Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

{Third Sunday of Easter} Open My Eyes and Heart

Luke 24: 13-35
I just love this Gospel Reading. Here are 2 guys, walking back home, their heads down, trying to understand what happened. They are disciples of Jesus, the one who was to save the world. They stood by and watched him ridiculed, tortured, beaten, and crucified. They walked into the tomb after hearing the news that he was alive and saw it for themselves. Then, they meet a stranger who asks them what they were talking about. This stranger schools them on prophesies and explains them to the men. When they reach Emmaus, Jesus appears to be going farther, so the guys invite him to stay with them. He does, and, while breaking bread, the guys realize who this stranger is.  Once they realize who he is, Jesus vanishes. As they look back over the day's events, they realize that they felt something deep down while they were talking to him; they just didn't notice it at the time. 
It amazes me that Jesus was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. Just as Jesus is revealed to us during the Eucharist. And then, just as the host dissolves in our mouths, he is gone. But, Jesus remains with us in our heart and body. We partake of his body and blood; he becomes part of us each time we receive Communion. Every day, we go through our routines, through our day. We complain (or at least I do) about something that hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, or thought it would. But then, as Catholics, we are able to walk into Mass and have Jesus come into our hearts & body through the Eucharist. It's through the partaking that our eyes & hearts are opened.
In his homily, Father said that we are like the disciples headed to Emmaus. Jesus came to them just as he comes to us. He revealed himself slowly, and waited until just the right time. That's exactly what he does for us. There have been many times, many "AHA" moments, when I wonder, "Why didn't that ever occur to me before?" This gospel answers that question for me: It wasn't my time for him to reveal those things to me. One thing that hit me during the Triduum: On Holy Thursday the priest washed the feet of several parishioners, then he kissed their feet. The next day, on Good Friday, we kiss the feet of Jesus during the veneration of the cross. That is just 1 example of a revelation that has come to me in middle age that I've never thought of/noticed before.
Father went on to say that Emmaus was just the beginning of the journey. This was the beginning of the believers. How exciting it must have been; how convicted the disciples had to be that they were following the Son of God! We can share in the excitement and be that convicted every single day of our lives. We are Cleopas & his friend on the road to Emmaus. If we are patient, Jesus will reveal himself to us in good time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Will Try Again

When I walked into the Adoration Chapel the Thursday following Easter Sunday, I was struck by how differently things looked after being covered up with purple cloth. The white on the Virgin Mother statue seemed whiter, with the blue rosary draped around her seeming to be bluer. Jesus on the cross appeared to be more life-like. This is the same crucifix that I looked at in my parish while growing up, so it's very familiar. Even so, his face looked as if he could come to life at any minute. The harder I stared, the more life-like it became. I thought of the disciples locked away, scared of what was going to happen to them. I can imagine his head straightening and I have to admit that I am just a tad bit frightened until I hear the words "Do not be afraid. I am with you." It is then that I can actually feel his presence.
The blood on his knees and feet seem more pronounced. I can almost see the blood dripping from his feet. In fact, I would swear that I see it dripping.
And then I get sidetracked. I make the mistake of looking at my phone for the time and see a message. That leads to another thing, and I've lost this state of mind I was in.
I didn't take any reading materials with me this time. My plan was to just sit, be still, and listen. I failed miserably, but it's okay. I had a few minutes of that deep state of mind with Jesus. It's a start. Next week I'll try again. I'll turn my phone off (or leave it in the car) and not worry about the time. I'll gaze at Jesus' precious wounds and imagine what it must have been like to be with him on his journey to the cross. I'll know that he forgives me for my short attention span. I know that he will still be here, waiting for me.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday: Just Imagine and Stop Resisting

