Snails

This morning I went with Lindsay to St. A’s for the rosary and 9:30 am Mass, which was to be a healing Mass. I was looking forward to getting anointed, since I have had all these medical things going on and figured that God can heal me better than the doctors, who have yet to figure out what’s going on. 🙂

Since it’s Friday, we prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries. These are my favorite mysteries, I think because they are the only ones I have memorized. 🙂 I offered my rosary for the intention of a few people, one in particular, and as I was praying it, I pictured them in Jesus’ place: in the garden, being scourged, being crowned with thorns, carrying the cross, being crucified. I saw myself kind of in the picture too. My heart was breaking, going out to them. It made me sad to see them suffer like that, so I was trying to take the burden from them, although I knew that it was something that they had to do and didn’t want to interfere with God’s plan. I know, kind of a weird thing to be thinking of during a rosary, right?

After the rosary, I wanted to sit next to Lynn for Mass, so we moved. As we were waiting for Mass to start, Lynn shared with me the hymn from today’s Magnificat morning prayer:

O Love of God incarnate,
our flesh, our blood, our bone,
where sin has torn and marred us,
You make our wounds your own.
You take our guilt upon you,
our burdened spirits bear;
in death you go before us,
and you await us there.
You rise, our wounds upon You,
the nail prints clearly seen,
Your ravaged side still open –
but love has washed them clean.
the pow’r that conquers evil
in You now stands revealed.
We touch You, unbelieving,
and find that we are healed.

For some reason, this really disturbed me. I didn’t want to hurt Him any more. I didn’t want Him to have to suffer for my wounds. I was horrified. I wanted to protect Him. I handed the Magnificat back to Lynn. She asked what I thought. I said something like it was scary, because I couldn’t quite articulate what I thought about it.

I sat there praying, my heart saddened at the thought of causing the Lord more pain. Mass began. It wasn’t that long into Mass that a thought or image or something popped into my head, and but the whole thing into perspective for me. Then, I was so full of joy that I was actually giggling. In the middle of Mass. It was great. I mean, I don’t want to be disruptive and stuff to people around me, but I love when God interacts with me like that. See, because it wasn’t just a random thought popping into my head, it was Him trying to teach me something. Here, I’ll share it with you:

The image which came to mind was me, as a tiny snail. I was suffering because I had a toothpick stuck in me and had this marble squishing down on me. Jesus came over to me, and asked me if I would give him my toothpick and marble. He was the size of a normal-big human person, and I was this little 1 cm or so snail. My little snail-self took a big sigh and said, no, that I didn’t want Him to hurt and that I would keep my toothpick and marble. He laughed, lovingly, at me and made a beckoning motion with his right hand, saying, “Come now, give Me them. I can take it. I am strong. They are not going to hurt Me.”

I thought of my dad, and how he would want us to work through our own issues, and would be disappointed in us if we had to come to him for help. My snail-self wavered.

I saw things from Jesus’ perspective. Here was this tiny, little snail, with a little toothpick and a little marble. Insignificant little things, really, but they were hurting the little snail. He was looking on with love, and wanted to take them away from the little snail, but he wasn’t going to take them — he wanted the snail to ask for them to be taken away. He said again, “They are not going to hurt Me. I am God. Don’t you think that I can take it? That is not what hurts me, these things. What hurts is when people turn away from Me. Please give them to Me.”

Then, I understood.

Then, my little snail-self was joyful and saying, “TAKE IT! TAKE IT! TAKE IT! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” and offering to him gleefully my toothpick and marble. And I was washed in joy and His love. I wasn’t hurting Him, I was letting Him in — and that’s what He wants.

As an aside, at the end of Mass, Fr. Mark said that they weren’t going to be doing the Anointing at that Mass, but next Friday — which I wouldn’t be able to attend. I was disappointed, since I hadn’t been anointed for these medical things and really wanted to be. Lynn suggested that I ask him after Mass if he would anoint me, but I was hesitant — I don’t like to infringe on people’s time like that, asking for favors. Then, Lindsay said that she was going to ask him if he would hear her confession. So, she actually asked for me, by asking him if he had time to do 2 more sacraments. And so, the little snail got to give away her toothpick and her marble. 🙂 Thanks be to God for Lynn and Lindsay. And praise God for the unimaginable love that He gives to us all, for no reason whatsoever.

Pontiff Proclaims Year for Priests

From Zenit:

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is proclaiming a Year for Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars.

The Pope announced this today during an audience granted to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy, a Vatican communiqué reported.

The theme for the priestly year is “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” The Pope is scheduled to open the year with a celebration of vespers June 19, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the presence of the relic of the Curé of Ars, to be brought to Rome by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, the press release stated.

The closing ceremony will take place exactly one year later, with a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peter’s Square.

During this year, a directory for confessors and spiritual directors will be published, along with a compilation of texts by the Pope on the core issues of the life and mission of priests in the modern times. As well, Benedict XVI will officially proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as “patron saint of all the priests of the world.”

The congregation will aim in this year to promote initiatives that will “highlight the role and mission of the clergy in the Church and in modern society.”

Another goal will be to address “the need to intensify the permanent formation of priests, associating it with that of seminarians.”

An entire year devoted to our priests! I love it! Love it, love it, love it! Thank you, Holy Father!

In an article talking of the importance of priestly ministry and of the distinction between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood we are all called to due to our baptism:

The Pope stressed the importance of the ministry, without which “there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church” and he recalled that the mission of the priest “has its roots in a special way in a good formation, carried out in communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity.”

“In this regard,” he continued, “it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to correctly read the texts of the Second Vatican Council, interpreted in the light of all the Church’s doctrinal inheritance.”

The Pontiff spoke about the urgent need for priests to be “present, identifiable and recognizable — for their judgment of faith, personal virtues and attire — in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church’s mission.”

He said the mission of the priest concerns the Church, communion, hierarchy and doctrine, and added that these aspects should not be separated.

He explained: “The mission is ecclesial because no one announces or brings themselves, but rather in and through his own humanity, every priest should be very conscious of bringing Another, God himself, to the world. God is the only treasure that, definitively, mankind wishes to find in a priest.”

The Holy Father said the mission concerns communion “because it takes place in a unity and communion which only at a secondary level possess important aspects of social visibility. These, moreover, are derived essentially from that divine intimacy of which the priest is called to be an expert, so that he can bring, with confidence and humility, the souls entrusted to him to the same meeting with the Lord.”

He said that “the ‘hierarchical’ and ‘doctrinal’ dimensions emphasize the importance of ecclesiastical discipline — a term related to that of ‘disciple’ — and of doctrinal — not just theological, initial and permanent — formation.”

The Pope concluded by urging those present to discover the centrality of Jesus Christ who gives meaning and value to the ministerial priesthood.

He added, “As Church and as priests we announce Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, crucified and risen, Sovereign of time and history, in the joyful certainty that this truth coincides with the deepest hopes of the human heart.”

I absolutely believe in the necessity and blessing of a visible, valid, faithful and orthodox priesthood. These are our shepherds — the men who guide us and care for us and bring us life. They provide us access to Jesus in the sacraments, break open the Word of God for us, demonstrate to us a holy life and what it means to love our neighbor and give our entire selves in service to others. They give and they love, and they help us to do the same.