I Choose to Drink of Your Cup

Chalice

The Called and Gifted workshop ended at 4 pm. Saturday Vigil Mass begins at 4 pm. There was no way that I could walk up the stairs from the Social Hall and not attend. I just couldn’t. Plus, I love Palm Sunday! Right before the homily, Fr. John exhorted us to pray that we give our imaginations and attention to God, so that we can truly take in what He would like to say to us today. He said that if we found ourselves lingering at a particular point during the retelling of the Lord’s Passion, that we are to stay there (since it’s probably the Holy Spirit’s work, right?) and not worry about “catching up” to where everyone else is. And to pay attention to this throughout Holy Week.

During the reading, I seemed to dwell on two images or points in the Gospel. The first was the image of the woman anointing the Lord’s head with the costly spikenard, and how this was a type of anointing for his burial.

3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted? 5 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. — Mark 14:3-8.

The second was at the Lord’s Supper where, “he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,'” Mark 14:24.

Preparation for death and His cup.

As I am writing this, my mind is racing with all sorts of things related to this. But as I am to reflect upon this throughout Holy Week, I will take up some of those ideas at a later time and just relate what I was thinking during Mass, which has to do primarily with His cup.

The first thought was of the Father’s Will. Jesus said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt,” Mark 14:36. In so saying, Jesus is choosing to drink from the cup, if that is what the Father offers Him. Jesus chose to drink.

My second thought was of the disciples, squabbling about who among them would be “first,” and Jesus’ response: “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink…?” Mark 10:38. I take this to mean that by drinking His cup, you are asking to share in His Passion.

With both of these thoughts, it seemed to me that the Lord was asking me if I was willing to participate in Holy Week by sharing in His Passion. Would I drink from His cup?

The chalices on the altar called to me. My eyes were drawn to them. This was a serious question. There was only one way I felt I could respond, “I will, yet let not what I will, but what You will be done.”

I was sitting quite far back in the Church and thought that perhaps I wouldn’t actually get to make this choice. Perhaps the cup would pass me by (meaning that the Extraordinary Ministers would be all out of the Precious Blood by the time I got up there). I was actually worrying that this might be the case, because, for some odd reason, I wanted to do this! But God did not allow that to happen. When I got to the cup, there was more than enough for me.

So, I consumed His Blood and I united myself to whatever the Father had in store for me, whatever experience of the Lord’s Passion I am to have this week, with confidence, knowing that I would be bolstered by the Holy Spirit and loved by the entire Trinity throughout the week.

What, to all other eyes in the Church this afternoon, appeared to be just another parishioner receiving communion under both species … was probably the most important question and powerful decision that I have made so far during this Lent.

May I cooperate with His grace.

My Heart is in That Man

heart shaped cloud

It is rather a unique experience for me, but this man, for whom God has given me to pray and care, and by whom God has taught me so much about what it means to love another person (in a non-romantic way), has my heart.

I wrestle with this concept — I really do! On one hand, I keep questioning myself; is there something wrong with me? Is there something disordered here? Because I don’t want that. That would be “of me” and not “of God,” and I don’t want to have any part of something which is not “of God.” For His sake, my sake, and his sake. So, I triply denounce anything which is just my runaway emotions or imaginings.

But…

I don’t think this is disordered. I pray about it all the time. I discern myself and with my spiritual director, priest, and others. I think that it is just a unique way of loving which I am less familiar with, but with which God in increasingly making me familiar.

See, we are all meant to love outside of ourselves. We are all meant to see each other person as the most holy thing you will encounter with your senses outside of the Eucharist — Jesus Himself. We are all meant to pour our entire selves out for other people.

I know that I am an unfinished work, because although I am getting closer to understanding this with this one person, I don’t yet have this kind of love for ALL people. And I should. I really should.

I think it’s a process. Of softening my heart. Perhaps in a way, my heart was hardened. Oh, not in the sense that I was mean or uncaring for other people — that’s never been the case. But I think that I have been hurt before, and so I hide my heart within myself and only share parts of it with others.

For this one man, however, God has done something like take my heart outside of the place where I keep it hidden within me and placed it within him.

If this all sounds rather odd and unpolished, it’s because it is. These are new thoughts, and I’m hashing them all out here for you to see (and me to remember and be able to go back to later). What it comes from is from my experience last night. Whenever I’m around this person, I feel some sort of visceral connection. Like my senses are being tweaked. I’m kind of used to that by now. It helps me, I think, to “tune in.” Does he need more prayer than usual today? Does he seem sad, burdened, joyful? How can I help?

