Thursday, April 29, 2010

today has been long enough

Started out with Mass.  That might well have been the only thing that went right.  The homily was about lifting each other up, and the guarantee that we would have the chance sometime during the day to lift someone up.  Then I promptly forgot about that until now.  Not sure if I lifted anyone up or not.

Started out with drama at school.  I can't share details, but it is just SO time for the year to be done. And the kids are not the problem.  Or the parents.  Dealt with as much of that as I could.  My 8th graders came in, and about 2/3 of the way through their class, a co-worker knocked on my door and asked if I'd forgotten about a meeting I was supposed to be at 40 minutes ago at our feeder HS.  Yep!  So I asked my assistant to take my lunch duty, dropped everything, and went to that.  I was not prepared, but the people I needed to meet with were wonderfully understanding.

Then came my sixth graders.  They weren't bad.  We looked at pictures from the field trip yesterday, and did a little bit of math.  (The field trip yesterday was wonderful!  The little thug-wannabe's were wonderful, and they got complements on their behavior.  We met a Korean War veteran who had served on the ship that we went to visit.  He made $22 a week in 1957.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the levee, and none of them ended up in the river.  The only problem was when we walked back to school from a nearby ice cream place.)

 Somewhere in here I got a phone call from my dear hubby.  Because we just got reminded of the policy of using electronics on campus, I did NOT answer the call.  Later when I checked my voicemail, he was telling me that he we needed new smoke detectors because he caught grease on fire [again] and they did not go off.

After this class, my co-worker who chaperoned the 7th graders on their field trip dropped by my room.  She said that 2 of ours had started fighting - probably started off as "playing".  The ambulance was on the way because one supposedly had a broken thumb and the other was throwing up.  Uncaring teacher that I am, I did not even go see about them.  I was busy filling out paperwork x3 for our visit to the dentist. 

Left work early to go to the dentist.  I hate going to the dentist.  One kid needs to see an orthodontist because he has a "deep bite" and the other needs a root canal and a crown.  He must have inherited my teeth.  Yippee.

And now I am waiting on the Pop-A-Lock man (who should have been here by now) because one of my children went to get the mail last weekend, and didn't put the keys back where he got them.

Is it Friday the 13th?  Nope - it's my grandfather's 94th birthday!  Happy Birthday Granddad!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

in the books

Tonight was our last Bible Study of our 24 week series!  We were studying the Gospel of Matthew.  You wouldn't think that you could spend 24 weeks on Matthew, but trust me - you can!  If you ever get the chance to participate in a Great Adventure Bible Study (especially one done by Jeff Cavins), by all means - DO! 

Someone once said "Ignorance of the Bible is Ignorance of Christ."  Unfortunately, studying the Bible doesn't seem to happen that often in the Catholic Church.  I have learned SO much (and have SO much more to learn).  There have been some teachings or some points that just jump up and hit me right between the eyes.  There have been some weeks that led to some soul searching. 

Tonight was a little special because we had "finger foods" while we watched the DVD.  It was a recap of the entire Gospel, and then a little more indepth on the last Chapter.  The final thing that Jesus left His apostles with was "Go and make disciples..."   That is His instruction to us.  And how reassuring that He is with us "until the end of the age." 

Our pastor always fields questions and answers at the end.  Sometimes (most times) there aren't questions, but tonight there were a couple.  One man commented about how the Apostles had THE best teacher, but they still didn't "get" it all.  He said he would have been pretty amazed if HE had seen Jesus working all these miracles.  And our pastor responded by saying that we see miracles all the time and are unfazed by them.  The primary example is Mass.  Every time the bread and wine is changed to the Body and Blood of Jesus, we witness a miracle.  He gave confession as another example - that one is a 2-part miracle.   He said that when you hear the prompting of the Spirit to go and have the good sense to respond, that is the first part of the miracle.  Don't give yourself too much credit for going, he said, because you can not approach God without God first drawing you to Himself. The second part of the miracle is God's amazing expression of Mercy, the forgiveness of sins,  to which we have no right, cannot earn, etc. 

People stayed around at the end to chat.  That is one of the best side effects of these gatherings - getting to know the other people you worship with. 

We started in August and here we are in April.  It HAS been a Great Adventure.  Next up (later in the summer) is a study of the Letters of James.  That one is only a 10-week series, though.  I'll be there!

