We are nearing the Solemnity of Trinity [my favorite feast day in the Church’s liturgical year]. Instead of talking about shamrocks to explain this wonderful mystery of our faith I am going to use my kids as a way the Trinity is present in my life. In fact generally speaking many early Church Fathers spoke of the family as a “mirror of the Trinitarian life”. Similar to how the love between the Father and Son is so great that a third person [the Holy Spirit] proceeded from that love so too the love shared between the husband and wife in the marital act transmits a person(s).
Keeping on this example that the family is a shadow of the Trinity I will focus exclusively on the gifts that children can provide the parents to grow in holiness, because the point of any sacrament is to manifest God’s grace and to help people grow in holiness. Now, I am very grateful that God has sent me three advocates (my wife and children: Noah and Amelia). I am a fallen sinful man. I am prideful. I often lack patience. I am greedy. I suffer from anger and am a control freak. But God in his infinite mercy and wisdom sent me my family to help whittle away at those sins and build up virtues.
A concrete example is in order to further illustrate my point: even as I am writing this post I am interrupted by Amelia as she is having an irritable night’s sleep. Note: Anyone who has children knows that this situation is not unique to me! 🙂 What is more, my toddler son is currently being in the process of being evaluated for autism.
Many days are a struggle for my wife and I as we try to pacify our son’s meltdown situations in a calm and loving way. It took two years for my son to sleep through the night without waking up, AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR THAT EXPERIENCE! Why you may ask? It is because I have grown immensely in the virtue of patience. I tend to think of the sacraments as divine weapons that Jesus gives the Catholic Church to ward off the devil and his temptations. Thus, my toddler and all of his meltdowns act, if I encounter them through the eyes of faith, as a theological sandblaster that smooths out my rough edges and makes me polished in the virtue of patience.
To conclude this post, a fruit of the sacrament of marriage is children, specifically toddlers in my current situation, and the family life is a great arena by which a sinful man like me may be tested and tried on a daily basis so that I may grow in holiness. I think of my children as the best gift that our Trinitarian God has given me personally to grow in virtue on a daily basis.