We, like Mary bear, the Divine

12400617_10154554734621632_4259838348387258692_nContinuing with the Lenten theme of seeing Motherhood from a different perspective, let’s consider this picture on the left.

Women are created to bear children.  As women we have a very important role in salvation. We are baptised  as Priest = Nurturer, Prophet = Teacher, Queen = Minister of Home with each of these roles challenging us to live lives of service, generosity and kindness, of patience and guidance.1

We are are given certain gifts and talents from God, and we have a responsibility to put them into the service of others.  These gifts combined with the baptismal roles are given to us  because we are important to the mission of God’s plan for salvation.  Throughout the Bible, God has valued, pursued, and honored women, in a time period where women were treated as second-class citizens. Jesus pursued the woman at the well, He loved his mother dearly, and He healed the bleeding woman. God even gave women the highest honor in allowing them to be the first to see the resurrected Christ. We must first understand that all women are very precious to Him and then, regardless of our relation to them, we will treat them in a way that makes them feel valued and points them to Jesus. New Spring  This is certainly true of Mary who is described by her Son that God found her “Highly Favoured.” She is thought of in the Orthodox Catholic Church as “Theotokos“, or “God-Bearer” (Mother of God).  If God did not think that women/mothers were important why would He have Mary involved in such a Divine plan?  Mary is the New Eve. Her Yes cancels out what Eve had done.  So, with all that can’t we think of ourself as important and not reduce our role by seeing ourselves as less than men.  We are different and just as important.  Don’t we, because of our birth, have the Divine spark within us?  Wasn’t Mary, born without sin, also born having the Divine spark, as well as carrying the Divine Presence?

Let’s look at motherhood.  Mary as Mother of Christ is an example for us of the importance of motherhood.   “It was at the Wedding at Cana that Mary is instrumental.  Prompted by her merciful heart” to help this family by bringing her concern for them to Jesus: “Having sensed the eventual disappointment of the newly married couple and guests because of the lack of wine, the Blessed Virgin compassionately suggested to Jesus that he intervene with his messianic power.” Saint Pope John Paul II

She is a strong mom trying to keep her son out of trouble.  She went off to seek Jesus when he disappeared from the family and being found in the Temple reprimanded him. As Jesus’ ministry comes to it’s apex she travels to  Capernaum because of what was being reported about Jesus and that scene appears to be one where Mary wants to protect Jesus from getting himself in trouble with the leaders. John 2:12

Mary was deeply concerned about social justice, (James 1:27), “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visitor orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  If James was the beloved disciple and the same disciple that Jesus relinquish His mother, James must have sat around the maternal kitchen table discussing with Jesus all the issues of His ministry while Mary prepares snacks and gives her opinion and thoughts on the subjects/issues.

Mary as mediatrix began at the Wedding Feast of Cana and continues today.

From Mary’s song, Mary’s encounter with Jesus in the temple, Mary’s intervention at the wedding . . . all the way to Mary at the cross and Mary with the earliest believers in Jerusalem — these scenes lead us to Jesus each and every time. Mary ought not to rob Jesus of his glory, for the mission of Mary in her own life was to witness to the glory of her Son.  10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew about Mary, Mother of Jesus

We can see Mary as a normal mom.  She is our Mother.  We, like Mary, have given birth to our children to bring them up in the faith, to be faithful, to live faithfully.

Hymn to the Theotokos

1

CC1214 This sacrament is called baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptize) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”

CC1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”

CC1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . .” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself: Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilt

 

Yes HE does

PS 1-1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

OK God You and I gotta talk!

I know I am not the only mom who feels this way!  One of the things that will bring me to my knees faster than fast:  Something is happening to my children.

I know that I have ultimately no control of what happens to my children.  Sometimes things happen: illness, broken hearts, new jobs that don’t work out; those things that you, as mom, want to take off their shoulders but can’t. That is not how the world works.

When things become more difficult, become something that others have done deliberately to hurt your/my children – the belligerent mom in me switches on.  That mom who not only wants to control everything, but will do everything she can to make the world better for them, who feels that she can do better than God.  This mom/me stands toe to toe with God.  Nose to nose: demanding to God do something, make things better….now!  You, (mom/me), can feel like you worked so hard to raise these children well that what is happening to them is not just unfair, it is UNJUST.  You/me have spent years helping them to become their best, giving them tools to live life with strength; but still the devil comes into their lives.  And your, (mom/me), faith takes a hit.  Where are you God!?  Why did you let this happen!?  You, (m0m/me), think in your heart – How. Dare. You. God!

As a spiritual director I know there is a great deal to discern that will help the situation immensely, but what you/me know to do, and what has happened to you/me as a mom, makes you feel you are being hit in the gut with worry and grief, you just feel weak in the knees, as if you are standing in a literal black space.  You feel lost as if you are in a black hole that nothing can penetrate.  You need that time to grief.  Than slowly, oh so slowly you realize that God is standing quietly by you as you grief.  You realize that He is grieving with you but still waiting until you are open enough for God to walk up and hug you with such Divine love.

