Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2012

Joy

On the radio this morning, the DJs were talking about joy in the realm of the Christian experience.  "Joy" can be a tough one - we tend to think of it as overwhelming happiness - like how we'd feel if we won the lottery or someone gave us a new car for Christmas with a big ribbon wrapped around it.

But joy is different than happiness, as happiness depends on circumstances, and joy is a choice. I thought this little snippet from Fr. John Hardon, SJ, was instructive:

True joy is the result of having these desires satisfied. But notice, and the word is only those desires satisfied which are truly good. What then is truly good which, once we get it and possess it, we are happy? Your desire corresponds with what God wants. That’s why one of the greatest blessings for the United States would be if the psychiatric profession closed shop. I know, there are some still sane and God fearing psychiatrists, but their number is very small. Happiness does not consi…

Mary Cassatt Monday

Cruisin' around Blogdom on a Sunday Drive

Thought I might share a few choice blogs for your Sunday cruise.

Over at The Curt Jester, a fine post about Obama's view of Catholics.

Sr. Helena Burns talks about her process of reviewing a film.  Very enlightening!

Are you a Steve Martin fan? Here are his 10 best comedies. See if you agree.

The Christian Science Monitor, in my estimation, has some of the best photography anywhere, every day.  Enjoy this slideshow.

And because I still remember the pure joy of walking into the Coleman Public Library every week, with the anticipation of the adventures that awaited me there, this ode to libraries from Mental Floss.

Sacred Place of the Day

The St. Joseph The Betrothed is an Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Chicago. It is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome. The interior of the church is completely adorned with byzantine style icons. http://www.oddee.com/item_96506.aspx

Best Baseball Movies?

If ever there was a blog I was LESS likely to read than "The Art of Manliness", I don't know what it would be, but their list of the 15 Best Baseball Movies caught my eye.  What do you think? For my money, #1 will always be "Field of Dreams".

Being Catholic and Infertile

This piece has been in the news this week: a Catholic school teacher believes she was fired because she underwent infertility treatments that go against Church teaching. (By the way, not ALL infertility treatments are morally objectionable; check this out.)

Now, I don't know if this is the real reason this woman was fired. However, from the news reports, it appears that she signed a contract that prohibits such behavior from an employee in that school system, and thus, she violated her contract.

Now, I can speak with some authority on this subject, as I am infertile. First, let me say that I really hate that word: I think everyone's life is fertile. We all grow and "give birth to" ideas, relationships, work, etc. I don't feel infertile. I do know that I could never conceive a child. And that is devastating, especially for a Catholic woman.

From the time we are children, little girls (and especially Catholic little girls) are presented with images of being a mom.…

Something I hope my kids understand

Catholic Cool

There are a lot of things I love about the Catholic faith, but some of the things I love don't really have much to do with beliefs. That is, I love a lot of the extraneous, odd, off-beat, you'd-really-have-to-be-one-of-us-to-appreciate stuff.

I found this website with lots of pics of Catholic gardens and yard shrines. Enjoy a few of the pics here, but go visit the site - lots of fun!

Three Good Things Thursday

1. Sisters and nuns.  The press would like to have you believe that the Vatican is trying to wrangle a bunch of wayward women back into line, whereas others believe the Vatican is simply to trying to assure good community life for religious. Either way, we owe a huge debt of gratitude in this country to the women who built schools, hospitals, orphanages, nursing homes, and other institutions from the ground up...all for our benefit and the glory of God.

2. Chuck Colson.  There has been no better example of "you visited Me when I was imprisoned". He will be missed.

3. Easter! Yeah, we're still celebrating Easter! We Catholics love to draw out our celebrations and parties as long as possible. He is Risen! Alleluia!

Be ridiculous

Long days and short years

Curly-haired Daughter is planning for her senior prom. We had to get a dress. It wasn't a horrible experience, shopping for that. We actually found one relatively quickly, within budget, that we both agreed on, and it does not look like she's a streetwalker...which is more than I can say for the young (ahem) lady in the dressing room next to Daughter.

The really horrible, awful, terrible part of the shopping experience is that we bought said prom dress in a bridal shop. It is bad enough that I was watching my BABY prance in and out of the dressing room looking like a WOMAN, but then knowing that we'd be having the whole wedding experience in the blink of an eye....I felt like I was in a time warp. 

