Archive for the ‘good for the soul’ Category
I’m hanging out at CatholicMom with a post about my parish’s annual medical mission to Haiti. They are there right now so first, send up a prayer for the success of the mission, and then follow this link to read my post.
No. Not really. I just totally made that up.
But do it anyway.
I had a little fun on Facebook yesterday which turned into a weird and awkward (for me, anyway) incident of fishing for compliments, which wasn’t my intent, but oh well, who can control what happens on those status updates. You know what I’m talking about — the deep and prosaic stuff gets crickets — the reckless inane crap get a bazillion likes and comments. And food. And babies. And puppies.
Yesterday, in two totally unrelated incidents, I was told I was awesome by two totally different people. By totally, I mean, the only thing they have in common is their humanity. Which is a lot, let me tell you, but that’s not the point. Or maybe it is.
It got me thinking about Pope Francis and his message to stop gossiping. Have you been following that? I’m loving it — he’s asking us to love our neighbor, and tearing them down isn’t very loving, now, is it?
Guilty as charged. Boy, I’m feeling his kindly eyes on me telling me to watch my tongue.
So back to awesome yesterday. I think the reason I was so tickled by it is because I know the persons well enough to be secure in their sincerity. It meant something to me.
What would happen if instead of tearing people down (and ourselves, by the way) with a sharp tongue and ugly gossip, we spread around a compliment or two? Make sure it’s authentic. Make sure the person on the receiving end knows you mean it.
You I might create a better habit.
I’ve got like this holy corner on my desk. It didn’t start that way. There was probably a rosary, maybe two, thrown in there out of the way, with a couple of loose crucifixes for twine rosary-making. A holy card joined the collection, then another, and finally, I threw it all together in a little basket.
I’m pretty sure I need a bigger basket.
I assure you I didn’t start out to be a collector of holy cards and other tiny religious objects — it just kind of caught up with me, not unlike my 50th birthday. It just happened. One day I was a carefree, spiritually messy 20-year-old, and then, BAM, I’m a 50+ year-old church lady, posting about holy cards and secretly (and diligently) praying novenas for your salvation. Yes, yours. Don’t worry, I got your back.
As if that wasn’t enough, I have a traveling collection of holy cards that spill out of my journal. Those are my go-to cards, let’s call them my essential prayers and devotions.
I was at my parents’ for a nice visit over Christmas, and my dad came out of the bedroom with a pile of cards, whining about feeling like his morning devotions were getting out of hand and shows me a handful of cards. I pretty much called him a lightweight and showed him my little collection in my journal.
My mom, the greatest straight man I’ve ever known, sucked her teeth and judged us. Hard. She got up and disappeared into their bedroom and came out with the epic collection, full of tattered cards and laminated ones in addition to pamphlets of novenas and plastic colorful rosaries. She wins.
Am I scaring you a little? Yeah. I’m a little amused that it has come to this, too. But relax, it’s good. I like it. It makes me feel good, this prayer thing. You could give it a try, too.
In years past I’ve left a Christmas Carol here for you, or maybe, my favorite clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas — you know the one -Linus reciting the story of the Nativity of Our Lord.
When my kids were very tiny, we used to tell them the story of Christmas using the sturdy resin nativity set we had. The kids would play with the pieces, marching the Magi across the living room, placing the ass and the cow in the makeshift stable we created. They’d move Joseph and Mary throughout the living room, too, until they found the manger and Jesus was born! And the little lambs, with the iconic shepherd carrying a tiny lamb on his back, were always placed near the front, close to the baby Jesus.
One year when one of our kids was months old, John and I actually participated in a live nativity at our parish.
When the kids were older, we read from the Gospel of Luke, and then eventually, they’d read it themselves. Did you ever wonder what was going on in Bethlehem outside the stable? They often asked.
This year, Elizabeth Scalia has given us a beautiful insight into what that moment might have been like. From the frightening sounds of the unknown in the night, to the raw reality of a shepherd’s life, to the tender invitation to come closer. Because really, isn’t that what Christ wants from us? For us to come closer?
Read this moving story…it starts with the shepherd tending to a wounded sheep, and then, it explodes with amazing imagery:
My little cousin and I watch as my uncle washes away the blood, and examines the wound. He is making that odd breathless noise—halfway between a gasp of surprise and a sigh of regret—that he always makes when an attack has been thwarted. My uncle, after all, is nearly forty; an old man long past the charms of making his bed upon the chill earth at night; disenchanted with stargazing while wolves in the dark distance howl, or creep in silence, just beyond our sight.
Read the rest of Elizabeth Scalia’s “A Shepherd I Will Remain” here. It will become a classic story you’ll want to share. I promise.
How’s your Advent been?
I’ve had one of the calmest, slowest (in a good way), simplest Advents in a very long time. An Advent filled with prayer and holy reading. An Advent that has touched me in moving ways I couldn’t have anticipated. In short, it’s been a month of such peace and quiet in my heart and soul that I hate to see it go.
John and I have been taking turns reading from Lisa Hendey’s O Radiant Dawn and enjoying, so far, 21 candlelit dinners. It’s been a lovely way to slow down in the evenings, especially in a time in our lives when it would have been easier to take dinner in the living room while watching The X-Factor.
I do believe that the discipline of using a prayer resource, together, contributed to the overall simplicity of this season.
Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a little drama in there. I did set fire to the Advent wreath today. We were just having a nice brunch…the usual, some eggs, a little bacon, some tasty home fries.
And then the conversation got a little weird, even for us.
John: Is there water in that vase with the tree cuttings?
Me, pleased with my amazing Pinterest-inspired creativity: Nope, I used those pretty, clear little stones.
John: I think it’s burning.
So, I set fire to the Advent wreath.
Don’t worry, all is well. I’m just saying that book should carry a warning label.
Hey! Go visit the incredible Advent Wreath Link-Up event at Catholicmom.com. Clickie here.
One of the things I’ve discovered about the empty nest is that we celebrate things — whether holidays or special events or even the daily non-celebrations — differently. Not better or worse, just — different.
I enjoy it, as one enjoys the different seasons. So this season in our lives is slower, less complicated by hustle and bustle. And, to my amusement (and no doubt my mother’s relief) a lot neater.
I don’t think I would have ever attempted to throw together the clippings from the Christmas tree into a vase, and work around some Advent candles. That’s a fire waiting to happen on that dinner table. That’s why we keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen — you know, this propensity to have a nice quiet dinner go up in flames.
And so, we begin Advent today with joy, and hope, and a little bit of wonder and anticipation.