A Mary Moment Monday post

In our new house, I find myself with my own room. It’s a bit disconcerting, and I feel a bit guilty about it.

But…I needed a place for my desk and, really, a place to do my writing work (and pay the bills). And here it is, in its very own room.

In the beginning, I put a shelf with toys in here with me, thinking that while I tapped away and did the things I do, the kids could play. My husband frowned, and I had to admit that he was right after the three-year-old started using my desk items and critical papers as her toys.

It’s not that we don’t have plenty of other places for toys. They’re more organized than they’ve ever been, in fact. (How long will that last? We’ll see…)

It’s not that I can’t do my work in some other room, because I can and have, especially at the kitchen table or the little bar we have.

It’s not that I don’t like having my own space, a corner of my own. I love it.

It’s that I feel a bit guilty about it.

There are many reasons for that guilt, but as I’ve spent time pondering it and examining it, I’ve realized that it’s a lot like the other guilt in my life.

That guilt is not helpful. It’s not leading me closer to God.

There’s a place for guilt. I’m a fan, in fact, of my “Catholic guilt.”

Let me define what I mean by that, because I don’t mean “feeling badly about things.” For me, Catholic guilt is an indicator, not something random. It’s a gauge, telling me when I’m close to (or on) “empty,” in need of a sacramental refill (such as Confession).

Feeling guilty about the blessings God has given me is in no way Catholic (or helpful, for that matter). For me, it’s a path leading me AWAY from the abundance in front of me and a healthy appreciation of it.

How do you suppose Mary dealt with guilt? Did she feel guilty about being chosen to be Mother of God?

It’s all too easy to allow guilt–in the name of “Catholic guilt”–drive my decisions. It’s all too easy to ignore the underlying reasons for my guilt and pretend I can’t help it.

It’s novel to me that I can control my feelings. Aren’t feelings as unpredictable as the weather?

Knowing that I am in control (of my feelings…or maybe, more precisely, my reaction to my feelings) changes things. It makes my approach to guilt in general different.

I suspect that Mary battled feelings of guilt, just as we all do, especially when we have other people’s lives to worry about. Guilt is human, and Mary was human.

What Mary has to teach me about guilt is in her approach to it. I think, instead of feeling sorry for herself or abandoning herself to its effect, she turned first to God. I think, instead of complaining about it, she examined it and thought about it.

In Scripture, Mary didn’t do a lot of talking or responding. She pondered. She thought. She reflected.

And, in that, she turned to God FIRST. Her heart magnified the Lord.

I am going to try to take a lesson from her this week and give my unneccesary guilt to God. He can carry it far better than I can anyway.

image courtesy of my three-year-old