So once upon a time I was a pretty lukewarm Catholic. Tepid. Neither hot nor cold. Worse than a pizza slice that has been sitting out and congealing. Then, through a series of incredible events culminating in my joining Rosary Army and becoming a rosary-making machine (now I also teach people at the Eucharistic Congress), I have found peace and ….well peace. That’s a good thing in today’s world.
It has also inspired me to start blogging, so this little piece, translated from the original Spanish, speaks to my conversion.
The Holy Rosary
It’s been a while since I reflect on the graces that I have received by praying the rosary but find that today, on a day that celebrates saying yes to life and to God’s gift of that life through the Walk for Life, I am reminded of those graces, and how they embolden, strengthen, and often console us.
I could say that the rosary changed my life. Perhaps better said, it saved my life. My faith and prayer life had been a lukewarm challenge for more years than it has been on fire for the Lord. So much of that time was spent longing for a better relationship, but not really knowing how to proceed.
It’s kind of like when I was in school and I could see the groups of kids doing really neat things, and I knew that they probably would welcome me to join them, but it was me, shy and feeling awkward, that stood back and didn’t initiate the friendship.
God is like that, I think. He longs for a relationship with me as much as I seek Him. But it is my weakness, my shyness, and sometimes those feelings of inadequacy in not knowing how to pray or what to say that held me back.
By coincidence (are there really coincidences or just opportunities to really see God’s hand in our lives?) at about the same time I was looking for a way to learn to pray, my oldest daughter experienced a retreat where she learned to make all-twine rosaries. She came home excited about the weekend and gave me that rosary as a gift. Her excitement was contagious. You see, the teens learned to make rosaries with the idea that they should pray them after making them, and then pass them on to someone else who would catch the wave.* [more…]
I love this time of year. It makes me combative, in not a good way. Anyway, kudos to my friend Nancy, who sent this cartoon along through her brother, Greg. By the way, you should go here and support the wonderful work we do at Rosary Army, which is completely unrelated to the combative attitude I get this time of year. Come to think of it, the more I pray, the less combative I get. Maybe it’ll work for you. While you’re at Rosary Army contemplating the kind gift to help us continue with our ministry, you can go here and request a FREE rosary! I know! We’re wacky like that, but it’s what we do.
So my husband, a.k.a. Gladys Kravitz, and I sit on the porch in the afternoon and watch birds. Pathetic, I know, but hey, it’s rather relaxing and once I got past the whole cliche/mockery of what our lives has become, it’s turned out to be a rather relaxing and enjoyable part of my day. In fact, so much so that this evening we put rings on crucifixes for that crazy bunch over at Rosary Army and The Catholics Next Door until the natural light gave out. Note: piece work a terrible way to make a living.
Anyway, I digress. This is about the birds. The ecumenical ones.
It turns out that my hubby made a little island in the front yard, and put a bird bath and a feeder in it. That is what occupies our evenings when Gladys isn’t spying on the neighbors and delivering world-altering news like, “Lamar just went out to get the paper.”
Anyway, the birds. There are tons of them! It’s quite lovely to watch. At first, they would come to the bird bath, but totally ignore the feeder. Except for the squirrels, who perch near the stand and try to figure out how to get to it: fail! We’ve seen all kinds of pretty birds. Now that they’ve figured out that there’s food, everyone comes to eat. We were particularly taken with a male and female couple of cardinals. The female seemed afraid of the feeder, and would perch near it, but not terribly close. The male would get some food and take it to her! It was amazing! I’ll let you draw the metaphor for marriage on your own.
Back to ecumenism. Every kind of bird comes to the bath and feeder and shares in the available resources. It’s pretty amazing. I didn’t think they would coexist like that, but they sure do. Of course, some are a little more righteous than others, and then there’s the problem of the Blue Jays. They are pricks. But all in all, we could learn a few lessons from the natural world.
Another presidential campaign cycle is winding down. Today, on the eve of elections, many people are thinking about and going over the issues one last time before commiting to a candidate tomorrow. Some, like me, have exercised the opportunity to vote early. Regardless of when we get around to casting that vote, the nation, it seems, is hanging in the balance until one of those candidates is proclaimed the victor.
It appears that this election will be closely monitored, from within our borders because of so much partisanship, but also from without, as I can never recall an election that commanded so much interest from abroad.
It is the almost rabid partisanship that has me concerned. While I fervently want my candidate to win, I don’t think the country will collapse overnight if he loses. The odds are generally in my favor that one of them is going to be elected [smile].
I also think that the threats from both sides to move to another country is neither practical, nor good for America. This is a great country. It will still be a great country on Wednesday morning. As her citizens, we have to remember that once the election is over, we need to put away the blue flags and the red flags and go back to the business of waving the one flag that unites us, you know, that pretty banner with the red, white, and blue.
When I was a kid, I used to watch my mom while she read her favorite books. In those very early days in the United States, she read dime novels in Spanish — some Corin Tellado stories that pre-dated the English-language Harlequin Romances. As her English improved, my mom graduated to reading Erma Bombeck’s columns, and later, the collected works.
Mom alternately laughed and cried as she read those vignettes. There is no doubt in my mind that my own writing was influenced by my mother’s appreciation for Bombeck’s ability to capture the joys and [hidden] pains of motherhood and family life. I have the sneaking suspicion that the Nobel Prize in Literature would not be as well-received as my having a small column in the local paper.
This realization delights me to no end, yet it speaks to a great truth about how subtly we are influenced by our parents and family. My mother didn’t have 300 channels of satellite radio, 1000 channels of on-demand TV, or endless hours on the internet; she had books to keep her company. Some of the moms I knew had hobbies like knitting, sewing, and crafts. Mine, it seemed, read. It’s no surprise that I grew up to be like my mother.