Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look at What We are Building

Well, there are still fewer children here than there are in the Duggar family, but I have to admit feeling an amazing amount of pride when I see this group -- just a portion of the Building Cathedrals family -- gathered together for a baptism last month.

Back in college, GG had the idea to start a rosary group. I remember sitting in a cave-like underground cafe in Princeton and hearing a man pray the rosary for the first time in my life. Together with some other courageous and well educated young people, he was trying to build up the Catholic community on campus. I had become more active in my faith fairly recently, due in large part to God's blessing me with a Catholic man to love, and I found myself along for the ride as Princeton's small side chapel began to be filled for daily mass, as bible studies and weekend retreats were at capacity, and eventually at an evening talk by Prof. Janet Smith titled "Contraception, Why Not".

I was engaged at the beginning of my senior year in college, and some of these other girls, young and in love themselves, were curious to see how I was going to pull it all off. My first child was born 10 months after my wedding, and my story evolves from there. Just now I am expecting to deliver my sixth child in just a few weeks. Others have welcomed children at their own prayerful pace, and it was the third son of B-Mama and GG who was baptized that morning by our college chaplain, surrounded by so many little well-wishers. I was intensely aware of what an amazing journey we are all on, individually, as married couples, and together as a community.

This past Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. This church (not St. Peter's, confusingly) is the Pope's parish. Since it was dedicated in the 4th century, the Lateran Basilica has often been called the mother church. The readings for this feast day are quite fitting to our theme of "Building Cathedrals."

Brothers and sisters:You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,namely, Jesus Christ.

These words of St. Paul to the church at Corinth tell us what we need to know about our jobs. First, "you are God's building," and so are your husband and your children. In this blog, we hope to support each other to giving careful attention to what we are building upon the foundation set by Christ. If we hope to be building cathedrals, we must know what that means.

On Sunday my pastor explained that the basic mission of the Church is to proclaim that Christ lived, died and is risen from the dead. This is what the Pope himself proclaims to the world from the Basilica of St. John. This is what is proclaimed in the parish churches where Catholics gather all over the world. This must also be the mission of our domestic churches, the homes and families that we mothers and fathers are building.

This mission is universal. It does not tell us to have many children or few, to work or to stay at home, to homeschool or to send our children to school. It does not tell us to cloth diaper or make our own babyfood, to pray outside abortion clinics or quietly at home. These are the decisions that you will make along the way, and the details of your family life will be unique to your family, but they will be right so long as they are guided by the mission to proclaim that Christ lived, died and is risen from the dead.

I am approaching my third heavily pregnant Advent season, and each time it provides alot of reflection on the Holy Family's preparation for the birth of Christ. Over the coming weeks, if my pregnant brain will stay with me, I hope to write several posts which will talk about preparing our domestic churches for Christmas. You have not asked for my help, but as the eldest builder I am going to be bold and give you assignments. November is the end of the liturgical year, and in the Northeast the days are getting shorter and we know that a long winter is coming. The Church in her wisdom has given us feasts that can guide our prayers this month. November begins with, and is especially dedicated to, the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. These are the pilgrims who have gone before us, the living stones that built the Church, and churches, which we have today. Together with the living, the communion of saints forms the universal church that brings Christ to the world. With the Feast of the Basilica of St. John, we also celebrate the physical churches that hold the tabernacles which bring Christ to the world. We celebrate our domestic churches, which hold the little people who will bring Christ to the world even after we are gone. This week, take just a few minutes to reflect on your mission as a family. Before the holiday rush begins, we must be well grounded in this mission.

Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.


Bethany said...

I envy you all. Having a strong friendship rooted in a strong faith. It's much easier to live the faith you know is right when you have that support.

Thanks for letting me get a little glimpse in to that.

Congratulations, again, to your youngest B-Mama and Mary Alice, I wish you well in the last few weeks of your pregnancy.

mad cow said...

Great pic.

Kat said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, MA!

Juris Mater said...

MA, I love how, because of how everyone is arranged in this picture, you look like the matriarch of this whole clan. Because you basically are!! Thanks for being the pioneer and such an invaluable source of wisdom and leadership. There's no way we can repay you, but please know how you've blessed us all.

Jeanne in Tampa and Franciscan University said...

Is this the story how you all started? Way cool.

Prayer request for you all I defend my Project over here in Ohio tommorrow.

Tommorrow night at this time I will be done.

God Bless.

Right Said Red said...

As always, beautiful post MA!

Personally, I think the pic is funny because it looks like B-mama and JM's husband are together ;-)

Alex said...

Thank you for such a compelling post, MA, and for the beautiful "homework" of orienting our hearts and prayers to the Advent season. You make me excited to do so.

B-Mama said...

We are so beyond blessed to have one another and to be blessed by such a beautiful, growing community of little souls to raise. Thanks be to God!! Wonderful thoughts, MA, as we head into Advent. This is absolutely my favorite time of year made better by such a compelling feast day reflection. Hugs and prayers to all from cozy Virginia!

Molly said...

What a beautiful picture of such beautiful families. I hope you ladies know that what you're building is not invisible, and that I and your other readers learn so much from your examples. Thanks so much.

texas mommy said...

Thanks for this beautiful post, MA. You are so correct that, while our buildings may look a bit different, we are are so blessed to share the same foundation, Jesus Christ!