Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Twinkie

Mom sent us to school with sensible lunches. She filled my thermos with uninspiring Campbells chicken noodle or tomato soup. Sometimes she stuck a hot dog in the thermos and stuffed a bun in a baggie, and my sister and I would have to match the two together at lunchtime.

But once in awhile, she sent us something exciting to go with the mundane fare. On this particular day, it was a Twinkie.

I was looking forward to my factory-made, store-bought, filled spongecake. And I was saving it for last. The boy sitting across from me saw it. Can't remember what he said, but it was something about how much he'd like it.

I didn't want to give it to him. It was mine. And I wanted it.

That's when I did the most illogicial thing. I offered him the Twinkie.

Even as I did it, I knew it was stupid of me. It wasn't because I was a little saint. Far from it. In the seconds that followed his heavy hinting, I had decided that maybe he would be kind to me if I gave him my treasure.

I remember that he played with me at recess that day, and then forgot about me the rest of the year.

That is how it goes all too often when we give away the best we have to someone who only wants to use us up and spit us out.

Young girls learn how to give away their treasures at very early ages. We seek affection, and we are willing to give away almost anything to get it.

Recently, I read that girls learn to give sex to get love and boys learn to give love to get sex. The person quoting this said it came from Theology of the Body for Teens.

And I think that's an accurate description of what is happening out there. Only the girls aren't really getting love. They are getting false love. And they are being used up in the process.

It only makes girls more addicted to affection and boys more addicted to sex.

Sure, we need to teach our daughters to give of their very best . . . to the needy and the homeless and the elderly and the Church.

But true giving doesn't desire anything in return. No I'll-give-you-a-Twinkie if you'll-give-me-your-attention.

True giving is free. Detached. Without manipulation.

I'm still learning how to abandon the need to control kindness and manipulate circumstances. I'm still trying to discern my motives and figure out when I really want something out of the act of giving.

And with grace, I'm seeing that there are times when I have to step back, close my eyes, and let the selfishness drip out of me. Then, I shake myself free and take another look.

I still give the Twinkie away sometimes, but now, I give it away if I don't really expect something in return. And if the other person picks the Twinkie up and enjoys it, that's wonderful. If the person leaves the Twinkie there and makes a face, that's okay too.

Sometimes, though, I look at the Twinkie, and I look at the one who wants it, and I realize that he isn't the right person for my Twinkie.

I realize that it would be much better if I gave it to the kid nobody likes, who's sitting off by herself. The one who is so socially unskilled that she wouldn't know how to thank me if she tried. The one who might muster up a smile, but who's likely to remember my gift for about sixty years.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Please Intercede

Dear Friends,
Please pray for a friend of mine who is a parish priest. He will be having surgery on Tuesday and was diagnosed just a couple of days ago with a brain tumor.

He is a dynamic priest, beloved by his parish, Holy Family in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

In this Year For Priests, won't you please join me in praying for Fr. Larkin?

Blessed Mother, care for this one who is entrusted to you. Bring him peace and keep him close to your Son. And if it be in accordance with the Will of the Father, we ask for Fr. Larkin to be restored to full health.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In photo, Fr. Larkin (on the far left) with the Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran of OKC (in the center) and others at an archdiocesan golf event.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cafeteria Catholics - soulsearching for all

Some Catholics have used this phrase - Cafeteria Catholic - to describe any Catholic who gladly adheres to Catholic teaching when it is a pleasant teaching, but readily sheds himself or herself of those Catholic teachings that are difficult or a professional/political liability.

Even so, conservative Catholics who remain quiet when immigration is on the line are engaging in the same pick-and-choose Catholicism. There are some who even take a public stance that is contrary to that of the Bishops, choosing to adhere to conservative "values" rather than defend Catholic morality and principles of Catholic social justice.

How can we stand strong as Catholics if we only defend Catholic teaching that is in line with our political affiliation? Isn't that what we criticize when it comes to cafeteria Catholics who compromise the lives of the unborn or misrepresent Church teaching on marriage and family and the Eucharist?

We must defend all life. We must especially defend the innocent life of the unborn. But don't delude yourself. If you are a conservative and Catholic, your faith should come first. Don't remain silent when it comes to the immigrant among us. . . or the homosexual who is striving to live chastely. . . or the death row inmate who cries out, I'm innocent. Don't cease to protect all life, even the lives of those who are not choosing to live in conformity with chaste living or legal status.

