Sunday, January 27, 2013

Earthly or heavenly?

"Set your minds on things above, not earthly things." - Colossians 3:2

Last week I started reading a devotional series called "Soul Detox" with the community of women at She Reads Truth. The daily reflections are very short, encouraging me to focus on one idea each day; it's very manageable. I got stuck on the verse above. How are we to follow Paul's exhortation when our lives as mothers are so full of "earthly things"? Where is the line between earthly and heavenly? It seems very blurry these days.

You've been up most of the night caring for a baby who always seems to need just a little bit more - a diaper change, a little more milk, a burp, a few minutes of cuddling - and she finally drifts into a deep, heavy sleep just as dawn starts to lighten the sky. earthly or heavenly?

Days of careful planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking have paid off, and a lovely dinner is on the table. There's even wine. The baby sits happily in her little seat on the floor and coos while you enjoy your meal and the first adult conversation you've had all day. earthly or heavenly?

The sun is shining brightly on a January afternoon, and though it's cold, you bundle up and head outside. You walk quickly down the street, soaking in the sunshine and fresh air, and breathe a prayer of thanks for the abundant blessings in your life. earthly or heavenly?

All week, you have looked forward to some quality time together with your husband, but on Saturday, you are both so tired that you take turns picking fights, and the resentment builds. Mid-afternoon, something happens that makes you both laugh and the tension fades away. earthly or heavenly?

At Mass on Sunday, you've been distracted. You couldn't say what the readings were about, and you missed the homily because you had to change a diaper. Kneeling during the Eucharistic prayers is out of the question, because if you stop moving - even for a second - the almost-asleep baby will wake right back up. Then you walk up and the priest offers you the Body of Christ, and you're reminded how small your sacrifices are, and how filled with grace. earthly or heavenly?

Maybe what St. Paul is hinting at is a change in attitude. A shift toward finding the good in everything. One of the most wonderful aspects of our faith is its sacramentality, its ability to use everyday objects and experiences to communicate spectacular grace. Through the lens of faith, earthly things are transformed, and God comes to meet us in the mundane.

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