It was November 1st, All Saints’ Day, and—true confession—I did not want to go to Mass. I was exhausted from a day’s teaching and from being a mom; attending the 7 pm liturgy just didn’t sound appealing.
But it was a Holy Day of Obligation, so I drove to church. I went reluctantly, even a bit resentfully, but I went.
And as I sat there in the back part of the church, listening to the homily, a memory suddenly flashed to mind. I recalled sitting in that same church three years before, on a weekday afternoon. I’d just had one of the worst teaching days of my life, with the most challenging group of teens I’d ever taught. I’d left school utterly demoralized, in desperate need of peace and perspective, so on the way home I stopped at the empty church. There I sat, gazing at the red sanctuary lamp, just praying. And it had worked. After twenty minutes of focusing on God, I recovered a sense of peace.
Sitting there on All Saints’ Day, gazing at the same red sanctuary light, I remembered that afternoon. The memory was a reminder of how foundational my faith truly is. I take it for granted sometimes; I often turn to other things (food, the Internet, TV) in times of stress. But in the end, those things are like the foundation of sand in the Gospel; they can’t prop me up through the worst storms (Matthew 7:26).
But God’s love for me: that’s my rock. That’s the foundation that sustains me, in times of teaching storms or family storms or any kind of storm. When I take refuge in the Lord, I am far more resilient than I was before.
And sometimes, it takes a little nudge—like the pause provided by a Holy Day of Obligation—to remember that, and to be thankful.
For a quick list of Holy Days of Obligation, see what the USCCB says here.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood and Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Seven Sacraments found here.