Category Archives: Easter

Beautiful Day

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What a day to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord! 🙂

I woke up today feeling better than I have in *months* (if not longer)! Thank You, Jesus! I have no idea how long this will last, but I’m not particularly dwelling upon that question, but enjoying this while I can. 🙂 I got out of the door this morning on time and got a mocha from Starbucks. Then, I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise while getting on the expressway. It was a pale rainbow with mountainous purple-pink clouds. Days like this make me wish I could just stop for a moment and take a picture.

I don’t want to waste this day of feeling well. I want to do everything! But I know that it is precisely this time which I need to give back to the Lord, so that I can use this time of feeling well to do what it is that He would like me to do. What He would have be do is infinitely more important than anything I could fill my day with. So, I prayed this morning on the way in to work and offered my health and my day back to Him. I prayed that I would be able to hear what it is that He would have me do.

I am looking forward to doing the Lord’s work today! 🙂 Thanks be to God!

Blessings on your Easter octave!

Which Mass is Your Favorite?

…  Because, of course, we have to rank these things, right?

I think my ranking will have to be:
1. Easter Vigil
2. Easter/Christmas
3. Chrism Mass
4. Palm Sunday
5. Priest Ordination (I haven’t been to one yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to rank high)
6. Midnight Mass for Mary, Jan. 1st
7. Lord’s Supper Mass/Tre Ore

Why does the question of ranking come up? Well, I was just reflecting on how excited I was that Chrism Mass is ALMOST HERE!!! 🙂

I’m sure Priest Ordination is going to be awesome! I mean, just think of the squee of New Priest! Awww!!! So precious. There’s something about that indelible mark on their soul and being conformed ontologically to Christ. *grin*

Why is Chrism Mass so special for me? There’s quite a few reasons, actually.
1. That smell! Yum! There’s something special about Holy Chrism that just smells like…home. 🙂 *bliss*
2. ALL THE PRIESTS RENEWING THEIR VOWS!!!! 🙂 *major squee!*
— That’s hundreds of reasons right there!

So….
Holy Week.
In just a few days!

I’ll get Palm Sunday, (Seder dinner), Chrism Mass, Lord’s Supper Mass, Pub Crawl of the Altars of Repose, Midnight Benediction, Tre Ore, Tenebrae, Easter Vigil Mass and Easter Mass.

Could there ever, ever be a better week??

I don’t think so.

At least, until the Lord comes again. 🙂

God Bless you all and have an amazing, solemn and joyful Holy Week!!!

Teaser Photo

Here’s just one of the many, many pictures that I took over the weekend.  I do not have a great zoom, and was sitting quite high in the stands, so the picture is a little fuzzy (digital zoom will do that).

It was amazing!  It was great!  I need a thesaurus for my superlative adjectives!

One day, when I am no longer tired, I may write more on this.  For now, I have a mountain of things to get done in the office!
Pope Benedict XVI

Today the Mailman is My Best Friend

Because he put this in my mailbox:
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Catching Up, Part I

Well, it has certainly been a while since I posted any of my reflections from the Little White Book.  Have you guys missed my random musings?  🙂

LWB, Saturday 4/5

Today, we talk about the apostles being in the boat in the Sea of Galilee as a storm is going on, and how in the midst of it, they see Jesus walking on the water towards them.  And how this is reassuring (because 1.  He is not conquered by raging storms  2.  He can come to you no matter where you are and 3.  as long as Jesus is with you, there is nothing to fear).

I know I tend to be an odd mix of fearless/wild/reckless and timid/scared/hesitant.  Which pretty much guarantees that I’ll respond inappropriately under any circumstance.  Isn’t that great?!  🙂  Thank God for God.  With Him as my anchor, I can both be confident when I need confidence and strength; and I can be tamed when I am all over the map.  It is so good to have a reference, so that I can come back to center when I drift too far afield.  (Please note:  I am still VERY much a work in progress!)

My original reflection on this was that it goes back to that original question, “Do you trust God?”  Adam and Eve didn’t.  If you believe in God, why would you be afraid?  Even if you would die, you would just be (hopefully) going home.

LWB, Friday 4/4

To paraphrase the LWB, we are talking about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, and how the apostles thought the situation hopeless, but that Jesus fed everyone with plenty to spare.  Similarly, we often think that there is no way that we can make a difference in the world’s problems, because they seem so far beyond the scope of capability of one individual.  *I* cannot possibly end world hunger, or gain world peace, or eradicate racism/sexism or any of this.  So, just as the apostles thought that it can’t be done, so too do I often think that it can’t be done.  But the mistake is seeing God as limited.

This is GOD!  He can do ANYTHING!  He created the universe, after all, and I’m thinking that he can’t do….what?

Ah.  I need to come to know, really know, that things occur due to *God’s* initiative, and not of my own merit.  I need to let His grace flow through me, and not be impeded by my personal doubts.

Fr. John was talking the other day of when he was in seminary in Rome, standing before the Pope and getting the impression that he was telling him to simply, “Be great.”  Listening to it then (way back Wednesday, two days ago), I thought of that in the way he presented it.  At the moment, when I think of that story and try to apply it here to me (‘cuz it’s *all* about me), I think that my “being great” has to be about letting God work through me.  If God has no limits, and I do not put a limit on what He can accomplish through me, who knows what good I may do?  His will, not my will.  Seems to be a recurring theme this week.  How about that?  You don’t think someone’s trying to give me a hint, do you?

LWB, Thursday 4/3

Today’s Gospel and reflection deal with the fact that God the Father does not ration His gift of the Spirit.  The LWB goes on to elaborate and show us how none of the persons of the Trinity are anything but ridiculously generous with us in all that is given to us.  And it isn’t just quantity which is heaped upon us, the gifts which are given are of the finest quality.

How can it be then that I can go through my day (week/month/year) and not recognize these amazing gifts?  Oh, yes.  That’s right.  Because of my amazing capacity for taking things for granted.  It gets worse, too.  See, because not only to I take things for granted, but I also am arrogant enough to have…expectations.  Oh, yes.  Jenn definitely has her own opinion about How Things Should Be.  She might not necessarily tell you — she’s contrary like that — but the sentiment exists nonetheless.  Especially when it comes to HER plan for HER life.

Far be it for me to say that Jenn could have had some thoughts like:

1.  At age 18, I definitely should be living on my own with my own house, or at the *very* least, my own apartment.

2.  I *absolutely* wanted to have a husband and start having a family by the time I was 25, although I was fine with starting earlier — you know, like at age 19.  After all, I had already lived so incredibly long that I might as well get on with it before I got — horrors — old.

3.  I *certainly* wanted to be finished having all my children by the time I was 30.  My mom had her last child when she was 30, and she still has enough energy to run around with us.  I wouldn’t want to be so old that I couldn’t play with my children and do all the things with them that I wanted to do.  (Remember, too, that Jenn had grandiose dreams of attending all the Gymboree classes, and Mommy and Me classes, and Toddler Aquatics sessions, etc. etc. etc.)

4.  And somewhere in there, I was going to finish the 4 or 5 degrees that I wanted to complete, have a job that I loved, find time to have an immaculate and well-organized home, start making healthy and well-balanced meals for my family, get all of my childhood photographs into artistically done albums, become really good at ice skating and tennis and skiing and swimming, learn how to dive, write amazing books which would inspire millions, become a doctor, find a cure for AIDS and those cool little hemorrhagic virii while working in a world-class center like CDC or USAMRIID, and generally do all manner of astounding things so that . . . people would love me.

Really, I just wanted to be loved.

I just felt that I had to *do* something — otherwise, there was no reason for anyone to love me.  And the more I wanted — needed — to be loved, the more elaborate the goals (which of course, became fantasies, and the more I realized that I was not living up to what I thought I should be doing, and compared my life to my arbitrary measuring stick of what it should be like and found it wanting, the more depressed I became at the utter failure that I was).

Okie dokie, we are *really* healthy now, right?  🙂

So, current day, where are we?

1.  Well, I *am* living on my own, in a house.  I’m not currently paying the mortgage as I should, but that’s another matter.

2.  I *had* a husband, and a baby.

3.  I am now — oh, my — 30, divorced and working on an annulment, and do not have any (living) children.

4.  Well, I did manage to eke out one degree, but none of the others, although I have added a few more degrees to the list of ones I would like to have.  I *do* have a job that I love; well, at least people who I work for whom I love.  Hahaha, clean organized house — gimme a break!  I *did* start towards that healthy meal thing this Lent.  Um, yeah, photos still in shoeboxes…14 shoeboxes to be precise — at least I did kind of get the shoeboxes grouped into rough categories, although the last years photos…not so much.  And please excuse me while I roll on the floor for a while laughing maniacally at the rest of those items.

And getting those people to love me?  Well, I’m told that some do, and that God *certainly* does — just for me, not for anything that I did.  And I am trying to work on understanding that concept.

So, my plans have largely gone the way Of Mice and Men.  Maybe I’ll be able to start letting go of my vision of my future, and be open to His plan for my future…since, you know, He probably has a better plan than me anyway.    🙂

 LWB, Wednesday 4/2

Today’s Gospel speaks of darkness and light and our choices (Jn 3:16-21).  The LWB reflection reminds us that we are wary of letting others into that core of us, that most of us have some sort of façade that we display in public.  We wouldn’t want to “air our dirty laundry.”  We generally want others to think well of us, and so we promote that which is good, and try to hide that which is bad in our own character.  We can become so good at doing this that we end up lying to ourselves about our inner natures — thinking that we are better than we actually are.  It is so much easier to gloss over the (many) parts of my day where I was sinful or neglectful or apathetic or selfish, and think instead on the (few) times of the day where I actually projected Jesus onto others.  So, I would have to answer the book — no, I don’t often allow myself to look honestly at myself.  Why not?  Because that is quite often a pretty ugly picture.

So here comes the hard part — actually taking a good look at yourself.  Here, too, it can become easy to shift from one extreme to the other, and think that everything that you do is bad or not good enough, or simply that you could have done more.  This in itself *can* be a healthy way to grow into a more holy life.  However, I am a little more messed up that that, and when I do take a look at myself, I see *only* the bad, and start developing this unhealthy disgust with myself, to which I like to combine a little self-loathing and feelings of futility at the whole project that is me.

Which is why the wise people who wrote this little book told you to invite the Lord to this self-inspection.  He knows everything about me, after all.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  And you know what?  He loves me!  No matter how far astray I’ve gone, He just wants me to turn back to Him and work on getting home.  And He’s here to help, and He’s here for the entire journey.  I can’t find my way on my own.  I’m my own worst enemy at times (okay, most of the time).  But if I trust in Him and follow His guidance, I will certainly get to my destination.  But, what will happen if I continue to play ostrich to my faults and failings?  Perhaps the day of my judgment will come before I have had a chance to work out my problem areas (especially given the fact that I *love* to procrastinate, particularly with those chores I dislike the most). 

Now for perhaps the hardest part of all:  tuning out my inner chatter so that I can listen for God when He tries to nudge me in the right direction.

 End of Part I:
Since the next few days begin the “Bread of Life Discourse,” I will end this post here, and finish catching up later.  🙂

Right Now Is a Good Thing

Little White Book, Tuesday 4/1

Nicodemus asks Jesus about God, and Jesus answers him that the He is the only one who has seen the Father, and that if He has been preaching about things of this world and we do not understand, what sense does it make to preach of things of the life to come?

Well, certainly that makes sense.  If I don’t understand quadratic equations, how am I going to understand triple integrals?  I can’t read War and Peace, if I am struggling to read Dr. Seuss.

A quote from the LWB from Jesus, “As the Father loves me, so do I love you.”  Hmm….  And the Father, with all of His love for His only Son, still willed that Jesus would go through His Passion, so that we could all be redeemed.  Makes one think twice about all the trials that one has in her own life.  If Jesus had to go through *that* for a greater purpose (which was unfair to Him — He was without sin!), then certainly there is reason for the trials that I undergo.  My trials are either:

1.  Of my own making and allowed by God.
2.  Of someone else’s making and allowed by God.
3.  From God.

He can use *any* circumstance for my good.  I may not understand right now how these things can be good, but this will be revealed to me later.  I have to learn to trust in Him and in His love for me.  How often is it that I wish to be like Nicodemus and have all of my questions answered right now about the nature of things.  Jesus is just reminding us that we are not yet ready to have all of our questions answered.  But, don’t fall into the trap of Adam and Eve and think that God is holding out on us, because it is His intention all along to have all of us share in His divine life.  We just have to be patient.

This, of course, is one of the classic ways in which I tend to screw things up for myself:  I can’t wait.  I always want to rush through things and get to the next stage, to achieve more, to accomplish the next task, to grow up.  Do, do, do.  In my frenzied movement, I rarely take the time to enjoy and give thanks for the present.  God loves you where you are — it would probably be a good thing to spend some time there, with Him, instead of ignoring this and constantly looking ahead.

Hedging

Little White Book, Monday 3/30

The Feast of the Annunciation

Of course, today we are discussing Mary’s “Yes” to God, and whether in our day-to-day routine we are saying “Yes” or “No” to God.  They point out that it’s usually not a direct “yes” or “no,” but rather a failure to take God into account in our activities and decisions.

Guilty.  I do not always take God’s position into consideration for many things that I do.  I may do an examination of conscience at the end of the day, and try to see if I messed up anywhere, but there is a distinct lack of forethought about these things.  Which, I would think, would tend to indicate that in those moments, God wasn’t in the forefront.  He wasn’t in the prime location in my thoughts.  I didn’t have Him first.  My priorities were out-of-line.

Not that I mean to not think about God, but perhaps I am, just a teeny bit impulsive and act/talk without thinking.  Only later, will I (maybe) take a look and reconsider things.  I’m sure I’d get into much less trouble (both with God and with others) if I thought first.

Another issue is giving over completely to His will.  Have you guys ever found yourselves hedging like this:  “Okay God, I will accept whatever it is that You want for this situation, but if it’s okay with You…would You please keep in mind that I would like X as an outcome?  Thank You!”  Is that okay?  Can you give over control, but retain a preference?

How Can One Conceive of the Infinite?

Little White Book, Saturday 3/30

(Yep, I’m a day behind.  I’ll try to catch up.)

This reading is mainly directed at getting us to think about the immense magnitude of an infinite God, and what that might mean to us.  Then it tells us that, “Faith is nothing more and nothing less than accepting my connection with God who chose not to be distant….”

Okay, I am having as hard of a time trying to find something insightful to this today as I was having yesterday.  I don’t think my little pea-brain can yet deal with the concept of an infinitely powerful God who is radically in love with ME.  I can understand and accept the concept, but to get it — to REALLY get it?  I don’t know that I am there yet.

Any suggestions?

Faith or Fear?

Little White Book, Saturday 3/29

Today’s Gospel (Mk 16:9-15) tells us of how the faithful disciples of Jesus were hesitant to believe in the Resurrection until confronted with hard evidence.  The reflection in the LWB talks of the context of Mark’s writing, being that the Christians had just gone through torture and persecution under Nero.  It claims that there were many Christians who, after denying their faith to save their own bacon, wanted readmission into the Christian community.  As the reflection concludes:

Mark wanted to remind them that the disciples failed too — including Peter.  But they were able to emerge from failure to greatness, even giving their lives in martyrdom.  We can all think of our failures.  And we can all take heart from Mark — he meant his Gospel for us too.

In the context of today being Divine Mercy Sunday, I kind of take this as being a sign that God wants us to know of His mercy, and not that he wants to squish us for our weaknesses and times of unbelief.  If you think back to the story of the 1 bad sheep and the 99 good sheep — this is like that.  How happy is He about these who repent of their denial of Him, and return to the church?  He wants us to come home.  Not by any means to say that one can just go around denying Jesus — that this is okay, for certainly it is not.  He was crucified, died, was buried, descended into Hell, was resurrected and ascended into heaven — for ME (and you).  If He cannot die, and He loves me so very much, what use have I in being afraid of whatever anyone might do to me here on earth?

Bold words, eh?  He knows that I’m scared — all the time.  I would like to think that I would have enough personal integrity to do the right thing, but I also know that I’m not always the strongest person, and that I’m afraid of pain, and that I doubt.  Not necessarily that I doubt Him, but that I doubt myself and my decisions.  It is one thing to know the correct answer or response, and quite another to actually live it out.

I pray that I will not be tested as those early Christians were tested, but failing that, that God would give me the grace and strength to live with personal integrity to my faith.  And I pray, too, that despite my weaknesses and failings, that God will grant me His mercy, if I but continue to repent and seek Him out.  Please Lord, keep me on Your path.

Be the Child. Let Him Be the One in Charge.

Little White Book, Friday 3/28

Reflection on the Gospel of the day:  Jn 21:1-14.  “Jesus constantly reaches out to me, extends his graced love to me.  He wants only to care for me, help me, heal me, forgive me.  There are times when I especially need to be cared for.  By Jesus.”

How true is that!  Yesterday was a poster-child day for this particular reflection.  How humbling is it that our Risen Lord, the one who gave his very life for us on the cross in a particularly horrible fashion, has defeated death and redeemed us from our [MY] sins, and then goes to makes the disciples [us] breakfast.  What reckless, gratuitous love!  One would expect the scenario to go more like, “I just gave my life for you!  Now, you make me breakfast!”  Except, that’s not our Lord.

Obviously, I have quite a long way to go, if I want to conform my life to Christ’s.  I suppose, too, that my expectation to be the one serving breakfast also shows how wrong my thinking is — not that in some way, I shouldn’t be adequately responding to that amazing gift of love — for certainly I should; but that I shouldn’t feel that I need to be the one serving.  As He mentions, He came to serve.  Not for me to take advantage of or to think is my due — for I am wholly unworthy — but for me to abandon myself into His care.  To give up my frustrating and futile attempts to take care of everything on my own.  To allow Him to step in and take care of me.

Now, *there’s* an exercise in death-to-self:  to quit keeping the Lord at arm’s length while I try to fix me on my own, and to give over to His infinitely greater wisdom and capability.