How my Polish Mama Helped at Christmastime
Even though you are a wife, mother and maybe woman who works professionally too…
Do you ever feel the need to be mothered?
Have you ever felt a little overwhelmed at Christmas time? I am not sure how your Advent is going, but my Advent has been a little bit more penitential than celebratory this year.
A couple of health issues, attending a funeral of a young mom in our parish community and getting the news that my daughter’s best friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer, has made getting into the Christmas spirit a little tough
But then, something happened.
I mentioned to a dear friend that I was hosting the annual Mothers Group cookie exchange and she wholeheartedly said she would come!
The desire to see her, her glorious smile, her robust energy, stirred something in me!
I decided I should finally get out the door and get to confession for Advent. Many graces were dispensed to the moms that came out to Mothers Group. We laughed, we prayed and yes, we ate cookies!
Something else happened.
I stumbled across this beautiful Polish Christmas video in my newsfeed. Again, it stirred something in me.
Then something else happened.
My husband could see that I was struggling. He turned on some Christmas carols and started saying some wonderful and inspiring things. My spirits lifted some more.
Each of these little things had a ripple effect – I developed a conviction to rise above myself.
I started reminiscing about all the beautiful Polish traditions that my mother rooted in our Christmas celebrations. I got nostalgic thinking about my mother’s strength. She hosted a stunning, sacred – a beautiful Christmas Eve, no matter what difficulties surrounded our family.
There were no exceptions.
We were an immigrant family of six and my mother always somehow managed to magically create a dignified Christmas, with gifts overflowing, a dinner served on a white linen table cloth and we always attended midnight Mass.
I began to think about my mother, marvelling at her strength, her joy and her unwavering Catholic faith. In my mother, I witnessed the living Gospel. She took her duties as wife and mother very seriously. It was very clear to me in all her labours and toils, that her vocation as a mother always came first. She continually turned the other cheek if people didn’t treat her well. She constantly forgave. For many years she went to daily Mass, she prayed to St. Gabriel, asking for the gift of joy, she turned to Our Lady of Guadalupe asking her for her intercession when she was unable to walk. With a Rosary in her hand and a smile on her face, my mom helped forge a spirit in me. One that sustains me to this very day, I cannot deny it.
I can almost hear repeating some of her life lessons. And there were tons of them.
Thanks Mama for teaching me so much. Thanks for rooting our family life in the sacraments.
Thanks Mama, for entrusting me to Our Lady who has rescued me more than once.
Thanks Mama, for introducing me to so many saints, who inspire me in daily.
Mama was deliberate in carving out time each day for spiritual reading and prayer. One of her many favourite saints was Saint Faustina, whose diary continues to sustain me:
My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make My love reign in place of your self-love. Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy (Diary, 1488).
So, to any mother, who finds herself reading this blog post, remember, this Christmas, put one foot in front of the other. Remember, your children are watching you. By your life, you are leaving lessons that will affect more than one generation. Let’s keep our eyes on Christ in the manger and Christ on the cross, turning to Our Lady and asking her to mother us, when we ourselves are spent.
During these last few days of Advent, why not take some advice from St. Teresa?
“If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer:
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I must admit — this prayer has never failed me.”
If you enjoy spiritual reading, why not treat yourself!
Here are a couple of my all time favourites!
for your love, your support and your prayers! Please continue in spreading the Word, and by bringing Christ to others!
Dorothy Pilarski is the founder of Dynamic Women of Faith, author, motivational speaker, blogger , guest columnist with the Catholic Register and a facilitator on Salt + Light TV.