After the Mass of the Lord's Supper Thursday night they had adoration of the Blessed Eucharist until midnight. Considering that I spent half the Mass walking the hallway with my 18 month old and the other half fighting annoyance and biting my tongue, I figured I needed to go back and actually pray for a bit.
I had some trouble finding it, and embarrassed myself fully at one point by walking into St. Francis Hall where I heard music and saw what looked like a monstrance only to find a group of teenagers reenacting the washing of feet beneath a large mounted cross. Under their confused stares, I walked along the back wall as though I just came in to check the room out and scurried through the other door. Asking a person in the hall didn't help me, either.
So I finally found it in the Church gym and knelt down to pray. The Host had an honor guard of Knights of Columbus (I love those guys. They're so great.) that changed every 15 minutes and lent an air of formality and ceremony that made the experience that much better.
I definitely had to expend active energy to stay awake and keep my focus on Christ, but unsurprisingly it was much easier to feel God's presence when I was sitting right in front of Him than it is when I'm in my living room at home. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to hear God's voice. And I received an important insight:
God placed me here intentionally. Sometimes I feel like life would be easier if I had (pick one of the following: married a Catholic, become a nun, gone into the Peace Corps) and that my current crosses are in large part my own making. I have to remind myself that I would still have crosses in any other vocation; they would just be different crosses. I would still have to carry them. I would still probably whine and resent that life isn't all roses and strawberry cupcakes.
God reminded me last night that this path, the one I'm on, THAT'S my path. He has chosen these crosses for me specifically to grow my soul in the direction it needs to go. He has always placed me directly in the path of temptation. I can only imagine He does this because He wants me to grow stronger. I'm not meant to run from my problems and challenges. I'm meant to face them.
I once read that Ghandi used to sleep with young virgins as a test of his willpower. Those without faith might roll their eyes and say "Sure...and he was sleeping the whole night." But I believe God does similar things in our lives. It's easy to get discouraged by constant temptation or the omnipresence of obstacles, but without these things our will cannot strengthen.
On that note, we've had another sewage backup in the basement. *sigh* This one wasn't as bad because my parents are staying with us and they were able to alert us almost immediately. The professionals got it unblocked and then I went downstairs with Lysol, paper towels, two sponges and a plastic garbage bag to rectify the situation.
The plumbers should be coming to fix our pipes this week. We're just waiting on one more estimate and the check from the insurance company (we're not sure how much it is and for some reason they won't tell us over the phone) to see what our options are.
I don't think it's coincidence that this happened right as my parents were visiting, on the very day my sister and her boyfriend arrived, and on Good Friday to boot. The stresses on my soul this weekend have been pretty high.
Adoration on Thursday helped me cope with them, I'm positive. Not that I was perfect or anything, but the knowledge that God was not allowing all this to hit me at once in order to destroy me, but to temper me by fire, bolstered by efforts to work with Him instead of giving in to despair.
It's only through carrying our cross and being crucified upon it that we will come to our own Easter.
The Lord is risen, Alleluia!