Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, May 29, 2015

Entrustment to Mary = Not Alone in Loneliness

My young daughter and I had a rare opportunity to go out to dinner together after a late doctor’s appointment.  I was so grateful for the opportunity, as she was able to share how she felt about middle school.  While she seems to have adjusted quite well, she experiences bouts of rejection and loneliness, especially during PE where she feels her athletic ability falls short.  She shared with me how the “cool” kids classify others, and in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, reject other students with their looks, comments, and exclusion.  My heart went out to her.  I remember those awkward days, and so I tried to encourage her with stories of my own.  She lit up as she recounted a story of St. Therese of Lisieux, whose close friend left town, and years later upon her return, acted as though she had never known Therese at all.  We spent some time trying to figure out why God might be allowing the situation, and how He could be drawing her closer to Himself.  We left our dinner feeling a bit closer to one another, as well as to our Savior, Who can allow such loneliness to bring us closer to Him. 

That same week, my son seemed unusually quiet and moody.  I prompted him to share with me what might be bothering him, and he, too, was struggling at school.  He had found himself in the midst of some conflicts and was feeling a bit rejected.  My motherly instinct was to turn into a mama bear and have a word, if you will, with these peers of his. But, (thank you, God) because of this spirituality, I was able to walk him through the difference between God’s will and God allowing an event in order to draw out some greater good.  I encouraged him to look at the event as God trying to tell him something, and that, perhaps, this really had nothing to do with the goings-on at middle school.  Perhaps God is knocking more loudly at the door of his heart?  Perhaps without the conflict, my son could feel confident and secure and see no need for a Savior? 

Which leads to my week.  I found myself feeling lonely.  Sure, I have some acquaintances, some fellow moms to chat with during the drop off at school.  But all around me, people were making plans and playdates and I just felt left out.  I later took my kids to the park, and all around me were groups of kids and their mothers celebrating the start of the long weekend.  Still later, when our family was at a gathering, faith sharing with a group of fellow church families, the discussion felt shallow.  We have been in this “new” city for close to three years now, and I still miss my old friends dearly.  I find myself struggling to make decent conversation. I even had the occasion to meet with close family friends for a BBQ, only to experience what felt like forced conversation when we used to share more laughter and openness.  I turned to my husband later that evening and thanked him, truly, for being my friend! 

Last week I had a chance to meet with my spiritual director and I was able to share that even with God I feel lukewarm.  It was my turn to write the blog post for over two weeks, and I couldn’t even connect with people behind a screen!  Fortunately I was encouraged to see this as a pruning of sorts.  I was encouraged to trust God’s mysterious ways with faith and simplicity.  I was encouraged to go to the Word of God and our Mother more quickly and consistently.  Who knew that the advice I gave to my children was the very same words of encouragement I’d need to hear myself?  God and His sense of humor….

So, I leave you and me with these promising words about loneliness…

No one, however, experienced so strongly the depths of poverty or understood it as well as Mary.  Therefore, we can always ask her to accept loneliness in us.  Otherwise, we will either always fearfully run away from this grace, or we will suffer a painful defeat by summoning up our own strength to make attempts to control loneliness….

…After Pentecost, in silence and solitude, Mary accompanied the birth of the Church as its Mother.  Because Mary is the Mother of the Church, it is so important for us to be open to her action in us.  It is crucial that we hand ourselves over to her and to everything that God wants to accomplish in our souls through her.  On our own, we will not accept the grace of loneliness.  We will either fear it, or we will try to take control of it.  Such a response only ends in defeat.  (S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Door to Christ, [Ft. Collins, CO:  IAMF, 2005], 186, 187).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Entrustment to Mary = To Need Love and Care

Mother’s Day 2015 is about to end as I start to write this post. Another gentle day in which I was reminded of the value of communion of life with Christ through Mary.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been dealing with anxiety, and now depression has reared its ugly head. It is surely a hormonal imbalance of some kind as, to date, my interior peace is riding the storm without being too disturbed. The symptoms come and go randomly. I am still surprised when the emotions overcome me and I am a ball of nerves or tears. My surprise is a source of comedy for me. After 15 years of living in my Mother’s arms, I am still surprised by my tremendous need for Her love and care! Oh, Mama, how quickly your little one forgets!

