Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Entrustment to Mary = Being Grateful For Everything

Only a person who has faith is able to be grateful for everything. This gratitude will be visible on your face as joy, for everything may be changed into good. [1]
It was easy to thank God when my husband and I survived driving the wrong way down a three lane one-way road. Miraculously the cars we were facing dispersed and we were able to turn 180* and head in the right direction, praising God as we did so.
It is easy to thank God for His blessings of a warm house, food to eat, employment, and family visiting during the holiday season.
It has not been easy to be grateful for my daughter being served divorce papers after only four months of marriage.
Although I am a person who has faith, it is not so easy for me to be grateful for everything. I do not always appreciate difficult trials; nor am I thankful for my weaknesses. I am currently reading the book How to Profit from Your Faults. It is based on the writings of St. Francis De Sales and discusses the positive side of one’s faults and failings. I am learning to have gratitude for my weaknesses as it is through them that I come to see how much I need God and His mercy. It is through my humiliations that I grow in my awareness of “who” I am not. It is when I can see my misery and stand in the truth and admit my unfaithfulness to God that I become open to allowing Him to rescue me. And who wouldn’t be grateful for that!?

The seeing, admitting, and opening myself up to my God is not easy for me. That is where my entrustment to Mary comes in, for on my own I cannot, and would not, admit the truth about myself. But in my Blessed Mom’s arms WE can thank God for everything, for WE can trust that everything may be changed into good!
Jesus is never sad when looking at your life that may be filled with failures, problems, conflicts, unfulfilled plans, everyday difficulties, and spiritual difficulties. He is joyful because He expects all those things to bear fruit. He expects that you will take advantage of them and you will be joyful and grateful for everything He gives you.[2]
[1][2]Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 13.

On behalf of High Hopes, Control Freak, and Scaredy Cat we wish all of our readers a most blessed Thanksgiving and Advent Season. Thank you for sharing in our revelations of the many ways God loves us all as we are!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Entrustment to Mary = Playing on the Lord's Day

My husband has been extremely busy lately, training for a ½ marathon, discerning a change in employment, visiting ailing parents, and balancing his “free” time with getting enough sleep and focusing on our 5 children and their needs and activities (and me, too, his wife!).  I have been carrying a heavier load, trying to balance his load out.   Needless to say, he agreed with me when I shared my desire for some time to myself.  Recently, after a busy week and busy Saturday, he suggested I take some time on Sunday, after Mass, while he took all the kids to visit his parents in the city. 

Although I appreciated his offer, I felt a tugging on my conscience about spending time by myself on a Sunday, especially one after we’d all been so busy and needed to reconnect.  I have been hearing through various spiritual readings and conversations how very important it is to honor the 3rd Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Just as God “rested” on the seventh day, we, too, need this day to rejuvenate and be renewed in God’s Love.  To just stop and reconnect with family.  To rest. To nap. To play.  To eat together. To visit. 

It was a moment of truly discerning God’s will for me, and my whole family.  As tempted as I was, I didn’t feel God was calling me to a day of shopping or the movies by myself.  After Mass, I decided to go with my family to the city to visit my in-laws.  At first I chose the visit out of guilt, trying to trust in God’s commandment, even though I didn’t “feel” like honoring it.  On the drive over, my husband suggested some sight-seeing with the kids before visiting his house-bound parents.  I perked up a bit, for as much time we spend in the city, most of it is spent in the living room of his parents. We arrived, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness and Love.  We had an amazing afternoon with our kids….walking by the beach and wharf, enjoying freshly baked bread, strolling through art museums, savoring chocolate sundaes.  The kids enjoyed all the people-watching, and we held hands throughout the day, enjoying each other’s company.  Afterwards, we visited their grandparents, and were pleasantly surprised by an aunt and cousin who also stopped by unexpectedly. 

By the end of the day, I was truly humbled by God’s generosity.  Not only did He arrange a very special outing, but He showed me once again how His ways far exceed my expectations, and how His ways bring much JOY.  I so often struggle with my old image of God, but He continues to be patient with me and reveals His all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing pure GOODNESS. 

Both our work and our leisure time are given to us so that we may deepen our bond with God and seek our support in Him.  If we try to see God and to seek His will in everything that He bestows upon us, then our time for rest will strengthen our faith in God’s omnipotent love. (S.C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd ed. [Ft. Collins, CO:  IAMF, 2011] 18)

Thank you, God, for allowing me to see the truth about my weakness, and how it calls upon the abyss of Your merciful love. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Entrustment to Mary = Falling, If It Leads to God’s Mercy

Last week the Little One was suffering a virus which kept her up at night. In the afternoons she would fall into a deep sleep from which it was difficult to wake her up. The first afternoon I tried, I was confronted with angry resistance and a monotonous cry that just wouldn’t stop. I tried my best to be loving (grace obtained by Blessed Mother, I'm sure), but I am not the most patient and I seldom think outside the box. My husband got home from work and, thanks to his entrustment to Mary, and good sense of humor, it wasn’t long before he was carrying the Little One down the stairs smiling, and ready for dinner.

Flash forward to day two of the deep naps. I decided to use the same “tricks” that worked for my hubby. Well, it must be in the delivery, because I met with the same resistance, anger, kicking, and annoyance as day one. I thought I would trump all tricks this time and made a delicious smoothie to coax my tired girl into a better mood. No luck. My feelings were hurt! Why was I being treated so poorly? I hadn’t done anything wrong…what was UP?!

I retreated, leaving the smoothie at the bedside and called my husband in a fit of panic. My “plans” were being foiled. Pacing outside I shared my dilemma: “I’m just not mature enough to handle her bad attitude!” He told me to relax, that he was almost home. To ease my burden (I had an important work conference call that same evening) he was going to pick up the Little One and go out to eat with her leaving me free to get my call done.

I returned to the bedroom to find the Little One drinking the smoothie, but when her eyes caught mine she returned to her grumpy disposition. So, sitting down a good distance from her I simply said: “Dad’s almost home. He will take you out to dinner so I can do my work. You need to get ready to leave with him.” She got up and started toward the door, but instead of leaving, she turned and looked at me, stretched out her arms for a hug, and said in a gentle voice “I’m sorry.”

Wow. All my animosity and panic left instantly and I hugged her so tight! “I forgive you,” was my response.

Later that night it occurred to me. The whole UGLY episode was totally worth it since it led to the Little One experiencing contrition, and it led to my understanding God’s way of loving a little better. No longer was it about what I deserved or how she behaved, but it was about the beautiful spirituality of events that led us both to discover in a deeper way contrition and gratitude. I was now thankful for something that had brought me a lot of grief. Once again the Little One is Blessed Mother’s instrument to show me just how wonderful God’s love is. My lessons are gentle, in the privacy of my home and not in the public’s eye. How blessed I feel to be so small that the tiniest problems can lead me to the deepest truths!

When you sin
or you are saddened,
you do not trust God
and you are not grateful,
you are making yourself similar to the lost sheep.
What does the Good Shepherd do then?
In response to your infidelity
He searches for you,
and immediately when you show contrition,
He takes you in His arms,
showing you this gesture, that He pardoned you already.
He wants you to know
that He loves you constantly,
m o r e
than before your fall.
That is when He loves you more than ever.

(S.C. Biela, In The Arms of Mary, 2nd. ed, rev. [Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 83.)