Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Response to Unexpected Grace

The Annunciation

Today started much differently than I am used to. I was up at 4:59am in answer to a very insistent whine from the dog. Typically, Mali waits for Lyle to rise with Eddie. But, not this morning.

So, I woke, went down to let the dog out and get her a drink. I sat outside on the swing on our deck and just took in the beginnings of the sunrise. It was peaceful. I decided to take advantage of that moment and do my morning meditation then and there. It was rather nice to reflect on the words of Pope Benedict XVI in the stillness.

This morning I reflected on finding the Word of God in the words of Scripture. Pope Benedict XVI was describing how sometimes we read the words and tell ourselves we understand, but miss the Person of Christ in those words. We are reading Christ in Scripture -- He IS the Word of God.

My thoughts drifted to how I would apply this to my day, to when I would sit down to read the readings and Gospel for the day. How would I see Christ in them to bring to my daily activities? How would this change the way I viewed the events of the day? Eventually, I wandered back upstairs and drifted off into another 45 mins. of sleep -- another unusual occurrence for this chronic insomnia sufferer.

I didn't have look far for how this day would become less mine and more His according to His Word. I woke a bit achy and uncomfortable -- I was fine just 45 min. before. So, I told my daughter, Lainie, to her disappointment that mama would probably not meet the bus at the National Zoo today for her field trip. (There were still so many details to get accomplished before the big celebrations of Confirmation for Eddie and First Holy Communion for Gracie this weekend, I couldn't afford to get too run down.) After a moment or two, Lainie bounded with excitement over the fact that she was going on the trip at all.

I was relieved.

Off the girls went to school and I sat down to read the Scriptures for the day.

The phone rang -- early 7:58 or so. It was Jim, the father of the young woman who takes care of Eddie. (Katie is due to have her baby on 3 June.)

"She's at the hospital," Jim said, "Her water broke this morning."

Well, this was certainly unexpected but, happy news. Katie and I had just had the chance to talk about some childbirth issues yesterday. It was a nice talk, an informative talk, and hopefully a calming and reassuring talk about natural childbirth -- I was an assistant childbirth education instructor many years ago. Who knew she would need that information I shared with her so soon?

God knew!

And, then it all seemed to fall into place. I was prepared to handle all that was coming my way early in the morning. I put myself in the presence of the Lord from the moment I rose. To something that normally my husband would have done, I responded because there was a greater purpose to it than just letting the dog out. I was being called to pray -- to set the stage in my heart for the way the day was going to unfold for me.

I couldn't go to the zoo. Katie wasn't going to be here.

Christian, my college-age son, has an appointment. He wasn't going to be here.

I had to be here to care for Eddie this afternoon. I couldn't be downtown in Washington, D.C., but I also had to react to it with care for my daughter's sake. I needed to respond this morning, so that I could be cheerful and consoling later. I needed that grace.

The Gospel this morning speaks about peace and rejoicing. Christ says:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father. (John 14: 27-28)

The Word is obedient to the Father's Will. Thus, Jesus reminds the apostles that although he will not be with them much longer, they should rejoice in this and accept His gift of peace. He is preparing them for what they do not expect although they were told previously that all of this would occur.

Isn't this what happened to me this morning, too?

Didn't I meet Christ, the Word, in my meditation?

Didn't He come alive in my day through the Scriptures?

I was aware that Katie was having a baby, I knew that in these last few weeks, the baby could come anytime. We even spoke yesterday about how anything could happen regardless of how her mom's labors had proceeded -- her mom apparently delivered her baby's late. Yet, I was not expecting to hear that she was in labor TODAY!

I was peaceful, cheerful and of course, very happy for Katie. She was being well taken care of with family by her side and her husband en-route.

I didn't panic about what the afternoon might be like without Christian or Katie on hand to help with Eddie. I was relieved that I hadn't gone anywhere and could manage the number of children in my carpool with Eddie along for the ride. too. It was all manageable even with the hectic pace this week has in store for me.

I am grateful that I woke early and prayed -- to have responded to the call to rise early in a way that was not typical for me. I am thrilled that there will be a new baby born in the world, and that I had the small privilege to offer some advice that is fresh in Katie's mind and may come in very handy today.

I will continue to do my best to remain in His presence and ask for the intercession of His Blessed Mother, Mary, whom we honor through the month of May -- for myself, my family and, of course, for Katie, her husband & her baby!

And one other thing I will do: I will meet the person of Christ, alive in the words of today's Psalm, as I continue to pray in thanksgiving:
My mouth will speak your praises, LORD; all flesh will bless your holy name forever. (Ps 145: 21)


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