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I've seen a number of blog posts and news articles this week dissing on JPII (like this one at The Week.) The basic argument of these is that John Paul II presided over the Church during the horrific sex scandal of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and thus should not be canonized.
There is no doubt that JP II could have and probably should have done more during this time. There is evidence both that he was insulated from the full scale of the situation, and evidence that he was aware of the depth of the problem and was not fully-equipped to deal with it.
Here's the thing about sainthood: it's not about being perfect. There is not ONE canonized saint, not one unrecognized saint, not one fully human person in Heaven that is with out sin except for Our Blessed Mother.
The first pope was a terrible Apostle. He had complete lack of faith, got called Satan by Jesus, turned tail and ran when the going got tough. But still: St. Peter.
Anyone who knows me knows I do not run. Ever. I joke that I studied martial arts for 15 years so I didn't have to run; I could stand and fight. Running is painful and hard and hard and hard and unpleasant.
Yet, here I am running. Satan is chasing me. And I'm running.
Dark-haired daughter has been really sick for the past week and needed a lot of attention. Of course, Eldest Son was diagnosed with a mental illness and that took much of my time and energy. Easter was celebrated (gratefully!) but there was a lot of prep for that.
Then yesterday, a woman I do not know wrote me a letter at work. She had attended a lecture I gave two weeks ago. She wrote to tell me that the dress I wore was inappropriate, two sizes too small, and detracted from my talk.
I wholeheartedly admit I am often prideful about my appearance. I love clothes. I had chosen a new dress for that talk. It wasn't quite what I expected (I ordered it online), but I showed it to Curly-haired Daughter and my…
I wasn't really "in the mood" for Easter. It's been a tough week. Eldest Son is still in the psych hospital, being diagnosed with schizophrenia. He'll be released soon, and we're not very hopeful that he'll stay on his meds and do his follow-up care, but...
I ended up (of course!) getting sick on Thursday - broke out in a rash, sore throat, fatigue. I'm sure my body was just saying "uncle!" and was telling me to rest, which I did, but I also missed the Tridiium liturgies. I was just snuggled in my recliner, drinking lots of liquids and praying.
It took an enormous amount of energy to get to Easter Sunday Mass with the Franciscans, but the liturgy was so beautiful. The priest gave such an amazing homily - I wished I could have recorded it.
Two things that really stuck in my mind. First, he said one of the great things about Catholic morality is that it is very clear: Is this action good? Is this action bad? Does it lead me (or the other) clo…
In His great goodness, God decided to put a cross on my back and on my husband's and is allowing us to walk through Holy Week with His Son.
Eldest Son has not been doing well mentally. There were a number of us concerned about him, and we were talking about doing sort of an intervention to see if we could get him to agree to see a counselor.
And things just fell off a cliff.
Eldest Son started talking about stuff that didn't make any sense, bought a machete, was extremely paranoid....right off the cliff.
So I spent Monday getting a court order to put him on a 72 hour psych hold and then spent 7 hours in the ER with him until he could be evaluated and get a bed at the psych hospital.
When he wasn't spewing venom at me, he was saying completely nutty stuff. He is seriously mentally ill.
On top of this, we have Dark Haired Daughter, who is bipolar. She's doing fine, but there is always something to deal with.
Youngest Son is seriously depressed and in a ton of trouble wi…
fishes flew and forests walked And
figs grew upon thorn, Some
moment when the moon was blood Then
surely I was born. With
monstrous head and sickening cry And
ears like errant wings, The
devil’s walking parody On
all four-footed things. The
tattered outlaw of the earth, Of
ancient crooked will; Starve,
scourge, deride me: I am dumb, I
keep my secret still. Fools!
For I also had my hour; One
far fierce hour and sweet: There
was a shout about my ears, And
palms before my feet. - G. K. Chesterton
The Holy Spirit also makes the Christian "wise". This is, however , not
in the sense that he or she has an answer for everything, or knows
everything, but in the sense that he or she "knows" of God, how God
acts, they know when something is of God and when it is not. They know
this, they have this wisdom that God gives our heart. The heart of the
wise man has this taste of God. It is so important that our communities
have Christians such as these! Everything about them speaks of God and
becomes a beautiful and vital sign of His presence and His love. And it
is something we cannot improvise, something we cannot obtain by our own
merits: it is a gift that God gives to those who are docile to His Holy
Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts we can listen to him or
not. If we listen to him he teaches us this path of wisdom, he gifts us
wisdom which is seeing with God’s eyes, listening with God’s ears,
loving with God’s heart, judging things with …
I like the idea of random acts of kindness: a gift card left under a stranger's windshield wiper, paying the toll for the guy behind you. The reason these are good is that there is generally no "pay-back" - you don't even get a "thank you" out of it. We should be kind just for the sake of kindness.
But "random"? No. Let's start being intentional. Let's be intentionally, consciously, kind to everyone we meet. Smile. Hold a conversation. Ask how the person's day is going. Give a genuine compliment. Wash the dishes even when it's not your "turn." Wash the dirty clothes instead of waiting for your spouse to notice that it needs to be done.
Congratulate your co-worker on a job well done. Take your boss out to lunch and thank him/her for being great to work for.
Send a card. In the mail. With a stamp.
Make something for someone you love....just because.
Let's start being very intentional with our kindness - to our friends…
Can you feel it? That dragging feeling? That feeling you get about this time in Lent when it seems as if you're no closer to Easter than when you had those ashes smeared on your forehead? That sleepy-tired-can't-handle-no-mo' feeling?
There is a cure. It's not very popular. It's not even all that much fun. Most of the time, we choose not to do it.
Pray more. Pray more than you want to or intended to. Pray for endurance and patience and strength and fortitude and grace.
I went to our diocesan women's retreat on Saturday. It focused on Mary. One thing the speaker focused on in the morning was how "surprise" and "gift" work together (we were reflecting on the Joyful Mysteries.)
Our speaker (the delightful Sr. Mary Timothy Prokes, FSE) said we've lost the power of "gift." We say to our family, "What do you want for your birthday?" rather than observing what that person might want or need and then surprising them. We make sure we get a gift receipt, so the trinket we picked up can be easily returned. We bury our children in gifts at holidays and birthdays, but rarely choose with great care. We are not thoughtful or observant in our gifts. We favor being expedient.
When was the last time you gave a true gift to someone? Who can you gift today? Who in your life do you need to pay attention to? What gift is the best, the truest, the most honest expression of who you are, who they are, and what your relations…