Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Are Present in His Wounds

While reflecting upon Lent today, and after reading something that cleared it up a bit more on how we become members of the Body of Christ, I realized that WE, or at least our sins, are His wounds. I had to ponder this...

Who wants to be a wound on Christ's Body? That's a horrific thought. But as I pondered, I remember as a child being told that every one of our sins drove the nails in a bit deeper, or hurt Christ a little more as he suffered and died. How, I wondered? I never figured it out, so I just accepted it.

Today, as I had an "aha!" moment, one of those crystal visions on the mountain top, I came to realize that as we receive His Body in Holy Eucharist, our union with Christ makes us part of His actual Body. This is basic catechism, right? To clarify this even further, I visualized all of us meshing with or into Christ's Body. For years I have joked and asked myself, "What body part am I today?" But this visual was clearer than ever and I realized we are all wounded... imperfect images of Christ... And then it hit me: our woundedness - well - they are the wounds themselves. The devastating wounds on Christ's Body, the graphic wounds we saw in the film "The Passion of Christ." My sin can be found in the depths of the slashmarks on His back: "Hey, that's me there! Ouch, oh... I don't want to do this to you, Lord!"

Of course, we are forgiven by His redemptive action. And we are not meant to be the sin, or the wound itself. We are greater than that. But, as I pondered this moreso, it ocurred to me that because the sins I commit cause a sort of death within me, and my soul is cut off from God's very life and grace, my fallen sinful state is the wound on Christ's precious Body. It's a frightening visual for me, but perhaps one that is good and necessary. It really has opened up my eyes to the reality of the sins of all mankind and the pain He experienced on our behalf. Why did Jesus do this? Because His love is so much greater than the pain, the wound and the sin itself. And for us measley mortals, perhaps this was one of the only ways He could effectively communicate this message to us. Moreso, He traded out our very guilt by His sufferings!

Sin causes death, but Christ's physical Body overcame death itself. And so, meshed into Christ's Body, and the more we partake of the Eucharistic feast and grow closer to His divinity, we, too, will overcome sin and death. And we will be enveloped into Christ's resurrected Body, as all of us are made perfect and are made new again.

We must have patience, we who are members or parts of the Body of Christ, and bear the other wounds of those around us, or whose wounding sins are so apparent upon His Body. Bearing the wounds of others is self-sacrificing, and to do so without judgement is so difficult. We must become the slaughtered lamb with Him, silent as we are sheared, humble as He was. For our suffering, joined with Christ's, will help others to function, and to gain life as a part of the Body of Christ. For our suffering and our prayer, in cooperation with God, releases the grace of God.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Exercising Our Rights: Making a Difference

If you’ve ever wondered what the Pro Life movement looks like at the annual March for Life and Rally in D.C., it is alive and well! Last month, my daughter and I, and other homeschool community members all had the extreme privilege to march on the Nation’s Capitol, in defense of the millions of lives of unborn babies.

There is much hope and joy to be had in this society. No matter what the internet tells you, no matter what the media says or does not say, no matter how much we see on television, in the stands, at the checkout counters, in our emails, from our grassroots organizations, God is in charge and He has either moved or held onto the hearts of many.

For myself, I often ponder the state of our union, dismayed and sometimes feeling beaten, unable to directly change the outcome of many babies’ deaths. Yet, while in D.C., I was astounded at the physical evidence of goodness all around us, of the hundreds of thousands of people who took time and money to stand up for life.

We toured the Mall on Wednesday, and photographed the area where the Rally setup was taking place. The Mall was beautiful, but empty. It was a workday in D.C. and the crowds had not yet arrived. My daugher kept asking, “Where is everybody?” By early Thursday afternoon, part of her question was answered, as we found ourselves in the 8th row at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Basilica), for the Vigil Mass. The Basilica was still empty. By 5:30, not only were the pews around us filled, but so were the aisles, with approx. 20,000 people. Soon the Mass began, and we were not quite prepared for the 45 minute procession of 800 concelebrants, seminarians and servers. Awestruck, I had never seen so many cardinals in all my life. But when the 400 seminarians passed before us and headed to the altar of Our Lord, I was deeply moved to a greater faith in our earthly Church and its future. It was doubly exciting to see at least two that we knew, a former home school grad and other young seminarian with whom I had worked in Vacation Bible School.

In the midst of the crowds awaiting the Mass with State of Virginia and Arizona friends, we managed to visit with all we knew who were there, certainly not expecting to run into anyone.

Friday morning arrived, and we were exhausted, but pumped up to march. We were able to move close to the rally stage, but had the foresight to leave early and claim our spot on the corner of 7th and Madison, very close to the start of the March.

Finally it began, and literally hundreds of thousands of people began to walk toward Capitol Hill. We knew that we were perhaps some of the farthest travelers, as many stopped to admire our friend and my daughter's Teens for Life banner, all the way from Arizona. Just about every Newman Guide university was represented, but one of the most touching groups to be seen was Notre Dame University.

It seemed as if for every 20 people that passed by, so would a priest. Many were there, privately marching. We passed by sisters and nuns, a group of Polish seminarians from Michigan, and Slovakian seminarians, as well. Our heads were spinning trying to figure out all the different orders and charisms. Even more moving was that we all walked side by side with Jewish rabbis, Eastern and Greek Orthodox priests, and fellow Protestant Christians.

We never made it to the steps of the Supreme Court. The area surrounding it simply could not accommodate 300,000+ marchers to hear the testimonials of the post-abortive women. But, we had done our part. We had marched, prayed, engaged, and made friends. We had exercised our rights as American citizens.

As I sat down to finish writing this, I was struck by a photo that had just been emailed of my daugher and me, standing below some very famous words at the Lincoln Monument…

“…That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ~ that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom ~ and that the government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

This quote, of course, ends Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, speaking of the great battle that had taken place for the preservation of our country’s values during the Civil War. But it was no coincidence that this unplanned photo turned out so perfectly positioned. For these words speak timelessly today. And with God, there are no coincidences! So, beside the recommendation to make it a goal to attend next year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., please - keep praying... because God is definitely listening!

Introduction to an Ordinary Catholic

Intoducing... myself.
Tonight, I am beginning a project I have wanted to begin for years. I want to write. I love to write. I like to think I write from the heart. Conversational. Revealing. Raw and real. Just thoughts from a real person living in the real world.

I am first and foremost a Catholic woman. I am an ordinary Catholic, not a superstar, just pursuing Godliness and wishing to be holy. I am deeply emersed in my faith in God and my faith in the Church. I love the Catholic Church and I am grateful that Jesus left it behind, even in all of its human misfailings. The Catholic Church remains today, the face of Christ, solid and alive, but terribly misunderstood, and I cherish how beautifully the Church celebrates life on earth. I am a wife, mother to five earthly children and three heavenly souls.

I have struck up friendships through my prayer life with many saints, but concentrate now, mostly on my relationship with St. Teresa of Avila, to guide me in my writings through her intercessory prayer for me. She was an exceptional woman, and one who can help guide us all into deeper knowledge of ourselves, as we move closer toward union with God.

I have discovered recently that I have lost my passion for many things, but have gained new ones. Within this blog, I hope to revisit some of my passions, and share my thoughts as I continue to journey in this life, magnetically and spiritually drawn toward the next: My eternity with Christ.