Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Gina (the 2 year old 28 pound princess) playing with Rudy (the 5 month old 58 pound puppy):Gina was playing fetch with Rudy down the hallway. One time Rudy tried to take the toy out of Gina’s hand. She clonked him on the head and told him, “No!” Then, “Sit!” Next, she gave him a big hug, “You’re my best friend, Rudy!” We now know what it takes to be a friend to Gina – listen and do whatever she tells you. You’ll have a friend for life. We’ve got to work on this control thing – I mentioned to my husband that someone needs to inform her that she is not an only child. My husband piped up, “she is much more well adjusted than only child. She knows many different personalities and manipulates each and everyone to get what she wants!
I too went back to bed again, and felt awful (clumped up once again). How could I have treated this child like that?
This Lent, our priest has been using Preface of Lent III for daily Mass. It has been moving for me. It was all I could think of when I got out of bed the next morning.
“…you ask us to express our thanks by self-denial. We are to master our sinfulness and conquer our pride. We are to show to those in need your goodness and mercy.”
So here I am, living it. As it said in the Magnificat that morning,
“By taking upon Himself all the shame of the nakedness and sin in Adam’s, and our place, Jesus once and for all brought it before the merciful eyes of His Father…and from this point on sinners should no longer hide; they have been reprieved from disgrace. So let them come to the light of Jesus’ cross…our own nakedness and sinfulness no longer has a reason for embarrassment or condemnation. It has become an opportunity for faith, faith that can arise even from a foolish self-confidence.”
May we have the “courage to humbly and gently gaze toward the bleeding face of the crucified Jesus” to gaze upon “the shame of Jesus who covers and hides ours.”Yes, take courage: By God’s Mercy we are saved. How shall we thank Him?
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
That is the title of the flyer I received this morning from two Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The door bell rings, dog barks, I’m coming down the stairs with a load of dirty laundry, Vincent decides he is done with his breakfast and starts to fuss to get out of his highchair. As I’m coming down the stairs, I peer out the window and notice two gentlemen dressed in suits. I think to myself, well, probably Morman or JW. I drop the laundry next to the door and answer it as if they were family members whom I have not seen in a while.
“Hello There!” I cheerfully state!
After their initial shock of my greeting they begin, “I’m Mark and this is Mark.”
(Great, I’ll remember their names, 2 for the price of 1, my kind of deal!)
They continue, “Have you ever been invited to Kingdom Hall?”
Not knowing what they were even talking about at first, I said with a chuckle in my voice, “I don’t think so.”
They hand me a flyer, “Well, here is you invitation. It’s pretty serious matter…(Vincent began to fuss again and I did not pay close attention to the rest of what there were saying.) It sounds like you have to get back to a little one.”
“Yes, thank you, I have a few of them in here! Have a great day!”
I close the door, take Vincent out of his seat, and change his stinky diaper. As I throw it out in the bathroom trash, I notice the shirt I am wearing: CATHOLIC / EST. 33A.D. / ORIGINAL. Hmm, how fitting, I wonder if they noticed what it said. Maybe that is why they are at my door again, because the last two that came about month ago were talking to me and I told them I am Roman Catholic and someday they will come to understand what they are missing.
I come back downstairs, and look through the flyer quick. Oh, Kingdom Hall is where they worship. I get it. They were inviting me to their service to remember Jesus’ Last Supper. I am pretty slow sometimes! I start thinking. I should have invited them to our Good Friday service (since they will be busy Holy Thursday). Maybe I need to educate myself on their history so I can reach out to them as they continue to come to me. I read on, “You are also invited to a special Bible talk entitled ‘Is there a True Religion From God’s Standpoint?" Should I go to this and see what they have to say? In the life I have been given, how does God want me to reach out these family members?
Someday I may be able to have a meaningful conversation with them…until then, I hope my being speaks louder than words. I too am a Witness!
“This is my body which will be given up for you.”
“Do this in memory of Me!”
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
St. Patrick, Pray for us and teach us to trust in God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The song, Abba! Father has been on my mind this week.
It references God as the potter and we the people as the clay. As I think back to the great high school days, when I took ceramics, and doing a little research to touch up, I understand more fully what this song really means.
Clay: a clump of earth (Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.)
Potter: the master of the clay
Clay is a sculpting material that responds easily to touch and retains the most minute detail, even a fingerprint. The potter can change each detail as much as He likes until He is satisfied and completes the vessel. (FYI, a vessel is a hollow container.) We, too should be sculpting material, bearing the Father's imprint. We are made in His image and likeness! We are made to be filled with God’s Love; so that His Perfect Love can be poured out into the world! That is holiness.
