Sunday, January 31, 2010

see what i mean?

In regards to variations on a theme?  I walk into Mass today, and what is the second reading, but the first letter from St. Paul to the Corinthians.  I know you know the one that I mean...the one that is used in probably 75% of weddings... love is patient, love is kind..... OK, God, I hear you.  Guess it doesn't hurt to keep restating the point, though.  Sometimes we can be kind of dense.

I know this is something that needs work in my life, and I know that God is standing there, ready to work with me.  If fact, probably ready to do most of the work if I will just let go of the things I'm holding on to and put forth a little effort myself. 

The homily was a good one.  The gospel was from Luke where Jesus is in his hometown proclaiming scripture in the synagogue.  He is proclaiming that he is the Messiah, and before the conversation is done, they are ready to throw him (Truth) off of a cliff!  Things seem to happen so fast in scriptures - like you can go from life to death in two sentences. 

Anyway it seems that Jesus came to speak truth to them.  That's what a prophet is - someone who is appointed by God to speak God to His people.  And we share in this by virtue of our baptism.  Anyway, the truth is not designed to make people feel good or to stroke their egos.  Sometimes the truth hurts when it doesn't line up with our way of seeing things. 

The truth challenges us to change and to conform ourselves more closely to the will of God.  And the will of God is that we become more like Him.  And how do we do that?  St. Paul tells us:  by being patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, not seeking our own interests, not quick-tempered, not brooding over injury, rejoicing with the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things.  And when I compare myself to that standard.... well....there's enough to keep me busy!

Christ came to challenge those who are comfortable, but also to comfort those who are hurting.  I'm feeling kind of challenged right now.

How we respond to the Lord and what he wants of us determines whether we will be a "mouthpiece" for the Lord, living God with our lives, or a clanging gong or crashing cymbal.  So says the good Monsignor. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

filling in

A year or two ago, my sister-in-law invited me to go along with her to the Perpetual Adoration Chapel near by.  I'd wanted to go, but didn't really know what to expect, so it was nice to have someone to go with.  Since that time, I have been back there many times.  It is a wonderful quiet place with God's Presence.  Someone is assigned to be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Last year as one of my Lenten endeavors, I tried to go once a week, but it became clear that no matter how much I wanted to do this, some of my weeks just didn't have that extra hour in it.  At this time in my life, I can't commit to an hour.  However I have often thought that I could sub, and have thought about calling whoever is in charge to offer.  I'm off in the summers, etc.  A few weeks ago when I was there, I saw a sign-up sheet posted on the bulletin board asking for volunteers to substitute.  I didn't write my name on it  that time, but I could hear God calling me.  Next time I went, I added my name to the list.  This week I had two people call me.  The first one, I accepted (for Friday evening).  The second, I had to decline because it conflicted with Bible Study. 

I am so looking forward to my opportunity!

full moon

I have long thought that the phase of the moon influences student behavior.  Today was a full moon, plus an incoming cold front, and it was pure craziness at school.  Forty plus discipline referrals. In one day!   Wow!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

variations on a theme

With some regularity in my life, there seems to be some "theme" that comes up, and then it seems like everything I hear or read or see relates in some way to that theme.  It could be prayer, forgiveness, surrender, loss, gratitude, whatever.  Lately, the "theme of the month" seems to be marriage.

I think that being a parent is hard at times, but being a wife is infinitely more difficult.  Not that my marriage is bad, because it's not.  But there is so much untapped potential and ways that it could be better. 

Last year for Lent, I did something simple; I gave up complaining about my dear hubby.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I was amazed at the dividends that it seemed to pay in our relationship.  I remarked to a friend that it was as if when I put forth a little bit of an effort, God did the really heavy lifting.  But as time passed, things kind of went back to the status quo, and I find myself looking at Lent again - sure that this is a part of my life that needs some work.  I listen to a Christian radio station when I am in control of the music in the car, and they are working on what is called "The Love Dare".  It is a book of 40 (perfect for Lent) things to do that focus on changing yourself.  Since we know we can't change the other person.  So daily, I am hearing this.

Then, this morning at Mass, the priest spoke about how we achieve sactity through our vocation.  And what would my vocation be, but marriage.  He talked about asking God to make us a more loving husband, wife, child, whatever. 

