Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's in a Name?

As usual, our priest left us with something to think about for the day. Preaching on the Gospel reading of the rich man and Lazarus, he simply said, "Hmmm. The poor man had a name but the rich man did not. Ponder that."

I am awful with remembering names. AND, that drives me crazy. I want to remember the names of my customers and my children' previous teachers and their friends and those I went to grade school and high school with and my parent's friends, etc. etc. There is something about naming someone that makes the entire encounter personal, special, meaningful.
Jesus loves Lazarus. Jesus wants us to know Lazarus by name. He wants us to remember him, to think about him and to recognize him in our own lives. Jesus wants us to have a personal encounter with Lazarus so that those we come into contact with in our day will be fed, whether physically or spiritually or mentally, whether in our own homes or in our world. Jesus wants us to know Lazarus by name so that we understand that the Kingdom of Heaven, the key, the opportunity, lay daily at our feet.
Meet Lazarus. He has a name. May we remember him. May we feed him. May we talk to him. May we serve him in our children, our spouse, our co-workers, our neighbors and our selves. Today, may we, ponder that.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sometimes it takes an outside force to get you to do something about your spiritual life. Now as Fr. said yesterday in his homily, in the case of Jonah and the city of Nineveh, it took an outside force that was not exactly happy about the idea of saving the people he thought deserved to be punished but good ol' Jonah got spit back out to go do what the Lord asked. Man...follow directions, deliver His message or else. Fr.'s point was that sometimes we hear from the people we do not like, or who do not like us, what we need to hear to straighten out our lives. How do we take it? Personally I was ticked when told by someone I do not care much for that I was a cafeteria Catholic, ya know, pick and choose what I want to follow in the Catholic Church. I was angry. Angry enough to change. Angry not to realize it myself. But, God has a way. He sends us all we need when and where we need it. We just have to accept the message and the messenger. When I read "Jesus at My Side" today, which I know allllllll of you have copies of, I was reminded of a time when I thought I knew it all and was so spiritually rich that I did not need what others had to offer. I did at least like all these people but I'm so clueless. Here ya go:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matt 5:3

When I made the retreat weekend called Cursillo, in my mind I was already full of all that could be given to me.  I went because my mother signed me up.  I was full of information and knowledge and could answer questions at my assigned table and had so much to offer the other people in this building.  Three days of this and I imagined that I would be bursting with pride of how much I could share about Jesus and our call here on this earth and our response to that call.  By the second day, my throat was so tight, I literally could only speak at a whisper.  I am allergic to feathers and although I’d brought my own pillow, the shelves above where I was sleeping were filled with old feather pillows.  My voice was gone.  While I listened, because that was all I could do, I myself was filled for the day and a half I had left with all that Jesus wanted me to hear.  He literally shut me up to fill me up.  I lay empty before all these women and I was filled. 

Jesus says that those who are aware of their own spiritual poverty, those who understand that they are nothing without Him, are those who are blessed.  He has the gift of Heaven waiting for those who let go of their pride and depend solely on Him.  We empty ourselves of our will and allow Him to fill us with His will. We are nothing without God. Let go.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Diocesan Teacher's Meeting

Today I am sitting at a table of books for sale by a speaker, Jim Grant, for the Diocesan Teacher's Meeting. I take our store wherever we are needed and I always get something more from those who attend.
As I stood at Mass this morning with this huge crowd of our children' mentors, I was moved as I peered around the room. Ya see, I was saying, "and I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, (and as I did, I scanned the crowd with a slight nod) my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God." What a request! I say it most every day in my neighborhood Chapel or Church and I recognize most all of whom I ask, but this morning, I only recognized a quarter of the room. Okay, maybe a little more. And, in return, they asked me to pray for them. What a task!
We are the Church. We are here for one another in good times and in bad. We are a community of Faith who are asked to pray for each other. Within the order of the Mass, we voice that request. I have so often taken those words for granted; so often not even thought about what I have been praying for years. But, today, they move me. These teachers, their dedication to our children and to our Church, move me.
Today, as we confess our faults and as others confess theirs, know that we are prayed for, by our Mother, by the Angels and the Saints, and by our brothers and sisters in Faith.
God Bless Our Teachers and School Administrators. God Bless the Church. God Bless our Country.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

This past summer three of my girls and I drove up through Virginia, Washington, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. It was an awesome drive. We had no schedule and no places to stay. We did have a GPS, thank goodness, because traveling the back roads and finding hotels got a little stressful. Let's just say that many times there was "no room in the inn".

One of our favorite stops was the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD.

As we walked up to the shrine, the huge gold statue of Our Lady of Grace loomed in front of us. She looked out over the land and seemed to have a scowl on her face. She seemed sad. 
But, as we got closer, actually right below her with her hands spread wide as to welcome, she smiled down upon us. She almost seemed happy we had arrived. We walked the paths and read the signs and watched others who had come to be blessed.
As we entered the Chapel that was built on the place of the original, natural grotto, we noticed a pair of shoes left at the door. A young man knelt with his head down for quite some time then stood and kissed his hands and placed them on the plexiglass covered sign at the kneeler. After he left, we approached the altar and knelt and read: "You are now alone with Him in this Chapel. Speak to Him now while you may. Beg pardon of Him now while you may. Then it may be too late. Now He calls you from out of this Tabernacle. Have you nothing to say to him?" We took our turns on the kneeler. With Him. 
Then, we ventured down to the pool of water below and washed our hands and faces in the water from the facets. It took me back to my time in Lourdes, France. It took me to Our Lady. Here I shared the experience with my girls. We stood within Her loving arms and she led us to Her Son.

On this day set aside for Our Lady of Lourdes, may she lead us all to the very One who can heal, our selves, our communities, our country.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Keep It Simple

"He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick-no food, no sack, no money in their belts."
Today's Gospel message from Mark instructs us to let it all go. As we are fast approaching the 40 days of Lent, we hear from Jesus that we will not need anything as we walk with Him. He is our all in all. We can leave the technology and the grind of every day life that we tend to overload on our own accord and we can trust Him. We can strip away all the anxiety and all the fear and we can simply walk. Jesus calls us to simplify our lives. He calls us to chill out. We tend to make more out of this life than necessary. The Scripture messages are for us today. Leave all our "stuff" behind and for 40 days, journey with Him. We will not be disappointed.