It’s only natural to be thinking about possible new beginnings and changes in our lives at this time of year. After all, we as Catholics are embarking on a Year of Faith proclaimed by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. What is Our Lord expecting of us in this brand new Year of Faith? We might wonder. What will He unfold in our lives?
We have the ability to change some of the things in our lives and others we simply cannot. As we leave the past behind us and are feeling ready for some sort of change, whether big or small, in reality many aspects of our lives will remain unchanged in a sense, especially for mothers. The feeling of sheer monotony in our daily routine could cause us to feel a lack of newness. And, further, we might lament that it would appear that nothing at all noteworthy is happening in our lives, no matter our efforts.
|Donna-Marie's son, Joseph with Mother Teresa|
Yet, truth be told, it’s in those very ordinary daily moments in which we are immersed as mothers where change indeed occurs.
Hearts are changed as we mature in our faith, as we continue to teach our families in the Truth by our word and example, and as we work out our salvation together in the blessedness of the family—right in those seemingly ordinary daily moments.
Perhaps, if we mothers could endeavor to see the bigger picture, we would feel more content during those nitty-gritty details of our lives when we are serving our family members—challenges and all. Sure, many times we may not be appreciated for our efforts to raise our children on the straight and narrow (within our homes and outside). We’re not exactly getting a pat on the back from our society, are we? As well, there are those who just don’t understand our commitment to care for not only the externals, but also the spiritual welfare of our families. Because of this, we are at times labeled “overprotective” when we don’t allow our children to partake in the inappropriate pastimes of our culture.
But, our Lord knows precisely what we are all about. He sees us shielding our children from the darkness of the culture and is aware of every single bead of sweat on our brows. He knows all about our sleepless nights when we are up feeding our infants, caring for sick children, or waiting up for our older ones to get home. Our reward will be great in Heaven.
God Calls Us
In this Year of Faith, God is calling us to go deeper into our faith, to learn more about it and even profess it more robustly. How can a typical Catholic do so? We can start by keeping our eyes on the prize and by offering every bit of our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings to He who gives us life! What more do we need? If we are wondering how our personal “Yes” to God in welcoming life and raising our families can have much of an impact on our world, let’s consider for a moment Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, whom I was very fortunate to know for about ten years.
She preached the gospel by doing—by living it. She seldom preached to the masses, only when asked to address a gathering; she then spoke God’s words and inspired others to also do the Lord’s work.
Fueled with the sacraments and prayer, the majority of Mother Teresa’s preaching was within her ministry of wholehearted service to the poorest of the poor—to one person at a time, she preached Christ’s message—through her loving hands and her selfless heart—during what would seem like ordinary moments. She didn’t shout the gospel from the rooftops, but rather shared it from her heart to each person she met—each one God put within her reach. Blessed Teresa’s approach of lovingly ministering to one person at a time made it’s way all around our globe. Amazing change occurred with God’s grace.
Our “Yes” is Powerful
Mother Teresa’s “Yes” was powerful. She has touched countless people directly and indirectly. Her life was an utter living testament to the gospel. And, this is just as a mother’s life should be as well. A mother’s personal “Yes” to God is very powerful too. We preach Christ’s message of love and forgiveness through our loving hands to the people we encounter—one-by-one, heart-by-heart.
We further the Kingdom of God in the heart of our homes—with every diaper change, every hug to our family members, every meal prepared, every squabble resolved, and every lesson of faith lovingly taught to our children, fostered through our words and very importantly, our example (yes, little eyes are always watching!).
Yes, let’s endeavor to make efforts to learn more about our Catechism and deepen our prayer lives during this Year of Faith. But, let’s also be mindful that God is counting on us to evangelize with love in our domestic churches, first and foremost. After all, as Mother Teresa was famous for saying, “Love begins at home.” She also reminded us, “Calcutta is all over the world for those who have eyes to see.” We don’t need to run out and try to convert the whole world. We must strive to find “Calcutta” in our midst. That is where we truly work out our salvation—between the pots and pans, bruised egos, warm hugs, temper tantrums, amazing joys, disagreements, and sleepless nights—within the nitty-gritty details of our lives. Graces are merited and hearts are transformed when we respond with LOVE to our calling.
So, what will unfold for us this Year of Faith? God only knows for sure, but we can start heading in the right direction by surrendering our lives more fully to God each day and allowing Him to work change through us in our families and beyond to draw countless souls to Heaven.
CHANGE—bring it on—all with God’s amazing grace!~Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN TV Host of “Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms,” speaker and author of numerous Catholic books including, Mother Teresa and Me, Embracing Motherhood, and Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women. Learn more at: www.donnacooperoboyle.com