Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Purging the Past, Entering the Reality of Now

Justin,  the de-clutterer, at the beginning and end of his scholarly career
I'm in a purge mode this summer and have decided to go through my house from top to bottom recklessly tossing out anything deemed to be, in my opinion, extraneous.  It was my son Justin, the recent high school graduate, who got me started on this goal toward clutter-free living.  In the week after he graduated, but before he began his full-time summer job, he systematically emptied out kitchen cabinets and junk drawers, extravagantly tossing out nearly everything.  I'd come home from work and find the cupboards practically bare.  And I liked it.  Suddenly everything seemed so clean and bright and I don't miss the things he threw out at all.  Really, I couldn't even tell you what they were!  It just goes to show how little I needed those items I had piled up and saved!  Now I've taken it upon myself to continue Justin's work and I have been scandalously eschewing the unnecessary melange from my home including my prayer journals.

In the few years prior to writing this blog, I kept prayer journals where I recorded my daily prayers based upon scripture verses from the daily Mass readings, a sort of written lectio divina. It was a time of my life where my suffering from depression was deep and the prayer journals served a very helpful purpose in bringing about my healing.  But now, as I read through them one last time before I forever renounce them, I find that I am more than happy to kiss the past good-bye and to accept my beautiful life as God has brought me to it in the present moment.  I am so grateful to find that those old books filled with words of sorrow and the struggle for joy no longer reflect who I really am today.

And yet, those years of journal writing were also years of voracious spiritual reading for me, and whenever I would read something that touched my heart or inspired me, I'd have to write it in my prayer journal so I'd never forget it.  Now I've come across some terrific quotes that I had saved and rather than toss them to the insignificance of yesterday with the rest of the household trash where they would be forever lost, I have decided to share them here on this blog where they will hopefully be a source of inspiration for others...

So I begin with these:

From My Monastery is a Minivan by Denise Roy regarding her childhood dream of becoming a priest (much like St. Therese of Lisieux):

"Here I sit, twenty years later, no longer wondering what I'm going to be when I grow up.  I've arrived.  And guess what?  My childhood dreams have come true.

For two decades, I have broken bread, poured grape juice, preached, prayed, told stories, bestowed blessings, taken care of the sick, heard confessions.  I have been a parent.  These have been the sacraments of my daily life and, I suspect, of yours.  These are simple, sacred acts.  These are how we mediate love, as we minister to our own little congregations-children, spouse, family and friends.

I have discovered that it is a great vocation."

From my favorite author, Carryl Houselander:

"For the moment, the precious and only now, you alone are the bearer of the Blessed Sacrament into your own little world.  You are the monstrance, the priest giving Communion, the Real Presence, to your husband, your children and your friends; and the reason why, or one reason why, Christ has given Himself to you, is because He wishes to be with them, as things are, only through you.  This is an astonishing thought, as every thought about the Blessed Sacrament is, if you bring an ounce of courage and realism to it."

And one more journal scribble that I found to be irresistibly worth saving, from a conversation during my daughter's basketball game with the graduate pictured above:

Justin:  "Mom, why don't you talk to some of these other parents here?"
Me:  "Because I don't have anything to say to them."
Justin:  "Yes you do!  Just ask, 'So how's Jesus working for you?'"  ;)


  1. Anne...

    I love these quotes...especially from Carol Houselander. It is kind of a brick dropped on my head from the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the reminder.

    Have blessed days this week.

  2. My house could use a purging too, Anne. (And I've only lived here a year and a half. Yikes!) I like the fruits of your purging - these are great quotes!

    Your conversation with Justin made me smile!

  3. Love this! A wonderful reminder of how and whom we are appointed to care for in our vocations. (I am about to purge my basement arrrgghhhh. I may not surface for a while.) Congrats and Blessings to Justin! I also love the dialogue between you two!

  4. What wonderful quotes. MUCH food for thought and prayer... thank you for sharing them! And that last sentence of Justin's has me giggling out loud... it was like a yummy dessert after a nourishing meal. If you find any more quotes, I'll be standing here with my bowl outstretched. "more, please...."