My husband and I have been open to life since the beginning of our marriage. We made it a vow to the point of a charism in our vocation to "accept children lovingly and raise them according to the Catholic Church". If we were trying to "make a point" in our parenting, it would be that we were parents who were open to any and all children God would send us.
Well, my first born son, an answer to my prayers, got sick this evening. He has a nervous stomach, and as he's an intensely emotional boy, we usually have no warning when he's going to be sick. He'll be fine one second, and then the next, he's running for the bathroom.
Well, tonight he got sick. And of course, he was too far away from the bathroom to make it. So my husband and I spent dinnertime cleaning up after our eldest child. I began to gripe about it in my heart. "Why couldn't he make it?" "Why couldn't he just accept that he had an upset stomach, and not try to force himself to eat?" and on and on and on...I stopped suddenly and it came to me...I rant and rave like this in my heart all the time about my kids at various points of inconvenience throughout the day. Wasn't caring for my children what I was most looking forward to as my vocation of mother? Tending to them, fulfilling their wants and needs to the best of my ability? Then why, when faced with that opportunity, was I shirking it and begrudging it in my heart?
The answer hit me between the eyes: I haven't been recognizing Christ in them. Do I care for them as I would if it were Christ there? If Christ were asking me to tie his shoes, to wipe his nose, to clean his laundry, to bathe, dress, and feed him?
I remember as a young girl, hearing my mother tend to my brother (who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy) in the early mornings. She would bathe him, dress him for the day, feed him breakfast, and get him medicated, all usually before the rest of the house was awake. And she used to sing that hymn "Whatsoever you do, to the least of my people, that you do unto me". I never got it then, careless as I was in my youth, why she was intent upon singing that hymn to my brother. She wasn't singing it to him, she was singing it in prayer to our Lord.
I am called to be a mother, in imitation of our Blessed Mother. She nurtured and loved the Christ child right up through his execution. She loved and served him faithfully, in the perfect love of a perfect mother. And yet, through my sinfulness I've forgotten this most important component of my vocation. I take it for granted that my family is growing in the Faith. I do not readily realize that there is a Faith message to be found in my family. That Christ can be found in each member of my family. Would I change, feed, dress, rock, play, and care for the Christ child as carelessly as I do my own children sometimes? The answer is "no".
Oh Lord, forgive me for my careless ways. Help me not to be distracted in your call to care for these little ones, but to care for them as if you were there in them. May my care of these your little flock, help to bring both their souls and mine, closer to you.
Blessed Mother, help me in my work. Help me to tend to them and love and care for them as you would the Christ child whom you bore.