Back in 1995, my mom was a young mother with five children. (There are nine of us now.) It was a time of life that was truly testing her limits. She was stretched thin as a wife and mother, trying to raise us while my dad, who worked very long hours, came home late in the evening and usually missed dinner. Money was tight for them, so while all her “mom friends” were able to participate in certain events and activities, my mom was never able to join them.
The end of August ushers in the beginning of the school year for many, and we are reminded to pray for our children and for their studies throughout the upcoming year. As a mother with two in college, one in high school, and three more being taught at home, I have much to pray for, including myself and all their teachers.
Patience is something I pray for constantly. And it’s one of the things I mention in the confessional just as often. I have this vision in my head of what patience is supposed to look like: a mother with a soft expression, gently speaking to her child who has just done something wrong; calmly reprimanding the child who, in turn, is obediently sorrowful.
If we are fitness enthusiasts, we tend to care about our bodies. Maybe too much at times. Yet the care of our soul is far more important. I think it is good, every so often, to contemplate vanity. Its counterpart, pride, is said to be the root of all of our sins, and is one of the seven deadly sins. We can fall prey to this sin when we place too much importance on our appearance. It was explained to me once that to fight against a particular sin, it is best to work on its opposite virtue. The virtue that opposes vanity (or pride) is humility. How do we fit humility into the fitness picture?
My youngest child is six and my oldest is twenty-six. By virtue of my vocation (or maybe just my particular kids) I have spent a lot of time on my knees. I’ve also learned a lot over the years about the things that uplift me spiritually—and the things that don’t. I offer here five tips.
My mom became Catholic a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to sit in on many of her RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes. There was a group of about fifteen catechumens and sponsors and a few extras at each class. (I would even bring my high school kids to a few […]
“Heaven. It had been a subject I’d studiously avoided from the first moment I’d considered that Jesus might exist…I’d pondered the stunning idea that, rather than letting us languish in the cesspool we’d created, God jumped in with us, suffered with us—and for us—to show us the way home. It all sounded great. Until I […]
We don’t get to choose our kids. Yet as I consider our nine children, I see they were perfectly chosen. Each brings a different personality and a unique perspective to our family life. Raising a large family is not easy. Along with the different personalities and unique perspectives comes inevitable conflict and stress. There are plenty of challenges. Yet blessings abound. In anticipation of writing this blog post, I posed the following question to my children (via text message to the older ones not living at home): What is your favorite thing about growing up in a large family?
When my children were all young, and followed me like little ducklings, I didn’t worry about Saint Augustine’s words so much. However, as my children grew up and were no longer in a nice little line behind me, I began to wonder: what if they didn’t cooperate with God? What if they strayed from their faith? These worries can’t be mine alone. I am certain that other mothers and fathers have the same concerns. We work hard to bring our children up in a good Christian home. We instill in them the Catholic faith.
“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother,” said Saint Therese of Lisieux. Only a mother knows the depth of her love for her children. She is a beautiful reflection of God’s love for us. Each soul was created by Him, and is His child. And since a mother wants the best for her children, this means that, ultimately, she wants them to be with God in heaven one day, rejoicing eternally.