Tuesday, November 29, 2011

St. Andrew Novena Starts Tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St. Andrew. This powerful Novena has made incredible difference in my life.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Passed Down

I believe that in every kitchen this morning celebrating Thanksgiving Day, there is at least one recipe being used that has been passed down from a previous generation. I know that my nephews and niece in Atlanta who cannot make it to our dinner have called for my mother's dressing recipe as well as my brother Pat and his family in North Carolina. I think it rather cool that we will be sharing the same meal so to speak despite the fact we cannot be at the same table. I personally am assigned my grandmother's corn pudding each year. I think about her so many times during the year when certain incidences occur that I know she would have a comment for or a tidbit of wisdom to offer but while putting together her recipe, I think about our times together every step of the way. Well, unless I'm sidetracked by a child or a time crunch. But, the point here is that I hope all of us who use recipes on this wonderful day or celebrate a certain family tradition, pause and enjoy a memory or two from the person or persons from which it was passed down. From the First Thanksgiving to the one we celebrate today, may we be grateful for and may we share a little of all that has been given. God Bless us all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mission Field

This past week, after having tables at the Mid-South Leadership Conference in Lake Barkley, KY the first part of the week, St. Mary's set up a booth at Christmas Village at the Fairgrounds in Nashville. A large event with vendors covering five buildings worked by members of Pi Phi to benefit the Bill Wilkerson Center, we open on Thursday night and do not break down until Sunday at 6pm. I have to admit that it is a big job but I was lucky enough not to have to work out there every day because my sister does that duty for the store. However, the show is always great and we see all sorts of customers that we never get to see otherwise and we feel that our particular merchandise speaks of the True Spirit of Christmas. As a matter of fact, we have many people come by the booth and share just that thought. They love the beautiful Nativities and angels and books and ornaments.
Every year we are next to the same family and every year the father of the group starts in on me as soon as he sees me coming. He ribs me from the first day to the last and of course, I give it right back. Imagine that! His daughter leaned over to me this year and said, "Just consider this a mission field." Of course, with that, I started thinking about how I should consider every aspect of my life a "mission field" from my home to the streets I drive to my work to my church and my school and my community. What mission does He have in mind for me? Am I just to make people laugh or to listen to their story or simply to walk with them? Is my mission truly what I have in front of me or is it a much larger field?
The readings at Mass this past week were about taking what we are given and multiplying it, putting it to use, making a difference. The parables make the point that anyone can take what they are given and keep it for themselves in a safe place and return it at a later time. But, how many of us really maximize the gifts, accept the challenges or even know what it is we are called to do? Really called to do? How many times have I played it safe and missed opportunities?
This past week in the church and in the field, I was reminded that I need to take the time to first of all figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing in every aspect of my life and then to use that to multiply the gifts that I have been given. I know I've been doing a lot of time consuming coasting. Busy work. Time for me to step out of my comfort zone, to get out into those fields and multiply the goodness of God.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hardheaded, I'm Guessing

I am at Lake Barkley in Cadiz, KY at the Mid-South Leadership Conference. I have been coming and setting up tables with books and gifts to represent St. Mary's Bookstore for many years. Many years. This morning we all attended morning Mass in the Conference Center. As the lector was reading the first reading, a woodpecker began pecking on the outside wall. A loud knocking continued and all I could imagine was God rapping His knuckles on my head and saying, "Hey, hard head, are you listening? I'm speaking here. What do I have to do to get your attention?" Surely He wouldn't have to keep at it until he bored a hole in me but I was sure that woodpecker was coming through the wall. Now I'm thinking why in the world do I have to be so hard headed? Repent. Forgive. Say I'm sorry. Don't talk about others. Be on guard. And last but not least... Increase in Faith.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When I Was a Little Girl

I have to start this way because all of my kids tease my husband when he starts his long drawled out, "Well, when I was a boy..." And, a story begins.
When I was a little girl, my mom would stop for Chapel visits quite often. Or, at least it seemed. She would tote all 8 or 6 of us kids right down the aisle of the Church and into the pew for "just a minute". As a matter of fact we had a little poem taped to the bathroom mirror that had on the front a picture of a young boy at the end of a path with the Church at the other end and was titled, "Just for a Minute". It wouldn't matter if there were groceries in the car or if she had to get dinner on the stove or we were coming home late from a practice, if the feeling hit her, we stopped. I think that most of the time I knelt and wondered what everyone else was saying to God. What could they be telling Him or asking Him? I was always squirmy sitting in the quiet.
Now, I long for those times, sitting in quiet and listening for a word or a direction or an approval. Last night I took my 9 year old to the gym for a little while to work with her on her basketball skills. After speaking with my brother many months ago about our children I decided to take his advice, although he called me for that, and use working with my kids on their extra-curricular activities as a chance to spend quality time with them one on one. Anyway, it was fun and somewhat productive and I feel we regained some of her confidence after her miserable first practice. (She was inadvertently made fun of and wanted to "never go back".) As we drove home, approaching the church I asked if she'd like to make a visit in the Chapel. "Sure." As I parked, she said, "You know, all we need in this life is religion." I asked her to repeat what she said so that I could be sure I heard correctly and then I totally agreed and inserted "God". I swiped my key card which she thought was cool and we blessed and entered. (I thought, "those were the days" when churches could be left unlocked). The choir was practicing in the church and as we knelt down I realized how peaceful it was with her in that moment. After a few minutes, she leaned over and whispered, "Do you want to go sit up there?" Meaning, up in the chairs at the tabernacle. "No. I'm fine unless you want to move." "No, but in first grade Mrs. B let us sit up there and told us not to touch the tabernacle. I did and I can't remember who it was but some boy told on me. Mrs. B wasn't mad." Wow. I didn't even have to wonder what she was thinking. She just lets everything spill right out. I told her to go ahead and finish up with her prayers because we would have to leave. It was past her bedtime. That little head pressed down hard against the armrest and she closed her eyes. How much closer could we possibly get to Him then at this moment, in this place? I thank God for my parents handing down the example of stopping by the Chapel even "just for a minute". I thank God for giving us a large family who we can rely on for good advice because when I was a little girl, I wondered just what it was all about and how it would benefit me in the long run. And I thank God for this little girl, not squirmy at all, who knows that all we need for this life is our faith.