Cheerios and St. Mother Teresa
I spent more time preparing for this school year than I ever have before. I typed out everyone’s schedules including time for not only all their subjects but also quiet prayer, recess, and chores. Most importantly, I typed out my schedule (at the suggestion of my dear husband) so I knew who I was supposed to be working with and when. This was no small endeavor, and the schedule still is a work in progress, but it was worth the time.
We have also been trying to instill in our children WHY we do school. The usual answers include, “Because we have to!” and, “To get smarter.” While these are both true they are not the real reason. I explained we are doing school, and all things in our life for that matter, for the greater honor and glory of God. They repeated what I said dutifully and have had to repeat it many times in the few days we have started. If we are able to see that all we do, no matter how small the task is, is a way to show our love for God; our outlook changes.
This all sounds good in theory - now to live it.
I had laid the groundwork well, or so I thought, and was ready to hit the ground running on Monday. Monday had the usual first day trials, Tuesday was an improvement, and I was ready for Wednesday to be another step up. Then we had the Cheerio spill and what a spill it was.
As the kids were getting the table cleaned up and cereal put away so we could embark on our new school day the unthinkable happened. Half a box of Cheerios was spilled all over the pantry and kitchen floor by an unnamed child. You can hear the sound of all those little O’s hitting the floor and bouncing everywhere can’t you? It’s not a good sound. Disaster.
I proceeded to act in an all too typical way. A mix of over reaction, yelling, and saying things like, “This is the LAST thing I needed to be doing right now!” and “Can we PLEASE do things right?” I wonder what my children will remember about me in these moments of temporary madness.
I began the clean-up, which required emptying out the bottom of my pantry as Cheerios were everywhere and asked Joseph to start sweeping the pile into the dustpan and putting them in the trash. As he was taking a dust pan full of them over to the trash can, Johnny knocked his arm and, you guessed it, sent them flying over the other side of the kitchen. The sounds of O’s hitting the floor again was almost too much.
Thankfully, at this moment, I took the time to say a quick prayer. What was I doing I asked myself? Was I doing this seemingly maddening task for the great honor and glory of God? Or was I only complaining about the work and thinking about all the other things I wanted to be doing instead? I needed to live the school motto as much as the kids and I wasn’t.
This Sunday, St. Mother Teresa will be canonized a saint. This small woman is known the world over for her holiness. What was it about St. Mother Teresa that made her different? She saw Jesus in everyone she met. She did all things with great love. It is one thing to feed the hungry and care for the sick, it is quite another to do it with love. She cared for the sick and the dying, I can certainly clean up a cereal spill without losing my top right?
How was she able to pour herself out so completely? How was it that she had the strength to carry on despite terrible obstacles? Prayer. St. Mother Teresa prayed everyday. Not just a couple of minutes here and there, but hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This was her secret and this is what set her apart. In speaking to the Archbishop of Loreto on one occasion she said,
“My child, without God we are too poor to be able to help the poor! Remember: I am only a poor woman who prays. When I pray, God puts His Love into my heart and so I can love the poor.”
This Sunday share the life of St. Mother Teresa with your family. There are numerous movies on her life. Many of them can be watched for free on Formed.org. You can also read the story of her life to your children and be inspired to love those around you as she did. Whatever you do, make it a point to celebrate this woman who touched the whole world through simple acts of love to the poorest of the poor.
As for myself, maybe, just maybe, I can clean up the next spill without devolving into a state of temporary madness, and be a witness to my children on doing all things with love. JMJ
Here are some quotes from Blessed Mother Teresa that spoke to my mother’s heart. There are so very many though. What a gift she was to this world! Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for us!
"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."
"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."
"The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it."
"Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness."
Eucharistic Exposition at GA on Thursdays
As I mentioned, prayer is what St. Mother Teresa said made her different. Beginning tomorrow GA will have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday starting at
3pm with the Family Rosary and ending at 9pm.
If you never been to Exposition before this is time that can be spent with Jesus any way you want. You may bring your own prayer books, use the books at the entrance, read the Bible, pray the Rosary, or just sit, relax and enjoy the sweet peace which the comes from simply being in the Presence of God. You may feel you can't pray well. Don't let this discourage you. The mere fact that you take time out to spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament pleases Him very much, and is in itself a prayer of great faith.
Please consider visiting our Lord. He is waiting for you...