To Be a Mary, or At the Foot of the Cross

Lent is now nearly over, and it seems that nearly every day our Lord has been teaching me that my ways and plans are not His. It is not that I am deliberately turning away and saying, “nanny nanny boo boo! I don’t want to, you can’t make me!” to his plans. It is more of a father gently telling me, often by letting me fall, “that way is not meant for you…stop, slow down, let me lead. I know a better way for you on this journey. Stop trying to leap over the rocks in the path, carefully and slowly walk around or climb over. Stop leaping. You can’t leap.”

I always try to leap…do too much at once, plan to get things done quicker than I can with four small children, “bite off more than I can chew”, you get the idea. I am sure many of us homeschooling mothers find ourselves in the same trap: there is so much to do, lesson plans to keep, household duties to attend to, liturgical plans we’d like to turn into real-life rituals in our homes…and if you are like me, you want to do it all, now, perfectly. Yes, I identity with Martha more than with Mary.

Ever since my last Confession, maybe even before then (but I am not always the best listener), God has been nudging me to slow down, rest, find peace in Him. My confessor told me to read the story of Mary and Martha, dwell with it and the lessons, and begin to take more time out for me, to be a Mary. I have tried, and tiny bits of progress are occurring. Tiny. But it is happening. After all, I am listening to the promptings of the Spirit now.

I was excited for Holy Week, and all the things I would do with my kids. Then, last night, my daughter (God’s Princess) started feeling sick, and was sick in her bed twice. Two loads of laundry, one candy cane, two cups of ginger ale, and 5 total hours of sleep later, I was staying home from Mass to care for her. Surely this is also part of God’s plan. He is symbolically throwing a wrench in my plans, forcing me to slow down and ditch all hopes of a beautifully crafted and liturgically decorated Holy Week. He is calling me to deeper prayer, prayer which has me on my knees begging for the grace to make it through one more night-waking. He is calling me to the foot of the cross, where his mother stayed, praying. He is calling me to his feet, listening and faithful in prayer, as Mary, his friend, was when he visited her home. Christ is calling me to forget about lovely decorating. Forget that, and sit with me. Bring your children to me, in the chaos you feel. Rest. Pray. Live this Holy Week with Me, carrying your cross.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added.” Jesus is speaking those words right to me, now. Yes, I will. I will (try my hardest!) to forget my ideal celebration of Holy Week, and live it at the foot of the cross. I will read Bible stories with my children in place of our regular studies, and listen to God speaking to us.

I will stop, slow down, and seek peace and rest at Jesus’ feet, and God-willing, that will be shared with my family, too.

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