How very lucky are we all to be children of God, who rewards us infinitely but asks of us only each according to our efforts!
My mother taught me to bake when I was a little girl. My mother had one rule in our home, which was that we could try to cook whatever we wanted, provided we cleaned up the mess in the kitchen afterwards.
I have many hundreds of fond early-childhood memories of cracking an egg into cake batter for my mother or stirring the cake-batter in a mixing bowel while my mother watched on.
When my children were very young, I continued this tradition and when they were only a couple of years old, I would sit them up on the kitchen bench next to me and start them mixing the bowel – and licking the spatula when we were done.
I remember once – when my eldest son was about five years old – and my children had been helping my mother to bake a cake, that my mother told me of her shock that they were not yet able to crack eggs properly! “After all,” Mum reasoned with a laugh, “What are you waiting for? I taught you to crack eggs when you were three years old!”
The other night when we were feeling a little peckish for something sweet, and we had some leftover pineapple that nobody really seemed very interested in eating, I did a quick little google search to find a nice and easy recipe to throw it into. Having found what I was looking for, I called my children away from the television and into the kitchen, and we set to work together to make a pineapple upside-down cake.
I chose the recipe and oversaw each component of its creation. My eldest son chopped the fruit and retrieved the ingredients, my second son cooked the fruit on the stove, and my daughter – the youngest – beat and mixed all the ingredients together. Of course, I allowed each of my children to have a turn at cracking an egg into the mix – because that is the best part! And then there was my husband... He did not really do anything to help us with the cooking – but he did taste the cake and declared it delicious – much to the delight of our children!
As I was arranging the cooked fruit and pouring the batter into the tin so that we could bake the cake, it suddenly occurred to me that this action of cake-making is very similar to the action of God.
After all, we all followed the recipe that I selected, and while I was selecting the recipe, I made some modifications to suit us because we are a family who like coconut, so I added some coconut to the cake batter and the cake tasted even better because of it! This is just like saying that we all follow the Will of God. After all, God told Saint Faustina many many times that she had nothing to fear, because what will happen will be God’s Will, which turns everything to the GOOD – and nothing in Heaven or Earth could interfere with that! And so – in a way – my role in choosing the recipe and making the necessary modifications, selecting the tasks of each participant and overseeing the arrangement and baking of the cake, is very similar to God’s role in arranging ALL things according to His Holy Will!
My eldest son did the cutting and the measuring of the ingredients. He is the best person to do this job, because he can most safely handle a knife and understands how to deal with the ingredients. In this analogy, he would be the mature or saintly soul, who is closer to God through Grace and understands that it can try to anticipate God’s needs by doing all that it could to conform to God’s Will. And this means that such souls are afforded more responsibility by God who knows that they are capable of it. After all, Christ told Saint Faustina that He expected her to make reparation for many souls – because He afforded her more Grace than He did other souls!
Then, there was my second son. He is not quite ready to wield that sort of knife without a trip to the hospital for some stiches, but he is ready to start going near the stove and handling the heat – so to speak. And so, he enjoyed this additional responsibility to standing in a comparatively dangerous place and mixing the fruit and judging whether or not it was ready. Here, that child represents the souls who are growing in sanctity. These are the souls who are not afraid of sacrifice so that they can confirm to God’s Will, and God grants them additional Grace to allow them to do as He sees fit.
And my daughter – the youngest – definitely not ready for a knife of that size, probably not ready to use the stove without causing a fire but very happy to handle the mixing! And so, as I watched her mixing all the ingredients together, it occurred to me that she was the humble soul who wishes to please God. And how God delights in innocent-child-like souls. For how could He resist the requests made from such a humble soul so much like His own?
But then, we must consider the eggs! After all, the eggs are the most forbidden part of the cake-making process because if anyone drops an egg onto the floor in our home it causes me to lose my mind – so we do not handle eggs lightly – they are a luxury for the children to work with… And this is like Grace. For each of the souls – except those in a state of mortal sin – receive Grace – by following the Will of God, no matter how advanced their state of sanctity…
Last – but not least – is my husband, who happily eats that cake without ever contributing to its creation. He represents the souls for whom we pray. Those are the souls who are saved by the Infinite Mercy of God through our prayers for them. In this way, we can PRAY our loved ones into Heaven.
And as we sat down to enjoy the “fruits” of our labours later that night, it occurred to me how very lucky we all are – to be children of God, who rewards us infinitely but asks of us only each according to our efforts!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.