Catholic at Home: Pouring Ourselves into Others
“An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” – Aiden W. Tozer (The Christy Wright Show, ep. 32)
I furrowed my brow, trying to wrap my mind around what I just heard. I was mid-episode of my go-to podcast and trying to catch every word between interruptions from my kids and their friends coming in and out of the kitchen while I made dinner.
All of Himself…to each one?
I homeschool our five children. I have a handful of freelance jobs and my husband runs his business from home, too. At any given moment my mind and energy are aimed in many different directions while I think about upcoming birthdays, work trips and what’s for dinner that night. Every aspect of my life that needs me gets a piece of me, but there are precious few things that receive all of my attention. Trying to comprehend the Lord’s ability to give all of Himself at all times is difficult to fathom.
Mankind is finite. We’re limited in how much attention we can give to everyone and everything that depends on us; yet in getting a firm understanding on how much we lack the ability to “be all things to all people,” we begin to understand just how much God gives to us.
The Lord doesn’t divide Himself. He doesn’t hear the supplications of the faithful, then triage the whole lot of us according to severity or good stance. He devotes the whole of Himself to our hearts, regardless of the magnitude of our desires and needs. As a mom, I’ve prayed for God to help me find the third spare pacifier for a temperamental toddler in desperate need of a nap. I’ve prayed He would lend me His mercy and compassion when I’m disciplining and don’t want to react out of frustration. I’ve pleaded that my autistic children will encounter patient and compassionate people in their lives.
The prayers of a mother span across a wild field of hopes for herself and her children. We want to love well and see our little ones grow in wisdom and strength like the child Jesus in the Holy Family.
A mother’s work is especially important with her family, and, in caring for them, God often calls us to give more than we bargained for. The constant call to sacrifice sometimes leaves me feeling depleted.
A while back I started rising before my kids in the morning to pray. Though God has blessed me in countless ways, He didn’t make me a morning person, so just the effort of waking up was much harder than I care to admit. I started reading the book Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Philippe. In the first paragraph of the first chapter, Father Philippe quotes John 10:15: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
And I was awestruck. We need God for each breath we take, for every instance we offer comfort and pour ourselves into our families. We’re made in the image and likeness of God and called to imitate Him. How can we possibly do that if we don’t know Him more deeply through prayer?
If you’re like me and keenly aware that the demands of motherhood often call for more than what you have within you, then take heart in what Jesus says. Though apart from Him we can do nothing, living a life immersed in Him, we can take on the impossible. Wherever your prayer life is now, whether it’s robust or wanting, take one small step to hand yourself over to God, to pray and ask Him for strength, fortitude and patience. He will give all of Himself to you, and in doing so will forge you with a new strength and lasting endurance.
this article appeared in the May 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.