Am I Crazy?

Am I crazy?  Don’t the readings of today sound exactly like Sunday’s first reading and yesterday’s Gospel?!

Yuppers, they are those same readings.  Why?  It is important for us during this Octave of Easter to understand how the early church operated.  Each person was seen as important.  Age didn’t matter. Sex didn’t matter.  What mattered was that you believed.

The community was home, was a refuge, was the safety net, was support, was love.

All the things the early church saw as an example of heaven.

When I worked for the Diocese of Lansing, I felt like I had reached a bucket list goal.  I always wanted to work at a Catholic”office”.  I loved the idea that we were all of the same faith.  It was fun to able to go to Mass with colleagues.  I felt warm and fuzzy.

And that is probably how all the very early church felt: warm and fuzzy.

They were in it all together.  They understood the challenges of being these new Christians, and they were eager to be supportive of each other.  They were eager to live as Jesus taught.

So, how does all of this relate to motherhood, to now?

Well, like most utopian society it is hard to maintain once the group gets bigger and more voices of “authority” want to be heard.  Society kinda takes over.

Society takes us over, as moms, as well.  I get so frustrated with the ebb and flow of mothering competition.  With working moms vs. stay at home moms.  I remember fights, verbal fist to cuffs, with mom “friends” who felt it was important to let me know how right and perfect their children were.  It didn’t help either me or them.  It caused bitterness.  So, if that is happening to you new mom; get better nonjudgmental friends.

A true supportive, nonjudgmental friend will not make you feel like you are their psychological experiment of the week.  They will speak truth to you if you need it, gently.  Just as Jesus never nagged neither will they.  They will understand that each of us will be called to mother uniquely according to God’s plan for us.

God in His wisdom has created us to express different aspects of His Kingdom.  I consider myself an Orthodox Irish, (Christ new agey) Preppy Southern DC Catholic; I know a mouth fill.  I have mom friends who identify themselves as Earth Mothers.  Moms who will call themselves Flighty Artistic types.  Some say they are Type A moms.

Now in a utopian society like the early church tried to create, uniformity is key to its ultimate success; well, nature hates conformity.

The next thing that frustrates me: Unwillingness to accept differences.  God did not use a cookie cutter when He created us.  It must be very important to Him that there be diversity.  So, that must mean as long as we are mortal, good, non-abusive, legal, faithful to God and Church teaching; we should be able to raise our families according to our conscience and God’s call.

It always hurts me to hear Moms gossip about other moms.  Scripture tells us if we are having problems we should go to our sister and discuss it.  Discuss it, not bully or force imposed compliance but discuss it to find mutual beneficial opportunities.  What I found is this rarely happens.  Friendships end bitterly.  But if that is true, then how supportive and faithful was that friend?

Moms, these readings are important to us because they show us how important it is that we create a community  that is home, is refuge, is the safety net, is support, is love; than our friendships be an example of heaven.

Go Boldly Proclaim You Are a Mom

fbcid374878961-73727314-hqAren’t we, as moms, reborn when we have our children? So many times I have heard fellow mom friends say that they see the world anew through their children’s eyes.

As I have said, many times becoming a new mom isn’t always convenient.  But why not go boldly into that new role?  The TV show Teen Moms is a good example of young moms taking difficult situations and trying to turn them around.

Yes, our lives change.  Yes, we are given more responsibility.  Yes, it sometimes sucks.  Yes, it is often filled with great joy.  Yes, it is often filled with moments of unbound pride in ourselves and our family. So, why not boldly proclaim that you are a mom!  Why not look at all the blessings!

As my mom used to say: “Children are coming into your life, you are not going into theirs.”  It is part of being Priest, Prophet, and Queen. We nurture, we teach, we guide.  Let’s not lose ourselves in those roles and forget that God has given us talents, gifts and callings.  We may have to modify our idea of how our lives would go, but God DOES not want us to forget his plan for us.  God has promised us that His plans are so much bigger and better than we could up with.

