Maybe my childhood will get a respite in 2016. Wayne Rogers was a big part of my growing up. Earlier in the year, we watched the entirety of the MASH series with the kids. They really enjoyed it. Trapper was a part of their childhood too. Rest in peace, Trap. Say hi to Henry.
“Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.”
From the beginning of my journey with the church I have often said that on the days that I went to sit in the church pews, the Scriptures spoke to me. Whether a random page read or a specific Mass reading or Scripture, and of course the homilies; they had, and continue to have a prescient quality, speaking of things that should only be known in my own mind. They often mirror what I’m thinking and unexpectedly offer insight and clarity into whatever is troubling me or weighing on my mind. This holds true for even the most seemingly innocuous things.
On a Monday morning at the start of Advent, I was getting ready to leave for Mass. I was running late, but I still had to get through my morning rituals. I was dressed, but I needed my jewelry. I don’t wear much, but I wear pretty much the same things daily. In addition to my mother’s ring and my earrings and triquetra necklace, I have two bracelets that I often wear – a corded bracelet with a stone that says Balance, and a metal one with crosses on it that caught my eye when it was on clearance at Cracker Barrel. I don’t wear a lot of religious things, but I liked it. For some reason I made the decision to leave both bracelets at home; if I wanted them later, I could get them after mass.
There was the opening hymn, the reading, the responsorial and the Gospel. My priest began his homily with the following words:
“Our faith is not a piece of jewelry to adorn…”
Pretty sure, my mouth dropped open.
He continued and I listened intently.
He talked about resisting change and embracing change.
He reminded the congregation that we are all called to be missionaries.
I just read that! I’ve been reading Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel. I’m really just trying to absorb as much as I can from sources I respect. I want to learn more. I need to. I had just gotten to the part about pastors and how best to write their homilies using the joy of the gospel. The entire book was a reminder of what we’re all looking for in the words and thoughts of the Gospel. I’ve found acuity there that I hadn’t been looking for. This section really spoke to me in regards to my upcoming session with the RCIA candidates. I’ve been wondering how to approach my day with the catechumens, and it’s been very frustrating. I’m not a public speaker, and this is a small group, but it’s still not easy to anticipate how to do it. It is very much anxiety filled.
In this section, and other spaces in his book, Pope Francis gave me some perspectives on the catechetical program that I’ve just become a part of. I hadn’t thought about those perspectives before. It’s been very helpful for that, and it’s been very rewarding spiritually to hear the Pope’s words in relation to the Word.
The biggest thing that I’ve encountered is my relationship with Jesus and how the Holy Spirit works to guide us in the right direction. Of course, not literally how the Spirit works – it’s all a mystery, but when it happens, it is unmistakable that it is indeed working.
And then on that morning at the beginning of Advent, I hear the very same thing from my priest.
We are all missionaries. Preaching isn’t dictating morality; it isn’t dictating rules to live by – we all know the rules that we should be living by; preaching is sharing our relationships with Jesus.
Evangelizing isn’t about changing minds, but broadening them. It should always be a positive, and that is the one thing that I’ve found at my parish; every encounter to bring me closer to G-d, and welcome me in is a positive, never a negative.
That doesn’t mean that we’re all on the same page all of the time, but we are respectful and we truly, truly care about each other. I love my priest. I adore him. He is the epitome of a pastoral and spiritual guide. After hearing his homilies and Masses or after speaking with him in any capacity, I always feel content and uplifted as well as able to take on whatever task I’ve been pondering.
I leave with clarity. Perhaps, not every answer answered, but the questions are productive, the path is clear; for a little while anyway.
This year, in fact I have three more RCIA sessions, I have a yearlong writing assignment that I will talk about next week, and I have my pilgrimage for the Year of Mercy. I’m still exploring exactly what that means.
But what I was really reminded of on that day in early December wasn’t that I’m a missionary or an evangelist, but faith isn’t a piece of jewelry that we put on and take off at whim, or to match our clothes for that day; it is with us always and like other things, we have the ability to share it, even if we’re trying to share it with ourselves.
I was reminded of a meditation from The Word Among Us, on December 4th :
‘You are a “work in progress,” and that’s perfectly fine with God… Now, ask yourself again, “What do I have faith for?”’
I started watching Supernatural in the middle of the seventh season. My first episode was The French Mistake. I knew the actors better than the characters. I eventually started marathoning on Netflix. Since The French Mistake was an episode that broke the fourth wall it was easy to relegate it to the recesses of my mind and have it not interfere with the storyline.
