Motherhood and Personal Crosses

Loving our Desert Rose

Loving our Desert Rose

     The epitome of virtuous love is selfless giving of one’s whole self.  I cannot imagine any greater gift than selfless gifting love with a cross of pain on your back.  Christ did this for all of us to open the gates of heaven.  I am proud to say I know quite a few women (three very close to me) who fight through their own crosses and chronic pain and illness to be living pillars of virtuous love as mothers.  

Building a home in Indiana

Building a home in Indiana

    I’ve watched many go home exhausted from work with nerve pain causing a raging fire across the body with no know cure, asthma induced weariness, digestive problems,  hormone imbalances, diabetes, excruciating pregnancy illnesses, and emotional turmoil when children reject good moral choices of living. When I ask why they do it,  the same women tell me, “If I do not push through this pain my children do not get the home life they need in the world to be ready for it when I am gone.”  It is a common theme in each of these women.  This mission is indeed grafted on their souls for life.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

    I can imagine the temptation these women face when they see other moms bounce through life with the greatest of health and outgoing personalities.  Those people get held up as the great ones in our world.  To know these chronic sufferers will never be able take an “easy” walk with their children, awake without chronic pain, and will be looked down on by many because they supposedly just don’t have the “mental fortitude” to be “more” than they are.  These situations must produce feelings of envy, hopelessness and induce despair.  Yet these chronic suffers, who hold a deep sense of faith in God, turn these vice filled thoughts around and defeat those harmful thoughts time and time again. 

Making joy for Kellie Marie

Making joy for Kellie Marie

   These women are my inspiration.  They create homes with hearts of joy, and communities of charity through their hidden pains.  They take up the Cross of Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not, everyday.  They suffer the pain of pierced hearts like Mary in silence, and turn the pain into graceful living.  These two examples turn other hearts towards God by creating homes and families which match their hearts of sacrifice.

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

    For these women I pray for God’s mercy to shower on them forever.  Today I hope you too join me in this noble cause.

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The First Steps towards understanding Mercy

        Today our youngest, John Paul, got serious about crawling.  A few little steps and lunges at a time, but it is the beginning of his journey towards independence.  The troubles and joys this will bring will arise in the minds of each and every parent who survived it at least once.

    One of the interesting things about our John Paul, compared to his four siblings, is his very delayed desire to crawl.  The fact is the boy loves his standing bouncy toy.  He bounces in that thing for hours each day.  He also realizes if you walk, your hands can play with toys when you go places.  So the reality is, crawling is not a very efficient or fun use of time.  So after some coaching, the boy finally realized all the pieces for walking are not in place yet…so crawling is not such a step down.

    Today I decided to join the nine day consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary being directed by Father Heilman of the website The Roman Catholic Man (Nine Day Consecration) using the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe.  I’m already glad I did the reading and lesson…because like John Paul I found myself wanting to walk faster in faith, but I found myself without all the necessary tools.

   The one lesson I gained the most from today is the need for mercy in the grand plan for creation.  I recently came to understand grace as the extension of kindness to the unworthy, and mercy as the withholding of a justified punishment.  This made sense, but how does that relate to our salvation.

   St. Maximillian Kolbe explains the role of mercy in salvation history in the form of a math problem we all once faced in middle school.  Remember the problem where the teacher says:”To win this game you must obtain 100 apples.  I will start you with 33.  How long will it take you to obtain 100 apples if I give you 1/3 of difference you are missing each day?”  At first you say two days!  1/3 each day!  Then reality sets in.  

    You realize each day you would get only 1/3 of the way to the objective each day no matter how hard you try.  Even when you are down to one apple, the teacher will only give you a third of the remaining apple needed to reach victory.   Therefore you will NEVER reach 100 apples because I will keep giving you smaller and smaller slices for ever!

  Having the sun shine on us as we collect those apple parts would be a whole lot of grace.  But to reach 100 apples you need a game changer.  That game changer would be mercy from someone who will bridge the gap by giving you some of his apples, I will not provide, to reach 100.

  This is the mercy we need from God everyday.  We are imperfect creatures, and no matter how hard we try will always be imperfect.  God took care of this imperfection problem by providing a game changing assist. God the creator of our souls, worked through the Holy Spirit to place Jesus in our physical world as the son of Mary.  

    God became one of us, spoke to us, broke open the gates of hell, and offered each of us a spot in his family through his offer of adoption.  These acts provide us the missing “apples” to put 100 in in our basket if we but stay on track to be in his family.  This offer of mercy still must be earned, but it sits on the table for all to take advantage of if we are smart enough to grasp it.

    Quite a lesson, and there was so much more…what a wonderful journey to start crawling on.

-ehw

Good Friday Quest

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

   On Good Friday I put together a quest for our Blue Knights group.  We visited three churches from noon to two and found short lessons at each church related to the passion of our Lord.  We completed our Quest with a boy led Stations of the Cross in our home chapel of St Micheal the Archangel at Regina Caeli Academy.  You can view a complete report on our Blue Knight website.  

   The regular group of seven had six potential recruits and our teen mentor join us for a day.  During our travels we also met with three other families and five more children.  All total it was a joy to see nine families and nineteen children participate during the day.  It was also wonderful to hear the boys sing, respond to complicated questions, and enjoy being with their fathers.  Our mother daughter team was precious as well, teaching us a lesson from the women of Jerusalem. 

   The funniest moments were at St Benedict at both the beginning and end of Stations.  When the thirteen boys marched in with capes and uniform colored shirts followed by Dads, people stopped and wondered who we were.  You could actually hear the whispers and see the heads turn.  I must admit it was a quiet but very visual spectacle.  At the end of stations I could see the pastor observing the long row of boys…I know he did not know who we were and was wondering where we came from.  I think I’ll drop him a note and thank him.

    It was awesome to have fathers on board taking time with their sons to learn lessons, and mothers who spend great amounts of time building classically formed children inside their homes.  I could see how each family was not using a cookie cutter approach to evangelization.  It was easy to see families identifying what each child in their family needed, and searching out different methods of teaching each child.  It was inspiring, and motivated  me to continue doing the same with my sons.

       The most reflective moment was after the boys completed their stations.  Two boys quickly noted as we reflected on the death of Christ, the clock struck three.  The timing was not choreographed, but perfectly summed up our day traveling with Christ to and through the cross.

    Thank you Jesus for letting us participate with your in your passion on this Good Friday.

-ehw

    

Wonderful Time of Loving Labors

    When you see the photo of an adorable, 100% cute child you think of the wonders the child brings to the world.  When he is your child, and you meet him at 1AM for a quick diaper change and handoff to Mom a few other thoughts run through your tired mind about the same child.

    Nothing good in life comes free.  Nothing great comes without great cost and sacrifice. This is not only true of life, but of the path we need to take to heaven.

   Jesus lived a hard life, and so did his disciples.  He even had friends he loved suffer and die!  He was our king, and died a painful death on a cross he carried on his shoulders after a brutal set of beatings.  Yet despite these facts, I think most people imagine Christ in his gloriously transformed body by default.  A transfigured body he only obtained by passing through the painful death on a tree.

    So the next time you see 100% cuteness, don’t forget the work it takes to get there.  Also know the moment of glory is worth every sacrifice it took to make a glimpse of heaven on earth.

-ehw