It was just yesterday that that baby girl was sitting on my lap, telling me what animals she saw in the clouds as we enjoyed a snuggle in the evening air, right? It was just last week when she was inviting me to a tea party with her stuffed bears, I know it was.

I admit, when m…

A dog's life

I've always considered myself a "dog person", and have had the great joy of sharing my home with dogs my entire life. My childhood dog, Pepper, was a sweet and gentle Border collie mix - a wonderful playmate to grow up with.

I had a collie, Tippi, who saw me through the teen years and into young married life. There was one memorable evening when I was home alone with the dog, and  two shady characters stopped at our rural house and wanted to use the phone....until Tippi literally tore through the screen door at them. They left in haste. Good dog, good dog.

Currently, we share our home with two dogs, Guinness and Finnegan (both named after Irish beers). Finn is an Australian cattle dog mix, a shelter dog, and has a clownlike personality, if a little nervous. Guinness is definitely the alpha dog, a lumbering Newfoundland with a ferocious, chest-shaking bark, and the sweetest eyes in all of dogdom.  He also has terrible arthritis.

It is time to put Guinness down.

Guinness,…

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web, all in good spirits.  Just sharing good stuff, not taking credit myself.

I did not have the great pleasure of knowing Chuck Colson personally, but several of my co-workers did.  This link contains the last interview he gave just a few months ago, and it is quite special.  Clearly, this was a man who knew great power, great sin, great redemption.  He was a man who gave himself wholly to serving Christ in His most distressful disguise in the imprisoned.  I pray that Mr. Colson enjoys his eternal reward.

Monday, Monday

I am running on very little sleep, am in pain from a pinched nerve, am passing emails back and forth with a state bureaucrat who can't seem to answer a simple question and got hung up on TWICE by my doctor's automated answering service.

Monday, Monday....

Mary Cassatt Monday

Know your rights - and use 'em!

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan is the superior general of the Sisters of Life, a wonderful order of Sisters wholly dedicated to the protection of life from conception to natural death.  Every time I've met a sister from this order ( I've never met Mother Agnes Mary), I've been impressed with their warmth, their deep spiritual life, and their genuine demeanors.  (They also have the most awesome habits!)

Mother Agnes Mary gave this address at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. When Clinton was in the White House, Mother Teresa called those there to task in no uncertain terms that our nation would fall if we didn't get rid of legalized abortion. Mother Agnes Mary's address is reminiscent of that.

While her address is focused on our human and religious rights, it was this paragraph that caught my eye, as it underpins her whole argument:

As we love, we grow in our capacity for love: to love and to be loved and to live out of the truth of who we are. Regrettably, because …

A reasonable case for the stay-at-home mom

This article is clearly stated and well-thought out, engaging the topic of stay-at-home mom vs. mom-who-works-outside-the-home.

Great line: Of course stay-at-home moms can relate to women and the economy. Home is where economics begins. The word “economics” itself is derived from the Greek word for “household management.”

I've been both a SAHM and a work-outside-the-home mom. Both are hard. Both are greatly rewarding. Both are greatly challenging. Neither is inherently evil. Let's talk, but let's be nice, ladies. If we don't support each other, why should we expect the guys to support us?

Biblical Illuminations - Gospel of Matthew

Tragedy and Opportunity

It is nearly impossible in the midst of tragedy to see opportunity.  We have no perspective, we are grieving, and we need time to heal.  However, once we are able to find our balance, we can often find that tragedy helps us grow....maybe not in a way we would have ever chosen for ourselves, but grow nonetheless.
This article is written from a business point of view, but has spiritual value. I especially liked, Perfection is boring, and unacknowledged imperfections are dangerous. Now, none of us is perfect; we are all sinners. Sin shouldn't be sin as "fun" or whatever the opposite of "boring" is, since sin is deadly, but our unacknowledged sins are indeed dangerous. 

In the end, the author writes that tragedy can be transformative, and as Christians, we believe that it can transform us for the better.  I wholly believe (and often tell my children), "There is no situation so bleak that God's grace cannot redeem it."

Ted Nugent to meet with Secret Service...that ought to be....interesting...

“The way that you eliminate bad and ugly is either through activism and policy making that never tolerates evil -- instead of the liberal politically correct policy of accepting evil and accepting other points of views that destroy lives. We the thoughtful, productive people of American have got to take our freedom back.”

Do you know a nun?

VS.



There is a lot of stuff in the news right now about nuns, most of it in the liberal press screaming that the Vatican is "cracking down" on American nuns.  Let's chat about this.

