No Greater Joy


Annie Muller // Tales From the Trenches

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June 17  

Just a few days ago, my last born received the Eucharist for the first time. The night before I was almost undone. We are still living as nomads, moving from place to place as we await the completion of our remodeled home.

Does anyone know where Charlie’s dress clothes are? Has anyone seen the other black shoe? Our lives are a pile of suitcases and bent boxes as we step over air mattresses and pillows trying to find “that thing” I am sure we packed. By some miracle (and a quick trip to Target), the next day he knelt at the altar, well-dressed and excited, and proud, and was able to experience the miracle of the Eucharist for the first time.

I was a mess. How on earth could this be the last time I get to see one of my children experience this? How can my seventh child be this old? Old grief swells and surrounds me, and I think of Gabriel who would be five, and Cecilia who would be three, and I ache that I won’t see them kneel at the altar with all the anticipation and joy I see on their brother’s face. And then, as Gabriel so often does during the consecration, he whispers to me, “Mommy, there is no greater joy than this. Wait until you get here.” How quickly I forget that he is already there. That he not only rejoices with the angels when heaven opens up during the consecration, he sits at the feet of our precious Lord, and he is whole and truly alive. He sees all things clearly.

We see so dimly. The world is groaning and burning; the chaos and pain can be deafening. But in that moment, as my last child on earth received Our Lord for the first time, and the saint in heaven that I carried in my womb spoke his words of comfort, it was all so clear. Jesus is who we ache for. This body and this blood truly have all the answers; Jesus is the reason we have joy and hope. 

It is so easy to get drawn into the noise, to make sure we post our outrage at the world, or make our stance on one thing or another known, but if we are not pointing people to the hope found in Jesus, if he is not the answer, then we are only contributing to the noise. There really is no reason to grow weary! Even as we cry out for home, we can do so with abundant hope.

As mothers, we have the incredible opportunity to remind our children, day in and day out, that we know how the story ends. Yes, the world is hurting, but we know the great physician. And we can tell them, and ourselves, that God chose for us to be here right now for such a time as this. Our families are a part of his plan to reveal his great love to the world. 

After my son had his first reconciliation, I asked him how he felt; he looked up at me and said, “I feel different. I just feel free.” That is the truth the world needs. That is the truth we have. Our hope is in Jesus, thanks be to God!

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