Sunday, May 31, 2009
Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
Are you still not sure if it matters that we share the same faith with the world? Do you still think it is okay that there are over 33000 different Christian denominations? Of course it matters. Let's get on the same page, preach the Gospel with one unified voice.
Invite someone to RCIA this year and help them to hear with the unified ears - the teachings of 2000 years, the voice of the Magisterium, the Church, born on that Pentecost Day.
Happy Birthday, Catholic Church.
Most of the tests, though, are really ridiculous. What color are you? What 80s sit-com character are you? And, of course, there are some I cannot repeat because they are too foul to put on a Catholic blog.
Yes, one can get a pretty good idea. Take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How many of them do you have? How about the fruits of the Holy Spirit? How is your life going in that area?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
She retells the story of an interview in which David Letterman asked composer and performer Warren Zevron, who was dying of cancer, "From your perspective now, do you know something about life and death that maybe I don't know?"
To which Zevron replied, "I know how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich."
And so it is with afternoons late in the month of May - and glasses of suntea. Without a doubt, it's all grace.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Thankfully, I had the foresight to bring a book along with me today on the field trip. My new son-in-law passed it along to me on Sunday, and I grabbed it as I headed out the door this morning a little after seven AM. Peggy Noonan's inspiring prose is elegantly woven together in a complete work entitled John Paul the Great. Like the title and the beloved pope, the books itself is great.
It is appropriate to leave you with a quote, taken from JPII himself, on his first visit to Poland after being named pope (found on page 32).
As a bishop does in the sacrament of Confirmation so do I today extend my hands in that apostolic gesture over all who are gathered here today, my compatriots. And so I speak for Christ himself: "Receive the Holy Spirit!"
I speak, too, for St. Paul: "Do not quench the Spirit!"
I speak again for St. Paul: "Do not grieve the Spirit!"
Now, just days before we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, these words of John Paul II are as appropriate as ever.
And if you have four hours to pass on a big yellow school bus with some sixty elementary-aged kids, I highly recommend taking along Ms. Noonan's book. It almost turns a field trip into a pilgrimage - almost.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Church will celebrate a special year for priests beginning on June 19, 2009. The year will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Vianney, Cure of Ars.
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Church would observe a celebration in honor of St. Paul the Apostle, from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009.
From June 19, 2009 to June 29, 2009 we will be celebrating two incredible things: St. Paul and all priests. It's like the part of a Venn Diagram that intersects. You know, that part in the center where two significant things come together.
I don't know about you, but I think those 10 days hold so much possibility. Maybe consider setting aside that time for a novena. A special novena. Perhaps a novena for priests to rise up with the kind of zeal of a St. Paul and faithfulness of a St. Jean Vianney.
That's what I plan to do. See you there - where two fantastic years intersect!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Waiting for someone to call.
Waiting for the weather to change.
Waiting for test results.
Waiting for a change of scenery.
What were those days like for the Apostles, those days between Our Lord's Ascension and Pentecost?
Did they have the sense of waiting, but not even sure what exactly they were waiting for? And did they ask themselves, when the Spirit comes, what will it mean? What will it bring? How will things change?
"It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Either there is virtue in being kind to those who cannot defend themselves against us, or there isn't. But if humans are called to be more humane, why aren't the unborn among those we protect?
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
That’s how it is when Dad’s a preacher.
By the age of five, God is at the core of all things. You have doubts about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. But the Great I Am simply is.
At five, it doesn’t seem strange that Dad’s a preacher. Having a farmer or a trucker for a dad sounds weird. But having a preacher for a dad is normal. He has a church. People come to hear him speak. Mom is the church pianist. And you sit on the front row and behave until the benediction. You go to every potluck dinner, where everyone calls you by name and helps you fill your plate with whatever your heart desires.
When I was eight or nine, I invited Jesus to come into my heart. It was the normal progression in the evangelical and fundamentalist denominations. First, you teach a child. Then, the child chooses for herself.
From that point forward, I not only knew God was real, I knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was living in my heart. And I absolutely fell in love with Him. It was the beginning of my love affair with Our Lord; it set the stage for receiving the Eucharist - though that would not come for a very long time. Indeed, I learned to love deeply, and decades later, when I understood what I was receiving in Holy Communion as a Catholic, I almost couldn't bear it. It was too wonderful, so intimate, to have this one I loved take the form of something I could receive within me - literally and spiritually.
The summer of my ninth birthday came to a close, and my sister and I prepared to start a new school year.
