I know that this isn’t the next calendar day after Day 1, but I felt that I should pick up where I left off, instead of trying to cram many days into one. I felt that would be cheating, somehow. I need to learn each lesson as I come to them and spend the appropriate time on them before looking at the next.
Today’s dare focuses on kindness, the second pillar of love (the first being patience). They tell us that kindness is comprised of four separate things: gentleness, helpfulness, willingness, and initiative. And that kindness is love in action. To truly be kind, I need to be aware of my basic selfishness and die to self, so that I can live for the good of others. This is really hard; I think we are by nature selfish. I think that I have a high degree of empathy for other people, but I still need to fight with myself to *do something* about it. Especially when that “something” involves some sort of sacrifice on my behalf.
Today’s dare is to do one unexpected gesture of kindness for our spouse. It was a sacrifice for me on a number of levels, and it was not made easily. But it was for the love of Christ, and He turned that sacrifice into a blessing for me, as well. This doesn’t really surprise me. After all, our priest is known to exhort couples at their wedding to try to “outdo” each other in kindness. If the relationship that I am working on is the one between Jesus and myself, then I really have no hope of being able to outdo Him in kindness. 🙂 Although, I can try. 🙂
I found this tradition in a Catholic bookstore around my first Epiphany (which was in 2008), and have kept it a tradition in my household ever since. Basically, you are taking time on this day to consecrate yourself and your household to God for the year, up to next Epiphany, when you do it again. You can find prayers for this house blessing in several places online, this one is the site that I used tonight to bless my house and to consecrate myself to the Lord.
Since I live alone, I said all the prayers myself, aloud. 🙂
I prayed the Magnificat from the Bible I received from the RCIA program, when I was joining the Catholic Church.
Then I sprinkled holy water in each of the rooms of my house. I don’t really have a good “sprinkling” technique, so I kind of splooshed gobs of water in each room from my holy water bottle. I’m sure God can work with that. 🙂
I didn’t have any incense with which to incense each room in the house. Instead, I took a candle I received at a memorial Mass for my godmother, lit it, and prayed for her intercession in each room in my house. I tried to tailor my prayers to the activities that normally occur in each room (E.g. pray for friends and relationships, that I consume media that feed rather than diminish my soul, etc. when I was in the living room). I asked her to take all these prayers to the throne of the Lord.
As the last part of the house blessing, I inscribed + 20 C + M + B 13+ above the entry doors to my home.
This is the first Epiphany Mass in four years in which I did not cry. Four years ago today, my godmother, Pat McDonald, died and went home to Jesus. While I am happy that she is no longer sick and suffering, the selfish part of me misses her quite a bit.
It is also rather fitting that today, on Epiphany, I would celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel, with Fr. John, who was her spiritual director and a good friend of us both. At one point in her illness, she was no longer up to serving at Mass at St. Anastasia as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. With the additional prompting of our pastor, Fr. JJ, I agreed to take her spot on Team 1.
Last summer, I signed up to me an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Our Lady of Good Counsel as well (I’m a parishioner at both parishes). I’m only called to be a minister there about once every month and a half. As it happened, today was one of those days. Not only that, but for the first time since the summer, Fr. John was the priest celebrating Mass. And! It was the first time that I got to distribute the Body of Christ (as opposed to the Blood of Christ). AND! I was assigned to stand next to Fr. John while doing it. 🙂
My red sweater fit in nicely with all the poinsettias on the altar and the red trim on Fr. John’s white chasuble. 🙂 Not that that matters, but it was a nice detail.
I was so joyful up there, handing Jesus to people. I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear the whole time. LOL!
It is Masses like this where I never want to leave. I just want to stay there in the company of Jesus and my friends forever. God willing, this will happen soon! 🙂
Here is Pat, taken on a trip to the Holy Land, overlooking Jerusalem.
I love you!