At Bible Study this evening, the presenter spoke at great length about the truth that "little is much in the hands of God."  He spoke about what the apostles must have thought when Jesus wanted them to feed the 5,000.  But He told them to take inventory, which they did, and found that they had a couple of loaves and a few fish.   "What do you have?"  he asked.   "Give it to me."  He tells us the same thing.  Even when what we have is just a little, He tells us, "Give it to me."  And I could identify perfectly with what he was saying after my Lenten experience last year. 

So, the apostles give him the little bit that they have, and he blesses it, and gives it back to them.  Probably about the size of a small Subway sandwich, and tells them to feed the people.  Yeah, right.  But they kept going back to Jesus when they would run out, and He would replenish them.   We have to remember to do that, as well.

A little in the hands of Jesus is enough!

changing levels

Last night I went to work out.  I joined a fitness place in the summer because something had to be done, and I have been fairly faithful going three times a week.  However, the week before last, there was some reason every night that I couldn't go, and I think I might have only gone once the week prior to that.  It really does not take long to lose what it seems to take months to build up.

Anyway, I was back at it last week.  Last night, I inserted my little chip into the computer and it tells me that "based on my peformance last week, my fitness level has been changed to beginner."  I'm thinking that is probably not a change for the better.  I have to tell you, it didn't exactly give me loads of confidence.  But not to fear, I'm getting back on track with the exercise, and the eating will soon follow. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

who dat??

The Saints are in the Super Bowl!!!  After 40 something years!!!!  GEAUX SAINTS!!!

spiritual stuff

Just a couple of things from this week and prayer:

I remember about a year or so ago, reading Psalm 116 and actually paying attention to the words and thinking, "That's me!"  So now every time I read it, as I did this week,  it gets my attention.

I love the Lord for he has heard the cry of my appeal; 
for he turned his ear to me in the day when I called him.
(Yep, I called him one day, and he heard me.  It goes on....)
How gracious is the Lord, and just; 
(Yeah, people forget about the "just" part; I wonder if they think God is just a big ol' cream puff.)
our God has compassion.
(Lucky for us.)
The Lord protects the simple hearts.
I was helpless so he saved me.
(It just sounds so simple and matter of fact.  I was helpless, so he saved me.  Just like that, because he didn't have anything better to do.  Or because it is his nature to save us from ourselves and the stupid things we do because we [think we] know better than God.)

One morning at Mass, Father mentioned why we attend daily Mass.  I think it might have been Friday when he highlighted the verse: that they might be with him  (Mark 3:14)  Not because it is something "nice" to do for God . But because we are called in the depths of our being to be "with" him, and we have the good sense to say "yes".  And I thought to myself, "He gets it."  Over the years, I have had people act like I am either slightly crazy or real holy to go to daily Mass at any opportunity, and my dear husband who periodically suggests that "God won't be mad" if I just skip a day.  While the "crazy" part might be accurate, they mostly don't understand that it is not me that is doing something special, but the fact that I *am* drawn there.  Since the first morning during Lent 4 or 5 years ago when I got up early to go, I have felt that magnetic pull.  There is a thirst. 

Went to Mass yesterday with Kid #2 and this morning with dear hubby and Kid #1.  I don't know when the habit of going to 2 "Sunday" Masses started, but I would often take the kids on Saturday evening, because they often had to serve, and then hubby (who likes the less crowded 8:30 a.m. Mass) would go by himself on Sunday because the kids enjoy sleeping late on the weekend.  And I thought it was a bit ironic that some weeks the only day that I didn't go to Mass was Sunday.  Anyway, I usually find the homilies worth listening to, and sometimes it takes hearing it twice to let it sink in, so there is nothing heroic in "going twice" though I don't go around publicizing the fact because some people look at me like I have 4 heads.. 

The homily yesterday was almost like a prayer.  Mentioning that God DOES expect a lot from us.  And he has a right to because he has given us everything.  As Father made his way through Luke 4:14-21,  "proclaiming liberty to captives" (setting us free from the stupid things that hold us captive), "bringing sight to the blind" (helping us to see things in our lives that we are blind to), "letting the oppressed go free" (freeing us from things like unhealthy guilt), and "proclaiming a year acceptable to the Lord" (where all debts were canceled, and how he canceled all of our debts by his suffering, dying and rising) it was almost like a prayer.  Rejoicing in the Lord must be our strength (Neh 8:10). God IS with us.  He comes to us at every Mass.  Thus, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in our hearing."

