James' New Cup

Potty training, again, with James.   I am determined not to give up this time.  We have had some glimmers of hope.  To reward some positive progress, I bought him a Thomas sippy cup.  When I got it, I was looking at girl cups, but figured Therese had plenty of cups and she wouldn’t care if James got a new one.  Are any of you laughing at my stupidity at this time?


When I gave him the cup for breakfast, Therese threw down her “old” cup, reached out from James’ cup, and began to whimper.  The whimper turned into a wail.  Devastation.  She did not listen to my words on the 10th Commandment and coveting her neighbor's goods.  It fell on deaf little ears.  


This continued the rest of the day anytime she saw the cup.  If the cup was unattended, she drank greedily.  In her mind, it really was so much better than any she had.  In the end, to help maintain the peace of the home, I got her a Little Pony cup just like James’ cup a day later.  Peace was restored, at least for the moment.


Therese is only 19 months old, but she is apparently very aware of what others have, and she wants it too!  A phase everyone of my children have gone through, and continues to go through.   I know I am not alone in this.  I love the story about St. Therese as a young girl and this exact issue.  Her older sister, Leonie, gave to her younger sisters, Therese and Celine, a basket of her old doll dressmaking kit.   Celine who was a couple years older than Therese, took a simple ball of wool.  Therese then declared, “I choose all!” and took the rest of the basket of materials.


We learn as we get older to temper our desire for all we see that pleases us.  Thankfully, my older children no longer throw their bodies on the floor in displeasure, but that doesn’t mean they don’t continue to see what others have and want it.  This is part of life.  


Too much of Christmas is filled with this insatiable greed for material goods.  What if this Christmas we filled our hearts with the desire for something else.  What if we sought to replace this unsatisfying desire with the holy desire of spiritual goods?  What if every time I saw holiness in another, I wanted to imitate it?  What if I continually asked God everyday for more and more graces as my selfish little Theresie?  What if, to use St. Therese’s words, I decided to “choose all.”  


What comes with this attitude of “choosing all” is not just rainbows and butterflies.  Choosing all means embracing all God gives me, the crosses and the joys. When any good mother and father looks at their newborn baby for the first time, their hearts proclaim, “We choose all!”   They choose to love and help that child through all the highs and lows of their life.  Every bride and groom that is properly prepared says to the other in their vows, “I choose all” this marriage will endure.  In both these instances, there is a blind trust as we cannot know the future.  An entrusting of one’s life and gifts to another.  A willingness to suffer for the sake of our love for the other.


This is exactly what St. Therese did.  Close to the end of her autobiography she writes,


“Then beside myself with joy, I cried out: “O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation.  My vocation is love!  Yes, I have found my place in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my God.  Thou hast Thyself given to me: in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be LOVE!!!  Thus I shall be all things: thus will my dream be realized.”


I shall be all things.  I will be love.


What a beautiful insight into the soul of this saint. A yearning and desire to choose all, to be a witness of love, to accept any sacrifice, no matter how small, and offer it up to God.


I am certain, the Blessed Mother proclaimed with her whole heart, mind, soul and strength on that first Christmas, “I choose all.”  Although we do not hear in Scripture any words from her that morning, we do hear her words at the Annunciation,  “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to thy word.”  (Luke 1:38)  More, we know she walked with Jesus to the very end, to the foot of the cross.  Mary chose all.


This Christmas, let us echo the words of St. Therese and our Blessed Mother.  Let us turn with childlike trust and declare with our whole heart to the Baby Jesus,  I choose all!  JMJ


A blessed Christmas to you and your family!