Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Target, A Sword, And The Solemnity of Mary

I have a target on my heart. As a Christian, it's been there since the day I was born, though I'm positive it grew wider and more illuminated the day I was baptized into the Catholic Church as a baby, and even more so with each sacrament I have received in my life. Since I became a mother, it has ballooned and brightened exponentially. The target is a beacon for Satan - his homing device with which he searches me out as he roams the earth seeking the ruin of souls. At each stage of my life, on a daily basis, he is there, waiting to pounce.

I've been feeling him close lately. He has honed in on my heart's desires (which ultimately are to serve the Lord) and illuminated them; expanding and intensifying them. You would think this is a good thing and it would be something Satan would not do. However, he's a sneaky jerk, that Satan and he does it because he knows how it affects me. As he intensifies my desires and makes them larger in my mind and heart, he dwarfs their source and purpose. He covers up all but the last shred of distinction between why I have this desire and the goal of obtaining what it is I desire. It paralyzes me. I become obsessed with it. I forget to breathe, to do, to be. As my friend Judy reminds me, "Satan's greatest achievement is to paralyze you. There is no neutrality in our Faith; we either move closer to Christ or away from Him at every moment. Since you are strong in Christ Satan knows he is not going move you away from Him...so he tries to paralyze you so that you feel incapable of moving at all."

This morning, I couldn't move at all as I lay in bed and thought about the same old melancholy things, and about how I didn't feel well and how very tired I was. It is Sunday. And it's not just any Sunday- it's the feast day of the Solemnity of our blessed mother, Mary. A joyous occasion, something to celebrate and commemorate and prayerfully rejoice in. But nonetheless, I went over in my head all the reasons why I just couldn't go to Mass. I wasn't feeling well. Two of the girls were snotty and coughing. My husband's throat was sore and he mentioned that our son wasn't feeling well either. I jumped at the chance to stay home with them. I didn't want to get out of bed. Satan fed me lie after lie of why I didn't need to go to Mass. Aren't you mad at God anyway because He hasn't let you move homes yet? Don't you feel abandoned by Him because you haven't felt Him near lately? There's nothing at Mass that you can't have right here at home. Then he went on to lie to me about why I must not really like being a mother. Why do the kids always come in to your bed in the morning? The youngest is so annoying, why can't she just can't stay in her own bed all night?

I felt my target blink brightly like a neon sign at the beginning of a workday. I was open for solicitation. And solicit he did. But then, Angelina came in and got in our bed. She snuggled close and asked for breakfast. Then she asked the question. Aren't we going to church today? Angelina and I usually go early on Sunday mornings at 7:30. She knew we missed it. Since the kids didn't have Sunday School, my plan had been for all of us to go at 11. But that was before he showed up, assaulting me with his deception and guile.

But Angelina's question was pretty much all I needed to muster up a two-edged sword and slash Satan's grasp on me. I thanked Mary, as I know she must have played a huge part in sending my daughter to distract me from my paralysis and remind me of my purpose- to serve her holy Son, to praise His name, to revere His word and His plan for my life. To receive Him in the form of the Eucharist. To obtain His grace. To reject Satan. To be a good mother to the precious children God entrusted me with. Today specifically, I was also to seek out a special bond of unity with her as she is the Mother of Christ, therefore a great intercessor when it comes to mothering my own children. The Lord allowed her to remind me of this through the innocence of my darling daughter. Aren't we going to church today? Of course we are, honey. Of course we are.

I got out of bed, hopped in the shower and dressed while Joe rose to make pancakes and coffee. The other kids and he were pretty under the weather so Angelina and I went to Mass alone. However, Angelina's target must blink brightly as well because she randomly dispensed such an attitude; a very gruff and negative disposition before we left the house. She didn't want to go all of the sudden. Even into the first 15 minutes of Mass she seemed withdrawn and upset. I had no idea how to deal with her. She is my strange child, difficult to understand; her behavior heart-wrenching to deal with sometimes a lot of the time. The only thing I could think to do was tell her to say a Hail Mary and try to follow along in her MagnifiKid. A few minutes later, she looked up from her magazine and whispered that she had prayed. After that, she was different. She participated a little. She sang some songs toward the end. She was happier. By the end of Mass, my heart was on fire again and it wasn't because of my neon target. My daughter, with a two-edged sword of her own and through the intercession of the Mother of Christ, had been able to reject Satan's temptations, celebrate Mary's motherhood and rejoice in the Lord's holiness and grace along with me.

1 comment:

Heather Lea said...

:-) Beautiful.