Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul

SS Peter Paul El Greco

Today is the feast day celebrating Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Did you know that you could obtain an indulgence today?

That’s right!

According to Indulgentiarum Doctrina, “The faithful who use with devotion an object of piety (crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular or medal) after it has been duly blessed by any priest, can gain a partial indulgence. But if this object of piety is blessed by the Pope or any bishop, the faithful who use it with devotion can also gain a *plenary* indulgence on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith using any approved formula.”

God bless!

I’m Dying… What Does That Mean??

Every so often, there is a story that touches people so deeply, they share it with those around them. Which usually means that it’s in everyone’s Facebook feed or e-mail inbox and favorited on Pinterest and YouTube. This one is no exception. Today, it was the story of Zach Sobiech, a young man who died of osteosarcoma this weekend. But he lived amazingly, and that is what he will be remembered for. I watched the 22 minute long video of his story. And the music video to his song, “Clouds“. And the video that his friends and family made in response to his music video. They were beautiful.

I downloaded the song and played it over and over as I drove to church after work. It really made me cry.

It made me cry, because it made me think. I have a terminal illness. I have no idea how much longer I have to live. It’s not the dying that is upsetting, it’s the living. Am I living the way I ought? This young man clearly has touched thousands of people. What about me? Has my life “meant anything” to anyone?

What if it has not? What if I never really impacted anyone? What is it of me that will remain in people’s hearts after I am gone?

So, I cried.

I cried and I went into the church and I curled up on a bench in the Adoration space behind the tabernacle. I texted one of my best friends, “Do I make any difference?” I was grateful for the organ music being practiced in the church — this masked my sniffling and the way my breath catches as I try to hold the sobs in.

He texted me back, “Sounds like the evil one has your ear. The answer to your question is found by looking at a cross.”

OLGC Crucifix

Oh, the irony. I was sitting under a cross. Well, the church’s crucifix, to be precise, but that’s what he meant anyway.

I sat there, trying to understand. Trying to find the answer. What is it that he says about the cross? That you can know that you are loved because Jesus did *that* for *you*. That you are loved far more than you can ever imagine. That even if you were the only human on earth, He would still have become man and died for you. I have worth because I am made in the image and likeness of God.

This was helpful, but it wasn’t the main thrust of my upset. I know that God loves me, and that I have intrinsic dignity.

My crying let up, and I gave this all more thought. Why am I so upset? What is the problem?

I don’t think my life is making a difference or impacting anyone else.

Okay.

Which lead to another question:

Does this matter?

I thought back to my original question: Do I make any difference?

Difference to who? To God? Well, I guess in some ways, the answer to that is yes and no. I mean, God doesn’t *need* anyone. But for some reason, He wants me. He willed me into existence, sustains me here and invites me into relationship with Him. To other people? I guess this is the real question.

Do I make any difference? It’s more of a material question than an existential one. I want my life to somehow positively benefit others. Does it? How can I do this more?

Is this the right thing to want?

I think most people want greatness for their lives. They want to live heroically and with integrity. To be someone others can look up to. To be a saint. I don’t think most people look at their life and decide, “Hey, I want to be mediocre and average.” And it can be good — motivating — to have lofty goals and to set your standards high.

But…

Does this mean that if you do *not* make some material contribution to the good of others that you’ve “failed” at life? Let’s look at some extreme examples. What about people who were born without proper mental faculties for whatever reason, or children who have died very young or before birth. Were their lives less “important” than, say Mother Teresa’s? Of course not. While it’s true that Mother Teresa did amazing things and touched millions of lives, this doesn’t mean that others’ lives are of lesser value.

God doesn’t grade us according to our utility. We just tend to grade ourselves this way.

Another question: How much of my angst is due to my own pridefulness in wanting to Do Great Things and be recognized?

A good question.

After all, if my life in any way positively benefits someone else, it’s actually God’s doing, really, and not mine.

And why am I being all judging about how my life is impacting others’? Isn’t this somewhat of a mystery anyway? Isn’t this what is going to be revealed to us at the end of time when we receive our final judgment? Perhaps I have a greater impact than I know, and am being silly about being upset about it now.

As I was sitting there, praying and contemplating all these things, I heard Mass begin. What? Mass? At 7 pm on a Tuesday? I quickly checked the parish calendar and saw that there was a Men’s Fellowship Mass. Oh. Well, I’m not a man, so I don’t think that I can attend this Mass. “No girls allowed” and all that. But I didn’t want to leave. So I participated from the other side of the tabernacle.

It was kind of hard to hear, since the speakers weren’t set up for my location and there were odd echoes and things. But what I did hear felt like the Mass was just for me. The first reading was from Sirach 2:1-11, which is going to be one of my readings at my funeral services. It’s about knowing that there’s going to be a trial, and to persevere. The rest of Mass was kind of like this. I absorbed more of the spirit of it, rather than the verbatim of the readings and homily. There will be trials and temptations. Keep fighting. God is faithful. Things I really needed to hear.

This Mass was such a blessing. I felt much better. Not just emotionally, either.

I left for home after Mass. On the way out, I passed by the sacristy. Both of my priests were in there de-vesting. My friend was the one who had presided at Mass tonight. When he saw me, he said, “I just said Mass for you. Hang in there, kiddo.”

By the time I got home, everything was different. My worries were gone. Not only that, but it was like I had a reinvigoration of my prayer life and relationship with God, also. I could say that it’s my innate resiliency, or the fact that I finally realized that I was worrying over nothing. But I know what it really is.

Grace.

Thanks be to God.

Clouds
by Zach Sobiech

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge
You were sitting there holding a rope

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

When I get back on land
Well I’ll never get my chance
Be ready to live and it’ll be ripped right out of my hands
Maybe someday we’ll take a little ride
We’ll go up, up, up and everything will be just fine

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear

It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you

We could go up, up, up
And take that little ride
And sit there holding hands
And everything would be just right
And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

What Are You Doing for the Year of Faith?

Year of Faith

Today marks the beginning of the Year of Faith! It runs from 10/11/12 to 11/24/13. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, as well as the 20 year anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict offered Mass this morning for the Year of Faith and NBC News has some great pictures of the Mass posted.

The USCCB also has a great website with information and materials to help us grow in faith during this year. They state that during this year, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism so that we may deepen our knowledge of the faith.

There is also plenary indulgences available during the Year of Faith. Here are the details on it:

(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.

(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.

(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, … in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.

(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”

Given the call to Catholics, I found a website that will send you a portion of the Catechism, I think every day, so that you can read through it completely within the year. You can sign up to participate in this here.

In addition, I want to use this time to really grow in my faith. Fr. John gave a talk yesterday on prayer and emphasized that our prayer should be a wrestling with God. After all, how am I going to conform my will to His if I am not willing to bend it to fit the mould more closely? Conforming my will is going to cost me. If I’m not grappling with something, then maybe I’m not really growing. Perhaps, if it is easy, I am only superficially accepting of God’s Truths. I’m really going to have to change things if I want to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. But what relationship is more worth fighting for? And it is a fight. I fight that I will be having with myself. As I try to move from where I am to where I want to be.

I know that this year I will be adding things and changing things in my life to try and draw closer to God. I am the type of person who likes to say, “I will do this once a week/month, etc.,” but I don’t think that setting a schedule is going to help me. Too often, I miss a “deadline” for one reason or another and use that as an excuse to give up on the whole project. So, I’m not going to do that. I will introduce new things as they come to me, and as I feel that God wants me to. And I ask you, my friends, to help hold me accountable. To hold each other accountable in whatever it is that we decide to do to grow in our faith this year. If I leave things just up to me, I’ll probably let myself off the hook sometimes. 🙂

So, let’s fight this battle together. I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine!

God bless your fight and your journey!

The Spiritual Journey

Lately, I’ve been feeling far from God. There’s been good days, definitely some blessed days (aren’t they all?), but on average, I’ve felt as if I were floundering a bit and surely not where I’d like to be. But it wasn’t until I saw this picture that I really could put a finger on *exactly* what I was experiencing.

The Woman with a Hemorrhage

Yeah, her. The Woman with a Hemorrhage.

Not because of the chronic illness factor, although that is certainly appropriate. But more of her posture in this picture. Here, she is not merely reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.

She looks like she is wrapping herself around his calf.

That’s kind of how I feel.

I wish I could be strong and follow Him. But I’m kind of weak in that at the moment. So, I’m going to crawl until I reach Him, wrap myself around His leg, and let Him drag me along the way. Hopefully, at some point, I’ll be able to walk again. But until then, I will bump along the way, getting a little scraped and dirty, but clinging on.

A Blessed Day

I’ve been wanting to go to confession for several weeks now, but at every turn it seems that something would come up. The longer I went, the more I wanted to go. I used to go about every 2 weeks to my pastor for confession, but lately have been going to confession Friday evenings after work at Christ the King. However, after being frustrated in my attempts for so long, I wanted to go to confession to a special place.

Don’t get me wrong, God’s grace is God’s grace no matter the location or the priest who channels his grace.

But.

I’m not the kind of person who *feels good* after confession. I don’t feel “light as a feather,” or anything like that. I just feel like me. Although, when I go to St. Bonaventure’s for some reason, I feel God’s love and mercy more than usual. It’s not uncommon for me to exit confession crying. For some reason, there I have a better sense of my sin, and therefore an increased humility and gratitude for what the Lord is willing to forgive me.

After confession today, the day just seemed to … slow down, in a way. I lingered over sights and appreciated everything that I encountered.

First, I spent some time in prayer before the tabernacle.

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Then, as I was exiting, I noticed a garden space. At first, the door to go in was locked, but one of the priests saw that I was trying to go in and opened the door for me. The flowers inside (outside? The garden was an interior courtyard with no roof) were beautiful.

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When I first arrived, there was no one in line for confession and no priest in the room, so I had about 30 minutes to kill before the next scheduled confession time. I wandered through the exhibit on Fr. Solanus and then wandered through the gift shop. I ended up getting a rosary bracelet and a couple of postcards.

On the way out, after my confession, I took a couple pictures of the door.

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The building stone:
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And Sister Death, which is a sculpture of this twisted black piece of a tree.
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The sense of peace, quiet joy and reflection stayed with me throughout the day. It was wonderful. I felt His love surround me wherever I went. And I kept receiving signs of love throughout the day. I wish I could hold on to that feeling forever. 🙂

Preparing for Eternal Life

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Fr. John suggests that we bring a Bible, paper and pen to church on Sundays. This way, when God speaks to us during the readings or homily, we can write these things down, reflect upon them and put them into work in our lives.

I haven’t reached this point yet.

But, for the past two Masses, I *have* had a couple index cards in my purse….

Yesterday, I caught the 5 pm Mass at St. Anastasia. Fr. JJ was celebrating and gave a homily on John 6, where Jesus says that whoever eats of Him will have eternal life. He went on to give a story of a family on a cross-Atlantic voyage, rationing on bread and cheese, who only finds out at the end of the journey that a sumptuous feast was included in the price of their tickets. So, they could have been eating like kings the whole way. Not only do we sometimes miss the “feasts” that God sends our way during this journey on earth, but we also go the other way and take them for granted — not seeing them as the precious gifts that they are.

In what way to we take Him for granted?

Fr. JJ also reminded us that partaking of the Eucharist is an intimacy, an exchange between people who love each other, and not a one night stand experience. But how many of us treat Communion as a Wham-Bam event? Leaving church as quickly as we can, without so much as a Thank You?

Finally, he left us all with a question. What are we doing — how are we planning — to be a better person?

Because growing in holiness isn’t just going to happen. We have to work on it. We can’t just say, “Oh, I want to pray more.” We have to deliberately set aside the time and DO IT. Are we willing to put forth the effort?

What To Do When You Are Having a Bad Day

Jen cry couch

1. Think of three things that you are truly grateful for about *today*. Get specific.
2. Think of three things which frustrated you today. Be specific. What was most bothersome, worrisome or annoying?
3. Think of three intentions. Three things which really need prayer. Again, be very specific.
4. Offer each of your frustrations for one of your intentions. Pray that God somehow uses the troubles of your day to bring grace and blessings to these intentions.
5. Give thanks to God for your blessings of today and also for the opportunity to undergo struggle, so that in Him even your frustrations can be efficacious and so you will never forget that you need Him and that He is always there for you.

Amen and God bless!

Sometimes I Feel Like a Second-Class Citizen at My Own Parish

Cranky Babies Get Tossed Away!

My sentiments come from two sources.

First, I am a little unsettled, I suppose, over something that happened yesterday at church. I was reading in the library, when a man came in. He looked a little surprised that I was there, then let me know that they were having a meeting for the Evangelization team at 7 pm. He said not to worry and to take my time, since we had over 20 minutes until the meeting was to begin. He said he was going to go to the chapel to pray and left. He was very warm and friendly.

Then. A woman came in and set her things on the table. She looked over at me and demanded, “Who are *you*? You aren’t attending this meeting are you? I didn’t think there was going to be any newcomers at this meeting.” Clearly, I was unwelcome in the library. I was a little surprised at her behavior, but didn’t really say anything. The meeting was still more than 20 minutes away. I started packing up my things and I guess she realized what she had sounded like, because she apologized for being rude, offered me some of the cookies she had brought and left the room. I didn’t really feel like having any of her cookies at that point and finished putting stuff in my bag. She and the first man came in as I was leaving and she apologized again. There was still 15 minutes until the meeting and in the meantime, another woman had wandered in to look at the library books.

I was a little hurt by her rudeness, but more amused at the irony of being made to feel unwelcome in my parish by a member of the parish’s *Evangelization* committee. What if I *hadn’t* been Catholic? What if I were considering becoming Catholic? I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable joining that community. And it might just push me away enough that I don’t continue to look for the truth that is found in the Catholic Church.

The second reason why I sometime feel like a second-class citizen is a sore spot with me. I’m sure I’m probably just sensitive to it, but it pushes my buttons:

I’m single. And apparently this isn’t okay.

Let me explain. The Catholic Church thinks this is just fine. In fact, the Church recognizes the single life as a valid vocation. God can *call* people to the single life. Singles generally have more time to do his work (over people who have obligations to raising a family) and live in the world where there is usually greater access to people for the purposes of evangelization, apologetics, and witnessing to the faith (over consecrated religious).

However, people who *attend* the church often act in a way that gives the impression that singles are not as important as consecrated men and women or married people. Worse, they treat us as if we are in some sort of “holding pattern” and that one day, if we are lucky, God might remember us and call us to the married state or the consecrated/religious life.

As if we were God’s forgotten, neglected step-children or something.

No, I don’t have a husband to love me, support me, or help out when I am tired, stressed, or just can’t handle projects on my own. No, I don’t have cute children.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not a valuable member of society. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I couldn’t have anything to contribute to a discussion on kids and family life. I can’t tell you how many times friends, even good friends, have left me out of wedding planning or pregnancy talks or advice about kids because I am single. They just don’t think of me.

Even in the parish, there is a lack of attention paid to the needs of singles. Don’t get me wrong. I really, truly understand that the value of a stable, faith-based family life is under attack. And I know how important solid marriages are for society in general. I know that it’s important to nurture and protect these marriages and families. And I pray for them.

But have you noticed that if there is any events directed towards singles in the parish, they are usually “social gatherings” which seem to be mostly directed towards “meeting people” and dating? What? So that us poor single people can *finally* meet someone and then be able to get on with our lives as married folk?

A couple years ago, the parish put out a special bulletin, highlighting the various vocations. It had articles written by a nun, a deacon, a married couple and a priest. There was nothing, zero, by a single person. I complained about this, and … was invited to write an article which they would run in the next bulletin to remedy the oversight. 🙂 Which I did.

I am a happy person. I usually don’t dwell upon things like this. I suppose feeling this way helps me to learn humility. It’s NOT all about me. It’s about others. I should be willing to pour out my life for those around me. But sometimes I pout, and jump up and down and yell, “I’M LOVED BY GOD, TOO!”

Good thing for me that Confession is tomorrow. I certainly need it! 🙂

Pressing On

Since today was payday, and since I had to stop by Domino’s Farms to get some money from the bank for our workday field trip to Blimpy Burger, I got the urge to stop by the Our Lady of Grace bookstore. I didn’t want to keep my siblings waiting, so I made a second trip after work, so that I could browse the store.

The store is like a crackhouse for me; meaning that every time I stop in, I am compelled to buy something. 🙂 Today, after careful inspection of wares, I picked up a book called “Between Sundays,” by Shawn Craig. The premise of the book is in the question: How do you maintain your faith Monday through Saturday? It is organized by week of the year (Week 1, etc.) and has entries for each day of the week. Each day has a particular theme, Scripture verse, reflection on the subject and ends with a prayer. On Saturdays, there are Weekend Reflections to read and then a set of questions to reflect upon (and they give you space in the book to write out your answers to the questions). There are no entries for Sundays. (Presumably, you wouldn’t have a problem with knowing how to express your faith on a Sunday. 🙂 Plus, the title of the book is *Between* Sundays….)

No time like the present to start the book, right? 🙂 I had to Google what week of the year we are in (since this is not information that typically concerns me). In case you were curious, we are in week 22.

Today’s theme is: Press On. As I read the reflection, I found that there was more than one way to look at the theme (although, I am not sure that the author intended there to be multiple).

The first image was that of a runner in a race, only having his eyes on the finish line and looking back on their competitors. What struck me most about this image wasn’t the keeping-your-eye-on-the-prize aspect, but more the concern with one’s competitors. Why *do* we get so concerned with how well (or how poorly) others are doing relative to our own performance? I get it about healthy competition and motivation and such, but I think there is a lot of danger when we are constantly concerned with the competition.

Danger #1: We tend to wish for the ill of the other person. To our concupiscent hearts, it is not enough to want to win, we want the other guy to lose.

Danger #2: We can get depressed or despair of our own worth. By constantly looking at the field, we are inclined to underestimate our potential. We can psyche ourselves out, in a way, even to the point of *actually* performing worse.

Danger #3: We can become envious of the gifts that God has given other people and not be as appreciative (or aware) of the gifts that He has given to *us*.

Danger #4: If we aren’t looking where we are going, we can easily stray off course. We cannot judge what is the right path for us by looking at where the competition is going. This goes for our journey in faith as well. Just because your friend does X, Y and Z, doesn’t mean that you need to do the exact same thing in order to be a holy disciple. One person may have a deep devotion to the Rosary and may pray it faithfully every day. You may struggle to say even a decade once a month, if you remember. This is okay. Don’t stress about it. Your path is different than their path. Just listen to the Holy Spirit. I’m sure He will let you know if you should be doing something – and then give you the grace to be able to do just that.

The next image presented was that of Lot’s wife. Especially when we are talking about spiritual conversion, this can always be a temptation: to look back wistfully at the way we used to be. I know for me this is a particular weakness. I grew up as secular as you can get. I was so immersed in secular culture, I even got a degree in it! (No kidding, I have a Bachelor’s in American Culture!) In general, I accepted everything that the world taught without really examining their claims, especially on topics such as relationships, sexuality and morality.

Once I entered the Church, I learned that the way the world views these issues isn’t really healthy for us. (And that’s why God and the Church have rather conflicting views of these things – God wants, above all, for what is truly good for us. If it’s not healthy, then we shouldn’t be involved in it; God doesn’t want us to get hurt.)

But.

Even though I *know* that these things are wrong or unhealthy, sometimes they are still attractive.

Especially flirting. I love flirting. And I used to be good at it. 🙂 But is it really harmless and cute? Or is it sometimes treating the other person as an object for my amusement? Can it be abusing our sexuality? Manipulation? If I flirt, am I really concerned with the other person’s emotions, or am I just trying to elicit the proper response from them so that *I* feel better? Where and how do we draw the line?

Once we grow in holiness, we cannot look longingly back on our sinful lives that we have left behind. There is nothing left for us there. We must, as the theme goes, press on towards God and a new life of grace.

Another image was of the Holy Spirit leading us onward. They emphasized complete trust in Him to be able to guide our lives. Yet another stumbling block we have all too often: inordinate self-reliance. We try so hard to convince ourselves that we don’t need God. That we can handle things on our own. Too frequently, we only turn to Him when we have made a complete mess of things. The challenge is to rely on Him for all things – not so that we don’t have to take responsibility for things in our life – but so that there is no part of our lives into which He is not welcome.

The last image for me was that of being on the path, looking expectantly and joyfully toward our goal. What is the purpose of all this self-mastery and obedience? To be with God forever, sharing in His Divine Life! What could be better than that?

I Choose to Drink of Your Cup

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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.