Sunday, November 29, 2009


I love advent.  If fall is my favorite season of the secular year, then advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year.  The joyful anticipation that comes with advent is inspiring.  As I prepare my heart to enter into the mystery of the Incarnation again this year, there is excitement within in me.  It's as if soon (and very soon ;) ) I will encounter something big. Something huge. Something life-changing.  And while all of that depends in a large way on my ability to maintain a disposition that is open to grace, it all seems doable somehow.  Perhaps Our Mother Mary begs for us at the side of her Son a bit more fervently this time of year.  (It is likely that is not theologically correct.  It would probably be more accurate to say that as we enter more deeply and openly into her life, we ask for and receive more blessings through her and the hand of her Son.)  Maybe the hustle and bustle, though at times nothing more than a distraction, stirs us up just enough inside of us so that we aren't lazy.  We're moving.  We're active.

This advent I need to be centered.  I need to focus.  I need the kind of discipline that comes only from peace.  May Mother Mary be my guide.  Under her mantle, wrapped up in her prayers, maybe I'll be blessed with a small taste of what she was fully.  Maybe my heart will become more like hers.  Perhaps, through her intercession, I will learn to wait with the joyful, peaceful anticipation with which she waited all those years ago.

Maybe, just maybe, my waiting will be filled with humble surrender.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some of God's Many Blessings

In honor of this nation's holiday here are some of these things I'm thankful for:
  • My family. We aren't perfect. Most days, we aren't even close. But there has never been a time in my life when I've felt like I couldn't go home.  There has never been a time in my life when my home has not be open to me. Are we going to win the award for the world's closest family? Probably not.  That doesn't matter though.  What does matter is that we do our best, that we love each other, and that, no matter what, we will always be family.
  • The girls that I live with now and have ever lived with. My life with them is kind of crazy and almost always random. Most of the time, that is probably my fault. But the things I have learned and am learning about myself because of them are invaluable. I love the woman they call, encourage, and help me to be. 
  • My Benedictine friends. The majority of the college experience is the people making the journey with you. I couldn't have asked for holier, happier, or better people. 
  • My Tech Team: I could not be the sound tech I am without them. They put up with me when I'm stressed. They're there when I can't be.
  • The 8:00pm mass people.  They really are a highlight to my week.  I love taking to them through the monitor. Working with them is just plain fun. Praying with them is even better.  Standing together as we help the community worship more fully is truly an honor.
  • The Slobodnik's. Elizabeth teaches me so much.  David brings joy and peace and baby to my life.
  • The Humberg's.  Every last one of them.  Angela and Jeff for welcoming me into their home, to their dinner table, and into the lives of their children.  Benedict for the way he reminds me to play. William for all of the ways he seems to read my needs and respond accordingly. Elizabeth for always making me feel welcome and right at home. Sarah for the way she always honest and helpful.  Hannah for playing with me and wanting my attention. And Vincent.  For being a constant example of how sometimes the best things in life are hard work and demand sacrifice. This big family gives me hope and so much more.
  • My professors. It is a great gift to be able to learn from them. More importantly, I will forever be changed because they have invested so much of themselves-way beyond academics. In many ways, they are examples of life lived in holiness.
  • My CCD students. The hour I spend with them a week is too short. They make me laugh. They make want to scream. They challenge me as a teacher.
  • Assumption. It is blessing to have a Parish that is, without question, my home. Not only does it provide me the Sacraments, but it also stands as familiar pillar in who I will always be.
  • The teens at youth group. Talk about a source of joy. These people may be young, but they sure know how to impact lives. Mine is proof of that. Never will I be the same. They keep me young. They keep me striving for holiness.
  • The CORE team. Standing next to these people I get the strange feeling that I can do anything.  Anything. The friendships are great. The ministry is an even bigger blessing.
  • My STL friends.  They are a large part of the reason I come back.  Who I am today is largely shaped by the person they helped to form. Whether we are getting ice cream from Coldstone or coffee from Starbucks or anything else in between, I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quoting the Great C.S. Lewis

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.  There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.  This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner - no mere tolerance of indulgence with parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.  Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your sense." Taken from The Weight of Glory

May we always remember the undying importance of all our encounters.  May we encounter each person, new and old, asking how God is calling us to lead him to Heaven.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

CCD Class Last Night

Teacher: what is the name for the state of our souls when they are being purified for Heaven?

Student: Oh! I know, I know!

Teacher: Yes, (student's name)?

Student: Puberty!

Teacher: (trying not to laugh) Close. Purgatory.