Motherhood Is to Be Pierced

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Today is my daughter’s birthday. She turned 3 years old. As I snuggled next to her this morning and gave her kisses waiting for her to wake up, I was filled with excitement for her. Birthdays, like other holidays, are a time of magic in childhood. And at my daughter’s current age, it is pretty easy to make her happy and make her feel special.

This morning was our parish’s last day of Vacation Bible School. It is the first time she has been old enough to participate. I dropped her off and then proceeded to run errands. I always pick up three mylar balloons for her at the Dollar Tree and I got her favorite meal: mac n’ cheese and vanilla cupcakes (I will make cupcakes for her party on Sunday). As I ran around feverishly, some thing like sadness started to creep in. I pricking, piercing feeling. The realization that my daughter is already 3. How did that happen?!

I came home and decorated our kitchen in princess theme and colors. I wanted her to return from VBS and know that it was her day. The day we celebrate the greatest gift that God has given to my husband and me. Sometimes I think God is crazy for trusting us with her! I also wanted to get her brand new three wheel scooter put together. Unfortunately, I pulled out the directions and my brain said: “Cannot compute”. The directions might as well have been in Chinese. I can do abstract theological and philosophical pondering, I cannot put a bike together from a poorly conceived diagram. I raced next door to my friend’s house and asked one of the guys to do it. What a blessing, he agreed to do it for me. My hubby is at work and we forgot to get it done this week.

The time quickly came for me to pick her up at VBS. As I pulled out of the drive-way, I began a Rosary offered for my daughter. Since becoming a mother, the story of Simeon telling Our Heavenly Mother that she would be “pierced as with a sword”, has resonated with me. There is a piercing aspect to motherhood. Some actually have to feel the same pain as Our Lady, in the loss of children. I have known that pain through miscarriage. But, there is a piercing in the every day. As my daughter gets older, I see time speed by. I have to let her go a little more each day. That comes with bittersweet tears. Joy is always combined with pain on this side of Eternity. It is through joy that we know the pain that cuts right through us; the knowing that this cannot last forever.

 

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I also thought about the Sorrowful Mysteries as I prayed them. The agony of waiting encompasses so much of motherhood. Whether it is when they are sick or hurt, or even in teaching them new things. Motherhood is to live the Cross. It is to stretch our arms wide and give until there is nothing else left to give. It is accepting the joy and the pain. That is the how we experience love on this side of the Veil. So I would say to all of you mothers out there. Take a closer look at Mary. Contemplate Simeon’s words to her. Pray about the swords that pierce you through and how Christ sanctifies you as a mother. God bless you always and may Our Heavenly Mother intercede for you in your daily tasks as a mother.

Comments: Be Pillars of Light

One of the many problems with the Internet, and no I am not anti-Internet, is the anger that it seems to bring out of people. Sitting at a computer screen in our home, makes people seem far away. They are “the other” and I am not “them”. It is something we all do at one point or another if we have beliefs that are dear to us, whether it be religious, political, or even our favorite sports team. The Internet is fast becoming a place of ranting, and little dialgoue. Rather than learn from someone else, or Heaven forbid, listen to another’s point of view, we run over the top of people with our written word. I am guilty of this at times, sometimes a lot. We feel comfortable sharing our prejudices or down-right bigotry with the world. Rather than be pillars of Light, we end up becoming clamoring gongs that point to darkness.

So, as so many other writers on the Internet have to do, I am asking that people who choose to comment on my blog, be pillars of Light. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me. I don’t care if you aren’t Catholic. But, I will not tolerate hateful, bigoted speech. There is a lot of ignorance in the world. In fact, every single one of us is ignorant about many things. If you want to learn, I am happy to engage in dialogue with you. I greatly enjoy learning from others. If all you want to do is rant, rave, and yell asinine things then I am going to delete your comments and block you from the discussion. That includes telling me that I am not “saved” because I am Catholic. I am not interested in your self-righteous condemnations and neither is any other reader of this blog. I don’t want my blog to be a place of darkness, nor do I want it to be a near occasion of sin for me or anybody else. Sinful anger is very tempting on the Internet. I am a wife, mom, Lay Dominican, and graduate student. I just don’t have time to confront other people’s neurosis. So feel free to discuss, provide input, and insight. I look forward to your comments, but make sure to do it in love and charity. Pax Christi!
 

 

 

 

Wake Up America: A Call to Prayer and Fasting for Our Persecuted Brethren

I have been watching with horror as Christians are being systematically murdered, exiled, or placed in dhimmi status in Syria and Iraq. Over the past few years, Christians have endured public executions to include crucifixions, the loss of their homes and property, rape, torture, and the total loss of their homeland. Nary a word has come from our President. A President who is either so inept at foreign policy that he does not know what to do, too arrogant to mind, or worse, supports the persecution of Christians. I don’t know what the answer is, quite honestly. His actions tell me that he has very little regard for the dignity of any human person, but himself. But, no matter what, it should be deeply distressing to Christians here. I have no control over our current President who I believe is totally morally corrupt. But, I do have power to pray and work to bring awareness and funds to those who need it.

