Ora et Labora: Pray and Work

Some pre-Lenten thoughts (with us Catholic wives and homeschool mamas in mind, but truth for all) to keep moving with life and growing in Faith during the upcoming time of Lenten prayer and work:

  1. If we homeschool mamas are in constant connection with God through regular prayer (ceaseless is my modus operandi), our eyes and hearts (and thus our homes and families) are more keenly aware of and appreciate the beauty of our days and experience true peace and authentic hope. And it is beautiful! Peace flows. And hope billows; it imbues and energizes us.
  2. If we homeschool mamas are in constant connection with God through our daily work, (and there is much hands-on, emotional, and spiritual work in this vocation…from wiping down counter-tops to putting feelings into perspective to scooping the ashes from the fireplace to teaching Algebra 2 and handwriting to sautéing the onions for the pasta sauce for supper to putting receipts on the budget to helping young adults pack their moving boxes and create their own budgets…), the work is abundant and beautiful and joyful and holy.
  3. Thankfully, through prayer and work, we obtain an increasingly deeper and more wonderful understanding of and love for our perfect God. Thankfully, we get to know ourselves clearly as daughters of God with beautiful, fulfilling vocations. Thankfully, we grasp and internalize an understanding of and an appreciation for the wonder and beauty of all His vast creation. And, as I frequently tell my children, we can (and should) bring that light into the world!

Ora et Labora, my friends!

“Joan of Arcadia”

I have professed it repeatedly…I’ll say it many times again…it is such a shame, a creative and spiritual loss to the television viewing masses, that creator and producer Barbara Hall’s “Joan of Arcadia” never made it past season two.

Throughout the series (insert sigh of exasperation over the truncated life of this message-filled show), one of my all-time favorite mother characters Helen Girardi (played by Mary Steenburgen) prays, hopes and emotionally and intellectually struggles with her Faith. During one of her initial trials with her maternal-optimism failing her lonely, aching heart, she walks by and then quickly returns to chat with (interrogate, actually) a Catholic priest, Father Ken Mallory (played by David Burke). Ah, Father Ken…a realistic portrayal of a gentle, knowledgeable, humble, compassionate, Faith-filled, insightful man…a great priest! How refreshing to see a Catholic priest on a TV show depicting a priest (or many priests!) that so many of us know and love in our own real lives.

Watch a few episodes of “Joan of Arcadia” and listen to the love and wisdom of God in Father Ken’s own words. I especially cherish his words to Helen (in the episode “death be not whatever”) when she is confiding in Father Ken that she has been meeting with him behind her husband’s back (Will Girardi, the chief of police and fallen away Catholic, played by Joe Mantegna):

Father Ken: “Helen, I think what you’re touching on here is you should be talking to your husband and you miss being able to do that.”

Helen: “But you don’t understand what kind of job he has, and it’s especially bad right now. I just can’t make it worse for him.”

Father Ken: “I’ve married a lot of people, and I remember the words. You’re depriving him of the privilege of living up to them.”

Helen: “Well…when you put it like that.”

What an affirmation of the holy vocation of marriage!

So, thank you, Barbara Hall for your gift of Joan: the clever and provocative script writing, and the deep, realistic, intriguing characters, such as the beloved Father Ken.

And let’s all remember to pray for vocations and for our priests. We need them…our world needs them!