Thursday, March 31, 2011

Putting God 1st on Your 1st Friday

The other day I ran across this quote by St. John of the Cross. “At the evening of life, we will be judged by our love” (CCC 1022).
It made me swallow really hard. God did not say, “Don’t hate.” If he had, I would probably come out all right. He did not say, “Love me and treat everyone else as you see fit.” If he had, I might be okay.
He said we are to love others as he has loved us.
I can get my theology right. I can learn how to pray the rosary and genuflect. I can go to confession monthly and attend Mass weekly – or even daily. I can read the Daily Office, pray the Angelus, and recite the Divine Mercy.
I can show up for an hour of Adoration and read every book my spiritual advisor recommends.
I can even write a book about spiritual metaphors.
But if I don’t have love, I am nothing. St. Paul describes the loveless Christian as a clanging cymbal.
All of these good and holy things that I do are a tragic waste if I refuse to let them change me. I must respond to grace, respond to divine love and let that love flow out to others. If I don’t get that lesson mastered, everything else that I’ve done won’t matter a bit.
In the evening of this life, we will be judged, by the One who is Love, on whether or not we have loved each other as He has loved us.
It is not a reason to despair. It’s not as though we are incapable of learning how to love as Christ has loved us. The saints have shown us over and over again that our Faith can change us. We can learn this final and most important lesson. These things – the Mass, our prayers, the Sacraments, Adoration, Lent, the Divine Office, repentance, obedience, sacrifice, acts of charity, study, biographies of the saints, papal encyclicals, pilgrimages, Mary gardens, sacred spaces and Sacred Scripture – these are the things that change our hearts. They are venues for grace.
They have turned sinners into saints before. And, by the grace of God, they can change even me.
Oh, God, do not abandon me in this journey. I have turned away from sin and chosen to walk in a new direction. Keep me safely moving in this new way, and teach me this final and most difficult thing.
To love.
For I know this – the greatest of all of these is love.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Favorite Lines from Morning Prayers

I will listen to whatever the Lord God tells me,
for he will speak peace to his people
and his chosen ones,
and to those who repent in their hearts.
from Psalm 85

Happy are those who find refuge in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrim roads.
from Psalm 84

Blessed Lent...keep following...keep journeying...keep listening.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Living Out What We Read: the faith of a little servant girl

(Thoughts on today's Old Testament Reading)

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare. Your child is abducted. It doesn’t matter that the abduction took place centuries ago or that the little girl was from ancient Israel. She was someone’s daughter, and she was taken from her homeland when the Arameans led a raid on Israel.

What strikes me as incredible, though, is what happens next. As a slave in the house of Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, the little girl has the ear of the master and his wife. When Naaman contracts leprosy, the little girl finds the courage to speak to her mistress about it.

“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him of his leprosy.” We know this prophet. His name is Elisha, successor to Elijah. He is the one who asked for a double portion of the Spirit of the Living God – and got it.

Now, isn’t it incredible that this little girl remembered her faith at all, that her memory of the prophet of the Lord was so strong that she was able to pass the message along to her mistress, and that she even had the courage to speak, though she was a servant girl?

Even more amazing, Naaman took her advice, and with the king’s approval, he went to Israel and found Elisha. Naaman was healed, and the story has been captured for all time in Holy Scripture.

The net result of the child’s faithfulness is that the message and reality of God’s power spread throughout the land and throughout time.

Here’s the thing. We are that little girl. In a very real way, we are living in a foreign land. When it matters most, do we speak up and tell those in positions of power that there is one who can heal them? Do we even remember the faith at all, or have we forgotten to carry it with us as we labor in a foreign land. Do we consider ourselves unimportant in the presence of leaders and those with more money and prestige? Are we afraid to speak up? Or would we be willing to share the Good News as courageously as this little girl?

Our Mother, the Blessed Mother (and the archetype of Mother Church), has guided us and prepared us for every encounter we may have as we journey to our final homeland. While she longs for us to come safely into the arms of the Heavenly Father, she also instills in us the needs of those we meet along the way. She longs for them to encounter for themselves the Spirit of the Living God. And she knows that you may be the only mouthpiece God has to get their attention.

