Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Lines about All Saints Day

Just a couple of quick notes about All-Saints Day so I remember this in years to come! It was our teams turn to feed the youth this weekend and we decided to do an "All Saints Day" theme. We decorated a huge room (the Pavillion at St. Williams) so quickly and easily I could barely believe it.

We covered all the tables in orange and each member of the team made 2 or 3 centerpieces; one trooper made six! We picked our favorite saints and pulled together a few items representing them. So, Saint Zita had cooking utensils, St. Catherine of Bolgna had art supplies, St. Lucy had candy eyeballs, etc.

For desert, we served cupcakes with Saints toppers. I used the "badge" templates found in my two Happy Saints Ebooks, made a ton of copies, cut them out with a circle cutter and taped them to coffee stirrers. We made 280 this way!  If we had needed fewer I would have done them double-sided.

What truly amazed me was how much the teens enjoyed and appreciated it. They seemed to have fun figuring out who their table saint was and trading the cupcake toppers! We did not expect such a big response from them.

I will have pictures soon and will come back here and add them.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thank You!

Dear Faithful Readers:

I did feel the power of your prayers over the last several days and I truly, truly enjoyed praying for you. I am astounded by how selfish I am at times and it was so wonderful to have an experience of praying for you without even knowing your names. I once heard that if you want to feel closer to your spouse, you should do thoughtful things for them. It stands to reason that praying for another's needs and peace of mind brings us closer to God. That was my experience.

There were a lot of obstacles to getting to Mass this weekend. I could feel myself being tempted even as I drove into the parking lot. I scooted in and took a seat on the aisle, thinking, even then, that I would slip out after communion. My sweet friend Gina saw me in church sans the family and left her hubby and boys to come sit by me. How faithful and wonderful is our God!

Then of course the readings were perfect for me in such a selfish state of life. "Come to church," said Father Alex, "because someone here needs your support for their prayers. Their arms are tired; they need you to hold them up." Have I thought of that at all these last few months? Of course not. It is the power of community, right? How often I have taken courage from the others gathered when my trials seemed to overwhelming. I have felt nestled in the community, cradled in their arms, when all outside seemed to be crumbling. What if everyone listened to that selfish whisper and stayed home to do their laundry instead?

So, it worked. Thank you so much. I have found my feet beneath me. I am committed to go with or without the company of my family - though I greatly prefer having their company. In truth, it amazes me that anyone reads this blog - since I have no official "followers." I am thankful for you prayer warriors who helped me overcome this temptation. Here is a little gift for you:

The story of the writing of this hymn is a gift in itself. Here's one version of the hubling story. I have not known suffering at all. God bless you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why I Need Your Prayers

Sometimes I want to be that Catholic, ya' know? Like my cheerful friend Maryanne who is always counting her blessings and full of Jesus-Love and hugging all of us and looking on the bright side and she never misses Mass and she goes to confession and she's sweet and loveable.

I'm not that Catholic. I'm the convert who still isn't used to having a Sunday obligation although before becoming Catholic I was the kind of person who never missed church. But that was before I had so many excuses -- err, children.

While in former times I had the passion of St Igantius of Antioch . . .

“It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but to actually be one. Yes, if I prove to be one, then I can have the name...Come fire, cross, battling with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the Devil--Only let me get to Jesus Christ!” 

 . . . now I am in a lukewarm phase. I may be the frog being boiled to death slowly and just enjoying the warm bath.

I have been terrible at getting to Mass since my heart thing during Lent. Now I've admitted it out loud. It's not all the kids or my heart or school starting or baseball or that I'm tired or that my parents just arrived from Idaho or that my parish is huge . . . nope. There have been times in my life when I had the best excuses for missing church (and didn't) but not this time; it's spiritual warfare.  I seem to always have an excuse and now I need to stop it. No more excuses.

Even as I write that, I feel my excuse/justification for this weekend bubbling up. Satan does not want me in church. I've been arm wrestling him a few weeks but this morning I read this great quote on this wonderful blog:

There it is. "I'm such a failure. My house is a mess. My hubby is unhappy. I don't make enough money. I don't use my education. My kids misbehave. My family is too busy. I don't go to church every week . . . " etc. etc. etc.

So please pray for me. Clearly, I can use your prayers. I could just power-walk out of this slump but collaboration is a good thing. I am part of a community.

For my part, I will devote myself to praying for you, quiet reader. At least 15 sweet hearted people read all of my posts so this week, I am praying for you, sweetheart, with all my heart. I am praying that all your fears be stilled, that your heart be at peace, that the nagging little worries you haven't admitted to anyone (with skin on) be ironed out of your heart and that "peace like a river attendeth your soul." I will pray in thanksgiving for your faithfulness and the gift of your beautiful life in this world. Thank you and blessings.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Musings on Mercy

As I sat down to savor today's readings in my precious post-school-departure moments of quiet, the Casting Crowns song, "If We are the Body," was playing on my stereo.

Today is the story of Jonah up to the point where his shipmates wise up and throw him into sea. Then we have a beautiful Psalm reminding us that God rescues me from the pit of my distress. Finally, the tale of the scholar who wishes for eternal life and finds out it is not about what we know but about what we do. I love that the "hard answer" -- love your neighbor -- leads straight into the convicting "Good Samaritan" parable. These are some of the most familiar stories in the Bible; their message is clear and we know them by heart.

Why, then, is it so hard to truly do this? For me, at least, it's far easier to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless than to show love and mercy (at least consistently) to my children, my co-workers, my teammates, fellow parishioners --my true neighbors, all.

This reminded me of the Casting Crowns song, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners."

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing.
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me;
Always looking around but never looking up, I'm so double minded,
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.

I stand convicted. When it comes to those we know best, my judging nature rises like a serpent and is so ready to strike. My fervent prayer is that God will help me tame that wild beast within me. 

I have been shown so much mercy in my life; please let me be merciful. Please let me be a source of healing and hope. Help me, this day to get my mind for once off myself and let me offer the kind word that lifts a heart. Let me be a listener; quiet my mouth and my mind. I know it is up to me, just help me please to remember, to notice, to take a breath, to access my heart. Amen.