Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Mother’s Holy Hour

I wrote this reflection a few months ago over the summer and wanted to share it since I haven't posted anything in a few days...
Ever since my son’s birth five months ago, I have experienced the dramatic change that occurs in one’s prayer life with the dawn of motherhood. Recently, I had the privilege of taking my mother’s weekly adoration hour while my parents were out of town for a wedding. The silence of an adoration chapel poses a particular challenge for mothers of vocal, young babies who do not yet understand the meaning of quiet.  For that reason, I had not stayed long in adoration with my baby. But this opportunity was different. My old home parish is a small country church in a little village and it is rare for someone not scheduled to stop by during adoration.  It was the perfect chance for me to bring my son without worrying about him being a distraction to others. I was excited to get some “real” prayer time in.
I settled Joseph onto a blanket on the floor and began a rosary. Joseph was having the time of his life looking at all the stained glass windows and the lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Then he tilted his head back and seemed to notice the monstrance. “Ooooo! Haaaawoooo!” I couldn’t help laughing as he seemed to be greeting the Lord in his own little voice. He rolled his legs over and started his trademark head scoot towards the steps of the altar. While scrambling to grab him before he got too far, I lost track of where I was in my decade and so had to guess. I closed my eyes, trying to refocus on the meditation of the mystery. Not a minute later, my boy started showing signs of hunger, so I scooped him up to nurse him. I finished that decade and decided to take a break and try to do some spiritual reading while he was busy. I fished it out of my diaper bag and opened to the first page. I soon realized I was not destined to read much as Joseph began whacking the book in my hands, trying to pull it towards him.  “How on earth am I supposed to be able to pray?” I despaired.  This was not going well at all. I was hoping to get a rosary in and a chapter or two of reading.  As a single person, this would have been easily accomplished.  I was finally snapped out of my lamentations by the squirms of my baby as he had filled his belly and was ready to get back down.
He immediately resumed his cooing as I apologized to our Lord for being so distracted. Suddenly, as if he knew what I was thinking, Joseph looked at me and gave me one of his knock-out smiles and I had a revelation.  Here he was, in the presence of our Lord, just being himself and unconcerned about what to do or say. I realized I was approaching my prayer time as a to-do list, the quality of which I would judge by the number of things checked off in the end. In that little country church, the Lord showed me that he understood the desire of my heart to adore him, and through Joseph, I came to understand that the Lord just desires us to be ourselves and to speak to him in our own simple language. He transformed my task-oriented approach to prayer to one of sincerity by turning the actions of my vocation into praise.  I may not have finished all five decades of my rosary, or read more than a page of spiritual reflection, but nevertheless, I had talked with the Lord. As I smiled back at my little one, my heart filled with gratitude for the blessing that he has been in my life and I turned to the Lord with thanksgiving for my beautiful son and the powerful lesson that he taught me.

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