The Importance of Grout in our Lives

Posted by James Hahn on

Friday September 20th

Luke 8:1-3

My wife and I met in 1998 and we were married in August of 2000. In June of 2001 we had our first child. Our second child was born in September 2002. The third child came along during the big election of 2004. In August of 2005, after being married five years, we moved into our new home on five acres. In 2008 we had a daughter with special needs and then 3 more children.  The youngest will be a three year-old in November.

The paragraph above gives you an extremely brief outline of our life for the past 19 years. It highlights the big events that have taken place but it leaves out so much. I could write volumes on the little things. I could tell the story of how Nicole and I met online in a Catholic chat room, met face to face six months later at Franciscan University in Steubenville, or how we agreed not to kiss until our wedding day. I could fill pages with dreams, ideas, struggles, sufferings, and joys that passed through our lives while raising kids in a one bedroom apartment in a small town. I might even mention the insane neighbors and the lead problem in the apartment that prompted us to move. Or I could explain the struggles we went through in deciding how and when to build our home ourselves. I could write about Catherine's problems, multiple surgeries, and how we've stayed in 3 different Ronald McDonald House's in Columbus, Philadelphia, and Seattle.  I could talk about our hobby farm, kids projects, and more.  There is so much that is missing from the first paragraph that those events fall to pieces in my mind with out all of the other stuff, the grout, the very things that hold it all together.

In today's Gospel I catch a rare glimpse of the "grout" of Jesus' life. Too often I think of Jesus in this dream like state going from town to town without a care except the goal of upsetting the authorities and bringing about the Kingdom. I never give much thought to the basic things like what He ate. I never think of His favorite food. When and where did He sleep? Did He snore? Did Jesus buy His sandals or did someone give them to Him? When did He have time to bathe?  Did he tell knock-knock jokes?  Did He and the apostles play sports or games together?  How often did he spend time with Mary?

The Gospels tell me a great deal and all that I need to grow in my love for Him. Yet, I still like to ponder upon the simple everyday things of Jesus' life. Today in the readings I see that a group of women went with Him to provide for His needs. Yes, Jesus had quite an entourage. But what the Gospel says is very interesting. Out of His love for these women, He healed them and set them free from their sins and demons. Out of their love for Him they dedicated themselves to providing for His basic needs. Love is the motive in His actions and theirs. They are not trying to impress Him. They are not trying to "earn" a place in the Kingdom. They are simply doing what comes natural to one who is in love.

Lord Jesus, help me to recall the grout in my life and see Your hand there as well as in the big events.  Help me to take the time to appreciate the small, seemingly insignificant moments that are the onese that hold everything together and make life beautiful.  Give me, I beg, the grace to remember Your great love for me and inspire me to love You more in return by loving those who journey with me.

-"The Gospel makes special reference to the generosity of these women. It is nice to know that our Lord availed himself to their charity, and that they responded to him with such refined and generous detachment that Christian women feel filled with a holy and fruitful envy." Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 981

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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