If a little girl, a slave in a foreign land, can share the good news of God without restraint, then so should we who have access to the Mother of Perpetual Help and the Lord Most High.

Love Note to Self #13

(From CCC# 2718)

"The contemplative, immersed in a communion of love, becomes the image of God by grace."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Check out the blog Holy Writing: she's on a roll with the water theme of recent Mass readings


Making the Grade

When I was teaching, I sometimes had to field some pretty dumb questions. I know…no question is supposed to be dumb, but when I heard this particular question, I changed my mind.

Student: “Mrs. Bossert, let’s say I didn’t do the paper, based on the grades I have right now and if I get at least a C on everything during the rest of the semester, would I still come out with a passing grade?”

Me: “Really? You want to shoot for a D? You aren’t just a little worried about aiming for a D and falling just a little bit short? You'd roll the dice and be willing to risk ending up in summer school? Why not go for an A and then you aren’t really screwed up if something happens.”

Student: “No, I just want to pass. So, what do you think? Would I still get a D?”

Me: “I don’t know. I was never very good at complicated algorithms. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to calculate that hypothetical. Just do the paper.”

As crazy as the question is, there are a lot of people who face eternity with the same reckless approach.

Some want to know the bottom-line minimum that is required of them.

Some don’t give it any thought at all and just hope for the best.

But the saints aren’t like that. They shoot for the A. They give it all they’ve got. And they know that they are still at the mercy of the one calculating the grade. If they are hovering between two grades, they hope that the teacher will be generous, merciful, remembering how much they tried to excel at the work they were given to do.

Matthew 7:22-27, 13-14
"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you.  Depart from me, you evildoers.' "
"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined."
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

See also Matthew 5 and Matthew 25 (especially the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, which is a pass/fail kind of scenario).


Lonely, Abandoned, and Going it Alone - not really

I had literally been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. . . and the coffee mug and calendar and a host of other souvenirs. I'd seen a Beef Eater, Big Ben, and a double-decker bus. I'd walked the halls of Hampton Court Palace and Westminster Abbey. I'd made my purchases at Harrods and walked along Tower Bridge. And I'd done these things alone.

As the plane sought higher skies that November morning, I longed for someone who could share the memories with me, someone to remind me of the things I'd seen and done, things that would fade in my memory as time passed. Why couldn't this business trip have coincided with my parents' trip to London just the year before? Why couldn't it have come along while my sister still lived in England? Life's experiences should be shared.
As Catholic Christians, we are blessed to be part of a faith that is shared. We are in this together. Not even death can separate us.
Some of the greatest saints have promised to spend their heaven interceding for those who remain.
You have friends here and friends on the other side of the veil. You don't have to travel this journey alone.
If you feel lonely, if you feel abandoned, if you feel like you are going it alone, pick yourself up. Get to Mass. And while you're there, look around. We're in this together.
We're praying together. The priest is praying for us. Our Lady is praying. The saints are praying. Your guardian angel is praying.
You are not alone.

"... to grow in spiritual friendship is to enter more deeply in the love and spiritual friendship of Christ. Such relationships are a primary means through which God's love comes into the world. They have a sacred, almost sacramental, quality to them that draws people closer to each other and to God. Spiritual friendships are eternal. They last forever, because they are forged in the love of one who has laid down is life for his friends (Jn. 15:13)."--Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Latest CBG Podcast

Catholic by Grace Podcast can be found between 6:41-10:11 at the link below.

One Degree of Separation

Rachel and Maureen have one degree of separation. I'm the one degree.

They don't know each other, but I know them. They live in two different Iowa towns and attend two parishes in separate deaneries. They both offered to let me stay with them during my speaking trip in Iowa.

If you haven't read the March 2011 Catholic by Grace column, you may not know that I have a slight anxiety about going to new places and meeting new people. But the gift of conversion is a gift that must be shared. The gift completely eclipses the fear. And so, I go and I share the amazing, on-going gift I have been given. The joy of being Catholic.

Today - on this first day back home - I am thinking about the trip and the two women who shared their homes with me.

