A few days ago, I asked Our Blessed Lady to be the mistress of my home, and that I might be her servant girl. I am in dire need of her loving presence, guidance and wisdom in my vocation as wife, mother and homemaker…and every other aspect of my life as well.
So, I’ve been listening, eager to hear her advice. Yesterday, I was busy about those boring, mundane chores which most of us have to do on a regular basis. (I’ve noticed that several of my blogging friends have also mentioned the tedium of repeating these same activities day after day.)
I get tired of dusting and vacuuming and cleaning out the refrigerator. Whilst wielding my Swiffer duster, I daydream of doing other things…at least writing a blog post, or maybe even an e-book. I wish I lived in a bigger city where there were more opportunities to get involved in organized efforts to advance the causes of our beloved Church. Nothing ever happens here. Same with politics. I wish I lived where the action is, so that I could help make a difference. I wish I could make a 30 day retreat, or even travel to all the places of pilgrimage in the world or be involved in Catholic radio. I still have dozens of books left to read, and if I could work in being an Olympic figure skater… I wish…..hmmm.
Yesterday, I washed the kitchen curtains, and as I struggled to slip the rod past the seam, it got hung up, and I tried to be patient as I maneuvered the fabric.
Then I thought of Jesus, working with Joseph in the carpenter shop in Nazareth. Jesus, laboring by the sweat of His brow, struggling to shape furniture out of wood… He Who twirls the planets and makes the stars twinkle, and fashions each snowflake into a tiny work of art.
Was He bored? No…because He did everything out of Love (being Love Himself), and in obedience to His Father’s Will. Who more than the King of Heaven had a right to put down the tools and with but a mere thought transform the trees of Palestine into acres of woodcraft? But, He never did. He never walked away from the hard work. Just like He didn’t walk away from the Cross.
Love constrained Jesus. Love of us confined Him to tedious work in a small town for most of His life, and then to traveling with and teaching a rag-tag group of men who deserted Him when He was preparing to lay down His life for them..and for us.
And I am bored? The rod slipped through to the other end of the curtain. “Thank you, Mary.” And thank you for reminding me what Therese knew so well….that the smallest act done out of love can save a soul and bring God so much joy.
Was it Mary who seemed to reply?
It is sometimes a struggle to do these routine tasks, because you were born for greater things….much greater things. You were born to spend eternity immersed in that Furnace of Love which is the Most Holy Trinity. You were created to adore the thrice holy God, your whole being trembling in joy. Your heart and your soul long for this, and you are restless because you cannot yet fulfill your eternal purpose. You possess the very image of God …you were born for glory.
I love this thought. I believe it’s true. We were…all of us, born for, ”as it is written: What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him…” (I Corinthians 2:9)
I was awakened from my reverie by our cat coughing up two hairballs just as I was preparing to start dinner. Out came the paper towels and the steam mop….but this time, with a smile.
Yes Mary, I’ll try to serve without complaining…at least most of the time. You bore the Son of God and yet spent your life doing the most simple but demanding household chores.
But it helps to dream of glory, doesn’t it? The glory of one day seeing God Face to face….the One Whom St. Augustine called, ”O Beauty ever ancient, ever new…”
Sweet Mary, help us to prepare for that day as Jesus and you did, by doing the Father’s Will in every ordinary moment of our lives…..but please remind us now and then, that it’s just until the glory comes.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee..” St. Augustine
(To my friends, please rejoice with me. On Trinity Sunday 2001, I made my final Promise as a Secular Discalced Carmelite. So today marks the 11th anniversary of that Promise, and a total of 17 years spent in Carmel. Thanks be to God and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)