I have been – well…LAZY…SLOTHFUL…EXTREMELY FATIGUED. Mainly through my own doing.
And I have a confession of sorts: my normal Advent joy, accompanied by my awesome Advent Calendar – typically filled with highly catechetical lessons for all ages – it was NIL this season.
When vacation hit for college administrators, this college administrator made a conscious choice to take a hiatus from most things. Unfortunately, my spiritual life took a nose dive as well. I was quiet on blogging. My prayer life was in the pits, and very brief. My time with Our Lord and Our Lady was more like a 5-year-old child who takes quick breaks for water or necessities, and then is out jumping on the trampoline again.
This general slothfulness began in October with the sudden death of my father-in-law. It didn’t help that December 2 was the third year anniversary of the sudden death of my beautiful mother. Typically these things draw me closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
After a faith-filled October, I was spiritually drained. But then the conscious choices of succumbing to my own desires rather than the will of God…that really battered my faith-life during this season.
My spiritual director once told me this past year that when I go through such a deep faith-experience like the death of my father-in-law, I must rest in the graces and not do too much spiritual work. Let God comfort and heal me in His own time. That piece of advice has helped a bit. But I worry that as a woman of faith I did not do enough to pass on the faith to the kids this season.
I am so thankful to serve a God of second chances! A true Father…that no matter the time away welcomes us back with open arms, like the prodigal son.
I read the following Scripture lately that I’ve been pondering:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I am clinging to this Scripture right now as we journey to the Epiphany and towards Ordinary Time. I need direction to my path, and I am praying and acting on that very consciously right now.
As a working Catholic mother, I fall into the temptation of claiming “my time;” time off deserved for a job well done. I forgot it’s not my time at all, but God’s time. I didn’t honor Him or my vocation during the Advent season. Lesson learned for sure.
The Christmas season, leading to the Epiphany, gives us all an opportunity to celebrate and exalt the name of Jesus. I’ve woken up from my slumber, and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to hold the baby Jesus in my heart, especially on the Ordinary path to Lent. I want to be awake for it all.
How can we do this? Here are a few things I’ve thought about:
1. Recognize your behavior patterns and consciously choose to change them.
Do this even if you don’t want to at that moment. In other words, head it off at the pass!
2. Daily Mass!
I am blessed to work on a college campus with a Catholic church on campus. It really is a nice walk! I give you permission, and pleas please please: Hold me accountable to this!
3. Daily devotional.
For busy moms, which we all are, I suggest Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Your Daily Call to Think, Pray and Act by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss. Each day, Danielle and Elizabeth give us moments to think, pray and act in very quick moments of our day. You can read reviews for this devotional here.
4. Re-consecration to Our Lady.
Last time, I used 33 Days to Morning Glory by Father Michael Gaitley. This time, I will use True Devotion by St. Louis de Montfort. Both offer an incredible journey to Jesus through Mary. Our Blessed Mother strengthens our faith, as she leads us to her Son. She lends us her virtue, which is so beautiful and perfect.
5. Commit to learn something new about your faith and put it into action.
One of the beautiful things about our faith is the constant journey to know more. This year, I am committing to learn as much as possible about the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. I know the surface, but I want to dig deep – theologically, philosophically, and practically.
6. Seek clutter-free and quiet times.
This is another tough one for me, but I’m giving it a true go this year, with the hope of developing the virtue of fortitude and temperance.
What will you do?
How will you seek the face of Jesus this year, with honesty and devotion? What will bring you the most growth spiritually this year?
We have such an incredible shepherd in Pope Francis, and his tweets and speeches push us to BE, not just DO. He wants us to hold this faith in the pit of our hearts.
What are your commitments? Feel free to share, in order that we support one another and pray for each other.
Copyright 2014 Mary Wallace
About the Author
Mary Wallace, PhD, is a devout Catholic wife, mother of 4 daughters, and college administrator. She is co-host of a Catholic radio show: Faith and Good Counsel, on Baton Rouge Catholic Community Radio. Mary is also a contributing writer at the Integrated Catholic Life. Follow Mary on Facebook.