I was at that Called and Gifted workshop last night and he was there also. As I was leaving — driving away — I looked back at the place and the thought came to me (in a way different that my thinking it myself, if that makes any sense), “My heart is in that man.”

Last night, just before bed, I was reading from Peter Kreeft’s book, “Before I Go.” The last thing I read was “What Does ‘I Love You’ Mean?” He replies, “‘I love you’ means ‘I tie myself to you.'” I find this to be so true. I’ve written before about how I think that prayer binds you — in love, in Him — to another person. I think prayer is one of the most loving things you can do for another person. So, as I pray, I am binding myself, and I am loving. And I am finding that my heart is moving outside of me and is residing in others.

This morning, I woke up and continued reading. On the next page, he’s talking about family and another line jumped out at me. “So to give someone your time is to give him your life.”

A true gift of self. I am not my own. I belong to God. May I cooperate and go wherever He leads me, and continually seek after the pieces of my heart which He is placing in others.

7 Unrelated Issues of the Fryeday…

— 1 —

Exhaustion. As I write this, this is foremost on my mind.  I am exhausted.  I got more than enough sleep; that’s not the issue.  But I could totally sleep through the whole day.  Unfortunately, it’s only lunch time, and I  have lots of things to do, even after work.

— 2 —

This probably should have been #1, but tonight I get to go to the Called and Gifted Workshop! I’m so excited to discern what my gifts and charisms may be.  My friend, John, lent me a binder outlining some of the things that we will be going over tonight and tomorrow.  Tempted as I was, I did not take the assessment in the binder, and decided to wait for the workshop.  It was tough, though!  🙂  I am really excited for this weekend!

— 3 —

Wii at Work! One of my coworkers brought in his Wii today. This is awesome! 🙂 I love my team!  We have been playing Tecmo Bowl and F-Zero.  Boy, it has been a long time since I’ve played F-Zero.  I now suck at it!  LOL!  More practice is necessary.  I suppose that means that I should look into getting a retro controller for my Wii and downloading the game.

— 4 —

Palm Sunday
Holy Week is coming up! I love this week!  I’m so happy that I get to take Holy Thursday and Good Friday off!  Palm Sunday is fun, too.  I would have to say that I look forward to the Chrism Mass on Thursday morning, perhaps even more than Easter Mass.  Why is this?  For me, it seems to be more … personal … in a way.  There is something about seeing hundreds of priests renewing their promises to the Archbishop, the diocese and to their particular parishes that catches my breath.  It is truly beautiful.  I hope to be able to escape the Washing of the Feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening.  The last event of Thursday is what I affectionately refer to as the Pub Crawl of the Altars of Repose.  Every year, some friends and I have piled into a car (usually with snacks for the journey) and made our pilgrimage to 7 different churches to pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.  I can’t wait!

— 5 —

Exhaustion … and nausea. I hate the nausea.  But that means that I have redemptive suffering to offer!  Today’s suffering will be for Wanda.  Please join me in praying for healing for her and peace and comfort for her family.

— 6 —

This week, I have been spending a lot of time on Ancestry working on my family tree. It’s rather fun to do, and since both my mom and my dad’s ancestors were in colonists, there is a lot of documentation on the families.  While this is fun, it certainly is also a LOT of work, not only in the massive amounts of data entry, but in sifting through some of the information available online to determine if the suggestions are plausible.  Do any of you have any experience with geneology?  Any suggestions?  I have gotten to the point where some of the ancestors from my mom’s line are marrying into ancestors from my dad’s line (Incest?!?  😉 ) and on the online version of the software, there’s not a good way to reconcile people, so I think that I will have to buy the actual software program — just for that feature.  1,600 people and counting!  🙂

— 7 —

Irony of the Day. Yesterday, my co-worker had gotten 3 voicemails and an e-mail from the Red Cross, letting him know there was a crisis shortage of blood and that they needed to come in.  So, of course this was on my mind when I arrived at church for  Bible study and saw the Red Cross set up in the Davidson Center for donations.  Even though I was already late, I figured that perhaps God wanted me to give blood today.  After all, what are the chances that I’d have had this be a topic of conversation earlier in the day AND have had dinner just prior (so that *maybe* I wouldn’t pass out this time)?!  I walk in and ask the girl where I start.  She lets me know that they’ve stopped taking people for the day (even though there were still people filling out the initial questionnaire).  They stopped taking people at 7 pm.  It was seriously 7:02 pm.  Guess it wasn’t *that* much of a crisis.  🙂  LOL!  Either that or God thought that my time was better spent at the Bible study.  And I can’t argue with that.  🙂

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Find Joy in Each Day

Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa

Today was our Parish Reconciliation Service. I had tried to go to reconciliation on Friday at Christ the King, but they only have confession for 25 minutes prior to Mass, and there was a long line of people. It got to where I was the very next person to get into the confessional and I was started to really think that I’d get in. Alas, the woman in front of me took a long time and I wasn’t able to go. It’s so disappointing when that happens.

