For example, I have taken to looking into the saints that the parishes I belong to our named for. I don't know if this is reading into things too much or not, but I am just always trying to make connections. In my adult life, I have belonged to three parishes named for St. John (the Apostle, Beloved, and Evangelist- all titles for the same guy! Soooo that has to be something, right?!) Maybe or maybe not, but I definitely have felt a draw towards St. John because of it (especially when I got to go to Patmos, Greece in 2012, where he was exiled and had the visions for the Book of Revelations):
In keeping with that theme of the "beloved", my parish currently is The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Which never really struck me until recently when I was praying the novena to the Sacred Heart last week that this is possibly another connection for me that God wants me to explore.
(As an aside:
1.) I'm so into novenas of late
2.) This website is kind of great. It sends you daily email reminders which are oh so necessary these days. If I didn't have the reminder app on my phone to tell me most things, I would be so lost!)
I keep an image of the Sacred Heart that was blessed by a priest in my apt. In fact, sometimes, I make my friends pose for pictures with it (that's not weird, right?):
A couple of years ago, the Bishop of Arlington wrote a letter about the devotion to the Sacred Heart and encouraged all families to foster more of devotion to it. I took an interest then, but again, it was until recently that I started to put together that maybe there is something here for me- a message about God's Sacred Heart that maybe He wants me to take note of.
After praying my annual Pentecost novena, in which I used the website listed above to send me emails, the site informed me about beginning a novena to the Sacred Heart for which the feast was last week. I prayed the novena to the Sacred Heart and I believe that I am already seeing the fruits. I have noticed so many little acts of kindness and generosity around me. I believe that this is how Jesus continues to call me closer to Him, much like my girl, St. Therese. Not necessarily in big dramatic ways, but as Therese says: "the Little Way." ( I was reminded that I taught this regularly to my high school students when a former student recently mentioned me and St. Therese in his salutatorian speech at graduation this year. I am no longer at this school but it was nice to be remembered. And I'm particularly happy that he remembered that particular lesson! One never knows what kids take away from us...it truly is the little things that get through sometimes!)
I am also still supremely happy to be at the school I am at and really recognize it as a fulfillment of last year's Pentecost novena. The Pentecost novena this year has also yielded fruit, of course, but I was really struck by this calling up the Sacred Heart for my intentions.
I know that I have talked about the RCIA program at my Church and how that has been a way for me this year to connect with my faith in a different way. I have discerned, after being asked by the Director of Faith Formation, to be a part of the RCIA team this upcoming fall. We had our first meeting tonight for people who are thinking about starting the Initiation process into the Catholic Church. We gathered as we usually do, with a meal and meditation on Scripture. It is such a simple, informal format, but always exactly what we need. (probably because the apostles had similar routine with gatherings of meal and Scripture...if the method aint broke, don't fix it, right?)
We usually mediate on the upcoming Gospel for Sunday and this Sunday is the Gospel of the woman who wipes Jesus' feet with her hair and oil. All of the readings this Sunday have themes of Mercy, which are super appropriate for this Year of Mercy. It also was a good reminder as we enter into this journey of conversion with candidates for the Sacraments. This woman in the Gospel takes a risk. She is a woman and is taking expensive oil and "wasting" it on Jesus. She also shows her affection for a Him in a very vulnerable, intimate way- by kissing His feet. It is a very humble act, especially in front of Pharisees who are judging her. It reminds me that Mercy is the reward or remedy for vulnerability. When we see people who are at risk or poor or vulnerable, we should show them Mercy. A message easier said than done when we sit behind our computers these days and just want to judge. The woman in the Gospel put herself out there and was rewarded. Do we do the same for others? Do we reward their openness with Mercy? or judgment?
This act of vulnerability in the Gospel, this feast of drawing close to the Lord's own Sacred Heart, and Therese's Little Way, are all reminders to me of God's intimate love. And just to tie it all back together as you know I like to do:
No doubt St. John the Beloved also drew close to the Sacred Heart, so I believe my saint and my current devotion are certainly connected and trying to teach me something!
St. John the Beloved, St. Paul, and St. Therese- my besties who were all besties with Jesus- pray for us!
Oh and MY SUMMER STARTS THIS WEEK! NO MORE SCHOOL!!!!
Just another way the Lord is showing His Mercy this week! I truly am in awe of all the positive things happening around me right now, even if they are just "little things."