My Nama (grandma) always said "If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb." Judging from what I just drove in, it'll be leaving like a lamb.
For several years I have been blessed to be a part of a troupe that brings stations of the cross to various churches on the Fridays in Lent. These stations, however, are from the perspective of journeying with cancer. They are so incredibly moving. The stations are Written by Alice Brown, a cancer survivor and music written by her husband, Bill. The stories are all true, which makes it all that more real.
For me it is pure gift to be a part of it. It really calls me to a place of depth during Lent.
Sadly, one of our key people is currently battling cancer. It's been a horrible journey, tho she is an incredibly faith filled woman. She has given us all strength. She is in the hospital and will not be able to be part of them. But I'm sure she will feel the love we are sending her.
I think most people have, at some time in their lives, judged another. Scripturally we are reminded "Judge not, lest ye be judged…"
Recently I attended a funeral for an individual who died from suicide (it's no longer "committed" suicide). Our parish, St James in Arlington Heights, is very accepting of everyone. Apparently the person's home parish refused to do a liturgy because it was a suicide! Worse yet, another parish in the same suburb also refused to do a liturgy. At St. James the importance is on tending to the needs of others, welcoming them into the community, helping them to heal...not telling them they aren't good enough or perfect enough to deserve a mass or that their "sin" isn't forgivable !
And yet, two parishes judged and, more or less, punished the family and showed deep disrespect for the deceased.
I want to say to them "WHO are YOU to judge? Have you walked in their shoes? Did you know the despair the individual was dealing with, and the distorted belief that everyone would be better without them? WHERE is your mercy?" It saddens me deeply that this pre Vatican II way of thinking still exists. It saddens me even more that the churches who refused the burial must NEVER have asked themselves "What would Jesus do?" It doesn't take a genius to realize that this individual was welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus immediately…..that Jesus would NEVER refuse this wounded person, that Jesus understands our humanness and the depth of despair.
I am so grateful that I am not part of that distorted, archaic, un-Christian, merciless, holier than thou way of thinking. Is it any wonder that people leave the Catholic Church in droves????
Holy Spirit, open the hearts and minds of these individuals. They don't represent the church or God that I know.
Our pastor spoke about "grace" at noon mass today. He suggested we share God's grace with others. So all day I've been pondering over the word. What exactly is grace….not the grace we see in a ballerina ….but divine grace.
Some definitions describe it as divine favor; conferring dignity or honor;
~the benevolence shown by God toward the human race;
~free and unmerited favor of God and bestowal of blessings
~virtue coming from the Spirit
I visualize grace as a soft transparent film that drifts all around us and sends out rays of shimmering light. With the naked eye I can see sparkles, crystal like, flowing around us, literally covering us, renewing and refreshing us.
But now the question of How to Share God's Grace…..
~through kindness and compassion
~giving freely of ourselves
~treating others with respect
~through our Presence
Let us Share God's grace …..
Our little thespian turns 7 years old today!!! And what a little character he is…..of course, as you can see from the pictures, he has MANY characters. Some of those not shown are an elf, a zombie, a morf, mayor of munchkinland….and the list goes on.
In the last year you have soared up, as in Peter Pan, met Scrooge, popped out of somewhere as a genie, and many more exhilarating experiences.
You are such a joy, precious Patrick. I can't remember life without you!!!! I can still see that round face when you were little….and the smile, yes, the smile. And who knew you'd make a home on a stage????
May the year ahead be filled with even more joy and fun characters. We're glad you were born.
"And look at the likes of him, little leprechaun he is…."
(this must be said in an Irish brogue)
I was out walking today and the smell of spring was all around me!!! And in the midst of melting snow, some of the flowers were popping their heads out of the ground. I can only imagine the struggle pushing through the cold earth.
That made me think about our struggles during this Lent (excuse me if some of you aren't experiencing any struggles). It takes so much energy, doesn't it? But if we persist we, too, can push through the obstacles that are keeping us from blooming.
What struggle shall I work on today?
There's a beautiful song called "Sow the Word." Pull it up on utube and listen to the words. I don't think you will be disappointed .
I just spent the past two hours trying to order tickets …..(this was on my laptop)…..for a play. The ordering went fine, but trying to print the tickets was a lesson in
P A T I E N C E &
F R U S T R A T I O N
Seriously, sometimes I want to scream….I'm a computer illiterate for the most part….well, for some parts. I look at our grandchildren and how they know exactly what to do to remedy situations. I highly doubt this would have happened to them.
In the big picture I know this matters little. When I finally took a deep breath and asked the heavens to "fix" it, the answer became clear and simple.
Like I said, tho, in the big picture this doesn't rate mentioning.
I attended the funeral of a young father/husband today. It was tragic; he was loved by all who knew him, successful in business, a seemingly happy man. Yet his death was from taking his own life. His children are quite young. I just can't get them out of my mind. There were no indications that he was suffering. If you have ever experienced being in a black hole, you can understand despondence. I believe with all my heart that when he arrived in heaven, Jesus welcomed him with open arms. No purgatory, no more suffering….but peace from whatever pain he was experiencing.
Please send up an extra prayer for this young family and some way for them to find closure at some point.
I really love Valentine's Day. I delight in sending silly kids' Valentine's cards out to friends and family. But I also love to hand someone a chocolate kiss or a chocolate heart from Fannie May. Such a small gesture, but it always brings a smile to their face. And, who knows, maybe it's the only nice thing they will experience in their day.
Recently there have been several difficult situations in our community. In two of them families have been destroyed. I've become so preoccupied with these situations, trying to imagine what the families are going through and wondering how they will ever be able to put their lives back together. I wish so much that I could right the wrongs, bring the people back to life or life as they knew it. But there are no magic wands to erase what has transpired .
The frustration I have is in how to help the families. I've come to realize that simple "presence" is what matters, walking with the people on the journey, knowing the road is a rocky one that will get worse before it gets better. Prayer seems so inadequate, yet I know that is all that I can do. But I can't right the wrongs…I will continue to pray in hopes that God will hear and answer.
Rusty married her high school sweetheart, Jim. They have four children and seven adorable