I was in a really bad mood on Monday. The mood just “was” and no logic was going to explain it or change it. I was presented with a choice – allow it to affect my whole day and the day of all those in my path, or beg for graces.
I started off allowing it to affect my day and the day of my 3 year old. I was quick to put the blame on her that we would be arriving late to Holy Mass. I was annoyed to go to Mass because it takes effort to get the Little One ready, in the car, fed and rested enough to go. She was her usual slow self. But, it wasn’t her fault that we were getting in the car late – it was mine because of my priorities 1) email, 2) Facebook, and 3) vanity. All turned into “non-negotiables” when, in the light of faith, they had nothing to do with preparing my heart or my daughter in time for Mass.
On the way into the church, I knew I was going to have a battle with the Little One about where to sit. She likes to sit behind the glass looking into the church. I don’t usually want to sit there because I feel separated from the experience, as if I am watching a TV. But, since we were late, I decided we would sit there, but I wanted the Little One to know it was MY decision, not hers, so I held her extra tight and fought her desire to get down. That wasn't practical, so I let her down due to the squirming. She then got herself situated and wanted back up into my arms. What was my response to her request of arms outstretched? “No! You wanted to get down so you stay there.” She was so persistent. But so was I. I even had the gall to put my two hands behind my back. She climbed onto my lap and whispered into my ear “I want you to wrap your arms around me!”
Oh bother! How obstinate I was being! I could see plainly that Blessed Mother was talking to me through the Little One. What a scandal to not immediately respond to my Little One by quickly holding her tight! How will she believe in the spirituality of communion of life with Christ through Mary if I don’t love her immediately when she seeks that love?! It was a true battle in my soul. I was helpless. I begged Blessed Mother to soften my heart. I was looking at the Tabernacle at the front of the church and hearing Jesus asking me “Do you believe I can heal you?” I was responding “Help my unbelief! Oh Mary, be my belief!” And, truly, only by the grace of God and Mary’s faithfulness to me, I put my arms around the Little One and held her tight. She stayed there most of the Mass.
I believe that this whole situation was provided to me as a grace. Because of my communion of life with Christ though Mary, I am able to see who I am. The bad mood, the Little One’s persistence, the awareness of my horrible priorities, and the obstinate hardness of heart…these are all my miseries. Mary lets me see the truth of my misery so that I have a reason to await Jesus’ Coming. I have a reason to need Him – and that is going to make this Christmas all the more special.
The Families of Nazareth Movement Charism/Spirituality: "By the grace of the Holy Spirit, through Our Blessed Mother, we aren't afraid to present to God our weaknesses and misery. In fact, we benefit from our weaknesses because they help us to more fully experience God's Redemptive Mercy, especially in and through the Eucharist and Confession. Surrendering to God's will through Mary, we entrust ourselves to her so that she will lead us to humility, trust, and total obedience to God. In her arms, we can become Eucharistic People in order to receive and spread His Mercy to others with childlike trust. We recognize that the graces received from spiritual direction and frequent participation in the sacraments and in retreats assist us in this."