Monday, April 26, 2010


When I came out of Mass this morning, this is what I heard on the radio:

So appropriate, since I took advantage of the opportunity before Mass to go to confession.  I don't know how much "business" our pastor gets sitting back there in his little box in the early hours of the morning, but I am glad that he is there.  I never thought I would have enough working brain cells at 6:15 a.m. to make a decent confession, but I've discovered that it's a blessing to start your day that way (and sometimes easier to make than the standard Saturday afternoon from 3:00-3:30 hours).  It takes a little bit of modification of my morning schedule, and I prefer to go on days when I don't have school, but I've done school days, too!  I have also discovered that if I go every month or so, my list is not too long, and I have enough brain cells awake to remember it. 

Let me just go on record saying that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is AWESOME!  I went this morning with a couple of different things "on my plate".  I have realized over time, that if I stop and consider where the stress is coming from, where the uneasiness is in my life, I will usually find sin there, too.  I bet you can guess where I found the stress - in God's alleged silence in my life and in the situation at work.  Who knew?  I realized this weekend at Mass, that I've been so busy looking for what I'm expecting God to do, that I've missed the things that He is really doing.  Oops!

I use different things to prepare ahead of time.  Sometimes I reread my journal, sometimes I use a list of questions, sometimes just being open to answers that I might get in prayer.  This time I used some worksheets that you can find on .  They are found on the left side in the sidebar with names like "My Life With God" and "Difficult People", and those were helpful this time.   What works one time may not work the next time for me.

So, I said what I had to say, but I also had questions.  For one, "Where does venting end and detraction and gossip begin?"  He said that was a good question, and quoted St. Paul saying something about "Say only the good that needs to be said."   And to ask myself if what I was saying was going to help anything (besides just making myself feel better).  "Father, I have 22 days of school left. Help me make it to the end with some sense of dignity intact."  He said that in terms of eternity, God ultimately wills peace for us - His Peace.  He suggested venting to God (in His Presence, if possible) - letting it all go.  And then, one might find peace. 

He never uses a lot of words, but he manages to say a lot.  When we got to the penance part, the first thing he said was to thank God for the blessings in my life and the ways that He speaks to me.  "And there's no two ways about it, God does speak to you, and you do listen."  And I thought that was pretty ironic considering that I've been sitting here all this time complaining about how quiet God is in my life.  Not a doubt in my mind that God was speaking through him right then....

Friday, April 23, 2010

spring break miscellaneous

The best kind of spring break.  I don't have school and my kids do!

Yesterday was a busy day.   Mass, getting the kids to school, haircut, picking up uniform shorts for my child who has refused to wear shorts for the past three years, grabbing some items at WalMart, and sitting tethered to a phone for 30 minutes while on hold with the IRS.  Mass is truly the best part of any day.  I'm not sure I like my haircut.  Maybe it will grow on me.  I want something different, I'm just not sure what it is.  Dear child has worn the same 3 pairs of uniform pants for the past 2 years, so I figured if he wanted shorts with 30 days of school left, the money was in the clothing budget. Hopefully they will still fit him in August.   I met a friend for a Zumba class in the morning.  Supposedly you can burn 1000 calories in an hour.  I assure you that I did not.  I am not very coordinated when my feet have to do one thing and other body parts have to do another.  I went back and did my regular workout in the evening. And the IRS... well, the good news is that our return is not lost.  The bad news has been referred to the Department for Further Review, and they don't really work on any certain time table. 

I also found time to go by the adoration chapel.  I love that time.  In the conversation with God, I think I was doing most of the talking.  I wrote as I "talked", but I don't think I came up with many answers.  I feel like God is fairly silent in my life right now.  I know He is there.  I see His footprints all around me.  I know he was speaking to me last week in the homily snippets I posted, so it's not even fair to say that He's silent - just not talking directly to me?  Maybe more like "on vacation".  I went back today with the sole purpose of listening..  I ended up with this: 

A little lopsided, but I am not an artist, and I have no delusions about my lack of artistic ability.  Not at all sure of what I heard while I was sketching.  It did help block out some of the distractions.  Or maybe it was a distraction in and of itself.  It is frustrating not to get answers.  Or then again, maybe I'm getting answers, but not hearing them.

