Jon & I pray a very simple prayer to the St. Isidore the Farmer's angels whenever church commitments seem to conflict with the necessities of work or home life.
(St. Isidore was a medieval farmer who reported to work late because he attended Daily Mass. His co-workers grumbled to their boss, but since the angels came down to help St. Isidore with his plowing after Mass his productivity didn't leave much grounds for complaint. You can read more about this humble, married saint at :http://www.savior.org/saints/isidore.htm).
Yesterday, I left home for the St. Paul lecture at 7:00 PM at a bad time. Jon was in the midst of an ugly discipline moment with Alex. The house was beyond a disaster. And I faced company the next day for an Our Lady of Lourdes feast. When I shut the front door, everything in me wanted to turn back. I knew that when I came back at 9:30, there be so much work left to do & I also felt terrible leaving Jon alone to deal with sick, grouchy kids.
I also knew there was this seat waiting for me at this heavenly banquet of Scripture study. Jon and I are taking turns attending Tuesday lectures because we don't have a babysitter. It was my turn and somehow despite all the chaos at home, it seemed better to sit in a too small chair in the library of the parish school listening to Father Avelino.
So I got into my car and prayed a short prayer, "St. Isidore angels, you know I'm leaving a lot of work at home. Please be there to help me when I come home tonight."
I attend an amazing lecture on 1 Corinthians. I discovered that this holy woman who is in the Spanish Legion of Mary has grandchildren ages 3 & 5 who live seconds from my house.
Then I came home-- to an immaculate house with a clean stove AND fresh aluminum coverings on stove burners. "That's such a good idea honey! What an easy way to clean up messes," I said.
"I know. I don't know what made me think of it tonight."
That's when I realize that we've been married seven years and we've never thought of this easy way to prevent messy stoves. I notice that my husband is STILL cleaning at 9:45 PM. This man who was ready to collapse from sickness & exhaustion after work at 5:30 PM. I truly left the house thinking that Jon was going to sleep about fifteen seconds after he got Alex & Hannah to brush their teeth & head into bed.
There was supposed to be mountains of housework after I returned from my St. Paul lecture. Instead, all I had left to do was to say my rosary and crawl into bed. I snuggled into those covers so convinced that Jesus loved me.
So say that prayer whenever you get overwhelmed and are tempted to skip a church event. I don't know if the angels actually pick up the broom for you, or if they just inspire your loved ones with supernatural productivity. There are only 24 hours in a day, so your prayers and your Scripture study and your fellowship time are going to cut down on the time available to do housework. We're just blessed as Catholics that God is able to multiple the loaves somehow so that we don't have to chose between developing a deep appreciation for St. Paul & having a clean stove.