They were so gifted in hospitality - knowing when I needed something, even knowing when I needed a quiet retreat in order to regroup - that I encountered moments of grace in their homes. I left Iowa with the sense that I was being healed just a little bit because these two women had become Christ's hands and feet to me. Not strangers. But Christ to me. Amazing, really.

I also spent two nights in hotels. As great as the Comfort Inn and Days Inn staff were, they didn't come close to the ministry of hospitality that I experienced in the private homes of faithful parishioners.

I've said it before... Catholics know how to live out the faith.

They know how to be Christ.

So really, there's no degree of separation between them at all. They are, in fact, Christ. They are one - in this Body of Christ.

virgo fidelis (faithful Virgin)

When did our salvation begin? It began the moment Mary said yes to God.
Thank you, Virgo Fidelis!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Rhythm of Lent

I used to place a high premium on getting a good night’s sleep. On nights when I battled insomnia, I wanted to throw the alarm clock at the bedroom wall. I tried every nesting routine that had been successful in the past, stopping short of walking in circles on the bed like a dog. When I didn’t get a solid night’s sleep, everyone knew it the next day.
I used to love eating in restaurants. Someone else made the meal. Someone else got the messy dishes. I didn’t have to please six different people with six different tastes in food. When we had to rein in the spending, our eat-out budget got chopped. After about two weeks, I would simply have to go to Denny’s and get the Grand Slam.
I still love a good night’s sleep, and I still love to eat out.  But something is changing. I’m craving a spiritual diet and rejuvenation time with God more than a meal out and blissful sleep.
God is teaching me to turn insomnia into prayer time. He’s teaching me to be contented with what is in the food pantry at home. These may seem like little things. But they aren’t insignificant. They aren’t trivial at all.
This is the message of Lent. It is part of our journey to sanctification. If we let God transform us in little ways, He will begin to transform us in all ways.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catholic by Grace diocesan column for March 2011

(Catholic by Grace column for March 2011 - appearing this month in diocesan newspapers across the U.S.)
I tell people that I’m a contemplative by nature. And there’s actually some truth to that. It is also true that I am a bit agoraphobic. I am more comfortable at home than I am anywhere else.
One of the hardest things about being Catholic is the simple fact that we do not have a private faith. We may have a private prayer life. Conversion may begin as a quiet, hidden movement of the Spirit. But when we receive the Eucharist, we are sent out to do something about it. Our faith gets turned inside out.
We cannot hide from our neighbors. We cannot hide from work. We cannot hide from making friends and trying new things.
As much as I would like to receive Our Eucharistic Lord and then head home until next Sunday, I can’t do it.
I grew up in a pastor’s home, and for a couple of years I was even a pastor’s wife. For a reason I never quite understood, the parishioners enjoyed getting the inside scoop on life in the parsonage (Protestant equivalent of the rectory). Those years in the pastor’s fishbowl had an impact on me. The once-outgoing-girl is now a slightly anti-social grown-up.
There’s no place like home. Indeed!
Reclusive writer. Sign me up!
I’m not great at chit-chat. I’d rather take an on-line class than become part of a Bible study. One of the best inventions was the telephone answering machine. I just don’t do crowds, shopping, or socializing.
Some people thrive on meeting and greeting the world. I’m just not one of them.
Like it or not, as a Catholic, I’m under the microscope even more than I was as a preacher’s daughter or preacher’s wife. The laity doesn’t have an eye on me any more. But the non-Catholic world is watching – and the world is watching you. The world wants to know whether or not Catholics really live what they profess. They are fascinated by our weaknesses, though they often ignore our strengths. We’re under a microscope, and that complicates things.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to hide. If I keep to myself, I can control what gets judged. And I like it that way.
The saints set the record straight. We are meant to engage the world. Clothe yourself in Christ and get out there. The saints are like the friendly coach who pats his JV kid on the back and says go get ‘um. The coach watches from the sidelines, knowing all too well that the kid is afraid of the ball, afraid he might miss a shot or afraid of getting creamed by some oversized opponent.
If I could have a chat with my guardian angel, I suppose he would have a bit of wisdom for me. He’d probably say what angels have always said when they greet someone. “Don’t be afraid.”
I’m glad my little phobia is just that – little. It is something I can wrestle with and overcome through the gift of God’s grace. It only has the upper hand if I let it. When I manage to set aside the fear of looking like a weak specimen of the faith, then it’s not so overwhelming.
That’s when I get out there and strike up conversations and let those conversations touch on the things that matter most.
Oh, I’d still prefer the life of a reclusive writer to that of an active Christian. I’d still prefer to be on my knees after receiving the Eucharist rather than out in that very challenging world where anger and fear and pride hit me at every turn. But this faith isn’t an either/or kind of faith. It is a both/and faith. Eucharist and society. Contemplation and action. Prayer and participation.
I’d still rather call myself a contemplative than admit that I have social anxiety.
Sure, I could spin it. I could even deceive myself and keep the world at arm’s length. And then I might miss the opportunity to share the Gospel in word or deed. I might miss the chance to connect with someone who might teach me a thing or two about this journey to God.
So, I listen to the wisdom of the saints and my guardian angel. I leave the fear on the bench, and I go get ‘em.

