Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day after Day

Are we tired of the same routine day after day? Do we even realize that we may be in a rut? Are we really living or are we just following the path of least resistance? One of the most difficult challenges in life is to go against what everyone else is doing. It's so much easier to just "go with the flow". Relax. Enjoy the ride. We may be shocked at the number of times we say when we are younger and we hear when we are older "come on, everyone's going, everyone's doing it". And yet, we hear today, "how narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Have we found that narrow gate, that constricted road? Are we truly living? Is what we do every day living the life that God has chosen for us? Let's think about our day. Are we living a purposeful life? At this point, do we even know? Is this what Jesus means? Have we even scraped the surface? As we pray throughout the day, as we make simple decisions, maybe even at this point just automatic choices, let's really consider, Is This Choice Taking Me Down the Path That Truly Leads to Life? Is this really what is intended for me? Today, maybe we should mix it up. Contemplate making decisions that go against the grain of this life and lead to new life. Do something different. Surprise our family and our co-workers and our kids. Journey the road less traveled and live. It's not as simple as it sounds but the end result seems like it may be worth the effort.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Perfection, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Faith

When the rising sun hits the outside wall of the church Chapel just perfectly, the beautiful stain glass window is projected through the Chapel doors onto the wall behind the altar. As we can see, the image clearly tells the story of life and death, the beginning and the end, and yet it tells so much more. Mary and her Son are sectioned off from the angels and yet their lives are fully supported and heralded by the Holy Spirit and the angels. Jesus' left arm seems to disappear into His Mother's garment. They are in perfect communion, in sinc. Their lives are as one from the beginning to the end, guided by the Holy Spirit as they follow the will of the Father. "Yes Lord." "Thy will be done." The perfect answers. The perfect examples. Plastered on the front wall because of perfect timing. 

In our weakness, they are our strength. Their love holds us up during our times of crisis. They want us to be in sinc with them as they give their entire lives in obedience to the Father. "By the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit", they give us light so that we can see goodness and can in turn do good. This image, projected by the light of the sun, gives us hope, tells our story and leaves us to trust as Our Lady trusted, to have faith, to believe that there is more. As the sun rises and hits the window at the perfect moment, so too does Her Son rise in glory and perfection.

What do you see? The images of the men? Our reflection in the story?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Visiting, Taking Time, Shining Light

Funny how things happen. I fully intended on using this picture of the display in St. Mary's for a blog about my book, Visiting Mary, because quite frankly the summer is a great time to take the opportunity while on vacation to visit the many Shrines and Grottoes that we have in the U.S. But I became immediately distracted with the idea that the picture I took was just too busy looking, too distracting. Which, coupled with the Gospel readings this week, prompted me to realize how easily we are distracted by the busy background of our lives. If you're like me, you may take the readings from Scripture and try to focus on sharing God's message throughout your day, whether to your family or your friends or your co-workers or complete strangers. We try to take what we believe His message is for the day and live it out, shine the light, not leaving it "under a bushel basket". We try to live the Commandments and the Beatitudes. We may leave our morning prayer time or morning Mass and think, "I've got this. I can do this all day long. I am focused and today I will simply be kind to everyone I meet. I will love God and my neighbor." Then, bam. Life causes distractions. Our focus is blurred by the busy background. We can no longer see what's really important. The next morning we start all over again. And the next morning, again. And little by little we realize that life is just busy. The times when we cannot see Jesus or His Mother against all the background "stuff" is the time when we probably need them the most. The times when we cannot hear Jesus or His Mother against all the noise is the time when they probably should be heard the loudest. If we stay focused, we can see light. If we listen, we can speak truth. If we keep Him in our hearts all day, we can truly love. The ways of this world keep us hopping from one "thing" to the next. The ways of God keep us centered on what's important.

P.S.The OT reading today was Elijah trying to find God in the wind and the earthquakes but only finding Him in a whisper. At some point today, or maybe all day, may we quiet ourselves enough to hear His message in the whispers. And the message before the Gospel reading,
" Alleluia, alleluia. Shine like lights on the world, as you hold on to the word of life. Alleluia, alleluia." AMEN.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Graduations, Two Diplomas, Two Roses, One Weekend

It's a bittersweet moment when the last child graduates from Grade School, especially when we have had a 22 year run at the same school. It's a bittersweet moment when the third daughter graduates from High School, especially when it's the same High School attended by your grandmother, your mom, your sisters, your nieces and you, and it's on the same weekend as the Grade School graduation. Can we jerk the emotions around a little more please?! But I must say, it was a beautiful weekend with family and friends, old and new.

Friday morning with Baccalaureate Mass brought the traditional presentation of roses from the High School girls to their parents. Pictures were made of all the graduates and their alumnae moms. Friday night brought on the conflict of the High School Graduation and the Grade School Banquet occurring at the exact same time. It was very difficult for the Grade School daughter to miss her sister's graduation. I rushed over to the banquet after graduation and made it just in time to receive a rose and a note of thanksgiving from my youngest. Together we left immediately after the class video to meet the rest of the family for a late dinner. So busy and so much fun.

The next morning as I put the two roses together in the same vase, I realized how the High School rose was slightly more open than the Grade School rose. I noticed how the High School rose had opened just enough to let me know that a full bloom was on the way. I noticed that the Grade School rose still needed time and attention. The creation that God placed in front of me was to be cared for and tended to and yet, the need for my hand in it all would not last forever. I am blessed to be given these opportunities to experience all that the Creator has to offer, all that creation has to give, all the beauty of two roses from the same bunch growing at different rates, blossoming at different times into true beauties. I am grateful for two Graduations, Two Diplomas and Two Roses over one long and beautiful weekend.