As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Despise Not Our Petitions

A few weeks ago a friend of ours was facing a pretty dire circumstance.  When I got the news it completely consumed me for the rest of the day, and I found myself immersed in the words of the Memorare.  I was familiar with it, but memorized the beautiful words under the desperate circumstances of that day,

Remember, oh most gracious Virgin Mary
That never was it known
That anyone who fled to your protection
Implored your help, or sought your intercession
Was left unaided
Inspired with this confidence
We fly unto you
Oh virgin of virgins, our Mother.
To you we come, before you we stand
Sinful and sorrowful.
Oh mother of the Word Incarnate
Despise not our petitions
But in your mercy hear and answer us.

The more these words settled in my heart, the more I realized that Mary was better able than me to plead the case of my dear friend. And as I recited them over and over, the burden was transfered from my shoulders to the loving arms of our Blessed Mother, who cares as only a mother can.

Somehow in the past few weeks, life has become crazy.  I don't know how, and it strikes me funny to think of how often I write that sentence (and why does it always take me by surprise?) Chaos is the norm not the exception around here, and how the circumstances come to be really is irrelevant.  I really believe this is the work the Lord is doing in me now, to break me of my own will and the things I cherish most - namely a sense of calm and control.  And I have been struggling.  As I look ahead at our family calendar we have a daunting three weeks ahead that are packed just about as full as they can be, including weekends.  And it terrifies me a bit.  I have to really work at being in this moment and not letting myself look ahead, because I panic.  How can I handle it?  There is still so much ahead of me.   Nowhere to run, no way to avoid it - this path laid before me is one I must travel.  How do I do it when I feel so very weak?

On the encouragement of my husband, I have been making a special effort not to let catechism fall off of our daily school schedule.  Last year it became the thing we didn't need to do when things got too busy, which translated to us never doing it.  But this year I have pursued it with renewed zeal.  And it is turning out to be the most life-giving part of the day.  We reflect on the mass readings at the beginning of the week, and I always find the psalm speaks to me most powerfully of all.  Consider the last few weeks:

In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge (September 8)
I will rise and go to my father. (September 15)
Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor. (September 22)
Praise the Lord, my soul! (September 29)
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (October 6)
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power. (October 13)
Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (October 20)
The Lord hears the cry of the poor. (October 27)

The Lord is showing me, through these, that I need to trust Him.  Most especially I find myself identifying with the use of the word "poor".  It is not lost on me just how poor I am before the Lord, so much of my struggle comes from trying to walk through this poverty myself.  I don't have anything on my own, not even time - and yet, what a blessing that is.  Because it is so much easier for the Lord to help someone who truly needs help, who is truly deperate, than someone who can make it on their own.

This afternoon I put a show on for the kid, drew a bath, and had a little retreat from the chaos that looms ahead.  I reflected on the words of the psalms from the past few weeks and begged the Lord to meet me in my poverty, when the words of the Memorare came flooding back to me, and I realized that my own circumstance was no less dire than that of my friend that called me so much to prayer a few weeks ago.  That with the same fervor I used to plead her cause I needed to plead my own, because although we have difference circumstances we both have the same need - to be met in an impossible situation, and carried by God.  I was so grateful to have memorized those words then, because I so need them today.

Oh mother of the Word Incarnate
Despise not our petitions
But in your mercy hear and answer us.

May the Lord have mercy on me, a sinner, and may He lift me up in times of struggle.  May I never presume to walk alone, but rely on the One who promises to carry all of my burdens.

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