Humility…and the Crown of Thorns

I have an appreciation for the Rosary, but I’ve never gotten giddy over praying it. I always knew it was important, but it wasn’t until this year that I have looked forward to praying it. There’s something about dropping off my tiny bundles of energy in the nursery and gathering with other moms for some prayer and sharing every Wednesday that makes the rosary so much more appealing! Peace, quiet, prayer, meditation. Ahhhh.

The other week at my mom’s group while we were praying the sorrowful mysteries, the meditation on the crown of thorns hit me in a new way. In recent weeks we had talked about ways to bring our kids into the Lenten season, including the toothpick crown of thorns for sacrifices leading up to Holy Week. So my first image as we started the third decade was Jesus wearing that toothpick crown, but as we were praying, I was wearing the crown and realized Jesus was telling me something about my motherhood.  I kept thinking about the humility Jesus had to wear that spiked crown, knowing all the while that He is the King of Heaven, yet quietly submitting to the pain and injustice of it all.

Image

I started to realize that I have almost zero of that humility that Jesus had in wearing his crown of thorns. I don’t allow injustices. I correct them, even (especially!) with my husband and children. I want to appear to have it together in front of other people. Who doesn’t want to seem like an amazing parent? Who doesn’t want to other people to respect and admire them? Well, Jesus.

So it’s making me think: Am I, like Jesus’ acceptance of the crown of thorns, quietly submitting to the will of God or am I trying to have other people congratulate me on what a great job I’m doing? Am I writing this blog to get other people to like it, or am I writing because God has given me insights to share? Am I posting things on Facebook or sharing with other moms because I want to wear the glorious crown of appearing like a good mom, or am I like Mary who quietly and humbly kept all things in her heart?

As Lent approaches, I want to spend more time meditating on the crown of thorns and how I can grow in humility. What kind of mortification is it going to take to help me to be more like Jesus? How can I humbly accept the pains and sacrifices of raising children without kicking and screaming along the way? How can my motherhood be more of the simple and humble way of Mary?

Lord, show me what my crown of thorns needs to be this Lent so I can grow in humility and become more like you.

Image

Catholic Quick Takes from Timothy

A few weeks ago at Mass, I was taking a quiet moment before communion to talk to Timothy, my two year old, about what was happening on the altar. I was pointing out Jesus on the cross when Timothy said with a serious/sad face, “Yeah, and he died.” Surprised, I said, “Yes, he did die. But the good news is that now he’s alive! He died but then he rose from the dead, and now he lives in heaven.”  Another matter of fact response: “Yeah, and he sits with God the Father of the mighty.” Another surprised face by me. I have not intentionally told my two and a half year old about these truths, but he has picked up on them.

———————————————

Two weeks ago I decided it was time to teach Timothy a new prayer to add to his repertoire: the Angel of God. He loves this prayer because it has a nice rhythm to it, and had me say it over and over again until he basically had learned it in two days.  When it was his time to shine and pray it on his own, it went a little something like this: “To light, to guard, to ruin, to died, Amen.”  Close, but not all the way there yet.

——————————————–

ImageLast Friday we went to a family Adoration at a nearby church. We made it through the whole hour! Timothy learned the words “adoration” and “monstrance.” Well, kind of. Towards the end of the holy hour the Deacon came down from the sanctuary with the monstrance and invited people to come up and kneel before Jesus and touch the humeral veil. As I brought Timothy up to the feet of Jesus in the Eucharist he started asking quite loudly, “Where’s the monster? I can’t see the monster!!”  I guess we still have more to learn about monstrances and adoration!

The good news is, we’re hoping to have lots more chances to learn. Although the kids were running around and tearing up offertory envelopes and talking loudly (Lily liked to hear her babbles echo throughout the Church), it was a family adoration. And we were there, as a family, to adore. It looked different than when I would go to adoration as a single young adult, but it was just as blessed. I want my kids to grow up knowing that adoration is normal, that Jesus in the Eucharist is to be loved and adored, and that Jesus invites us to come and pray, just as we are. And I’m learning that there’s no better time to start than now, even at the ages of 1 and 2. So we’ll be back!