In December of that school year, my parents got a phone call that my grandfather had fallen into a grain bin on the family farm and the local fire department was at that moment shoveling corn onto the frozen ground in an effort to find his body. The recovery team believed he had climbed to the top of the bin with a wrench in hand in order to break through the frozen layer of ice that sometimes forms on the grain during Iowa winters. He’d done this task many times through the years, but this time something went wrong, and he fell into the bin and suffocated. When he didn’t show up for the evening meal, grandma went looking for him. She had her suspicions when she realized the bin’s drier wasn’t working. A wrench had jammed up the gears. Grandpa’s wrench. The one he’d used to break through the crust of ice just before losing his balance. The wrench had made its way to the bottom of the bin and become lodged in the drier. My dad left the ministry soon after that terrible night, and we moved to the farm to help grandma.
I now had a farmer for a dad.
And that’s how things would have stayed if not for a couple of local Presbyterian churches who happened to be without a pastor. But that is another story for another day. It is enough to say that my first love for Jesus began when I was just a child - when I was Wesleyan. Even then, He was preparing me to come all the way home, to recognize Him in the Eucharist and to crave this Bread of Life with my whole heart and soul. Indeed, all things do work together for the good of those who are called.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It also made me wonder what I have done lately for the Blessed Mother. As much as I love these creative little love notes, I'm sure she delights in little trinkets left for her to find.
A smile when I feel like frowning.
A visit to the Marian garden where I pluck a few weeds.
A stop by the Adoration Chapel and light a candle at her feet.
An extra purchase at the store that I later drop by the food pantry.
Almost anything will work, but I'm guessing you are far more creative than I am. If you think of something really terrific, leave the suggestion in a comment.
In the 1990s I went on a Walk to Emmaus Women's Retreat in North Georgia. On that first day of the three-day retreat, we learned that this United Methodist retreat had sprung from a Roman Catholic retreat experience called Cursillo.
I was suprised. Shocked. Confused.
There have been moments in my life when I have come face-to-face with my anti-Catholic bias. This was one of those moments.
The Walk to Emmaus Retreat was fantastic, powerful and a potentially life-changing retreat. I could hardly believe that we had "borrowed" the concept from the Catholics.
Had the retreat leaders told me that this experience came out of the charismatic or evangelical movements, I wouldn't have been surprised, but I had an idea of the Catholic Church back then, and it didn't fit with this incredible encounter with grace.
I am ashamed I ever felt like this because, the truth is, every good gift we have from Our Lord Jesus Christ has been entrusted to His Church in such an abundance that it has spilled over into other faith communities. The keeper of the Faith has always been the Catholic Church - from the moment of that first Pentecost day when the Church was born. Any honest read of history proves this. She has given all believers the powerful teachings on the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Redemption.
When I became Catholic, I frequently heard a prayer that I first learned on that retreat. To this day, when I hear that prayer, I think of my old bias, and I am humbled but I am also in awe of a God who would shower the Catholic Church so richly that her treasures spilled over and enriched so many other faith communities.
What is the prayer? It is the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.
I attended the North Georgia Women's Walk to Emmaus where I sat at the table of Deborah. . . and this is the Catholic prayer that has filled my life with good things:
Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Divine Love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the faithful, Grant, that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
What made me think of the prayer today? The Gospel reading for today's Mass is from John 16 (12-13):
I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth. . .
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
My daughter was eating breakfast this morning while I reviewed pictures at Catholic News Service (video clip from YouTube). She asked me questions about Notre Dame and why they would invite (and honor) the President. I had no good answers.
"Maybe they didn't realize he is for abortion," she said.
"No, I'm quite sure they knew precisely how he feels about abortion," I told her. Then I recommended that she look to other Catholic universities when she considers a college (in about seven years).
In studying the pictures from Sunday, I had a few thoughts. First, it is obvious that President Obama's call for "a free exchange of ideas" is a farce. The President speaks freely from his podium, while others are taken away in handcuffs - priests, religious, laity. There is no free exchange of ideas on this day.
Secondly, I'm not sure there should be a free exchange of ideas, but the one who should not be speaking his mind at ND is the President of the United States. There should be no "free exchange of ideas" because this speaker has passed legislation that protects the right to take the life of the unborn - at every stage. If he had supported legislation for genocide or another holocaust or slavery, he would not have become president and he certainly wouldn't be honored at Notre Dame. Sometimes something is wrong - so wrong that the viewpoint simply shouldn't get a public venue. At the very least, it shouldn't get a Catholic venue, a Catholic honor, a Catholic endorsement (standing ovation, crowd chanting "Yes We Can", pat on the back, smiles and accolades). As Catholics, that is how we feel about abortion. It is an intrinsic evil. Yet, who is silenced?
Who has been denied the public venue? The pictures speak for themselves. . .
