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.

Let Nothing Trouble You

Mommy Mantra July 17, 2014: Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my478230_461454107223096_1494209975_o yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

 

Soul Weary

Thinking more on the Gospel of today I was wondering if the people in the towns of Galilee could have been just a little soul weary?

What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?

val fb pic redacked Mommy Mantra July 14, 2014: IS 1:10-17, MT 10:34-11:1

These readings truly speak to my mothering soul. In Isaiah God is saying to Sodom and Gomorrah something every parent has said, something like this: “Look, all this showy stuff is kinda what I expect but it is still just a smoke screen to cover up the fact that you just aren’t listening to me!”

What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?  says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats I find no pleasure.  IS 1:11

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus speaks of taking up our cross and follow him.  As a mom I know the crosses that can be placed on our shoulders: difficult pregnancies, working to support the family, living on merger incomes, caring for ill children, dealing with a divorce, rebelling tween/teens.

As Mom we will spend nights laying in beds looking up to the ceiling, praying, hoping, asking for answers, blessings and hope

As  St. Francis De Sales  has said of our personal cross: “We don’t have to go looking for our crosses, they will find us.”

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.”  MT

Does Jesus mean that loving your father makes you unworthy of him?  Isn’t it a commandment to honour your father and mother? What  Jesus speaks of here is not that he rejects the commandment to honour, he wants our main focus of love and honour to be to him and all else will follow.  In fact the Gospel has Jesus bringing a sword to the party: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.”

Our crosses come from discord, the sword, within families.  We can bring crosses into our homes with issues of any kind of abuse, financial, martial, communication issues.  Any break down of the unity of the martial bond, parental bond, or societal bond brings discord and discord creates crosses.

Crosses can be momentary annoyances.  Those thing you have no control over.  There is the Brainfall Game called: “How B*itchy Are You“, in it you are given a number of every day annoyances and you are asked a question on your response to that annoyance; the higher the number the b*tchier you are.  And the b*tcheir the lest likely you are to being ample to handle that cross.

How are we to handle these crosses?  Self denial.  As moms we know this every well.  It is what we do when we have infants, sacrifice sleep, the thought of ever doing something more than nursing and nappies.  It is what we do with toddlers, giving up the idea that we can do anything alone ever again.  And with our tweens and teens, it is being able to stop worrying about their safety.

Denying the self, self sacrifice, is the only sacrifice God is interested in; but an interesting thing happens when you practice self denial, you become closer to God AND your fellow man.

It is the surrender to God’s care

 

 

Mommy Mantra July 9: Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12, Matthew 10:1-7 In Hosea the more prosperous Israel becomes the more temples more worship of God. Jesus calls a “new” Twelve tribes to continue his work. Hosea points out the falseness of the worship that has become like lip service. Hosea calls Israel to sow justice and reap piety. Jesus continues that call when he gathers the Twelve to be the new tribes of Israel. They do tie together.

Yesterday Jesus is moved to pity for the people worn down by exhaustion. These people, in some translations, are said to be harassed and torn apart and not by walking, something else is at foot. Today Jesus has called his twelve, and by extension us, to continue his work; and when I think about that the image that comes to mind is the mom at the sink at the end of the day. After doing all she is called to do in a day she still has more! We know that there is much to do for the kingdom but right now this labourer is harassed and torn apart by life. If we do not care for ourselves our worship can become like lip service because we just don’t have any more to give; we gave it all to our children, our spouses, our work. That is something that is too often missed; that we as moms, labourers for the kingdom must take time to rest. We must find time to find our authority: to understand our calling and how Jesus is calling us. We need to be shepherded – guided. Before Jesus sends out the Twelve to have authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness, he builds them up. He gives them what they need. Too often as moms we ignore that very vital part of being a labourer; we just jump in with both feet and then find ourselves lying prostrate from physical and spiritual exhaustion. That is when we can feel shepherd-less, lost, confused and mostly frustrated – lost sheep. Today let’s pray that when we become exhausted either physically, spiritually, or both; that we take it as a sign we need to be shepherded

Mommy Mantra July 7, 2014: Today let’s pray for the miracle.

Mommy Mantra July 7, 2014: Matthew 9:18-26. The woman who reaches out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and the little girl who has died, but Jesus says is merely sleeping.  We can clearly see the faith of the woman with hemorrhages and the faith of the father whose child has died, but its the girl I am thinking about.

