Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Epiphany

Jesus came to earth as an infant and not as a grown adult or an emperor, king, or some huge powerful dominating being, instead he came to us as an infant to show us vulnerability and dependency.

As an infant, Jesus shows us the kind of love that is incomparable to any known to mankind.

This holy love that Jesus, our God and Creator, revealed set out to prove that the things we do every day are meaningless without him.

There in the creche, the infant Lord shows us that humility is not below us. There in the young mother's arms the infant-God's tummy gurgles of dependency and trust proves not out of reach, and that this purest love is undefinable in it's most perfect form.

This is hard to believe in human terms, especially amid all the distractions around us during this time.  All the planning of festivities, the shopping, and rich foods that we invest ourselves in.  During this one time a year, rules are bent, all bets are off financially and diet-wise for many.  So the focus is not always where it should be.  It's like we get swept away in the fast and furious flow of secular society.  Larger and larger this season of Christmas is morphing into a 3-month calendar of black Fridays, pre-Christmas sales, and baking plans.  Halloween is barely here when the Christmas decorations and the imitation trees come out on the shelves, the toy section expands, and the Halloween candy gets put on clearance.

So, back to the infant Jesus and the splendor of his teachings.  We are taught a lesson from a newborn, besides the fact that schedules are non-existent, rules are made to be broken, and they are the boss.  Aside from these, we are taught such a large, life-changing lesson of self-donation.  Our Lord Jesus, his humility and dependency is nurtured by the young Mary's love and her own self-donation from her "Be it done to me..."Yes and cooperation with God.

As a mother myself, I can see and understand the self-donation with a young helpless newborn in my arms.  The sheer helplessness and dependency of this new little human is both fearful and precious.  So, this is what our God and Creator did for us.

How can I repay or at least carry on what he did for us?  What can I make of this selfless act from one who is perfect, greater, and most magnificent of all?  The humble and fallen being that I am can only do as much as I know how to.  To do the best I can for those around me.  To be generous with my blessings to those around me.  To make the best of bad situations with those around me.  I don't need to go too far to find those who could use some of my self-donation, some of my patience, some of my care.

Then just sit by the creche and take in the lessons he is teaching me, and take it to those around me.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bishop Barron on today's Gospel: Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 8:27-35
Friends, today’s Gospel reports Peter’s confession of faith in the midst of the disciples, when Jesus asks that strange question: “Who do people say that I am?” What he gets by way of response is, first, a public opinion survey: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Then Jesus turns to those closest to him, and he asks them, But who do you say that I am?” They are silent, afraid, unwilling, unable to speak. Finally it is Peter who speaks: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And he gets it right. Does he get it right because he is the most intelligent? Please. Because he is holy and close to Jesus? Please. We know the whole story of Peter’s weakness, betrayal, stupidity.

It is the Father who has given Peter this insight—not Peter’s clever mind or searching heart. It is a supernatural gift, a special charism. And it is upon this inspired confession that the Church is built.

Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, PO Box 170, Des Plaines, IL 60016, United States

Thursday, August 30, 2018

School Days are Back Again, and so are the memories

Back to school pictures are filling up my news-feed on Facebook these days.  Seeing the parents I’ve known for years posting pictures of their children growing bigger and changing accentuates the reality of the days and years flying by.  Our own children now are grown and gone.  Those pictures didn’t have a place like Facebook like they do now.  ‘Let me down easy, let me down slow’ are the words of a song I listen to some days.  Our children have grown up so quickly as if to ensure their survival in the wild like cubs or baby sea turtles.  The bigger they get the better their survival rate is, we can only pray.

When our son was younger, kids bullied at the bus stop.  One summer he shot up several inches and blazed through 5 shoe sizes literally.  That next year, the bullying stopped and his life at school got so much calmer.  Thank the Lord for growth spurts! 

The nights we hovered over our babies with white knuckles wondering if they were OK swiftly moved into the toddler years when bumping their heads or what they just put in their mouths caused such excitement.  Kindergarten and the early grades seemed to pass by like a waterfall of pictures falling in break-neck speed.  Looking back at their little smiles morphed into metal-banded grimaces of complete disdain toward homework or practice time.

The college years could not have gone faster for us.  Attending the orientation each year with a different student was like a dream that wouldn’t stop.  Text pictures of time-stamped hallways at 4 am in the library with study-buddies and the capturing of a long lost sibling eating lunch by themselves until being caught up in a picture sent to mom and dad with the caption, “Look who I found!”  Laughter at the time dad bought Valentines gifts and delivered them to their dorms with chocolates.  Oh the smiles!!

What do we do with all these memories of footsteps down the stairs, violin and piano music playing, or someone playing with a cat in the next room.  The midnight requisition of a sibling’s attire would find a stampede of feet clamoring down the stairs for the judge and jury to convict and the laughter of holiday meals and days together on vacations.  When all the while we loved being parents, witnessing the growth and progress of the human person in our care.  As that phase of our lives ends, theirs are just beginning.  More memories, for sure and more laughter, we hope.

Again, I say:  “Let me down easy, let me down slow.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Mass and an interesting twist of thought

I recently purchased Bishop Barron's newest project and gift, The Mass. Since it is in high demand and the warehouse is behind in their shipping, those of us waiting a bit longer for their shipment to arrive got a free pass to watch it online.  Only wanting to get a peek, I watched the Bishop's first episode and introduction to the project.

 In this six-minute presentation, Bishop Barron explained in beautiful detail, the Mass and it's meaning.  He treated us with an interesting twist of thought from Romano Guardini, a German-born Catholic priest and Theologian of the twentieth century.  The bishop quotes Guardini, "The liturgy, the Mass, is the supreme form of play."  Pretty shocking, right?  Bishop Barron explains it like this:  Work is an activity that has a purpose; play, on the other hand, is done entirely for its own sake.  Play has no purpose outside of itself, therefore, it's higher than work, it's more beautiful than work, more precious than work."   GK Chesterton observed, "Children always know how to engage in serious play."  Play is the most useless thing we can do, which means it is the most important thing that we do.  We tend to think work is the most important thing, instead of playing.  In Heaven, we will not be working at all.   There we will be resting or in eternal rest and relaxation, worshiping our God in rest.

The Mass is the supreme moment of worship. When we worship our God and our Lord Jesus Christ, we are right with God and ourselves.  The Mass gives us this chance to direct our worship to the one true God and the highest directive.  Bad praise comes when we do not direct our worship to God and instead raise to the highest place in our minds and hearts things of the earth and of mankind.

Bishop Barron's work for the Church is quite magnificent and boundless in his eloquent style of verbiage.  I am pleased that we have such a theologian as this in our modern day midst to help us along the way in understanding and appreciation of our faith vehicle, called Catholicism.

May God bless and keep our wonderful Bishop for many years to come!