Monday, May 18, 2009
His name is Max.
We didn't go on a puppy-finding mission. Max came to us, and he turned our life and house upside down.
A couple of years ago, our grown daughter did the prodigal thing. She packed up her stuff and decided to strike out on her own - with her standard-sized poodle.
Two years later, she came back home to regroup. Worn out by life choices and life events. She moved in for about six months - with her pregnant standard-sized poodle.
The litter was born on our kitchen floor. All five labradoodles.
And the journey to sainthood took off.
One by one, the puppies sold . . . except for Max. But by the time he was the last puppy standing, we had fallen for the goofy looking, lovable puppy, and we didn't want to see him go.
So we bought him from our daughter - at a discount because we had helped her raise the litter and get them out the door.
Then, the daughter moved out again, and left the standard-sized poodle at home. The mother poodle is big, but Max is ENORMOUS.
And there is not a day that goes by that he doesn't have a Marley and Me moment. Sometimes, I react rather badly. But sometimes, I dig deep into the wellspring of grace and surprise myself.
In those moments, I realize that Max has become one of my many saint-makers. And I offer it up for the daughter who still dabbles in the prodigal way.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I do it every week. It is part of getting ready for Mass. I walk over to a little container that I keep in the kitchen, I open it, and I pull out the envelope for today's offering. I write a check, put it in the envelope, and we head off to Mass.
Today, there were two envelopes dated May 17. I was ready to toss the second one in the trash (I admit it), when I saw the name of the special collection on the envelope.
Catholic Communications Campaign
Talk about being convicted. That's what we are about, isn't it? That's what Catholic bloggers say they are doing. Spreading the Good News?
But if I am not willing to give to this collection, how can I truly say that this is my ultimate goal? Do I really want to share the Gospel - or do I just want a forum to share my own thoughts?
The Catholic Communications Campaign
United States Catholic Conference
3211 Fourth Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I petition Our Lady of Grace for many things.
I always approach the Body and Blood of Our Lord with joy in my heart. But I always have a concern that I leave at the altar.
I never waste that moment in the Mass where the priest asks for silent petitions. I'm always a beggar before God.
These moments are usually filled with some degree of heartache, because I'm usually standing in the gap for someone I love, begging for healing of body or soul.
But Thursday evening, at the Confirmation Mass, I did something I rarely do.
I asked God for a very joyous thing. The idea of it sends my spirit soaring. And I thought of Our Lady, who requested that first miracle of Her Son. It was not a request to raise someone who was sick or dead. It was not a request for healing of body or soul.
They have no wine.
So, I asked God to send more vocations to the priesthood. And, if it is possible, let one of those vocations be placed upon my own grandson. (I don't have any grandchildren yet, so I may be a little ahead of the curve.)
To appreciate the full measure of the miracle, you must understand that I come from a family that has been Protestant for centuries. My father was a Protestant minister. I converted just a few years ago. I have four children. Only one of them is Catholic. The possibility of having a grandson who senses a call to the priesthood is, well, practically impossible.
But so was the miracle of turning water into wine. And so, I asked.
Friday, May 15, 2009
We do it because we love it. Blogging. Podcasting. Twittering (though I'm more of a Facebook kind of gal). We send YouTube clips and share electronic articles.
But really, there's more to it than love of technology and joy of social networking. As Catholics, we love to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can't "not do" it. If we don't sing His praises, the very rocks and stones will cry out. . . as Holy Scripture says.
There is no faster way to reach such a great number of people than through digital technology. And so, we enter this world without knowing what we are really doing, learning faster than the speed of light, and we wait for the nibbles. And we pray that, somehow, somebody will be inspired and encouraged to keep fighting the good fight.
On this 43rd World Day of Communications, the Holy Father has some advice, namely that of encouragement, saying, "Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the 'Good News' of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people."
Together, with the Holy Father, let us celebrate the wonderful gift of sharing the peace of Christ through technology!
Happy blogging, twittering, youtubing, or whatever else you do to spread the Word.
The beauty and truth of this saying pops up everywhere - if you are willing to see the Hand of God in the little things.
Case in point: Lately I've been worried about my daughter - the grown daughter who is still trying to grow up.
Sometimes, I don't know how to pray for my own children. As they enter adulthood, I'm not even sure what their needs are anymore. What do I say when I pray?
More specifically, which saints are best equipped to help me intercede. This non-Catholic daughter doesn't even have a patron saint. So, I'm on my own to figure this out.
Which brings me to the email I received yesterday from my grown, poodle-loving daughter. She writes, "I thought you would appreciate this picture."
I certainly do. Now I know who to ask for help with intercession.
