I do not know if anyone else has this experience because it happens to me often (in part because I talk with everyone). My children often roll their eyes as I start conversations with strangers, for they know I enjoy telling stories and making people laugh and am likely to launch into such a thing with anyone, anywhere, at any time.
What they do not understand, is that often in the course of just ordinary talk of the day, words come out of my mouth that I know were not mine. They were from the Holy Spirit, and they were directed at least in part, at me.
Yesterday, my son’s bus driver pulled up and asked, “How was your Mother’s Day?” She knows we have a large family. I told her the truth, it got a bit squished in between Saturday, which was Rita’s First Communion, and Monday’s Confirmation. We were sort of tapped out, emotionally exhausted, though my kids did work with my husband to host a lovely picnic at a park.
Her eyes widened at the prospect of such a schedule of sacraments. “Your life is very busy.” She beamed.
“Yes.” I answered. “Every day is a feast.” She laughed, and drove off, but those words kept echoing in my heart. Every day is a feast.
I hadn’t planned to go to the school May Crowning that day, but I did need to drop off flowers for my children. Every day is a feast, and here was an opportunity to enjoy part of that great meal. Impulsively, I parked and came. Seeing my son see me and his little sister sitting in the pew, I’ll remember his smile, a smile that wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t come.
And I sat thinking, this is how Heaven is. We have the opportunity to go to Mass every day save one in the year, every day is the opportunity for a feast. I never really liked or understood the parable about the king hosting a wedding feast where none of the guest would come, until I saw how easy it is to get caught up in having to buy groceries or get the car fixed or fold or finish the paperwork, such that I could be one of those invited to the feast, who puts off preparing until it is too late, such that I would show up not quite the way one should.
The modern common wisdom about 90% of success is “showing up” doesn’t hold, because God isn’t interested in 90%, He wants all. Mother’s Day is more an actual Mother’s Day when I can sit at the table with all of my children, not just some. Mass is still Mass even if I’m not giving 100%, but I’m the one who misses out on the feast if I give tepidly or fail to prepare. Fortunately, God in His mercy gives us each day another chance to sit at the banquet, to be fully present, to love.
It was a small success for me to recognize I’d been slipping into being counted as present without being present in the course of doing, it is a fault I must fight against, the desire to count showing up as counting. That’s a mercy given, not a credit I get to assign. It’s my job to remember what the Holy Spirit urged in that moment, in that causal less than three minute conversation, “Every day is a feast.”
Now live it.
This week’s small successes include:
1. My daughter receiving first communion. She is my seventh child, and I don’t think there was ever one more ready, more desirous of the Eucharist than she. If she’d been any lighter that morning, she would have flown.
2. My son got confirmed. Being somewhat camera shy, I won’t post a picture of him here. But I can already see an emotional maturity, a calmness to his normally restless spirit that indicates he too, was ready for this gift of the Holy Spirit.
3. On a less profound level, I managed to make some progress on my second book. I’m trying to write in her every day, and have this month of May except for yesterday. It’s a little “yay!” for my writer’s psyche when the words come easily or at all.
4. A friend received the good news about a biopsy, and we are all very happy for her and her family. Praise God.
5. I have found where I grieve. It is at Mass. Almost every Mass, by the time we get to receive, I am in tears. It has caused some puzzled looks from some of my children, but I’m glad for the gift of tears, and for this place, this sacred time, as it gives me a weekly reminder to pray for my dad, and to remember him.
Hope you had a great week of feasts. Every day is one. Happy Small Success Thursday!
Copyright 2014, Sherry Antonetti