Meanwhile, Blessed Mother is not surprised that I forget. I believe She expects me to! Therefore, She always has a plan to remind me: A sudden irritation that leads me to a harsh reaction; a stubbed toe; a spilled drink; a broken mug; a mess left by my child; a runny nose; a deadline that is fast approaching; a late payment charge; a cell phone upgrade that I can’t figure out; a rainy day; three rainy days in a row; a computer glitch; a printer problem; a dead car battery; a bit cheek; a chin hair that got too long; the dirty kitchen floor; a flat tire; a bad crust on my pizza; the list can go on and on.  All these beautiful interruptions in my day remind me I am not in charge and I don’t know how to fully love myself or others.

To live in Mary's arms is the opportunity to see God’s action in the ordinary and difficult events of life. Each moment that I forget and react is my opportunity to remember how much I need MOM’s love and care.

“Believing that the Mother of Jesus is also my Beloved Mother, and that I am always her most beloved child, I dare to call her ‘Mom,’ as she teaches me to abandon myself to God through her openness to the ‘spirituality of events,’ especially in the experiences I do not understand.

Mary is an example and support for all believers: she encourages us not to lose confidence before the difficulties and inevitable problems of every day. She assures us of her help and reminds us that it is essential to seek and think of ‘the things above, not those of the earth’ (cf. Col 3:2).
Pope Benedict XVI
Homily of the Solemnity of the Assumption
August 15, 2006”*

*Quoted from the Creed of the Families of Nazareth Movement USA.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Entrustment To Mary = Simply Loving vs. Fixing

I was privileged to have my daughter and her newborn baby come spend a week at our home. Our goal was to have the preemie gain back the weight she had lost since birth, and to rid her of the lingering jaundice. Being a mom I was determined to fix these problems, with the goal of having my granddaughter thrive during her visit. God had other plans...
That particular week I was covering for my coworker, so I was out of the house from 7AM to 5:30PM. Although I gave clear instructions to daughter and grandpa to make sure the baby sunbathed in front of a window for good amounts of time to help clear the jaundice, it seemed to take a few days for this direction to be carried out.
The nursing had turned into a scientific equation = milliliters + ounces + pumping + syringes. Too many doctors were involved with each one offering their expert advice on how our little one could gain weight. It was quite overwhelming for the new mom, the old mom, not to mention the baby.  Her first weigh-in had her down an ounce. The next weigh-in had her up two ounces. But the in-between was filled with anxiety, stress, and a few conflicts.
As I watched my daughter struggle with her new vocation of motherhood, I so wanted to relieve her of her stresses and make all things right. I wanted to fix her problems so she could once again be happy and content. But as the week progressed and I failed at achieving these objectives, I realized I just needed to love her.
It was hard to give over my desire to control the situation. What helped me was reflecting on how the Blessed Mother accompanied her Son on the way to Calvary but did not take the Cross from him. I had to beg Blessed Mom to help me remain quietly in Her arms and to allow Her to love and guide my daughter, and for Her to take care of the baby.

"Jesus carried the Cross before the presence of His mother. She did not try to carry it with Him physically - she knew that the will of God was otherwise. Did she not want to help Him at that moment? Did she not love Him then? She knew that the best way of helping Christ was in fulfilling the will of God. And God wanted the Mother of His Son to help Him in a way that was spiritual and not physical. She fully respected this will of God." [1]
I now see that with my children, I must let them too, carry their own crosses. My role is to live in communion with my Blessed Mother and with Her, to love them with God’s love and to follow His will for me, and for them. Meanwhile, God will fix their problems in a way much better than I ever could!
[1] S.C. Biela, InThe Arms of Mary, 2nd. ed, rev. (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005),175-176.