Skip to main content

Home is where the heart is

Today's saint is a guy by the name of St. John Eudes.  If I ever knew anything about him, I'd forgotten it.  I read a little bit about him today:  he was a French priest, best known for spreading popular devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Here's a little tidbit that caught my attention:  During severe plagues in 1627 and 1631, he volunteered to care for the stricken in his own diocese. Lest he infect his fellow religious, he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field during the plague.

Yeah, you read that right:  HE LIVED IN A CASK.  A big barrel. 

(Yes, I'll admit:  I wondered if there was any liquid enjoyment in the barrel.  But now back to our regularly-scheduled reflection....)

For many people, the last few years have been difficult.  For Michigan, they've been horrible.  For our family (since Dear Husband works in the automotive industry), the past few years have been a terrible struggle financially.  We almost lost our house.  Many people - good people with jobs - have lost their homes.  But none of us is living in a barrel.  And St. John Eudes volunteered for the barrel.

Why?  Why would someone voluntarily live in such harsh, smelly, lonely and pitiable circumstances?   There is really one answer:  love.  Only love would make this choice.

Let's be clear, though.  "Love" isn't that warm-fuzzy-happy-buzzy feeling we tend to associate with that word.  No, "love" is the ability to always put the other first.  It's knowing that you are willing to put your own wants and desires (and even your own needs) aside for the other.  It is the ability to say to someone,  "I love you.  Therefore, I can't let you do that"  (the mom of a teenager comes to mind).  It is the ability given to a sleepy, stumbling, haven't-slept-through-the-night-in-months dad to drag himself out of bed to tend to a restless toddler disturbed by a dream.  It is only love that allows someone to say,  "I'll put my schedule aside for you.  You need me now." 

Even more importantly, St. John Eudes didn't just love his fellow human beings, even the sick ones.  He loved Christ.  With that love, one can do anything.  Even choose to live in a barrel.  By choosing Christ's love as his example, St. John Eudes was able to not only choose the barrel as his home, but be happpy there.

The next time you are faced with a TV-version of "love" - that "love" that says sex with anything on the Jersey Shore is okay, that "love" that tells you to fall in love with a new car or a designer purse, that "love" that tells you a meal from a certain restaurant is just the thing you must have - think of that barrel and St. John Eudes.  See how you measure up.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…