Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update

Jake (the little boy in the picture below) is scheduled to have a surgery to remove the brain tumor tomorrow morning (Friday) at 7:30am. Please remember him in your prayers.

Halloween

The much anticipated, much debated holiday approaches this weekend. I've already bought the candy to give out to trick-or-treaters, and I can't wait to see all of the cute kids in their costumes. I never knew there was anything controversial about the holiday until I came to college. I'd never heard of people dressing up as saints. I don't have very strong opinions on the matter. I don't really have much of a reason to right now. While I do find it questionable to have children walking around dressed like demons, witches, or ghosts, I don't think it's necessary to dress up like a saint (and certainly not to avoid the holiday all together). Also, I must admit, that I refused to put jack-o-lantern stickers on my CCD students' homework since the tradition involves the Evil Spirit of Halloween (or something like that). This article on First Things offers some interesting insights. I like what she has to say. Although her argument presented isn't perfect, I like the challenge to live the liturgy fully.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Imagine the Garden of Eden. Draw it.

Those were the instruction given to our 5th grade CCD class.  Here are the results.

Notice the two main trees from the story....





This one has the most detail...



Notice the dialogue:



Snake: Eat it!
Eve: Ok. Adam come here. Eat this.
Adam: It was good.

And now God speaks:



"Where are you?"

Meditation Assignment: Romans

For my meditation project, I chose to commit to weekly scripture reading. I had, in the past, been committed to the daily exercise of meditating on scripture, and I had been blessed to enjoy its many fruits. For reasons that are actually nothing more than worthless excuses, I fell out of this habit. That was a year and a half ago. I have made many feeble attempts to pick up the practice again, but I have found little success. I entered into this assignment with much excitement. Finally, I would have to be dedicated. I would have to follow through. This is homework after all.


I began by spending some time prayerfully considering where to begin my reading. Over the summer, I found myself frequently inspired by the second reading at mass. Since this is usually from one of St. Paul’s letters, I chose that as my starting point. I decided to start at the beginning. Romans 1. It didn't take long for me to realize that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I had hoped. I didn't get very far before I was lost in my head. What was Paul talking about? What do his words mean in terms of justification? Does he support a belief in predestination? What was it that Luther said about this part? Do our works really matter? Stop. I needed to stop. This wasn’t what was supposed to be happening. I was supposed to be opening my mind and my heart. I was supposed to be allowing God to speak to me. I needed to stop making everything an intellectually theological debate.

According to the catechism, meditation is supposed to deepen my faith. It should convert my heart and strengthen me to do God’s will. Instead, it was confusing me in my faith. It didn't even have a chance to reach my heart because I was so caught up in my head. I couldn't hear God’s will through what I was reading. I was getting discouraged.

Perhaps the obvious decision would have been to choose something else in the Bible. Whether it was pride and stubbornness or some sort of noble determination is debatable, but either way, I stuck with Romans. I decided that no matter what happened during my prayer time, I was going to end on a good note. I would end with a resolution – something from the scripture I had read that I could incorporate practically into my day that day.

This proved to be a big help to me. Knowing that the resolution was coming at the end helped me to focus during the process. I began reading the chapter for the day slowly, trying to consider its words carefully with my mind and my heart. Through that process, I discovered a new trust in God. I knew that not all of the words had to make sense in my head. I knew that I could struggle with the theology and everything would still be okay. I learned how to trust that while God’s words will always contain greater depths of meaning than I could hope to grasp, He will always send His Spirit upon me to enlighten me. He will always lead me to the understanding necessary for me to grow closer to Him.

This served as a metaphoric reminder to me for my life. I was not in a good place spiritually throughout the duration of this project. My life seemed like a dark abyss that was approaching with increasing speed and against my will. I couldn't see where God was taking me. I couldn't understand how He was working in my life. However, just as I learned to trust Him in my prayer, I learned to trust Him (again) in my life.

God’s will is not that much clearer to me. The abyss is still there. But my mind has learned to listen to my heart a little bit better, and, by uniting them in prayer, I have been given the strength to trust God in the moment. To ask myself what He wants of me now. Today. Whether Paul thought we are justified by faith or by works can wait. There is something more important, because today, God is calling me to be quiet, to approach Him in humility, and to listen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prayer Request


Her name is Brigitte. She is the best friend in the memories of my early grade school days.  His name is Jake. He is Brigitte's two year old brother who is fighting cancer.  Today, their family received the devastating news that Jake's brain tumor has returned. They are a strong family who is learning a difficult lesson about radical trust and surrender to God. Please, please keep them in your prayers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What the Future Holds

Sometimes, when I look to the future with great hope in what is to come, it hurts. Some days, firmly believing that I am called to be a wife and a mother while remaining (seemingly) so far from a relationship is painful. It hurts to know that I have to keep waiting.

My life is better when I'm around kids.  I see more meaning and purpose in my life when I'm able to give myself to children. I love being in the home. Being around mothers gives me energy.  I breathe more easily. I love more freely.

For whatever reason, for better or for worse, my life just makes more sense when I'm holding a child.  I understand more of who I am and who I want to be. In those moments, it seems that I am finally able to see in myself some of the good that God sees.

It just fits me. I don't know whether that is good or bad. Some may say it is an emotional response upon which I am placing too much emphasis. Perhaps there is some truth to that. I don't know. What I do know is that one of the hardest realities in my life right now is that I have to graduate soon. And with that, comes the beginning of the rest of my life. Only God knows what is in store. But the sadness, fear, and absolute devastation that accompanies the moment when I look ahead and see just how long I might have to continue waiting is more than I can bear. It makes offering up my sufferings harder. It makes surrender more difficult.

You may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog. I'm certain that this new name will constantly be applicable to my life. Right now, in this situation, the waiting part is a given. The patience part is probably never coming.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama and Nobel Prize

I actually hate politics. I don't like having to have an opinion, and I don't like to voice it when I do. But this is not necessarily a political discussion.  It's no secret that I disagree with President Obama on many, many issues for concrete reasons.  However, my issue today is less with him and more with the Nobel Committee itself.  My arguments will be brief, because their own words act as the best argument against themselves.

The following quotations are from this yahoo news article.

"Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies."

So basically, a prestigious award intended to honor those people who have accomplished great things in promoting and creating peace in the world has had its very purpose diminished in the name of encouraging the world to support someone's policies. They are using the clout of the award as a means to making a political statement. This sounds to me like manipulation.

"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.

The committee is banking on the possibility of Obama being successful.  They are using the award not to honor him for the work he has done, but to encourage him to do work. It doesn't even seem to matter if he does ever accomplish anything.  We should just wait and see what happens. 

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."

Diplomacy, mutual respect, and dialogue.  These are the main goals to which Obama has committed himself.  All I'm going to say is that in those goals I hear moral relativism.  I hear no attempt at finding the Truth and defending it. Once again, the pursuit of common ground has taken precedence over the pursuit of absolute truth.

One final point.  The place in this world that should be the most comforting, the safest, and the most peaceful is the mother's womb. The world's most vulnerable members have no protection, no peace. And Obama doesn't care.

Friday, October 2, 2009

100

This is my 100th blog post.

I wanted to do something special, something to commemorate this milestone. But I can't. It just isn't working.  The "right" thing isn't coming to me. It has gotten ridiculus. There have been many things about which I have wanted to blog, but I haven't done so because I wanted this post to be different.

Well, I'm tired of waiting. So, this is it. 100 blog posts. Wahoo.