Father, may I overcome fear by faith so I can sow bountifully and reap bountifully (2 Cor 9:6)


Saturday, March 12, 2011

The beautiful word IF - reposted for Lent

Have you ever received an email that said just one word or an unfinished phrase because the sender accidentally hit SEND before finishing the email?
This morning, I received an email that said one word. If. A minute or two later, the finished email came through, which began, "Okay, let's try this again."
I liked the first email even better.
It made me think. So much of what our parents, teachers, and even our faith says to us begins with the word "if" - and it usually implies a "then" that is pretty cool. That email that began with "if" was the beginning of so many possible if/then propositions.
Here are some of the possibilities:
If you choose blessing. . .
If you embrace Lent. . .
If you remember to honor your parents . . .
If you treat others the way you want to be treated. . .
If you honor the Lord's Day. . .
If you do it for the least of these. . .
If you remain faithful until the end. . .

But also:
If you eat all your vegetables. . .
If you clean your room like I asked you to do. . .
If your dad gets that bonus. . .
If I get a raise this year. . .

And it all begins with the word "if". So many possibilities. What is the "if" proposition in your life right now?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Iowa Speaking Engagements: the schedule

Elkader – Saturday and Sunday, March 19-20 (St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart) “Leaving my kinsfolk and father’s house” – 8-12 minute talks on Saturday and Sunday (two evening Masses on Saturday and two morning Masses on Sunday)

Beckman High School – Monday, March 21 (presentation to faculty) “Life after Beckman: Ongoing Conversion of Heart” (time 8:30)

Dyersville – Monday, March 21 (Basilica of St. Francis Xavier at 7:00 PM) “My Journey from Protestant Preacher’s Daughter to Roman Catholic Writer” 45 min. 

Dubuque – Tuesday, March 22 (Sacred Heart Parish, 6:30 PM) “My Journey from Protestant Preacher’s Daughter to Roman Catholic Writer” – 45 min. to 1 hour 

Dubuque - Wednesday, March 23 (Holy Family Catholic Schools - seniors) 10:10-11:05 "Totally Awesome 2B Catholic"

Dubuque – Wednesday, March 23 (St. Columbkille Parish, 6:15 PM) “The Blessing of Being Catholic” 45 min. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Little Black Skirt

