I tried to gather the family together for prayer this evening, since I had just heard that the Pope was calling all the faithful around the world to pray for the unborn tonight. I printed out the little prayer booklet, and brought it upstairs with the best of intentions. The kids were watching “Star Wars” for the 30th time when I got to the living room. Hmmm… should have known right then and there that it wouldn’t be smooth sailing.
From the kids fighting over seats, to the four-year-old bursting into tears, to the whole family getting the giggles — it was one thing after another, until I found myself almost in tears. It had been a long day already, and my patience was taxed.
But amazingly, somehow, just when I felt the tears threatening to spill over, the Holy Spirit managed to get in and stop me in my tracks. I was reminded that God knew my intentions, and the very fact that we were gathered in prayer was, in itself, a prayer. Plus, I could offer up my frustration and impatience, too. So I was really praying hard! Just that little change in thinking completely reversed my mood. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful reminders!
It’s so easy, in the midst of family life, to get bogged down in making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, that I sometimes lose sight of the value in it all. I’ve been tempted more than once, when I’ve spent the entire Mass in the back of the church with a crying baby, to question if it’s really worth it to bring her. Or when I miss all the readings because I’ve been trying to keep little ones quiet so everyone else can hear.
But God is so good, and at those times of doubt, He always seems to provide just that little bit of consolation I need to keep running the race. Because the fact is, there is value in all those moments. My kids are only going to learn how to pray and to behave at Mass if I provide them the opportunities to practice. So I just need to be reminded sometimes that this is only a stage. Some day I’ll be able to sit and listen to the readings at Mass, or pray a quiet rosary on my own, with no interruptions. Of course, I may just fall asleep without the constant stimulation! In the meantime, I know I have to store up all these moments in my heart, just like the Blessed Mother did, because before I know it, the kids will be grown, and I’ll need to have some good stories for their kids!
It’s the Thought That Counts November 28, 2010