Thursday, April 21, 2016

Grow Old With Me...

     Pope Francis, in writing his newest encyclical, (Amoris Laetitia) The Joy of Love, writes about both young couples, engaged and married and older couples.  In his years as a pastor, he has gained a keen insight into family life, young love and mature love.
      He reminds young couples that they are the brink of the future, and that "young love needs to keep dancing toward the future with immense hope. Hope is the leaven that in those first years of engagement and marriage, makes it possible to look beyond arguments, conflicts and problems and to see things in a broader perspective." 
     Beautiful, it's true. Looking back at my married life (33 years) when we first started out we were stressed out, finishing college, looking for jobs, eating out of the change jar. It was hard. But when I look back and remember those times I think, wow, it was so much easier then than now.
    Impossible you say?  I would have agreed with you when I was young. But now, I can truly say things are harder, yet when I look at my husband, I wouldn't have wanted to go through any of those things we experienced in our 33 years of marriage with anyone but him.
    Francis goes on to say this about mature love: As the body ages, it still expresses that personal identity that first won our heart. Even if others can no longer see the beauty of that identity, a spouse continues to see it with eyes of love and so his or her affection does not diminish.  Lovers do not see their relationship pass merely temporary. Those who marry do not expect their excitement to fade.
      He suggests that married couples try a little more tenderness. Tenderness is a virtue often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships.  
      And yes, my friends, he is correct.  Without tenderness, my husband would have run out of the house when I was pregnant with our first child and could not stand the smell of our apartment.  We had to eat out every night and only after eating a meal away from home, usually a salad, could I stomach going back into our apartment. ( hormones and  super sensitive noses don't mix.)
  Without tenderness, I would have thrown up my hands and said, "forget it' when my husband's hobby, martial arts, landed up becoming 'our' hobby, our family vocation (for the last 27 years) and a side-line business.   He found a way to help protect kids and who was I to say no?
   Without tenderness, we couldn't have gotten through raising three beautiful children, watch one of each of our parents pass, deal with many heartaches that come along in a life, medical struggles, tests of faith and trust in God. 
    So you see, even though he's never been married, he lived in a family growing up.  Family, no matter what your vocation is as adult, affects you for the rest of your life. Family is togetherness that knows no bounds. Even if your family is out of sorts, not exactly like you'd like it to be, it's family, through thick and thin, good times and bad, better or worse, richer or poorer. 
  God bless you and your family, your spouse, your parents, your children, your pastor and friends. You need all of them to get through this life.  Always remember tenderness...and you'll grow old and the best will yet to be!




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Easter's Joyful Alleluia!

   The eggs were dyed and eaten, most of the chocolate bunnies are finished too. Ahh...time to enjoy the real part of Easter...the Alleluias, the scripture of Jesus appearing to his disciples, the time of Heaven.

  With such a huge build up to Easter, the events of Holy Week almost overwhelm us and wipe us out. At least in our parish, all the work that goes into preparing for Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday's foot washing and Adoration, Good Friday's Passion, Easter Vigil preparations and the three hour journey towards the light of the Easter Candle and Easter morning Masses, the joy and alleluias that resound, and finally a small Easter egg hunt complete with our own Easter Bunny mascot (thanks again, Caitlin) and Laughing Monday.   Are you tired?

   I was!  Yet the joy of the glorious resurrection that we celebrate it each and every year leaves me with satisfaction in my heart. It is a great relief to know that God again has sent his only Son to us, to suffer and die yet be resurrected on the third day. And though we have celebrated this for over 2,000 years it is still new to each newborn baby, each brand new Christian and yes, it is new to each of us 'old, veteran' Christians who make sure we see it brand new each year.  And we must see it brand new each year because that's why the Church celebrates it each and every year.

   It's not a once in a lifetime event for us, but a yearly reminder that God loves us. He loves us so very much He sends His Son to us.  Of course Jesus hasn't died every year for the last 2,000, but we are reminded through our own sins, our own receiving forgiveness that He is renewed in us in such a way that it's like we are there and it's just happened with us as witnesses!
  He has died for those sins we hate to confess. He's died so we can stand in that confession line and say we are sorry, once again for sins we keep committing even though we've tried hard not to do again.  He forgives us over and over again and as long as we are sincere in our confessing and effort to be better, He will continue to forgive us just like we read the Passion and relive the trial and scourging of Jesus every year.  Because God lives in our now, our present. We don't look back at that event 2,000 years ago and say, "Well, that was nice of Him, to die for us, we must remember that sometime and say thank you."  No!  We relive the passion of Holy Week in all its despair and sadness, in our shouting "Crucify him, crucify him." because we keep sinning...we...keep...crucifying...him. 

  We relive the Resurrection of Christ because it is brand new every year! Christ is living and among us! That Easter Joy of His love for us is with us all year long and should not be cast aside as some event from long ago. It happens every day in our lives, God loving us, forgiving us EVERY day of our lives. 

  Rejoice! Alleluia! Christ has risen from the dead!  God loves us.