Sunday, July 13, 2008

This guy is in my living room!

Patience and Humility is the book I am currently reading. I selected it from my mother's extensive Catholic book shelf while I was home recently because, these are two of my biggest failings. In fact, I could scarcely believe it when I saw the title - it was a two in one deal, it was written for me, it was small! I hoped that this little white paperback would give me some fodder for prayer and thought. I am painfully aware that I need to 1) be humble enough to embrace fully my role as wife and mother and 2) be patient enough to raise my children with unconditional love and understanding.

Ok, it may have looked small but this puppy packs a punch. I read the first chapter without paying much attention to the author's biography and all I could think was, "this guy speaks the truth and he does not mess around." Turns out William Ullathorne was an early 19th century Benedictine missionary and now his amazing words are following me around my house day and night. Enough about him enough about me, I have to share this content with all you other wives and mothers who struggle with these virtues!

Essentially, Ullathorne describes every minute of every day as a struggle between doing what we selfishly desire and doing that which will bring us closer to God:

"There is no master so large-minded, so generous, or so well acquainted with you and your requirements as God; no father so loving and bountiful; no friend so free from all jealousy; none who so completely loves you for your greater good. While there is no tyrant so narrow-minded, so proudhearted, so exacting, so suspicious, so utterly bent on keeping you to your own littleness, as the one we all know so well, of whose tyranny we have had such bitter experience, and who goes by the name of Myself. Yet God or yourself you must choose for your master.

The whole design of God's beneficent government of souls is to draw them out of themselves and to bring them to His truth and good."

So, my sophisticated conclusion after reading this eloquent work is: to realize that the next time I begrudge my family for making so many dishes and thereby eating up all my computer time or toenail paint touch-up time, I must hear this wise monk in my ear -- reminding me that God has blessed me in my current role and that my toenails can go another day with only seven of them painted.


B-Mama said...

Pretty amazing that such a little book (even such a small paragraph) can pack such an intense message! I think I may have to go back and read the passage again just to glean all that's there... Thanks for sharing AM!

Juris Mater said...


Thanks for this great excerpt and reflection. On this topic of God's goodness and his perfect plan for us, I've been thinking quite a bit lately about how Our Lord has such a perfect plan for us in the area of family "planning". Not that we have to take a completely providentialist attitude with regard to planning, but that, when we're a little unsure when we learn that a new baby is coming, we can relax in his great plan. A plan that is for OUR good! I've now had the experience of adding a baby to our brood at a time when I didn't think I could handle it well, and having that baby be the best thing that has happened to me in my vocation as a mother. In an incredibly profound way. I could explain how and why in 2000 more words, but that's not the point. Point is, God's plan is so good. I spent a WHOLE lot of time and energy panicking about how much suffering I was going to undergo, and instead the last couple months have been uniquely joyful and life-changing.

Right Said Red said...

Never heard of "this guy", I'll have to get myself a copy. Great thoughts.

Mary Alice said...

Jm, I want the full story, maybe this is a seperate post when you are up for it, but I am sure that there are lots of readers who have experienced an unplanned pregnancy and would like to know more about your happy ending!

texas mommy said... this passage and the title of the book as well. Thanks AWOL.

AWOL Mommy said...

Seriously how can you not expect us to be clamoring for more details after your lovely positive words? I am with Mary Alice -- spill the beans on the worldwide web, that is what we pay you for here at Building Cathedrals.

Alex said...

Great excerpt, AM, and a wonderful reminder of two such important (and for me, challenging) virtues in the scheme of living our Catholicism on a daily basis. If we can only look beyond ourselves and put God first in our hearts, what beacons we will be for others! I have to constantly remind myself that I will best bring Christ's brilliant love into the lives of others when I am unified with Him myself. As Pope John XXIII, my most recent hero of faith, so much more eloquently says: "Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul" (Blessed Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth, 146, 164).