Monthly Archives: October 2013

Justification

Today, because I was running a little late for the 10:15 am Mass at St. Anastasia and didn’t want to miss part of the liturgy, I went to Guardian Angels for the 11 am Mass. While I didn’t feel particularly welcomed by the people or priest there, I did feel the presence of God and was able to really enter into worship during Mass.

The priest had a few really good analogies during his homily, but the one that stood out for me was when he was talking about justification, and how it’s not something that we can earn.

Think of a typist justifying the margins of a document. This has nothing to do with the document. It is all the work of the typist.

So, too, is our justification not a work of our own, but a work of God. He is the one who justifies us.

Later in the homily, he gave us another great piece of advice to keep in mind and reflect upon: Cultivate a posture of bowing low before the Lord.

(At least, I think it was from this homily. It’s possible I got this from a letter by Fr. Clement in OLGC’s bulletin or somewhere else. I’m transcribing these into my blog from a tiny sticky note, and it’s hard to tell if it was a separate instance or all part of the same. My apologies if I have attributed it to the wrong person!)

Mistakes are Funny

I love my friends for many reasons. One of my very good friends has an awesome sense of humor and frequently makes me grin for hours thinking of our back-and-forth banter.

I usually get him and his housemates candy for Halloween. Since I can’t expect them to be any good at sharing… [I once brought a dozen donuts for the guys to share and gave them to my friend. He said, “Oh! 11 for me, and the other guys can split the remaining one!”] …I get them each their own plastic pumpkin filled with goodies.

And I spend hours — really, hours — separating all the candy into each pumpkin. Making sure that each guy gets exactly the same number of each candy as the other guys. Even down to color. Wouldn’t want there to be any fights because someone got 11 red and 9 yellow candies and someone else got 9 red and 11 yellow candies.

Because, obviously, they would be all fighting and pouting, or whatever. And we can’t have that.

But this year, I decided to offer a choice.

Me: And do you guys want tricks… or treats?
Him: Trucks

Clearly, this was just an autotext fail. Clearly. But it made me laugh for about 10 minutes straight. 🙂

Me: Dump trucks? Pick up trucks? LOL!
Him: Yes

Hahahahahahaha!

I can do trucks. 🙂 Watch me…. 🙂

Waiting…

Today’s offered Scripture passage:

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! — Psalm 27:14

Actually, it’s rather apropos, as I am waiting on the birth of my godchild. I’m okay with waiting, because I kind of anticipated having to wait. However, I’m not sure Mom and Dad are with waiting…. They may be getting anxious and excited. So, today’s verse may be good for them. 🙂

All in God’s time!

Continuing App Testing

Here it is! Day 2 of my Scripture app testing! The one I’ve been trying out is Verse-a-Day. So far, it seems okay. It displays a new verse, daily (so I guess the advertising was correct, LOL!) on a widget on my phone. I don’t have to open an app (which I wouldn’t remember to do), but I do have to slide my phone screen to that page (as I just couldn’t bring myself to delete the apps I use all the time from my home screen). While it works, I may try a few more apps out there to see if there is one that works better for me. Plus, I think most of the people in my small group have iPhone and I need to step up and do more research for ‘Droid. 🙂

Here’s today’s Scripture (well, not the “Readings of the Day,” but what the app gave me to chew on):

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net. — Psalm 25:14

I think this is like a goal: to be as aware as the psalmist is of his proper place in his relationship with God, and his confidence that God will protect him. It is a solid faith. I think I go between, “Oh, yes, this is me!” and “Man, I wish I were there!” depending on the day.

I like taking the time in the morning to thing about these Scriptures, but I found out yesterday that as soon as I log off the blog and quit looking at the phone, I don’t recall what the Scripture was and don’t think about it again for the rest of the day. So, now the challenge is to find a way to remind myself of that Scripture throughout the day.

Any suggestions?

What a Start!

Last night at Alpha, we were discussing different ways to help us to read Scripture on a daily basis. I said that I needed something that would text me a verse or so daily — something in-your-face that I couldn’t easily ignore. E-mails can be quickly deleted, and if it’s a program that I have to access… well, I probably wouldn’t be accessing it.

So, we decided that each of us would take a look at the various apps out there and try one out this week and report back to the group our recommendations. I haven’t yet found one that will text you the daily Bible verse, but I did find one that has a widget for your phone, so that the verse appears on the screen, without you having to open the app every day — a little better. 🙂 This particular app has a few Bible translations which you can select (it’s a Protestant app), and I chose for it to give me the ESV, as Dr. Williamson has used that one in our Scripture classes at seminary before, and I think it is similar to the RSV translation.

Today’s Bible verse is rather appropriate to the task of Scripture meditation, I think:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. — Psalm 19:14

Also, a needed call for me to refocus on God’s path and not be distracted by the things in life which either don’t really matter, or which are harmful to me.

I also suggested that we e-mail each other throughout the week to keep each other encouraged. I guess I’m high-maintenance or something, but I think that accountability is key, especially if you are trying to form new habits. Perhaps what our group is doing at Alpha is a little more like discipling than evangelization, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Whatever brings you closer to the Lord, right?

St. Ralph

Since I have a moment of free time, I’m browsing through some old e-mails and come across one with a question.

