Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday's Litany of Humility

O Jesus!  meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Images taken from The Passion of the Christ, 2004
Words from Litany of Humility
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pope Francis and the Miracle of the Eucharist

How cool is it that I found this article about a Eucharistic Miracle in Buenos Aires while Pope Francis was then a Cardinal there? 

I pray that, by reading this, you are blessed with a wonderful and profound understanding or at least an appreciation of all that will take place on Holy Thursday evening in that most sacred of meals. 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Thank you, dear Readers, for your prayers!  It's the old adage at work "everything will look better in the morning".  My husband and I have talked long and often about my last post, I've prayed on it and gone to spiritual council in confession.  I haven't reached any formal conclusions, but the Holy Spirit has prompted me with this thought along the way: You are the decisions you make.  Hubby and I made the decisions we did at the prompting of much grace in our vocation preparations.  We didn't know the future, the outcome, and we still don't.  But aside from personal habit changes that I'd like to make, I wouldn't change the decisions that were given to us in the gifts of our children.  And I know that my husband wouldn't either.

We work harder than most of our couple friends to make ends meet.  And that isn't a careless "grass is greener" judgment that I throw out lightly.  When we hear our friends whine about working an 8 hour day and having an occasional over 40 (or even potentially over 50 hour) work week, we grit our teeth.  When you have a home based business your workday starts before the sun comes up and ends well after the midnight oil has been burned.  We work hard for every dollar that we make, and we work twice as hard deliberating how every dollar should be spent.  What used to be an occasional "impulse buy" doesn't happen anymore, as even a $20 purchase would set us back in our budget for the rest of the month.  We recognize that, we hope it will change and that finances will become a little easier in the future, but we also recognize that there are valuable lessons to be learned in the hard times.  As a wife and mother, I'm learning to distinguish between "wants" and "needs" when planning a shop.   And I'm also learning how to entrust that decision to the Lord before my purchase.  I'm learning that you can go very far in America establishing a home on other people's second hand items.  As a girl, my Mom used to sing and play "Secondhand Rose" on the piano, and I used to find the song fascinating.  We live that now!

I need to learn the differences between "good" and "perfect".  Most of the time life is good.  It's the rare exception in our life when it is bad.  Life has never been perfect.  I need to learn and accept that as one of the 'facts of life'.  I need to bloom where I am planted more and be satisfied with my situation in life.  I often withhold my best in an effort to 'save for a rainy day'.  For what?  Scripture shows us the rebuke of the servant who buried his talents (I am paraphrasing here) in the sand.  He was not entrusted with more by our Lord.  Did the Lord hold back in his will for my life?  Why am I holding back?  I'd like to face each day as if it were my last.  To live life, to seize the moment, to not hide and hope for a change I'm not sure will come despite my efforts.  Life isn't like that.  I love that expression 'life happens while you're busy making plans'.  How true is that!

As you see here, there is so much to think about, to ponder, to explore and examine.  I ask your continued prayers as I go through it all.  And know that I continue to pray for all of you as well.  I leave you all with a very inspiring post that I found on the blog, Large Family Mothering entitled "Decorating Ideas for the Large Family".

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Life of Mom

I've come to that point in pregnancy, like in all that have been allowed to get to this point, of pondering motherhood.  I dreamt of this little boy tonight, so beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes.  What a sweet smile he had, and I loved him.  I wonder if my baby boy will look like this?

Yesterday was a rough day in my pregnancy.  The roughest day yet.  Physically I've been doing fine, although I've probably gained more weight at this point than I should have.  But emotionally it was a tough day.  The lowest point was yesterday afternoon.  The kids and I were watching "Secondhand Lions" when my 8-year-old son turned to me and pointed out that I reminded him of the mother in this movie.  For the record I'm not a skinny, smoking, floozy who drops her child off in the middle of nowhere with relatives he's never met to go philandering with a series of different boyfriends.  Outwardly, the comparison could have made me laugh, but inwardly it touched and hurt my core.

My own mother was a woman who should not have been a mother.  She was successful in everything but motherhood.  Her career was a long and respected one in medicine.  She was socially graceful, beautiful, something of a local dignitary in our Parish growing up.  If she had valued motherhood in anyway, she may have admitted she failed.  But I'm sure in her mind that failure could have been compared to a failure at gardening or embroidery.  Motherhood, according to my mother, didn't matter in my childhood and it doesn't matter to this day.  Except to me.  I don't blame my mother.  I thank her for allowing the three children she became pregnant with to come into this world.  And in some way I thank her for allowing me the pain of bearing the end result of bad parenting, as it has made me who I am today.  The lesson of my past, of my own pain, was learned in holding my first born son.  I don't feel sorry for myself, except on occasion.   Instead I take what I have learned and lived through, and I make every attempt to be a good mother.  But now I have to wonder if the comparison of myself to this Hollywood depiction of a bad mother might hold some small shred of truth.  Am I so distracted with being a "good mother" that I ignore my children in my attempt to "get it right"?

I fought long and hard for my children.  The entire year that my husband and I discerned our upcoming wedding, I fought against using NFP.  I felt strongly that if we were at a point in our relationship that we actively sought marriage, we should actively start preparing for and raising children.  My husband always brought up finances, "what if we can't afford a large family?"  I always reassured him that God would provide, that we'd be alright.  I've lived in personal conflict throughout my own marriage, wondering if I have thrown our marriage off of a cliff expecting the Lord to catch and save us.  I set standards, impossible ones it seems, for both my husband and me. I had to be a stay at home Mom (I didn't want to make my own mother's mistake of placing my career ahead of my family.)  I had to homeschool (I didn't want my children to fail academically as I was allowed to do.)  I wanted a large family (my mother had her tubes tied during her stay in the hospital after having me.)  I worked very hard to convince my husband and myself that my own role as a wife and mother had to be an open act of rebellion against the hurts that my mother had placed on me.  Rather than reflect upon and deal with these hurts, and do my best to heal from them and move on, I set impossible standards for both my husband and I to accomplish.  And now, as we stand upon our own sinking Titanic, I feel deeply conflicted and responsible for not seeing the iceberg until now.