I have a conscientious objector child on my hands.  Not sure where he came from.  Yesterday, all 150 or so kids in the Junior High part of their school went to see the movie "Oceans" in honor of Earth Day.  All of the Junior High kids except one of mine.  He said he had seen the previews and it looked like a bunch of liberal propaganda, and it was not worth $9 to see it.  He insisted that he did NOT want to go.  So he stayed behind and wrote an essay about "Why Oceans Are Good" or some such thing and emptied the recycling bins around school.  He explained to the assistant principal, who was reading his essay that "C.S" was kind of like "B.S." but with chickens.  I don't think she was amused.  This has always been my shy, quiet child.  I always worried that he would be a follower.  With this, he never doubted that he was doing the right thing or cared what the others would think.  Of course, he noted with pleasure, that the kids who went said that the movie "sucked".  

The plants are starting to grow.  I planted lettuce (at least I hope it's lettuce, because I ate some) last October.  It is growing now.  So here was my salad tonight:  I have never seen tomatoes this small.  I would say marble-sized, but I don't think they were even the size of a respectable marble.  They were tasty, though.  I had thoughts of offering our priest some of the "first fruits" from the tomatoes, but I'm afraid I need something a little more substantial!

Mother-in-law ended up in the hospital today after starting the morning off weak and disoriented.  We suspected a stroke at first, but they have diagnosed some type of infection - possibly pneumonia.  I visited tonight, and she seemed in good spirits and appeared to be feeling much better.

I have decided that school is like a giant game of Survivor.  Outlast, Outwit, Outplay.  I know I can Outlast.  I am nothing, if not stubborn.  Not sure about the others, though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

son of the father

Faculty meeting this morning.  Bible Study this evening.  Bible study definitely being the better of the two.

Faculty meeting...let me not say too much since people I know can access this blog through my facebook page (not that they would want to).  But, OH MY!   There are 22 days of school left.  And now you're going to tell me to START doing my job.

And people wonder why I go to Mass in the morning.

I feel like I should go to confession.  Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I went to work. Everything I did there for the past 158 days was probably wrong.  I'm sorry and I will try to do better, but I have 22 days left, and  I don't know how I will avoid the near occasion of sin.


And, no, I would not make a mockery out of the sacrament of reconciliation, and there probably are some legitimate work-related things that I could do better.  I just detest these kinds of meetings.  If I am not doing my job, please talk to me at the beginning of the year one-on-one.  Come help me.  Make suggestions.  Don't make some general statement with less than two dozen days left.

Bible Study.  Something I look forward to.  This week was the Passion of  Christ in Matthew.  The part about  Barabbas was worth sharing.  At the Passover, the Jews celebrated their release from slavery in Egypt, and so it was customary for a prisoner to be released during the Passover.  The name "Barabbas" means "son of the father". The only way that he can be released is if the real Son of the Father pays the price for him.  In a sense, we are all Barabbas - the sinful children of the Father set free by the other Son.

And how about this little tidbit - quoting from our pastor's handout, "In this context, Jesus makes the wood of the Cross the new Tree of Life.  And the fruit of this tree is his flesh and blood, the Eucharist.  And if we eat of the fruit, we'll live forever."  I never thought of it that way.  Makes a ton of sense, though.

I've gotten a few updates from friends from the church that had a fire last week.  Most of the damage appears to be water and smoke.  Daily Mass is being held in the parish library and Sunday Mass at the gym of a nearby school.  My friend today, said he hoped that they would be back in the church by the beginning of June.  That would be great!

Let spring break begin!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

things i've heard

If' you've been reading this blog for the last couple of months, you might have been with me through what I thought was a disappointing Lent.  I had great plans for the things God was going to do in my life during Lent, and my great plans didn't really materialize. 

And I know that's OK, because God probably has other plans.  (My pastor sometimes tells us not to get upset with him, because he works in "sales" (for God), not "management".  Well, sometimes, I think I could work in an advisory position to God- maybe in "consulting".  But I digress...)

I know that on the one hand, God's plans are infinitely superior to mine;  that God always cares for His children, that God doesn't measure "success" by the same standards that we do, that God may be doing things that we just can't see, and on and on.  But it is still disappointing not to see much "fruit" from Lent.

But God speaks through his priests.  In the last week, I've heard the following:

Last Tuesday, from Fr.K:  We like to tell the spirit where and how hard to blow.  But the Spirit knows what it is doing, all on it's own, without any help from us. 

Last Friday, from Fr.R:  Even when we are confused with what God is doing in our lives, God is not confused. 

Today, from Fr.R:  We like to ask God for signs, just like the people in the readings today.  When God is not going along with our script, that's when surrender and faith is required.  When the externals - the signs - are stripped away, when you have to rely on faith, that's when faith grows.  That was exactly what I needed to hear today. 

God bless our priests!

And here's another thing:  When I first started attending daily Mass a few times a week, I shared that info with only a very few colleagues.  But eventually, it became a treasure that couldn't be contained, and when our schedule changed a few years ago, the only positive thing (that I've been able to see) is that I have the opportunity to attend Mass most days of the week.  And so when I mention that, we are past the "Really, you go to Mass every day?" conversations.  I have one co-worker who also attends daily, and another who comes to meet me sometimes.  Sometimes this leads to sidewalk conversations that others overhear.  Today, another mentioned to me that she has been going to Mass this week (at another parish) and that she loved what the priest had to say today!  Go God!  Draw us close!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

feeling blue

There was a sense of sadness that lay below the surface of yesterday.

There is a parish less than two miles from my house that I "discovered" last summer.  (The church I attend is about 5 miles from my house.  Eight minutes instead of four.)  I had always driven the extra distance because the church close to my house is one that was created 30 years or so ago to serve part of the African-American community in town, and I figured I would not fit in very well.  My parish is a nice mixture of races and ages, and I love it.  But last summer, I was looking for a daily Mass that I could attend on days that my parish did not have 6:30 Mass and still make it to my summer job on time.  The 7:00 Mass at the parish near my house fit the bill perfectly, and the need for Mass was greater than the need to fit in.

So one morning, I showed up there.  Of the couple of dozen people there, four of us, including the priest, were white.  It was love at first sight.  I think I smiled all day after my first Mass there.  Understand that I love my parish.  I love my priest.  I love the blessed silence before Mass.  I love the quiet during daily Mass.  I think my church is beautiful.  I love the people.  It is wonderful.  And this parish was none of this.  I love the priest (and his parishioners were quick to tell me that they do, too).  I love the singing before and during Mass.  I love the devotions before and after.  I love the enthusiasm.  I love that the people are nearly jumping over the pew to grab your hand during the Our Father.  The church is nothing special to look at on the outside, but is always beautifully decorated on the inside. The people were so welcoming to me.  By the end of my second Mass there,  little old black ladies were hugging me on the way out. Wonderful comes in more than one size.

I was sorry when summer was over, because that meant my time with these people was coming to an end.  7:00 Mass doesn't work with my schedule at all during school, but I am able to attend during school holidays.  My boys were out of school the week after Easter, and they came with me one morning (a little over a week ago) to this parish.  It was beautifully decorated in Easter finery celebrating the Resurrection.

On Friday, there was a fire at this church.  I was so sad to hear this.  I know that I would be devastated if this happened at my parish.  I want to help, but I have no idea how.  There was no Mass this weekend at their parish.  Our priest welcomed any visitors from the parish and told them our thoughts and prayers were with them, although I have no idea if we had any visitors from there.  My heart goes out to them. 

Further making it a sad day, were allegations of sexual misconduct regarding another priest in a neighboring diocese.  This is the priest that presided at my step-grandmother's funeral.  I just wish all of this stuff would stop, but I realize that's the presence of evil in our world.

This coming week is a 3 day work week.  And that's a good thing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

extra prayers

This morning, I attended 6:30 Mass at my parish, which I do on a regular basis. The homily was about obedience, and how it's a bad word in today's society - and not just to teenagers.   But it is what we need to strive for.  And with obedience to God's will in our lives comes freedom!

Anyway, things were going along quite routinely until after the homily.  At that point in the Mass, Father offers a prayer of petition - not really the standard "prayers of the faithful" where we respond.  But he offers a prayer, usually tying in whatever he has just spoken about in the homily and asking God's help and blessing upon us. He was about half way through today, when there was the sound of someone falling.  An elderly lady in the front pew had fainted.

He went immediately to her (as did several other people) and someone called 9-1-1.  She regained consciousness fairly quickly, and Father said, "Cher-heart, I don't want to scare you, but I'm going to give you the Sacarment of the Sick."  He got the key, unlocked the ambry, and got the oil that he needed to anoint her.  Meanwhile, most of us are still standing there, as we were when she fell.  At some point, the lady in front of me knelt, and I figured that was a good thing to do - extra prayers never hurt.  And I suppose if you're going to pass out, church is as good a place as any to be.

Eventually we sat and waited for the ambulance to arrive.  The fire department arrived first, and the ambulance a bit later.  They did their thing, found some things that concerned them, and gave her a ride to the hospital.

After about 20 minutes or so, Mass continued right where it had left off.  The prayer offered after the homily changed a little bit; the lady in the front row was the beneficiary of those petitions.  I only saw one person leave during the emergency, and Father thanked us for staying.  I stayed because I really need Jesus this week.  And maybe not just this week, but every week.

My kidlets were tardy for school as a result of my tardiness, but I explained this to the person writing tardy slips, and she excused them.

Last year, after a CPR class, I had suggested to Father that he check into getting one of the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Units since we have a large population of elderly people.  He said he would be too tempted to use it on people that didn't need it!  Might have to mention it again..  My CPR is a little rusty.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a few good things

Not one of my better weeks. It is testing week at school. You know, the tests that mean more than everything else you do all year long. After which the kids are basically done for the year. After yesterday (when the kids I was testing got left out of lunch) I am threatening to volunteer for jury duty next year during testing week (I don't know how to volunteer, but I have a year to find out) or book a flight to Philadelphia to visit my friend at the monastery and PRAY for those I'm leaving behind at school.

But here's a few good things. In no particular order.

My stepson and family (six kids) are moving about six hours from us. Better than the 12 or 13 they currently are. AND they will be living with his mom for the next few months. She is within about 30 miles of us.

My dear hubby is back at work!! After about 2 weeks of waiting on medical clearance.

God is good!

You could see the stars tonight.

I had Bible Study tonight.

I have read two good books lately. One is "Waiting for Eli"  The other is "Our Lady of Kibeho" by Immaculee'.  I haven't finished it yet, but I am really enjoying it.  Might have me saying the Rosary by the time I am done!

Give me time.  I might think of some more.

Might balance out some of the frustrations in life right now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

divine mercy

This is a long one!  Today I was able to attend a "Divine Mercy Conference."  I have been looking forward to it for months and I am thrilled that everything worked out so that I could attend.  There were local priests who spoke, and national speakers (some I had heard of before, and some not.)

First on the list was the pastor from down the road.  I've heard him speak before, and I could (and have) listened to him all day (at a day of reflection).  I took a few notes while he spoke and I will share my notes - however disjointed they may be.  He started off by defining MERCYMay Easter's Reality Convert You.   He said that we have lost our sense of sin; we have lost our sense of need for Divine Mercy.  He told about a shrine in Miami built by the Cubans who had made their way there.  Outside of the confessional is a sign that reads (in Spanish) "Wash your heart here".  Isn't that appropriate?  He said how much he likes the Eucharistic Prayers of Reconciliation which are sometimes used during Lent.  One sentence in particular:  "When we were lost and could not find the way to you, you loved us more than ever.   He listed the three most "under-confessed" sins.  The first was not keeping holy the Sabbath.  Too often we treat Sunday just like another day.  The second was coveting.  No one ever confesses coveting, he says.  After all, we're Americans.  The third was taking the Lord's name in vain (not by saying the G.D. word, but) by not living a life that is worthy of the name "Christian".  He ended by saying we cannot out-sin God's Divine Mercy.  Good thing to know.

The next speaker was a doctor from Tampa.  He was involved with the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy.  He was someone who's life was greatly changed by St. Faustina's diary and the message of Divine Mercy.  He said how valuable it is to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet during Eucharistic Adoration for the sick and dying.  He said that forgiveness opens to the door to Divine Mercy.  He said we should not fear the crosses that we meet in our lives - for many, the fear of the cross is greater than the cross itself.  He spoke of many things from his own life - the near drowing death of his young son, the pregnancy of his wife (at age 50) and his role as a caretaker for his Dad.  He talked about the sacredness of life.

Next on the line-up was Immaculee'  What a beautiful, beautiful woman!  She glows!  She radiates God's love from the inside out.  If you haven't made the acquaintance of Immaculee', you should.  Here is a taste.  Just ignore the Spanish captions. 

There are more videos on YouTube, and she has written several books.  Her story "Left to Tell" is phenomenal.  THIS is someone who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize!  I mostly listened to her story.  It is heartbreaking, but so filled with God's Divine Mercy.  I wrote down only one thing that she said - her last statement.  It so applies in my life.  "If you are ever conflicted between being kind and being right, choose kindness."  I hate to be wrong.

