Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This year, Jesus has me doing the "Ignatian Retreat in Everyday Life" with the good Jesuits (and associates) at St. Michael's.  It is blowing my mind.  It has also loosed my pen.  Back when I was in Mr. Ingerson's 6th grade English class (now dubbed ELA), I wanted to be a poet.  Somewhere in there the 11 year old still lurks:

I thought I saw a future
Arrayed in crimson glow
The heat, the want sustained me,
Til I perceived the foe,
Jesus did correct me,
He turned me right around
And offered, instead, shadows,
With love beyond all bounds

A bit precious, I know, I know.  It is a tendency of mine.  Even in the free-fall of Letting go into Jesus hands.  No matter, the landing will alter all that. 

Jesus:  You are now in your cocoon and liquefying.  As this happens, all of the things you were float past one last time.  Let them go.  Do not worry that you are becoming them again.  Let them go.  Fall into my hands.  As the nothingness overtakes you, be still, be quiet, choose your “inputs” wisely and sparingly.  Do not let in anything that is not of Me.  On the other hand, be immersed in Me and the things of Me – My Word, My Sacraments, My Music, and most of all Prayer.  I will come to you there and re-order every cell.  Then you will see other things you were, long ago, before you turned away.  Let them come.  They are a part of what you will become.  They are a part of my restoration of what the disturber attempted to destroy.  But remember, I have promised Double for your trouble (Instead of your former shame, I will give you a double portion – Isaiah 65:7).  Restoration is just the foundation.  THEN we build, you and I.  For now, quiet, still, prayer, let go and allow the darkness of winter to rest the houmous of your soul.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

God's Little Flower in Pink and Purple

I have been looking for a new, affordable purse for a few weeks.  No big whoop, but wanted something smallish, lightweight, durable and attractive without any flashy doodads or designer advertisements on it.  My old one has just plain worn out.  I used to be a clothes horse and would have had several others to choose from whilst I hunted.  Years of single-income family life has whittled away my store of such things and the only “spares” I have are ancient beaded evening bags.  If I got invited to a 90’s themed wedding, I’d have been all-set, otherwise I had to keep looking.  

My daughter and her peeps have gone through, and are pretty much done with, the Vera Bradley craze.  When she was in 4th grade, she was accused of having a “fake” VB lunchbox, and it was true.  I just thought the lunchbox was cute when I bought it and that it wouldn't matter to 10 year olds that it wasn't designer.  Wrong, so, so wrong.  Well that is all behind the now almost 7th graders, but I have finally warmed up to the appeal of the bright colored, soft bags.  They are generally way beyond budget, but I happened to find a tremendous deal on one after another fruitless search for above mentioned bag in traditional leather.  So I bought it.  I splurged and spent almost $30 on a purse for MYSELF.  I rationalized.  I am working part-time and am entitled to buy myself a nice Mother’s Day present.  My daughter could not believe it.  My husband was glad I treated myself.  I felt o.k. with it and liked the addition of color to my wardrobe.  It is a pink fabric with a multi-colored paisley pattern.  Pink and purple pretty much; girly fun. On with life.  Catching up on what was going on in the world I read the incredible story of the young Bangladeshi woman pulled from the rubble of the garment factory she works in seventeen days after its collapse.  

She was in the prayer room at the time of the collapse and her first public words were thanking God for saving her life.  Over one thousand of her coworkers did not escape.  They died keeping our garment prices down.  What was this beautiful, hauntingly beautiful, young woman wearing upon her resurrection?  Pink and purple.  We are all one body.  Everything we do effects the other.  We may be separated by half a world and vastly different circumstances, but that young woman is my little sister. 

Pope Francis is trying to remind us of our communion with the poor.  We are all poor and dependent upon God for everything from each breath we take to all the provisions we need.  The more we find our security in our bank accounts or our personal abilities the more we are in danger of losing everything.  Our nation has been given more gifts and blessings than any other nation in any time in human history.  We have been given the ability to change all human society by spreading basic technology, like water supply, medicine and hygiene, etc.  Many, many Americans have done those things.  Many, many more have adopted the lifestyle of hoarding and setting up stores for our own small circle.  We have not been faithful with our talents.  

We have plundered our land and killed our children for our own false prosperity and convenience.  From Gosnell in Philadelphia to Castro in Cleveland and thousands just like them across the country, we have shown utter disdain for all that is good and pure and beautiful.  We have preferred dumpster diving to God’s banquet and are proud of it.  We have cast God out and asked Him to remove His hand of blessing.  He is a gentleman.  He will continue to allow our free will.  As in Hosea, He constantly calls, “Come back to Me,” but we defiantly turn our backs. 

Our walls have been breached.  We mourn, make repairs, celebrate our strength and move on, forgetting the depth of our need of Him.  We ignore the signs piling up around our ears.  He is calling.  He is Mercy.  He is Love.  Repent.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Humble in His Red Shoes

So much has been made of our brand new Papa Francis’ humility during this precious media honeymoon.  Our new Holy Father eschews the trappings of his elevated status as the Servant of the Servants of Christ.  It is a beautiful thing to see, and to pray with him that our Church more truly reflect a love of spiritual poverty and detachment from this world which we are passing through. 

However, can one honestly look at Papa Ben in his red mozzetta or santa-like hat and not see his humility?  Thanks be to God we are not all created the same.  Someone may express his love for the poor by wearing shoes so worn out that his friends buy him new ones for his trip to Rome.  Others may do so by keeping alive a tradition of having a local cobbler continue his ancient craft of creating beautiful red footwear for the Vicar of Christ.  Why must we accuse one of pride, because another’s humility wears different trappings? 

Obviously Pope Francis is a humble man.  How can it be any less obvious that, when an aging, shy and retiring man, accepts the highest office of his Church, and brings back all that is beautiful and old, out of honor for the office and the Man it represents, that, this too, is humility? 

I am thrilled at the way the Holy Spirit is moving in our Church through the election of Francis in this new Springtime of Evangelization.  I am grateful to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his humility in obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings to step down.  I am thankful to God for the great gift of the life and papacy of our wildly charismatic Blessed John Paul II.  I owe an eternal debt for all of the Holy Fathers our Church has been blessed with, and all of those we have struggled through.  All is from Divine Providence for the Salvation of Souls.  

Each flower of virtue is unique, but points to Jesus, the font of all virtue, truth and beauty.  Let us find ways to always see the good in each without denigrating the other.  I am falling in love with our new Papa Francis.  But it does not in any way lead me to forsake my old Papa Ben.  Long live Papa Francis; long live Papa Ben.