Longing for God’s Will: What did Mary Know

In my advent journal this week there was a meditation about how Mary “longed for what God was asking of her.” The meditation referred to how Mary asked “be it done unto me according to Thy Word,” when the Angel Gabriel told her she would be the Mother of God. It continued to talk about how Mary’s yes would have been a continuation of other yes’s in her life; that she would have had a habit of saying yes to God’s will for her. The combination of the two thoughts made me curious, was Mary longing for this her whole life? What if the Angel Gabriel was the answer to a calling she had always felt?

According to some historians, Joan of Arc always knew she would be a great soldier, but no one believed her. It would not have made sense to believe her at the time, women did not fight. Yet when God called her to be a soldier, Joan said, “I am not afraid, I was born to do this.” The Angel Gabriel tells Mary not to be afraid when he appears to her, and today, the Immaculate Conception feast day, we celebrate our belief that she was born to do this, so it doesn’t seem too out of touch to suppose that maybe Mary knew just as Joan of Arc did, though perhaps she would not have said anything because if people wouldn’t believe Joan of Arc was destined to be a soldier, how could we expect them to believe Mary would be the Virgin Mother of God?

Often, Mary is described as this kind of perfect blank canvas, as if the only good thing about her was that she was nothing at all except open to God, but that is not what Catholics believe we are meant to be, so why do we expect that of Mary? I believe she was a real person with emotions, passions, and desires, and meditating on her longing for God’s will in her life, really helps me to imagine who she would have been. God uses our desires to guide us towards His will, so I wonder if we can learn about her through what He asked of her.

We know very little of Mary, basically that she was a consecrated virgin, betrothed to a widower, from a quiet family and town. Based on what God would eventually ask of her, I wonder, did she long for a child? Did she allow herself to be consecrated knowing that she wanted a child? Did she know that she would have a child even though she was consecrated? Did she know her child was going to be God Himself before the Angel told her?

I keep imagining that she did long for a child and she knew there would be something important about Him, although maybe not the fullness of it. I keep thinking what courage it would have taken to consecrate her virginity knowing that she had that desire. Many times in life, I have had experiences when it seemed like there was no hope for what I really wanted, but then God pulled it out of thin air in a way I never could have guessed, and I keep wondering if that is what happened to Mary. Over and over again I have heard the same story, people have a desire that seems absolutely crazy, but God fulfills in a grander more amazing way than anyone could ever have imagined. What a deep meaning that would lend to the Magnificat? Was Mary filled with gratitude for an answer to prayers she had prayed her whole life long?

What do you think? How do you imagine Mary before her story in Scripture begins? What do you think she was thinking and feeling when the Angel Gabriel came to her?

“The Elusive Nature of God”

*title by Patrick O’Donnell

The hard thing, the impossible thing, about God, or really I guess about a true relationship with God, is that He is not physically present in the way that our other relationships are.

The philosophical question as my husband phrased it is, “Is it even possible to have a relationship with someone who is not accountable to us? Is it possible to have a real relationship if He won’t just come down and talk to us?”

I have struggled with this time and again throughout my life.

The analogy I use for my relationship with God most often is that of a Bridegroom and His bride, but to be honest if my earthly bridegroom left me some letters and ditched me with some stuff to remember him by, while he had the ability to stay with me, I would hate him for it. I would never forgive him. I would swear he did not love me. Basically, that’s what sucks about a relationship with God. He left us a book, and the Eucharist and we are supposed to believe He is present in it, and we do or do not believe that, but we still have to put that forward, we still have to believe that, and worse, we are taught that we HAVE to believe He is there or we are going to Hell for it, because that’s equivalent to not choosing Him, but again, if my husband left me alone in the midst of people who wanted to love and/or hurt me without letting me know what the heck was going on or where he was, that would be unconscionable.

It’s hard for me to write this, because this year, I have had consolation after consolation. I have read Scripture and I have felt God’s presence in ridiculously tangible ways that I know are Him, but the thing is that even in those moments, I know how crazy I sound. I joke about how God uses the GMC Acadia as a comfort for me because as we are Dave Ramseying our future I needed a visual, and it has been the symbol of the “covenant” so to speak that God has made with me this year-I know Catholics may balk at that because it seems irreverent, but a covenant is a promise, and I believe God has made promises to me from the time I was born, and I believe I am meant to believe in them, and I believe He has sent the Acadia to help me through a very difficult year.

It’s not just that either, I have a million stories of crazy things God has done in my life or asked of me or how He has revealed Himself, but there is always that question in the back of your head, “Was He really there, or did I just make that up? And if I made that up, then what about all of these things I believed in because of it?”

That is where Faith comes in, whether we like it or not. Faith is the decision to believe that the weird crazy relationship you have with God is real. In order to have faith as a relationship, you have to believe in your own experience of Him, even when it seems crazy. And my way of solving the fact that we will never know the truth for sure is that I have told God that the minute I get to Heaven the first thing I’m going to do is ask, “What the heck?!?”

God Hears Your Petty Prayers

Earlier this week, I laid on my stomach in our bed in complete despair. I was budgeting, and we couldn’t make it on what we had. There was no way to meet all of our needs. I was going to have to get a job and leave my sweet little girls in daycare, or Patrick was going to have to get something soul-sucking somehow. It was going to be so stressful. I couldn’t believe it had gotten this bad. I really believed that we were doing what we were meant to be, so why was everything falling apart?

