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Let Those Drive Who Have Minivans to Drive

GUEST COLUMN

By Eric Jackson | April 2024
Eric Jackson is a software developer who lives in South St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and their four children. His work has been published in Touchstone and Saint Austin Review. He drives a 2010 Honda Odyssey.

“But other seeds fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” — Matthew 13:8

 

In a single manuscript of the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, there is a particularly imaginative interpretation of the biblical passage above. The text gives the probable author as Pseudo-Chrysostom, though scholars have cast doubt on the authenticity of the passage. The sixtyfold he attributes to parents who drive minivans, with the thirtyfold and hundredfold to those who drive smaller and larger vehicles, respectively.

Arcane scholarship aside, though we naturally rejoice at the birth of every child in a Catholic marriage, we should not conflate fertility with holiness. Our marriage vows ask us to accept children lovingly as gifts from God. Sadly, sometimes that means accepting that there will be no children to accept — or fewer than we may have desired. Those of us with young children who disrupt our sleep should never forget that other couples have different crosses to bear.

That said, for parents who are blessed with multiple children, determining when to make the jump to a larger vehicle marks a significant stage of discernment, one that is altogether neglected during marriage prep. In my experience, the move to the minivan is hardest for the wives. Its practicality makes it easy for men to understand and appreciate: “You should see all the camping gear I can fit in this thing!” We men often err on the side of excess zeal when attempting to enroll other dads into our fraternity: “Congratulations on your wedding! How was the honeymoon? Are you guys going with the Odyssey or the Sienna?”

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