Today let’s get unstuck

Get your act together

Mommy Mantra July 18, 2014: IS 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8, MT 12:1-8
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In the reading this morning King Hezekiah is told to get his house in order before he dies, and the Gospel sees Jesus challenging the Pharisees about the letter of the Law.
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These seem so disconnected but I see a thread. We have King Hezekiah, who when faced with death pleads for more life. God hears and answers the pray but warns Hezekiah not to waste the opportunity given; get some things that have gummed up your spiritual-emotional life out of your life. He doesn’t do that. Like many of us he sees the chance and acts like the school boy given more recess only if he hit erasers, he hits them for a second but if off to the playground.
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In the Gospel just yesterday Jesus says for us to pick up his yoke, don’t worry be happy, and follow him. Now he adds that we shouldn’t be worried about the letter of the law, but our actions.
I bet we all know people who have said yeah (!) that’s what needs to be done, but are still stuck in law. I bet WE have done that.
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Like Hezekiah we think for a while about the gift we have been given, even do some things to forward that gift but…..
We hear Jesus tell us over and over again how much more spiritually-emotionally unburden we would be if we just let go of some of the things that are holding us back. We do some unburdening but……
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Today let’s get unstuck.

Can we surrender

Our Church, we sit on the left hand side

Our family often sits in the side pews of our church which means we look across to other pews on the opposite side. There is a young man who brings his adorable little boy to Mass.
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This morning’s Mass his little boy was tired and fussy, and the young Dad did everything to keep him comfortable and content. The little boy finally found himself on his fathers chest sleeping peacefully, and I was suddenly brought to mind of Joseph caring for the baby Jesus.
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This sweet little boy felt so safe, so loved that he could give up the control of being awake to the surrender of sleep on his father’s chest. Can we do the same? Can we give up our control to the surrender of God’s care?

Video: I’m a spiritual director

This the first video for Spiritual Lives Of Women.  I am using these animations to bring an other aspect to the ministry.  It is my hope that I can begin to broadcast an every Wednesday a Q &  A video.

Thomas isn’t doubting, he is doing what we all must do

Mommy Mantra July 3, 2014: Feast of Saint Thomas It would be just too easy to write on doubt, but today I feel called to write about Jesus’ response: “Peace be with you.”

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Oh Lord, do I wish I could react to “surprising” parenting situations like that! In all the parenting classes I have taken, and taught, over the years the basic concept is the same: gentleness rules out over an overly emotional response.

When I think about Thomas and Jesus’ interaction, Thomas was demanding to be shown like our toddlers and teens do. Thomas needed to investigate, learn for himself just like our school aged children and young adult children do.
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Jesus doesn’t stand there doing the frustrated parent eye roll; he invites Thomas to quell his fears. When our toddlers run and hide behind us and venture out again, they are using us as a touchstone to help quell their fear of the big bad world. A world they don’t have the experience to understand. When our school aged children want to master a new skill they look to us for support to quell their fear of failure.
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When our teens do things that try a mother’s heart, they are like they were as toddlers, reaching out from between the boundaries of behind our knees to explore a world they feel they have mastered but truly haven’t. They need us more than ever to quell their fears.
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It’s too easy to say Thomas was doubting. Thomas is doing what we all must do with our faith: explore, question, investigate, understand for ourselves. Today let’s prayer to support each other as we see Thomas in ourselves and our children. Let’s strive to say to ourselves and our children: “Peace be with you”, and to hear Jesus saying it to us.

Peter and Paul…Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

10306081_657017577719251_4288221757988880042_nThis picture I downloaded from a friend on Facebook, she and I both consider ourselves very spiritual people; the way we express that aspect of our lives is very different: she is more new age, (which frankly doesn’t bother me; didn’t Jesus come to bring a new age?), and I am Orthodox Irish Catholic, (we tend to be “new agey”).

I was scrolling my timeline after Mass and found this picture, it struck me how it fit in so well with today’s reading at Mass.  I agree with 90% of it.  We, as Catholics, are called to believe in ourselves as children of God, a priestly people, and to love God, our neighbour and ourself.

Our soul is precious, but they are not divine; as a Catholic I believe only Jesus/God is Divine, I am an imperfect person striving toward perfection; something I am not going to reach on this realm.  When I got to the “you’ll automatically be converted to a being who can create miracles”, my heart skipped a beat!