Picture courtesy of Aaron Burden

This morning, as I read the entry in my Blessed is She Lenten Journal, this was brought to us: Imagine yourself at the foot of the cross. Imagine Mary & John beside you. Wow. When I started writing, I didn't think I'd have enough room to write what was going through my head. So, I opened up my laptop, and here I am. 
How my heart aches at the cruelty of man. How quickly our hearts and minds can change. During the procession around the church of the Blessed Sacrament during Holy Thursday's Mass, I imagined the people following Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; then I imagined how many were at the cross when he was crucified.  I wondered just how many people actually went into the Adoration Chapel between the procession and midnight. Obviously, not everyone would be able to fit into the chapel, but I wonder just how many went?
I didn't. I was tired, I had a headache, and I just wanted to go to bed. I have a lot of things to do today, Good Friday, and those things kept going through my mind. I realized I’m just like those people who followed, but then abandoned him when he was put to death. I realized I’m one of those in the crowd who yelled, “Crucify him”. And I’m ashamed.
During Dynamic Catholic’s BestLent Ever, the focus was on how we resist God through resisting the little things in our lives. It starts with the resistance to even get out of bed in the morning, choosing to hit the snooze button instead. This series made me realize how much resisting I do. I resisted going to confession until Wednesday afternoon. There was a struggle going on within me: Do I call the church office or just skip it? It was so late, surely Father is busy and won’t have time. Finally, at 2:45, I gave in and called. I found out I wasn’t the only one who needed his/her confession heard at that late an hour. The Associate Pastor wasn’t there yet, but the priest at the mission church was, and while I don’t think he really wanted to hear my confession, he did. (This was after me telling him that it wouldn’t take long…I was almost perfect! Oops…forgot to mention that sin during my confession!) I’m so glad I gave in and called and that he heard my confession; I think I would have felt really guilty going into Easter Vigil without receiving absolution.
During Lent, I’ve been going to the outdoor Stations of the Cross and going through them on my own so I can spend Friday evenings with my husband. Last Friday, I just wanted to go home after work. It was cold and I was tired. I had to make myself go, but I did go. Resistance didn’t win that day!
I could have gone back over to the church last night for Adoration. I don’t live very far from the church, so that wasn’t the issue. I was selfish. My headache went away, but I didn’t go back over. Maybe I didn’t leave Jesus completely alone, because I’m sure the priests and deacons were there; but, was there anyone else? Is that what happened when Jesus was crucified? Did the people just go home and go about their business? Did they even give him another thought?
We may not have been physically there during the crucifixion, but we can be spiritually there every day. We can resist him, or we can take that extra step to do what we should. We can truly follow him all the way, offering up our little sacrifices in order to be closer to him. Even when we have a headache, we’re tired, and we just want to go to bed. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who am I?

I walked into the Adoration Chapel to see everything except the Body of Christ covered with a purple cloth. As I gazed up to the covered crucifix, I thought about Jesus. 3 years. Only 3 years. He did so much in those years; healed so many people. 
Mary is covered, too. My heart aches for what she, as a mother, went through. She knew who He was, but did that ease her pain at all?
Then, it really hit me: He was a man. He ate, drank, slept as any man would. He had friends and He certainly had enemies. He had parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Isn't it inconceivable that God loves us so much that He allowed His son to become like us for a very short period? He allowed His son to be nailed to a cross for our sins.
It's just too much to wrap your head around. Who am I that He suffered for my sins? I am so not deserving. I am a sinner. I sin the same sins over and over again. And each time I sin, that nail is hammered through His hands and feet; that thorny crown is pushed a little further on His head. Mary's heart breaks just a little more as she witnesses what I've done to her son- - -her baby boy. 
And yet, it had to be. For us to gain eternal life, it had to be this way. What a sacrifice. What heartache Mary went through for us. FOR US.
No, we are not deserving. But God knows we are. We have the crucifix to remind us. I look at Him and think about the pain. And try to lessen it.
But I must try harder.

Friday, April 7, 2017

{SQT} Get Ready!

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading the Daily Readings and keeping up with my Blessed is She Lenten Journal. As I'm reading and writing, I'm thinking, "Man, this would make a great blog post". And then I get distracted and don't write. Anybody else do the same thing?
This past weekend, a friend of mine moved a secretary's desk from my parents' house to my house. This thing is really heavy, and I felt really badly for the guys who moved it. They didn't have too bad of a time getting it in the house, but getting it in the room where I wanted it was a different story. They tried for 30 minutes to get it in the room, but it just wasn't going to go. The walls are right up against the door jam, so there was no room to maneuver it. I ended up telling them to just put it in the other bedroom. And it went right in. It's not where I wanted it, and the fit is really tight, but it's in. And I have my own place to write. 
It's a perfect place for me to say my morning prayers and read the readings. I still have some cleaning up to do  in the room, but I have my own little corner of the world.
The diocese where I live is building a cathedral. It is a relatively new diocese; we broke off from Nashville in 1988. And, it's growing by leaps and bounds, thus necessitating a new cathedral. The cornerstone, which was blessed by Pope Francis, was on our altar this past weekend. 
Have you listened to Leticia Adams talking about her son's suicide on Jen Fulwiler? If not, I would highly recommend it. You can listen to it here. She is definitely seeing God through this tragedy.
I really, really dislike having dirty sinks. It doesn't matter if it's the bathrooms, the kitchen, or the laundry really bothers me. I remember when I was little, going to a friend's house and their sinks were dry. Yep, you read that right: dry. I was amazed. Growing up with 9 siblings, our sinks didn't have a chance to get dry with all of the toilet flushing and washing of hands. Weird, huh?
Does anyone else cover the crucifixes in their home? As I sat in Mass last Sunday, several of us thought it was too early for everything in the church to be covered. I thought it happened on Holy Thursday. I honestly don't remember everything being covered the week before Palm Sunday. That's how observant I am.
I've read several reflections where covering household crucifixes was mentioned. My mom never did this, so I didn't. I wish I had thought of thought/known about that when my boys were little. I so want a do-over with some things with them!
This song is just amazing:
My favorite line: 
"Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not."
It goes right along with my "God's got this" mantra!

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes.