The priest commented, “Wow, these Christmas cookies you made look amazing! I bet you put in a lot of time and effort to make them.”
“Yes!” I responded. “They have only the finest ingredients, and I used recipes that have been passed down for generations!”
“That sounds wonderful. So, did the process of preparing them draw you into a deeper relationship with Blessed Mother? Did you become more aware of Christ’s presence in your life while you baked them?”
“Hmm, to tell you the truth, I didn’t think much about that. I guess I didn’t think much about Christ while I baked them at all.”
The priest took the whole plate of cookies I had prepared him and tossed them into the trash can saying, “Then they are worth garbage!”
Harsh, you say? Well, this event didn’t actually happen to me, but something similar did to someone else and now I am the benefactor of her shock and amazement – as I have recently been shown through the example just how useless my actions can become when I am following my own will or acting as if God does not exist.
Each and every aspect of my day can either be full of me or full of GOD. I get to choose.
“The entire world is not worthy of a man’s thought, for this belongs to God alone; any thought, therefore, not centered on God is stolen from Him.” ~ St. John of the Cross, Maxims and Counsels
I have read this line from St. John of the Cross many times, but somehow the example of the cookies that are only worth garbage has drawn out the reality of what he was trying to say. All my actions are garbage if done without being focused on the One who created me, the One who saved me, the One who desires to fill me with His power and love.
Faced with this truth, what can I do? I am so immersed in my will that it seems impossible to believe I could ever fulfill the great command to love God with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind (cf. Mt 22:37). But, then I remember I am entrusted to Mother Mary. Jesus says to me again, “Behold, your mother” (Jn19:27).
Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer reminds us in his introduction to S. C. Biela's book God Alone Suffices that when faced with difficult situations, or what we perceive as impossible to change: “we can choose the way of faith, trusting that the endangerment is the opportunity leading us to Jesus, who controls the situation, or, on the Marian way, to Christ through Mary. If it is she who is in control, then we only need to find shelter under her mantle and already we become calm and safe.” (God Alone Suffices, p. xviii. Bold emphasis added.)
Our Lady of Guadalupe's words to St. Juan Diego can become the words she says to me:
my youngest and dearest [child],
the thing that afflicts you, is nothing.
Do not let your countenance,
your heart be disturbed. . . .
Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not the source of your joy?
Are you not in the hollow of my mantle,
in the crossing of my arms?
Do you need anything more?
(Antonio Valeriano, “Nican Mopohua: Original account of Guadalupe,” in A Handbook on Guadalupe, ed. francis Mary Kalvelage, trans. Mario Rojas Sánchez and Janet Barber (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2001), 200. Italic and hard return emphasis added.)
Now, the Christ-mas cookies have value – more value in the garbage than on the plate. This Advent, instead of thinking of and hungering for cookies, I am asking my MOM to hunger in me and for me for what truly matters...Her Son. My Savior.