Tag Archives: Bible

How peculiar…

“The Lord, your God, has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.”

-Deuteronomy 7:6

This was part of the reading of the Morning Office today, and it really struck me.  Forgive me if I stretch the translation a little!  You might think, hearing that God’s people are “peculiar” I would be a little concerned.  But no, this is actually comforting to me, because I’ve been feeling a little peculiar lately.  Mostly when I’m out in public.  For example, when at a Catholic schools week dinner, the Ave Maria melts seamlessly, without even a breath of pause, into the Pledge of Allegiance, complete with gigantic waving flag on the projector screen.  I know that I blanched at the juxtaposition of the two; it was like being punched in the gut.  And once the whiteness passed, I wondered how I could sit in a room and continue to smile and make small talk.

Or watching the nightly news, when my stomach turns at not just the story they tell, but the images they show.  When did they start showing people dieing on TV?  Real people, not cartoons, not even movie special effects.  I don’t watch the news often, usually only when it’s on at someone else’s house, but I had noticed they showed an awful lot of very gory footage the last few times I did watch.  The movies are bad enough, but no matter what point the story is making (the one I saw was doing its best to vilianize Iran – justifiably or otherwise) I can’t see how showing someone dieing like that is not taboo.

And this keeps happening.  I’ve never fit comfortably into most social situations, but it’s getting worse and worse, not because I feel personally awkward, although there’s enough of that, but because I find myself asking, “Why are we doing this?”  “Why are all the waiters black?”  “Can Catholics live like this with a clean conscience?”  “What about the people who can’t afford to eat tonight?”  And on, and on.  So to know that God’s people are “peculiar” gives me a little hope that I’m not crazy, and maybe I’m even on the right track.

Another Year

Craig has started teacher orientation again.  This summer flew by, especially since we were out of town most of the month of July.  His return to work, and my non-return, have raised a number of questions for me again.  “Can we really afford to live on one income?  Why did we get such a nice car so now we have those payments to keep up with?  Where can I spend a few less dollars?  Can I really handle two little girls all day?”

Meanwhile, we’re trying to build a homeschool library, eat more locally and organically, and be generous where we can.  Of course, in the midst of my worries, the liturgy came through again.  Just as I was thinking, “How on earth are we going to do this?”, the lectionary brought up the feeding of the five thousand (twice!) and the Bread of Life discourse.  I say, “This is a problem!” and again God says, “Trust me!”  On the heels of our traveling, just as I was starting to get my head reoriented to running a household, and so just as the worries began to build, there was my answer in Scripture.

And this is where I think my *attempted* prayer routine is going to pay off.  The Liturgy of the Hours has never spoken to my heart in the past, but now when night prayer asks for rest to renew our tired bodies, I’m there!  The Psalms are somehow always appropriate, and time and again the daily readings sneak up on me with just what I need to hear, whether I think I’m ready to hear it or not!

So from the depths of the screaming toddler, the sound of the washing machine, buzzing computers, and splashes at bathtime, the Word of God speaks softly, but clearly, as long as I am willing to make the time to listen.

Holy Housework

I had been wondering where the burst of cleaning and ordering energy that I’ve had for the last couple of weeks had come from, and I now have a couple of theories.  (For two pregnancies I looked forward to the “nesting” phase when I would actually want to clean – it never came.  Maybe this is what it feels like!)  Freedom from the requirements of a job has certainly helped, since I have hours back in my days with no commute, no papers to grade or lessons to plan, not to mention the time I actually spent teaching.

But I have also been doing some “mommy” reading, some of which has dealt with home schooling, and some of which has been more in the homemaking-without-losing-your-mind-or-your-soul mold.  The later has been most edifying.

Essentially, I have bought into the idea that if God is calling me to be at home and raise my children (which hopefully I believe, since that is what I plan to do with myself for the foreseeable future), then He must expect my experiences in this realm of life to be my ticket to sanctification.  And as Holly Pierlot argues, and I think rightly, it is up to us to take our vocations by the horns, so to speak, and direct our efforts at doing our very best at our calling.  If this means homemaking, then I am called to be sanctified by doing the dishes, laundry, diapers, and more generally creating an environment in which my family can live as God calls us.  That means (I think) an environment without excess clutter and dirt, with order and calm, and with beauty, for starters.  So boxes are making their way to St. Vincent de Paul, shelves are getting dusted and reordered, and the real trick is going to be making the habits I’m trying to form – for prayer and housekeeping – stick.  And doing it joyfully, because it is what God wants me to do.  (Lots on this in Merton – also worth checking out.)  Pierlot talks about offering up each little task, and about following some sort of prayer rule, to help all this happen.  So far, this change in mindset has really, really helped.

In the midst of all this reflecting and reordering, I read the first reading for today:

“Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.  As it is written:

‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.’

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.”

-2 Cor. 9:6-11