Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"A Mother's Rule of Life" Part 2

"Schedules might be limiting" Holly says, "But disorder is more limiting."
I understand that Jesus is perfectly willing to bless my efforts, but first had had to have efforts to bless. I had to do all in my power to fulfill my obligations.
She goes on to say...
Jesus was asking for the dedication of my entire self to my vocation.
Thus "A Mother's Rule of Life" was born.
A rule of Life is a traditional Christian tool for ordering one's vocation and the duties it entails, and the development of a schedule for fulfilling these responsibilities in a consistent and orderly way.
The Catholic Dictionary defines "The Rule" as "a happy disposition of things...a multitude reduced in some wise to unity."
She goes on to say "That is just what I wanted: "a happy disposition," and to reduce all the overwhelming tasks of motherhood into a nice, single unit of work I could handle. And in my mind, I couldn't see any extreme difference between a religious community and a family community: there's still the mother abbess (mom), and the postulants and novices (the little ones mom needs to raise), and the professed sisters (the older children who can help)...
But there was something else I found intriguing about the whole notion of a Rule of Life: that it was also suppose to lead me to holiness.

This is all very profound to me and extremely appealing. Making more sense than anything I've ever read. I've read so much about the importance of schedules to make a home run smoothly, a schedule to help stay on task, etc. But to look at it all as my vocation in life given to me by God, likening it to monastery life, brings so much more meaning to me.
We must analyze our vocation. She goes on to say...
We see, then, that the practical element of a Rule is a reflection of the aims and mission of our vocation, whis should determine how we spend our time.
Now, I had tried schedules before and had failed. Was that because I was trying to order my life according to goals that didn't reflect what my calling as a Christian, a wife, and a mother demanded? Was the stress I had been experiencing the result of an imbalance in my priorities? Seeing how I was so often confused about everything, did I even know what my primary daily duties were supposed to be? After all, a Rule of Life deals primarily with essential responsibilities. How could I know whether I was giving these the primacy they deserve?

Okay, enough of my quoting the book. All I know is that I have found a book that really spoke to me in making me see that my life has far more meaning than I ever imagined. It is helping me prioritize responsibility and the first is God Himself.

Learn more...find the book at your local library (which is what I did) or find it here. It is profoundly beneficial!!!!


sara said...

"Jesus was asking for the dedication
of my entire self to my vocation"


"did I even know what my primary daily duties were supposed to be?" this is how I often feel...overwhelmed and frustrated at the end of the day feeling unproductive and depressed by the clutter and things i haven't done.

does she draw any lines and talk about the differences between a home and a monastery?

can I just come and spend a weekend with you to talk and figure all of this out!!!??

thank you so much for these encouraging posts :)

sara said...

forgot to add this...I have really failed at creating and maintaining a routine. I've chalked it up to having a 7 month old and a toddler but I will always have excuses. I feel like I just want someone to tell me what I have to do everyday and then I HAVE to do it!!

That lady has a cool website, btw.

sara said...

WOAh, I just read this on her website re working with children at your feet...very wise.

"The key is to have her live life WITH you, work ALONGSIDE you - and thus, you need to pray to switch from a task-oriented perspective to a person-oriented focus."

Susan Sophia said...

First of all, Sara, you can come spend time with me anytime you want!!! I'd love to sit and chat about all of this.

She does look into the Rule that Mother Teresa kept with her Missionaries of Charity and compared that a bit with a home saying "We all share the same need for sleep and rest, meals, prayers, and work everyday. Why couldn't I just write in my specific family and vocational duties in place of the sisters' work for the poor, since so much else was the same?"
And more helpful maybe is this which she goes into great detail through the rest of the book. "With all my research, I never found an example of a Rule of Life written by a layperson. Most Rules I came acros were of religious orders....
I remembered a wise old priest telling me, early on in my marriage, about the Five "P"'s of Married Life--the five priorities of the married vocation:
First P=Prayer
Second P=Person
Third P=Partner
Fourth P=Parent
Fifth P=Provider
The priest said that every woman called to be a wife and mother has certian obligations that must be fulfilled; true "duties" in that they can't be ingnored nor neglected. They are not optional..."

The next 5 chapters cover each in detail. I've read the first 2 so far and have been quite in awe of her wisdom. She has really opened new doors for me in the way I look at my life as a mother/wife/homemaker. There are a few things that have REALLY hit me hard that I plan on posting about.

I think this just might be a book worth owning!