Friday, March 10, 2006

"A Mother's Rule of Life" Part 3

Well, I'm on the last chapter of "A Mother's Rule of Life" by Holly Pierlot. I blogged about the beginnings of it here and here as you can see by the title. But I just could not leave it at that as I've come to a close on it.
This is by far one of the best books I've read on homemaking, mothering, and faith all wrapped into one and I've read a lot! As the whole purpose of this blog was started to find our for me what motherhood and homemaking were to be I've researched and read and prayed. God has definitely answered my prayers in this book! I am actually considering writing a letter to the author (she has a blog) to convey my gratefulness.
I cannot tell you enough how this book is (hopefully) opening my mind and clearing my senses on so much regarding prayer, marriage, mother, homemaking, etc. And to boot...it is very orthodox in it's thinking and is VERY faith based. Can you believe or imagine...I never dreamt I'd find something so close to my faith and on this topic! It is written by a catholic woman but I'd never know except for the mention of numerous western saints.

I briefly touched on this in a comment on one of the earlier posts but want to expand on it.
The Mother's Rule is based on the 5-P's of the married vocation that a priest told her about early in her marriage. I'll name them and then tell you at least one thing that really caught my attention about each. (Sorry this might get long as these have been so eye opening to me...I can't help it.) These are in order of the priority we should keep them at.

First P= PRAYER
Theology professor Fr. Tom Daley once said, "We must realize that law precedes love. The laws that God imposes on us from the outside are meant to discipline us, to help our hearts grow into the laws of love which motivate us from within." ...So I was to obey... So our Christian calling wasn't only about avoiding sin, but about taking positive steps forward to complete the mission God has entrusted to us. My Mother's Rule of Life, then, was obedience to God's will by using my freedom to work toward my vocation, my mission on earth.

Second P= PERSON (This entire chapter is quite profound.)
Our spiritual health directly affects our personal health...
That problem was a nasty little personal motto that had followed me all my life: "But I don't want to!" Of all the difficulties I had encountered in my search for personal wholeness, perhaps my greatest enemy was my interior spirit of rebillion. My reluctance to let go of my own will and my resistance to doing what I was supposed to do instead of what I wanted to do were preventing me from moving closer to God and to happiness. Fr. Tom Daly says, "Freedom is taking responisibilty for who you are to become." Now that was not a familiar concept. Our society's idea of freedom, and the one I had functioned with for so long, meant the "right" to do whatever I wanted, free from external restraints. True freedom, then, Christian freedom, is when we willingly take the steps needed to return ourselves to the internal order God intended... Thus, there has to com a time when we begin consciously to act in conformity with what we know to be good. This means engaging the will. I reached a point where I realized I had to stop so much reading and beging DOING. To make a straight path to God in my heart, I had to train myself to do what is right.

Third P= PARTNER
And as with Holy Orders, we need to realize that the sacrament of Marriage is meant to enable us to fulfill a mission--in this instance, a mission of service and love toward our spouse.

Fourth P=PARENT
It took a long time for me to realize I had been chosen by God to be a mother and that I myself had chosen to be a mother. It took a while to see that, yes, my talents and interests and training were all important things, but my family duties would override any calling outside for a good long while. And I'd come to learn, slowly, that the seemingly mundane and unimportant work of a mother--loving God, living a holy marriage, and raising happy, balanced, holy children--was in the grand scheme of God's plan more important than the many projects and ambitions I had in other areas. I had to learn, over the course of years, that relationships were more important than tasks, that being was more important than doing.
"What can I do that will really make a difference in society?" Raising my children with a Christian worldview was the biggest contribution to society that I could possibly make; giving to the world healthy, holy citizens who would spread their influence in an exponential way...My work with my children was the very core of societal change. I had discovered the mission of motherhood!

Fifth P= PROVIDER
Many times, our responsibilities in this area can overtake some of the higher priorities of family life because our home duties and money concerns are so varied and often time-consuming. Here we want to examine our provider role as God intended it, devote to it the necessary dignity it deserves, yet simultaneously streamline our efforts so that it assumes its rightful place in the five P's of our vocation. Above all, we need to understand that all our work in the home is good and ordained by God.

This book is better than I ever imagined and I pray that God will open my mind and heart to all that I have learned as I try to grasp the understand of my vocation here in my home...as it is ordained by God.

A blessed Lent to you all.

3 comments:

Mimi said...

Wow! What great points.

Lynda B. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynda B. said...

Greetings Susan Sophia;

I was very touched by your words re: doing battle with a rebellion spirit. OH, my, can I ever relate!

Both my fallen mortal nature and my life experiences have drawn me to want to be in control of my own life in every way. Perhaps the greatest challenge of my own Christian walk is to learn to submit my own rebellious nature to the will of the Father. Sure, I believe IN Him, but to do I fully BELIEVE HIM , humbly trusting that His promises are sure? Trust is not my long suit. So this is something I often wrestle with.

I say that I know that with God all things are possible and yet I doubt at times that He REALLY will love or forgive ME. This is something I personally need to repent of on a regular basis!

When you wrote: “Our society's idea of freedom, and the one I had functioned with for so long, meant the "right" to do whatever I wanted, free from external restraints.”…. it touched a thought that I’m still working on to fully comprehend:

I am an avid kite flyer. Yesterday I was flying a big cobra parasail kite that is one of my favorites. Of course, to fly a kite we must have a string that holds the kite up in the sky. On the one hand, it may seem like the string is limiting, restricting, or in some way taking away the freedom of the kite to sail in all its glory out of my possessive desire to keep that kite under my own control. But that’s not true at all.

The physics of kite flying requires the string to EMPOWER the kite to sail with the wind. If I cut the string, the kite does not fly higher and higher. It crashes. The string that appears to be a binding limitation is actually the very thing that allows the kite to meet the full potential for flight.

Likewise, my spirit REQUIRES the limits and structure and rules of God’s commandments to empower my soul to fly to greet Him as I conform my will to restrict how I think or behave in accordance with His will. THAT is the paradox of true freedom.

Being free to fast during Lent, being free to avoid media with dark, unholy images, being free to avoid immodest clothing, are all GIFTS from the commandments that strengthen and empower me, not something to hold me back or control me.

Thanks so much for your words that have help inspire me to deeper reflection in my own struggle between pridefulness and submission.

May your Lent be blessed.