Monday, September 20, 2010

"I will accept good works"

My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a milestone! Life has not been easy for them and the two of them have overcome many obstacles in the course of their marriage.

My father has been ill since I was a child. He suffers from mental illness, diabetes, and polymyalgia. Though he worked when I was a young child, by the time I was a young teenager he was too ill to hold a job. This left my mother the sole breadwinner of a family with 5 children. She supported us by cleaning houses during the day and businesses during the evening. As you might imagine, this left her exhausted, and us kids pretty much fended for ourselves. My dad wasn't doing very well at this time and was usually in bed.

My mom grew very close to the Lord during this period in her life. With work, five children, and a household to run, she would virtually tumble into bed at night, totally exhausted. Her lack of prayer time concerned her. Well-meaning friends would tell her that she needed to pray more. One of her friends prayed for 6 hours a day (Yep! I'm serious!) and would tell my mom that she HAD to pray more if she wanted to progress spiritually. My mom would try but would doze off in the middle of them. She started fretting about her lack of a structured prayer life and worried that she was not doing God's will. One night, she went to bed and started apologizing to the Lord for praying so little. As she was apologizing, a perfectly clear vision of Jesus appeared in her head. In this vision, Jesus raised his right hand and gently said "I will accept good works."  My mom was instantly flooded with a sense of peace. When she related this incident to me years ago she stated that the expression on Jesus' face was kind but a bit pained, as if to say, "Do you think so little of me? Do you think I am not aware of your difficult circumstances?"

My mom learned to make her work a prayer. She would offer Jesus her cleaning, uniting it with Him, during the course of her day. She learned to give Him every area of her life and in this way she found the "sacred in the ordinary". Her children, in the meantime, grew up with a roof over their heads and food on the table. And her children are thankful. She made her life a "living prayer".


  1. This is a wonderful testimony from your mom. Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Beautiful, Mary! I so believe that prayer is everything we do for God's glory and what your Mom did was certainly filled with grace. Your story is to be cherished. Thank you for sharing. God Bless your parents on this special occasion. They are a good example in a time when couples bail out as soon as the first problem arises. Bravo! N

  3. What a great example she gave to all of you. I'm glad she had the consolation from Jesus to know that her work counted for gaining grace. St. Teresa of Avila said clearly that everyone is not called to contemplation and that often the person who could only do vocal prayers, but who did them with devotion, could be holier than the contemplative. The same is true of those who are doing physical work or those of us who have many physical limitations that demand bed rest. Jesus wants our all and that's what your mom gave Him.

  4. Shadowlands, Nanette, and Barb,
    Thank you for your kind comments! I am blessed to have her as a mother. She has more free time now, though she still works, and is a great prayer warrior. Bedtime prayers still conk her out though!

  5. Mary,
    Beautiful story and testament to your Mom and her working for God's glory.I think sometimes we don't give Jesus "enough credit"- He will accept the littlest things from us as long as we offer them with love; St Therese's little things with great love.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  6. Karin,
    I agree! God is not complicated, we are the ones who complicate things :)

  7. How fabulous! Your mother is truly a saint!

    I also grew up with a very ill father, diabetes being the main thing that kept him in and out of the hospital and out of work. My mom worked in a factory to support her nine children until my dad was too sick and needed her full time care. They were blessed to celebrate their 50th anniversary before my mom passed away.

    What a wonderful testimony to the love of Christ, that it was His words alone that brought your mother to realize His great love for her and His joy at the love and prayer she offered Him in her daily life.

    Happy anniversary to your parents!

  8. Hi Mary

    Just a quick hello and thank you for the award. I have finally gotten around to passing it on. I didn't make the 15, just 12, but if I come up with three more I will add them at a later date. Would that be O K?

    Thanks for the award and thanks also for your great blog. God bless you Mary.

  9. Anne,
    I'm sorry that you lost your mother. Moms are special no matter what age we are.
    I didn't realize that you had that many brothers and sisters! What a blessing!

    Despite all my dad's illnesses, I swear he's going to live until 90! Nothing seems to keep him down for long. He has a very close relationship with Our Lady and she has helped him immensely over the years. He doesn't know what he'd do without her :)

  10. Hi Breadgirl! That's fine! I'm glad you liked the award. If it wasn't for you I would never have heard of St. David Lewis :) Thanks for blogging!

  11. Thank you Mary, for this beautiful testimony and sharing the witness of your parents to a holy married life. Your mom is a living saint, and God bless your father for his devotion to Our Lady. There is nothing like the blessing of a saintly mother.

  12. Beautiful post, Mary! Your mom is so humble. Like Karinann said about St Therese's quote - do small things with great love. And Brother Lawrence! - Finding God in washing pots and pans! Thanks for sharing. God bless!

  13. Thanks, Colleen! She's certainly scrubbed more than her share of pots and pans, that's for sure!

  14. That is so beautiful..thank you for sharing this.

  15. Hi Julia! It's good to hear from you. I hope you are doing well :)
    Are you going to start blogging again? I took most of the summer off and just started back up in September. I know how difficult it can be to keep up with a blog, but I hope you come back sometime. God bless you, Julia :)