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Friday, March 09, 2007

Finding my special ministry

"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love." -St. Therese of Lisieux
As usual, my husband offers the best analysis of my current slump. After reading my last post and commenting on how 'down' I sound. I drone on to him about how I feel so compelled to help people, to do more. To feed the hungry in Camden, care for the unwanted and neglected children, in short become Dorothy Day-tomorrow, if possible. I don't feel that I'm doing enough, I must be lazy and that our suburban life is holding me back from all the really great things I should be doing in the Lord's name. My inability to reach my full potential now or in the foreseeable future depresses me. (I actually asked if he thought I would wind up in purgatory for longer because I do so little charity for others.) He turns to face me, stares me right in the eyes and says, "Maybe you need to be happy where you're at. You feed our children and me, you keep house, you're homeschooling. You *are* helping people. Maybe this is what God wants you to do now and you need to accept it. Maybe your feelings of inadequacy are keeping you from fulfilling your mission."
I think he's right. In my desire to become a Worker or perform the works of mercy I have overlooked my vocation of motherhood as unworthy or less important than someone living in a Worker House. I've been dreaming so vividly of the day when my family will live the Maurin agrarian dream (growing organic plants and serving them to the poor) that I fail to see the moments I've been given today to raise my children in the faith.
I admire Dorothy Day and all the Workers who everyday give 100 percent of their time and effort into serving the poorest of God's children and maybe someday, that will be me and my family. I just can't be that person right now and I can't feel bad that I'm not. While my concern and prayers extend to all persons, my day needs to be spent on the souls in my household.
Maybe I can get more out of Lent this year if I stop focusing on all my failures and instead focus on all the opportunities I get during the day to serve Him. The day after our conversation, this message appeared in my inbox via a Yahoo! group post. Enough said.
I was a young bride in search of a special calling from God.
"Dear Lord," I said, "let me be a disciple of yours; show me where to go and
what to do. I yearn to clothe the naked and to feed the hungry. I'm ready,
Lord, I'm ready."

I didn't think He was listening. No special call came. But,
the Lord promised me that the rewards of this special job were "out of this
world", that I had been specially chosen for this duty and that He would give me
all the grace I would ever need to accomplish it. But what was it and why had
He not revealed it to me??

After over a year of marriage, there came the birth of our first
son. I was still waiting for this special ministry He had promised. "Dear
Lord," I said, "it's going to be harder to do this ministry as you give me each
child. Make your plans clear to me, Dear Lord. You know how anxious I am!"

Well, time kept passing by and no word on the "special
ministry"! During this long wait, we were blessed with the birth of four more
sons and a daughter. "Dear, dear Lord...I now have six children. How can I
ever do this special ministry you promised, especially if I don't know what it
is? God, are you listening?? Speak to me. I still yearn to clothe the naked
and feed the hungry. YooooHoooo....this silence is killing me!"

"Dear child," He replied, "it is in silence that I speak to you!
You must be quiet and listen to the still, small voice. If you had listened you
would have known that your special ministry was laid in front of you the day you
were married, and became all the more special as I gave you each child. When
your husband and children needed to be clothed, did you not purchase/make their
clothing? Did you not keep it clean for them? Did you not sew on missing
buttons and repair torn clothing for them?

Dear child, did you not realize that you have been feeding the
hungry? You have nourished their bodies and their souls. Good job, dear child.
Yet, you still say you yearn?

Well, dear child, go tell the other mothers who have been drawn
away from their homes to RETURN! Lead, by your example and joy. These mothers
have a very special ministry they must attend is the home; it is to be
godly mothers and wives. Tell them not to fear about finances. Do I not
provide for the birds of the air? Motherhood is a High calling and must not be
forsaken. Fulfillment and contentment do not come from the outside world."

"Thank you, Dear Lord!" I exclaimed. I shall fulfill my duties
cheerfully and gratefully. I shall make Your words known all over the world!

To all you mothers who have been pulled away from your homes and
your quiver, RETURN! Your children will soon be grown and out of the house,
leaving you to lament over the duties you did not fulfill! It is not too late;
RETURN! Your "special ministry" is in the home! Listen to that still, small
voice and RETURN! Spread the word!

Written by Wendy Cukierski. Wendy and her husband Walter are simple Catholic folks. They operate The Cukierski Family Apostolate, P.O. Box 396, Wampsville, NY 13163