First, a  little Nun 101.  There are "nuns" and there are "sisters" and there is a difference. "Nuns" are actually women live a monastic life in a cloister.  That is, they have limited contact with the world, and the focus of their vocation is prayer.  A "sister" is a woman who - though she takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience - lives "in the world".  These are the women who teach, do social work, therapy, write blogs about media, etc.  All this being said, most of us use the words "nuns" and "sisters" interchangeably, and while the distinction is great, no one gets too worked up if you call a nun a sister or vice versa.

Now, on to the Vatican report. A few years ago, the Vatican asked for an "assessment"…

Three Good Things Thursday

1. NOT living together before marriage.  As this article points out, there are some serious downsides to this "convenient" arrangement: Jennifer said she never really felt that her boyfriend was committed to her.  “I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” she said. Read the piece - some solid points.

2. Fabulous After 40: These ladies have a zest for life and fashion, and are really great at showing ladies that "later in life" doesn't mean "limp, lifeless and lazy" when it comes to style!

3. Flannery O'Connor.  This woman's writings offer me something new every time I delve into them.  An interesting piece over at Dappled Things about the influence of home and community on her writing.


Cryin' in the confessional

Almost every cradle Catholic I know has at least one confession horror story.  I admit: my last confession, after I confessed my sins, I could hear the priest muttering a prayer for guidance under his breath.  Yep, it was that bad.

However, this piece by Rebecca Taylor is laugh-out-loud funny.  Really. Even though she passes out. Hilarious.

Back to the beginning

I was inspired this morning to grab a book off my shelf on my way out the door.  Francis of Assisi: the man who found perfect joy by Michael De La Bedoyere is one of the first biographies I read of St. Francis.  I thought I might find something in there to help me as I struggled with whether or not to keep blogging.

First, let me say too, that I've been mulling over a discussion I was in Saturday morning with a group of women I am friends with, and the Franciscan Sisters who are our spiritual directors.  We were talking about social media. One of the Sisters expressed very strong opinions about how much social media has degraded our ability to communicate, and that while many people have replaced face-to-face communication with social media, it is clearly not the same, nor as good. However, we all agreed that social media is where people are at, and it offers us - especially the laity - a clear opportunity to evangelize in ways that were never possible before.

Back to the book. Th…

Bad blogging issues

My blog got crazy-busy over the past two days, and I wasn't sure why, especially since I haven't posted that much.  So, thanks to all the Google stats that are available, I backtracked the hits to a message board where I was being raked over the coals for not giving my daughter Plan B, and folks headed over here to either bash me, or lurk around  - just to see what a horrid person I was, I guess.

This is just the sort of thing that makes me NOT want to continue blogging. I can't figure out why people who already know they aren't going to agree with me would come on over to say mean stuff to me. Would they come to my front door and say these things to my face? No, they wouldn't be that brave. And honestly, a face-to-face discussion requires more civility and you have to look another human being in the face, in the eyes and say something. And it makes it hard to say things like, "I hope you get raped too, so you know what it's like."

Yes, I know having …

Thinking out loud about blogging

As I mentioned, I am thinking/praying about the future of this blog.  I have often found it useful to make a pro/con list when trying to make decisions, and here it is:

Pros of continuing to blog (in no particular order):
creative outlet for mehonorable voices are needed more than everCatholic voices are needed more than everIt's personal, and I think people relate to that.It's unique - it doesn't fit any of the typical Catholic blog categories: "mommy blogs", "theological" blogs, etc. Cons of continuing to blog:

time-consuming - it is hard work to create a blog that is unique and good, consistentlycriticisms are getting meaner, and harder to take maybe it's TOO personal?While it's unique, that's a "bad" thing too.  People looking for "mommy blogs", theology, etc., don't find it here.  It doesn't seem to "fit" anywhere....hmmmm.After two years of really hard work, the blog is still not where I want it to …

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Still thinking and praying, praying and thinking, but had to share this wonderful post:

Why I blog about mental illness and trying to be pathetically brave:

I have found it difficult to talk openly about this recently, because of the pernicious tactic of using my mental health issues against me.
It’s something that has been happening online with increasing frequency lately, and I’m not here to cite examples, blame folks, engender sympathy, or anything like that. Suffice it to say the general tone seems to be one of attempting to discredit me, because I have mental health problems.
I’m posting this to simply share my struggle with you – especially for you praying types – and to in a sense try to embolden myself, remind myself why I do this, and to say publicly that I will never EVER  respond to such comments, emails, DM’s and so on.
Many of you have shared with me your own personal journeys and struggles and it’s for you guys – as well as for myself – that I do this.

