Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When it Rains...

I'm not going to even dignify Sandy by finishing that sentence. Humpf.

I write this blog post on day two of Hurricane/TropicalStorm/ThatEvilWitch Sandy. I was supposed to be on Kairos II with our students this week. I was really bummed when I found out the retreat was being cancelled, mostly because I know a lot of students were looking forward to it. But God works in mysterious ways and there is much more to be concerned/pray for at this time, obvi.

I am definitely praying for my friends in NYC, NJ, DE, PA, MD, effected by Storm Sandy. We are okay here in DC/VA. My house is once again without power, but frankly, we are getting used to it. This is like the third time I've been displaced because of weather/power related things in the past 2 years. Whatevs. I can always rely on a Starbucks to be open for wifi and a warm drink. #FirstWorldProblem solved.

Since there wasn't much else to do this morning but stay still and just be, I took some to pray. I prayed for my friend Dan who is getting his bone marrow transplant today. I prayed for my godson and nephew, Lucas, who turns 2 today! I'm praying for my friend's grandfather who is dying. So much to pray for! It can start to feel hopeless or debilitating, especially as we sit in the cold, wind, and rain.

But I opened the readings for the day, and it never ceases to amaze me that when I am at my surliest, God can give me hope in His Word.

The first reading for today is everyone's "favorite", Ephesians 5 which I've blogged about before. At a time like this, I thought God had to be joking with me. Was this the reading He prompted me to read?:  "Husbands love your wives, wives be subordinate to your husbands..." Really? How was this supposed to be offering me inspiration?

But the Church always has a method to Her seeming madness. The Gospel is often the answer to the Old Testament/First Reading confusion. So I looked at the Gospel: The Mustard Seed. Hmm. Really?

But as I said, God always restores me even when I don't think any sense can be made of a situation. Many of my prayers today had to do with people I am in relationship with. The first reading gives the basic model of ANY relationship, not just a marriage: loving as Christ loves His Church. We all need to be subservient at times when our friends are in need. And right now I was asking how I might be in service to my friends. BOOM. Prayer problem answered :)

And the Gospel, too, gave me hope and insight. The Mustard Seed can seem like a cliche or overused Gospel passage, which is why I was frustrated with the sight of it at first. But that is because its message is true and basic: even the TINIEST bit of faith can save us. God does the rest. What a hopeful message in this time when we are perhaps overwhelmed.

So I share this good news with you today: let us serve one another as Christ serves his Church. And if we just surrender the tiniest bit to God with faith, He will take care of any of our needs.

I will leave you with a pic of my little nephew in honor of his birthday and also a pic that might look familiar from this blog scene:

 Happy 2nd Birthday, happy little guy!
Left: power outage of Jan. 2011, Right: Today, Oct. 2012. I realized I was in the exact same outfit of survival: hoodie scarf made by nuns and Snuggie. Sigh. My life!

Stay warm and know of my prayers!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Year of Faith

An obligatory blogpost to serve as a public service announcement about that thing you've probably already heard about:

In case you didn't already know, Pope Benedict has announced tomorrow: Oct. 11, 2012 until Nov. 24th, 2013 (the feast of Christ the King that year) as the "Year of Faith". He explains this in a document called "Porta Fidei" or "Door of Faith" which you can read here. Who writes like a 16 page "letter"? The pope.

You may be asking yourself: what's so special about Oct. 11, 2012? If you are like my students, you might think it is because tomorrow is 10/11/12. You might think that until I and one of your intelligent classmates points out, when it is 10/11/12 here, it will be 10/12/12 somewhere else, and that the Pope isn't really a numerology type of guy anyway.

The deal with Oct. 11, 2012 is that it is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the 1st publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Knowing that I am older than the CCC makes me feel doubly OLD. I mean, how is it possible that I am OLDER than something the Catholic Church produced?!?

(also, as an aside, when I asked my students what they thought it was the 50th anniversary of, one student legit said "Jesus." Yup. To which I replied: 'Yes! In fact, my parents are older than Jesus.' Can't wait to tell them! ;)

I took this opportunity to discuss the pope's letter- "Door of Faith"- with my students and I do the same now with you, my lovely, lovely blog readers. The Holy Father is calling for a renewal of faith in this year that we celebrate some of the great things to come out of Vatican II and the catechism. He asks us to return to Scripture, retrace the steps of history and people who came before us, and rediscover our faith.

So I encourage you to read the document and think about what you might do differently in this year of faith. I'm going to continue to explore my relationship with Mary (as I mentioned a couple of posts prior) and also hopefully celebrate by GETTING MY MASTERS IN THEOLOGY and passing my comprehensive exams in the Spring! :)

I will leave you as the Holy Father begins his letter: "The door of faith is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church." I think it's interesting that he starts with this visual: an open door.
Ummm...yeah. I'm not trying to be ironic here. I legitimately couldn't find a small jpg of an "open door..." My bad.

I don't think too many people think about an "open door", unfortunately, when they think of the Catholic Church. Perhaps  many would think that the door to faith is closed and dead bolted with some secret code or key only given to a few.

Or if you are like me, the door of faith is sometimes of revolving door, just going round and round in a cycle.

What does the door to your faith look like? Do we believe the Holy Father's words about the open door of our faith? If not, what can we do to try and embrace that?

Happy Year of Faith! Please continue to keep my friend Dan in your prayers as well as some other special intentions that have been brought to me lately. Thanks! You guys are the best.