We defend the dignity of life, no matter what.

If being Catholic is synonymous (in your mind) with being Conservative, then you run the risk of falling into the Cafeteria Catholic quagmire.

Sure, there may be a time when you are standing in the ballot box and you must choose between a candidate who stands up for the unborn over a candidate who stands up for immigrants, but you are not in a ballot box right now. You don't have to choose between two just causes at this moment in time.
Transcend politics. Stand up for all life.

Here's what Archbishop Dolan has to say on immigration:


Monday, April 26, 2010

What's it like to receive the Eucharist for the 1st time as an adult?

(From the 2005 archives)

Year of the Eucharist
When the Year of the Eucharist began in October 2004, I was still searching, though growing in my confidence that the Lord was calling me into the Catholic Church. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the “Year of the Eucharist,” and I barely knew what the word Eucharist meant.

On August 14, 2005, I received my First Communion. It is difficult to describe the joy and peace I sensed when I received the Most Blessed Sacrament that day. To be honest, I wondered if my overactive imagination was partly responsible for the profound experience I had when I knelt afterward, but each time, He has come again with that same deposit of peace. Each time, I recognize the Presence of Jesus Christ inside me and know that He is transforming and equipping me for service. I suppose there will be times in the next few decades when I do not sense Him so readily or feel anything profound, but I am comforted by the thought that He will come, regardless of my feelings, and bring to me precisely what I need every time I receive Him inside of me.

It saddens me when I consider my first forty years. I’ve “sat in on” many Catholic Masses through the years; I had no idea what I was missing. Without giving it much thought, I believed what those Catholics were doing was basically the same thing I did every time my Protestant church celebrated Communion. Not so. Protestant Communion was never efficacious for me; it never equipped me to live the life Christ marked out for me. While lovely and inspiring, it was merely symbolic.

Dear brother and sister in the Faith, do you know what you have in this Sacrament? Do you pause before receiving Our Lord and contemplate it all with wonder? If so, have you ever spoken about such things with a non-Catholic? Your evangelical friends are quick to ask you if you have asked the Lord to come into your heart. Have you ever asked them if they know what it is like for Him to come into the heart, the soul, the arms, the legs, and into one’s entire being? My friend, you have access to the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.

Why not tell somebody? Pass along your favorite book on the Holy Eucharist (perhaps The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister). Or simply point your friend in the direction of the nearest RCIA class and encourage him to learn more about what the early Church Fathers had to say about Holy Communion or suggest that he take a second look at the Gospel of John chapter six. And ask your friend:

If this holy meal is real (and was never meant to be merely symbolic), wouldn’t you want to experience this intimate moment with the Lord?


Thursday, April 22, 2010

So Much to Think About

I just found out that Fr. Caffe (Archdiocese of STL-Immaculate Conception) passed away yesterday. So strange for me. I'm a convert. And I'm just beginning to wade in the deeper waters of understanding the Sacrament of Confession.

How odd that my last Confession was with Fr. Caffe. The last time I heard the words of Absolution were when those sweet words fell from his lips. And now, he is in the arms of God.

The one who was given the authority to bind and to loose - he chose "to loose" - and now, he is before the Throne of Grace.

I wonder if he is standing with God and talking about my weakness - that sin that I brought to him. I wonder if he is asking for more grace - if he is already interceding from that vantage point on the other side of the veil - for me and for all those souls that he has loosed. All because of the authority he was given.

This priest. In the Year of Priests. Who listened and nodded and said, "I absolve you." And I wept, because I knew that the one beside me who said the words was saying them in the place of Our Lord.

And now, he stands in His Presence.

That's powerful stuff for a convert.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Public Library Visit and Holy Chrism? A gift from St. Patrick

I stopped by the public library yesterday to find a book. I did as I always do, and made my way to the religion section. Most of the public library fare in this section is miserable. Not worth my time at all. But a couple of titles were trustworthy. A book on the saints. A book by JPII. And Confessions of St. Patrick.

That's where I began.

Later in the evening, I curled up with my 1st pick - Confessions. Soon after, I noticed a lovely scent. Dismissed it. Read a couple more pages. There it was again. I smelled my hands. Had I used a new lotion? No. It wasn't my hands. I turned the page. Once again, the faint scent of Holy Chrism Oil. I'd know that smell anywhere. I stopped reading. I stopped turning pages.

