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Last week, I shared a little bit from the book of reflections I’m using this Lent. One of the sections struck a chord with me this weekend, so I wanted to share both it and my reaction. I feel kind of like I’m writing a reflection paper in college again (this is what a good Catholic education will do to you). I hope I get a check plus!
From Called to Life, Called to Love:
Saturday, First Week of Lent
Through baptism we become part of a family much larger than our biological family. It is a family of people “set apart” by God to be light in the darkness. These set-apart people are called saints. Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people. Some of their lives may look quite different, but most of their lives are remarkably similar to our own.
The saints are our brothers and sisters, calling us to become like them.
What reminds you that you are one of the “set-apart” people called to be holy?
Maybe it’s because I read this reflection with a peaceful Henry in my arms, Jacob napping in his room, and John on the other side of the living room, taking his own prayer time that my first reaction was “my family, my boys.” Motherhood is the single most challenging and most joyful experience of my life. Every step I take further down this road, I feel more and more myself, more and more what God has intended me to be.
It is true, as the reflection says, that being a Christian, being a Catholic means I am part of a larger family—but the place I live it is in my biological family. John, Jacob, and Henry are gifts I get to see, touch, and care for every day. They bring out the best and worst in me. As a wife, and even more as a mother, when I can be stretched to what feels like the limits of happiness and sorrow, I can’t hide from who I really am, both in my gifts and in my flaws. On one hand, this means I see how what God had given me can be of benefit to others. On the other hand, I see how living in community with my family pushes me to improve on myself every day. Everyone is called to his or her own journey according to God’s will. I believe I have found mine in my motherhood.
Then, of course, there is Ethan. A year past the start of that experience, I am very aware that he helped to teach me a lesson I could not have learned on my own. When I think of Ethan now, one particular verse comes to mind, namely: “. . . when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). For as often as I attend Mass, pray the rosary, and try to thank God for the good and the bad in the ordinary moments of the day, it was not until we lost Ethan, not until I realized how lonely, empty, and lost I could feel that I found I could truly rely on Christ to hold my heart in His hands.
So it is in the presence of my family, my boys—John, Jacob, Ethan, and Henry—that I know I am a daughter of God, one “set apart” to be holy. And it is through them that I am finding my way there.