Everything really is grace.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tonight, we had our parish Confirmation Mass. After the Mass, we all went downstairs to the Grand Hall for refreshments. The place was packed.
Father and Monsignor (who was there by special request of the Bishop to stand in his place) enjoyed the festivities and made the rounds congratulating the students in our Confirmation class.
And then they turned toward the sad face of a little boy, and both Father and Monsignor stooped over to see what was troubling the small child.
After a quick review of the situation, Father announced to the room that "Robert has lost his mother." And then the two robed clergymen took that little boy by the hand, one on each side, and led him around the Grand Hall until they came across his mother.
Okay, converts. That's what it's like, isn't it? We were that little boy. Then, some clergyman took us by the hand and led us to Mother Church, and we ran into her arms, relieved.
Look around you, Catholic brothers and sisters, there are crying sons and daughters who want their mamas too.
Maybe you are the only one to lead them home to Mother Church.
So keep your eyes and ears open and learn from these priests. Robert wants his Mother and you can help.
They wanted the denomination to give God's stamp of approval on homosexual unions. The idea that the denomination would do that seemed outrageous. I voiced my thoughts to my dad. He said he didn’t think they would ever approve it. Clearly, the denomination shouldn’t see it as a viable “marriage” and more specifically, the idea that Presbyterian pastors should be able to have openly-gay relationships was unthinkable. They'll never pass it, he said.
But because the Presbyterian denomination decided things by vote, every year the gap between those who were against gay marriage (and gay clergy) narrowed. The views of the culture were moving, changing the stance of the denomination.
It is a story that is told and retold in every faith community but one. It not only affects denominational teaching on gay marriage, but it has affected everything from artificial contraception (beginning in 1930 when the first denomination changed its position) to abortion.
Truth is up for popular vote.
It comes slowly, over the course of generations. We can only trace the path of change over the course of time by looking at history. And this is a history that you will not find in the textbooks.
We know that God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We know, too, that truth does not change – even though the times are constantly changing.
There is only one Church that has withstood the changing tides of time. One Church that teaches her tenets of the Faith and never changes them once they are laid down as official Church teaching.
The Catholic Church.
She alone is a solid rock. She alone has a light that shines and never fades or is extinguished. When you lose your way, your sense of direction gone, your moral compass broken, she sends out a light.
You may say, that can’t be right. My senses told me that truth was over here or over there. But her light shines steady and strong and the seasoned sailor knows to trust the beacon that shines.
Now, aren’t you glad you are Catholic? I am.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I've been told a couple of times lately that I am naive in terms of my faith. I must admit that I have a simple faith. I believe that God is listening, and He cares for us far more than we can imagine.
And so, I ask Him for pretty much everything that is on my heart. One of the many things I have laid before Him is a woman I met almost two years ago.
Our children were in soccer together. As often happens, we sat beside each other on the bleachers and tried to strike up a conversation. She asked me what I do, and I told her that I write for Catholic papers and magazines. She admitted that she was a cradle Catholic but hadn't gone to Mass in many years. Before they moved to our area, they attended her husband's denomination. But since moving to the area a few years back, they simply hadn't attended anywhere.
I invited her to come back home to the Catholic Church. My own joy at being Catholic was obvious. She sighed, said her parents and siblings would probably like to see her come back, but there were commitments that sort of precluded Sunday Mass attendance. Her husband had to work on Sundays. . . probably wouldn't come with her. . . and so on.
So, we let it go. But what she didn't know is that I put it to prayer - not constantly - just when I thought of it.
And I had been thinking about it a lot lately - even though that conversation occurred almost two years ago. No reason. But just wondering - and praying.
Well, guess who I saw in the narthex after Mass a week ago? Yes, she was there. I couldn't help it. My eyes filled with tears, and I asked how she was doing. She said she was ready to come home. She didn't receive the Eucharist, she said, because she was still waiting for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
But, it would happen, she said. And then, the girls will come in. I have to get myself in order first, she told me. Then, the girls.
Imagine my surprise at answered prayer.
Monday, May 11, 2009
We are a family of new Catholics, but we are beginning to learn the language and speak it more fluently.
Language, you may ask? What do I mean by the Catholic language?
I’m talking about strange words and phrases that Catholics understand but things which mean something different – or nothing at all – to non-Catholics and converts. For example, Grace means so much more than how we defined it as Protestants. Back then, it was almost the same thing as mercy.
Grace and mercy.
I wasn’t really sure how they were different from one another. And we used acrostics to help us understand Amazing Grace a little better.
God's Riches At Christ’s Expenses. (GRACE)
But grace is everywhere. It is in all things and all moments that lead us to Christ, keep us in Christ, and help us to grow in Christ.
