A while back, I shared a reflection about When Divine Mercy Intervenes with Parenting a Preteen. In it, I shared several prayers that my oldest child had written. That boy continues to create written prayers during many of the weekly quiet times that we experience as a part of Holy Hour.
His sister, on the other hand, does not often write during Holy Hour. Instead, she sings the Divine Mercy prayers with a radiant smile, and, then, often, during the time for quiet prayers, can be found sketching with her lips silently moving.
When I glance over at my daughter, intent on sketching what she sees around the church, her lips moving in silent conversation, I smile and give thanks to God for the gift that she is.
She is a child who loves to sing His praise and to open her Bible to read His word.
She is also shyest, most sensitive child, yet she is also a child who is vibrant in her own ways.
In crowds and new situations, my daughter can often be found clinging to my side, silent, but intently listening and observing, and, often, later, chatting with me about what she has heard and witnessed. When she is comfortable with those around her, she is animated - on the move, offering vivacious smiles, being as compassionate and helpful as she is imaginative and active. At home, my daughter vacillates between being a crazy, kinesthetic kid and a contemplative, quiet one.
Observing my daughter in such quiet moments of sketching, thought, and prayer - as well as during both the sung and spoken prayers during Holy Hour - I give thanks to God and am sometimes moved to tears.
What an observant, sensitive, beautiful child He has gifted me to steward. Like all children, she has her own gifts and challenges and, for one reason or another, God has decided that I am the perfect mother for her, my husband is the perfect father, and her brothers are the perfect siblings. Not perfect, mind you as people, but perfectly chosen by Him to be a family - to help one another grow in strength, wisdom, faith, and hope.
Likewise, our local parish collaborative family, I know, is the result of people coming together in response to God's call. And our larger community is made up of people God places in proximity for a purpose. And on and on in concentric widening circles of souls that God has granted the opportunity of coming together as conduits of His love and mercy.
It occurs to me that while we each are unique and have free will, we also each have a common purpose and call - to embrace His love and mercy and to share it with one another. In our communities, in our families, in our one-to-one relationships with one another and with Him.
As I glance at my daughter during Holy Hour and then look back to Jesus on the altar, I give thanks for the way He converses with our souls, for His love, for His mercy, and for His wisdom. I think about the responsibility He has entrusted me with and pray for the grace and strength to live well as a mother to my children, an individual in my community, and a child of God.
Then, I reach over to my daughter's forearm, gently squeezing it three times in a silent "secret" message we have shared for years: I. Love. You. She smiles, take my hand and squeezes back: I. Love. You. May she always know how much I love her. May she always know how much Our Lord does. And, may she always be so willing to share love.
May we all.
Yes, today, and every day, may love be what we reach out and respond with.
How is Our Lord conversing with your soul today and who is He calling you to express love to?