Tuesday, April 26, 2011

eggs and ipads

Easter Sunday was a day to enjoy with family.  With two families and only one day (unlike the Christmas Eve/Christmas combo), Easter is always a dilemma, but this year it worked out nicely.

Dear hubby and I went to Mass at 8:30 a.m..  He had avoided the Easter Vigil because it is uncomfortable for him to sit that long, but the 8:30 Mass was packed to the rafters.  We were fortunate to find a seat! 

His family celebrated with a crawfish boil.  Many here celebrate Good Friday with all-you-can-eat crawfish boils, but that celebration just doesn't go along with the theme of the day.  Much better on Easter!   Crawfish, carrots, corn and potatoes all boiled in a well-seasoned pot, with strawberry shortcake for dessert.

My family was getting together in the late afternoon at my sister's, about an hour and a half away, so we picked up a few things at the house and headed off.  The menu was simple...sandwiches, jambalaya, chips, veggie tray, and strawberry tunnel cake (yum!). 

We still have littles in our family, but truth be told...even during the years when there were no littles, we still hunted eggs...shamelessly...for  money!

This year, there was an added attraction.  My niece turned 4 on Good Friday, and had her birthday party on Saturday.   The "fun jump" was rented for the weekend, so it got a second use on Easter.  It was enjoyed my young, not so young, and those somewhere in the middle. 

One of the neatest things, though, was sitting with my grandfather.  He will be 95 this week!  One of my cousins in North Carolina had a baby recently (that makes the 10th great-grandchild), but he said he hadn't seen any pictures.  So I pulled out my iPad, went to Facebook, and just like that had pictures of #10.  Pretty cool. 

Then my dad suggested that I see if I could find Ringing Rocks on the map app.  Ringing Rocks is the coolest place.  Located in Bucks County, PA, it is a pile of rocks...well more than a pile... a deposit of rocks, maybe...and when some of them are tapped in just the right place, they ring.  Hence the name.   

My grandfather grew up in that area, and Ringing Rocks used to be one of their party spots, when he was a teen.  He says they'd build a fire, roast hot dogs, and just have fun on Friday evenings.  Things were different, then, he says.  We went there as kids, when we would visit, and it was very impressive to kids from Lousisiana who rarely see a rock bigger than a basketball.  My own kids have been there, as well.  (See how cute and sweet they look here on our last visit?  Sniff.) 

Then we expanded the search to include nearby Milford, NJ,  (right across the river) where my dad was born.  We were able to zoom enough for them to show me the first house they lived in, the fire station, the Church (I've been there), the paper mill, etc.  It was like he was sitting in Louisiana driving down roads in New Jersey that he's known all of his life.  A cool little virtual field trip back in time about 70 - 75 years.

And so we just slowed down long enough to spend time with each other.  Maybe back in time that's how all Sundays were?  It was good!

Monday, April 25, 2011

empty tomb

Running a bit behind on this post, but life has been hectic the past few days!

A friend and I stayed after the Good Friday Service and assisted the good Monsignor with decorating.  He likes simple, and it was a matter of carrying in and placing 16 Easter Lilies.  It is fun to watch the wheels turn, as he generally knows what he wants.  We moved things here and there and offered suggestions along the way.  An hour later we were done.  It is divine humor that I do any kind of decorating, because it is not one of my "gifts".

The holder for the Easter Candle...ready and waiting.  Notice the "spiral effect."  The plant to the right is lowest, and then the one to the left, a little higher, etc.  I think we ended up with 4 plants there....unless he moved one after we left...  I only really see three, here.

Empty tabernacle...ready and waiting.  There are six plants there.  Then two near the crucifix.

