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Friday, November 30, 2012

Now for something completely different....

Ever wondered what I do in my spare time?  Didn't think so, but here is a picture of something I've been working on most of my day I'll be able to grab my foot, right?  :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Excerpt from Psalm 51 (Knox translation, 50)

Have mercy on me, O God,
as thou art ever rich in mercy;
in the abundance of thy compassion,
blot out the record of my misdeeds.
Wash me clean,
cleaner yet, from my guilt,
purge me of my sin,
the guilt which I freely acknowledge,
the sin which is never lost to my sight.
Thee only have my sins offended;
it is thy will I have disobeyed;
thy sentence was deserved,
and still when thou givest award thou hast right on thy side.
For indeed, I was born in sin;
guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me.
But thou art a lover of faithfulness,
and now, deep in my heart,
thy wisdom has instructed me.
Sprinkle me with a wand of hyssop,
and I shall be clean;
washed, I shall be whiter than snow;
tidings send me of good news and rejoicing,
and the body that lies in the dust shall thrill with pride.

Purify me, O Lord - create a clean heart in me.  Renew a steadfast spirit in me. 
This is my prayer.  This is my desire: to be with the Lord for all eternity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Art of the Heavy Rosary

I don't usually come down with illness very often, but when I do I get pretty sick.  So nearly two weeks ago when I began to feel poorly, knowing I had to go off-island to get my windshield-wipers fixed (it is a requirement to have working wipers in the Pacific NW during the rainy season), I just buckled down and focused on getting through whatever I needed to get through.  Well by the time I got back home, I was down for the count for a few days.  Then last Tuesday I suddenly felt better, but remained tired.  I'm still easily fatigued, physically and emotionally, hoping that this will pass soon and I can get back to my usual crazy schedule. 

My prayer life has suffered these past two weeks, and I am easily distracted, unfocused and don't "feel God's Presence" (sorry, I had to :-)!!).  But what I do "feel" is only what I can describe as a heavy weight and sadness that I somehow know is not my own.  I didn't realize it until this morning, since my usual routine is to pray for specific people and their intentions during my Rosary - but for the past few days as I have sat and asked/thought/prayed for what or whom I should pray, what has come to mind is not a single person or a single problem.  What has come to mind is the totality of the world and its slow loss of knowing what is True and right and good - the loss of Faith - the loss of Joy.  I have no idea how to pray for all of this, have difficulty verbalizing what it is I feel, so I just sit and let the heaviness that I feel descend to the Rosary in my hands.  On my own I cannot take this weight, but these small beads, this fragile chain, can.  But it sure makes for a heavy Rosary!! 

I am reminded of Romans 8:26-27  "In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.  And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will." 

I am also reminded of last May when I attempted to gather people together for group praying of the Rosary, and no one showed up (throughout the month, only 1 person came - once).  I sat there that first morning, weeping, and all I could think to do was apologize to Mary and Jesus for the "lack of"...could no one spare 30 minutes to pray?  The feeling I have now is quite similar to the one I had then.  It is what it is.  And all I can do is continue to pray and keep my focus on our Lord and the Cross.  Even though many days it is quite challenging, and that cross is difficult to pick up in its heaviness - though once I remember to look at Jesus, it becomes lighter and easier to carry...I just wish I could remember to look up more often! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Year of Faith Cont: Make Sunday Mass a Priority

Now that I'm feeling mostly better, I shall continue my comments on Fr P's three suggestions for this Year of Faith.  And it is one with which I agree:  make Sunday Mass a priority.  I do.  The first thing I do when planning a trip that involves a Sunday is to check around for Catholic Churches...and if my older son is with me (or if he is on a trip with his Dad), I am then increasing the level of difficulty by needing to find a Mass with confession prior.  Why is that so hard to find?  Very few parishes offer this.  The last time my son was off without me, I made arrangements for him to have confession before Mass.  I think most priests will accommodate this if asked, but I wonder how many people will actually ask?  But Sunday Mass -yes!  Make it a priority.  It should be the first thing for that day - all other activities must take second fiddle to the one primary "activity" for Sunday (or Saturday anticipatory).  Our island parish only offers one Mass each Sunday, at 1pm.  Many people complain it is inconvenient - so they don't come.  All I have to say to that is then it must not be very important to them - then I suppose the next question is how do we make it important to them?  How do we get people to understand WHY God should be first in their lives?  How do we get people to look at us, look at us knowing we are Catholic, and have them wonder what it is we have that makes us so joyous?  And then leave them wanting to have what we have - to desire that which we desire.  To think:  I want what they have...and to somehow give them the impetus to enter those doors and simultaneously open the doors to their hearts.  Well, that's another blog post :-)!!

But back to Fr P's suggestions.  He also stated that we should stay at our Parish (territorial), even if the priest was a heretic, the singing was atrocious, etc...  At one level, I agree - Christ is present, the Mass is valid, Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist; we should stay and effect change from the inside.  Sure.  Sounds good.  But what if what used to be the favorite part of your week is now something you almost dread?  What if your love of the Liturgy causes you to cry every time you step into this particular parish church for Mass?  What if you have children who begin to parrot back the incorrect/incomplete theology the parish priest preaches?  Luckily my older son is old enough to discuss these things, and my younger son is too young to really pay that much attention.  With children involved, it changes the dynamics a bit.  Much prayer, and thought, have gone into my decision to go to another parish.  I realize that I feel too new, too unsure of myself - that I just don't have the strength to stay here and battle.  Another time, sure, but not now.  I need to be nurtured in my faith, to be helped along.  And when I get that, you know what?  I AM able to participate in Mass at my territorial parish - even with "Gather Us In" or "Abba, Father" being sung; even with questionable theology spouting from the priest's mouth; even when we are usually the only family kneeling - not holding hands - kneeling for communion - staying afterward to pray...if I can nurture my faith elsewhere, at parishes where the Liturgy is loved, respected and cared for, then I find I do have more strength and I'm sure that one day I will have gathered enough strength to try to make changes here.  But now, right now, I just can't...even though it means I travel approximately 3 hours one way to the next nearest Parish.  It is worth it.  I am fed - and from that nourishment I can begin to give back, to teach, to "fight the good fight."

Go to Mass!  Go to confession!  You'll be amazed at what transpires in your life if you consent to making these a priority.