Dear readers: please allow me to introduce Theresa Tuttle as a new contributing writer for Joy In Truth. Below is her first contribution, a wonderful post about how sanctity is found in living our daily lives in a manner faithful to our vocation and to Christ our Lord. May God bless Ms. Tuttle in her work at home and in the Church — Deacon Frederick Bartels
Have you ever wanted to become a saint but been discouraged by the seeming impossibility of modeling their lives of sanctity and holiness? How is a busy mother suppose to spend hours in contemplative prayer on her knees before the crucifix of Christ? But I soon realized, that sanctity is not necessarily defined by those things. It is found, with God’s grace, in the simplicity of being a mother.
By Theresa Tuttle
26 September 2018
When I was in 8th grade, I told my mother I wanted to become a Sister. She said, “no I did not.” Being a dutiful daughter, I thought, well, perhaps I don’t then – mom should know best. There have been many times in my life that I have regretted that decision and many other times I am thankful for it. The Sisters had taken me several times that year to the motherhouse for retreats. I found the life of a Sister to be inspiring – to be able to spend so much time in prayer, to be so close to the Lord. To me—they were living holy lives. But, I’ve come to understand that taking the veil is not the only way to be close to the Father.
As I looked to the lives of the saints, I wonder how in the world I could ever be at their level of holiness with the Father. I mean, as a mother and wife, there are so many things that can distract you from prayer life—the meals to be cooked, beds to be made, bathrooms to be cleaned. Not to mention working full time while doing it. There was no way I would even be able to find 15 quiet minutes to pray a rosary. I am sure any parent can relate.
I feel we are being constantly hit with news, gossip, bad language, etc today we become numb to it. I have to force myself to turn off the TV and put down my phone. This makes me question “How in the world can anyone be Holy today?”
So, let’s ask the question: “Just what is being Holy?” Is it like the pictures of the saints of old? Do we need to wander and preach? I don’t think so. There is a need for lots of prayer—but I am not referring to being on our knees before the Crucifix for hours at a time, though there may be a need of that a time or two in our lives. I am speaking to the realization that everything I did for my family was a prayer—the cooking, the cleaning, the driving to sporting practices and cub scout meetings, all the laundry I did. And trust me, doing laundry for a stinking teenage boy was a true sacrifice to the senses (I believe all parents of teen boys can attest to this). Each and everything was a prayer to the Lord. And it is so easy for us to forget that today.
Our lives can be a constant prayer to Christ and a path to holiness when we bring the Father into everything we do. And I believe this is exactly what the saints did. We often only hear about the defining moments in their lives—what we frequently don’t hear about is the everyday struggles they faced. And that is exactly the saints lives we need to strive to model on our path to holiness. Such a life is characterized by a letting go of “me” and, aided by the treasury of grace from the Holy Trinity, becoming a person whose focus is on helping to meet the needs of others. It is everyday things like bandaging skinned knees, baking last minute cookies for school, and trusting that each time our child leaves the house they will be safe. It is calling a friend who you know is struggling or cooking a dish for a funeral dinner. It is everything we do—no matter how great or how small. In Christ, it all becomes our prayer and a path to holiness.
So the next time you are cleaning the floor or changing the sheets, dedicate your work to Christ and ask for the graces of the Holy Trinity to bless the lives of all those who will benefit from your efforts.
Trust me. You will never look at a dirty dish the same way again.
Photo Credit: Shelby Deeter, https://unsplash.com/@shelbymary_.