“Lord, make us turn to you. Let us see your face.”
My breath caught. Right there in the middle of Sunday Mass, I was instantly paralyzed with fear. Make us turn to you. Make. Us. I immediately thought of my oldest son. Dear Lord, I whispered to myself. What an absolutely terrifying request.
My oldest son is twenty-one. Even though he no longer lives at home, he and I share a special bond of mutual love and respect. He knows that mom will always be there for him, will always cheer him on and lift him up when he needs it. Practically speaking, I’ll feed him dinner, and, even though he hates to ask, slip some extra funds into his bank account when he falls short. He has a similar relationship with his dad, although that centers more around cars and home repairs. We are pretty proud of our grown-up son.
Proud and heartbroken all at the same time.
Despite our degrees in theology from an extremely reputable Catholic college, despite our decision to homeschool and then place our children in a beautiful Catholic school, despite all the sacrifices made to live out our marriage vocation in the holiest way we know how… our son is no longer a practicing Catholic. I have firm hope and belief that one day he will be once again, and I fully understand that most young adults have to choose this journey for themselves. However, it does make me sad. And I pray for his re-conversion daily.
But then that verse hit my ears and shattered my heart, and I could barely breathe as I gazed at the corpus of our beloved God. Make. Us. Oh my God, I breathed. What was it going to take? How would you make our son turn to you? On what condition would you show him your face? What catastrophic event would force my son to lay down himself and pick up the cross you had fashioned specifically for him?
Then I thought back to my own life – my own ups and downs as a teenager and young adult. I, too, had many doubts. I was a somewhat rebellious teen with a deceitful heart and a lazy faith. I was not a committed Catholic by any stretch of the imagination, even after acquiring my degree in theology from that amazingly Catholic college. What made me turn to God? What “forced” him to show me his face?
The answer washed over me with a most serene peace. It was my children. My children who were the fruits of the unbelievable love shared between my husband and I (college sweethearts!) My beautiful, innocent children, completely dependent on me, who made me completely dependent on him. And I cannot think of a gentler way for our loving God to force a selfish daughter of his to beg to see his face. Through my vocation, handpicked by God for me, as a wife and mother, I was shown my weakness and became utterly convinced of the necessity of an all-powerful God to rule my life. I had to turn to him. There was no choice.
And I will be forever grateful for that.