“Patience achieves everything.” — St Teresa of Avila
Let me take you on a journey.
Of all the sins I struggle with, the one most impossible for me to overcome is my hot-blooded, boil-over-in-a-second, knee jerk temper. Patience isn’t a virtue that comes to me naturally. If I have something to say, I say it. Apologies come later, sure, but right before that, the words were flying out of my mouth before even I knew what was coming.
I aspire to sainthood, but I’m more of a Joan of Arc than a St Monica. Lead me into battle anytime — just don’t make me bare wrongdoing patiently. Or worse, silently.
Not long ago I prayed, God, what is the deal with this innate temper that gets me into trouble? How do I find patience?
I googled. I read some St Thomas Aquinas. Later when I wasn’t even looking (because that’s how God operates), I found a quote online, but for the life of me, I can’t locate it now. I swear though, it was St Teresa of Avila, and it was something along the lines of if you want to be patient you need to learn to be grateful–though the only quotes on patience that I can find of hers pertain to patience obtaining allthethings.
But I reeeeally did stumble upon a saint quote on gratitude that caused me to start googling thankfulness. For some odd reason, I have always had a hard time expressing gratitude or any real feelings that run deep for that matter. I will happily tell you all my faults in an instant to add distance to protect my heart rather than share the intimate stuffs that friendships are made of. Go figure. So gratitude clearly has a tie to vulnerability.
What struck me after reading gratitude blurbs on blogs, bible chapters and saint texts, was just how important gratitude is to our souls, our relationship to God and to each other. So I decided, ok God you told me to work on gratitude, so that’s what I’m going to do. And for a month it looked something like the following anecdote:
*Driving down the road. Praying the rosary (distracted and badly).* Ooooh the sky is just so blue and beautiful. Oh wow, no clouds. Just endless blue sky! Praise Jesus! This is gorg… hey a-hole, stay in your own lane. *said while barely resisting the urge to flip off of the reckless person in the vehicle swerving in and out of traffic.*
My intentions are excellent. My following through–not so much.
So a couple days ago, God and I had a heart to heart. God, I thought, I am just not figuring this out. I’ll keep at it because you said to, but I’m at a loss for ‘thankfulness.’ I’m trying. I don’t know what you want me to do.
So a day goes by. I finally started reading the hilarious and insightful Cari Donaldson’s (who I met this Summer at Edel) book Pope Awesome. It is excellent by the way.
God spoke right to me on the pages of her book in a big duh moment.
There’s Cari talking about how Eucharist means thanksgiving, and I stop dead in my tracks. I know I know I know Eucharist means thanksgiving. I also know, know, know and have heard dozens of times that when you get down to it, the Eucharist is the key to everything. But right at that moment I realized, oh, God is really calling me to receive Him in the Eucharist.
Now, I know that. I go to mass every Sunday. I believe in the real presence, the Blessed Sacrament. But lately at Sunday mass I either have a loud, rambunctious kid (or 3) with me or I have zero attention span personally. The mystery of Christ fully present in the Eucharist is there but shrouded by the fact that I‘m hungry, my shoes hurt, that guy next to me has really bad BO and I am wondering if I remembered to shut off the oven after all. Also should I cancel my Gwennie Bee membership? I have to go by the post office. I forgot to get milk! I am so angry at myself for not remembering milk. I made a note on my phone and everything. I want a new iphone but not the one that bends in your pocket. True story.
Meanwhile, there’s Jesus, present in the host, the truest and quickest way to grace, sanctity and sainthood, and I’m not only witnessing this miracle but being called to full communion–and I’m thinking about running errands?? Put a dunce hat on me. Seriously.
I used to go to daily mass. As soon as I could drive. It was a priority and I enjoyed it and I was gifted a lot of graces because of it. Now though, because my husband works very early and usually very late and I have a toddler and kids who may or may not be at school, it’s not as if my time is my own.
But whether or not anyone besides me and God really wanted me there today, in the small chapel where daily mass is held just down the street from my house, we were there. Me and the kids. Me and especially the toddler who thought It’d be super fun to slap me in the face and yell all the words he wanted to say. Sorry fellow parishioners. It was painful and awful and awkward, but I may just go again both because I’m horribly rude, and even more so because God is telling me in no uncertain terms that I need those graces. My soul depends on it. I want to be a saint and do great things, but aint nobody became a saint by flipping the bird at other drivers in the middle of her rosary. Maybe a saint IN SPITE OF but not because of. I can hope anyway.
I’m currently rereading Haley’s awesome-est ever post on how her kids don’t ruin mass and skimming over other internet posts which sadly aren’t as encouraging as Haley’s. If I could make a time without the kids work for daily mass, I would. In the meantime, I pray I don’t upset anyone too much with my unruly, crazy toddler boy (who only has one volume level). Because I need this. I really do.
“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.”
– St. John Vianney, Cure d’Ars
The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.
– St. Thomas Aquinas
Holy Communion is the shortest and the safest way to Heaven.
– St Pius X
When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.
– Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta