First of all, let me say that the picture doesn't have anything to do with the post, as far as I can tell. I took it. I liked it. I'm sharing it.
The world has looked brighter since Tuesday. I made it to Mass Wednesday morning and filled up a container of holy water, which is now sitting on my desk. I have good conversations with our head custodian, and his suggestion was to get a tanker truck (like what they haul gasoline in), fill it up with water, have it blessed, and douse the school with it. Might work...
My boys went to the high school football game for the Catholic school where most of my 9th grader's friends went. They had a blast. I did the slacker parent thing and just dropped them off at the game. I didn't think I could deal with the couple of hours of teenage noise and the hard bleachers. Maybe next time I'll go. Maybe.
I got a bit of good news on Friday. There is a program in the works for our overage 8th grade students. That we are six weeks into the school year, and it is not operational yet, is another post, but so typical of the way the school system here does things. Always reactive. Never proactive. Anyway, two of my students have been accepted. and we are trying to count the days until they leave. I found out on Friday that another of my "breakfast club" (sweathogs) is on the list. I didn't tell him; don't want him to quit working for me. Someone picked up their records Friday, so hopefully the move will happen soon.
Friday morning, I went to my younger son's school, St. ABC, to help unload cars in the car rider line, when the new principal stopped me. "What is going on at XYZ Middle School (where I teach)?" she asked. "It's pretty bad this year," I admitted. "We've had three of your fifth grade students request to transfer here in the past week," she replies. Two of them will start on Monday. We are losing our "good" students in our effort to lower our suspension rates and make everything look good on paper.
The funeral for our murdered student is tomorrow. Not sure how that will go. The counselors have encouraged the students to go.
Went to confession yesterday. In times like this, it is important to stay close to Jesus, and that is one way for me to do just that. An effort to remove the things that stand in the way, and a way to be more open to the graces that He sends. I actually had to WAIT yesterday. I was there just a little after 3, and there were two people in front of me. Maybe it was because it was close to First Friday.
Confession is always good, and even though at one time, I thought I would run out of "stuff" if I went more than once a year, I always have "stuff". What is also nice, is that my confessor doesn't seem to mind throwing in a little spiritual direction while I'm there, and so sometimes I go with questions, too.
Prayer. My prayers used to be very structured. Morning prayer. Evening prayer. Lately, though, it is more "whatever". Sometimes I'll throw in a Rosary. More, I feel an ever-present awareness of God, but without very disciplined prayer times. Sometimes I wish someone would hand me a script and say, "this is what and how you need to pray".
Second - and I hesitated with this because I don't want to go and confess others' shortcomings, - there is a certain person who almost always has some snarky comment when I set out to spend some time alone - most often at the adoration chapel - as if I am neglecting my family. This bothers/angers me, because I know it's not true - it's just a control tactic.
The good Monsignor jumped on that one first, and said to nip it in the bud. "Time with the Lord is special and we have a right to that time", he said in no uncertain terms.. Don't even acknowledge such comments; don't let them take any of your time or emotion. Just go. And the prayer will follow. Maybe some structure will return. But things ebb and flow. "Just keep listening".
I love this sacrament, and I have a wonderful confessor. For my penance, I had to meditate on the gospel (the rich man and Lazarus), put myself in the position of the rich man, and identify those who are Lazarus in my life. He said he could probably guess who would go at the top of the list.
His homily was also related. God loved both Lazarus and the rich man, and they both had "jobs" to do. Lazarus' job was to be patient in his suffering. The rich man's job was to help tend to some of Lazarus' needs. This required a love that couldn't be generated on his own, but God gives us His Heart so that we can embrace Him in a mutual love. His Heart that would generate the kind of love needed to love those who are difficult to love. It is there for the asking, and love is freely given. Our actions have consequences, he reminded us.
Lazarus has a face. Who is Lazarus in YOUR life?