So, let's look at the process:
In the beginning, the clay is a clump of somewhat unresponsive material. It needs 3 main things to be formed into a work of art.
Water! Water brings life to the clay - just as baptismal waters bring true life to an individual.
Kneading! Kneading eliminates the air pockets and makes the clay more pliable. Back in the day, kneading was also done by stomping over it. During the kneading process, the potter will also notice impurities, pebbles and other debris that need to be removed. These active, sometimes aggressive kneadings can be related to stresses in our life and disappointments. Sometimes we will feel stomped on, beat up, but it purifies us and teaches us to rely on our potter, God. Kneading is always for a greater good! (Look at the cross-Jesus went through the “beat up” process for our sake, not His, so that we can get to heaven! What a lesson in sacrifice.) However, purification is not always passive on our part. We as the clay must show our impurities to God so they can be removed. In relating to our faith, repentance, confessing our sins, so that the Father can remove them from us!
The Wheel! Once the clay is pliable and free from debris, the potter sets the clay on the wheel. The potter confidently presses the clay down and brings it up until it is centered on the outside and inside, at the core. Sometimes it may look center and act center on the outside, but if the core (our heart) is not centered, the clay will not respond to the direction of the potter - and in turn, it will never be made into a vessel of honor. If it is not centered, it will shift to the left or right and eventually fold on itself. It can not stand alone!
I can only imagine how many times I fold on myself and hear God saying to me, “Come on, Maria, work with Me here!” As I help my kiddos get dressed, I catch myself saying the same thing, “Work with me here! It would be so much easier if you would just work with me and not try to go your own way!” If we are centered, all the way to our core, and give up our will, we have no need to fear - God will protect us and shape us into what He desires us to be and to do for Him! He will keep us standing.
Now that we know what it takes to make a work of art; the water, kneading and being centered on the wheel, the potter must focus on the inner space. The inner chamber determines the appearance of the outer. When the pressure of the potter is successful in molding the clay the way He wishes, pressure is relieved. However, if the clay resists, the potter will take the crumpled clump of clay, and try again to mold it into the vessel He has planned.
This is true in our own lives! Challenges present themselves: maybe one is there right now, maybe you have just endured one, or maybe one is about to come - the challenge is the wheel of God, to bring us against the pressure of the Potter's hand. If we don't resist, if our will doesn't spoil the work by disobeying His laws, complaining, fearing, gossiping or feeling anger and bitterness then the pressure is relieved. He is in control, "He is the Potter, we are the clay, the work of His hands." Isaiah 64:8
The potter is in complete control of the clay! He knows what He wants it to be and look like. (Romans 9:21) We, the clay, must yield to the potters hand if we want to become something useful. We must surrender our will to His. The Potter has choices to make while molding a piece of clay. He can finish the piece if He thinks it is responding to his lead. He can reshape the piece if He goes along and feels it would be better as something else. (Jeremiah 18:4) Or, he can throw away an unresponsive piece of clay if He feels it is not going to come out the way He planned. (Isaiah 45:9) I pray that we will all respond!
The potter, once satisfied with his piece, leaves it alone for a while and lets it dry out.
The final stage involves sanding and decorating. The paint and glaze make us beautiful. They differentiate us one vessel from another. Its what makes us who we truly are.
In the end, the piece is put into the kiln to be fired. Another purification. To withstand the heat and be made shiny and beautiful (purgatory). Once complete, it is protected from any possibility of being marred or hurt (Heaven).
When we surrender our will to His, we are molded into His image and likeness, one with Him, for His imprint is upon us. When we are one with Him who created us, we too contain Love. The Father is and knows only love. He fills us, his vessels, with that Love so we can share it with others.
Where are we stuck in this cycle of clay?
Do you have the water?
Are you being kneaded?
Are you being called to surrender a piece of debris out of your life?
Are you resisting the center of the wheel with something?
Have you been set aside to dry out for a while?
Are you being sanded down?
Is He painting you to be made more beautiful?
Where ever you are, know that God continues to pick you up (literally and figuratively) and work with you. He loves you and will never abandon His work!
Today's psalm 31:5-6,14-16 reinforces this message.
"Save me Lord in your kindness."
"Into your hands I commend my spirit...Into your hands is my destiny."
O glorious St. Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to thee do we raise our hearts and hands to implore thy powerful intercession in obtaining
from the benign Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special favor we now implore (state your petition).
O Guardian of the Word Incarnate, we have confidence that thy prayers on our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
(Then say the following seven times in honor of the seven sorrows and joys of St. Joseph.)
V. O Glorious St. Joseph! Through thy love for Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Name,
R. Hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
V. Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
R. Assist us!