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There are all kinds of people in that house. Why are they there? It’s more like a party than a wake. These people seem more like hangers on, the kind of people who don’t know when to leave. They are there for their own agenda, not to help the father, pray for the girl, or just be supportive.

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They are like the kind of people who are in our lives. Making comments about what we are doing. Acting in ways so out of character for the situation. They barge in and take over without even looking at what needs to be done, or what is going on. They aren’t there to help and Jesus sees that and kicks them all out so he can do his work.

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Still they must have been near by because they are close enough to know what’s going on and make comments on what Jesus is doing. Correcting Jesus. Ridiculing him. That is until the girl awakes and suddenly they knew Jesus was creating a miracle all along.

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We don’t need these disparaging, disapproving, judgmental people in our lives. Jesus knew their energy, vibe, attitude was going to get in the way of the miracle he was creating. Just like he, we must get rid ourselves of the people set out to distract us, criticize, judge us and replace them with peace in our minds and souls so Jesus can do his miracle creation in us.

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Today let’s pray for the miracle.

Mommy Mantra July 4: “Trampling Upon the Needy”

Mommy Mantra July 4, 2014 Amos 8:4-6, 9-12 Matthew 9: 9-13

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Amos again is telling Israel to stop “trampling upon the needy” and the Gospel sees Jesus telling the Pharisees that he has comes for: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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Look at Facebook and read all the posts about abuse, or crime, or scandal. Watch TV, listen to AM radio; you can not get away from it. Is this what the people of Israel were feeling as they listened to Amos day after day? How many of them must have thought the problem is too bad!

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Then centuries later Jesus comes having to deal with the same problems. His answer is to go to the source and gently be with them. Eat with them. Laugh with them. Love them into changing themselves.

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The snooty Pharisees must have loved that! Gave them something more to gossip about instead of working to resolve the problems of society.

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As moms we are called to raise children who will be part of the solution. We are called to do the same, but the problems, like in Amos’ time, seem never ending!

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Jesus shows the way. He isn’t trying to conquer the whole problem, he breaks it down to working within his corner of the world.

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Pay it forward. Random acts of kindness. These are two of the ways to create a world where love triumphs over hate.

Amos and Jesus

smile to hideMommy Mantra July 1, 2014: Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12, Matthew 8: 23-27

For those of us with older children, tweens, emerging adults, these readings can speak volumes. The Prophet Amos is coming down hard on Israel. Jesus is in the boat asleep when a huge storm threatens to swamp it.

The two readings seem to have nothing in common with each other. Amos is dealing with an unruly Israel who think the rules don’t apply to them. Jesus is in control of a situation that terrifies his disciples.

Sounds very much like many parenting situations I have been in.

I am often like Amos reminding the children that they are loved but the rules are the rules. And my husband is more like Jesus taking control of a situation that could/did/have potential to get out of hand, and bringing it around. It’s the partnership of parenting styles that works.

Now we are imperfect beings dealing with things imperfectly, but the readings do speak to parents. What they are saying is we must set boundaries, give our children responsibilities, teach them the way they should go, but be prepared to see them do the opposite sometimes. Like Amos we got to lay the law down, repeatedly, but let them know they are loved and everything is a teaching moment, character builder.

But some parenting situations are a little bigger than undone chores. These are situations that try parent’s soul.

That is when a cool head must prevail. As Jesus did we can not let panic take over. If it does we are sunk.

That is when a grasp of the bigger picture is needed. Jesus knew what was, he had no fear because he knew what he could control. We are not Divine, but in every situation there are things we know we can control.

That’s when you call on the biggest guns ya’ got on hand: prayer.

I want to take a moment and talk about prayer and difficult situations.

As I have said in the past we are parents of four ranging in age from late twenties to late teens, and we have what seems to be two sets of kids: the ones that appear easy to raise, and our challenge children. It’s the challenge children that dropped us to our knees. We prayed for guidance. We prayed for courage. We prayed for wisdom. We prayed for the right words to say.

Sometimes it looked like God wasn’t listening and frankly that feeling sucks. But then something would happen that broken the situation open.

Parenting is both art and “science”, but what it truly is is faith. Faith in your calling. Faith in your spouse and helpmate, faith in God