Thursday, February 27, 2014


   Am I the only one not looking forward to Lent?  I have to admit working in a church office, it seems like Lent happens a lot. I know it's only once a year. Perhaps it's because I am surrounded by well meaning publishers pushing whatever books, leaflets, bulletin blurbs they have available for us to use during Lent, or it's the retreats, workshops, and many, many more suggestions for Lent to make available to parish members that we advertise in our bulletin, hall and website that are making me weary.
  I feel like a complete Catholic failure when by the time I get to Lent I am exhausted with the idea of "doing" Lent!  Shame on me, I know.  I think I stated once before I feel like the 'black sheep' of the office staff because sometimes I don't 'get it' with everything Catholic all the time.
  So forgive my weariness. I am reminded that Jesus, too, grew weary with his Lent, His Passion of the Cross. He fell down three times. I know I fall a lot more, but I always know I can count on the fact that He did it too to help me get back up and face whatever sorrow, hurt or depression that is going on in my life.
  So don't get me wrong with I say I really dislike Lent. Because I LOVE Holy Week. Which may sound weird, but I love the readings, the walking with Jesus through the Garden, admonishing his friends to stay awake and watch out for temptations.
  I don't enjoy fasting on Friday, but I love Good Friday service. There is a song my sister-in-law and I do almost every year on Good Friday. It is called "The Pieta" and is written by Tom Kendzia.  It is Mary's Song of the Crucifixion.  It's hauntingly soft theme is about Mary asking us to come with her and see what our sin has done to her Son, the Lamb of God. It is so beautiful that every year it is hard for me to sing, because as a mom I envision myself standing there in front of my dying son. It reminds me again of Jesus love for us and Mary's love too because she once again says, 'yes' to Jesus. She didn't scream and holler, she accepted what Jesus accepted.  As a mom I cannot imagine not yelling at the soldiers, doing something to make them stop. But Mary knew in her heart that what Jesus was doing, He had to do.  It's a powerful thing to realize she knew He had to die.  What beautiful faith Mary has in her son. And what strength she had to have to wait there, watching, praying, loving her son.
  So maybe this Lent I can keep that in mind and realize that all of Lent is preparing for that moment of Jesus on the Cross and knowing I too have to say 'yes' to the sacrifices, and offerings up we try to do. Because Jesus died for me and for you. And He chose to do it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Community of Prayer

Right now our parish’s prayers have been with a very special family whose son was involved in a very bad car accident the first week of January this year.  It was horrible, slick roads, head injuries and now not knowing if he will ever recover.

As a mom, my heart was just broken for his parents.  Each day drags on, trying to see if he responds to anything, feeding tubes, trach tubes, iv’s everywhere. The mere list of terminology is so overwhelming, all the family can do is pray.  And our parish has joined them in prayers. Not a day goes by someone doesn’t mention his name in the daily Mass petitions.  Families have pitched in to babysit the other youngsters at home, help with homework and school lessons, make and deliver meals to them, visit the hospital, the care center. Recently we’ve had bake sales to help with the ever mounting bills.  And through it all, the parents must sit and wait.

I’ve been through this myself in my family, when my brother and his wife almost lost their baby.  They were five months along in pregnancy with this seventh child, when suddenly contractions began and she was coming. The doctors could not stop labor and gave her very slim chances of surviving, much less survive with no lasting disabilities.

But now at 6 years old, she is a beautiful little girl, learning how to write and do her math problems.  At birth she went in an incubator for four months, wrapped in plastic wrap because even her skin had not yet developed when she was born and her eyes were not ready to open.

Our parish banded together, sending meals to them, my parents babysat the other six kids so Dad could keep working and Mom could be at the hospital as much as possible, talking with their baby girl so she would know she wasn’t alone.  Meals, cleaning house, taking care of the other kids, all helped, but most of all prayer, it was prayer that lifted them up.

Now, our parish is banding together again, in such beautiful ways to help, to listen, but most importantly to pray.  That is what our faith is about, a community of prayer. When kids tell me they like to pray on their own, alone, I tell them that’s all well and good, but they need their community of faith. Our prayers bonding together, helping, lifting each other, knowing we are not alone and that we are surrounded by people who care about us and want to help.  That is what our faith is about, what belonging to a community is about.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Looking At the Crosses We Bear

  My newest resolution this year:  More chocolate, less angst!  Self imposed angst that is, some of it we can't help!  "bear a cross without grumbling"  Ack!  Why is this so hard sometimes?!!
  I'm reminded of Cardinal Dolan who talked about our crosses in his book:  “To Whom Shall We Go?

Right now I’m reading the chapter on Embracing the Cross. It couldn’t come at a better time. You know how it seems like even though you are trying to do things right in your life, everything is going wrong?
   Just yesterday I was musing to God, kind of like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof does. You know, complaining to God, asking why everything has to keep going wrong all the time, why can’t I get a break. Then I sit down to read some of Archbishop Dolan’s book and begin the Cross chapter.

   That darn golden two-by-four as my hubs calls it, hit me in the head when I read this: “Our Lord could not be more forthright in telling us that the Cross has to be part of discipleship. Why are we so surprised then, when it comes?”
   Ouch, he was right. Why am I so surprised when my cross really gets heavy or seems to increase into several crosses. I read further;

Jesus told us it would come. As a matter of fact, when the Cross comes into your life, I propose that it means you’re doing something right. You’re on the right track. You’re actually following our Lord, because He told us the Cross would come.”
   Now I am picking myself up off the floor because I had just been crabbing at God about how He treats His friends and I thought I was a friend. Here Archbishop is telling me, duh, why do you think you HAVE this cross?  Because you ARE friends. “ All of our complaints, our distresses are just different words for the Cross.” Then, lest we think, “Well, it would just be easier if I didn’t follow Christ, if I just kind of forgot I knew about the Church and the sacraments, “ he goes on to say,

                The Cross comes to everybody, whether they are disciples of Christ or not. Everyone experiences the Cross in the simple, ordinary adversities of life.
   So, I guess I had better stay friends with Jesus because at least I know he listens and give me comfort through the words of scripture and the sacraments. I always feel better when I’ve gone to confession and confessed being grumpy with the Lord about my cross!