Thursday, June 7, 2018

When it all seems like why pray? Why go to Mass?

Being a mother seems to be a sign that I am somehow bullet-proof.  That, however, is the farthest from the truth!  As a child, I often wondered about being a mother and a wife.  How handsome and wonderful my husband would be and the many would I have and what would it be like to see people who looked like me. All I wanted to be was a mother and wife, oh sure there were spurts of wanting to be a rock singer, actress, or a cashier, but all in all; it was being a wife and mother that I always resorted to. 
For the past thirty-six years, I have been a mom.  Through it all, I have taught my children to love God and believe in his saving gift of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.  We prayed and they all made their sacriments under the guidance of our parishes and our homeschooling curricula.  Throughout our eight years of home-educating, I was connected with many families online in various places learning, comparing notes, and making it a successful experience for our family.    My husband was very supportive this time and was the principal, science, and math teacher with his Ph.D. in Biochemistry

Our family went through a crisis with one of our children a few years ago.  As the matriarch of our family and the Catholic in our marriage, I led the family to Mass every Sunday and obligation days, taught our school with Catholic curricula and myself achieved master catechist certification through the diocese.  To say that my husband has been a supportive partner in my Catholic faith, raising the children Catholic and purchasing Catholic books each year is an understatment.  

During the darkest times of this crisis, I became weary of praying to "deaf ears" as I put it.  This child kept disappearing on us and doing things we never fathomed in our minds would do.  She was out of control and we were too. (I had to stop and cry for a minute, sorry) Ok, so one day as she refused to listen to me beg to stay home, our little 5'2" daughter stubbornly and/or bravely got into a taxi and left.  As it went down our street carrying our baby, I gave her to Jesus.

One Sunday morning as my husband finished his morning coffee and came upstairs to check on my progress in getting ready for Mass, he found me sitting on the side of the bathtub in my nightgown.  "Don't you need to be getting ready for Mass?" he asked.  "For what, no one is listening to me anyway!"  "What?"  he's confused.  "I pray and pray and only want the good for her, I am praying all the time and no one is listening!"  I shouted out of complete exhaustion and frustration.  The scientist and searching Christian husband said, "That's not how prayer works."  "How do you know?"  "It just doesn't, that's all I know.  We need to be getting ready for Mass."  "I'm not going, why should I bother, there is no one up there."  In shock, he said, "You're serious?  You aren't going to Mass?  Well, someone has to go.  I'm going to Mass."  he turned around and went to his closet to get ready.  I got up and followed him, "What, why would you go to Mass, you aren't even Catholic!"  He said looking at his shirts, "Well someone has to go to Mass."  I walked away and sat back down on the side of the bathtub and thought, why is he doing this?  In pure resignation, I told him I'd go and got dressed.

Things in our family are constantly changing, including my faith.  The morning made me realize that I didn't want to not have faith.   I started praying the rosary everyday and my husband and I started reading the readings each day before work at the breakfast table.  We started praying the Lord's prayer together before going to sleep.

Our trials are not over and I still have weak moments when I just can't pray.  In those moments
I just get quiet and know that Jesus doesn't need my prayers, I need them, and more than that I need to continue to grow my faith and relationship with Jesus.   He has a plan for me and for our child.


Chris Ssuter Manion said...

Thank you for sharing this raw crisis of faith. I love how your husband was willing to go to Mass for you, in your place, as a sort of marker. What love!

It reminded me how we stake a marker in the ground to mark when we planted bulbs or plants that have no visible indication of their presence above the ground.

Chris Manion

Ebeth said...

Thank you, Chris, for your comment. A marker indeed! I never really thought of that, but it's true! There are places in our world that we either belong to or desire anchored to. For me, it is the Mass. God Bless!

June E. Dahl said...

That is very touching that your husband, wanted to go to Mass and was not even a Catholic. I also had a mixed faith marriage, and to my great surprise , halfway through our marriage (he died in 2004 , of his long term chronic illness, he converted to Catholicism. He loved the Mass, and after reading recently a booklet called: "The Wonders of the Mass" written by a marvellous Catholic author called Fr. Paul O´Sullivan, O.P. , my own enthusiasm is rekindled ! The Canadian Sisters of Saint Anne , from Lachine, Canada, taught us, as 14 year old girls, that the Catholic Mass is the highest form of worshipful prayer with which we can honour our Almighty GOD. Throughout the last 2000 years, it has been held as the highest most sacred prayer form, ONE SINGLE MASS gives more honour to GOD than all the penances of the Saints, the labours of the Apostles, the Sufferings of the Martyrs, and the Burning love of the Blessed Mother of God. . .
I , personally, believe this to be true . One must attend to the prayers with the best, most concentrated, reverential attitude that we ourselves are capable of. We must attend to the Mass , in the state of grace and not have mortal sins on our souls. It is best to examine our conscience and attend Confession or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at least , if possible every 14 days or so and not keep committing the same venial sins or falling into the accustomed failings we have, so that God is pleased to see that we really are sincere in our efforts to get close to Him and enjoy His love of us. God is a lover of SOULS, and is always with us. It is mind boggling , to know that each of us is extremely important to GOD. How He manages this contact, is a beautiful mystery. I picture God in a sort of Airport control tower with myself on His radar. and my guardian angel , who loves God very much, relaying all my words and actions exactly like a video computer . . . Since GOD is the creator of what we call "science" and since we, creatures/ humans are just discovering bits and pieces of what GOD , Himself has created, then "light waves, chromotography, ultra-sound and all the other marvellous discoveries in todays´ techno world, are just a few of the creations of Almighty God. Our hormones and nervous system with all the sensations imaginable are under GOD´s might and power. If GOD is pleased with our celebration of the Mass, the unbloody Sacrifice of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, then , how can we not attend Mass as often as possible to give the good GOD , the honour and pleasure, He deserves. This earth is just a testing place for our souls, which are physically transcendental. This is a phrase used by the Doctor of Theology , a priest called: Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S. J., Ph.D. We live on this earth as a prelude to our eternal "afterlife". One moment´s experience of the Beatific Vision of God, is worth a lifetime of torture on earth. If we can recall all these facts, when we are faced with trials and much physical pain or agonizingly terrible sorrow, it will be of great value, to us. We need such incentives to HOLD ON . . . and persevere as Saint Paul admonishes us to do.