Monday, January 31, 2011

Pre-Dawn Tradition

It's 5:00 and the day begins. I'm tired, but I pull my body into sweats and shoes and lurch out the door, willing my legs to run fast in the icy air. It's Monday, the day of high expectations (and therefore high losses), and I know the importance of the endorphins that will fuel this day. Back inside the house the kitchen is streamlined for early morning efficiency and silence. The coffee is made; my Bible and journal beckon. I know what awaits me on Mondays: the low after the weekend high combined with an untidy house, expectant kids, and all the carefully made plans for building up their little souls and minds that I must accomplish according to the detailed timeline that I made on Sunday. So I know this time in the morning is sacred. It's essential.  I light a candle, ready to begin. 
And then there it is: the pitter patter pitter patter of little feet. A pint-sized voice, and down the stairs he comes. "Mommy!" His grin is 100 watt and could light the darkest room.
He exults in his morning victory at the Finding Mommy Game. He points to my carefully laid Quiet Time accessories."Candle!" He shouts. And now the baby is awake, too.

I feel that inward twinge, that frustrated cry welling up inside me. This is my time! I want to pump my fist. Maybe I should form a union.
But there he is, standing in front of me: the focus of my day, the end to my prayers. He is warm, radiant, and ready for my love. So together we pray. We begin what is becoming a morning ritual of mommy/boy time, each of us reading in (periodic) silence beneath the morning candle, waiting for the sun to rise and light our day.  

I do long for those days of hour-long Scripture times and solo prayer in the morning. But this is sacred, too. So in the meantime, I'll continue to tiptoe in the pre-dawn dark, but chances are, someone else is tiptoeing with me, too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vocare - To Call

This morning I piled a wriggling heap of children and coats and scarves and blankets into the car and battled the snowy roads to attend our Church’s Mother’s Group. Oh goodness what a gasping breath of life-saving air. The children, who have been cooped up in snowy weather for several days, exulted in running laps around the room, crayons dangling from their hands and crackers crunching in their mouths and under their feet, jumping, giggling, and living life with their little disciple friends. Disciples – that’s what they are: souls on a journey toward their God. We watched them play and talked about how we, their mothers, have been entrusted with their care, their formation, their way.
Entrusted: to confer a trust upon; to put into the care or protection of someone.
We let the words of John Paul II sink into our hearts:

The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way - precisely by reason of their femininity - and this in a particular way determines their vocation.
The moral force of women, which draws strength from this awareness and this entrusting, expresses itself in a great number of figures of the Old Testament, of the time of Christ, and of later ages right up to our own day.
A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God "entrusts the human being to her", always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them "strong" and strengthens their vocation.
Thus the "perfect woman" (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These "perfect women" are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.
(John Paul II - Muleris Dignitatem, on the Dignity and Vocation of Women)

Two hours later, we packed the kids, crayons, crackers, scarves, and coats and we each headed home. Fortified. We are strong not because we are ourselves, but because we have been entrusted with His power, His strength, His vocation. Vocation: from the Latin vocare -- to call. We do not choose our vocation; no, we are called. We are beckoned. And if we echo Mary’s fiat and we say yes to life and yes to mother and yes to all the love and pain and joy and tears and triumph that wrestle in our hearts as we wrestle through each day… we say yes to a life of dignity, a life infused with His grace.