For three weeks now I have been mostly housebound. The first two weeks our car was broken and then this week Rose has been unwell with tonsillitis.
It’s been very slow moving and I’ve had a tendency to busy myself in the housework. But in a lot of ways it’s been a welcome-break; not rushing around doing the school-run or preparing to be out for the day, or needing to be somewhere at a certain time. It has “forced” me to stop my busyness and take time to hear the silence.
A couple of days ago, I was sitting on my bed in the morning listening to the silence (a very rare experience for me these days!) and then I heard Clara climbing up the stairs singing to herself.
I was filled with very conflicting emotions has I heard her coming closer! Part of me just craved more silence, to be still with the Lord a little longer, and then as I continued to listen to her innocent voice, I realised there would come a time when all the children have left home and no-one comes to interrupt me!
I’m loving the Abiding Together podcasts at the moment and for lent they’re discussing Father Jacques Philippe’s book: Searching for and Maintaining Peace. It is amazing!! This quote from his book really struck me:
[We have] the temptation to believe that, in the situation which is ours (personal, family, etc.) we lack something essential and that because of this, our progress, and the possibility of blossoming spiritually, is denied us.
For example… my immediate family prevents me from organising my spiritual activities as I wish.
This was definitely written for me! I need this constant reminder; that this is my life – a busy wife and mother of three small children – not some other life in an ideal world. These are my busy days and God is still present in my busyness; He just needs me to recognise those seconds of silence in the day and then continue along my path of motherhood beside Him.
I’m learning to love the interruptions and to cherish that smile on Clara’s triumphant face when she found me sitting on my bed! I’m thankful for this ‘welcome-break’, but when Rose is back to full health, I’m ready to carry on living this busy life God has given me with those special little moments of silence.
What an amazing couple of weeks. After a truly beautiful week with friends and family in Germany and Spain (post to follow), I ventured on my own to Micklepage, a 17th Century barn house in the heart of Sussex countryside, for a silent retreat.
My first retreat since Benedict was born a year ago (another post to follow – we celebrated his 1st birthday on Monday!), and the longest time I had been away from him – not easy, but grace-filled. Eoin stayed with his parents that week and they helped out with B, and I’m so grateful for their help.
The retreat was led by Fr Tom Dubois and the Foyer Community from France, and what a great retreat it was! We had Mass, praise and worship, talks, adoration and the rosary each day (it probably sounds quite intense but through the silence they flowed together so well… and if you’ve done a silent retreat before you know its no holiday haha!)
There were six other retreatants and all I knew about them were their names. And yet, after spending a week with them there was a real unity between us; I felt on some level I knew them in a much deeper way – it was very special. Silence really is a powerful thing.
I am so thankful for the retreat. Being a mother now, the silence and the time of prayer free from worry about your little one, is cherished time indeed.
This is the old farm house some of us stayed in:
This is from one of the walks I did each day:
And this was my room… It was a real struggle for me actually! I hate anything creepy-crawly and this room had plenty of them! God definitely took this opportunity to take away all my comforts and challenge my fears…
I came across this book “Faith Beginnings” on another Catholic Mum’s blog… It is brilliant! It talks about ways of developing a child’s faith right from birth. Until reading this book, I never thought about my 8 month old having faith at his age. Of course, I knew that when he was baptised God made His home in him, but I guess I thought he would be older and talking before he could have faith in Christ.
The book suggests really simple things, like whispering the Hail Marys of the rosary to soothe your baby to sleep. And so by praying with them on a regular basis it becomes a normal part of their daily life.
I remember being surprised a couple of months ago when, seemingly out of the blue, my husband said grace with Benedict before he fed him his dinner. He took Benedict’s hand to make the sign of the cross and then prayed the grace we normally say. It was so lovely to watch, and I couldn’t understand why we hadn’t done it before! It seemed so obvious!
The book also talks about the sensory nature of the Catholic Church; the smells of incense, the stain glass windows, statues of saints, holy water at the entrance of the church, the ringing of bells during the Consecration. In an age where there are countless sensory classes being offered to mothers and babies, the Mass seems a great way of introducing your child to the different senses, AND it nourishes their soul too!!
This book is definitely a must for any Catholic parent!