It’s tough to admit one’s insufficiency.

I preach a good sermon on trust in Divine Providence.  Through God’s good grace, I’ve not had much difficulty in understanding the necessity of deprivation…

Feast and famine…good health and infirmity.  Joy and sorrow…our Lord has graciously shared with this family a small portion of His cross, lovingly fitted for each shoulder.

We all must experience certain losses…by them, we die to self, and rise a new creation, trusting in the One who is the Giver of all good things…trusting, that of ourselves, we can do nothing…

are nothing.

And so…knowing this…trying hard to live and teach this…you would think that I would be okay with yet another deprivation.

But the Mass?

To be deprived of the Mass?

How does that glorify God?

For nearly a year now, our transportation situation has been difficult, to say the least.  We’ve literally had our wings clipped, unable to travel anywhere as a family.  We utilize two vehicles, both in various stages of demise, to attend Mass together.  Homeschool park and co-op days have been out of the question.  Trips for family functions, too.  Unless the destination is under 20 miles, hubby just doesn’t trust the truck and car to make it, without serious consequences.

But we’ve all been okay with that…

Until today.  You see…we’ve only had one prayer throughout all of these difficulties:

“Please, God.  Please allow us to make it to Mass…”

And God has been faithful, always faithful to that prayer.  Occasionally, one of the vehicles wouldn’t run, or we’d not have enough gas, but some of us, at least, would be able to attend, and those who did, prayed for those left behind.

We’ve alternated.  And it’s fostered such a desire in all of the children…oh, how they long to go!  The ones left behind, would never complain, but would spend the week planning what they’d wear, or making special cards for Father…all the time stating:  “This Sunday it’s my turn!”  It wasn’t that way every Sunday…just a few of them, the rest of the time, we’d take two vehicles and praise God for His mercy…

And I judged it all the good fruit of deprivation…

And then this weekend.  Hubby’s paycheck didn’t make it to the account.  Add to that, two extra days of work that he put in during the holiday weekend…two extra days which took two extra days gas to travel farther north than he usually does…and, well…that was gas for Mass.  Gas for both the truck and car…

Such sadness last night…”No one?  Really?  You mean no one can go?  Not even one of us?”

Not even one…

And so I prayed.

“How, Lord?  How does this glorify You?  How can not giving you praise and adoration be Your will?  How can not fulfilling our Sunday obligation be a good thing?  Can’t you hear our pleas?  Don’t you know that we want to go?  Can’t you see that we long for daily Mass, but can only make it Sunday?  But now…not even Sunday…”

Then, tearfully:  “And…it’s the first Sunday of Advent…”

And then…He showed me a woman.  Nestled under her covers, doing everything she could to pretend that she didn’t hear the alarm clock ring.  He showed me a few children, sleeping, no clothes laid out for the Sunday Mass, no alarm clock set…all over-tired from a weekend of fun and excitement.  A husband, tired from the days labor, whose heart just wasn’t in it…seems he never, ever really gets to sleep in…

This was us.  Many years ago.  We fulfilled our obligation…but that’s what we felt.  Obligation.  Something we had to do…and the inevitable sense of relief when we were “done…”

Oh, how far we’ve come!  And how beautifully God revealed that our longing, our desire glorifies Him so very much…He has showed us that we need the Mass as much as we do food, water and the air that we breathe…

He is glorified by our littleness.  By our deprivation.  By our hunger for Him…

So.  Today, our Holy Day of Obligation…this first day of Advent, was spent at home.  As I’ve said:  our wings are clipped…at least until Monday.  But we’ve made the best of it!   We arose early and I prepared an Advent breakfast feast:  Egg/Sausage/Potato/Cheese Casserole, Touch of Grace Biscuits (boy, we needed those!), Banana Nut bread with a delicious Vanilla Caramel frosting and a fragrant pot of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea.

We read Scripture…

We prayed…

And we lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath, all singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel…”

Looking at the shining faces gathered round the table, bathed in candlelight and morning sun, my heart was full, and I thought…

…of those who would chose not to attend Mass today, with no good reason or whose hearts, like ours so long ago, are just not in it…

…of those, who like us, long to attend, and through no fault of their own, are unable…

And I thanked God for the gift of this increase in faith, and pray that He will continue to kindle within our hearts this love of the Holy Sacrifice…

The Mass is a gift.

Cherish it…

Advent blessings,