Saturday, January 23, 2010


On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti about 10 miles from its capital city.  The loss of life and damage has been horrific.  Already a poor country that has had more than their share of hurricanes and disasters.

There is a priest from this area that has a mission in Haiti, but he is located "in the hills" and he is safe.

An internet friend, who's husband is an emergency room doctor went to Haiti at the beginning of this week to give aid.  A message to her says that the conditions are terrible.  There are not enough supplies, not enough antibiotics, no pain medicine.  Orphans.  Little children crying in pain.  It is heartbreaking.

The bishops asked for a special collection last weekend.  Tonight our pastor thanked the people of our parish for their generosity and said "God will bless you".  A normal Sunday collection is between $3,000 and $4,000 in our parish.  Second collections can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.  Last weekend, the second collection for Haiti was nearly $5,000! Amazing for our parish.

My penance last week, was to say a prayer for the people of Haiti.  That will certainly continue.

Friday, January 22, 2010

we are family

This past weekend, we visited my stepson and his wife and family.  They are a 12 hour drive or a 90 minute flight away.  Dear hubby drove so that we would have a vehicle (and because he doesn't like flying) and the boys and I flew, along with hubby's sister and mom (good traveling companions).  Stepson and wife have six little ones (ages 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10), and it was a wonderful chaos of kids from the time we got there until the time we left. 

I think I took over 200 pictures this weekend.  Here are some that would make it into my "top 10".

The master grillers - father and son... or grandpa and dad.. depending on your perspective.


The uncles with their oldest nephew!

Here's nephew #2 (# 5 of the whole crew) with some items from his stocking. 

Niece #1.  What a trip!

A little scary when 7 year old girls and 14 year old boys share the same style in footwear!

Niece #2 with Kid #1, looking at the Bible that #6 got for his birthday. 

Niece # 3 enjoying birthday festivities.

Rounding out the half-dozen...the birthday boy!

Guys on the couch!

They love their uncles!

It was happy chaos!

Blogger Vent: 

Once again, I must say that I don't find Blogger's picture adding capabilities very user friendly.  This page has been 3 days in the making.  The first time the pictures wouldn't load.  It was late, and I went to bed.  The next time, I got all of the pictures uploaded, and then after adding two to the blog, clicked on *something* and all the uploaded pictures vanished.  I *know* uploaded pictures are saved on Picassa, so I went there.  Sure enough, my pictures were there, but I couldn't find a simple way to transfer them from Picassa to Blogger.  So...tonight, I uploaded them all again, and here they are (maybe a few more than 10)!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Yesterday was election day in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat vacated by Teddy Kennedy. Normally, I wouldn't care what happened in Massachusetts, but this vote was crucial. In the last few weeks of the campaign, the Republican candidate came on strong, and stated that he would vote against the national healthcare plan. When it seemed like our country was headed for the ash heap of bankrupted countries, suddenly we saw a glimmer of light! There WAS a chance to defeat the hideous bill! God DID provide! And so the people who are tired of not being listened to, spoke. And spoke loudly. And today there is reason for hope and celebration! Ironically, it's about the first "hope" I've felt in a year, since our current president took office.

I thought this video was priceless!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

back to reality...back to normal?

Today, I finally have the feeling of catching my breath and moving on into the new year, with business resuming somewhat as normal after a crazy month or six weeks.  I have missed three of the past seven days of school: one for a funeral, one for a visit, and one to get ready for a differnt visit.  No regrets on any of them.  But it is difficult to get into a routine when there are so many exceptions.

Last week, I didn't make it to work out once.  It is time to get back on track with that and with making healthier food choices.  I went tonight and it was good. 

I have been out of town three times in the past 2 weeks.  I think I will be staying put for a little while.

My daily Mass schedule has been all over the place.  Last week, a friend who I often see at daily Mass asked me if I was OK.  Just tired, I said.  Then I thought and asked, "Haven't been to Mass in 3 days, maybe that's it?" 

And maybe the kids at school will be glad to have things return to normal.  They don't do well with change and disruptions in their routines, either. 