Why do these emotions, these hardships come at the same point in all of my pregnancies?  I hope that our home business doesn't fold, that we don't lose our house, but the economy is bad right now.  I always thought that moving from our mobile home would help in our journey forward.  But now I wonder in fear whether it was better to be a cramped family of 7 in 900 square feet that we could afford, or to live in a home and struggle through the worst of it in a home that we can't afford?  I've taken over all of the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, tending the household needs (minus repairs) and working part time in the hopes that staying out of my husband's way would help him to grow the company.  I feel more like a weight on his back all the time, and struggle more and more to ask him for less and less.  I try to accommodate more and more of the routine of keeping up our family, and feel that he becomes overwhelmed when I need help with the things I think should be simple for him.  I think things are important, but I doubt myself when I also think that if things were important to my husband they would be noticed and at the very least talked about.  I hide from him, emotionally (he works from home and I'm a stay at home mom so there's no way to hide from him physically).  But I keep all my fears and dreams from him, why should he be bothered with that too?  And yet, in my second lowest point yesterday he told me that I make it impossible to be loved, to be cared for.  And in the end, I have to wonder again if I bear the burden of the responsibility of this mistake?  And I think the mistake is this: That as much as I hate to admit it, I used my husband.  I used my husband, that open, naïve, trusting man whom I fell in love with so many years ago, to satisfy my own desires.  My desire to succeed where my mother failed.  I used him to furnish for me a home and an environment where I could find healing through my own attempts at adulthood as I concluded they should be.  My desires, my wants, my persuasions were impossible.  Again, in the same way I could have laughed at my son for his speculations on my role playing comparison to the floozy, I could have laughed at my husband for his speculations too.  But really, through my own expectations, my own agenda, I have created an environment where it is impossible for him to love me and for him to care for me.

O Lord, help me.  I'm still falling from that cliff and now I'm suffering even more for these innocent people I have dragged along with me.  I don't want to be convincing anymore.  I want to be right.  And this life I'm living is not right.  I'm getting amazing results in all that I do.  But in questioning the heart, in looking deeper to the core, I am so sad to realize that I've learned nothing from my mother after all.  This path that I've taken to reach my goal of perfect motherhood has created nothing but a void of destruction in its wake.  Forgive me Lord, help me, heal me, and make me whole.  Give me another chance to learn to love, another chance to re-earn the trust and love of my husband and my children.  Amen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What's new pussycat?

So here it is, almost halfway through my Lenten journey, and I am just now starting my Lenten resolution.  *sigh*

Not much is new, but everything is new it seems.  So in my newness, not that much has changed I suppose you could say.  As an update: After 2 miscarriages within a year, my husband and I conceived again last August.  The baby is doing great, a healthy baby boy due June 18.  He is so active and I thank God everyday for him.  There are so many changes in this pregnancy for me, mostly psychological.  I am so grateful for this baby.  Not that I wasn't in my other 5 children's successful pregnancies, I just took so much for granted.  It got to a point after my 5th child, my second girl, where I was ashamed to admit to people that I was pregnant.  I was scared of what even my closest friends would think.  I shied away from the support network that I once depended on and withdrew so that the nasty comments about the privacy of my husband's and my marriage wouldn't become the butt of someone else's joke.  God reminded me that this was not His plan.  That every child should be loved, and cherished, and welcomed into the world all because of Him.  He saw my lack of willingness to love, to accept, even in the face of persecution, so He took two of the most precious gifts He could give back to Himself.  What a lesson life hands us in loss.  It really has changed my pregnancy journey this time.  When people start in with their usual worldly harassment I just blink back at them, because I realize now they don't understand what underlying grace accompanies every child that is allowed to make it into this world.  Instead of being ashamed by their pity upon me, I understand now that such a depraved person really is the one to be pitied.  And that at the root of it all is prayer.  People really, truly, desperately need prayer.

I wish I had all the same things.  Money, without the time it takes to make money.  A stay at home wife and mother to help support me as a stay at home wife and mother.  The ability to give my children BOTH everything they need and everything they desire.  The time to both do it right and to sit back and reflect on the enjoyment of doing it right.  But I realize that my dreams have evolved too.  I was pondering this a couple of months ago after one of my pre-natal appointments.  My husband was driving me home, and like most Americans in the country right now, we were discussing financial hardships we've faced this past year.  The thought occurred to me that money is not the root of a dream.  Sure, it is a sometimes needed fuel to help get us there.  But so many of us have fallen short on what it takes to live a dream, to succeed in a dream.  Success in a dreamed-of life may not look the same to the world as to the dreamer.  I realized driving home that we could always use more money, more time.  But what would I long for if I had all the money that I needed and all the time I desired?  I would want a large family around me.  It hit me then that I'm already living the dream.  I've never gone without, and neither have my children or my husband.  But I've gotten more than I deserve in that I'm already living in a large family with some of the most amazing people I've ever come to love and know on this earth.  People are meant to be loved and money is meant to be spent.  I wonder where the world started to get that backwards?

Happy Lent my friends.  I am praying for you and hope to be on again to share my ruminations as random as they are:)