I try very hard to control my emotions, although they want to do things like make a sign right next to the one that says “Confessions will stop 5 minutes prior to Mass” which says, “This means you should confess your sins in number and kind and not try to justify them, for the sake of the people behind you in line who also need to be forgiven of their sins.” It doesn’t take that long to say, “I kicked a puppy three times, smacked my kid brother, was late for Mass every Sunday for the past 3 months and stole a pen from work.” 10 seconds. DONE.

So, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they haven’t been to Confession in a long time or are extremely shy? Maybe they do have a lot things to confess? Suppose something upsetting happened to them and they need extra counseling from the priest? With all that, you can’t be upset at the other people who were in line.

All of this comes and goes in a second. A moment’s irritation and then I am back to myself again. 🙂 But, it does leave me with the question of where I am going to get to go to Reconciliation. I was too sick on Saturday to do much of anything, and I know that Palm Sunday weekend is rather hit-or-miss for being able to catch confession. So, when I saw that we had the Parish Reconciliation Service, I knew that I had to go then.

I was the second person to see my priest. I was in and out quick (you’re welcome!) and my penance was to say a prayer, either from the liturgy aid or from somewhere else. I gathered my things and went from the church to the chapel, where — delightfully — the Eucharist was out for Adoration. I had looked in the bookshelf before entering the chapel for a book of prayers, but didn’t see any. I was going to grab a Bible and pray one of the psalms, but the Bible I was looking for wasn’t on the shelf. I thought that someone might have left it in the chapel and went in. Alas, no Bible in the pews. I sat down and looked through the things in my bag, looking for a prayer. (Doesn’t one usually search for the *answer* to a prayer?)

I came across my “Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa” book and opened to today, Monday of the 5th week of Lent. In the prayer section was, “Dear Lord, help us to find joy in each day no matter what is happening.” This reminded me of this weekend, which was arguably one of the roughest weekends, healthwise, that I have had in a long time.

Saturday started with me waking up screaming in pain from some major muscle cramping. Screaming. It was that bad. After that, I had some muscles in my upper back begin cramping up. They haven’t really subsided, even now. Ouchie. On top of that, I had a headache, dizziness, nausea, and a lot of chest pain. I slept most of the day, only waking up when a friend rang my doorbell for us to go see the play, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” at the seminary (which was *awesome*).

Sunday, I felt just as bad, except my back and shoulder had hurt so much, I hadn’t slept very well. But, it was a gorgeous and warm day, and I didn’t want to miss out on it, so I got ready for the day, packed up a bag with some books and headed out. I stopped at a friend’s house to see if she wanted to accompany me, but she had to work. I dropped her off and made my way to Cranbrook, where I had a lovely time reading among the various flowering trees. I picked her up from work a couple hours later and we spent some time at Manresa. I still felt pretty bad, but thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, peaceful day that God had granted me. I was able to see, however, just how poorly I was doing, because even a slow meandering around outside was too much for me.

But, I persevered on. Went to Mass and the RCIA meeting where we had some pizza for dinner. Finally, I collapsed into bed, thankful for the wonderful day and the great people He placed in my life.

I think that joy is both a grace and a choice. God gives me joy, but I also choose to be happy. I choose to focus on the beauty and gifts and grace which I have been given. I choose to not get discouraged over my physical problems. I choose to live as best I can every day, even when the pain is great and the temptation to sleep away my days is lulling me to stay in the house. I choose to offer up my pain in the hope and expectation that God will be able to help someone else because of my cooperation. I choose to accept the joy he offers.

And every day, I get the chance to choose joy again.

Joe and the Coat

By Divine Providence, I was reminded of the annual play, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, taking place at Sacred Heart Major Seminary on the last day it was to be shown, and in time for me to actually catch it!

I called up April, and luckily she was able to come with me. It was a great production! And, we must have gotten the best night, since Archbishop Vigneron was also in attendance! 🙂

We got there in plenty of time, so I gave April an unofficial tour of the Seminary. We found all kinds of cool places there, which I will not recount here since we probably shouldn’t have been in some of them! 🙂

In the chapel, April took the opportunity to see what it felt like to sit on the presider’s chair:
DSCN1508
Tell me that it’s not fun up there!

