Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mary's Abandonment to God

Mothers in general are controlling. We’d like to hope we aren’t, but we are. And depending upon our personality, some of us are more controlling than others.

We want to have children that are holy, healthy, happy, safe, smart, and just pleasant to be around. We lovingly guide and sometimes order our children around in an effort to fulfill our responsibility to make sure those six objectives are all accomplished. But we are the nurturers, the “heart of the family. So, who to turn to as a role model? The most blessed of Mothers, Mary.

While meditating over the years upon the Wedding at Cana, I had always been confused by Mary’s role. Yes, we can all appreciate the obvious lesson from the outcome of the event, that Mary is our ultimate intercessor. But there is so much more to be realized: Mary as the Mediator and Co-Redemptrix; discovering the symbolism of the old and the new wine skins, and the foreshadowing of the Eucharistic feast at the heavenly wedding banquet. I once heard a priest say there was more in this passage than in most of the Scriptural events of Jesus’ life.

As a mother, I began to think about what was really happening between Mother and Child. It is the only place in Scripture that indicates that Mary humanly filled her role as a mother who advises and likely tells her child what to do, in spite of the fact that He was God. First, Mary went and stated that they had no wine. Based upon Jesus’ response, this was not just a statement, but rather a firm request to do something about it. He replied, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." So Mary simply says, “Do whatever He tells you.”

For me, this is where the disconnect occurred. Early memories have me recalling that I should be obedient as Jesus was to Joseph and Mary. My later catechetical memories have me recalling that obedience is modeled after the Holy Family to God and to the Jewish law. But here, it seems like Mary is relinquishing all motherly coaxing/control back to her Son. And this is where my “aha” moment arrived! Who is Mary’s son? None other than God, Himself. Suddenly, it occurred to me that as we mothers struggle over moments in our children’s lives where we really have no control over their free will, we must turn the control over to God.

This is best realized later in our children’s teen years, when we allow them more freedom to choose between good and evil. These moments offer opportunities for them to grow in virtue. We can and must do our part by first advising, as Mary did, and then continuously praying and turning to God. It is even better realized when our adult children make grave moral errors and we may wish to save them from their sins. But Jesus has already done this, and we can only pray for God’s mercy.

We can never stop advising our children, but we must let them go, just as Mary did in that moment when she turned her desire back to her earthly son, Jesus… and ultimately turned control over to God, the Son.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Facing Death... Your Make-A-Wish

My next door neighbor is dying. He’s young, and like so many people we hear about today, he’s facing terminal cancer squarely between his eyes. The knowledge of one’s own death, in my opinion, is God’s greatest act of mercy.

I have been contemplating all the deaths and pending deaths which are so currently plentiful in my life. This is a phenomena that comes and goes in stages, although the older I get, the more the stages seem to topple over one another. Most of the time, I hear of a friend of a friend that is dying, or a distant relative, or someone at my husband’s workplace. Now, however, there are many friends of friends, my own relatives and friends, and worse, children I know are dying. In fact, my other across-the-street neighbor was found dead in his home this month, of natural causes. So, I began to wonder why… why now? What is God preparing me for?

Well I cannot profess to know God’s purpose, but rather the thought of my final “make-a-wish” came to mind. I decided to go with this, in an effort to project myself into what many others around me are facing. To imagine my “make-a-wish” seemed less morbid and rather, uplifting. At the very least, I was trying to prepare and make the best of many sad situations. But before I share mine, begin by thinking of yours.

My make-a-wish, would the foundation actually grant me one, would be to hit the Catholic/Christian speakers’ circuit and to speak about, well, death! “It’s inevitable. We all will die. So why don’t we begin by living as if we are terminal?” My “talk” may begin somewhat like that. I may follow by sharing my fears and joys in the inevitable.

We will all meet God one day, provided we do not directly reject His love and mercy in the form of mortal sin. God’s incredibly merciful gift of a terminal illness allows us to know more clearly our earthly end, to prepare, to clean up, and to get ready to meet the greatest Supreme Being of all eternity, Our Heavenly Father. It tests our faith and allows us a clear-cut choice to abandon ourselves to the virtue of hope. It also gives us an opportunity to do something meaningful in our last days. It allows us to make a final contribution and bear good fruit on the True Vine, so that the Vine can flourish all the more after our pruned branch is permanently harvested into Heaven.

Death isn’t the end for us. It’s just the beginning of eternity. We face it inevitably, but we don’t think about it inevitably. If we did, we would live so much differently. We may be less careful and more truthful. We may be less negative and more positive. We would say everything we ever wanted to say to those we love, and also to those we know we should charitably admonish. Instead of putting off to tomorrow what we can do today, we would do it - today. For tomorrow never comes, and you can only live in this moment once, so live with your bags packed! Okay, you get the point…all the clich├ęs are true!

God intended for us to accomplish all that His plan entails. We are all terminally ill. Now, if you were facing 3-12 months like my neighbor, what would your “make-a-wish be”?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crossing Over...

