Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sacrifice is an everyday reality for me, like most moms. We sacrifice our bodies, our intellectual pursuits, our careers, our leisure time, our privacy.... All these sacrifices leave us with less of certain things, in exchange for the rewards of happy, healthy children and marriages. Would we change much? Probably not.

I have to admit, though, that I have moments of selfishness when I want to scream "MINE!" and grasp frantically to hold on to a few moments alone in the bathroom, or with a book, or a meal, or coffee, hot to the bottom of the cup.

In this selfishness is a certain amount of desperation -- of hunger. It stirs a cry of longing, and in that longing, I am focused on my lack -- lack of time, lack of resources, lack of freedom, lack of devotion and prayer. In that longing, the last thing I am thinking about is greater sacrifice!

My previous post was about the power of praise to transform circumstances. How much more sacrificial praise!

I was in the chapel recently, in the depths of one of these "cries of longing." Okay, I admit it. I was whining. But in the corner of my mind came the smallest whisper: "Sacrifice of praise". It was a phrase used so lightly in my upbringing -- it really had very little meaning for me beyond its use in a rather up-tempo praise chorus we used to sing. But there, before that altar, in the presence of Christ, I began to read aloud psalms of praise -- psalms that acknowledged God for his attributes and exhorted others to do the same. I didn't feel like praising. It was truly a sacrifice to lift my voice just then. But as I did, something amazing began to happen: a transformation of my perspective. My circumstances didn't change. My needs didn't change. My attitude, however, did. There, before that altar, I acclaimed aloud that He is holy, He is worthy, He is the joy of my salvation, He is able.

I acclaimed Christ as King, and in my acclamation I found peace. I found rest for my soul. I found myself able to return home and face the day in gratitude for the many blessings I have been given.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bloom Where You Are!

How often do you see a movie or TV show, or read something that you've seen or read countless times before, and suddenly see it in a way you never have? How often have you said "I can't believe I missed that!"? So this is how my day began...

I was reading morning prayer, and one of the selections in the psalter for today was Psalm 84. I have been through the psalter many times - it's a four week cycle. I have read the Psalms through more times than I can remember. Somehow, though, this particular passage has always just skimmed past my eyes; I never really saw it until today.

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may have her young - a place near your altar."

Now, as a "nesting bird" of sorts, this tickled my awareness. What better place to care for my young than near the altar of the Lord? As I've considered this further, maybe I have less need to feel out-of-sorts in church with my children. This reassures me that doing "mom stuff" that addresses my children's immediate needs and helps to direct their attention to Jesus and His unique presence at Mass really is okay, after all. (You too, Mrs. J.L.!)

Ah, original point.

"Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have their hearts set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (translates to "weeping"), they make it a place of springs; they go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."

What admonition! What encouragement! What simple direction!

Praise is, for lack of a better term, magic. It turns the driest, bitterest valleys we pass through on this pilgrim journey into places of springs, where we may find strength and refreshment - strength that carries us until we see Him in Zion.