Vocation and Holiness

This morning as I stumbled down the hall, coffee in hand, the fourth grader handed me A Bridge to Terabithia.  “Mom,” she warned me, “don’t let anybody read this for school.  It is terrible.  It has very foul language.”

“Oh?”  I had read it way back in elementary school, but hadn’t looked at it since.  I couldn’t really remember what was in the book.

“Yes.  They use the d-word.  And the parents say things like ‘crap’ and ‘crud’ and ‘you stupid’.  And that’s just in one chapter.”

Ah.  Duly warned.  I thanked her for the head’s up.

1.  Simcha Fisher writes:

We’re so used to seeing our own children, so used to the idea that they’re under our care, that we sometimes forget that the angels rejoice when a young person goes out into the world armed with truth and love, instead of going forth with their hearts cramped and crabbed by an acceptance of abortion.  This is where the battle is fought: in individual hearts.  Each abortion is a tragedy because it ends an individual life—but each heart that is taught how to love is a true and eternal victory.

Yes, raising our children lovingly is commonplace, a duty, nothing new.  So what?  It’s still a big deal.  It’s still the way to save souls.  This is the great thing about being part of the Culture of Life:  everything counts.  You don’t have to save your receipts!  Your good works have been noted, and they will not go to waste.

2.  Bearing reminds me, I’m not the only mom who got paid to go to graduate school, in order to prepare for a rewarding career in the ultra-non-profit sector I don’t typically feel guilty about this.  Back when I was applying for fellowships, I assumed I’d ultimately end up in some kind of field that was a natural extension of my start in accounting — maybe moved out of staff and into operations, or teaching accounting 101 at the community college, or who knows what — who can really predict how a career will turn?  I also knew that I wanted to be a mom, and that I was intentionally picking a field that lent itself to momness.  Ditching it all in order to stay home and raise kids?  If only I could be so lucky.

At the fellowship interviews, I was asked, “What do you see yourself doing in five years?  Ten years?”

I answered honestly. “Solving problems.”

Which is what I do.

3.  This week at the Catholic Writers Guild blog I’ve been shuffling around the schedule to get all the mundane writer-talk posts pushed off until after Easter.  I didn’t want Holy Week to be chit-chat as usually.   But Sarah Reinhard’s post for today, even though it’s sort of a blogging post, it’s really a Holy Week post:  Remember Your Priorities.

–> Hey and real quick please pray for Sarah’s very urgent prayer request for a family member with a scary, likely life-threatening diagnosis on the way.  Thanks.

4.  You know what?  I just love this photo so much I was thrilled with Julie D. picked it out for her 1,000 Words post.  Because I just like to look at it.

5. Holiness versus Weirdness.  It’s a constant battle.  I spend a lot of time just trying to figure out how to live life.  I feel stupid about this, because, well, not knowing how to live your life has got to be one of the marks of stupidity, right?  But at the same time, I live in a culture that doesn’t know how to live life, so I remind myself it’s not exactly shocking that my adulthood be devoted to figuring out what I ought to be doing instead.

And I’m not alone.  Which makes reading Catholic Lifestyle Lit of a decade ago so amusing, because the holiness-fads of years gone by shout out like a pair of parachute pants.  Which is why my children in ten years will be laughing about this over Thanksgiving dinner:

When I wrote about fasting from artificial light in the Register a while back, I got a ton of interesting responses. One of my favorites was from a dad who told me about this family tradition that they’ve been doing for 30 years:

We turn off the light when we leave for Holy Thursday Mass and don’t turn them on again until we return from the Saturday Easter Vigil at around midnight on Saturday.

We got the idea when our parish turned off the lights and had us exit in silence on Holy Thursday. And we entered at the Easter Vigil in darkness which continued until the Gloria. And, of course, Good Friday services were held during the daytime so lighting was not a main focus. So we got the idea to practically “live” this period when Jesus the “light of the world” was taken away from us.

I think we might try this this year. Anyone else going to give it a shot?

My kids will the story of how I read this idea at some Catholic lady’s blog, and when I told Jon, not only did he like the idea, he proposed we just flip all the breakers in the house except the one for the kitchen.

So yeah.  Weird.  I know we are.  I know it kids.

6.  But listen, weird isn’t all bad.  My garden is awesome.  If by “awesome” we mean: I like it.  And I was sitting in it this spring, and realized that Margaret Realy’s book about Prayer Gardens had come true.  I read it, followed the instructions, and wow, it worked.  Highly recommended if you want a little quiet garden-y oasis, and need some ideas about how to make it work.

And with that I’ll cut out the rest of the chit-chat and go be all vocational.  Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here come Easter or so.

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