Let the new year begin!

come to me

Flying is not one of my favorite things, and there is nothing like the thought of being 40,000 feet above the earth to motiviate you to make sure things are "right" in your life.  The best way I have of doing this is the wonderful, misunderstood sacrament of reconciliation.  Jesus says "come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."  So I can walk in with my burdens, leave them there with Jesus, and walk out with that "easy yoke".

And that's what I did before 6:30 Mass on Friday.  There were a couple of things I wanted to hit the "delete" key on.  One on-going theme in my life is finding time for quality prayer.  Daily Mass is awesome, but it is not private prayer, and there needs to be time for that, too.  I fnd myself either hurrying through prayer so that I can be done with prayer and on to something else (which isn't really a good attitude for developing a relationship with a loving Father) or putting it off until the end of the day when there are hardly any brain cells still functioning.  If God has something to tell me at that point in the day, I'm not likely to hear it.  'Cause you have to be listening, and quite honestly, I've done about all the listening I'm going to do by the time prayer rolls around. 

Sometimes, in that wonderful sacrament I get advice, sometimes not.  The advice, when it comes, is always helpful.  Maybe the Holy Spirit has somthing to do with it.  The advice on this particular day was to change the order of things., to find the time of day when I am "best for the Lord", and that quality is more important than quantity.  (We have had the quality vs quantity discussion before.  Perhaps I should revisit that.)  Lord, help me find the time of the day when I am at my best for You so that You can have the firstfruits and not the leftovers.  Help me to remember that quality is more pleasing than quantity and to be quiet long enough to hear You.  And Lord, thank you for the awesome gift of Your mercy, which You give so freely and we deserve not at all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

crazy busy

The past few weeks have been very busy. 

I've started a few blog entries, but haven't finished.  One was on the Baptism of Our Lord, which was this past Sunday.  I thought it was kind of neat that the anniversary of my bapstism was also last Sunday.  Another on the cold weather.  That one may yet see the light of day - especially if there is more really cold weather. 

Not too much has seemed blog-worthy and time has been oh-so-limited.  Besides this blog, I also have a journal.  When I started blogging, my journal started gathering dust, but the past couple of weeks, it has seen some use.  Some things just belong in a journal, rather than a blog.

My friend was in from Pennsylvania.  We spent the day together Monday and walked and talked.  We walked in her neighborhood.  We walked along the Mississippi River levee, and we walked around the mall.  It was good.  Best friends are the best!  Not sure when I will see her again, but I'm hoping for this summer.

We are going this weekend to see my stepson and his family.  It's a 12 hour drive or a 1.5 hour flight (after a 2 hour drive).  We're flying.  I have so much to do to pack...

Meetings at school.  Meetings about meetings.  Meetings before school.  Meetings after school. Crazy.

I find myself needing to hit the 'delete' button on a couple of things in my life. And a thing or two that I just feel tired of fighting on my own. That and wanting everything to be "right" before stepping on a plane.  Hoping to make it to confession on Friday morning.  There is always a feeling of accomplishment if I just manage to make it for the 8-10 minute window of time before Mass.  ;-)  I always feel like I've skidded in just under the wire!

There was something in Matthew's Gospel that our Bible Study touched on about being held accountable on judgment day for every careless word that is said.  That really did NOT sound like good news to me!

I am yawning and I have things to do.

I picked up a new book while I was at the mall the other day with my friend.  The title is "Be a Man".  It is of a spiritual nature written for guys.  I thought I might preview it before passing it on to my sons or godchildren.  I wonder if I read it on the plane, what kind of ideas other people might have...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

life is changed....not ended

I went today to the funeral of my best friend's mom.  It is a comfort to know that death is not the end of our lives, just a change.  The liturgy was beautiful.  There is the reminder at the beginning of our baptism.  The Easter candle is lit, the coffin is sprinkled with Holy Water, and the funeral pall, symbolic of the white garment at baptism is placed over the casket. Things come full circle.  The readings were perfect, and the music was beautiful.  There was one song that was sung during the blessing with incense, that I would love to have at my own funeral.  Something about "May the Angels Lead You into Paradise".  I don't recall hearing it before...

As I sat in the church, I wondered if now friend's mom is present with us at Mass - in the company of the angels and saints who are at every Mass.  There is every reason to hope, and she is almost certainly in a better place, freed from the limitations that were part of life here.