About an hour later, I felt a certainty in my gut that we would figure something out. “We are meant to be exactly where we are,” said to my husband, “Something is going to work out.”

It did. We realized I could do some food delivery when things got really bad. If his paycheck was as low as it was this week, I would deliver groceries for as many hours as it took to meet the need. Then, I did it! In 2 days of delivering, and a miraculous $45 order, I met what we needed, and our paycheck transformed from a desperate, we aren’t going to make it, to we will make it, all the way to we will be good!

Then, last night, I was curled into a ball crying about how I can’t afford to provide for my girls. It was a seemingly petty mental breakdown over my oldest girl’s 2 year old birthday. I had only been able to get her one gift, and it was one with hard memories attached. What I was really upset about is all of the years of fear about money that I have felt, and the hopelessness I sometimes feel about it getting better(even though we are working really hard on it,) but one of the things that hurts the most, as petty as it may seem, is that every day I am losing the baby years, and I missed out on a lot of fun, happy things about babyhood, and every day there’s a new thing I’ll never get back. Things like designing their first nursery, or buying their baptism dresses, or Christmas presents, or just toys that I like for them. Anyway, I was consumed by guilt for how petty all of this is. I was taught that materialism is wrong, and I was so ashamed of myself, but at the same time I was feeling so much grief about the joy I couldn’t get myself to experience. I prayed so hard, “God I know this is so stupid, and I should be better, but I just want to be able to do her birthday.”

This morning, I awoke to notes from a Facebook group of mine encouraging me, and uplifting me in my struggles, and a fellow foodie group member complementing my birthday dinner idea. Because of the Facebook comments, I was inspired to go shopping. Whoever is reading this, you would not believe the shopping trip I had. I knew in my gut exactly what to get her, which stores to go to, and when. I got done with exactly 5 minutes left until the party, and spent almost exactly what I had left of my Christmas money.

When it came time for the gift opening, I caught myself wondering, did I get enough? Was it the right stuff? She had to go through the gifts so quickly, but a voice in my head said, “it’s not about this moment, it’s about forever-it’s about watching her play with these years from now,” and I calmed my worry.

After the party, I was able to be truly gracious and grateful for the gifts I was given, because I wasn’t desperately hoping that they would miraculously be what I wanted to get her. Anything at all would have been amazing. I have really struggled with gratitude for a long time, because I have felt grateful and angry at the same time and it has made me so confused. Every time I got gifts I would end up in tears beating myself up over how ungrateful I was. But I realize now, I wasn’t ungrateful, I just wasnt meeting my own needs, so the wants that were getting met weren’t enough to fill me. I was angry because I was feeling empty, and the gifts couldn’t touch what I was needing.

It was incredible to be able to appreciate the gifts she was given(let me note here that since I am a stay at home mom, anything she gets is what I am surrounded with all day every day, so it’s my life too! Lol), because I had provided for her too. I could enjoy the playdough she got, because I bought her mess free markers. I could love the pajamas she got, because I bought her tutus. I could enjoy the baby bottles someone else got her, even though I meant to get them for her, because I got her other things instead, so it was amazing that she still got them!

All of this is to say that God hears your petty prayers. Nothing is too small for Him to hear you. I read a meditation just after the birthday party about how we think that God needs to help someone else whose needs are worse instead of us, and I realized I always feel that way, but that’s not what He wants. He is able to be present for anyone. He can help the woman who just lost her husband, and the one whose makeup got screwed up on the way to work. He hears the woman with cancer and the one who is mad at her boyfriend. He was there with me when I lost my first baby, and He was with me when I wanted to get my two year old a mermaid.

Don’t underestimate Him. He is more than any of us know. His answer may not always be yes, but He will bring you comfort, even if it’s not as soon as you would like. There will be evil, but He hates every time you suffer as much as you do. He is there in the big things and the small. Let Him love you no matter where you are. Be His whole entire world. ♥️♥️♥️ Then, love Him back.

♥️♥️♥️

PS I was watching The Bachelor a couple weeks ago, and Colton got Caelynn bags and bags of fun stuff. I asked God to do that for me-He’s been spoiling me rotten lately with miracles. ♥️

The Ever Mother Part 3

The soul seethed in agon’s blinding dark wall
And twisted from the appearance of all sides,
But when she lay down her head for One’s call,
The Mother came and sang swe’eternal lullabies.
Hush dear, release the burden of your self.
The ego that stands in a rebelling heart.
Release the chains pride tightens round your chest
And in my mantle remain from woe apart.
She wrapped her child in a velvet mantle
And stroked a cheek that hereto held to sin
But in humility had left the toilsome struggle,
And come the Immaculate to let her in.
Hush little one, Ever-Mother had then said,
So she’d come here, and rest her weary head.

The Ever-Mother Part 2

“But” the poor one groaned in ignorance,
How could you loose the chains ignominible?
They each tread diamond black on my chest,
And render dirty hands incapable.
A glare descended from nearby on high,
A towerer who had come to her once
And asking dear one to with the Lord’s will comply
Looked on with joy as she was crowned since.
He challenged mortal heart of questing doubt
And chided for her solitary woe.
Why would you try to live, endure, without,
When one so pure has come now to bestow?
Hush, little one, SHE, ever-mother said,
Go to her heart, go rest your weary head.

 

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