I held the book up to my face and inhaled deeply. This book smells like Confirmation! How is it possible that a public library book would smell like this?

I drank in the aroma of the Holy Spirit and settled back in for two hours of reading.

I've decided that St. Patrick is one of my new favorite saints. Here's one of my favorite quotes:

I pray my God that he will grant me perseverance and allow me to prove a faithful witness right up to the time of my passing over, for my God's sake.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Power Tools and Poodles

My husband is using a power tool at the moment. Every once in awhile, it sounds like a crying puppy.

Our standard-size poodle had to be locked away in the laundry room. Every time she hears the sound, she comes running to see if there is a puppy who needs a mama.

Her last litter was two years ago.

The Blessed Mother didn't stop mothering when Jesus Ascended. She didn't stop mothering the Church after her Assumption. A mother never stops mothering.

She hears a cry, no matter how many years have gone by, and she runs to see what she can do to help.

We have a Mother who can truly help. She is the Queen Mother to the King of Kings. And when you cry out for help, she comes running.

Oh sure, the Enemy would love to lock her up in a room somewhere. He would like to keep her from coming to our aid when we cry out. But there are some things he cannot touch. And he has never been able to touch Our Lady.

She's listening for your cry.

And she will enlist the help of all of Heaven if necessary to bring you aid and comfort.

Because that's what mothers do.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Power of Christ - Let the Redeemed of The Lord Say So

My thoughts on being Confirmed in the Catholic Faith:

I entered the Catholic Church at an odd time. Not as a child/infant - but as an adult because I was a convert. Not at Easter Vigil - but in August of 2005 because I was waiting on an annulment and that was when word came from the Metropolitan Tribunal that I was not bound by my first marriage (deemed nonSacramental). The day I entered the Catholic Church, I was so focused on receiving Holy Communion that I had given very little thought to the fact that I would be Confirmed just moments before receiving the Eucharist.

Nothing could have prepared me for the moment of Confirmation. I sensed the movement of the Holy Spirit in a way that I never had before. The parish secretary said that my face was glowing when I was annointed with Holy Chrism, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

These last five years (as of August 14) have completely turned my life upside down. Not by my own strength, but by the grace that is ours through Confirmation, I have been able to be instrumental in bringing both my daughter and my husband into Mother Church. I have had the joy of helping my daughter's friend catch up on what she missed when her mother stopped practicing her faith (which meant the little girl had missed the opportunity of receiving Holy Communion in 2nd grade and had to catch up on about 4 years of PSR). I was able to witness this child's First Holy Communion, knowing that I had been given the privilege of helping her to Our Eucharistic Lord.

I continue to grow in wisdom, understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence, and wonder and awe in the Lord. These gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to shape me and prepare me to live out this new faith and to share it with others in a winsome way.

I am convinced that the Sacrament of Confirmation has led me to share the faith in a unique way, since I have been blessed to write a column (Catholic by Grace) which has run in 37 diocesan papers. Only a few run the column each month, but I consider each one a gift back to God, who has made a way for me to come home to Mother Church.

There is no logical reason why a Protestant preacher's daughter and divorced (annulled) wife of a former United Methodist minister would ever see the Catholic Church as the Church Jesus Christ started and continues to preserve and protect. For centuries, my family line has believed that the Catholic Church was one choice among many . . . or worse, a cult that one should avoid altogether. I am Catholic by God's grace and mercy.

Without a doubt, my Confirmation changed me, it prepares me for each new challenge, and it opens doors for me to live out the faith and share the joy of being Catholic with others.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Year of the Tonsils

In 1976, while the rest of the U.S. celebrated the Bicentennial, I was enduring The Year of the Tonsils. Those tonsils landed me in the Howard County Hospital twice that year. On the second occasion, the doctor removed the offending tonsils.

I only remember two of the nurses who worked the surgical wing, but I remember them as polar opposites. They both belonged to The Sisters of Mercy, who had been petitioned to take over the small Iowa hospital in the early 1900s. And that is where their similarities ended. Even their habits were different. The younger nurse looked like a first-year girl scout who hadn’t earned all the pieces of her uniform yet. But the differences went beyond their clothes.

The older nurse walked the halls like she was in charge. It’s likely that she was the head nurse, but her authority was lost on me. She scolded me when I showed fear of needles. She shook her head when I cried after eating a bite of post-surgery ice cream. And she didn’t seem friendly in the least.