Along the way I got to know the characters. The first actress to play the demon Ruby was Katie Cassidy. I really liked her take on the character. No offense against one of my favorite Padaleckis, but I preferred her Ruby to Gen. I mean, I had warm and fuzzies for Jared’s wife, but I really liked Ruby 1.0. I liked her sass and her practicality.
I didn’t realize she was the actress playing Laurel Lance on The CW’s Arrow for longer than I would like to admit. It took me a long time to figure it out. I only watched it haphazardly, if it happened to be on, a few episodes at the end waiting for Supernatural to start. And then Laurel began to be Black Canary. Seriously, one of my very favorite female superheroes. Black Canary and Batgirl. One in the comics, one on the television. And now, Black Canary was going to be on television. I was excited to see her take on this character.
About two months ago (or more), Marty Ingalls died. I looked up his wife, Shirley Jones. I had been a big fan of The Partridge Family in my childhood. I grew up singing their songs. Every time a school bus would pass by it would remind me of that show. Just like everyone else in the mid-70s, I had a crush on David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce. In high school, I was a huge fan of Shaun Cassidy, David’s younger half-brother. I used to sing along to both Cassidys’ albums in my basement, sitting by the record player, wearing this giant pair of headphones as if I were in a recording studio with him.
Along this Google/Wikipedia trip down memory lane, I read that Shaun Cassidy was the uncle of the actress, Katie Cassidy. I know all of you see where this is going, but at this point, I still didn’t get it; not until I clicked on her link and saw her photo. And then, finally, I recognized her.
Ruby? Laurel? Katie Cassidy?!
My mind was sputtering.
How did I not know that Katie Cassidy, one of my favorite actors on two of my current shows was David Cassidy’s daughter?
How did I not know this?
Second generation fan. Or is it the same fan but with a second generation actor? Or is it fan, once removed.
I don’t know which, but I think I like it.
My son collaborated with his Dad (at least his Dad’s debit card) to make me a mini Lego figure of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. He designed it himself. Then they both made the poncho on our home printer without letting me see. It’s a superb job. He used mgfcustoms for the construction.
Standing behind mini Daryl is a cup designed by my daughter. My family got me Lindt chocolate truffles and as it turns out, two bags of those fit perfectly into a Trenta sized Starbucks cup that my daughter saved, washed, and decorated.
Chocolate Caramel and White Chocolate; my favorites.
Two days past Christmas and all through the house, all were stirring except for the mouse.
My husband still doesn’t understand that the Saturday night Mass and the Sunday morning Masses are the same Mass, the same obligation, and therefore I only need to attend one. I went last night, but he’s still wondering why I haven’t gone yet today. It’s long after two in the afternoon, and about halfway through listening to one of my new CDs, I was kind of hit with the beauty of what we, as a family, were all doing and that today is the Feast of the Holy Family.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Feast of the Holy Family occurs the Sunday after Christmas or if that Sunday falls after January 1st, the Holy Family is celebrated on December 30th. This really is a big week on the Catholic calendar; a big month really, beginning with the start of the new liturgical year and Advent, going right into the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and now the Nativity, the Holy Family, and Friday brings the Solemnity of Mary, another holy day of obligation, followed soonafter by Epiphany or Three Kings Day and the Lord’s Baptism.
The calendar can feel a bit out of order sometimes. We go from the Nativity in December, the joys of a baby’s birth, and not even six months later we are observing Good Friday, a grown man’s death, murder by crucifixion and Easter, the Resurrection. I used to think, growing up that Good Friday and Easter celebrated the same day – the crucifixion. Now, I do understand the difference, and how the different days are observed: one a day of utmost sadness and one of incredible joy.
Veneration of the Holy Family was begun in the 17th century in what was known as New France by the bishop, Saint Francois de Laval. The Feast of the Holy Family, as it is known now, was instituted as a holy day and on the Catholic calendar by Pope Leo XIII in 1893. It was to be held in January and appeared on the calendar during the Octave of the Epiphany until 1969 when things changed under Vatican II.
Our family has spent today enjoying our gifts from Christmas as well as each other’s company in relative peace. My two youngest kids are showing my husband how to play Minecraft on his new tablet; the three of them are lying on the other side of the bed chattering and pointing and blowing things up to help build his world. My oldest son slept, happy not to be bothered by the usual requests of his prescence by his family for such mundanities as food and company. He is off at work at this moment and I believe he did journey out for a fire call with his station. My part in the family’s peace is to pop in my headphones and listen to my two new CDs; new ones from Adele and Mumford and Sons. I transferred them to my kindle, snuggled under my covers with my sore knee up, disappeared under the darkness of my eye mask and enjoyed the music, all the while thinking how lovely the day’s been.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Holy Family than to enjoy my own.