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Archive for July 16th, 2006

We have one of those doorbells where you can select the electronic ring.  I would much rather hear REAL chimes, but an electronic call is funny to my children and my dh, so that is what I have.  My former Marine dh really wanted the doorbell to play the Marine Corps Hymn, but we decided that "call to the post"  (Used to call the troops out of the barracks for assembles on the drill field or (as you horse race fans know) the call to the post!) was much more hilarious as the kids charge the door when it rings anyway. 

Norman_rockwell_motherI have been compiling a journal for myself lately to encourage the "inner mommy" in me to "Get Cracking!"  I need to seriously motivate myself always to be faithful in my daily duties.  I need that "stick-to-ativeness"  in every call of my vocation.   I need to respond at 3:30 am when my 3yo son calls out for me…no matter how soft the covers are and no matter how sweet that dream is…I have to "arise and go" as the holy dictate goes….and aaaway I go.

I remember an article I read some time ago about this and I was so very pleased to find it again tonight.  I think I remember another homeschool mom bringing this into conversation at one time, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who or if this ever happened…

This article speaks to my heart as an inspiration to acknowledge and respond to the extraordinary in the ordinary.  The call "to the post", is THAT response to our call to our daily duties…much like the response a monk would have to the call of the monastic bell.  This article tells us that the "domestic can be monastic"  The experience of young hermit Carl Carretto, alone in the desert, taught an important lesson…the experience brought him to realize that his MOTHER had been living in a domestic monastery all along!!—Here is a bit more:

"the mother who stays home with small children experiences a very real withdrawal from the world. Her existence is definitely monastic. Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from the centres of power and social importance. And she feels it.

Moreover her sustained contact with young children (the mildest of the mild) gives her a privileged opportunity to be in harmony with the mild, that is, to attune herself to the powerlessness rather than to the powerful.

Moreover, the demands of young children also provide her with what St. Bernard, one of the great architects of monasticism, called the "monastic bell". All monasteries have a bell. Bernard, in writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the particular activity (prayer, meals, work, study, sleep) to which the bell was summoning them. He was adamant that they respond immediately, stating that if they were writing a letter they were to stop in mid-sentence when the bell rang. The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you want to, but because it’s time for that task and time isn’t your time, it’s God’s time. For him, the monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch the heart by always taking you beyond your own agenda to God’s agenda.

Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart. For years, while raising children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times during the day and she has to drop things in mid-sentence and respond, not because she wants to, but because it’s time for that activity and time isn’t her time, but God’s time. The rest of us experience the monastic bell each morning when our alarm clock rings and we get out of bed and ready ourselves for the day, not because we want to, but because it’s time."

Kissing_the_face_of_god_weistlingIn all we do, we must realize that our time is not really our own.  All time comes from God and all time belongs to Him.  He is very generous with it, but like all things, we must make all of our lives a service of prayer….and I love the term-a domestic monastery…  A short time to come "to know, love and serve God" in this world….much as Mother Mary did with the Child Jesus.  As Mother Teresa once said…

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."

Photo: Norman Rockwell "Mother’s Angels"
Kissing the Face of God by Morgan Weistling

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