The situation is that I was hanging around outside the sacristy after Mass waiting for a friend of mine and overheard him (he’s a priest) speaking with a parishioner. I don’t pay attention really to these things, but it was quiet and I happened to hear the guy ask about prayers for an eye problems and mentioned St. Anthony.

My friend corrected him to St. Lucy, who is the patron saint of eye conditions.

Okay. But then I got to thinking… (Dangerous, right?)

I know nothing about horticulture, but I’d be happy to pray for the success of your garden.

Why NOT Anthony? I mean, sure, Lucy, but why exclude the guy? He might want different requests from time to time, you never know.

So, really, what we want to do is… have it as a Mass intention. That way all of the angels and saints will be interceding for your intention, no?

Just think of poor Ralph… sitting in heaven, no one asking him to intercede on their behalf. I bet Ralph goes over to Lucy and Anthony and helps with their lists.

That’s what I’d do… 🙂

So… Now, I’m wondering…

*Is* there a St. Ralph?

Why, yes! There is! Check him out! 🙂

And… just in case you were wondering… my friend told me that he’s sure that Ralph gets plenty of requests. 😉

You Are Never Alone!

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I feel alone sometimes.

It sucks.

I get depressed and frustrated and upset. I cry and I get into a funk. I become less charitable and more withdrawn.

I don’t feel this way at the moment, but it wasn’t all that long ago that I did, and I know that I will feel this way again in the future.

What does one do?

A good thing is to recognize that feelings do not equal reality.

Fr. Clement, one of our associate pastors at OLGC, wrote a great article in this weekend’s bulletin that speaks so well to this:

One of the first fiery darts that the enemy of our salvation and joy fires at us is the idea or the “feeling” of being alone. When we don’t recognize from whom this is coming, even more fiery darts are sent our way: nobody understands; nobody cares; does it even matter what I do or don’t do?; I’m such a loser; I’m such a failure!, etc…

With all of these darts in us, is it a surprise that we begin to limp along the path that Jesus shows us, or even, that we lose sight of the path that Jesus bids us to walk on?

Our Lord and Savior in Chapter 18 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, reveals to us that we are never alone: we have at our side an angel and this angel beholds the countenance of our loving Father in heaven. Just as the angels were called upon by the Father to assist Jesus throughout His life, our loving Father bids our angel to watch over us, to protect us, to lead us and to guide us.

This contrast between our fickle feelings and what Jesus reveals about the truth of our lives is helpful in our growth in maturity in Christ. We recognize that our feelings, although neither right nor wrong, can and do mislead us, especially if we blindly follow or act upon them. The fact that “I feel alone” doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, but, at the same time, IT’S NOT TRUE! We ought not to act upon that feeling; we ought not allow it to damper or influence our day or behavior.

Let us learn to turn to our beloved guardian angel for guidance and protection in those moments. Let us speak to our guardian angel: “Speak to me about our loving Father”; “Open my eyes to Jesus’ presence in my life right now; open my ears to hear the sweetness of His voice!”

What a great reminder! The Holy Spirit is always with us, but so too is our very own guardian angel, whose only job is me! And a much needed reminder to pray. Pray always. In the good times, the happy times, the sad times and the confusing times.

Soul Food

Sometimes, I have the best conversations at work.

Like today. Since it’s a pay day, we usually try to order out for lunch. About 10 am, the IMs start flying, trying to determine what we are going to order.

I am not really familiar with soul food, but many of my co-workers are. For a pot luck one day last winter, one of my co-workers brought in greens.

They were DELICIOUS!

So, I asked for them for lunch today. (Because I’m funny. Or a punk. Whichever.)

And this sparked a discussion on all kinds of soul food. Which, of course, made everyone hungry for it.

So, my boss decided to have a soul food pot luck for me next week, as it will be my last day. [I got a new job.]

Okay, but we still have to decide on what we are having for lunch TODAY… [I, of course, asked, “What? You mean we eat more than once a week?”]

Since everyone was now hungry for soul food, my boss asks if we want to order from Sachels BBQ.

I reply, “I thought soul food was next week… :)”
Boss: “Oh. I eat it a lot. (Big girl syndrome) Comfort food junkie”
Co-worker: “The more soul food you eat, the bigger your soul becomes.”
Me: “I have a small soul?!”

CLEARLY, this is now a problem. Which must be remedied.

So, I *immediately* — just like St. Mark — text my priest: “Just been told my soul is tiny. It’s apparently related to “soul food” in some way. So, when are you cooking me dinner?”

And….

I’m still waiting on a reply.

Me and my poor, tiny soul.

Chopped!

Since I was so sick recently, I had a lot of time to lie on the couch and watch hours of TV — which I never do. And I got hooked on some of the programming on the Food Network, which — if you know me — you know is an unusual choice for me to be watching.

One of my favorite shows is Chopped, where four chefs have to make an appetizer, entree, and dessert. For each course, they have a mystery basket with four ingredients — and they must use all ingredients in some way in their dish.

Here’s an example of what one chef did for the contest. Also, he seems like an awesome guy in general. 🙂

This morning, on the way to work, I was thinking about this show (probably because I had watched an episode just before going to bed last night), and pondered why I was attracted to it.

The competition, to be sure, but there was more…

Oh! That’s what it is!

Because this is like my cooking!

I open my fridge and my pantry and there’s not much there. But somehow, from these odd ingredients, I need to make for myself a meal.

I do this just about every day! 🙂

Anyone else in the same position? How do you think you would do on Chopped?