My boys served for the Easter Vigil. They had practice on Saturday morning.  Our parish is rather informal.  Serving in jeans and sneakers is the norm, and no one bats an eye. For a while, when they were younger, I enforced the "no jeans" statute, but as they grew older and faster, they owned no dress pants or shoes.  My 15 year old has a nice pair of pants and a shirt from 8th grade graduation last year.  I told him that he should wear it to serve in Saturday evening.  And then, had the wild thought to buy my current 8th grader what he would need for graduation (in a month) so that he could also look nice.  Amazingly, we found what we needed.  JCPenneys had ONE pair of pants that fit him.  We bought it, and a shirt from the men's department.  A little big...but he'll grow.  They had NO shoes that fit him, so a quick trip to Pay-Less paid off.

I think they are handsome.  I'm not biased or anything!

They served with my niece, who serves at her parish.  We "borrowed" her, because my SIL volunteered her, and because we are not blessed with an abundance of servers at our parish.  Not really blessed with an abundance of youth.   Only seven little ones made their First Communion this year.  And the youth that we do have...no one really volunteers for a Mass that is over an hour and requires practice in the morning.  I think this is the fifth year for my older son.  But the Mass was lovely, and I enjoyed being there with my in-laws!

We didn't have 8 readings.  Only one extra, Father said.  I know there are some who think that they are cheated if they don't have all 8 readings and if the Easter Vigil doesn't last three hours.  But our priest is wise, I think.  As my mother-in-law simply put it, "I didn't need to hear all 8 readings."  Our priest is wise, he is sensitive to the needs of his people, and he has to be up early the next morning for Easter Sunday Mass!  The homily was brief and meaningful (always a good combo!). Don't look for Jesus in the empty tomb.  Because he "ain't" there.  But, if you are alert...if you have faith...if you seek...you will find Him in the Word...in the Scriptures.  You will find Him in the sacraments of the church..."most supremely" in the Eucharist, but also in the others.  You will find Him in the community...in others.  There was an adult baptized, and another who was confirmed along with the young lady who was baptized.  

We had fire, water, smoke (incense). The music was beautiful...especially the Litany of the Saints before the baptism.  All in all, our celebration concluded in 90 minutes.  Beautiful in its simplicity. 

I could go on, detailing celebrations with family...but that will have to wait....

He is Risen!  Definitely a reason to rejoice!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Today was a beautiful, sunny day.  Last year (while standing in line for confession, no less) I was told about an outdoor Stations of the Cross that takes place every Good Friday at 10 a.m. on some property not too far from where I live.  I went last year and thought it was nice.  This year, my 14 year old grudgingly joined me.

That's my teenager there in the jeans, hanging out with a few guys he knows from school waiting for things to start.  Can't you just see the excitement?
Some of the stations.

 And way, way up at the top of some of the pine trees....do you see it??  Crosses!!  My source tells me that some years they are there in abundance!  This year, not so much!

My 15 year old stayed behind, because he planned to serve at the 3:00 Service with his friend.  Then the friend's mom called and told me that he had been in an accident (not serious....pulled /torn muscle type thing), and so with less than 2 hours till crunch time...15 year old was definitely needed.  One of our younger guys showed up and helped him, and both servers did a great job.

Some years, the starkness of the sanctuary startles me on Good Friday.  This year, not really.  It was my third time seeing it, this year.   Everything had been removed on Wednesday before the Tenebrae service.

This service (not Mass!!) starts without a hymn.  Priest and servers enter in silence and kneel (as do we).  It's almost as if it starts where we left off the night before.  Kneeling in silence.  It then progresses somewhat like a regular Mass.  The Passion account from John is read.  There is a homily.  Today's was good.  Good Friday is not a day for sadness or for self-accusation.  It is a day for gratitude and quiet reflection.  It is not a day for revelry.  (Here crawfish boils are very popular on Good Friday.)  Not a time for the "last chance crawfish boil" and acting like pagans.  (Yes, he went there!)  Gratitude is shown by keeping His commandments, self-sacrifice, obedience, choosing to become more like Jesus.  The only way to Heaven...by the cross.  That's the Reader's Digest version.

After the homily, the priest and servers walk to the back of the church.  Then the cross is carried in.  Father carried the cross; the servers carried candles on either side.  At some churches those present venerate the cross by kissing it.  At our church, we venerate by kneeling at our place for a few minutes.  That works just fine for me!  After that, there are prayer intentions for just about every one in the world.  Seriously.  It takes several minutes.

Then the altar servers "dress the altar" (put on the cloth and candles) and a Communion Service follows, using the Eucharist that was consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass.

There was a song sung to day during Communion.  I can find neither the lyrics or the song, but the refrain was something like, "Lord, make my life an offering to you..."  It was perfect!

 Following Holy Communion, a blessing is prayed over the people, and then all depart in silence.  Still no ending to the liturgy that began on Thursday evening.

do this in remembrance

I had never attended a Holy Thursday Mass until about five years ago.  Also known as the Mass of the Lord's Supper, it is, hands down, my favorite liturgy of the year.  The Chrism Mass celebrated the priesthood - instituted on this day.  This Mass celebrates the institution of the Eucharist.

Our pastor thanked us for attending, and said he didn't understand why crowds are so slim for Holy Thursday.  I can give him a few reasons.  One, it's a work day for most people.  To come home, and switch gears to "Mass Mode" is just difficult.  Can't do much about that.  Secondly, people just don't know.  Ignorance, you can do something about.  I came for the first time because the church secretary sent me an email and invited me to come.

My first year was a disaster learning experience.  My boys were about 9 and 10, so I brought them with me.  At that time our parish shared a pastor with another, and since he couldn't be two places at once, Holy Thursday was at his other parish.  As Mass got underway, I hear, "Mom, something's burning."  Um.. that would be the incense.  Feet were washed, but that sparked the need for someone to utilize the bathroom.  So we missed most of that.  Then there was the procession at the end.  Who knew??  "Mom, I'm hungry....."  So much for Adoration.

The next year, I knew better.  I have gone alone since then.

This Mass is unique...it happens once a year.  The last few years have been a challenge for the Altar Servers.  Some of the things they do have a bit of a different timing.  One year, the altar was set, then cleared off, then set again.  Last night, it was not set when it was time for Father to do his thing.  He had to help, but he just takes things in stride.

The story of the Passover is read, then a reading from 1Corinthians that reiterates the command to "do this in remembrance of me".  Finally the Gospel is the story of the Last Supper.    From emptying of self comes true holiness.  At least that's what the homily said.  The oils from the Chrism Mass are presented with the Gifts and placed in the ambry.

This Mass doesn't end.  There is no dismissal.  No hymn at the conclusion.  After Holy Communion, everyone is asked to kneel.  Father mentions that at the conclusion of the Last Supper, Jesus and the Apostles took a walk...from the Upper Room to the Garden.  Then he slowly processes with the ciborium containing the Body of Christ around the church (a walk).  This is powerful...the first time it happened, I was caught off-guard.  One of those happens-in-your-heart things that is hard to explain.  (In some parishes, the Eucharist is processed to another location...a chapel, perhaps.)

At our parish, at the conclusion of the procession, the Eucharist was placed in the Tabernacle (which had been empty and open until that point), and then Father and the altar servers knelt in front in Adoration.  This is the only time of the year, when we see our priest kneeling.  After a few minutes, Father and the altar servers retreat into the sacristy and people start to leave (quietly).

The church was open until 9 PM.  It was about an hour and a half of adoration time.  (Last year it was about an hour.)  I stayed.  It took me a little while to get focused, but finally, I remembered what Immaculee had said about spending time with Our Lord and His Mother this week.  I realized that maybe it wasn't all about  me tonight.  It was just about spending time...being there.  I had left my 7 Sorrows Rosary in the car, but that is what I ended up praying.  Thanking them for their suffering.  About an hour and 15 minutes in, I was restless, and ready to go.  My back was hurting from sitting in the oh-so-comfortable pews.  But I figured if I had stayed that long, I might as well stay until the end.  There is something about seeing Jesus taken from the Tabernacle and the emptiness that remains.  You can imagine what the apostles felt...those that didn't run away.  That, and I didn't want to walk out to my car alone...there were just a handful of us left.

If you ever have the chance...like next year...make the effort to switch into Mass Mode on Holy Thursday.  So worth it.

And I'll leave you with a song....

catholic sightseeing

Yesterday was a sightseeing adventure of sorts. I don't know when I first heard of the Chrism Mass...probably a few years ago...but since then, I've wanted to attend. Just to "see". It's been one of those "someday" things. This year, I decided "someday" had come. Back in January or February, I asked one of my morning Mass buddies if she would like to accompany me. She agreed, and we scheduled a day off from work.

Our Chrism Mass is held at the Cathedral on the morning of Holy Thursday. I remember when I was a newbie to daily Mass, I was broken-hearted to find no daily Mass on Holy Thursday. The Chrism Mass is attended by most priests of the diocese. That in, and of itself, was powerful. The deacons (I saw my dentist!) and then the priests process in two by two. They take up an entire section of the cathedral from back to front. All ages, races, shapes and sizes - what a variety God calls! The voices raised in prayer and song fill the entire space.

The sacred oils were brought forward by representatives from the community and presented for the Bishop's blessing. The priests renewed their commitment to their call. There was a near-disaster when a tray just-blessed Chrism in small bottles for each parish to take home being carried to the hall next door went sliding. I think only a bottle or two broke.

I have always wondered what priests do during the Eucharistic prayer or during Mass when there are too many priests to fit in the sanctuary. Now I know. They remain standing at their places in the pews and pray parts of the Eucharistic prayer aloud. I wish I could have recorded it as they all chanted, "Through Him, With Him, In Him, In the Unity of the Holy Spirit..." At Communion, they go forward to the altar and "self-communicate" the Body and Blood of Jesus. In our case, they went three at a time, and still everyone in the cathedral had received before the priests were finished.

I didn't see my parish priest as the priests processed in, but during the Eucharistic prayer, I realized that he was in the sanctuary...right up there with the Bishop. When it came time for Holy Communion, an usher led us from the front left side of the cathedral to the back middle aisle. There, in the back of the church, we received Communion. And of all the priests in the place, it was my pastor who was there to offer Him to me. That was a nice divine touch!

I wish I had a few pictures to share. I took my camera in...just in case...but it wasn't really appropriate to take pictures.

My friend and I had lunch and coffee, and then I picked up my young one from school. I missed a "free dress" day and a dance (a sure recipe for chaos) at my school, Darn! My friend and I think we might make this an annual event!

Any ideas for another edition of Catholic Sightseeing?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

spy wednesday

Spy Wednesday...the old name for today.  Kind of like the sound of it better than "Wednesday of Holy Week".

I opted out of Mass this morning.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I have to drive a good ways through town to Mass, and then back to school, and it is always a rush both ways.  The church near my school does not have Mass on Wednesday mornings, so about half of the time, the thought of unhurried silence wins out.  I can spend a half hour or more there...almost always alone, except for the Holy Presence.

I reflected this morning on the fact that Lent is almost over.  It hasn't been bad.  Last year, I felt so lost, and it's been better than that.  Neither do I feel, "Wow!  What great spiritual growth I made!!"  Another blogger posted that we had five days left to get it together!  Usually, I will give up chocolate or sweets or some such thing for Lent.  But this year, I didn't.  I've felt somewhat left out when prayers speak of fasting or self-denial or hunger.  I know we can fast from other things...procrastination, say....but the idea of food sacrifices and Lent seem to be so closely linked.  Today the thing that I heard was "Take only what you need."  That stayed with me all day.   Eat only what you need to eat...that caramel chocolate egg??  Probably not really a need.

This evening my parish offered a Tenebrae Service.  It is based on the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings.  Each year that I have been, it has been somewhat different.  But always, Psalms are read.  Lamentations are chanted.  Seven candles are present...extinguished one at a time throughout the service.  Always it ends with a loud noise (cymbals this year) and the church in darkness.  This year, one lone burning candle (the Easter candle) remained.  Everyone exits in silence.

This song was one that was featured during the service.  It went quite well with chanted scripture, Latin, and instrumental responses.  Truly, it was a nice variety.

As we left this year, a lady offered me a small cross made out of a palm frond.  I whispered, "thank you".  I have seen her at Mass for years (she attends daily Mass, too, but sits on the other side), and at parish events, but we had never really spoken.  A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I would not be able to serve this past Saturday, since I would be at Immaculee's retreat, and I asked her to take my place.  I thought the cross was rather a neat gesture.

Tomorrow...Thursday...is a day I have looked forward to for months.  For several years I have wanted to attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, but it is always a work day for me.  But months ago, I asked a friend if she wanted to come with me, and then found a sub for the day.  I am so looking forward to going (though I'm stressing a bit about what I have to wear).  I am also serving at Mass at my parish tomorrow evening, and I am very much looking forward to that Mass and the adoration time that follows!

May the peace of Christ find its way to your heart during this Holy Week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sunday snippets 4.17.11

Each week R'Ann at This, That, and the Other Thing hosts a weekly meme for Catholic bloggers to highlight some of their posts that might be of interest to other Catholic bloggers. 

I've got a few this week....

worth it - my Palm Sunday post...

take time - reflections on my retreat with Immaculee

bible study tidbits - there's a lot of wisdom in our Bible studies

And from a previous week...thy will be done....praying with teenagers - a nice experience with my sons

Prayers for a holy Holy Week.

worth it

From childhood, Palm Sunday meant having to stand up for a l.o.n.g time for the Gospel reading in shoes that pinched my feet.  That and having to listen to the retelling of the Passion, which was just oh-so-depressing.  I really didn't get it at all, did I?

Then when I kind of started to "get it", in my young adult days, it was more of as if Jesus was just having one of those days when everything went wrong.  I mean, why did He answer them in riddles?  Why didn't He just explain things so they could understand it?

Gradually, I understand more and more.  That Jesus was fulfilling the purpose for which He came...to save us.  That He obediently endured a painful and horrible death, in order that we might see the depths of His love.  That those who were questioning Him were never going to understand...didn't want to understand. 

Old testament scriptures - including today's from Isaiah - pointed to the kind of death that the Suffering Servant was to suffer.  Jesus, himself, knew.  And gradually, events in the Gospels lead to this Holy Week.  Last week we saw Jesus meeting  the ultimate enemy, death, head-on (with his friend, Lazarus) and winning.

Today's second reading says that "Christ emptied himself."  It's a good description of the Passion.  He allows us a share in His sufferings, even thought nothing was lacking in His.

And still my priest asked, "Why?"  He says he generally avoids asking the "why" question (because the answer is often "why not"...'tis better to ask "what, Lord? [do you want be to be/know/do]).  But he asked the Lord, "why?" in his meditations this week.  And the 4-word answer was, "You Are Worth It!" 

Even though we will truly never "get" the sufferings that He endured (or the joy in loving us that much), He would have suffered and died for us, if we were the only person in the world.

And that leads us to the question...Is He worth it?  Is He worth learning about, spending time with, emptying ourselves for?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

take time

Yes, it's true.  Or maybe it's more true that the people of Louisiana LOVE Our Lady of Kibeho and her ambassador, Immaculee.  I spent yesterday evening and the better part of today at a retreat featuring Immaculee.  Just me and 999 of her other closest friends, many of who have heard her speak on other occasions.  There is just something about her that draws people - again and again.  People in this area absolutely love her, and she said she feels like she is coming home when she comes here.  Friday night, she was welcomed with a standing ovation before she said a single word!

Her story...her time spent in the bathroom with 7 other women for 90 some odd days hiding from mobs of roaming killers....a time during which she lost her family, but found herself, is fascinating.  She speaks of the fear and of the miracles that occurred while she was in that bathroom during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  She speaks of forgiveness and sadness. 

But most of all, she speaks about love. The love of Our Lord, and Our Lady.  She encourages us to ask God for what we want, as long as it does not run contrary to His will.  Either we will receive what we ask for or the desire for it will be removed.  She shares stories from her own life where seemingly impossible things happened.  More than once. 

I have said it before, but there is a love and a peace that just radiates from this young lady.  ( I had a hard time getting a decent picture today.  The crowd was enormous, my camera was acting crazy, and I didn't want to look too much like a stalker.)

I am lucky.  This is the third time in a year that I've heard her speak (well, actually a year and a week, I think).  And while much of what she had to say, I had heard before, there were still things that were new to me or things that I heard in a different way because I am at a different place in my life. 

A year ago, I never rarely prayed the Rosary.  Nothing personal, just wasn't my thing.  Then at her retreat last June, she led a rosary that changed that for me.  In the last 10 months, I have prayed more Rosaries than I did in the previous 10 years (which isn't really saying a whole lot).  A daily Rosary was really my one Lenten resolution this year.  I succeeded somewhat at it; there is still p.l.e.n.t.y of room for growth, but I was much more open today to the repeated requests of "the Blessed Mother asks us to pray the Rosary every day".  I suppose when Lent is over, I will keep plugging away at it.  I bought her Rosary CD's...I've been contemplating that purchase since I saw her last June.

That's Our Lady of Kibeho and some of the many flowers we brought today.  When the Blessed Mother would appear in Kibeho, she often referred to those in the crowd as "her little flowers".  And so today we offered flowers, but also were flowers.

She had practical advice today that I had not heard before.  First of all, we need to clear away (clean house) of what is not uplifting or good.  Our music, our art.  I'm fine with this, but I'm not sure how far I'll get with my teenage sons.  Secondly was some advice on Daily Prayer that she received from someone else. 
  • First is to wake up with a prayer to God.  Ask Him to guide you, to forgive you, etc.  
  • Then once you are awake, read a few Scripture verses...I suppose it could be from part of the Daily Mass readings... and then spend a few minutes meditating upon them.  
  • Next is to read a paragraph....just a paragraph from some kind of spiritual reading and meditate. 
  • Then during the day, find five minutes or so of quiet when you can reconnect with God.
  • And at the end of the day, make sure you end with prayer...I suppose there could also be another bit of Scripture and Spiritual reading.  
If we want to be with God, she said, we need to make time for Him.

She closed with a couple of final bits of advice.  One is on my Facebook page.... If you are ever conflicted between being right or being kind, always choose kindness.

And with Lent drawing to a close and Holy Week beginning, she asked us to take time this week to see Our Lord and His Mother.  Take time to love them for what they went through for us.  Console them...

And along with those thoughts, I'll leave you with a couple of images that I ran across today.  The church where this event has a school, and the school was open today for us to use for lunch, etc.  These statues were in the lobby.  I thought they were unlike anything I've seen before, but beautiful. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

that time of year

Just a quick post to say that I haven't completely dropped off the face of the earth.  Things are very busy right now.  State testing this week at school.  Our final Bible Study of this series last night.  A musical performance of  Touched By the Christ (very touching) at church tonight.  And Immaculee will be in town this weekend, and I will be where she is! 

So I will be back at some point...probably with lots to ramble about.

Next week will be more of the same, in some ways.  Wednesday night is a Tenebrae service at our parish.  I am taking the day off on Thursday with plans to attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral with one of my "church lady" friends.  It's something I've wanted to do for the past few years....so why not?!  Thursday night is Mass at my parish with Adoration following.  Absolutely my most favorite Mass of the entire liturgical year.  Friday offers outdoor Stations of the Cross in the morning, which I will probably drag strongly encourage my children to attend.  I will attend the Passion service at our parish in the afternoon.  And Saturday is the Easter Vigil.  My boys are serving, which means practice in the morning with our dear pastor.  And either Friday evening or Saturday morning, my friend and I (the newly designated decorating committee) will be helping our pastor with decorations.

That's my story for now!  And I'm sticking with it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

bible study tidbits

Sunset from the parking lot at Winn Dixie.  Not at all relevant to anything else in this post, I'm sure.

When my pastor first arrived at our parish  nearly 4 years ago, one of the first things he did was to announce that he was facilitating a Great Adventure Bible Study on Revelations.  As soon as he announced that, I just knew that I was supposed to be there.  It left me hungry for more, and since then we have completed a 24 week Bible Timeline Journey and 24 week study on Matthew.  Right now we are finishing up a 10 week study on the Letter of James.  Ten weeks is a long time to study something that takes up only 5 pages!

The premise of this study is that James is full of "pearls for wise living".  It's a quick read...check it out.  And the Bible Study itself has been full of "pearls".

One week was about acquiring wisdom [not to be confused with information].  We spend a lot of time making sure that our children are educated and infused with information.  But wisdom....not so much.  There was mention of where we might acquire wisdom - Holy Scripture, the Catechism, papal encyclicals and church documents, the lives and writings of the Saints, elderly people who have lived a life on a good moral foundation, etc.  A suggestion was also made to keep a journal of practical wisdom that we might someday pass on to our children.  It could be a nice leather bound volume.  For the time being, I bought something that was light and small (and cheap) that I could slip into my purse.  I have bits from scripture, bits from Bible studies, things I've heard in homilies, [generic] advice I've gotten in confession.

Another week was about wisdom in speech.  Be quick to listen and slow to talk!  Just because it pops into your head, you do not have to say it.  And don't send emails after 11 pm.  Those are the ones you live to regret.  Control of the tongue.  A life-long project in some of our cases.  Enough said.

Wisdom in relationships....trouble begins in the heart...on the inside.  We want what we want.  We quarrel and fuss because we put created things ahead of the One who created them.  Pride keeps us from God's grace; it is a disordered view of yourself.  God gives grace to the humble.  Humility is a great gift from God.

A how-to of restoring lost relationships - with God and with others: 
  • submit to God...spend time in prayer...close the mouth and open the ears...
  • resist negative influences in the culture...resist the devil...we CAN stop fighting, we can control our own will
  • draw near to God...prayer and meditation
  • cleanse your hands and purify your hearts... clean up your act...you can't be away from God, but near him at the same time...that's why the Eucharist and Reconciliation go hand in hand.
  • turn laughter into mourning...repentance and penance..turning towards God's will...whole-hearted contrition
  • humble yourself before the Lord...the opposite of pride...repent...when we humble ourselves, God lifts us up
Bible studies have been a wonderful thing.  So much for the head, the intellect, but also so much for the soul. I have so much more that I could share, but it would be too long for one post.  Perhaps it is possible to OD on wisdome??  Our last class of this session is Wednesday...the wisdom of confession and prayer.  I'll be back with more!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

work space

This morning, at school, I found this in my box. 

There was no accompanying explanation.  My assistant suggested that it looked kind of like a very small toilet.  And maybe the brush was for...well, never mind.
I thought that maybe the brush might be useful for brushing off a keyboard, so I tried it out this afternoon.  And since I had my camera out to take pictures of the thingy above, I snapped a few pictures of the things on my monitor.  What's on yours?

St. Clare has been there for quite a while.  
My best friend is a Poor Clare, so she has St. Clare keeping an eye on me, I suppose.
Above the dear Saint is a sticker with the phone number and email of the poor person that I call when I have a "Special Ed" computer problem.  We don't communicate nearly as much as we did when we had the old wrteched program.

Yes, there is a castle.
One year one of my co-workers, whom I really do like, was a little outdone with me for things beyond my control.  I was told that she referred to me as "the queen".  Hence, the castle.  

One side is the Good Shepherd, which is an image I love. 

The other side of the card is my sweet student, Cody
Sometimes it is on the Good Shepherd side.   Other times it's on the Cody side.

The prayer to St. Michael has a prominent spot at the top.
For a while, I didn't know the prayer.
But now I know it, and I know that St. Michael could have a full time job at my workplace.

Taped on near the bottom is a quote from the Letter of James.  
We were supposed to memorize a Bible verse each week.  
Key word - supposed to.  This one if from week 1.

A sticky note with some book information for one of the many useless forms we have to fill out.

This is actually on the door of my microwave.  I picked some of my favorite Bible verses.  Food for the soul.

I think this is what the thingy is for.  It sticks to the top of your computer (not very well when your monitor is slightly rounded).  The brush is, indeed, for cleaning your keyboard.  I guess the little hole is for a pencil, and it will hold a piece of paper at the bottom.  Interesting.

So what's in your work space?

Monday, April 4, 2011

half way

I was reflecting in church this morning. (I think the candle we lit last week was still burning.)

I've gotten behind in my "Little Black Book" meditations.   Actually the half-way point of Lent was last week.  How's it going?  Have I made progress?  Probably.  Have their been distractions?   Yes?  Could I have done things better?  Almost certainly.  Will I be anywhere closer to Jesus at the Triduum than I was at  Ash Wednesday?  Hopefully. 

I guess the good news is that there is still time to......  To what?  To try harder?  Wait patiently?  Pray better?  Listen more attentively?  Do more?  Or less?

Last week was a "church week".  On Tuesday, I met with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and another lady to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.  We aim for every-other-Tuesday.  It is always peaceful, pleasant.  Wednesday night was our parish Bible Study.  Wonderful.  I still might need to blog about some of that wisdom.  Thursday night was a PTC meeting at my younger child's school.  The eighth graders (of which he is one) acted out the Stations of the Cross along with their Kindergarten little buddies.  It was really sweet.  And Friday evening was the Stations of the Cross at my parish. 

And all of that leads back to the fact that it is Lent. My pastor told us last week that the purpose of Lent is to prepare to renew our Baptismal Promises at Easter.  I had never heard that before.  He noted that the church builds in a 40-day retreat every year. 


In other unrelated news...we tortured ourselves last weekend with another visit to the property we would like to buy.  Dear husband invited one of his long-ago friends - a good guy - who has worked in business that would come along with the house.  He put his stamp of approval on it, and agreed that he would like to be a part of the business.  And yet we say, "Thy will be done."  We asked him for prayers, and he said he says a Rosary every night, and certainly would pray for it.

And in other, other unrelated news....I am working with a small group of boys (4; 2 of them mine) on a religious emblem for Boy Scouts.  It goes through the sacraments one at a time, in depth.  We meet at a Catholic school, and there is a chapel within the school that we were given permission to use for prayer services and what not.   We hold our meetings before the regular scout meetings, and a couple of weeks ago, we finished a bit early.  Not wanting them to run loose through the school, I took them down to the chapel to spend a few minutes there in adoration.  The results were varied.  One whined about being tired and then appeared to be deep in thought.  I realized later that he was probably texting, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Jesus.  Another went and sat on the floor as close to the tabernacle as he could get.  And the other two sat and looked like they were totally bored.  And yet, yesterday, I had one ask if he could go back to the chapel...just to be.  I think that from now on, we will start and finish each session in the chapel.  Planting seeds.

Life as it is in this moment.