The Snuggles Remind Me: All We Have Is The Present

Last week was a little different around here. My husband was sleeping on the recliner in the basement while recovering from his surgery, while my mom was in town sleeping in Timothy’s bed, so my two-year old was bunking with me.  It was actually kind of fun snuggling up to my sweet little boy at night since he’s not always so sweet when he’s awake.

Lately Timothy has been into reading the book, “Love You Forever.” It’s about a mom who, as her little boy grows up and drives her crazy throughout the day, comes into his room at night to rock him and say, “I’ll love you forever/ I’ll like you for always/ as long as you’re living/ my baby you’ll be.” It’s quite cute, except for the part where she drives through the night with a ladder to climb through her grown son’s window to rock him. That part is just creepy. But when we are finished reading sometimes Timothy asks me to rock him back and forth and sing to him.  I gladly oblige because suddenly this newborn became an almost 3-year old and soon he will be a teenager, and then there will be no more cuddling.

Also, it makes up for the terror he’s been during the day. I’m exhausted by noon from his frequent temper tantrums and potty training efforts.  A friend recently quoted, “The days are long but the years are short.” And I’m trying to remember that. The days are quite long until Nate comes home to rescue me, but yet my kids are growing up before my eyes. I am already halfway through my 3rd pregnancy and I have no idea where that time went!

The snuggle nights last week and the bedtime book are good reminders for me to enjoy this time because it won’t be long before he’s grown. He can be so difficult during the day but the cuddles at night make up for it. I recall the time my mom was pushing Timothy in the stroller and said that she didn’t mind because one day it will be Timothy pushing my mom in her wheelchair.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, all we have is the present. As much as I want my kids to grow up and be independent and stop driving me crazy, there are beautiful moments every day to be cherished while they are young. Like it says in James 4:13-15:

 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit” – you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.* You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.  Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it,* we shall live to do this or that.”

Lord, help me to be present to my children each day.

How Gloriously Different Are My Children

Sometimes it’s hard to believe my children come from the same genes. Not only do they look vastly different but their personalities are polar opposite, too. For example:Image

Timothy is my snuggler. He wants to be held and comforted often. Lily, on the other hand, is Miss Independent and is like, “mom, back up off my space, yo.” (She doesn’t really say that, but it would be awesome if she did.)  Timothy screams for a napkin if a drop of yogurt touches his shirt or, heaven forbid, it dares to dirty his finger. After using that napkin once he will immediately throw it away until he needs a new one two minutes later. Meanwhile, Lily has yogurt in her hair, up her nose, and down her shirt all before her first bite reaches her mouth. Lily will run away the moment you take her diaper off to change it, while Timothy is asking me to put his pants back on.

ImageImage

You get the picture. Any veteran parent tells me their children are all on opposite sides of the personality spectrum, too. It seems like a daunting task to teach, discipline, and love each child in the way they personally need it. Trial and error, they say, to learn how to relate to each of your kids.

“How gloriously different are the saints,” once wrote CS Lewis. It’s true! I’ve been thinking of this often lately: all the vocations, all the religious orders with different charisms, all the canonized saints with vastly different personalities. There is more than one path to holiness; and it gives me comfort- while still overwhelming-to know there is more than one right way to raise holy children. What works for my family may not work for another, and vice versa. And that’s ok!

While I have no practical advice on parenting children, the only thing that I know so far is that the Holy Spirit is sent into our lives to help us relate to each of our kids individually. In Luke 12:12 it says, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”  If we are parents that are in tune with the Spirit, we can trust we will be guided to raise uniquely different and gloriously holy children.

But if you do have any practical advice, I’d love to hear it!