Peter, who becomes the rock onto which Christ will build his church, denies him three times; this man whom Peter in today’s Gospel calls Jesus the Christ, the living Son of God, will falter, must lose heart and deny him before he can be converted to his calling as foundation of the faith. Then, there is Paul, a tax collector, a persecutor of Christians, who even puts Christians to death, gets thrown from his horse and temporarily blinded by God before he can “see anew” and be converted to preach with such love the faith he sees so clearly.

The picture extols us to believe and it surely is the most important aspect of any conversion.  Jesus asks his disciples who they thought/believed he was.  So, it seems to me that conversion has an inherit believe that God sees such great potential in us, and that we must believe in something larger than ourselves, (God), whose faith and love for us and in our potential has no limits, no bounds!  It is this Divine force outside of our very flawed and limited selves that creates the power to convert from thinking so little of ourselves that we don’t realize, or accept, or honour the miracle that is us, the new day, the transformative power of us working united with God to seeing each day as a miracle of new beginnings.

There is also the stripping away of the old to be able to accept the new.  Both Peter and Paul’s transformations came only after the old life was stripped from them: Peter denial, Paul’s persecuting Christians.  This transformation did not come alone, it came about because of God’s power and the relationships that both men had, and changed.  Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

As human beings, and most definitely as mothers, we can not truly live life alone.  It takes the transforming power of two people to create a life, but the Divine power of God to infuse that life with a soul.  It takes the power of two to guide that new life toward a path, but God to infuse that life with a calling.   The miracle here is the conversion of the raw potential that is a child into the miracle of person with a calling and purpose.

Something that we as mothers must recognize as well.  The conversion of ourselves from who we were before our children to who we are with our children.  Like Peter and Paul this experience has changed us forever! We will never be who we were, would we want to be?

We have created the miracle of new life in our children but they have created the miracle of new life within us!  It is our responsibility to allow this transformation to change us into the people, mothers, woman God has called us to be.

So let us pray that we believe in the Divine transformation that converts us into miracles!  And let us pray for those moms who have yet to believe.

 

 

 

 

 



 

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

what motherhood is like

We are going to a birthday party for our Godson; it will be his first, and an exciting time for family and friends. It is a time for us to rejoice in this little boy’s life, looking back at all the milestones, not just the little boy’s but the parents as well; and with today being the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary it will be interesting for his mom to view this first year through Mary’s own experience.

Susan Netter wrote in her Facebook posting yesterday of Mary “pondering all these things in her heart”, and how parenting is hard, and we as “modern moms” ponder many things in our hearts. The Gospel this morning certainly reveals that Mary was going through experiences that we have go through or will with our own children. We see a teen age Jesus acting as teen age children do: exploring and expressing his own understanding of who he was becoming. And as older moms know and have experienced that process can be difficult, fear riddled and angering, the beginning of the letting process that is nature but not always liked by moms: seeing our children grow up, form their own response to God’s calling, and leaving the nest.

Did Mary, as she was searching for Jesus, look back on her life raising Jesus and see his milestones from infant to then and did she wonder if those memories would be her last? Did she vacillate between anger at Jesus being gone to her own doubts and worries to hope that Jesus is OK?

When Mary and Joseph stood at the Temple door looking in I don’t think they knew what as going on. It’s clear from the Gospel they didn’t, Jesus had to tell them why he was there and what he was doing. For our Godson the future is open, and the path being made. Mom and Dad are helping to forge that path, but it is our Godson who will be walking it. Like Mary and Joseph each decision whether conscientiously made or not helped shape Jesus’ journey but not the only influence, just as is true for our own children. And just as true of Mary and Joseph prayer, hope, and thoughtful guidance will be the best thing for our children

Responsorial Psalm June 27, 2014

smile to hideI have a friend who posts wonderful posts on Facebook that are filed with gentle wisdom about love, parenting and life. Today she posted the following which just rang in my heart as a prefect modern understanding of today’s readings but most specifically the Responsorial Psalm:

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10

Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

Her posting:

Pretending that painful or negative feelings do not exist doesn’t keep relationships more intimate. It can even create inner distance when I act as if the intimate relationship is not strong enough to hold pain, anger or hate. Powerful feelings can be frightening, but denying their presence keeps me from deeper layers of self. When my intimate relationships are able to hold the powerful, paradoxical feelings of love and hate, anger and forgiveness, something deep within me can relax and let go. If they are not able to do this, I need to withdraw from the relationship in order to be myself.

