Occasionally my husband unintentionally flaunts that he is light years ahead of me spiritually. On Friday, Jon came home supercharged by his recent confession with Father Avelino. During our family rosary that night this was his prayer: “Mary please uproot all pride in my life, drown me in humiliations.”
Drown me in humiliations? Not the passé increase the virtue of humility in me. No, my dear spouse plead to be drowned in humiliations.
I felt sort of prodded into joining into this request when it came time to state my own intentions. “Yes, me too! Uproot all pride in me and increase my humiliations.” There is this special type of prayer that sort of makes diaphragm clench up. My thought on Friday night, was “uh, this prayer might actually work!”
On Sunday, I worked as heroic sheepdog to get all my little ones ready for Mass. My husband packed our crew into their car seats in time for 8:30 Mass. I came out of the apartment carrying something forgotten item, either Hannah’s sweater or Maria’s pacifier. My husband lifted his head out of the backseat and said, “Can you get Maria a bottle? She hasn’t eaten all day!”
I started to protest, “Why didn’t you feed her?” Then this phrase entered my head “Relish Humiliation.” Relish Humiliation. I’m supposed to lap up these moments. I turned on my heels and headed back into the apartment to grab some milk.
As I searched around for a clean bottle with a matching cap, I thought about how pathetic I am. My baby and I were both up for at least half and hour. Yet I never thought to actually feed her. Instead, I was too busy lost in thought from my recent Virginia Woolf New York Times book review that I read online that morning. “What a dreamy Mom, I am?” I thought. “It’s so hard on my kids.” (Most Moms remember that children need to eat before Sunday Mass. Most Mom probably do not find the “servant question” of Virginia Woolf so engrossing.)
Relish Humiliation. It doesn’t feel good to take correction. Yet that is all that Christ asks of us. Admitting our mistakes, noticing our shortcoming, practicing submission to those in Authority, these are the tasks that make up the life of a faithful Catholic. This is how Christ will separate the sheep from the goats.
I may not ever figure out how to balance my dreamy abstract thinking with the practicality of motherhood. Christ doesn’t really require perfection. If I relish the humiliation when I forget things, I’m well on my way to acquiring the virtue of humility in spades.