In the summer of 2009, my husband and I went to a family reunion. John’s aunt told a little story about her mother-in-law. I never met Grandma Bossert. She passed away long before I married into the family. But John’s Aunt Lucia said Grandma had a little straight skirt. She’d owned it for as long as Aunt Lucia could remember. Grandma used the skirt as a kind of measuring tape to monitor weight gain. When she couldn’t get the side zipper to zip, she would cut back on what she ate until it fit her again.
I’ve seen pictures of Grandma Bossert. She looked like a Hollywood star even when she was well into her sixties, thanks to that little skirt and constant vigilance.
Our Church calendar is like Grandma’s skirt.
On fat Tuesday, we try on our spiritual skirts, and we realize that we have gotten a little out of shape. Our baptismal vows aren’t fitting like they should. And for 40 days, we submit to the process of self-denial and service to others. We ask for the grace to reorder our disordered lives, so that on Easter morning, we are ready to meet the Risen Lord.
We have ways of measuring our progress. We know what to do when things are out of control. At the end of Lent, we know that we could let things fall apart again, or we can ask God for the grace to keep our lives in right order.
We don’t have to wait for Lent to monitor our progress in holiness. We can ask for the grace to overcome our weaknesses today –  we can read the lives of the saints and get inspired. We can submit to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and lose the baggage we carry. We can end each day with an examination of conscience and begin each day with a simple dedication of our day to God.
There are so many ways to keep walking in holiness. Pick one. Eventually your spiritual skirt will fit like a glove. 


A Sprinkling of Grace: random thoughts about the papacy

Sacrificial love with a servant's heart.

That's Lent.

One of my grown daughters went to daily Mass with me today. She's not Catholic. She was almost an adult when I converted; so I know that it will take a double portion of grace for her to make that leap. But with God, it's all possible.

My youngest daughter has been given a great gift. She was in kindergarten when I made the journey. She can barely remember anything that came before...
...before the Eucharist,
...before the holy water font,
...before the love for Mary,
...before the concept of saints' days and Lent and Advent and Ordinary Time,
...before the understanding of 2000 years of Church history and apostolic succession.

My littlest one is blessed indeed.

But this one, this one who grew up without all of these things, is stuck. She sees goodness in Mother Church. She has an appreciation for infant baptism and the Eucharist.

But she is stuck. The one area that was never a problem for me is a huge obstacle for her.
She just doesn't get the papacy.

The "why" of it all.

So, I pray. I pray that it will all make sense to her one day. Today, as we sat together in the Mass, I looked at the priest, and I thought about the "why" of it. I trust that the priest is standing in the place of Christ--
...because he is connected to the bishop.
...because bishops laid hands on him when he was ordained.
...because those bishops laid hands on his bishop.
...because the pope called that bishop to be a shepherd.
...because that pope came after a long line of popes.
...because the line began with St. Peter.
...because Jesus said, "You are rock (kepha) and upon this rock (kepha) I will build my Church."

I looked at my parish priest this morning, and it was a moment of beauty. He isn't a tyrannical head. In him, I see a servant.

One who is a servant of many servants.

The papacy has authority. Established by Jesus Christ.

But it is not a tyrannical kind of authority. Because this authority comes from Jesus Christ, it is the kind of authority we see in the Lamb of God.

Sacrificial Love, borne of a servant's heart.
It is the kind of authority that my heart longs to follow.

And so, I eagerly wait for tomorrow morning, when this journey into sacrifice and service consumes the entire Church.

Ash Wednesday. I'm ready.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time for Your Catholic Vitamins: S is for Surrender (Deacon Tom interviews Denise Bossert)

(To hear the interview with Denise Bossert, click on the link above.)


When Talking to Non-Catholics About Lent and Ash Wednesday...