I can hold angst.

In this era of self-understanding and conscious efforts at parenting, we learn we should not come down to our children’s level. That is, we should not be as hateful toward them as they are to us. Yet, if we seal ourselves off they are cheated and burdened by the illusion that anger and hatred are personally inappropriate. Therapists are like parents. When the therapist comes down to their level, both grow from it when the generation gap is reestablished.

My day: Be aware, make changes, improve your life

10433155_747540725269143_1329049349156176745_nFor some reason the past few days I have been majorly grumpy for seemingly no cause at all.  But of course there is always a source, a trigger.

Taking the time to think about it and pray over it; those are two of the steps in discernment, I have been trying to determine God’s calling to me in this.

Sometimes it is helpful for me to “vent” to my husband, having him just be that person who listens and let’s me talk.  Saint Ignatius, and others in the healing ministry, feel it’s best to get out of the directee’s way and let God and the directee work it out together.  And that is often what happens.  I will “vent” saying everything that is in my mind and suddenly God will gently inspire me with the answer.

Now, it is rarely is the answer that you believe it will be.  For instance.  I have been feeling like a second class citizen.  I have these feelings because our eldest daughter works out of town and can’t take the bus to get there, she needs the car most.  Her job is a part time job and I often do have the car, but still I want the car, all the time, after all it’s mine!  But truly I have many opportunities to get where I want to go and to do what I need to do; they just are not as optimal as having a car at beck and call.

Like dominos one annoyance will lead to another.  I call these annoyances because really I have many resources, and am privileged to live a life where my working is not critical to keeping body and soul alive, so why am I complaining.  Complaining like a petulant child about having to do housework; or laundry, cooking shopping, all the things that someone responsible for a home would have to do.  We don’t have the legions of children we have had in the past, many have flown the nest, so who else would do it now?  Me, and I don’t wanna!

That is when it hit me, why am I having a pity party!  The house is easy enough to take care of.  I work best if I get up earlier in the morning and do all those daily things that make the house run smoothly, but I love TV and staying up late gives me time to indulge, but what good does that do me; none.

So, God gently was pointing out my tendency to be lazy.  I want certain things but I do not want to do the work necessary to achieve it.  I want to be in a ministry that supports moms of all walks of life, but still if I can not overcome the petty annoyances how can I understand others who must deal with much larger obstacles.  What I learned from all this is God is asking me to answer His call or do I to ignore Him and live a life half lived?  As I said earlier, it is never the issue you think you having, but it is always the calling that God is giving.

That is the difference between being lazy and answering the call.  Answering the call gives me more life, makes me happy and satisfied.  God is saying to me: You have a family that supports you, always has always will.  You are only making yourself a second class citizen if you put yourself there. Refocus your thoughts and actions to fit what you really know.

So, I got up this morning, did my daily house stuff, got things ready and went to the library, my “office”, and feel so much better.

 

 

 

 

Whose your Elijah

Mommy Mantra June 10, 2014: There is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. 1 Kings 17:12

We all have moments when our jugs run dry and our flour is at a premium. That is when we must draw on the Lord. Like the widow and her son God will send people into our lives at the right moment and the right time to say have faith.

Coming downtown today I took the bus, something that I rather enjoy, and as is the nature of riding public transportation you can’t help but over hear others conversation; so I was listening to the driver and her passenger friend.

The driver seemed to be a very interesting woman. From what I could gather she had lead a very interesting life. She told her young woman friend that she had been homeless, and did many things, as she put it: “You couldn’t believe the kind of life I lead.”

The driver and this young woman, from what I am inferring of their conversation, focused on the young woman feeling her life was hard, and the driver was saying through her life story; be patient with your life, things do get better.

You could say that the driver was this young woman’s Elijah saying to her not to be afraid, to do what she was doing: going to school, raising her young children as a single mom, and to know that God will make sure it will all work out.

What gifts of the Spirit is most helpful to you as a mom