Dissecting a Passage from Paul

In today’s first reading Paul says, “Keep watch over yourselves and the over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers”. I would like to dissect this passage to glean its significance. It is truly incredible how reflecting on Scriptures slowly and quietly brings out so much meaning.

Let’s start with ‘Keep watch over yourselves…’ A far cry from an individualistic or egocentric statement, this is a reminder to us that you can’t give what you don’t have. In mother’s circles, this is often called self-care. I am not talking about finding a babysitter to go get a pedicure and have a latte, but rather spiritual and perhaps emotional self-care. Taking a step back from the chaos, the noise, the gadgets and devices, the errands, the novels, the endless work, to just bask in stillness and silence. Maybe you can best do this when gardening or taking a walk, maybe it’s sitting in your favorite recliner or laying in your bed, but if we do not take time to regroup in silence, we burn out and have very little to offer to others. Silence doesn’t mean driving with the radio on or exercising with earbuds. Silence means you can hear the street lights buzz and the crickets chirping. Turn it off and just breathe. Breathe deep and breathe long and breathe repetitively. Let your heart rate slow and then listen, because you have to…

[Keep watch] ‘over the whole flock’. Who is in your flock? Is it your family, your friends, the employees under you? How do you treat them? Do you take care of them and nurture them? Do you truly care about their wellbeing? Because…

‘The Holy Spirit has appointed you [their] overseers.’ I don’t think we often look at life like that. I am a mother to my 4 children, a wife to my husband, a friend to my coworkers, an aunt, sister or daughter to my family members because the Holy Spirit has appointed me. What does that mean? How does that change things? What significance does it have? A whole lot! It means that everything I do, say and think should be led by Him and have His stamp of approval.

Now I am a very task driven, goal oriented person that likes to GET THINGS DONE. Needless to say, this becomes quite a challenge with 4 active little boys running around. Just maneuvering from the fridge to the counter to make a sandwich often has me literally stepping on one of their toes. Try to take on bigger projects and you better have pretty low expectations, cuz it’s not gonna get done in your time frame. I get so frustrated, I raise my voice, I demand help, I focus, and I ignore all else. Sure, there are some cool family moments of little helpers mixed up in there, but how much am I really letting the Holy Spirit in? My eyes glaze over and I am intent on my goal!

Farther down in the passage Paul reminds us of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is more blessed to give of my time, attention, love, and even eye contact to my family than it is to finish putting down my patio stones. Sigh…. The Holy Spirit has appointed me overseer to these little ones. That is a huge responsibility! But it is also a huge opportunity and a huge gift. The way I let God shine through me can show them how to live a godly life.

May God grant us all the grace to take time for ourselves in order to continue caring for others with the consistent presence and guidance of His Holy Spirit.

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Tami grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. Attending Catholic schools her whole life, she was an avid sportswoman, a (mostly) straight A student and a totally type A sister. She loves tackling home projects, keeping tabs on the family finances and finding unique ways to love. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. Her favorite things to do are finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby, and grocery shopping with a latte in her hand. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for the past 18 years.