Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Opportunities for Grace

November 5th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

Lucia Marie Gillenson – 6 weeks old

Dear readers of this venerable blog space, please forgive this absentee author. I have had my hands full with my new daughter as of late, much of the time quite literally. So, I hope that you will forgive my long hiatus from writing.

On that note, motherhood has certainly given me ample time to think about how different my life has become, including how much it has changed me and the way that I do day to day tasks. From realizing that a mother cannot go anywhere without first making sure that she has all the emergency diapers and formula that she could possibly need for an eternity stuffed into her diaper bag (you never have enough, no matter how much you prepare), to finding new ways to pray because you are silently begging the Lord that your inconsolable daughter will stop crying and conk out while you sit rocking her, bleary-eyed at 2 in the morning, motherhood is full of frustrations, amusements, and joys. But overall, I have found that it contains many more opportunities for me to grow, not just as a mother, but as a woman of Catholic faith.

I once heard a line in the movie “Evan Almighty” that sums things up pretty well. It is the sequel to the more well known “Bruce Almighty,” wherein God (played by Morgan Freeman) drops down into a man’s life (the titular Evan, played by Steve Carell), and proclaims that another great flood is coming and to build a new ark to save mankind. At first, Evan is skeptical about his newfound status as the famous Noah of old, but he eventually embraces his task, long hair, biblical clothes and a mysteriously appearing menagerie of animals included. His wife grows increasingly more concerned about his sudden transformation, and eventually leaves him and takes their children with her, scared for all of their safety and unable to cope with the ridicule being heaped on the family.

She eventually stops at a restaurant to get herself and her kids a meal, where she unknowingly runs into God, disguised as a waiter. As he inquires about her and learns more about her situation (as if he didn’t know it already), she laments about how her husband is convinced that God told him to build an ark, and that she doesn’t know how to handle it.

God then puts it to her this way: if a man prays for patience, does God magically give him patience? Or does God give him the opportunity to be patient? Or if another person prays for courage, does God give him courage or the opportunity to be courageous?

I can’t tell you how many times I had been given the opportunity to grow in grace and virtue through long nights of soothing and diaper changes, but sadly I regretfully had not taken them as I should. Instead, my poor husband has been on the receiving end of my harpy-like attitude due to sleep deprivation, and more than once have I slunk off into the confessional for it. Rather than grow in virtue, I instead chose to fester in vice. As a new mother, never has this cinematic exchange been more apropos.

So, with each new day and challenge that presents itself, I am committing to facing them well and utilizing each opportunity for grace that the Lord sends my way, instead of running away. No matter how many temptations to commit sin (as well as unexpected baby vomit fountains) arise, I am dead set on facing them as a Catholic woman of faith should… Not as if it were a curse, but rather a blessing.

To my dear husband… If you are reading this (and I don’t doubt it), please accept my apologies and my thanks for your putting up with all the times that I snapped at you instead of supported you. I wouldn’t be able to do this adventure without you.

Now I must be off. After all, my daughter probably has another surprise of the unpleasant variety waiting for me to take care of.

Jon, Lucia and I on the day of her baptism – October 14th, 2018
St. Kateri Tekakwitha – Latin Mass Community (Irondequoit, NY)

2 Responses to “Opportunities for Grace”

  1. Ginger says:

    I hope this link with writing about the domestic monastery helps.

    God bless your beautiful family.

  2. TL says:

    What a perfect summary of motherhood! Thank you for your insights. (Here’s hoping for many surprises of the pleasant variety in your future!)

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