Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mass without children

I'll be completely honest. I can't remember the last time I was really able to focus while at mass. It was difficult enough with just one child but with two, forget it. When Juliette isn't fussing, Madeleine is taking the hymnals out of the pew and throwing them on the floor... and then picking them up... and then throwing them on the floor. I'm always worrying about something and no matter how hard I try it seems like I am never "there" for the whole hour.

My vocation as a mother is making me holier. I still have a long way to go but I can see why God has called me to this life. I am growing in patience and virtue and love and I am learning how to truly lay down my life for others. I remember thinking I was holy, way back when I was a naive single girl with nothing to focus on except my relationship with God. And then I started dating Kyle and realized that the only reason I thought I was holy was because my shortcomings weren't being tested. It's easy, at least for me, to put God above myself. It's much harder to put others above myself as well. Being a wife and my mom, well that's pretty much the job description. I can't succeed at my vocation unless I am willing to be selfless.

With all that said, some days I look back on my time at Franciscan with a wistful sigh. It was beautiful to be able to sign up for a holy hour and attend a mass without having to clear my schedule, make sure my kids are both fed and rested, pack a diaper bag, and somehow manage to get both of them into the building by myself. I mean, I can barely handle it when Kyle is with me to help. Lately I have been craving that alone time with God. It may sound funny, but it's kind of come hand in hand with my obsession with the royal wedding.

God, the KING, has chosen me, a commoner, to be his bride! This wedding between William and Kate is seen as a once and a lifetime thing but in Truth, it happens anytime someone becomes a part of the Catholic Church, the bride of Christ. And like Kate, people are looking at us and we face a lot of scrutiny. People want us to mess up every bit as much as they want us to succeed and we have to be prepared to have our lives looked at with a magnifying glass. Just like Kate is the face of the monarchy during a time when it's future is in jeopardy, we are the face of the Church in a time where it is under such attack. And like Kate is an icon for what she wears, we can set trends by clothing ourselves in virtue, something that is so counter cultural to the world in which we live. If we make living holy lives look good, then maybe we will be the trend setters.

But as I explore my call as God's bride I crave a one on one date with him. I haven't gone out on my own with Kyle since Juliette was born but it's been even longer since Jesus and I have been alone together.

Tonight I drove down to my parent's house with the girls because Kyle had to fly to Houston for the funeral of his Aunt Barbra. My youngest sister, Carly, offered to watch the girls when I got here so I could go to the 7:00 mass. Even though I sat with my sister Hannah and my parents I had an experience with Christ like we were the only two there. My vision of the altar before me was mixed with an image of what mass must have been like when the mass was first celebrated. I could imagine the dirt where the early Christians knelt, the fear of being discovered mixed with the eagerness to take on the crown of martyrdom, and how they must have ached to receive Christ in the Eucharist not knowing when the next time they would be joined in such an intimate way with their bridegroom. The world I knew faded and I was brought into the world as it should be. A world where everything is centered around Christ.

My husband and my daughters are the most precious things on earth to me but Jesus is the most precious thing on earth and in heaven. It's moments like that one that give me the strength for day to day life. The knowledge that even if Jesus and I don't get to be on our own that often that we have a love that will endure by the little moments we get together each day. But I know we both crave those one on one dates, that time away from the rest of the world, where is can just. be. us.

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