As we just celebrated the feast of Elizabeth Bailey Seton, I always come back to one of her books for awhile each year (St. Paul edition with spiritual gems provided by the Sisters of Mercy); and each year I seem to find a few spiritual gems written by Elizabeth that just ring so true in my heart...
Tonight I read "...we lack courage to keep a continual watch over nature and therefore year after year, with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions, and fair promises, we run around in a circle of misery and imperfections."
After one week of my New Year's resolutions to become healthier in body, mind, and spirit, I can only say "Amen" to my dear patroness. My daily scripture reading has already been compromised, I've been less than patient with my homeschooled daughters a few too many times, and although I DID keep up with my new workout regime at the gym four days this first week, I did so with a less than cheerful attitude. And tonight the scale "rewarded" me with a gain of a pound. Yes, I know that muscle might be forming....but as an "imperfect" perfectionist, might I have expected to lose at least 8-10 pounds?
And another gem: "After a long time in the service of God, we come nearly to the point from which we set out, and perhaps with even less ardor for penance and mortification than when we began our consecration to Him." Oh, how this speaks to my soul so often! I remember as a new "born again" Protestant the fire which burned within, and the zeal with which I tried to live for Him! While spending two years a missionary I truly lived FOR Him.....all of my time was His, all of my talents were His....and my spiritual growth was intense during that time. Perhaps it was Divine Providence that my husband should come along at that time, when I felt SO close to His presence, and so in touch with what He wanted for me in life. I remember the first phone call (we met as penpals, and the first contact was by phone), and afterwards praying, "My God, he seems so incredible, but WHY did you send a CATHOLIC??!!" Perhaps it was only because of the ardor that allowed me to follow with total trust to the altar where He Himself was to be found. No greater gift has come from my marriage but that of the Catholic faith and all of its riches!
And yet, with motherhood and homeschooling, I so often feel so dry in my faith. It seems that so many little things can distract me, no matter how good my intentions, and how resolved I am to recapture that closeness of my missionary days. On the one hand, I know that I am living each day my true vocation and mission in life, but I will forever struggle with the feeling that I am being slothful in my faith life.
One final gem....perhaps I should wear this around my neck for awhile!
"How can we live an interior life until some of our natural rubbish is removed?"