Hello everybody! I'm in my kitchen at this moment canning peaches. I've washed, blanched and peeled them all while they are at the peak of their wonderful perfection...sweet as can be! The first batch has been placed into their sterilized jars with some lightly seasoned syrup and has been set in it's water bath and I've got 30 minutes. There is nothing quite as satisfying as opening a home-canned jar of fruit, preserved at the peak of its season, while watching the snow fall outside. So now you're saying to yourself, "You're not canning peaches now, You're typing this post!" Yes, you're right. I am hurriedly adding this post to the long list of things I want to accomplish today. I hadn't planned to write today, but often while doing mindless things blanching and peeling fruit, one tends to think, and collect the thoughts, and get ideas for posts...the Holy Spirit has a way of doing that. I have 28 minutes left until the timer goes off, so I'll get to the point.
As I stood there peeling, I began to contemplate the fact that just like those peaches, everything has a season; fruit, lives, history. It would have been quite foolish to have canned these things while they were still green last month, although it would have been quite convenient for me if I had the opportunity. School season is upon us now as well and I'm also giving the girls their lessons in between batches while I'm at the stove. It occurred to me that the Church has seasons too and this season, I believe, is the equivalent of a mid-winter ice storm. The tragic events that have led to this moment in our Church history have finally been exposed and I think its fair to say that we are all reeling. Even if we do not personally know of the despicable things that were revealed to us, we may know of those who have been betrayed, and have probably heard of at least one of those who have done the betraying. The impact is having a ripple effect throughout the Body of Christ and none of us is left unscathed. Christ is crucified all over again, betrayed by His own. So how are we mothers to respond? This is something I contemplated this morning as I stood in my kitchen, peeling and thinking...and praying. How do I respond?
This thought has been weighing mightily on my heart for some time now; years, if I am truthful as a mother's instinct and duty is to protect her young. Rumors of such things have caused many of us who used to whole-heartily give our time, talents, and treasure to our parishes to shrink back a bit, not wishing to support it if what we had heard was true, and not wishing to cause scandal if it was false, and at the same time resenting the many legalities that have been put in place to keep us all from "liability". Parish life is so very different now. It used to be that we, along with our children, could meet in the church hall whenever we liked, to gather for group meetings, attend or teach classes, socialize at coffee hour, do whatever we wanted to do as a parish family without so much as a thought. Now we must have background checks, fingerprints registered with the authorities and payment for liability insurance in order simply to gather together there. At first I was angry and emotional about this. Then I began to realize why it was that, even in a faithful church with a dedicated pastor who is above reproach, such meticulous rules are now in place. Just as it was after the Bodily crucifixion of the Church, the apostles are scared. A Judas has come forth from among them to betray Christ once again and His Church is now being crucified right in front of them and they can do absolutely nothing to stop it because sadly, the charges that the people bring against the Church are true. Judas has been brought forward, and the faithful apostles are scared. They don't want to be falsely accused and crucified as well, and they know the cunning of their enemy is something to be reckoned with so they must hide away for now, in their own upper rooms and so they become unavailable to us as they protect themselves with legal maneuvers. But do you not think that these good priests would rather be free to be true to the call they received and teach us the Word of God in the open? Wouldn't they rather be gathering right along with us for fellowship and social events and becoming a true Father to their flocks without fear? These modern day apostles are just too scared. So what can we do?
Back in the days after the crucifixion when the apostles went into their own season of withdrawal, the women disciples, along with the Theotokos, tended to them in hiding as best they could, but more importantly they prayed. They begged God for an end to the fear by the coming of the Holy Spirit! When He finally came to them and blessed them with His inspiration, the apostles would throw off their fear and emerge victorious from that upper room and convert thousands! We must pray mightily for that day! The icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit shows the manifestation of that blessing as tongues of fire upon the heads of those priests, and upon the head of the Theotokos who sat among them and received that blessing as well. Why was she present there among them? She was not a priest. When the Spirit came, He would bless both the priesthood and motherhood as well because these are the two vehicles used by God to insure that the true faith would be maintained throughout the generations; holy priesthood, and holy motherhood. She was there to accept the blessing on our behalf just as the apostles were there to receive it for the priesthood today! While they are awaiting this coming...and I believe that He will surely come to them, but in His own time...we mothers must maintain the truth by teaching the next generation of believers. So now that we know we have been so wonderfully commissioned, what must we do to accomplish the task?
1. Pray for our good shepherds, those scared priests, who are in the upper room at this time in our history. They are shell-shocked, and are in need of our support. It may take time for them to receive the Spirit of courage and strength, as we remember that it took 50 days after the resurrection for the Spirit to come to the 12. Just as those green peaches back in July were not ready to receive the sweetness of the syrup I poured over them today, these men just may not be ready to receive the sweetness of the Holy Spirit quite yet. His ways are not always easy for us to understand, but we can see the mark of His plan and trust. We need to plead with the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts and send them inspiration, and soon!
2. Refuse to throw the baby out with the bath water. Many are those who are tempted to abandon the Church because of the faults, not of the Church herself, but of a few horrible men who have abused her and us as well! The teachings of Christ are the backbone of our faith, not the teachings of men! Support the truth. Speak out against the injustices you see in the world from an authentically Christian perspective and world-view! The Church is not dead, only severely wounded and we, we mothers and holy Christian families, must nurse her back to health. Remember, the Church is the bulwark of the truth. To whom should we go?
3. Learn about the tenets of our faith and teach these things to your children yourself! We must not rely upon others to teach them their faith. They aren't up to the task at this moment in history, but we mothers are! We must keep the faith alive in the hearts of our children until it can be gloriously and triumphantly cultivated in the open once again. Know your scripture. Know your catechism. In the era of information in which we live today, there is no excuse. Form groups with like-minded families if community is what you seek and pledge to stay faithful to the teachings of the true Church as it was founded by Christ.
We need to take our mission seriously, moms. Its time to draw the lines and form the battle plan because if we do not keep this faith for our children, there may be none left on earth when He comes.
My timer's going off...gotta go.