Sunday, April 27, 2008
Dad likes to for us all to stay near each other as we pray the rosary, so he has us walk in two lines of three, holding hands. For a time, I ended up between Mom and Dad. It's been a long time since I've had one of my hands in each of theirs. It was comforting and secure...for a bit I felt like a small girl again.
I am infinitely blessed with parents who are selfless, wise, and so present. Any gifts and strengths that have been cultivated in me have been largely from their loving training. From the haven of a home filled with Faith and growing in love by the grace of God working through and despite our human struggles.
This kind of home is recognized by many, including our Holy Fathers, as crucial to the growth and health of society.
“Many people ask: why are families so important? Why does the Church so insist on the topic of marriage and the family? The reason is simple, even if not everyone can understand it: the future of the human person, his happiness, his capacity for giving life meaning all depend on the family… As the family goes, so goes the world.” (John Paul II)
“The family is a kind of school of deeper humanity. But if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds and the joint deliberation of spouses, as well as the painstaking cooperation of parents in the education of their children.” (Gaudium et Spies: The Church in the Modern World)
“Today, if they are to give a truly human face to society, no people can ignore the precious good of the family, founded on marriage.” (Benedict XVI)
Let us pray for the healing of the family. For the restoration of homes where prayer, work, play, and service foster the kind of unity that in turn, strengthens all of society!
Friday, April 25, 2008
At a squirrel that didn't realize we were near him (and nor did we, for that matter) until we were right next to his little tree, and then bolted for dear life across the sidewalk...about two feet in front of us.
At tulips with pointed petals.
At what David says he was "99.9 percent sure" were springs of poison ivy growing along the sidewalk. "Add about a million nines after that point," he said. I believe him, too — that boy has a positive knack for spotting and correctly identifying poison ivy.
At random patches of perfect violets, especially the variegated ones that are white along the edges but the loveliest pale purple in the middle. We both exclaimed at those... and tried to capture them with the cell phone camera.
At the charmingest house (I know, that's probably not a word, but it should be). Don't ask me why I've never noticed it before. It looks like it could be right out of a book, or a movie. Ivy clung to the antique yellow stone walls, complete with arches and such. The fact that it was somewhat set higher than the road added to its allure. Even the yard was unusual, with a little brick walkway along the house and things growing here and there. We felt like were looking at a kind of cross between a Victorian cottage, English Tudor, and miniature castle!
At little white blossoms growing directly from the fat limb of a tree!
At a literal blanket of petals in one yard — the work of the big, beautiful magnolia succumbing to the tugging breeze.
...At the gentle beauty of spring, bursting forth in all its splendor.
It was sublime. So incredible that a person can take that instrument and bring from it such sweetness! It's the kind of sound in which one can simply melt. Just amazing.
Our violinist friend summed it up exactly, I think: "She has an absolute gift from God".
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I especially love this excerpt which I found in an article on CatholicCulture.org (that website is a gem!):
Confirmation marks one's spiritual growing up. With Confirmation he is launched on the social aspect of his spiritual life, with which goes an even greater obligation to pursue his own sanctification. But self-sanctification is now dependent upon his relationship with all men. With Confirmation, he is equipped, by the strengthening in him of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to look at the world with new eyes, to desire its conquest for Christ with new love. He sees more clearly (if he is helped to see by his parents and teachers) what it means to be a member of the Mystical Body. Like a cell in his own body, he is a cell in the Body of Christ. Each cell is important, a part of a whole. Without it, the whole would be less whole. If one cell is sick (in sin), the whole is less well. Now he begins to see that it is up to him, as well as to the other members of the Body, to work for the total health of the Body; not only that — but to work for the further growth of the Body.
The absolute beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ is something that has, and continues to leave me awestruck — especially in the last year or two. Recently a seminarian friend coined a phrase that I thought summed it up perfectly: the interconnectedness of the Body of Christ. It is so, so much more connected than I think any of us realize. It's incredibly powerful to realize the truth of the above text: we literally and directly affect the life and health of the whole body. Amazing!
It was truly bittersweet to watch my spiritual children receive this Sacrament tonight. It's near the end of our time together so far (only 3 more classes before the school year ends), but I hope and pray that much more than an end, it is a bright new beginning for them. One of my students' mothers asked me tonight if I was nervous. And while I wouldn't describe myself as that, there were plenty of other emotions swirling around my mind and heart this evening.
And oh, but I so love our bishop. I was cheering (silently, of course) from the choir loft as he gave his final message to the youth. With authority and yet tenderness, he said some of the very same key points I've tried so hard to drive home for them this year: Confirmation is not the same thing as graduation. This doesn't mean you are done learning the Faith. This doesn't mean Religious Education is done for you!
Forgive me if I my reflection here is somewhat disjointed tonight. I wish I could summarize here somehow the culmination of graces for me the past few months. I feel as though I've had greater contemplation, and less spoken words than typical for me (perhaps my family wouldn't agree, but it seems so to me!). I am usually one to whom words come fairly easily, even about relatively awkward or in-depth topics. There are plenty of times lately, however, when I'm caught up in a kind of interior thought and find myself not saying much... or it's almost difficult when I do.
It might sound strange, but at times like these there is such a strange mixture of emotion when it comes to writing (at least, to blogging). My head and heart are simply brimming with things about which I wish to write, but interestingly, I'm almost reluctant to do so... as if I'm fearful that I won't have the time to do justice to the beauty or depth of the topic.
The Holy Spirit was indeed present in a very real way tonight. And He has been in many of our classes. There are days when I can stand up in front of those twenty-one seventh and eighth graders and know that He has taken over the words coming out of my mouth. And then I wish the clock would stop moving! I just hope that I have given these young people a glimpse into the treasure chest (rather, the gold mine) that is our Faith.
Father, grasp them in the palm of Your Hand. Son, encircle them in the abode of Your Heart, Holy Spirit, inflame them with the all-consuming fire of Your Love!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
St. Faustina (a.k.a. Sarah) visited our parish for a special presentation!
"My Jesus, I want to love You as no human soul has ever loved You before; and although I am utterly miserable and small, I have nevertheless cast the anchor of my trust deep down into the abyss of Your mercy, O my God and Creator!" (Saint Faustina Kowalska)
Sarah was a Confirmation sponsor a few weekends ago, and Veronica made these beautiful nosegays for her and her goddaughter
A sweet moment...
My goddaughters (Veronica and Amanda) modeling their new necklaces
A baking project -- by many hands!
Easter 2008 Snapshot
Blessings! I hope and pray to be able to "return" with some more substantial writing soon.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
First of all, I neglected to follow-up after my Do Hard Things Amazon.com Book Bomb plug. Thanks to our Lord's goodness prompting thousands of passionate youth and adults who have faith in our generation, on March 25th we took Do Hard Things from #625 to #5 of Amazon.com's bestsellers and #1 in the Christianity section! I hope and pray this is indicative of a transformation happening in my generation. Glory be to God for the great things He has done!
If you haven't heard of this book yet or you're wondering what on earth a "book bomb" is, visit here.