Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Lent?

Having come through difficult Advent and Christmas seasons, I look forward to Lent with an odd mix of joy, expectation and resolve to do His holy will. I'm not sure what that will entail yet, but I am ready.

At mass this morning, the little church I attend for daily mass was full to the gills. The school children were all there, K-8, their parents, the regulars and all of the faithful. Father was in fine form teaching and ministering to all ages. Slowly, slowly we received our ashes and were reminded that's where we shall return. At the end of mass, when we were sent forth to spread the good news, we were radioactive dye entering the bloodstream. With the ashes you could see us this time.

I went on with my morning: groceries, Mom's doctor, preschool pick-up, start dinner, serve lunch. Thanks to the wonders of modern media I was able to pray the rosary with Father Groschel, listen to wonderful praise music and be inspired by Johnnette Benkovic while tooling around town in the minivan. Other women in minivans sped by going the other direction, on the move for their own families. Trying their best to do their best as best they know how. The void comes in at odd times, but they fill it up with lattes and cell phones, shopping and pta. Their longing is palpable, but they ignore it. Their stress level is static electricity in the air, but they plod on.

As women we should be all about the business of lowering the bar for each other. Cut your sisters some slack. Cut yourself some slack. Only then will you be able raise the bar on your spiritual life, your eternal life and those of your dear families. God loves you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

St. Blase

As is usual for me, God's perfect plan for my life heavily utilized the Communion of Saints today. I am recovering from the flu and a bad sore throat, and who would today's Feast day be? St. Blase of course. A fourth century, Armenian bishop and martyr, Saint Blase's intercession is often called upon for throat ailments:

"Through the intercession of St. Blase, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Does this mean that, as a Catholic, I believe a man who has been dead for nearly 1700 years will magically heal my strep? Of course not. It means that I believe in the Communion of Saints. You may have recited this in a Creed at some point in your life. The Communion of Saints:

"By which the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about. The term refers to the communion of 'holy persons' in Christ who 'died for all' so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all. We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers." CCC 960-962

We are One Body in Christ, and we do not walk alone. I ask my friend or my husband to pray for me for some intention or other. As One Body, might I not ask my brother Blase to pray for me, too? Is he not closer to God than I? He has beheld the beatific vision for centuries while I have years to go (hopefully) before I will. So I ask my brother Blase to ask my Father God if my throat may be healed and protected.

Not until I get to Heaven do I expect to understand why God has granted this particular grace to Blase over throats of all things. Tradition ties it to a particular story about Blase's life and a young child with a fishbone lodged in his throat, but God has responded to this with a Heavenly duty for St. Blase. I am glad of it and thankful for his prayers. God numbers each hair on our heads; why wouldn't he provide an intercessor for our throats?

This is my first posting. I'm not sure why I'm doing it, but I know the One who knows.