Thursday, August 21, 2014

Catholicy Mommy Tribute

"Pray.  Hope, and don't worry." --Saint Padre Pio. 

My grandmother had a great love of this saint.  I never knew that much about him except for that quote, but it came to mind yesterday when I spoke with my daughter.  She is going to a new school and feels great anxiety about this change.  When I suggested prayer, she didn't exactly roll her eyes but she gave me the look. 

Over the recent years, I've heard the complaint from my teens, "You're going all Catholicy Mommy" on us." Some cringe when they hear EWTN radio on as I do the dishes, others if it is on in the car.  I get it.  All the outside of it can seem too sweet to tolerate even in small doses.   Pray, hope and don't worry sounds almost flippant.   Tra-la-la-lah. I've prayed so no worries.  That's not what the quote means, anymore than "Jesus, I trust in You." means God is my co-pilot.

I struggled to explain.  If it were flippant, it would be merely, "Don't worry, be happy."  But this is a directive.  Pray.  --which means do this first.  Hope.  This is a choice.  And don't worry.  This is an action, a deliberate effort of faith in life.   It means that prayer is an action, and hope is a faith lived, which allows one to proceed forward no matter what, with an uplifted heart.  God answers.  Every time.  Pray, hope and don't worry requires trust in God that He is infinitely good, infinitely loves us and infinitely seeks to bring us home no matter how we wander.

But what does it look like? To pray, hope and don't worry.

If you've ever met someone who deeply understands their vocation and lives it, they bubble with joy even if the work they do is strenuous, obnoxious and lowly.   They aren't trivial. They know the hardness of the life they've chosen, and yet they exude joy.  To be in their presence, is to be steeped in joy.  I've had the blessing of knowing priests, nuns, family, teachers and friends I love, who live this day in and day out.  I searched for examples.  I told her about the sisters of life, women I interviewed for an article and their constant work with crisis pregnancies. They dealt with hard realities of life and death, of struggle and sacrifice, and they yet were joyous people, and I could even feel that joy talking to them over the phone.  She understood.

 Later I thought of how Paul is joyful and we are joyful about him, but that doesn't change the reality of his Down Syndrome. It does however mean his condition is not the arbiter of how we will treat him or how much we will love him. There is still a muscular nature to the work of loving Paul. He requires more vigilance, more patience, more direct hand over hand, but it's all love.  I do not spend sleepless nights over the fact that Paul has this condition. Pray. Hope, and don't worry.  I understood slightly deeper.

So today, she got on the bus and I texted her, "Have a great day, love you." and she wrote back, "Hunger games hand thing." and "Do do doo do."  so I replied, "Thank you for volunteering as tribute."  and privately thought, "Pray, hope and don't worry." as I uttered a Hail Mary for her in my Catholicy Mommy way  and then mused on how very not flippant that sentence of Saint Padre Pio is.  

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