(The Lent 2010 Catholic By Grace Column is reposted here for you. Feel free to hit the share button and pass it on.)
Non-Catholics don’t always understand Catholic faith practices. One Catholic tradition that sometimes perplexes non-Catholics is our Lenten sacrifices. Many years ago, I worked in a restaurant. The owner and all the waitresses were Catholic. My sister and I were the only non-Catholic employees – and we were both the daughters of a Protestant minister. For us, Lent was a time of watching Catholics . . . and wondering.
We served a fair amount of fish during Lent, rather than our usual orders of sandwiches and fried chicken. And our boss and the other waitresses ate the perch, pike and shell fish on Fridays - as did the patrons.
The topic of Lenten sacrifice came up every shift I worked. The other waitresses would poll one another. “What did you give up for Lent?” The answers varied. Some said candy, or Pauline’s homemade pies, or soda.
I have to say, I didn’t get it back then. I thought that Catholics did those things so that they would feel holy. I used to think it was a waste of time and effort. I knew there was little gained from feeling holy. One had to be holy.
I didn’t realize that faithful Catholics have a simple reason for everything that they do. They know they are not yet holy, but they want to become holy. Their number one desire is to be a saint.
And that’s what Lent is all about.
We die to ourselves, remembering our baptismal promises, and we hope to rise with Jesus Christ when Lent comes to an end. Every prayer, sacrifice, Mass, devotion and offering we make is to embrace the journey of faith that leads to holiness.
These things that we do as Catholicchange us – or more accurately stated, the things that we do become a venue for God to change us. And I realize now that it does work, sometimes so slowly that others can’t detect the changes in the few short weeks of Lent. But it does work . . . in time. And so, Catholics keep at it.
There is a reason why Catholic schools and hospitals have a crucifix in every room. They help young students to learn to follow Christ in his living; they help the sick and dying to become like Christ in his dying.
There is a reason why the Catholic calendar takes us from Advent and then into Christmas, from Lent and then into Easter. The faithful want to journey with Christ – in order to rise with Him when it is all said and done.
Your non-Catholic family and friends may ask you what you gave up this year. It is possible, likely even, that they are really asking a far different question.
Why do you do all this stuff?
Make sure they know that you do it because you are not yet a saint . . . but if you walk in the footsteps of Our Lord long enough, He will change you. In time, they will see the change in you and begin to understand.
May you find that you are walking in step with Him as you journey to the cross. And may the bystanders see you at the side of Christ and begin to put it together. We are not yet holy, but we are opening every part of our lives to the One who can make us holy.
Blessed Lent!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Conversion of an Abortionist - after 60,000 abortions

OSV Daily Take Blog: Dr. Bernard Nathanson, abortionist-turned-pro-life...: "Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who presided over more than 60,000 abortions before having a change of heart and becoming a vocal opponent of abortio..."

Gettin' There

When my life feels like it is not my own, that's when I begin to have a sense of what the saints were able to do by grace. That's when I feel the closest to the goal of my own personal sanctification and purpose. (Even so, Lord, I beg of you for a double portion of grace, because it is also the moment when I know how very weak I really am.)

For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live. No longer I, but Christ who lives in me. In as much as I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Peace Like A River . . . where I found it.

Peace Like a River in my Soul
(I wrote this a few years ago when I was sorting through what God wanted me to do for Him. I was unsettled, uncertain, and struggling to find peace, wanting to possess a quieted soul that knows it belongs to Him and He's already established - and called into being - those things that come next. As I read this today, I realized that God has brought me many paces from this "stuck" place. I am so thankful - and resting in His Peace.)

There are many portions of the Liturgy of the Mass that resonate with me. It does something to my heart when I hear Father proclaim, This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Likewise, I am humbled when I say the words, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Power-filled words. Truth. Life. There is nothing boring or redundant about this Liturgy. Like Peter, I know these are the words of life. Like Peter, I find myself saying where else can I go? This is where my soul is at home. This is where I find peace.

By nature, I am an anxious person. I worry about everything. Everything.

My children, my husband, my extended family. My students, their parents, the lesson plans. My dog and my house. I worry about what I will say, what I should have said, what I did say. I worry about what I will do, what I should have done, and what I actually did do.

I have sought peace on my knees many times, and sometimes peace has come.

I have put the day’s activities aside to enjoy some entertainment and a diversion from the chaos.

I have sat at the piano or called a friend or sent an e-mail, hoping for respite from my self-imposed stress.

Sometimes, these things work. Sometimes, I find peace and respite from the storms of life, but there is one place that has never failed to erase the anxiety. There is one place that I have always, always experienced grace, and I am freed from the concerns of my little life. Free us from all anxiety. Powerful words. Grace-filled words. Truth. Life.

The Liturgy of the Mass. In the Mass, I am healed and freed. In the Mass, I have some sense of what it was like when Our Lord walked up to someone, touched him, and said, Be healed. And the man went away dancing for joy.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace. Become the Master of our angry seas. And help us to walk on the waters, with our eyes clearly set on you.