A Shabbas Table: Of Presentness and Pilgrimage

"God does not ask of us perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight, but only of the present moment."--St. Madeline Sophie Barat

Today out my window, a huge truck came by with an actual authentic covered wagon carried in the back. I could imagine what its inside must have been like long ago, from a passage here:

"George built a box at the front on which he would sit while driving the wagon, and in which Keturah stored bacon, salt and other staples. The top of the box was made with holes in each corner so that it could be lifted off and used as a table when sharpened sticks were inserted into the holes for legs. ..The clothing chest was packed in behind the food storage box, and to keep it from slipping around in transit, George fastened a system of cleats to the bottom of the wagon bed. Then Keturah put in a chair to ride in, leaving a small space on the floor for her son to occupy while he played. After that another trunk was put in containing dishes (most likely china) and household goods set aside for use when they reached Oregon. A washtub and a basket containing the dishes she planned to use on the trip (most likely tin) were stowed in a corner. Then George loaded four 125 lb. sacks of flour and one of corn meal, then bags of dried apples and peaches, beans, rice, sugar and coffee.

“The wagon looks so nice,” Keturah wrote. “The nice white cover drawn down tight to the side boards with a good ridge to keep from sagging. It’s high enough for me to stand straight under the roof with a curtain to put down in front and one at the back end...I have made 4 nice little table cloths so am going to live just like I was at home.”

Her iron ware was stashed in a box that hung outside the wagon, and her butter churn was put in by the washtub. When all was packed and ready, she added a feather mattress and pillows, which would be laid on top of the boxes and over a side of shoe leather at night, with two comforters on top “and we have a good enough bed for anyone to sleep on”. "

And for a cute 1936 booklet on "modern covered wagons", please see here.

Anyway, it just really moved something, seeing that little covered wagon today. Remembering once again that life is... a pilgrimage...and a blessed one at that. And living out here in this prarie town has been bringing it home all the more lately.

Which made sharing the image and qoute up top, both so wonderfully shown by Micki of Holy Cards for Your Inspiration, just irresistible today. Truly, Mary is our model pilgrim. If we could follow Our Lord like she did, just imagine how things could be! What moves me most is how her following was not only in the big things but the small ones, not only in the magnificance of bearing Our Savior but also simply in the quietness of keeping their peaceful little home in Nazareth . I just love this qoute from Catherine Doherty, from her book Bogoroditza :

"Mary never spoke a useless word. Silence was her dwelling. Silence was her cloak. Silence was her companion....

Her life was a sea of small things so infinitely small that they're almost not worth mentioning. The corn had to be ground, her house swept, the meals prepared; day after day the Mother of God did those things.

From her we can learn the quality of listening, and of taking up the words of others as well as the words of God, holding them in our hearts until the Holy Spirit cracks them wide open and gives us the answer as he did to her as her Spouse.

You asked me to explain who Our Lady is. You could say that she's the gate. She's the gate to the way to the Father, because it is through her that Christ came to us and it is through her that we return to him.

Who is Our Lady? A woman like you and me. She is someone to whom my heart goes out all day and who is with me as a friend, and with whom I can talk.

We all should talk about her Son. For you see, she changed his diapers and he drank her milk, and she kissed his boo-boos away like any woman does to a toddler. He scratched himself, so she kissed it away. He went, and he fell and he got up and he grew up, and she probably said, “Eat your porridge,” and she probably said, “Don't forget your sandals. It's wet.”

Who has lived with God as Mary has lived with him? To whom can we go and find out that he is really a man? From whom shall we know the Incarnation better than from the woman who carried him in her womb nine months?

How can anyone talk about throwing out devotions to Our Lady? Do you want to throw out the woman who was pregnant with God and who will never lead you away from him but always to him?

We think of her as the queen of the angels, and queen of the universe, which she is. But you see, God was a carpenter and she was a house-wife. And God is in heaven and he still has calloused hands in his glorified body. And she, who also has been assumed into heaven and has a glorified body, still has hands that show she was just a working woman. She is all things to all people because she is the mother of mankind.

How can we not love her? How can we not go to her, run to her? She has the secret of everything, now that she is where she is. And when we worry about some kind of a mystery or have a hang-up on something or other in spiritual matters, why don't we go to her? She'll say, “Oh relax, kiddo. Let us sit down and talk.”

What a strange thing it is that God chose her. Because she is the gate through which he came to us, she is the gate wide open for us to go through to him."

A Peaceful Shabbas Everyone, and a Very Blessed Sabbath : )

(Holy card image is from Holy Cards for Your Inspiration,, the wagon image is from here, and broom image is from Holy Experience)

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