But I think the Catholic phrase that has been uttered most in our house lately is “offer it up.” Now that is a uniquely Catholic phrase.
The other day, my husband asked me what it means. I tried to explain it. I sort of floundered for awhile. But I tried really hard. "It means that everything I do and everything I experience is offered back to Jesus Christ as a living sacrifice. We are sent into the world at the end of the Mass to become little priests (prophets and kings). The priest stands in the place of Jesus Christ (sacramentally) and offers up the sacrifice of the Mass. We go into the world and take the place of Our Lords’ hands and feet, offering all that we are and all that we do for the salvation of the world and the good of the Church."
It goes deeper. . . I offer up my disappointments and my hopes. My work. My moments in the garden and my moments in the shower. Those times I need a pain reliever for minor aches and those times I cry out in excruciating pain because I broke a bone or tore a ligament.
I offer it all.
Mopping the floor. Cleaning the carpet when the dog throws up. The agony of waiting for the phone to ring, when the one you need to hear from most of all just isn’t calling.
The disappointment when medical treatments fail.
I offer it all.
My husband says he still doesn’t understand it – but he likes the idea of it. And he’s trying to practice this new thing.
It’s like learning a foreign language for the two of us, but our daughter gets it in a way that we don’t. She is like the child who grows up speaking the language of the new world - fluently. For the transplants, it’s harder. In time, though, they get pretty good at it.
So, I’m offering it up.
At least, I’m trying.
We were scheduled to leave for a family vacation to Disney World. Cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Everybody.
It’s a tradition. Well, at least we’ve done it a couple of times before.
But this one will have to be postponed. Grandpa isn’t doing great. Chemotherapy is supposed to save his life, but it seems to be doing a real number on him instead.
Originally, the doctors said to leave the family vacation on the calendar. They would work around it, they said. You don’t postpone life when you don’t know what life is going to bring.
So we planned. We dreamed. And now, we are in a state of uncertainty.
We don’t mind putting aside the plans. The adults are far too worried about bigger things than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There’s a greater dream that’s on our minds.
What about Grandpa? Grandpa needs to get better.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
O God, Who wills not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live, grant we beseech You through the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Saint Joseph, her spouse, Blessed Junipero Serra, and all the saints, an increase of laborers for your Church, fellow laborers with Christ to spend and consume themselves for souls, through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
From a guy named Paul who commented on friend's Facebook (I don't know Paul at all):
"I have found in my life so far that when we try to impose what we think our life should be that we are truly lost. We must let go and just deal with what God wants from us at each present moment. All we have is the present moment. Seek to do God's will in the present moment and the rest will fall into place. Oh yeah I also found great peace in this book:
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
By Father Jean Baptistle Saint Jure S.J.
Saint Claude De La Colombiere S.J."
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I am not exaggerating when I say I make bread (or baguettes or rolls) almost every day.
And I find that it is a spiritual experience. It was probably the first daily activity that crossed over and became a moment of grace for me.
As Catholics, we know how to translate everything into such moments. Everything can take us to the throne of grace.
Even baking bread.
I mix and knead, and as I move through the two or three hour event of baking bread, I pray the Our Father.
Give us this day. . .
I roll out the dough and put it in a pan.
Our daily bread. . .
I let it cool and share it with family and friends.
And I reaffirm my Catholic faith. "Everything is grace" (as St. Therese said). Even baking bread.
It is time for me to do a second round of kneading. The bread dough is calling.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
My piano lessons were on Monday nights. I still associate Monday evenings with Mrs. Barclay and the tap, tap, tap of her pencil on the piano as she tried to drill a sense of rhythm into my mind.
My daughter has piano lessons on Tuesday nights. She doesn't know it, but I always have a sense of dread on Tuesdays, and I'm not even the one having the lesson. It's just that it's hard. You always feel inadequate.
There's never a moment when you have it all figured out. You never graduate from piano lessons. You just keep doing it or you quit.
The faith journey can feel like this. In fact, some mothers opt out of raising their children in the Church because of their own memories, their own sense of inadequacy. And yet, we get our children into piano classes, because we know it is good for them. We sign them up for team sports, because we know it is good for them. We make them go to school and do their homework and read books. We make them do all those things that are really good for them.
And yet, some parents drop the ball on faith formation because of their own "demons."
If that's what has happened in your family, then maybe it's time you set aside those memories and do the right thing.
Introduce your children to the faith.
Now, I think I will go play the piano a few minutes before my daughter's lessons. That's when I remember that it was indeed worth it all.
Most things that are "good for you" are worth it all in the end.