I have discovered that the death of a pet is often called "crossing over."  I am not sure what this would refer to as they don't really cross over anywhere.  Any critical thinking human being would debate that an animal has some sort of soul.  But they were not created in the image and likeness of God, nor do they have the ability to reason.  They simply don't think the way we do, nor do they laugh out loud. They operate off of instinct only.  So, it's not likely they are crossing over to a valley of Pet Heaven as a reward for loving their Creator. 

Nonetheless, the death  of a pet is one of the most painful experiences one can have. 

Tonight my cat is one step closer to crossing over.  The range of emotions I feel is uncanny.  I ask myself, "Did I make the  right decision to let him die naturally?  Should I have put him down sooner when he wasn't so out of it?  Why did I wait till Labor Day Weekend, when the open vet centers are clearly out for profit only?" 

We have been given dominion over our animal kingdom.  It is a gift we must hold carefully.  It allows us to mirror the compassionate nature of God.  But the fact remains that an animal, while they rely on you for care and feeding, and yes, love, is still an animal.  Emotions...  confusion... It is difficult to understand this responsibility and gift, given that an animal does not have a soul.

To know the compassionate nature of God is to be a better caregiver to those creatures and human beings we love.  But to truly know the mindset of God is impossible, since we are a mirrored image only, and we are not God.  And so, in my emotional state, as I try desperately to do the right thing, especially the right thing by God,  I can only turn to Him for assistance.  I give him my sorrow, my mistakes, my weakness and my lack of wisdom in the final hours of my cat's life. 

This may all sound sappy and unattractive to someone who does not share a love for animals.  Plenty of people don't.  But for me and millions of others, the death of something that has given you great joy and companionship, is difficult.  Plain and simple. 

This is for Simon:  my beautiful black and white cat who I will miss. I will miss his snow white fur directly under his chin, and the loving kindness and joy he gave to anyone who would pet him.  Not a pushy cat, just a lovely cat, named after St. Peter, rock of our Holy Church. 

I only hope that the animal kingdom, one of God's creative masterpieces, will be available to us in Heaven.  I would like to be the baby who lays his hand once again, not upon the adder, but upon Simon, my sweet, 13-year-old black and white cat. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our Week in 7 Quick Takes

1.  Okay, this is my first attempt at linking to another blog.  I'm supposed to post this on Friday or perhaps by the end of the weekend.  Jen @Conversion Diary hosts this, so here I go -


2.  The week started off with my daughter's First Communion and Confirmation celebration weekend.  To watch all that she experienced was a spiritual high for me all week, especially since she wanted to sneak off to mass every day.  We managed to accomplish mass quite a bit, in between a slight bout of stomach flu on Wednesday.  My friend suggested that Our Lord was detoxing her 60-pound little body!!!!


3.  As a home school mom, I am forever playing catch up.  This week I was able to catch my 5th grader up with a couple of long sessions on the Constitution of the United States.  I learned something  - again.  The beauty of home teaching is that you re-learn what many others have forgotten.


4.  It's been very windy here.  I am thankful for the cool air, just before the heat sets in and fries our toes. 


5.  Discernment is a daily process in my life.  God keeps me guessing.  This week, the book thing kept coming up.  I have a book I want to write, but its premise will be very time consuming, with much research.  With four of my five children still in progress before their official nest launch, I have little time for writing a book.  Nevertheless, with God, all things are possible.  So I am slowly moving forward.  If the process is smooth and I find peace in the effort, I will know that now is the time.


6.  We are chiseling away at some long-overdue projects.  There is peace in that, too, as some very minor closure is taking place.


7.  But my greatest reflection on the week is in regards to a wonderful gift my children received.  After nearly spending a year taming a feral cat who became pregnant in the process, my children finally met her 5 1/2 week old kittens.  "Moma," as she is fondly called, literally brought us her babies directly to our doorstep, where my children and I have been feeding her. 

This has been long in coming.  A feral cat is mean.  But slowly, Moma warmed up to my children, after much diligent effort on their part, dropping morsels of food in long lines, until Moma eventually entered our home.  Quickly, out she would dart.  This scenario repeated many times, and eventually Moma allowed them to pet her on our porch.  Her pregnancy progressed, and patiently the children waited for the birth of her babies.  Finally, she disappeared for two days.  She returned daily after that, thin, of course, and less frequently at first.  Her visits throughout the day increased, more and more frequently to be fed and loved.  At the end of this week, Moma had escorted her kittens to our doorstep, almost in an effort to tell us she needed help in feeding them.  Noticeably, she had grown thinner in the past two weeks, as the demands of babies' appetites grew. 
When the babies arrived on Friday, we quickly took them in.  Moma soon followed, allowing us to help her into the box, so that she could periodically nurse them in the comfort of our home.  No more nursing under the dark and low shed of our neighbor's backyard.  And food, namely moistened Kitten Chow, was plentiful in our Garden of Paradise. 