After lunch, we heard from Marcus Grodi of EWTN fame and the Coming Home Network.  Once a Protestant minister, he is now Catholic, and helps others make the same journey.

After Marcus, came Annie Karto.  Her story was simple, but touching.  She is a Catholic singer.  She told of being divorced and married outside the Catholic Church and of God's healing mercy.  She spoke of refraining from the sacraments for the two years it took for her anullment to be processed. She told of going to confession, and her penance being to spread the message of Divine Mercy for the rest of her life!  She said that penance is a joy!  We prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet - in song..

And finally, our last speaker - another local priest.  He talks fast and has a thick Cajun accent, but I think I heard most of what he said.  After we had spent the day hearing about the Image of Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Feast of Divine Mercy, he was there to tell us about the Sacrament of Divine Mercy (also known as Confession).  He spoke of the benefits of confession over the "straight to God" method:  (1) the removal of all guilt   (2) Sanctifying grace  (3) Sacramental (medicinal) grace to avoid sin.  He said he had done the math and that if all Catholics in our diocese went to confession monthly and spent 5 minutes in the confessional, each priest on active duty would have to hear confessions 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.  We're nowhere near that, yet.  But things are improving.

His advice for confession:  (1) Go early and often!  Don't abuse the sacrament; wait until you are sorry, but GO. (2) Be brief, be blunt, be gone.  (He needs to know what the sin is, so don't dance around it too much, but leave out the gory details.)  (3)  Worst first.  (4) Get in touch with the one you have offended.  (Jesus)  Realize who you are approaching in the confessional.  (Jesus)  (5) Bring the joy of the encounter to others.  (I've often felt like the weird one talking about confession either in person or in this blog, but I think it's neat to share the good things in life.) (6) Be merciful.

As a side note, this priest has subbed at my parish twice in the last 6 years or so.  That has been my only experience with him, but he is very memorable.  A couple of summers ago, I became conscious of a couple of sins from long ago.  I was sure they were forgiven, but I knew I had never confessed them, and felt like since I remembered them, I owed that much to Jesus.  So I had asked God if that was what He wanted, to give me the opportunity to go to Confession.  Be careful what you ask for! One morning soon after, I attended 6:30 a.m. Mass at my parish, as I often do.   In walks this priest.  Confessions are heard before daily Mass at our parish, but on this particular day, at the end of Mass, he announced that since he had been running late, he would hear confessions after Mass. I've been going to daily Mass there 3 times a week for the past 4 or 5 years, and that is THE only time I've heard that happen.  I would love to tell you that I took him up on his offer, but I did not.  God put the gift right in my lap, and I turned around and left it because it caught be by surprise and looked "different" than I envisioned. (I very much regretted that, and I did go a couple of days later, when my priest returned.)  I wonder what God might have had for me, though, if I had taken advantage of His offer. 

All in all, it was a long, but fruitful day.  One of my friends was supposed to come with me, but due to technical problems at home, she was not able to make it.  My sister-in-law had sent in her registration a couple of weeks ago, but it was returned to her, because the conference was sold out.  I called her, and she was able to take my friend's spot.  God works in mysterious ways.

Easter happenings

                               A recap from our Easter celebration.  We spent Easter Sunday with my parents and brothers and sister.  Our family tradition involves hunting Easter Eggs ... for money.  Here my boys get a little carried away. 

I think we all had a good time.  It was a beautiful day and a lot of time was spent just hanging out outside and visiting.  There were the young and the young at heart.  My grandfather will be 95 years young soon. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

come, have breakfast

This is one of my favorite readings for an early morning daily Mass in the week following Easter.  Jesus appears to his disciples for the third time following his resurrection.  They are fishing and have caught nothing all night.  He calls them and tells them to throw the nets on the other side.  They do, and their nets are filled to overflowing.

Jesus is waiting for them on the shore with a charcoal fire.  I love that detail.  He says to the disciples, "Come, have breakfast, " and proceeds to serve them fish (grilled over a charcoal fire, no less) and bread.   And at Mass, each morning, he invites us to "come, have breakfast".  Not fish and bread or ham and eggs, but the gift of Himself.  An awesome way to start the day.