Be bold, look for those opportunities to use all we have been given to become completely involved with life, our community, our God.

Proclaim Boldly

Sanhedrin in session, 2005
Sanhedrin in session, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the first reading, Peter and John have just been released from the authority of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme court and legislative body, for preaching the message of Jesus.

Peter and John going before the Sanhedrin  meant they were being punished for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus, an offense branding the men subversive.  Now both men could have kept quite out of fear of reoffending. They could have let the situation get the best of them. They could become angry.  But what did happen.  What can I gain, we, as moms, gain, from this first reading? 

I used to say that life hit me about the head with a wet trout.  What I meant by that was that I felt that life did whatever it wanted to me. Like when my hubby and I found out that instead of having time to be a couple we were now going to be parents after conceiving a honeymoon baby.  That pissed me off in a big way.  I felt trapped by my hubby, by life and especially by God.

What I was not considering was that I had a say in the situation.  Peter and John could have done the same thing: Gone around saying how horrible it was to be in front of the Sanhedrin, but they didn’t.  They took control of how they perceived the situation and looked to see how the situation strengthened their calling from God.  They looked at the good in the situation, not the bad, not the inconvenient for them, the good for everyone.

They saw the good in the situation.  They turned the situation into even greater an opportunity to proclaim the Good News.  Like every life situation, there is going to be goodness.  That is the nature of God. That Honeymoon baby slowly made me think of how I was NOT changing.  I was still me with all my talents and gifts.  I was still me with my calling. I took the time to think more clearly about what I was being called to do and how having a baby was going to HELP me achieve it.

Like Peter and John, who would not be held down by threats or mistreatment, they were going to use both to strengthen their belief in the power of God.  Using the situation to say: “See how God is using us to tell you the Good News, you go do the same.”

New Mom to Empty-nester Mom

new mom empty nest mom

“Peace be with you.”

Empty NesterMaybe it’s because soon Greg, my hubby, and I will be closer to a complete empty nest.  Our twins are transferring to larger colleges this fall.  Maybe it’s because there are postings of young moms finding themselves suddenly pregnant again and feeling shocked; that today’s Gospel: “Peace be with you” hit home hard.

All the readings of today focus on trust: Trust of ourselves and our ability to overcome, to make it all work, to find support.  In the first reading, the early church trusted each other enough to share all of life with each other.  In the second reading, God gives us the power to victory over “the world”: concerns, worry, need, emotional/spiritual struggles. This is made possible by trusting that because Jesus is beloved of God so we are beloved as well.  Finally, there is Thomas whose trust begins because his doubts are dispelled by his interaction with Jesus.

Comparing my experience of being a new Mom and now an empty nester, you can see how similar these experiences to each other and the readings.  Sudden new motherhood and the emptying of the nest, causes an unbalance emotionally and spiritually.  That unbalance causes distrust. Your world is turning upside down, and what you thought was going to be the future is no longer true.  God’s new calling feel unnatural, difficult. You feel inadequate to the new challenge.  God knows you better than you know yourself.

You need time in the new role just as Thomas needed time to experience Jesus, to learn more about his risen Lord.  Just as in the first reading we need to rally around ourselves the community that loves and supports us.  We need to take victory over our fear.  Using all of this will help us trust that God will be there as our roles change, and we change with them.

So YOU Think you KNOW Mary Magdalene.

blog, Catholic, catholic moms, catholicShe is not the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears/perfume.  That is Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus.

She is not a street singer or prostitute.

She is not Jesus’ wife.  If she were, she would have been mentioned as Jesus’ wife.  During the time of Jesus women did not have social standing. They were only recognized by their relationship with their male relatives/husbands.

She did not bear any children that we know of.

She was cured of seven demons

So you think women have no calling in the church….

You think women have no place in the church, than who was that that Christ gave the first mission to announce the Good news of His Resurrection – Mary Magdalene.

Read more about Mary Magdalene

50 Days of Easter Joy