July 29, 2013

Practice makes Perfect

This is a guest post written by one of the lovely mothers who writes for the Soul Gardening Journal, a ministry for mothers. If you like what you read, please sign up to receive a journal and make a donation if you can, it's a wonderful cause!

 Want to know a secret?  Sometimes I feel sorry for Judas. It’s like someone wrote a beautiful play, a tragedy, really (but with a happy ending), and needed an antagonist.  Scanning the candidates lined up, mostly bearded men competing for 12 lead roles, he makes the cut and gets a part, not the one he wanted, but hey, its got a lot of lines, and he even gets to throw some pieces of silver at people.

In all seriousness, I am grateful that the Church does not declare him or anyone in particular to be certainly in hell.  I am head over heels in love with the image of Divine Mercy, and juxtaposed  to Our Lady of Fatima’s message regarding the number of souls falling into hell; it makes my heart ache and my head spin… so much that I have almost become humble enough to stop trying to figure it out.  Almost.

A priest recently mentioned to me C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, where Lewis makes the point that many people actually choose hell because they are so absorbed in themselves that they are not ready to spend eternity thinking about someone else (a.k.a. God).  Because in reality, heaven is probably less about the one million flavors of ice-cream and swimming with dolphins, and more about joining the choir of voices that will be singing the praises of the Lamb.  So as much as we want the peace, the joy, the painlessness of heaven, the glaring reality is that heaven is not all about you.

Are we ready to spend eternity NOT thinking about ourselves?  Honestly I am not so sure I am.  I am still too self-absorbed.  But God is a genius.-Really, He is. And He has come up with a genius way to get us there, and it starts with two pink lines on a test strip.  It ends with learning to put someone else’s needs before our own, and to do it so often that we don’t even realize we are doing it.  This plan comes fully equipped with a number of humiliating experiences, like tantrums in the grocery store, so as to protect the whole beautiful thing from crumbling down because of our pride.

All women are called to mother either in a physical or spiritual way and it is God’s plan to bring us to heaven by turning us into the kind of people we need to be to want heaven.  Each putting down of the book, blog, sewing project, whatever, to attend to someone else helps us to live a life where we become secondary, and another becomes primary.  A busy mother rarely has the time to think of herself, and before she knows it, a habit of selflessness is formed.  And you know what a good habit is called don’t you?  It’s called virtue.

When I was in Paris I remember seeing the incorrupt St. Catherine of Laboure, enclosed in a glass coffin.  She was a short little lady with a real french nose like my own, but what struck me about her the most were her shoes.  They were leather, with heavy creases across the front under the toe line, where the shoe had been flexed over and over again from her spending so much time on her knees.  Now those creases are encased forever and she is spending eternity with someone familiar.   

Christian life is Sacrifice.  And just as the bad we have done in this life cannot be undone, the good we have done cannot be undone either.  May our bodies lie in the grave wrinkled and tired and worn, like our dear St. Catherine’s shoes, and may our own creases, be they stretch marks, cesarean scars, varicose veins, or wrinkled smile lines, be our signs of virtue, that our good Lord loves us enough to save us from ourselves.

-Hope writes on a clear, starry night, with her windows open.

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1 comment:

  1. Fabulous post. I totally think the same way. The toll of motherhood on a women's body is a badge of honor that ought to be worn with pride!


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