This post is part of our series of Lenten reflections for 2013, focusing on ways that we can nourish ourselves as mothers so that we are better able to serve and bring light to our families, friends, and all the others we come in contact with.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
This past Sunday I sang in our church choir. This is not a regular thing for me, although I love to sing; I just love attending Mass as a family. I had to leave a little earlier in order to make it for pre-Mass rehearsal, so I walked the six blocks by myself. It was a beautiful clear morning, and I found myself praying out loud, just praising God for the gifts in my life. This has been a hard month for us, not in any huge way, just in a string of small-ish ways. My husband and daughter have both been fighting colds. My daughter is going through what seem to be never-ending developmental changes that I can barely keep up with. It's hard, but above all, deeply good. I praised God for giving me a supportive spouse with whom I can leave my baby for an hour or two without a trace of worry. I praised Him for the gift of the seasons, even the ones we don't particularly love (late winter, anyone?), because they make us appreciate the ones we do love. I praised Him for allowing me the luxury of staying home to focus on my vocation as wife and mother.
And then I turned my focus outward, praying for others. For friends and family in all kinds of different situations, asking God to meet their needs and be present to them. One by one I prayed for the people who are important to me. My rhythmic steps on the sidewalk a meditation, the sunshine and cool air crystallizing my prayers and drawing them to Heaven. I breathed a little more deeply, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to me.
I have always felt most deeply connected to God through Creation. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." I sense my Creator's deep love for me in the great beauty that is all around, that is all too easy to glide by in the course of our busy lives. I invite you to take ten minutes this week to walk outside, admiring the beauty of late winter, forgetting to look at your phone, talking to no one but the One who made you. Pray in thanksgiving for your blessings, offer up the concerns of those you love, and pray for the cardinals gathered in Rome, that the Holy Spirit would guide them as they choose the next leader of our Church.