Thursday, April 30, 2009

Listening to The Spirit.

In the readings of the past week we have heard about, and we prepare for, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our priest explained to us how he was pulled by the spirit to ignore his prepared homily and preach by the Spirit. This is a feeling I know all so well. My question is, how do I find spiritual courage? I have found that the gifts given can come as boldly as a loud clashing of a cymbal and also as timidly as a quiet whisper. The thing is, although He is very strong and persuasive, I can be very weak. I feel The Spirit can push me in a way that I might boldly stand out in front of a crowd, but through experience I have also found out that the people are quickly ready to stone me for my different view on things. How is it that the spirit fills my heart with so much joy that I have no choice but to follow but, at the same time that extreme unexplainable joy is followed by doubt. For me it's like Satan and his followers want to put a halt to any work He is asking me to do. I want so badly to live my life giving everything to Him. How do I courageously stand ready for what ever might become of me. How do I find that kind of courage? The kind I read about in the bible. All I can do is pray every day as the disciples did," Increase my faith." And hope that my courage increases to the likeness of the ones I have read about.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A peek at the Mission

I have been silent on this blog. As I have written I was in Jamaica. Things went differently then we expected. This seems the usual coarse of things in my life. His plan is always different then mine. I was very lucky because someone up there created a special job that I only could do. This took me away from what others were doing, but kept me much busier than others. He knows I feel that my missions should be busier. The first evening when we were being given the run down on events Brother Michael asked if anyone knew how to stencil. I, being an art major many years ago said I could do it. Little did I know it meant working with an old exacto knife and oaktag file folders. Then a sharp but more difficult to handle box cutter and a 6 inch metal ruler. My work area was an opened cardboard box put on the church stairs, the kitchen table and then an old desk in the poorly lit lower room in the mission parish center that we were helping with. Anyway it came out. I was happy to add the commemorative title of Mother Mona FSE to the outside of the building. On Thursday we had to quickly leave because of civil unrest. We were brought to a hotel where we were treated to a day and a half of comfort. It was not necessary, but God's will. The children captured my heart. I hope our parish will continue to help.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The simple gift of helping others

I'm in Jamaica doing mission work. Daily we celebrated mass and then did what ever we were asked to do. My job was to cut stencils and with them, paint the name on the outside of a pastoral center. I don't know how they thought anyone could do this without supplies, This job kept me busy every afternoon and evening. I made the stencils out of folders and used a box knife to cut out the letters. None of these things would have been my choice for the project, but the job got done. The mornings I spent tutoring a 16 year old boy. He would be taking a placement test that would decide if he could continue his education or leave school to learn a trade. These children want to learn, they want to go on. Unfortunately they barely can read or do math. My boy, struggled with reading. He seemed to never be taught how to divide words into syllables and sound words out. We spent the whole week reading, very slowly what I feel were words on maybe a second grade level. All I can do is pray that what we worked on sticks in his head.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Living in the Octave of Easter

Easter Sunday has come and gone and although I expected to feel the internal glory of the Resurrection I wasn't quite feeling it. I went through lent understanding the fast, the mortification the sacrifice, but somehow I thought with the Resurrection would come a new light. Maybe the glorious light I saw and felt when I first truly began to understand all that Jesus did was for me. I have no idea why, but this year I was expecting something physical to come over me. I was able to partake in all of the Masses and stations, the triduum and even 3 Easter Sunday masses, each given by a different priest. (This happens when you are in the choir at our church.) There were so many graces and gifts in the last 40 something days. Why did I want more? Then I heard how when Mary Magdalene recognised Jesus, He had to tell her to stop clinging to Him and go spread the news. I realized that I had already been allowed to recognize Him in His Resurrection when I had my spiritual awakening or maybe reconversion. Still I was hoping that Jesus would somehow appear and allow me to stay safely at His feet, in that glorious light of the Pascal candle. It's not allowed, not then and not now. Like Mary Magdalene, I wasn't recognizing Him. The gift that I was waiting for, was right in front of me in that precious cup of blood and the tiny Eucharist. That is the resurected Christ. It was there every day for me to take and be filled. The rest HE was leaving up to me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Preparing to celebrate the Triduum

I sit here at my computer for a final moment before I dress and prepare for tonight's mass. All I could think about today was how I may have failed Jesus this week running around trying to get everything ready for Easter. I somehow fell back to the old self worrying how everything could be perfect. Then a friend sat with me after morning prayer and just about in tears said how down she was because she had so much to do and would never finish everything in time. Out of my mouth came the words,"Is any of that so important that you should worry about it." We chatted very quietly and thanks to the Holy Spirit, I was able to once again, do what I start every day setting out to do. That is, give Him every breath . When I got home I thought of Peter and how he had such good intentions and still betrayed our Lord over and over. The thing was Jesus forgave him over and over. Why is that so hard for me to believe when I realize I have fallen once again. He has always picked me up and given me the sign that I am still His. This grateful child can only fall on my knees and say thank you. Thank you for Your mercy, thank you for Your forgiveness.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Listening to our crucified Jesus

As we sang Hosanna in the highest and proudly held the palms to be blessed by our priest, I brought myself spiritually back to that very day. I reflected on how the people reverently spread their cloaks and palm branches they had cut from the fields. All cried," Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" How could such a beautiful and reverent moment turn and become the passion and death of our Lord and Savior? I felt it the moment mass ended and our beautiful reverent church seemed to turn into a conference hall. With the last note of the recessional song, all reverence to His importance turned to disregard. Like He had left the building, and and maybe our conscience.
I spent this Lenten season trying my best to understand God's will for me at this time in my life, listening to our crucified Jesus and giving in to the "trust" he asked of me when he died for ME and my sins. I feel He allowed me to understand how so often we live day to day never taking the time to listen to the Father. Disregarding His guidelines, the ones that offered Eternal life, the same words that he gave Moses. How is it, one minute we are praising and honoring Him and the next our wretchedness allows us to deny Him again and again, from fear of religious persecution, or maybe a simple inconvenience for that matter. I sometimes feel like a part of that crowd which was so easily swayed to allow the Crucifixion of the man they had promised loyalty. I see this happening and keep asking myself how long can this go on before our feasting turns into destruction and death. The Jesus that had been hiding in the desert has come out and revealed to us once more, the realness that His death was given to us as the greatest gift ever. Somehow, I feel that we are missing the chance to accept his mercy, assuring Him that his passion and death is reverently and humbly acknowledged. I will not allow this Lenten season to pass without throwing myself at his feet and washing myself in the ocean of His mercy. Jesus I TRUST that you will show me the way to the Father as you promised. With your help, I will not follow the crowd, but quietly kneel with my eyes fixed on Your wounds.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trust looks like the son of God

How I love Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. When I heard their words this morning my heart ached that I might have that faith. When confronted with a torturous death in a white hot furnace for not worshiping a statue made by their king they felt no need for defence. They explained that God who they serve can save them, but even if He chose not to, they still would not give in to King Nebuchadnezzar's threats.
How easily I stifle my words or thoughts for fear of alienating the people near me, my friends and family. Why do I feel the intimidation of this world pulling me away from what is truly right and back into the silence and comfort of religious acceptance. I know this isn't right. I must stand bravely in front of that furnace knowing that if I place myself totally in His care, Jesus will be with me walking through that fire. "Blessed be the God of Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in Him."
Daniel 3:14-20, 91-91,95