There’s a very cool concept that the Catholic Church likes, though too many Catholics don’t know much about it. Many have probably never heard the word. It’s subsidiarity. To simplify, it means that everything meaningful should happen at the most basic level whenever possible.
We Are Family…
So, the foundation of our society, in this view, is the family. The ideal is for the family to be the first place that children learn about God, civility, compassion, respecting authority, unconditional love – what it is to receive it and to give it, cooperation with those around you, mercy, forgiveness, finding and working toward the same goals, friendship, and selfless sacrifice which is closely bound to unconditional love. Children will witness the sacrifice of their parents to provide for them and that is what love really should look like.
And then, after the family learns together all these beautiful lessons, they take them out into their neighborhood. The ‘area of operation’ for children is not very large, the parents may have a wider sphere of influence if they work outside the home; then there is a workplace to bring all these good things, too. But if kindness and mercy go with them, born out of this love they have been given and received, there begins to be a bit of “heaven on earth” in the places where the family interacts with their neighbors. Neighbors, by the way means everyone, according to Jesus.
What Can We Do?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenge of how to share all the good things God has given us to help make the world a better place. It seems overwhelming and, indeed, it is when we look at the whole big world. But what if we just look at our own little world? What if we work for the good just there?
“The Kingdom of heaven,” Jesus explains to His followers, “is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” I have some personal experience with this leavened flour. When you put a little yeast into the mixture of flour, that three measures grows! In fact, you have to keep ‘punching it down’ throughout the day or it overflows the bowl you mixed it in and it’s really something to see!
Pizza and other types of yeast based products
I know about this because I make homemade pizza dough with a family recipe every once in a while. It’s labor intensive and takes a while so I have to make time in my day for this process. But once you’ve mixed the yeast in with the flour and salt, you cover it with a clean dish towel and place it in a warm place for the yeast to ‘work its magic’ and increase the size of that little bit of flour you started with! It’s amazing. And what a great visual for Jesus to share with us!
So, just remember, bringing a bit of heaven to the world takes work, patience, warmth, and a desire to make something special for your family and then for your neighbors! And remember, too, subsidiarity! Start making a heaven on earth by loving your family and remembering that God is love so wherever Love is, God is there also. Give Him thanks and praise for your family, ask Him to help you and yours be the leaven that helps His Kingdom grow. Just imagine if every family were to do that! Start local, start in your own home.
Change the world, bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. If everyone is doing a little, it will only grow. Don’t be discouraged, don’t feel overwhelmed. Just start, and I know# God bless our families and our efforts!