Sundays in Lent – Tuesday of Holy Week

Standard

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; 

let me never be put to shame. 

In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; 

incline your ear to me, and save me.

I will sing of your salvation.

Psalm 71:1-2

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this responsorial psalm before. It was one of the first that I randomly read when I began to visit the church. It holds a special place in my heart, and was one of the things that saved me from crisis.

Meditate on these two verses, and while you are with G-d, see how they apply to your life, and your relationship with Him.

Discernment

Standard

​​How did you discern your vocation, your call to follow Christ? Who were the people who mediated that call?

– Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau

I don’t consider what I believe or what I do through that belief and faith to be a vocation. That may just be my mind’s unwillingness to grasp the meaning of that word, and I may simply need a little more time to wrap my head around it. To me vocation equals job, so for vocation, I think more of priests, nuns or religious women, deacons, even ministry lay people, but for me simply as a follower of Christ, I don’t think of it or call it a vocation. Perhaps in time, it will become that in my mind whether or not something changes tangibly or not.

So for me, this discernment, which is another word I had to wrap my head around, is about my call to follow Christ. I didn’t recognize the call to follow at all. I came to the physical building of a church for solace, for meditation, for silent ranting, and conversing with G-d. Jesus was not part of the picture.

I don’t doubt not that He led me there, but it wasn’t with a neon sign although there was a street sign. Looking back on it now, it would have been a really sad excuse for a Hallmark channel movie; so improbable, so contrived if I’d thought of it as a five step program.

But there I was led, and once I settled in to looking inward and selflessly instead of the opposite, things fell into place spiritually. Once the call came, there were no doubts, no second thoughts. I, the queen of second guesses and wishy-washyness was shocked with which the ease of following Christ came to me.

I was looking for nothing, and I received everything. Once He reached out to me, He was there. I knew all the things I needed to know, and each step was taken with little thought, but all heart. No regrets.

The people in my life didn’t so much mediate the call as supported it, both before and after.

Prior, I had a friend who emulated forgiveness and love thy neighbor. It hadn’t occurred to me that these were Christian values until I saw it in action under no labels. Watching him forgive what I could never made me acutely aware of how many grudges I held, even if I thought there were a few strong ones, it was a few too many. I began to see things in a different light. My circle of friends supported me and held me up when I would falter, and none of that was expressly Christian or Christ-like; but was just good and decent and human.

Humanity.

Empathy.

Pushing courage into my veins like an energy drink.

After those friends, my church family was so welcoming. Before I was Catholic. Before I would ever hear the call; embrace the call, they were there in all of there capacities.

The women in the pew who talked to me, never once asking me where I’d come from or why I was there (since I wasn’t Catholic).

The priest who I was wary of since my start at Masses came before his return from Roman sabbatical. I do not like change. Any change. My middle name should be wary-skeptical-cynical.

His first homily on or around the anniversary of my friend’s mur/der about a red steamer trunk and his sabbatical that sounded remarkably like my recent pilgrimage to Wales was so profound that it left an indelible mark on my soul.

He also welcomed me into the counseling room, not so much counseling as counsel and talk, and never once asked when I would be joining the church or attending Sunday Mass. Not once.

In fact, no one in this parish community ever asked me when I would be converting. They welcomed me anyway.

The church secretary who became my godmother, so knowledgable, so kind, so full of grace to answer my questions, and fill me in on things I may not be as mindful to not growing up in the church. She is my guide and my friend.

All the people at the daily masses who said hello and smiled at me.

The medical and hot water heater help through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, never once questioning my church going (or not going), not knowing me from Adam, and helping. These men and women have a calling; a vocation.

I was never asked for a donation.

I was never asked for anything before in my heart I knew I could give it. And somehow, they also knew.

I could feel people praying for me. My life did not miraculously improve overnight, but I could feel it – people, friends, acquaintances.

Holy Spirit.

Seeing through the RCIA program, amazingly and profoundly at how much they were teaching me that I already believed since childhood and couldn’t quite put a finger on.

So many people involved and encouraging through a simple head nod and a smile.

The people (you) who read my things here and tell me their stories of their own callings or ask questions about mine or simply hit the like button. It is all part of that mediation, the meditation, the call and the give back.

The calling had been there all along; I only had to quiet myself down to hear it.

Advent Reflection – Dec. 8 and Dec. 9

Standard

What role does music play in your faith life? What role does Mary have in your Christian discipleship?

From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Birhsop Robert F. Morneau


Music plays such a profound role in the church I attend, both the physical parish and the church of my heart. We are blessed with a beautiful choir and our musical director is so talented and has such an amazing voice. For the Immaculate Conception, he sang Ave Maria, and each Christmas I look forward to his singing of O, Holy Night. It defies description and takes my breath away.

I have always been a fan of Gregorian chants and Welsh choirs are the voices of angels.

It is not only hymns and church music that brings me spirituality. I have an affinity for modern, albeit alternative music that lets me travel in my mind to many places and thoughts. My current favorite is the Hamilton soundtrack and my collection of Supernatural and The Walking Dead music. They truly do feed my soul in ways that only writing typically does.

If the flute is being played, we dance. At Christmas parties and wedding celebrations we eat and drink in moderation. If a dirge sounds, we mourn the loss of a loved one or repent of our sins by doing penance, by practicing asceticism.

From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas:Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau

We’ve had this difficulty all year – of trying to discern when to dance and when to mourn. This whole year has been a long, drawn out pop culture funeral beginning with David Bowie and Alan Rickman followed by Prince and Muhammad Ali, and continuing most recently with Florence Henderson and John Glenn. Some of them have been harder on my heart than others, but so much of my childhood has been disappearing before my eyes.

It is always difficult to continue living our daily lives with so much sorrow hanging over us. Each death brought me down, but I got back up. We get ourselves back up and we keep going. Because that’s what we do.

After my mother-in-law was hit by a car and almost died three years ago, we thought she’d live forever. She wasn’t supposed to walk or leave the hospital, and she did. As hard as it was, and as long as it took, she was home, she was walking and she was doing great. She is the epitome of energy and independence and inspiration. We are fortunate that my daughter seems to have inherited all of that from her.

We were stunned while on a visit after school let out that she passed away suddenly at the end of June. We were with her earlier in the day, talking, joking, she admiring my daughter’s taste in clothes as well as the discount we got in buying it. Bargains and garage sales made her happy.

Her passing made all the others less significant, and it’s taken a lot to get through it.Thanksgiving without her was difficult and I know that Christmas will be even harder. We didn’t see her for Christmas, but we spoke to her throughout the day. She is missed every day. Her birthday is in a few weeks, and we will continue to struggle with this loss that is so deep and devastating.

The Election of 2016

Standard

​I’m stunned. I’m also shocked and saddened. Yesterday morning, I awoke at 6:45am so I could take my daughter with me to vote before she had to go to school. We talked about the ballot, why I was voting for some people, why I wasn’t voting for others. We whispered so we didn’t disturb or bother anyone else voting at the same time. I took pictures of both the ballot and she and the ballot and before and after pictures before we left the house and after our election day breakfast at McDonald’s. I was sure that we had just voted for the first woman president. To be honest, that was a bonus. I was voting for Hillary Clinton, someone who I had admired and watched since I was out of college. I learned so much about her over the years; what she believed in, what she did and would do as a public servant.

When she became my senator, I knew she’d work her ass off, and she did.

She was a fantastic Secretary of State.

In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, John Kerry in 2004, President Obama in 2008 and 2012. I voted FOR them, not against their opponents. I did not want George Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney to be President, but I knew in my heart that if they became president, they would do their best to bring honor to the office. I am not so sure about that this year.

I can’t express what I’m feeling. I’m usually asleep when my two children get on the bus for school. This morning, I made sure I was awake so I would have time to hug them and talk to them about the election results. They were both worried. My son went to bed with a headache, and my daughter asked if she would be forced to wear a hood. Their reactions did not come from us directly, but from listening to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric for the past eighteen months.

I hugged them, and told them not to worry and we wold get through this. It would be okay. The don’t know because they’re too young, but we’ve been here before, and we’ve gotten through it.

This one is a little different.

I never thought I’d see a President endorsed so heartily by the KKK in my adult lifetime. I never thought we’d elect an open racist and misogynist in my adult lifetime, certainly not in the modern age. The VP, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office is a proponent of gay conversion therapy, funerals for fetuses while limiting the rights of the women carrying them.

This isn’t partisan to me. This is insane.

I had planned on this post being one of my reflections on 50. It was going to be about politics and my lifelong love of politics, but I can’t write about that and ignore what’s just happened this morning. I think I need to take a couple days away. There are some posts scheduled in my queue that will post automatically, and hopefully, I’ll be able to continue my 50 reflections, but today…today truly is a time for mourning.

Crime will go up.

Abortions will go up.

Hate crimes will go up.

Homelessness will go up.

Unemployment will go up.

If you look at the statistics over the last century, I think you’ll find that this is what happens when Republicans are in the White House.

On a personal note, my husband will probably lose his job, which will have financial ramifications for years to come.

This wasn’t one election. This was a lifetime. This will affect those not born yet.

We, as a country need to reflect on the last year; the attacks on women, the attacks on journalism and journalists, the attacks on Muslims and Latinos especially, and the continuing stereotyping of African Americans who according to Trump live in hell and the inner cities. I’ll have to mention that to my suburban neighbors.

We need to look at who we are as a country, as a people, and decide where we want to go from here. We need to pray and meditate on what is going on, in whatever way that each of us does. We just decided that the most qualified person in the last half century still isn’t good enough; we want the reality TV star, who may have only won because his campaign manager took away his Twitter and the FBI Director lit a fire on a burned out shell.

Every. Vote. Counts.

Al Gore told you.

Bernie Sanders told you.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama told you.

When will we listen?

When will we do what’s best for all of us, and not just a select few? For some reason, they think that a thirty year public servant is more elitist than a millionaire who lives in a penthouse and wouldn’t know the price of milk if he were standing in the grocery store.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s too much to take in. It’s only been real for about two hours for me. I went to bed at 2:15am, thinking there was some hope. I woke up knowing it was over, not wanting to know the outcome, but needing to know so I could tell my kids in the morning that it would be alright.