The homily was about the ways that Jesus reveals himself to us in our lives.  How does He come to us?  It might be in the letting go of guilt from a sin that has been forgiven long ago.  It might be in the strength to endure a difficult situation.   It might be in giving of ourselves to meet the needs of others.  It might be in the giving or receiving of mercy.


On a side note, I have decided that I would do well to pray that when the Good Lord takes me, it is not during Holy Week or the week following Easter.  The poor priests are so busy during Holy Week, and no Masses other than the Triduum celebrations seem to be celebrated from Thursday through Sunday.  Then the week after, it seems like the majority, go into hibernation somewhere - to recover, no doubt.  Today (Friday) was the first Mass at my parish since Easter Sunday.

Monday, April 5, 2010

one liners

From my sixth grade class last week:

"I'm going to report you for over-teaching us."  (Ouch!  Maybe I could finally get suspended WITH pay!)

"What happened on Good Friday?"  (It's the day Jesus died.  She went home and asked her parents and reported to me the next day that I was right.)

On a sign outside the local Exxon/check cashing /BarBQ place:


Just kind of hit me as unique.

From a parish mission talk about confession:  DENIAL = Don't Even "No" I Am Lying...

pollen nation

Give up?  It's my black car covered with yellow pollen.  Pointless to wash it at this point because within hours it would be covered again. 

We were outside today (scary to think of how much ended up in my hair, on my clothes, in my sinuses and lungs), when my dear hubby looked up and said, "Where's that smoke coming from?"  No, it wasn't smoke.  Just a nice cloud of pollen making its way to earth. 

No wonder it sounds like a symphony of coughs in church.  No wonder no one can breathe.  No wonder we have been through 3 boxes of tissues in as many days. 

How much longer?  We need a nice rain to wash it all out of the trees...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Last night at the Easter Vigil, in a dark church, the Easter fire was lit, and the Easter candle was lit and blessed.  The symbol of Jesus' light in our world.  

This liturgy is beautiful in its uniqueness.  Different years, different things touch me.  Last night it was the Litany of the Saints which was sung by the choir.  All those holy men and women praying for us. 

The homily also caught my attention.  Father referenced a book called The Road.  It is post-apocalyptic fiction in which a father and son make their way through a nuclear winter towards what they hope is a better place.  The father is always reminding the boy that they are the "good guys" and that they have "the fire". 

To make a long story short:  We have the fire within us.  We must allow others to sense the fire within us, that is God's love.

Mass was about an hour and 40 minutes.  My boys did a great job altar serving.  The choir was awesome.  Two people were received into the church and two others were confirmed.  One little girl - it appeared - was making her First Communion.  No mention was made of it, but she and her parents (whom I see often at church) brought up the gifts and she had a white dress.

This morning, I went with my dear hubby to the early Mass.  It was almost standing room only.  We found seats, fortunately, because he can not stand for long with his knee issues.  The homily was related to yesterday's.  Shorter.  And Father spoke about how this Lent had been one of the best ever for him.   But that it involved a painful letting go.  A dying to self. 

A bummer for me, because this Lent was not one of my better ones, in my judgment.  But it didn't involve a lot of pain, either.  Except maybe for the pain of not going anywhere.  And then again, perhaps God has done things which I do not understand and do not see at this time, but will understand later. 

Alleluia!  He has risen!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

the gospel according to...

It has been a long day!

Our first "appointment" of the day was to meet the Good Monsignor at church at 10:00 for a practice for the Vigil Mass tonight.  Neither of our other servers showed up, but Father said he could work things with 2, so we went with that.

After that, we went shopping.  A few weeks ago, when my child had detention, he saw a set of "Resurrection Eggs" when he was cleaning one of the classrooms.  This sparked his memory and took him back to third grade.  Apparently it made an impression on him, because he determined that I needed to get it for my 2-year old Godchild.

While we were at the Catholic bookstore, we looked at the books on the clearance table.  On the end, was a Lectionary and a Book of the Gospels.  He is now the proud owner of The Book of Gospels - an $80 value that he was thrilled to get for $17 (and he offered to pay for it!)  He is a collector of sorts, but he was drawn to this.  Others have told me that they can picture him as a priest, and I see that sometimes, too.  I do my best not to push, but to keep it out there as a possible option.  So today, I said, "No chance of being a priest?"  And he says, "Don't talk about that, Mom. Not now.  God might get ideas."  I assured him that if God had ideas, He had them from the time dear son was created.  That God created him for a purpose - that he would need to discover.

A little while later, he says, "You know what my favorite Gospel is?"  Uhhh, I'm not even sure if I know what MY favorite gospel is.  "It's the one about the weeds and the wheat.  Because I get it!"  So even when you think they're not paying any attention at all, maybe they are!

Our evening and nighttime were taken up by the Easter Vigil.  And another server did show up.  We had to be there at 7:30, and it was not over until after 9:30.  Beautiful, but long.  More on that tomorrow!

Friday, April 2, 2010


For many years, I would listen to the reading to the Lord's Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday and wonder why Jesus didn't just say something.  It was as if everything that could go wrong, did.  One bad thing after another.  But recently I've come to understand that it just wasn't a very bad day for Jesus; this was something He had to do and something He did willingly.  For me.

Today was a beautiful day weather-wise.  I went early this morning to work out.  Hadn't been on my original plans, but a friend had said she'd be there at 9.  So, I was there, and she wasn't.  But the work-out didn't hurt.  I took clothes with me, and changed into something presentable to attend an outdoor version of the Stations of the Cross at 10.  There were several hundred people there.  It was very mellow.  We were given handouts as we walked up.  A priest (in a black chasuble) led the stations.  We prayed for those in purgatory and were urged to recall those in our families who had died and to join their death with that of Jesus.  The wind was blowing and at times was quite loud above in the pine trees.  The devotion took about 30 minutes and was very peaceful.

Our parish had a service at 3:00.  There was no compelling reason for me NOT to go, so I went.  No work today.  No small children to care for. 

I was struck by the barrenness when I walked in.  The holy water fonts - gone (or dry).  The altar decor - gone.  The tabernacle - open and empty.   No candles.  No plants.  Even the overhead lighting in the sanctuary was dim.  Bare. 

The entrance processional was done in silence.  Father and the altar servers knelt at the edge of the sanctuary and we knelt with them.  The readings were proclaimed and the Passion was read.  :Father returned to his chair and gave the homily seated.  He had three points:  We don't have to be free from pain and sorrow to be triumphant.  Our power comes from love.   We don't have to have all the answers, but we do need to have faith and trust.  We do need to be triumphant over sin and evil.  We do need to be powerful, and that comes from love.  And we do need to have wisdom, and that comes from trusting in the Lord and being faithful to Him.

We prayed for everyone in the entire world during the intercessions.  The altar was prepared.  The Eucharist that was consecrated last night was retrieved from the sacristy.   Communion was distributed.  We were blessed and dismissed. 

And now I am home.  Dear hubby, I think, has plans to show The Passion of the Christ tonight.  I have never seen it, and I'm not sure I want to.  He would have shown it to the kids years ago, but I voted against it.  At 13 and 14, though, they are probably old enough to see it.  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

supper with the Lord

The official name for the Holy Thursday Mass is "Mass of the Lord's Supper". Supper just sounds so common. Couldn't it be the "Mass of the Lord's Abundant Feast" or something that really sounds impressive? But then "supper" sounds so much more approachable and down-to-earth.

I think this is my favorite liturgical celebration of the Three Days that make up the Triduum(Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) marking the transition from Lent to Easter.

My kids weren't interested in attending, and truth be told, I wasn't all that interested in taking them. Just so you don't think I'm a slacker parent, I have taken them. Note the past tense. Three years ago, our first Holy Thursday experience was a mom and kids event. I remember, "mom, it smells like something's burning". Ummmm that would be the incense. "Mom I need to go to the bathroom, BAAAAAD." That was during the washing of the feet. Guess it was the power of suggestion of the water. "Mom, I'm staaaaarving." That was as we waited in line for our turn for adoration. We left.

The next year, I went to Mass alone, but did go home and pick them up to spend about 15 minutes or so at Adoration. That was a better experience.

One of the things that makes this celebration my favorite (quite possibly my favorite in the entire year) is that it is followed by adoration. There were only a handful of people that stayed more than a few minutes, but it is such a wonderful, peaceful time to sit in the Lord's Presence and have a conversation with Him.

The scripture verse that caught my attention was from John's Gospel: "Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." That pretty much sums up my whole lent in a nutshell. Not only do I not understand, I don't have a clue what the Lord is doing in my life right now. But I don't have to understand. All I have to do is have faith and trust, which is there for the asking with God.