Monday, January 17, 2011
Savoring Christmas Memories and Joyful Winter Decluttering....
Is decluttering really a word? It is a wonderful concept. A noble action. Removing clutter, a.k.a. "decluttering," is my 2011 resolution.
Webster's defines "clutter" as both noun and verb. It is "an untidy mess, a state of disorder" or "liter, things left around untidily." As well, to clutter is "to disorder, make untidy."
So, to declutter is to role one's sleeves up and put things in proper order. I like it. I need it. I was just telling the girls that I love seeing the human hope for renewal and improvement that roles around every January. All the shops showcase cleverly designed shelving, colorful storage boxes and some very nice exercise suits. In these North Atlanta suburbs, the air is full of resolution and of home and self improvement.
As Catholics, we pass on to our young the idea that "Hope springs eternal." From the Sacraments, God's grace springs forth giving us baptized faithful life, renewal, strength and reconciliation. We Catholics are called to declutter our souls regularly through daily prayer, good works, frequent reception of our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also called Penance and Confession).
We had the beautiful gift of hosting our dear family friends from Miami over Christmas week. Other homeschooling friends joined us for Christmas feasting; and, it was one of the merriest Christmas seasons of my life. My dear sisters in Christ have always shown me the joys of authentic Catholic housekeeping and homeschooling. We all know that joy is not an absence of pain. My personal experience is that joy increases where there is deep and abiding faith. We are up against a culture that challenges our faith on so many levels. But back to Christmas and grace-filled resolutions for 2011...
All of us moms enjoyed revisiting certain practical and spiritual topics; and I felt the quiet, yet powerful, presence of the Holy Spirit in all of the love and friendship of our Christmastide festivities and warm, homey visits. Along side all the festivities with our homeschooling brothers and sisters in Christ, we gathered with grandparents and much loved brothers and sisters in Christ from our parish during Christmastide, including Happy New Year 2011! It was so hard to get back to work and school, but God had a marvelous plan! We had just been back to the "daily grind" for a week when we got a HUGE and wonderful SNOW. We were trapped and I was about as far from "cabin fever" as you can get (I was hoping for more snow!).
As the snowstorm hit ten or so days ago, I was surprised at the blessing of this gift to stay put for a number of days. My houseguests had left the house cleaner than when they came, so I kept the cleaning/decluttering ball rolling. I also gave much more time than usual to quiet and to prayer. I realized how much shopping that I had been doing and how exhausting and depleting that can be for me. With our middle child's 13th birthday this week, we finished our snow days making merry with friends and family again over these past few days.
I know God speaks to us through our friendships and our daily duties and our family ups and downs. The good news for us Sullivans is that 2011 is already, and I pray it continues, a year of rolling up the sleeves and decluttering our souls, our home and our schedule. I learn every year that our sweet Savior and His Blessed Mother, draw us in to their Holy Hearts. Jesus and Mary want us to help them save souls.
An act of housekeeping, a home-cooked meal,a warm embrace from a loved one, a listening ear or kind remark can all be little works of redemption. Wow and Alleluia all at once! We must keep house for Christ and build a strong Mother Church from our little domestic churches. God will bring us guests and make us guests of His awesome Love and Mercy. Jesus burns for love of us, fallen creatures that we are. He wants us to give every possible effort to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His Eucharistic Heart. We must, in earnest, ask the Mother of Mercy to hide us in her Immaculate Heart so that we will be properly disposed to receive her Son in a spirit of truth and light. I am reading an excellent treatment of this, The Passion of the Infant Christ, by Caryll Houselander.
Read this book. It could change your life, and we must pray for the grace to be constantly changing and growing. May we all bless God in thought, word and deed. I look forward to all of us making Confession soon, knowing in my heart that Holy Mother Church will declutter her children. I am learning more and more about our Heavenly Father's plan for all of His children. He wants us all to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. We have only to ask our Blessed Mother for her help, and grace will do the work in our souls.
Thank you, Lord Jesus and Mother Mary for all of our many blessings! May the Infant Christ reign in our hearts -- Amen.