I am at the Tomb. And I am facing my disordered life.
I am Catholic.
I have been married for 25 years.
I have 5 children.
I have been a Secular Carmelite for 8 years (ish).
I go to Mass more than once a week.
I frequently read Scripture & holy literature.
I am resolved not to curse.
I try to think well of and bless all people, friend or foe.
I am aware of the Way of Perfection.
My goal is be holy in this life and the next.
But there is still great chaos in my life.
I let laundry pile up. (kids’ duty.. but silent, infrequent reinforcement)
I let dishes pile up. (kids’ duty.. but still limited reinforcement)
I don’t cook meals as I should.
I stay up late doing hub-bub instead of focusing on my day.
My bed is made, but my room is a mess — stacks of books, stacks of books, at least 1 foot-tall pile of work papers that need sorting. The same can be said about the living room-kitchen.
My walls have needed painting for the past 5 years (at least).
My garage is hell.
Front yard? What front yard. The back? What a sorry state, my poor neighbors.
I wait until the last minute for most things.
I’m not a good planner. (What do people mean by 3-, 5-, 10- year goals?)
My children watch too much TV, are way too attracted to tech and devices (me too), the internet is a limitless demon I hardly do anything about despite THE FACT that I am more than intimately familiar with it — and it has accompanied me throughout my adulthood. I am a digital denizen, circa 1991.
But God has graced us. I’m telling you this because we’re in the upswing and putting this out there is committal for me.
It took almost 2 bottles of wine, but I finally got around to asking my adult children (21, 23) what their pathway to holiness was. What were they doing with their free will to pursue their zeal for God? What were they GOING to do with their free will to pursue their zeal for God?
I asked the free will/zeal for God question after taking a 1-hour catechetical inventory of what my children knew and understood about Catholic doctrine, tradition and Scripture.
They had just come back from the vigil Mass on Saturday — I had sent them off to meet visiting Grandma (which I never do, we visit and travel as a group). But no, I had already been to Mass in the morning, a great sadness was visiting that moment and I needed time to figure out what it was. I felt.. alone.
Kids go off, I’m there with my husband.. we get into .. something. There is great clarity of mind. I’m even-keeled, rational, non-reactive. For a woman, this is important to note.
He goes on to retrieve something from his work, he’ll be gone for an hour or more.
He leaves, I weep. This sadness in my soul has come to a head, but God shores up my soul by the time my children arrive, fresh from Mass with Christ’s Body and Blood recharging their soul, their veins, their mind.
For months, they’d heard murmurings of the crisis in the Church. We’ve already had table-side discussions about what it all means. They heard the rumblings. But the moment they entered.. I can’t even tell you how it all began, the questions I asked, the beginning. God knows. He took control of that.
It was about preparation. The Church is going to change. Your tradition and doctrine faces exile, do you know what that means? You don’t? What do you understand about tradition? And doctrine? What’s the difference? Where does Scripture come in? How are we different than Protestants? Why are they hungry awake and Catholics are lulled to sleep and complacent? Why did Jesus come? Why was it important for Him to come as a child and not as a full-grown man? Who rejected Him? What did His Passion signify? Why do Catholics have the crucifix in their Churches anyway? How many gospels are there? Who wrote them? Who wrote the rest of the New Testament? Who put together the New Testament? Why is that important? What is “The Canon”? Who wrote the rest of the New Testament? Why did Paul preach to the Gentiles? What is Vatican II? What is the Traditional Latin Mass? Why is it important? What is Modernism? When did Modernism take root? Why do we need to be informed of these things?
etc, etc, etc
Shock and awe.
There’s a story behind our conversion. Re-conversion, conversion-conversion. What our children know reflects the ebb and flow of our fervor throughout the years. That’s another story to tell. I will get to it when I do NaNoWriMo…
But the crisis has forced my hand. I know God is near me, with me. But He watches me as well. I know He has infinite patience with my flaws and faults.. but that ends upon my death. That’s when I’m accountable. Above all things, I have a proper fear of God that drives my awe and inspiration, my seeking of Him, always.
There is no way.. NO WAY I can teach what my soul has learned about my God over 40 years, how He is, what He’s like, unless they have this same reverent, holy fear of God. This is the beginning.
I don’t see that yet in them. Maybe I thought it’d rub off.. but that’s .. you know what that is.
I’ve got to get to work.
AMDG. St. Mary Salome. +++