Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mary and the unanticipated gift of humility

Every once in a while, because of the pacing of our lives, I find myself completely out of juice. Today was one of those days. It seemed that all of us were exhausted from the events of this past week and my husband was out of town for the weekend, so the executive decision was made to go to the later Mass at the cathedral downtown. The kids started arguing in the car and I was at my wit’s end with them as we pulled out of the driveway. Eventually I remembered to keep our Sunday tradition of saying a family Rosary on the way to church. But truthfully it was the incessant fighting that jolted my memory. I was out of sorts, not in a good mood, not feeling the urge to pray but knowing that I had to. Thankfully we were able to complete the entire rosary just as we were pulling into the parking lot of the cathedral, which, I might add, was quite a feat since every decade or so I was yelling at one of the kids to “face forward!” or “stop whining!” or “get back in your car seat!” I arrived at Mass frazzled, thinking “Mary, I thought you were on my side here...isn’t the Rosary supposed to make everyone peaceful and serene?!” Embarrassingly, I didn’t even realize that it was the Feast of the Assumption until I saw it on the Mass sheets.

Mass didn’t go much better. The fights continued in the pew and my three-year-old son kept attempting to climb over the pews and mess with his older brother and sisters. We had to go out twice, once for potty break and once for behavioral issues. While in the corner for time out in the gathering area, he kept saying, “YET ME GO!” and struggling. Mind you, I have written a pamphlet for parents giving tips on getting their kids to behave properly during Mass. There’s nothing like misbehaving children to reduce a parent to utter humiliation.

That’s when it occurred to me...gratitude for humiliation, for spiritual ineptitude, for exhaustion, for irritation. It is when we have these profound experiences of inadequacy that our faith in God is given an opportunity to grow. All I could say after a day like today is thank you, God, for allowing me to stay grounded. I am closer to dust than I ever knew, and I have faith that you are molding me each day, even though I don’t see it.

Though I didn’t really understand the connection when I began to write this evening, I suppose this post is fitting for the Feast of the Assumption. It reminds me that Mary is always interceding for us in Heaven, praying for us to become humble and open to God’s grace. Thanks, Mary! You must have been praying extra hard for me today!


  1. What a beautifully humble and honest post, and I love that you give all of the credit to Mary for pulling you through. I've been there far too many times to mention (the frazzled kids/frazzled mom in church scenario). Before you know it, everything will change and you'll be looking near adults in the pew beside you! God bless!

  2. I think a day like that deserves special mention at Mass tomorrow. Blessings to you (and your children)!