This was absolutely the highlight of the week, knowing God's own creatures can grow ever so close as to trust the very dominion He has given to us, over His animal kingdom.

What a great week!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Leaping for Joy

Last week, the last of my daughters made her First Holy Communion. She was confirmed first, and she along with about 90 other youth might as well have been leaping for joy. With all due respect to our Heavenly Father in His house of worship, the children were beautifully behaved, reverent, and respectful. But it was clear in their smiles that they were bursting with the Holy Spirit. They almost could not contain their joy, and I am sure all of heaven was laughing in delight at the completion of their sacramental initiation, and their union with Christ.

'Tis the season to be jolly. No, not with Santa Claus... Instead, it's the Easter Season, a time when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and liturgies of first sacraments abound! Joy was everywhere that night. After the final blessing and the closing song, little girls and boys were bustling everywhere around the altar, taking pictures, hugging loved ones, and rejoicing. Our Dean returned to the altar area, making himself available for candid photos and good will conversations. As my daughter joined her girlfriends for many pictures, I was filled with happiness when even our sometimes-more-reserved-than-not-pastor jumped into a photo with a big smile, and without even being asked! His own joy was also so prevalent that one could only respond with a hearty "thank you!"

All I could think about was the scripture passage when Jesus rebukes his protective disciples, instructing them to "let the little ones come to Me..."
Jesus knew the value of a child's desires, their trust, joy and innocence. So it was no surprise when He further instructed us that we cannot enter heaven unless we become like a little child.

If only we could all remain as we were on the day of our First Holy Communion and Confirmation, so filled with trust in the Lord, and joy in His presence! The intensity of these children's happiness was not contrived that night. They spent two full hours in that long liturgical celebration, exempt from any worldly stimulants, sugar or soda. Yet their energy abounded through a filter of perfect purity...and for me, it closely mirrored what Christ, Himself must be like in His most humorous and joyful state.

My evening was topped off when my little daughter, now sponsored by two more guardian intercessors in heaven, Sts. Bernadette and Therese said to me, "Mom, I felt so different after I received Jesus... I even felt different right after Confirmation..." Her smile was so wide and her eyes glowed so brightly that I could actually see the difference.

After witnessing and experiencing this happiness observantly and vicariously through my own child and the many other children that night, I ponder again how our world can continue to deny the very presence and existence of God. There was a fullness and completion present that night, the very kind that every human being longs for...

It was right there. Fullness.... and completion....

May others come to know the Truth and may God's plan for salvation continue to forge ahead in these trying times. And may we give thanks to God for these moments when our Hope is strengthened and renewed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nothing New

I have nothing new to say, nothing that has not already been said. The depths of a person have probably already been realized a million times. Profound depths of the inner soul of today's human being isn't much different from the human soul of 2500 years ago.

We aren't re-inventing the philosophical wheel here...

But today we have the blog. A public export and free publishing of one's inner soul. We could call a blog a public diary, or a public journal or a public confessional. A free publicized pamphlet of our own personal agenda. All of these titles apply.

Blogs are funny and entertaining. They unveil the truth of today's human condition. But mostly, they are sad and empty.

A blog can be light and airy and a place to express creativity. It can document one's life and developments. Or it can simply be a commentary.

My blog? So far, it is boring, and has no creative flare. But it comes from my heart, so it says something of who I am right now. Boring? No creative flare? I hope not. Just busy.... with life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Long for Heaven

As the Christmas song states, I long for a world where "everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end..."

That's a simple summary of heaven. It's a song we hear NOW, during these times of severe sadness and public abuse. It sticks out when it plays on the radio, especially when minutes later after listening to this song, our society enters their living room or classroom for further indoctrination. Listening to this song at Christmastime undoubtedly echoes in the soul of everyone who hears it, because we are hard-wired to long for goodness.

So, hear is more of what I long for:

I long for a world where chastity is prevalent, and purity is revered.

I long for a world where children are protected from television, movies, and the entire destructive world of the media, where our minds are desensitized to lustful sex, violence, stupidity, mediocrity, voyeurism, manipulative entertainment, reality tv, and intended objectivism of women.

I long for a world where money is no longer the motivation for the promotion of good, or of evil.

I long for a world where all of these are not glorified, but rather are condemned.

I long for a world where children and teenagers are protected from the education system, from luke warm teachers proclaiming their personal agendas and their personal problems, the promotion of lies in the classroom, and the raping of our children's minds, their hearts and their souls by their adult mentors and their heroes in Hollywood.

I long for a world where real love is practiced, not a love fueled by the social justice that is proclaimed as hip by those in the public eye.

I long for REAL social justice.

I long for a world where most everyone is NO LONGER AFRAID to proclaim the truth.

I long for a world where the Truth is known and is triumphant.

I long for more patience and humility.

I long for a world that understands humility.

I long for true Love.

I long for a world where every human being reaches holiness, and for everyone to be filled with love realized through personal humility, service and gift.

I long to trust everyone because I can.

I long for chaos to be removed, and order to be restored.

I long.... for Heaven.