Sunday, February 21, 2010

Richness in Richmond

As a Catholic- especially one that lived in a convent for a period of time- I have people reference movies like "The Sound of Music" and "Sister Act" to me ALOT. Truth is, I totally geek out over those movies. Especially because of the MUSIC. Especially Sister Act 2. Lauryn Hill + choreography in 1990s "Cross-Color" attire= HUGE WIN. It's one of those movies I have to sit down and watch everytime its on. #truthbomb.

This morning, a quote Whoopi's character says to Lauryn's popped into my head: "If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is singing, then you are meant to be a singer, girl!" usual, I'll get there ;)

This weekend, as I mentioned last post, was my retreat to Richmond with some fellow youth ministry friends from both the Arlington and Richmond dioceses. (You will note, I am neither a youth worker currently nor a member of either diocese, but they are good to me, what can I say! ;) I wrote on Ash Wednesday about what constitutes an "acceptable time" and I carried part of that theme with me this weekend. It was certain- regardless of whatever else is going on in my life- that the timing of this retreat was more than acceptable!

I mean, my very dear friend from NET was getting ordained a deacon the very same weekend about 15 minutes away! What is more indicative of God's perfect timing than that?!!

God has been slowly revealing to me this past year more of the good work going on the Catholic youth ministry/music/evanglization world. Ironically, though, He is revealing this while I am not currently 'technically' working in ministry. I know I've mentioned what a blessing it is to start being connected with some of these people whose work I admire and wonder if I myself might be able to do. It's just the truth.

Robert Feduccia from Spirit and Song led us in our reflection throughout the weekend. He touched on many topics, but stayed mostly in the vaccinity of Genesis with the Fall of Adam and Eve and the results of that in our lives. Mainly, the concept of the realization of their nakedness and that causing shame and fear in our lives which keeps us from our true, authentic selves.

This topic could not have been any more perfect. A no more acceptable theme for an acceptable time.

I know I've written alot lately about the 'Snowpacolypse' and my 'Snowfamily' and the stirrings that started to happen over the past two-three weeks. As cheesy as it sounds, while the world around us was being frozen over, parts of me started to get a little thawed (aww...yeah. That was a little cheesy ;). Having talks with friends who meet me in my vulnerability, recognize my gifts- has started to bring to the surface these thoughts of the 'authentic self' we were called to reflect on at retreat.

I got much out of the silent prayer time, much that I am still sifting through (you would think hours in the car without radio would've given me some clarity, but no. Still a lot of static going on up there in muh brain). But one thing I can also say that is coming to the surface is my analytical side and an ability to read the deeper meanings and signs around me. I had shut that part off for whatever reason for a while. Perhaps due to time, perhaps due to fear of what messages God may send me. Afterall, the last time I was analyzing signs from God in my life, I was going in and out of a convent. Justified?? ;)

God has also placed friends, as I mentioned, who appreciate this analytical side of me. It is a vulnerable thing to share and sometimes gets me into trouble ;) But it is one thing I have re-discovered and I believe is part of my authentic self.
It gives me much joy to name some of the fears and start to make connections in my life again!

To kind of tie this up and wrap it all together (I'm sorry this blog seems to be more for me than you the readers at this point in time. My bad. I hope you can still get something out of it!) I want to say a little about the beautiful Mass for my friend that was said today as he was ordained a deacon.

Brian was my team leader on NET and I have been blessed to remain close with him after the road. He is definitely one of those people that I know goes deep and allows himself to be open to all the stirrings of the Lord. I admire His openness and vulnerability.

The Mass was so moving because of this. Because of what Brian brought and we all brought to it. The priest that said the homily explained what the ordination to deaconate meant for the man being ordained and for the Church so beautifully. He equated the vow of celibacy Brian was taking today to laying down his life like Christ did for the Church (I must admit, I think I caught myself shaking my head when father was talking about the life-long celibacy thing ;) How intense a sacrifice!

This was just proof to me that there IS hope in the Church. There are good men giving their whole selves, whole lives for the Church today. God is still alive in the Church and particularly in these rich, rich Sacraments of vocation like Holy Orders and Matrimony.

Alright, I said I was going to tie all this up. I started with that Whoopi quote because I thought it would tie together what I wanted to say. During the Mass today, I pulled out my pen and began to write down thoughts about this weekend. And then I recalled that Sister Act quote. So many times, the first thing I want to do after thinking or witnessing something, is I want to write it out, write it down. Our authentic selves are SO much more than what we DO, though.

That is to say, even if I'm "meant to be writer" (though that was a nice thought to acknowledge ;), our authentic selves go beyond just what we are called to DO. Which is something, I think, that we also can be afraid of.

We can be afraid of what God will ask us to DO once and if we are totally open with Him.

But if we are true to our authentic selves- which is a gift of love from Jesus- why should we be afraid of wherever or whatever He asks us to do?

"Perfect Love casts out Fear". Someone on retreat put it this way: "If only we could love the fear out of our lives". True dat! Love ourselves, love others, Love God. (Not in that order of course ;).

If we are true to that REAL, authentic love, we have nothing to fear.

Now is the acceptable time ;)

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