The second nurse made up for all that. She called me sunshine and recognized me immediately on my second visit. She smiled all the time. In the evenings, she would come to my room to see if I needed a back rub. She was gentle and loving. On the day the doctor ordered the tonsillectomy, I looked forward to two things - eating ice cream and seeing the nurse who called me sunshine. I only made it through one painful bite of the ice cream, but my favorite nurse didn’t disappoint.

There was a time when I perceived the Catholic Church in much the same way as I perceived that older sister. The Catholic Church seemed bossy and unapproachable.

My experiences these last five years as a Catholic have shown me that I was wrong. Yes, Mother Church has authority, and the medicine she carries in her syringes brings healing and comfort.

But Mother Church is also very much like that younger nurse. She may be 2000 years old, but she is constantly being renewed by the Holy Spirit. She has the wisdom of the ages, but she also has the spark and zest that comes from the Holy Spirit.

She is eternally young.

And, like the young nurse, the Church has thrown open the doors to me, invited me to come inside, eased my concerns with the touch of her hands – especially on nights when I have been lonely and afraid.

Mother Church supports me as I considered what the future might hold, just as that young nurse would smile when she caught me passing time at the nursery window and daydreaming about a far-off, more joy-filled hospital visit – one that meant birth and new beginnings.

I can learn a thing or two from these two nurses, and not just about what they teach me about Mother Church. They can teach me how to share our faith.

There have been times in these last few years that I have treated a few non-Catholics like the older nurse treated me, with a kind of know-it-all attitude. I’ve offered the syringe of spiritual health to another and basically said, “It’s for your own good, so roll over and accept it.”

That young nurse may have only been in her first year. She may not have known how to do anything beyond smile and give a back rub. But she taught me about hospitality, that there’s much to be gained by gentleness and a sincere interest.

The young nurse can teach us one more thing. She was the new girl on the floor. She was humble and teachable. She knew that the sick did not come for smiles and backrubs. She made it easier for them to come, but they came to be healed. And so it is with the strangers among us.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wait in Joyful Hope . . .

Every once in awhile, a piece of the Liturgy will grab my attention. Today, it was this: Wait in joyful hope. . .

I'm tempted to doubt and despair sometimes. Oh, not in the things of faith as much as in what will happen next and how things will turn out in the end.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Those who know anything about this feast will immediately associate this day with an image of Our Lord - an image in which white and red rays stream from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. At the bottom of the image, we read the words: Jesus, I trust in you.

Wait in joyful hope . . .

Jesus, I trust in you . . .

These are the antidotes to doubt and despair. I can have hope. I can have joy. I can have all that is good and holy, but I have to drop the need to see-in-order-to-believe. St. Thomas once said that he would have to see in order to believe. But Our Lord has said, blessed is he who believes and has not seen. Jesus is describing the person who has learned the way to joy and hope and lost the heavy weight of doubt and despair.

Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday. Go into your week with joy and trust in the risen Christ!


Friday, April 9, 2010

When I Was Abused - time to bring the story out again

(from the 2007 Catholic by Grace column)

Run to God

It is something that I have shared with only a handful of people. I chose to remain silent, not because I was profoundly damaged, but because I had put it behind me. But it seems to me that there is something important to be gained by reflecting on a few horrible experiences in an otherwise idyllic childhood.

I couldn’t have been more than five years old. The abuse started in the basement of a parishioner’s house (Dad was a Wesleyan minister back then). The boy was young, but the difference in our ages made him seem more man than child. It was marginal abuse at first, but gained frequency and intensity over the course of a year (until we moved to another pastorate). I remember once, the young man held a pocket knife in the palm of his hand and commanded me to do something that sent shock-waves through my childhood innocence. I don’t remember what happened after that. I think I ran upstairs to be with my parents.

I share this with you now because there are some who are stunned that anyone would convert to a Church that has been shaken by sex scandal. Certainly, it would cause a person of faith to go anywhere but to the Catholic Church, right? But I can honestly say that scandal exists in every corner of the Christian world. The enemy targets children, and if he can use instruments of faith or places of worship to cause further damage, he will do it.

I know this from experience. The young man frequently chose the church for his abuse. He liked the privacy of empty Sunday school classrooms. We had easy access to the church building since the parsonage (where my family lived) was next door to the church (where my dad pastored), and the church was usually empty. Thankfully, the boy was not so advanced in age as to seek to completely destroy my innocence, but it was enough to implant within me lasting unpleasant memories linked to holy places and undeserved guilt.

It did not, however, make me run from God, but rather to run into His arms with all of my heart.
But for those who say wait a minute, there is a huge difference between being abused by a young adult (even if it is inside the walls of a church) and being abused by clergy, I say, yes, that is true.

That kind of abuse is not limited, however, to the Catholic Church. It happens in every church. I know four dear ones personally who were molested by their father while he was a pastor in a Protestant denomination. I’m telling you, it happens in many churches, but the extent of the damage is limited to that church body or denomination.

I find an interesting corollary between sin and the scope of its damage and good works and the extent of its impact. The abuse in an independent church damages that one church body, rarely gaining the media’s attention. The abuse in a denominational church damages that local church and the good name of that denomination, occasionally gaining the media’s attention. But the sex abuse scandal of the Catholic Church has affected the entire Catholic Church and damaged the whole Christian world. The media always takes notice and spreads news of scandal to the entire world for as long as they will listen.

Conversely, any good done in an independent church reflects on the members of that church body. Any good done by a denominational church extends to all the members of that denomination. But the good that is done by the Catholic Church has affected the entire Church – and also Christianity at large. When we cause scandal, all of Christianity is scandalized. When we do good works, all of Christianity is served. I think that says something very important about our Church and her unique position (and profound responsibility) in the world.

Furthermore, victims typically do not sue their denomination for abuses suffered at the hands of Protestant clergy, but that is not the case with scandal in the Catholic Church. Again, the ramifications seem to indicate that the Catholic Church and the clergy have a unique calling and responsibility that moves far beyond any pastor’s relationship to his denomination. Ironically, even in scandal, the unique position of the Catholic Church is revealed.

Is it any wonder that the enemy targets the Church Our Lord established on this earth? It should make us run harder and faster into the arms of God rather than away from the Church and the sacraments. Love your Church. Run to her. Whatever you do, don’t run the other way.

Catholic Writers and Their Creed

Check out the new addition to the Catholic by Grace blog (on the right). It's a list of rules for Catholic writers (bloggers, tweeters, FBers, MySpacers, and website hosts).

Get inspired. Stay Faithful.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catholics, Pass the Salt!

What's the best way to share your faith in the social media? Sprinkle it in - use it like you do the salt shaker.

You don't want to unload the whole container all at once. A touch here. A touch there.

At least once a month (or once a week if you are a heavy blogger, Facebooker, or tweeter), throw in something about your faith. Post a saint's quote. Mention something about the Church calendar. Tell your friends that it's your Saint's day.

Come on, Catholics, pass the salt around!

You are the Salt of the Earth
-Jesus Christ


April 2010 Catholic by Grace Article: God's Megaphone

The theology of suffering is mysterious. In reading St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, one gets the sense that suffering is a dance between the Soul and her Lord. It’s a beautiful image.

But like many deep mysteries, the actual experience of suffering can seem more devastating and confusing than beautiful and spiritually efficacious.

Have you ever prayed for a conversion? During a previous Lent, I committed to praying for one particular conversion. God did not answer my prayers in the way I expected. In the last twelve months, the one I prayed for has battled two kinds of cancer, which attacked two different parts of his body – very much like a country that is invaded along two borders simultaneously.

It is hard to imagine that this man could suffer any more. But if the Carmelite saints are correct, then it is likely that God has a purpose even in the midst of this dark night.

Nothing draws us closer to the side of Christ than suffering. C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures . . . but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I don’t like that answer very much. I would have preferred a storybook conversion. I would have given this suffering soul a vision or whispered some great revelation into his ear.

But God does whisper to us. In fact, He never stops whispering the words come back to me. The voices of this world are so loud that we cannot hear over the din.

Sometimes, God has to shout. Sometimes, He uses His megaphone to rouse us. Sometimes, that megaphone is suffering.

Imagine for a moment that the world is one big dance floor. The DJ plays the music of a fallen world. And sometimes, the music he plays is the music of suffering.

That’s not what God had in mind. Divine Will did not want that. But his Permissive Will permits the music to play for a little while. Why? Maybe it is because Our Lord knows that there is one song that will cause us to put down our champagne glasses and walk away from the crowded tables of this world. There is one song that calls us to turn toward God, walk across the dance floor, and give our soul to its Beloved.

