We had a really ordinary Monday today. As soon as my husband came home we rushed to three different stores to score the best grocery deals. All five of us. (Fun fact: we love grocery shopping together and even as more children have come along it’s still something we do together 90% of the time.)
It was so incredibly ordinary and normal – strap kids in, drive drive drive, take kids out, shop shop shop, repeat, and repeat again. I unpacked groceries and started cleaning the produce while my husband took one of the kids on one more errand before dinner.
As I cleaned the strawberries, I was in total pilot mode. So simple. So ordinary. Things I’ve done countless times before. My big kid standing next to me, anxiously waiting to swipe a berry.
Then, as I held the paring knife and cut the strawberries in half, in that silence and repetitive motion, I experienced a moment that I can only describe as grace. I suddenly saw my mom – from my eyes as a child – in me. My mom holds the knife the exact same way when she cuts strawberries and each summer I would stand anxiously as I waited for the berries to be ready to devour. I realized my grandma probably did too.
That’s when it dawned on me how incredibly average I am. I’m doing exactly what generations before me have done – I gather groceries, clean produce, cut strawberries, and feed my kids. Exactly how my mother, my grandmother, and great-grandmother did. But the grace of that moment, not just knowing it in my head, but feeling it in my bones, made me see it all differently. Suddenly, I felt convicted that the ordinariness of the act meant so much more in light of eternity than I could see there on the surface. As I faithfully and carefully cleaned and cut food for my children, I felt deep down it actually meant something. It wasn’t pointless even though on the surface it seemed to be. I knew that the smallness of that loving act of cutting strawberries was important.
I felt that faithfully doing this small task was actually a way of setting the stage for God’s action someday in the future. Faithfulness to God’s will in this small moment of strawberries in my hands drew me to ponder Our Lady and Holy Week.
Mary, a mother. The Mother. Our Mother. Every day she got up, swept the floors, prepared the table, cleaned the table, bathed the Child, loved the Child, put out the lights, and then did it all again. She loved her husband, she prayed and waited, she pondered, she dressed, she fed, she mothered. The routine and seasons faithfully fulfilled by Mary prepared the Son of God to enter Jerusalem knowing what was ahead of Him. It wasn’t just a home He grew up in – it was 30 years of preparation to save all of humanity through the greatest act of Love the world has ever known. All hidden in simple family life.
Mary’s faithfulness to the average and ordinary call to motherhood was one of the most sublime callings the world has ever known – she raised God Himself.
She was faithful in everything to the most perfect degree, whether it was fixing holes in clothing or standing stoutheartedly at the foot of the Cross. She knew the little things prepared her for the Big Things – Good Friday, the Tomb, Glory, the Resurrection, Pentecost, HEAVEN.
And this is what I realized today. That God cares about the little things. The small ordinary things that don’t matter to the world matter to the Creator of the Universe. If they didn’t, He wouldn’t have subjected Himself to the simple and ordinary life of a Virgin and carpenter for 30 years before doing what He came to do.
The world might tell you family life doesn’t mean much. There’s no badge or award for cutting strawberries. But stay faithful to it anyway. Stay faithful to the small and humiliating tasks that your vocation is demanding of you. Holy Week is our reminder that God uses the small things to prepare the greatest souls for fulfilling His glorious will.
Remember, we’re raising the next generation of saints as Catholic parents today. Never be ashamed of that no matter how it looks to the rest of the world.