As Americans, we live in an insular bubble. Most of us have a roof over our heads, too much food, water, and a plethora of possessions. We go throughout our day oblivious of what is going on throughout the world. It does not matter that a good portion of the world is in flames, and that Russia has decided to make a power grab reminiscent of the days following World War II. It cannot last. I repeat, our oblivion cannot last. Human nature has always been at war. That is why Christ came. Peace is a wonderful blessing, but one that never lasts. We need to wake up and pay attention. We need to fall on our knees and pray for those countless slaughtered and for the conversion of souls throughout the world. My weapons of choice: the Rosary and the Holy Eucharist. Only Christ himself can save us. We are soldiers. Our weapons are spiritual and we are waging a battle against the forces of evil: Satan himself. It is time to wake up from our stupor and get to the business of working and serving Christ.

What can we do? First, since our mainstream media refuses to give air time to the murder of Christians, share news stories that detail the horrors of what our brethren are enduring in Syria and Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, China, etc. Second, show the world that we stand in solidarity with all Christians. As the Cross was turned into a symbol of hope, we shall turn any symbol (see the picture below) used to murder Christians or take away their history or livelihood and turn it into a symbol of power: The power of Jesus Christ. Third, find reliable charities who provide resources to persecuted Christians and donate. It does not need to be a large donation, whatever you can spare. Give up a couple of lattes or a trip to McDonald’s, then use the money for charity. Fourth, pray, go to Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, however you pray, do it. Pray for the persecuted, the dead, the persecutors, and for our leadership and leaders around the world. Fifth, fast. I mean serious fasting. Take a day a month or a week and live on bread and water. Offer it up in solidarity with the victims and the poor. It is good for you and fasting can save souls. Did I mention, PRAY?!

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This makes a great social media profile picture.  It is no longer a symbol of fear, it is a sign of strength, solidarity, and the power of the Living God, Jesus Christ.
This makes a great social media profile picture. It is no longer a symbol of fear, it is a sign of strength, solidarity, and the power of the Living God, Jesus Christ.

We all must wake up from the slumber that peace, wealth, and prosperity has put us in. We have it all, so why does the rest of the world matter? First, because we are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ and when one portion is hurt, the whole body hurts. Second, because this mess is not always going to be “over there”. History tells us that war and violence is common, not peace. Prayers can prevent wars and bring peace. So let’s get on our knees and pray now before the cancers of secularism and radical Islam spread even more. May God bless you always. Onward Christian Soldiers!!!

Do you have any suggestions to add? 

 

 

 

 

Authentic Friendship

 

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Lately I have been contemplating the nature of friendship: authentic friendship. I have lived all over. Being a Veteran, I have meet a lot of different people from all over, including from my time in England. I have discovered over the years that the majority of friendships are tied to circumstances. Those friendships seem to be a necessity. It is a, “We are all in this together”, type of situation. That is very true in the military.

I can honestly say that I have only had a handful of real and long lasting friendships. As I thought about this topic, one thing struck me about those friendships: They all encompassed the Cross. Those friendships that have had the greatest depth were when the two of us went head long into the depths of pain and suffering. There was no fear, worry, or pride. We may not have even been able to understand fully the other person’s pain, but we walked together no matter what.

I think the first time I realized this was about 9 years ago when I was living in England. I had been diagnosed with delayed-onset PTSD from my 9-11 relief work and ended up checking myself into a hospital for inpatient treatment. My friend, Nicky (who I hope reads this. Your birthday pressie is in the mail!!!), took over my affairs and she would drive down to London, nearly a 6 hour drive once or twice a week to visit me. She came after work, she came on weekends, it did not matter. In the month that I was there, she was always there for me. She is a British civilian. She did not know exactly what I was going through. That scared a lot of people, but not her. She loved me and stayed with me through the whole thing.

Real friendship requires vulnerability. A willingness to let go of the masks we wear out of pride, and let others see us as we are: works in progress by the grace of Christ. Friendship, just like any other loving relationship, requires great courage. Pain causes fear. In our sin, our natural inclination is to run from pain, but friendship means running head long into it. It means spending the day with someone whose anxiety is off the charts after successive miscarriages. Or hugging someone who is crying in agony. It means listening to another person’s heart as they bear all that they carry. It means forgiving and moving forward, when disagreements occur.

Friendship is a great gift that God gives us along the journey. How wonderful it is to meet someone and say, “Me too!”. It is a chance to move past the mundane and superficiality of our daily lives. There is a deep longing in our hearts to know people as they are, but sin cuts us off from each other. Friendship is a foretaste of Heaven, where superficiality is left behind and we see people transfigured in the brilliance of Christ, where we are made whole.

With all of this in mind, I would challenge all of us, to go deeper into friendship. To conquer fear and misunderstanding. Friendship does not always require empathy; sympathy is enough. It does require summoning our courage as we go deeper into Love. It means serving, even when we are busy with everything else. Just like family, friendship means prioritizing. Are there friendships in your life that may have grown stagnant? Do you keep people at arms length at times, like I do? How can we better serve the people in our lives, as Christ calls us? Do you desire deeper friendships? Friendship is a great blessing. Let’s let those people bless our lives fully. God bless.