This post is part of the Small Steps Together ring from Elizabeth Foss's blog In the Heart of my Home.
St. Teresa of Avila says we must find grace amongst the pots and pans. Which is good news for a mother who spends much time amongst those pots and pans....
Fr. John Hardon, Servant of God, often waxed eloquently- and sternly- about the need for "washboard mysticism."
And thank God for that. I remind myself every week in our Holy Hour- yes! 3 children in the chapel for an hour EVERY WEEK
They are grace incarnate.
One time I mentioned to a friend that it helps me to remember that the only person in the relationship who could be guilty of sin in the relationship between myself and my child (my oldest was only 3 at the time) is ME. My (small) child is still as white as snow when he lies down to sleep... am I?
He may behave inappropriately. Often. But he is learning. I, well, I am supposed to be TEACHING by EXAMPLE first and foremost. Gulp.
A child is grace incarnate when I am that child's mother.
Once I heard a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal tell a story of two of his brothers having a conversation about family life. "Family life," said one, "brings out the best in us." The other snorted, "No, family life by design brings out the worst in us. Drags everything out from our darkest corners. So we can work on things. Clean. Heal. It brings out the worst."
I agree. Children bring out the best AND the worst in us. They are grace. They are our path to Heaven. My children are not a distraction to me at Mass or in the chapel before the Lord. They are my conduits to Him and from Him. A recollected Mass is not neccessarily more pleasing to God than a distracted Mass wherein I am helping my children. St. Therese's Story of a Soul is full of anecdotes that absolutely confirm this for me.
"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance."
-Franklin P. Jones