It is 10:28pm.
One Master Luke is asleep after vomiting for the second time.
The house is again quiet, the street outside hums with traffic and for the meantime I am alone to ponder in the silence.
“And Mary treasured all these things in her heart”
As I travel along this path of motherhood, I too find myself storing, pondering, treasuring a wonderous assortment of things. Some pass fleetingly through the central business district of my mind as clouds on a windy day, while others stamp their permanent mark with dramatic force or quietly dig themselves a burrow to be rediscovered in God’s timing.
To ponder is part of motherhood.
Our precious Mother Mary, from infancy, had a heart prepared for the great joys, trials and sufferings she would bear through her Son Jesus. No woman, no mother has ever had the fortitude, humility and grace that Our Lady did to ponder such extraordinary events and to continue on with her daily life trusting in the will of God. From Simeon’s prophecy ( “a sword shall pierce your heart” Luke 2:35) to the finding of the child Jesus at the temple (““Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49), Mary must have pondered often as she cooked and cleaned and went about her chores. She must have gazed at Jesus crawling on the floor, observed him as he climbed a tree and sighed as she saw him learn from St Joseph the tools of carpentry. Those words, those events would have weighed heavily on my heart, but for her they were treasures, rare gifts of knowledge and preparation for the path of suffering she would walk one day with her beloved Son.
As we begin this new year, I have much to ponder and much to give thanks for.
I have four beautiful children who are growing so quickly physically, mentally and spiritually. I have one precious yet unknown child growing within me and are once again struck by the incredible mystery of the womb, the crafting place of Almighty God. I have a husband who after 10 years of marriage is still able to astound me with his passion and wisdom and inspire me with his conviction. I have a vocation that is overflowing with life and I have no choice but to let it take me where it runs.
God has given mother’s the gift of pondering… treasuring…. because when your life is overflowing, those words, those moments in which God is present and speaking, can be missed. By storing both little and small moments, God is able to work in a mother’s heart in the still silence of her inner being and when the time is right, He sheds His glorious light upon His work and we have one of those startling “Ah HA!” moments while washing the dishes.
So often have I been struck with an “Ah Ha” that leaves me speechless and feeling unworthily blessed.
The weekend before last was one of those moments. It was my 31st birthday and the 3rd anniversary of the big earthquake that significantly damaged my home city and resulted in the loss of 185 lives. I knew it was going to be a joyful and painful time celebrating and remembering. However, we were invited to come along to a Latin Mass at the Carmelite monastery on Saturday morning. It was to be said by Fr Antony of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer and as it has been in discussion for a while, our Master Luke (6) was asked to serve for the first time. This was the cause of great excitement for our children. To top this off, Fr Antony asked if we would like to be enrolled in the Co-fraternity of the Brown Scapular. Here is where the “Ah Ha” moment occurred!
Through out my childhood and youth, I had a great desire to be a nun. From wearing a “mother Teresa” style tea towel on my head while drying dishes, to spending lots of time reading about the Saints, I felt passionately about giving my life completely to Jesus. At the age of 19, in the year following the tragic death of my brother David, I went to daily Mass at the Carmelite monastery. In those precious morning Masses I felt the presence of God’s peace so strongly. Like a healing balm on my wounded soul, I felt the call of Carmel, the call to separation from the world and full union with Jesus. I once again desired greatly to shed the world and to be clothed in the habit of religious life. But as I corresponded with the beautiful sisters, they encouraged me to continue praying and discerning outside of their walls and consider coming to stay with them after I turned 21. Well God had other plans (which is another story) and by the time I was 21, I was married to Matthew and was pregnant with my first baby, Sunshine. That call, those moments of grace were stored deep within me, put away to ponder, put away as treasures.
Saturday morning was VERY warm and miraculously all six of us were at the monastery by 8am. As I walked into the chapel, I was overcome with the very same peace and sense of home that I had felt all those years ago. But as I prayed during the Mass and watched my son serve with such reverence and dignity; as I listened to the voices of the sisters behind their grill and heard the words of Father’s sermon on the Brown Scapular, God shed his glorious light upon those treasures from long ago and I heard His voice anew.
His call to Carmel had been authentic. His call on my life had not been a figment of my grieving heart. His call was not just for me, it was for my family. It was for Matthew, Sunshine, Master Luke, Curly Sue, Fuzz and the little one within me. As we all knelt on the sanctuary following Mass, Fr Antony prayed the prayers of enrollment and placed a Brown Scapular over each of our heads. I knelt and pondered. I knelt and gave thanks. I lifted up my heart and declared the glory of a Heavenly Father who in His time brings all things to Himself.
We MUST ponder and we MUST treasure those moments in our hearts as Mary did. God has made us the hearts of our homes and it is our duty and privilege to be the safe keepers of His Divine plans. I look forward with such joy for the “Ah Ha” times ahead. Some may bring great suffering and some may bring great joy, but all will be part of God’s marvelous plan for our lives and the lives of our families. Let us give thanks for He is good and his love is everlasting!