I didn’t take pictures during the play, since I was too busy enjoying it! It was wonderful and a lot of fun!
DSCN1511

After the play, we went to Coldstone and got some Amazing Technicolor Dream Cream!
I picked cotton candy ice cream with raspberry sorbet, rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips:
DSCN1516

Just look at these happy faces!
DSCN1517DSCN1521

Oh the Things You Find…

I was in my garage looking for my A&P textbook this morning.  I didn’t find it, but I *did* find “Principles of Gene Manipulation.”  I took it inside the house and was flipping through it when I found a scrap of paper that I had apparently used as a bookmark.

Jonathan Zezulka

Someone’s address on the USS Hancock.  I have no idea how, where or when I met Jonathan.  Now, I’m curious…  So I pop onto Facebook and search for his name.  No luck.  I search Google — I know, it’s a long shot, but his last name doesn’t seem common so there’s a chance.

Well, I *did* find something.  Apparently, he was married and his wife died while he was stationed in Iraq.  😦  How horrible!  I can’t imagine that pain.

He has a profile up on one of the Veterans sites, stating that not only was he on the Hancock, but he was an Electrician’s Mate from NNPTC Orlando.  So, he was a Nuke, like me.  Did I know him in Nuke school?  Did I meet him in Jacksonville?  In Norfolk?  Puerto Rico?  Hawaii?

I’m still curious.  I’d like to run into him again and catch up on things.  🙂  Fr. JJ always says there’s no such thing as a coincidence….  I wonder what this means….  🙂

How Not to Wake Up

Volcano

I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to wake up.

For example, screaming in pain. This is not the right way.

Unfortunately, this is how I woke up. I had a muscle cramp in my leg so bad, my entire limb was distorted. While screaming and trying to stretch it out — something to make it feel better — my thoughts were of earthquakes as I tried to determine the Richter number of this particular episode. The epicenter of this particular event seemed to be in my ankle and shooting up the lateral side of my calf.

“On fire” does not even begin to describe the feeling. Even through the screamy pain, I did unite my suffering to the cross for a particular person. You are going to have a fantastic day. You’re welcome! 🙂

In further achy news, my chronically tight and painful neck muscles have spread their misery to my surrounding upper back muscles. Way to share, guys.

Soon, it will be close enough to dawn to attempt a walk to the park to stretch these muscles out. Let’s all cheer. Neuromuscular disorder – yay. :/

7 Tiny Thought Bubbles Friday

— 1 —

CDM.  This stands for Celebrity Deathmatch, that claymation show from MTV where different celebrities are pitted against each other in a boxing ring, usually to the death.  Even though I didn’t really watch the show, I like to use the concept when talking about things I want to pit against each other.  Like my various medical issues.

Currently, one aspect of my mitochondrial myopathy, while making me very sick, is helping out with some of my PCOS issues.  So, I’m definitely all for Medical Condition CDM in this case, and I’m rooting for the myopathy.  At least for a while.  🙂

— 2 —

Stop HHS

This probably should have been #1, but today is the Stop HHS Rally!  It’s taking place, to my knowledge, throughout the country at 12 pm today.  I will be attending in Ann Arbor, and will hopefully have some pictures to post later in the day.  First amendment rights, Freedom OF Religion (**Not freedom FROM religion**), and the ability to follow your conscience are definitely things that I think are important to stand up for.  If you would like more information or would like to sign the petition, please visit the Stop HHS website.

— 3 —

Rollerblading at work!  One of my coworkers brought in rollerblades today.  This is awesome!  🙂  I love my team!

— 4 —

Is anyone else in shock and disbelief that Holy Week is coming up so soon?  This happens *every* Lent.  Do not get me wrong, I love Easter, but I think I need a little bit more Lent before I am really “ready.”  That said, I am so excited! for the activities of Holy Week.  Chrism Mass in particular.  This is one of my favorite liturgies of the entire year!

— 5 —

With Easter just around the corner, I’m hoping that I will be able to spend a little bit more time in prayer and planning prior to the big event(s).  Usually, I’m so busy trying to wrap up Lent that Easter hits me over the head by surprise.  So, I *might* not be online quite as much as I am used to being online.  If you do not see me, it is likely that I’m still on the planet,  just not readily accessible….   🙂

— 6 —

Does anyone else have a problem with returning library books on time?  I seem to have some sort of pathological condition which precludes me from being able to make a library book deadline.  No matter what, I’ve very rarely been able to check out a book without incurring a fine.  Which I rationalize as my way of supporting the library financially.  However, with the parish library, this can get out of hand.  For example, I have one book that I checked out of the parish library about 3-4 years ago….  They only let you check it out for 3 weeks at a time.  I’m only halfway through reading it.  They did send me a note once, asking for it back.  This was about a year and a half ago.  Well, now I have checked out two books from my other parish library.  And they are due on Monday.  What do you suppose the likelihood is of my returning them on time?

— 7 —

Related to this Late Library Book Syndrome, I can’t seem to leave a library without checking out a book… or four!  Doesn’t matter how many books I am currently reading.  I blame the consumeristic society.  🙂  And the flimsy nature of my will.  I have a whole bookshelf in my home dedicated to Books That Belong to Someone Else.  I just love books — I can’t help it!  I have over 1,000 books on my Amazon Wishlist and over 1,500 on my To-Read list on Goodreads.  I wonder if I will get through them in my lifetime.  And, if not, if God will give me access to a library in Heaven and not charge me fines….  🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Random Trains of Thought

— 1 —

Okay, here’s my first attempt at doing a 7 Quick Takes Friday.  It’s always been an interesting concept, but I’ve never had/taken the time to actually do it.  What I do instead (when I’m actually more-0rganized-than-not) is make a task on my Google calendar with blog post ideas.  Then, promptly forget to write them when I do have time.  Great plan, eh?  🙂

— 2 —

Family tree

This week, I’ve been working a lot on my family tree. It’s an interesting project, yet sometimes tedious in all the details. Especially when you have to sift through several different lists of children, with similar names, different dates of birth, sometimes attached to the wrong parents…. But with some online software, I’ve managed to trace my family history back quite a ways. Oddly enough, both parents’ ancestry begins in France. Not what I had expected! And apparently, we are related to King Henry III of England, although we are so distant, I made sure to tell my brother that there was NO WAY he would EVER get the throne. 🙂

— 3 —

Lent. This happens every year, it seems. I start off Lent with great ideas and plans and wait with eager anticipation the closeness that I will gain with the Lord. And then… The Dry Season. That part of Lent where you think that you’ve wasted the graces given out during this time Yet Again. Who knew that spiritual progress could be so much work! 😉

— 4 —

I’m excited to say that MiChart has decided to extend our contracts until September! This means that I will get to continue working on the new software implementation at the hospital with a team which seems much more like family than coworkers. Although we have had hints here and there, my expectation was that I was going to be returning to my regular department on Monday. Yesterday, our Principle Trainer, Carolyn, came by Michigan House and spoke with us one-on-one to see if we would be willing to stay on the project. To a man, we are all remaining (minus the members of our team who had to return to their clinics early)! 🙂 RAGE!

— 5 —

Jeans Day has evolved to Shorts Day at the office. This is awesome. 🙂

— 6 —

Tonight, I have the dilemma of going to the Young Adult Brew & View or attending the Fellowship of St. Paul meeting. I’d like to be at both, although that won’t happen unless I learn how to bi-locate quickly! I think the movie this evening is “The Prestige.”

— 7 —

This weekend, I’ll get to spend some time with cute little girl Evie while her parents get some stuff done around the house. Then, I will go to St. Anastasia’s annual Irish Night! Since we acquired an authentic Irish pastor, we have had these annual celebrations. They are so much fun! I get to wear all my green and Irish dollar store accessories, dance all night, have traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage, and sometimes help the kids with various games and projects like icing Shamrock sugar cookies! 🙂 Much fun will be had by all, and I’m sure I’ll have tons of photos for you to view shortly!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Where Do I Write?

Okay, so Jennifer Fulwiler (who is like another me, only with a bigger fan base, more dedication to blogging regularly, a husband and kids, many inches in height, and the whole scorpion thing… other than that — identical!) commented in a recent post that she wanted to see the spaces in which we write. Oh, boy. My house is a mess, but here you go! 🙂

This is my Laptop by the Futon. It’s here “temporarily” because my desktop has decided not to be able to turn on. I think I might need to replace the battery in the motherboard, but I’ve not yet bought the battery. So, I instead set the laptop on a snack tray and contort myself uncomfortably in the futon to be able to write. It’s kind of sad, but I’ve found it useful to always have a computer on hand. You never know when you might need to look something up, add something to your Amazon wishlist (how I window-shop), or post something to your blog or FB page. 🙂
Laptop by the Futon

Where I *really* like to write is at my desk in my office:
The Desk of Doom
I affectionately call it the Desk of Doom, because it’s so large. You can’t even see all of it in this photo! However, since the desktop is “sleeping,” (Wake up, Fishie! Why you sleeping?) I find it more annoying when I’m in the middle of studying to run to the other room if I want to go online.

So, the point of the story is….
Please send over someone who can fix my desktop! With a battery! 🙂

Thanks! Love you and God Bless!