The future of "Kissing the Leper" blog

I've been doing some praying and thinking the last few days about the future of this blog.  I've been at it for over two years, and am trying to discern whether it should continue or not.

So, light blogging for a few days, and I will keep you posted.  Much thanks to all of you who have been supporters, readers, commenters, and even you lurkers!

Being pro-life on Pinterest

If you're on Pinterest, search "pro-life" and see what shows up.  I was a little shocked in that much of what I found was actually pro-abortion (the term "pro-life" was used ironically in a lot of the postings).

If you're pro-life and on Pinterest, try and make it a point to use that medium as a way to promote life issues.  You don't need to be mean, combative or confrontational, but let's be a presence there.

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

Psalm 118: the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  It didn't "fit" their plans, they tossed it aside, and Christ became not only part of the "building" but the strongest part, the most integral part.

This made me think: what are we rejecting in our lives that is good? I know many people struggle with Church teaching on a particular subject.  Maybe you've rejected faith outright.  Maybe your faith in Christ is strong, but you find His Church difficult.

Or maybe the rejection in your life is closer to home: a broken relationship, a missed opportunity.

Is it time for you to re-visit something good you've rejected?  Pray about an event, person or issue in your life that you've struggled with and perhaps given up on?  Maybe you will find that what you once rejected will become a strong foundation.

Three Good Things Thursday

1.  Pinterest. Ridiculously fun eye-candy.  Can be a serious time waster, but really, it's like having a new issue of your favorite magazine every day. 

2. The Dalai Lama saying nice stuff about us.  Our world would be an incredibly nicer place if we were all this kind and saw the connections instead of the trying to focus on the differences.

3. Encourage-Priests.org. Wouldn't today be a good day to tell your priest thank you, especially after the marathon of Holy Week? 

It's good to be Pope

The Pope got a giant Easter egg this year.  Too bad it wasn't a bunny - could have nibbled off the ears.  (By the way, it got donated.)

"Look at us"

The first reading today,  Acts 3:1-10, is a miracle story.  Peter and John meet a cripple and heal him in the name of Christ.

But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk."


This really caught my attention.  Peter and John look INTENTLY at the man, and say "LOOK AT US".

How often do we miss this opportunity in our lives?  We rush past people, hardly noticing.  We prefer people don't look at us - just give me what I need and leave me alone.  And so, we miss opportunities to heal.  I'm not saying that we have the ability to make cripples walk, but unless we really SEE someone, how do we know what to pray for?

And then, there is the second part:  "LOOK AT US".  When someone looks at us, do they see Christ?  Do they see …

Iconographer

Found some beautiful icons at this site.  Please take a few minutes to enjoy and meditate.

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer, with all due credit, of course.  Just sharin' something good!

Here is some of Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil sermon:

At Easter, on the morning of the first day of the week, God said once again: “Let there be light”.  The night on the Mount of Olives, the solar eclipse of Jesus’ passion and death, the night of the grave had all passed.  Now it is the first day once again – creation is beginning anew.  “Let there be light”, says God, “and there was light”: Jesus rises from the grave.  Life is stronger than death.  Good is stronger than evil.  Love is stronger than hate.  Truth is stronger than lies.  The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God’s pure light.  But this applies not only to him, not only to the darkness of those days.  With the resurrection of Jesus, light itself is created anew.  He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection…

Did Lent change you?

It's Easter Monday - a day of thorough joy for Christians.  Most of us spent yesterday in worship and thanksgiving, and (if we are truly blessed) in the company of friends and family. (And if you're really, really blessed, you got to watch the Detroit Tigers pull out an awesome victory.)

Lent is done.  Our Lenten sacrifices are complete.  How did yours change you?  If your answer is, "It didn't, I guess", then you need to re-evaluate.

Catholics are known for "giving stuff up" for Lent.  We give up beer or chocolate, a favorite TV show, use of a website like Facebook.  Why?  Just to prove we can tough it out?  No, we do it so our very small sacrifice may help us be united more closely with the Great Sacrifice of Christ.  We want - in essence - to "help".

I think it was Scott Hahn who gave this example.  A mom is making a cake, and a small child wanders into the kitchen and asks, "Can I help?"  Truthfully, the child can't.  Really…

Mary Cassatt Monday

At the tomb at 4 a.m.

I was awake at 4 a.m. this Easter morning, and I started thinking about Mary Magdalene.  Was she awake at 4 a.m. that first Easter?  Was she wondering what life held now that Christ was dead, buried?  Was she afraid and lonely, or full of hope, remembering his words?  What moved her to go to that tomb in that earliest of hours?

When she found the tomb empty, what could she possibly have thought?  "They've taken Him...." That tomb, which held all the Hope and Love and Truth of the world....now was empty.

What Mary Magdalene did not know, but we do, is that the Lord had not been taken;  He is Risen. This world could not keep concealed and locked away the Hope and Love and Truth of Christ.  There was no tomb solid enough, deep enough, large enough for that.

On this Easter morning, as we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, pray about what you have locked away in a tomb that needs to be let go of.  Is it a past sin, confessed, that you still feel weighed down by?  Is it a …

Bullying

The documentary "Bully" has opened.  Thanks to some very brave kids, who allowed the pain in their lives to be made so public, I am sure that this will create a lot of buzz, and hopefully, some good.  If one kid steps up and says "Stop", or one community says "Not here", then the film will have done its job.

No one deserves to be treated with anything less than dignity and respect, because we are all children of God.  The color of one's skin, the ability of one's body or brain to function normally, one's appearance or one's sexual orientation notwithstanding, we all have the right to freedom, safety and love, even if we don't like each other.

And that goes for pro-lifers and Christians as well.

I just wanted to share with you a bit of bullying.  You know, it happens to adults too.  Oh, most adults aren't gonna harass you in open - but the internet: that's a whole different thing.

Two months ago, Dark-Haired Daughter was repeat…

Prayer of Dismas

"Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"

Forty Days of Gratitude: Day Thirty-nine

I am very grateful for Good Friday.  Not only because of Christ's Sacrifice for us, because that is the MOST important event ever, but I am really grateful for Good Friday services, especially our beautiful Catholic liturgy.  It's deep and somber and solemn and thoughtful and just glorious.

My spiritual journey: dark and wandering

I was given an assignment for Easter Sunday by the Franciscan Sisters I hang out with.  (By the way, it wasn't just me, it was all the adults in our lay group.)  The task is to create some sort of representation of our spiritual journey to date, including our reception of various sacraments, important events, etc.

I cannot do it.

I mean, I CAN, I'm just struggling.  Part of it is time - it's sort of a big task, and I'm swamped this week.  Between taking over a new job at work, trying to get ready for Easter and still nursing a pinched nerve, I'm short on time.  But I know that's not everything.

My spiritual journey right now is somewhere in the Dark Forest of Doubt, Anger and Fed-Up.  I took a hard left turn back in January when my daughter was assaulted, and now I'm wandering.  I'm not lost.  I'm not scared.  I'm just here.  It really doesn't make for a fun-filled "let's show off our spiritual journey" scrapbook for Easter Su…

"My friends avoid me like a leper"

That line is from Psalm 38.  It certainly is fitting meditation for today, as Christ is abandoned, alone, and afraid.  The Great Healer of lepers is now outcast, just as a leper would be.

O Lord, do not forsake me! My God, why do you stay afar off?  Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my God, my savior!


There is nothing more clear in Scripture to describe the past few months of my life.  The assault on my daughter has shaken my faith in a way I never would have imagined.  Beside the fact that my daughter is still reeling emotionally and psychologically from all this, the whole experience has isolated me from God, and made me wonder why He is so far off.  It has been a Lent of suffering, open and oozing wounds, raw flesh and brokenness.

It is fitting to join in the Church's prayers during the Holy Week, especially pondering Christ on the Cross.  While I can in no way fully understand his Sacrifice, I can feel the pain of isolation and abandonment.

Keep praying fervently during …

"I declare myself Pope"

...There is an encrypted webpage to vote for the successor of Pius XIII, AKA Father Lucian Pulvermacher, the “pope of Montana”, who was elected with white smoke on a ranch in 1998 and who died three years ago. “All electors and those who could be elected pope, please enter your username and password to enter…” In the meantime in Canada, on the 12th of January, another pope was elected, he is father Mathurin. In Italy, in Gavinana, in the province of Pistoia, father Gino Frediani, a parish priest who claims of to have been chosen directly by the heavens to be pope Emmanuele I, has founded the Chiesa Novella Universale del Sacro Cuore (Universal Novel Church of the Sacred Heart) and after his death his successor, another priest, started managing the community.  

