memorial services for the dead but lack the same enthusiasm in being supportive and being with them when they were alive. By Dr. Chris Anthony

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