I love home.
During the throes of the pandemic, I was unbothered by the experience of being home day after day. I always imagine Saturday mornings going to a coffee shop, but I would generally rather just be home after a long week. It isn’t luxurious or perennially tidy, but it is a place I love to be.
So it probably isn’t too surprising that it is natural for me to find that prayer brings me to a home. While not physically a replica of my home, it is nonetheless an image of home. Sometimes, it happens that surprising, amazing things transpire in prayer while I’m “home”–yet so often it is a source of the ordinary, the seemingly mundane and yet the achingly beautiful. Recently, prayer which includes Our Lady has found me at a large kitchen island, watching her fingers expertly knead the dough, crafting loaves of bread, reminding me that waiting for it to rise is important, and delightfully covered in a dusting of flour.
My mom didn’t make homemade bread all of the time, but it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. It didn’t take too much imagination to find myself watching my heavenly mother do the same thing. In fact, the first time it came up in prayer, it seemed almost too easy, too natural, and thus a little surprising. A simple task, completed numerous times, and yet a joy to watch unfold. Leaning on the counter or helping spread melted butter on a soon-to-be spiral of cinnamon rolls, my prayer was taking me to an encounter with Our Lady which was simple and ordinary. I found myself posing questions to her, pondering the significance of Our Lady creating bread while the Bread of Life had been nourished in her womb, and entering into the life of the Holy Family as St. Joseph and Jesus would casually stop by to speak with Our Lady.
It raised to the surface deep longings of my own and yet it also seemed to fulfill those longings in a different, mystical way. The desire to knead bread while a daughter helped and asked questions: still unfulfilled. The desire to be known and seen by my heavenly mother: fulfilled. The longing to carry life within me: unfulfilled. The desire for ordinary moments to be as thoroughly changed as the bread becomes the Body of Christ at the altar during Mass: fulfilled, or at least the offer of fulfillment was given to me. The desire to be intertwined in a family born from my ordinary home: partly unfulfilled. The longing to be a part of a family, which can continue beyond space and time, with no burden of death to scar: fulfilled.
Perhaps at whatever stage of life we find ourselves, the Lord always desires to do His work through the ordinariness of home. It is in the home where we can be the most sanctified. It provides the ordinary, mundane tasks that we don’t desire to do and yet must. But it also provides the achingly beautiful moments which transcend the finitude of space and time, yielding to the richness of infinity for which we were created. As the years continue to pass, I come to realize more and more that far beyond any physical home I have, the Lord perpetually desires to make me His home. He offers answers and fulfillments, just not always in the way I am proposing or hoping.
The Lord is inviting me to make His home the place I most desire to be and to let Him make that home in me.