I love these sort of nutty characters....enjoy!

St. Clare of Assisi on Christ

Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him, as you desire to imitate Him.

Loneliness

How alone our Lord must have felt these few last hours of His life before the Crucifixion.  His closest companions cannot stay awake to lend Him comfort, His betrayal before Him, and a path of pain laid out.  The prophet Isaiah must have been forefront in His mind:  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.

We've all been alone, and we've all been lonely.  We usually choose "alone" - a time set apart to pray, reflect, just re-charge.  I can remember a time when my kids were quite young when my husband took them all out for the day, and I had the house to myself:  glorious!

But lonely?  That's an existential horribleness.  You can be surrounded by people, even people who love you, and be isolated.  And that's where Christ was in these last few  hours.

Look around today.  Is there someone who seems lonely to you?  A young person in your life struggling?  An elderly person w…

“Let’s tear down the walls of intolerance together”

The Vatican Insider reports that in the Vatican's annual message to the global Buddhist community, they address those who practice Buddhism:  By their genuineness, they encourage us to find an answer to the most fundamental questions about life and death, justice and peace, the meaning of suffering, and the reasons for hope. Thus they help us to progress in our pilgrimage towards Truth. By their dynamism, as builders of the future, they put pressure on us to destroy all the walls which unfortunately still separate us. By their questioning they nurture the dialogue between religions and cultures.

One of the Church's prayers on Good Friday is for all those who are people of good heart, but still do not believe in Christ.  A good way to engender that belief is just this type of dialogue.

I am your servant

The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,

and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
Isaiah 49
The Gospel is compelling today - no doubt about it.  It's about betrayal and hope, and fortitude of Christ to finish what must be done.  But it's the first reading from today's Mass that grabs my heart.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a big-mouthed, big-hearted Irish girl who doesn't like to to be wrong, and doesn't want to take "no" when "yes" is the only acceptable answer.  This doesn't always serve me well, but in terms of raising my kids - all of whom have special needs and challenges - it's been a bles…

The Wounds of Christ

“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?” - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Pope: Palm Sunday Sermon

The Pope said that this question of Jesus’ identity is at the heart of today’s feast.
“What idea do we have of the Messiah, what idea do we have of God?” he asked. “It is a crucial question, one we cannot avoid, not least because during this very week we are called to follow our King who chooses the Cross as his throne.”
“We are called to follow a Messiah who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude.”

"Praise the Lord with Gratitude"

Being extravagant

Today's Gospel, from John, tells the story of Mary (some believe to be Mary Magdalene) literally throwing herself at the feet of Jesus and anointing his feet with costly perfume, wiping them with her hair.  It's a striking image.  Of course, Jesus will shortly imitate this as He washes His disciples' feet and directs them to do the same for each other.

Jesus is chided in the Gospel for allowing for such waste, and He replies that Mary is not to be disturbed.  Her action is not wasteful.

One of my sister's is a "saver".  If you give  her a gift basket with bath oils and a candle, it will sit on her shelf...possibly forever.  She's "saving it".  Of course, many of us have dishes we use only for "good", or a dress we've worn only once to a special occasion.  We don't want to risk the extravagance.

Why?

Why isn't today good enough?  Why isn't our family worth the good dishes, or our husband worthy of that special dress and…

The Passion of Christ

"Crucify Him, crucify him!"

As Catholics, we begin Holy Week today, beginning with Palm Sunday.  You could take all our prayers and liturgies this week as sort of re-enactments or mere remembrances, but that would be an weak understanding.  While we of course never want to forget Christ's Sacrifice for us, Holy Week is more than "play-acting".  We enter into eternity:  His Sacrifice and Death are as much for you and me today as they were for the folks walking around Jerusalem and Galilee 2000 years ago.  He is saying "yes" to that cross for you, for me in an eternal - God's time - response to our sin and our desperate need for salvation.

Which leads us to today's Gospel.  As Catholics, we read what is called "the Passion" today - the whole story of Jesus entering Jerusalem as a hero all the way through his Crucifixion and Death.  The entire congregation takes part in this narrative.  At one point, Pontius Pilate is trying to figure out what to do, and the crowd (that…