Monthly Archives: January 2012

The “Mom’s Out of Town, Dad’s In Charge” Morning Checklist

1. Pants on backwards? Check.
2. Socks don’t match? Check.
3. Breakfast of cookies and chocolate bars? Check.
4. Hair brushed? Nope. That’s too hard. Besides, it’ll just get messed up again.
5. 9am field trip to Chuck E. Cheese? Check.
6. All 4 kids accounted for on departure from Chuck E. Cheese? Ummm… wait a minute…
7. 11am field trip to hardware store? Check.
8. Assistance from two-year-old in den painting project? Check. Put that down!
9. Pantry door propped open so two-year-old can get herself a snack while Dad cleans up the spilled paint? Check.
10. Lunch fed? Oops. I knew I was forgetting something.
11. Kids bribed to smile for “we’re having fun” picture to send to Mom? Check.
12. Gone running to Grandma for assistance? Check.
13. Bedtime prayer for Mom to return really soon? Check.

Baptisms and a Bad Attitude

At Mass this past Sunday there were two baptisms, an unusual occurrence. There were a few good-natured (and not-so-good-natured) groans and sighs as people anticipated Mass running twenty minutes longer. One fellow, however, who entered with his young grand-daughter, was a little more emotional.

“My G_d, this is not what I come to Mass for! Baptisms!”

He was steamed, and those of us around him were more than uncomfortable. I guess his indignation built during the readings, because he left during the homily and did not return.

My initial reaction was to criticize. After all, if all I do on Sunday is make it to Mass, then I have had a successful day. But something else occurred to me. I saw myself in his “righteous indignation”.

How many times have I become impatient when the actions of others threatened to disrupt my carefully planned day?

How many times have I become indignant when people did things to inconvenience me or were inconsiderate of my feelings?

How many times have I walked out of a store or restaurant with an attitude of “they don’t deserve my business if they’re going to do that?”

Now, of course, we should not feel obligated to bring our business to establishments that don’t provide satisfactory service, but how much of those feelings were a result of an attitude of over-inflated self-importance?

That kind of anger, that kind of ego; those are dangerous feelings to nurture. When we cloak our egos in righteous indignation, those egos become stronger, infecting the rest of our life, and they can even raise their ugly faces during the most holy of moments.

Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Little Way

Yesterday’s Office of Readings contained a quote from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton that nicely summarizes The Little Way.

The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly,to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly,to do it because it is his will.

For those of us who are married and parents, the will of God in our life, our daily work, is simply to love our spouses and children, to live out our marital vocation, and to teach and raise our children in the faith. It is not to make a bunch of money, move into the nicest neighborhood, or raise a sports star, pop star or otherwise hyper-successful child.

What is the manner in which he wills it? We do our daily work as perfectly as we can, with a spirit of self-sacrifice. We don’t cut corners in order to make time for TV, partying, or ladder-climbing. We focus on the task at hand and are grateful for it, even if it involves mowing the lawn or cleaning up after a sick toddler.

We do it because it is God’s will. We don’t do it because it makes us feel good, though satisfaction and joy may come as a grace. We don’t do it with the expectation of gratitude from wife/husband or child. We don’t do it to impress others. Others might not be impressed. Gratitude might not be forthcoming. This daily work might include suffering such that satisfaction and worldly happiness is a rare experience. The fact that God wants it must be enough for us.

So let us today resolve to be an instrument of God’s will. We don’t have to be the next Mother Theresa or Padre Pio or John Paul II or Elizabeth Ann Seton (who, by the way, was a wife and mother). We just have to be a devoted husband, wife, father, or mother.

Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!