I can remember as a kid anticipating the visit of an older sibling coming home. It may have been waiting for their car to pull into the driveway, or watching their plane land at the airport, it was always an event. My mother could hardly wait, and favorite foods would be prepared, family gatherings planned. Birthdays and holidays were celebrated early or late, while they were home, to include family, who lived away. There were prolonged embraces, and every minute was cherished,
A mother’s heart is stirred by a child in the womb, or a whimper or giggle in the night. Whether it’s a door that opens or footsteps on the stairs, there is a rush of excitement when I am about to see my kids. It is so good! I am at peace, when my children are near…the world seems right. All I need is their presence, and I have found joy.
Me with my little capacity to love, can have such immense silent stirrings, when my children are near.
Our Lord has a limitless capacity to love….what do you suspect is His reaction when we are home, or spiritually available to Him, especially at Mass? He is always present to us, but I think, often we sit in our pews and wave, rather than engage and truly encounter. How painful that would be to get a wave from a child, rather than an intimate visit in body, mind and spirit. So, I guess that’s my choice. Do I want to simply be present and seen, or do I want to encounter and embrace.
“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
St Vincent de Paul
When strong temptations are knocking at my door, I rebuke satan, in Jesus’ name, and turn to Our Lady…pray for us sinners now. I suppose one could think, but she was sinless, what does she know about sin? Nothing, but I imagine she knows a great deal about temptation. I can’t imagine satan leaving her alone, this unblemished lamb, innocent, wholly devoted to God. Even before she was known to the devil, as the Mother of God, he who couldn’t resist himself, would be tormented by one, who didn’t even glance his way. Before satan knew she was the Theotokos (Mother of God), her life had to torment him. Imagine his hatred for Our Lady after the Crucifixion, when he realized who she is. He tempted Christ; he surely tempted Mother Mary…”God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear” (from an ancient homily on Holy Saturday). I imagine with her, he was his most cunning, relentless and evil. So it is, if I need someone on my side, I want the pro. Our Creator chose Mary to resist the temptations of satan, so much so that She was His choice to carry Christ within her womb, and hold Him in death. She raised Him to adulthood. He was tortured, disgraced and misunderstood, and Mary, His mother, was present to it all, but without sin. She watched her son through all of this, without sin. I’d say if God trusted Mary, to remain sinless, then she would be the one to look to, when temptation strikes.
“So long as she (Blessed Mother) is in your mind, you are safe from deception.” – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
“When shall it be that we shall taste the sweetness of the Divine Will in all that happens to us, considering in everything only His good pleasure, by whom it is certain that adversity is sent with as much love as prosperity, and as much for our good? When shall we cast ourselves undeservedly into the arms of our most loving Father in Heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our affairs, and reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in all that we can?”
St. Jane Frances de Chantal
There was a meeting for families one evening, and many of them came to Mass afterward. I was lector, and looked out at the congregation full of families with young children, and read… “Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.” Good grief, I felt like the evening news. I knew the reading before I came to Mass, but it wasn’t until I got to the ambo that I saw the kids. So, the reading continues that the angel said stop, they got the ram, and sacrificed it instead, but I was aghast proclaiming that reading to these little ones. At that moment, the Church’s wisdom of this scripture, in the Lectionary, was escaping me…
I had some precious souls, dear to my heart and in dire need, on my mind. I was filled with worry for them, trying to “fix” things that were out of my control. My spiritual director told me that I can’t fix this, it’s not within my power. Only God and those involved can remedy this.
I couldnt let my concern for them, drown me. So, every day at Mass I spiritually lay them on the altar. In my mind I visualize me placing and leaving them there. I realize this isn’t quite the same as Abraham and Isaac. There are no raised blades here, but there is surrender and sacrifice. I am surrendering my control, or at least the control that I think I possess. I am sacrificing my will for them, and asking for my Father’s will. I am returning them to the Creator, because only He can “fix” their mind, body or heart. I am entrusting them to a God, Who loves them perfectly, unlike my ability to love. I am placing them on the altar and not at the foot of the cross, because it is an abandonment of my desire, to relinquish to His. It is an offering.
Today, I am grateful for this choice in the Lectionary, this lesson of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham taught me how to trust God with something that is most precious. Because of Abraham, I am learning peace.
“Frequently, only silence can express my prayer. However, this Divine Guest of the tabernacle understands all, even the silence of a child’s soul filled with gratitude.
St Therese of Lisieux
I watched the Priest raise the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator, our God, adorned by a Monstrance. I thought, this is all we got? What an inadequate adornment, how diminutive a display for the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, my Lord and my God. What a paltry response is our Amen. Does God just settle for what we give Him?
As I prayed, I thought about a picture that my preschool son had colored. It was a polar bear, yep, pretty sure. He is no artist, but he tried to make the best polar bear he could. He makes things all the time, and I love them. I love it, because what he lacks in artistic ability, he makes up for, over and above, in love. His inadequate demonstration of artistic ability pales next to the expression of his heart.
Hmmm, often the extraordinary is found in the ordinary,
I guess our hearts do the rest. It is our responsibility to elevate the Eucharist with the response of our souls, and respond with an amen with every bit of mindfulness we possess. I’m sure our Lord looks on us, and doesn’t see how inadequately we edify Him, in our physical demonstrations, in words, art or postures. He may not notice at all, because it’s our hearts and souls that He sees; not our inadequacies, …at drawing a polar bear
“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”
Fishing has always been something that I have enjoyed. Well I enjoy it as long as there is someone to take the fish off the hook. It can be a long day on the water, if the fish aren’t biting, but if they are, it’s exhilarating! Today boats are equipped with sonar that can locate fish, but without modern equipment it’s more of a challenge. One must know the behaviors, the depth at which they inhabit, appetite etc of the fish you are seeking. The weather has to be correct, not before a front, but after a rain, morning and evening are best,… fishing entails a bit of luring, guesswork and patience. Even if everything is right, the fish may not be biting.
St. Peter was a fishermen, so when he was called to be a fisher of men he knew what that meant. He’d have known that building the church would have its challenges. He would need to know, what we were hungry for, how we lived and human nature. He would realize that reeling us in could be difficult, some of us would have teeth, to bite back, and some would get away. He would understand that he may not “catch” anyone all day. Storms of life may make us hungry or cause us to hide, and even if on the boat, we might still find a way to flee.
Bringing others to Christ can be hard. Perhaps the biggest lesson Peter learned was that when Jesus told him to cast his nets into the sea, even though he hadn’t caught a thing; with Jesus’ guidance his full nets were breaking. Most of us are not in a position to fill nets in large numbers, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can gather them one at a time.