>> Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Boy, Donna Marie must have a secret hidden camera in our home... It's been a trial this year. I must remember that Lent is a character building exercise! Many thanks to Donna Marie for another wonderful contribution. Please visit her online at the links below. If your family is suffering from the Lenten Grumpies, please send me a post about it.
The Lenten “Grumpies”
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
I think I detect a few cases of the “grumpies” around here. It must be Lent. People must be craving their candy and desserts that they have given up. Maybe they are even in withdrawal. As I was out doing errands on a Friday in Lent recently, a driver motioned his hand at me and I’m not talking about a friendly “hello!” I guess I didn’t leave the drive up window of the bank quickly enough for him. Well, that hand motion and his mouth flapping got him a prayer from me, by the grace of God. That day was a very good penitential day in so many ways as there were challenges to deal with at home and out in the community and the migraine head ache didn’t help.
The extensive wait in very long line at the Post Office gave an opportunity to pray another decade of the Rosary for the impatient people around me who may have been experiencing the “grumpies.” Yet another opportunity for prayer was when a woman speeded towards me, almost hitting me. I guess she felt she had to be somewhere awfully fast! Later on, a rude person on the other end of the phone helped to further set the tone for the day. A person could get grumpy dealing with all of this!
Are you experiencing the “grumpies” or live with someone who is? Are the kids bickering more than usual? Is your spouse having trouble understanding you? Are you losing your patience over insignificant trivial things? Are your buttons being pushed? Is everyone driving you crazy? Does it feel like everything you are doing or attempting to do is going wrong? Don’t worry, it’s just Lent. All of the above is good material for penance, I think. Our dear Lord is very aware of what we are experiencing.
We Can Counteract the “Grumpies”
Lent is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our lives; to examine what we are doing and what we should be doing. We have these forty days to deeply reflect and pray. Each day comes to us with new grace to help us on our journey. Each day comes with its own challenges and joy of heart when we offer it all to God. Hopefully we will be able to look upon the little inconveniences and annoyances as a gift to help strengthen our resolves to be the Christian our Lord calls us to be. Our actions are much more articulate than our words can ever be. Let’s pause before reacting to the challenging situation which fill our daily lives so that we won’t regret our actions and responses. Keeping a prayerful attitude will aid us immensely. Making use of the Sacraments frequently will fuel our souls and the love in our hearts. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament will give us peace.
We can counteract the “grumpies” with our responses of joy and our decision to turn to prayer when encountering discord and distress rather than reacting to it in a negative way. I have found that turning to the Blessed Mother immediately when experiencing a troubling situation will merit immediate grace and help. A quick aspiration to her asking for help or praying the Hail Mary will work wonders. I have been known to even suddenly start praying the “Hail Mary” out loud in my household, very loudly when I detect tension or when there is any bickering. It may seem comical at times, but it definitely “breaks the ice” and gets the point across. St. John Vianney (Cure d’Ars, 1786 – 1859) has said, “If you invoke the Blessed Virgin when you are tempted, she will come at once to your help, and Satan will leave you.”
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Let’s not forget about prayer and penance after Lent is finished and after we have celebrated the joy of the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday. We should continue to reflect and to pray and offer sacrifices to God each day as if we were still in the Lenten season. In this way we will please our Lord and together with our fellow pilgrims, help to light the way to Heaven for others.
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, mother of five and author of the best-selling book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers (OSV Pub., Oct. 05), The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home (Crossroad Pub., Oct. 06), and Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be (Crossroad Pub., April 07) writes from Connecticut. Her books were endorsed by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and blessed by Pope John Paul II. Signed copies can be purchased through her website. Donna-Marie lectures on a variety of subjects and can be reached through her website , as well as her blog