That song is the Song of Suffering.

Why was this man born blind? Was it because of some sin his parents committed? Our Lord tells the crowd, no, he did nothing wrong. The Heavenly Father has permitted this. And now, God will be glorified.

St. John of the Cross says, “Let God take your hand and guide you through the darkness as though you were blind.” Why? Because your own story of redemption may begin at a cross of personal suffering. Jesus tells us that this is no reason for despair – the song that plays next is glorious.

Friday, April 2, 2010

He Uttered Not A Word

On days like today, I cannot deceive myself. The weight of my sin is too real.

I made cookies today. I managed to drop a full cup of Crisco shortening on the floor within the first few minutes. I handled it okay. But not like a saint.

I knocked over the largest glass of sweet tea you have ever seen . . . onto the floor and kitchen cabinets and oven door. I handled it poorly. Definitely not like a saint.

I ironed my husband's shirt, the green one that was supposed to be for Easter. I discovered a smattering of grease spots on it. All this after I had already pressed a portion of it and kept losing my grip on the Niagara Spray Starch. I picked up that can of starch and pounded it three times on the ironing board. Hard. The saints above had to be cringing.

I was angry. Nothing was going right. Not a single thing.

Tonight, I felt the weight of my need as I looked at the Cross. I say need because there are times when I realize how much I need God's grace to keep from being swallowed up by my own ugly self. I like to think of myself as getting closer and closer to saintliness and sanctification. But on days like today, I see just what a pitiful wreck I am.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

The line of people venerating the Cross this evening went on and on as I thought about the day, the decade, my entire life so far. And then we prayed Lord, I am not worthy to receive you . . .

I feel many things as I walk forward to receive the Eucharist. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed that Jesus Christ would take on the appearance of something as lowly as bread, just to come inside of me. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by the thought that this is really, truly Jesus - God Himself - that I am receiving.

Tonight, the terrible yuckiness I've felt most of the day - well, it lifted in that moment. I recognized the miraculous. Jesus had permitted me to have just a glimpse of how strong my need is . . . and how deep His love is. And I bowed and received my Lord, my God, my Savior and King.

Good Friday, indeed.


Oh, the power of the Passion! Holy Thursday and Good Friday

I thought I was ready . . . but when the priest kisses your feet, you realize that nothing can prepare you for that. Seems like much of this journey as a new Catholic has been like that. I thought I was ready . . . thought I got it . . . and then I get a clearer view and just can't hold back tears.

You know, I've been in a number of Easter plays (when I was an Evangelical). Each one was a wonderful opportunity to remember the Lord's death and resurrection. I memorized my lines - we all did - or the play would have been a disaster. I worked at my part, and I was pretty good at delivering a solid performance.

Twice, I was a lead character. I love Easter musicals.

But I doubt that I will get to another one. I'm not likely to be in another one, either.

The real "lines" are found in the liturgies of Triduum. I have a new part, a true part. I am not a character in a play about the death and resurrection of Our Lord.

Each time I enter into Holy Week, I take my place in the heavenly liturgy. I enter into these three days.

And I realize that this is not a play to watch. This is not something in the past that we recreate. This Passion is now. It is the everlasting now. It is the once-for-all-time Passion.

We don't crucify Him all over again and we don't recreate it like a play so we can remember.

FRIENDS, we enter in. The divine liturgy takes us there - to that once-for-all-time event.

Christ has died . . .

Tonight, we enter into Good Friday. We don't merely remember. We don't try to recreate. The God of all time and place takes us there. We stand at the cross.

And this is consistent with Jewish understanding of a Memorial Feast. They believe that they enter into Passover. God takes them there. They don't merely remember. They don't try to recreate. The God of all time and place takes them there. They enter into the Passover.

Like these, our ancestors who entered the Passover each year, God has made a way for us to enter into the Passion.

No need for a play about it.

We are there.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Clean Feet

Today, I cleaned the acky corners of a shower and thought about serving others. Tonight, I'll be one of the twelve.

Serve and be served.

And, lest we become worn out from all this serving or feel like running for the hills to get away from too many demanding feet, we have the Eucharist to feed us - and keep feeding us - so that we can go out and serve . . . even in the grimy corners of a shower (which by the way, is one of my least favorite jobs).

Blessed Holy Thursday.