Plans to visit with my friend after the funeral were changed when she called to tell me that she had an awful virus and to stay away!  I'm glad that I have planned to take off on Monday for a real chance to visit.  I am always reluctant to "use my days", but this is one of those things that fits the "10 year rule".  Will it matter in 10 years if we visited?  Possibly, because sometimes there are years between our visits and they are grace-filled times.  While I would like to make a trip to the monastery yearly, one never knows what the future holds.  Will it matter in 10 years if I was at work on 1.11.10?  Probably NOT!

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of Cody's death.  If ever anyone got a headstart on their "purgatory time" while they were still on earth, it was this child.  I still think of him often.  I can still see that twinkle in his eye. 

And tomorrow is the first anniversary of my neighbor's death.  For over 40 years, our families lived next door to each other.  I don't think they make neighbors like that anymore.  A wonderful, kind, gentle person who never had anything bad to say about anyone.

When I got back to town, I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  While I was there, I ran into Ms. Clara and her granddaughter.

May they all rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon them!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

if a picture is worth 1000 words

Then maybe this is worth about 16,000??  This is from a Facebook application that randomly selected 16  pictures (and then allowed you to make substitutions) from the year.  Lots of high points!  Winter camp, my trip to Langhorne, snow, camping, decorations from church, the cat, the garden.  It's all good!

words of wisdom

Bible Study tonight.  It was good to be back after three weeks off for the holidays.  Sometimes what Jeff [Cavins] has to say is really good and sometimes what our pastor has to say is really good.  Sometimes both.

Things that caught my ear from Jeff:   Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.  (Matthew 10:16)  Make your heart a project.  Develop your spiritual life.  Know yourself.  Be shrewd, wise, and innocent. 

The goal of the religious formation of our children is that they love God more than us.

A holy fear of God  is necessary to avoid sin and its consequences.

From the good monsignor after the video:   Be not afraid!  Be faithful!  Do not be complacent!  He further explained that if you are feeling comfortable with your spiritual life, then that's not good.  So conversely, I guess that makes it good news that I am not feeling real happy with mine right now!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Putting communication with God (prayer) ahead of other things in my life is looking to be an ongoing struggle.  Reflecting the other night, I came to the conclusion that in this area of my life, God is getting the "leftovers".  When everything else has been done, the last pair of pants ironed, the last Facebook status checked, the last lesson plan done, the last Bejeweled game played, the last email answered, THEN it is time for prayer.  The result of this is that I am often tired and often just blow through my prayers with about a half a mind working.  The focus is on just getting through.  The chances of God speaking to me through this prayer - or rather the chances of me hearing him - are slim.  And prayer is about communication.  The other option is that I pray before I do those things that I really "want" to do, which results in about the same effect - rushing through just to be finished so I can get on to other things. Maybe I should pray about prayer.

Also too, I realized that this attitude applies to other areas of my life, as well.  I can fuss and complain that things are not as they should be, but when I give only the leftovers...well...  Leftovers can only be reheated so many times.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

a quick trip back

For the past several years, I have used photographs from the preceding year to make a calendar for the upcoming year.  Gives me a chance to enjoy the pictures again, and gives me a place to write things down.

Looking back at 2009...

January was a busy month.  Hubby's sixth grandchild was born.  The following day, our neighbor of over 40 years passed away.  This was unexpected and our holiday celebrations won't be the same.  She was part of our family.  One of the few people who never had a bad thing to say about anyone.  A few weeks later, our family made a trip to Tampa to visit the new grandchild, and the rest of his family.  The boys and I flew.  It was their first flight, and my first flight in over 20 years.  God showed his sense of humor because my stepson's mother was also on the same flight - going to visit!  We also began a 24-week Bible Study at church - the Bible Timeline.

February brought us the celebration of Mardi Gras and an opportunity for me to pick up a little extra cash by tutoring.  This made for some long days.

March continued the journey through Lent.  The boys went on a couple of camping trips; I spent a day with them at the Camporee, but came home to sleep!  Lent was a productive time for me.

April was a busy, busy month with things at school, Holy Week, family from New Jersey visiting.  Dear hubby was at home most of the month, waiting medical clearance for work.

May brought the typical end-of-the-year stresses from school.  I attended a Mother's Day of Reflection which I enjoyed immensely and which offered respite from the stress.  School ended on May 22, and I finalized plans to visit my best friend at her monastery in Pennsylvania at the end of the month.  Our Bible Study took us through Samuel and Kings. 