 

 

OMG look at her!

Mommy Mantra for Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.

Last weekend we saw the movie “Hail Caesar!”  The movie is set in the 1950’s and one of the main characters was very Catholic who prayed his rosary when seeking wisdom about a problem, went to Reconciliation, daily. The movie directed by the Cohen Brothers, treated the faith very respectfully.

That Sunday our pastor had a wonderful homily:  For him, he is a priest in his very early 60’s, Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed.  He recalled his childhood and early teens when “Catholic Guilt” was in full flower.  When he was young the idea of God’s love was the same as love in the 50’s – 60’s, no matter what you do it isn’t going to be good enough.

The movie has the Catholic main character going to Reconciliation every 24 hours. Something I know from my own childhood was very common, in fact it seemed required to be seen as a Catholic in good standing.  The priest character listening to his sins is so gently trying to tell him that he didn’t need to come every day, (something I know wouldn’t have had happen, that was more a reflection of today).  Our pastor’s homily comes to mind, now reflecting on the Reconciliation scenes, the fact so many would gravel to God.   The Catechism, here I paraphrase, states that a Catholics in good standing are obliged to confess their serious sins at least once a year (CIC 989), but the minimum should not be made a maximum.  Catholics should come to confession as soon as possible after they’ve committed a mortal sin. If they’re seeking to grow in holiness, the regular practice of confession at least once a month is commended.  For God desires steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

Lent as I understand is probably as exactly as Jesus wanted from the beginning: Spiritual Renewal.

Happy Ash Wednesday

Good Morning God

As a spiritual director I advise many moms to start the day talking with God.  This way a mom can review her day, her goals in balance with what God has called her to be, do.  But me, do I do that?  Not as often as I would like.  I know, KNOW, in the depths of my heart that my day will go sooooooo much better if I spent time with God.  These few minutes both day and night will help me feel more in control of my life, the way my life will go, what has happened to me/my life during the day, because I will have the Big Guy on my spiritual/emotional radar.  I will be looking, if not actively, spiritually, for God during my day.

I will more likely be aware of what is going on in my life than feel as if life is hitting me about the face with a wet trout.  So, why do I allow myself to be controlled by events instead of controlling those I can?  Simplest answer: Habit, fear, and laziness.

Habit:  I have become so comfortable by not trying that it is just easiest to do nothing but those things that don’t move me forward, (require work), because I use the excuse that I am just a mom.  Which if you think about is pretty insulting to God and Mary.  After all Mary, as a MOM, had a huge rule in Jesus’ life.  Wasn’t it she who prompted Jesus at the Wedding as Canna?  And as for God.  Didn’t He choose Mary to bear His Son?  So, being a mom must be something special for God.

Fear:  I have let my thoughts that I am unworthy, (a lie 0f satan), become my guiding principle.  This isn’t the unworthiness of being present before God, something I think we would all feel; no, this is the worthiness that make you feel invisible, as if you want to hide from everyone like a small frightened animal.  (Often this feeling of worthiness comes from having being constantly told that you/I are/am  unworthy until you/me are convinced that their lie is greater than God’s truth.)

Laziness: The child of Habit and Fear.  Laziness tells you/me to hide.  By hiding I mean doing anything that keeps me from doing those things that help me fulfill my calling.  I would watch TV, nap, play on the computer, not care for myself; because why should I no-one will take me seriously, I have nothing to say.

So, this Lent I am making the commitment to daily spend time reviewing my day with God, doing things to move me forward; pray for my Lenten success I will definitely pray for yours.

Lent ISN’T just giving up, IT’S adding on

12717628_951584168210880_1099224796633797260_nI loved what our Pastor had to say this past Sunday: Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed.

I believe this so much.  We must come through Lent a different person.

Some resources to help you on your Lenten journey:

I am Your temple Lord

Mommy Mantra for February 9, 2016
feb 9 2016

1 KGS 8:22-23, 27-30

May your eyes watch night and day over this temple, the place where you have decreed you shall be honored; may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.

This is from the first reading for today, what did I hear?  I heard this: God watch over me, (this temple-my person), the place where you have decreed you shall be honoured, (my life/my calling being expressed through my actions), may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place, (through my mental/verbal prayers).

OMG….God I am beginning to understand You

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he (Jesus) entered.....begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;and as many as touched it were healed.

Mommy Mantra February 8, 2016

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. MK 6:53-56

As I listened to the Gospel, hearing of the people pressing up to Jesus wanting to be heal, pushing each other to be the first to get to Jesus, fighting to be able to touch a tassel; I was brought back to my children as toddlers.

We have all experienced our children coming to us, running to cling to our legs when things just didn’t seem right.  Our children came/come to us when they are hurt seeking help from us.  Our children who look at us as those people looked to Jesus: a source of comfort, love, healing.

I sat up in my pew suddenly aware of an aspect of God I was beginning to understand better: God the loving Nurturer.  This realization makes me wonder how much more I will become aware of this Lent, this Year of Mercy.