In June, I returned from my visit with my friend.  What a wonderful treat that was!  I went anticipating the visit, but was delighted to find abundant QUIET!  I attended a week long "camp" for teachers that I found very enjoyable and worked for a week at an art camp for students, which I found interesting.  I made the wonderful discovery of a church parish about a mile and a half from my church.  I had avoided it for years, because of the liklihood that I would be the only white person in attendance.  However, I needed to work around the times of the camp for daily Mass, and the Mass times at that parish worked.  I loved it!  And I made a new friend.  And occasionally I was the only white person besides the priest, and it was OK.

July brought many birthdays (as did June), a week at camp in Georgia for my boys, and another week at Art Camp for me.  A visit from a friend who moved away, and the end of summer - already!

August was filled with back to school things - open houses and inservices.  Our Bible Study concluded with a supper and a video presentation of our pastor/facilitator's trip to Ireland. 

Things got into rhythm in September.  Our Boy Scouts went on a "Shoot and Swim" activity at camp.  After all the rain, a better name would have been "Slosh and Swat".  I did get to shoot a rifle, though, and we had a good day, mud and all.  Another Bible Study got underway - a study of the Gospel of Matthew. 

The undisputed highlight of October was a visit with my friend from Pennsylvania.  A family emergency allowed for her to be at home, and we were able to spend a wonderful, wonderful day together visiting.  It was a rare day when everything just went right.  I also spent an enjoyable weekend on a campout with my boys and my scout friends.

November followed October.  There was a Confirmation Mass at our parish for the youth.  I spent a night and a couple of days at Winter Camp with our Boy Scout troop.  Sleeping in a tent just isn't as comfortable as it once was!

And before we knew what happened, December was here!  Advent.  Christmas.  Decorating. Ornaments.  Presents.  Gumbo.  Lessons and Carols.

A whole trip around the sun!

changed by the light

Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany.  The arrival of three pagan kings from far-off lands to pay homage to a little Jewish baby.  People must have thought they were crazy!  However, they were drawn there by the Light.  The light of faith, moreso than the light of a star.  They brought gifts - gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, myhrr for a suffering servant.  How well those three identies define Jesus!  And when they arrived at the place where the baby was, they were touched by him.  They left this encounter changed. 

We are drawn to Jesus.  Do we make the journey to  Him?  Or do we expect Him to come to us?  Do we bring the gifts of our lives to Him?  Our sorrows, our joys, our successes, our failures, our sinfullness, our holiness?  Do we leave those things with Him or do we take them home with us?  When we encounter Him in the sacraments or in prayer or in the Word, do we leave changed? 


I still haven't figured out how to make pictures do exactly what I would like them to do on blogger. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

resolution or revolution?

Happy New Year!

2009 was pretty good!  I would say there were probably more highlights than lowlights.   We lost one almost-family member at the beginning of Janaury, but other than that we are mostly healthy and still alive. No arrests.  No accidents.  No close friends moving far away.  No unemployment.  Nothing worth complaining about.  Hopefully 2010 will bring more good things than bad.  More blessings than trials, though there are certain to be some of each.

We started the year off right with Mass at 8:30 this morning.  The official title of the day is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.    I can remember it having other titles when we were growing up.  A celebration of the circumcision of Jesus (ouch), the Feast of the Holy Family, and something about the Octave of Christmas.  Yesterday at the Anticipated Mass, Father talked about Mary, and while he had lots of good points, his homily was really difficult to summarize.  More like a collection of thoughts. 

Today was a little more streamlined.  He mentioned New Year's Resolutions - which I refuse to even bother with.  He said that the only resolution worth making is to resolve to make use of all the opportunities given to us to live as a child of God.  That sounds fairly reasonable.  Off the top of my head, I can see that the sacraments offer us opportunities to live as children of God.  Even confession - Reconciliation - is a gift which acknowledges God as a loving and merciful Father and frees us from our sins - allowing us to live with the dignity of one of God's chosen ones.  Certainly there will be opportunities other than the sacraments.  Opportunities for service.  Opportunities for prayer.  Opportunities of worship and thanksgiving.  Opportunities for study and learning.  Let us use the opportunities we are given.  If the world would resolve to do that, Father says, then we will not have a resolution, but a revolution