Posts Tagged With: Love

St. Joseph the Worker, Pray for Us!

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph, foster father of Christ, who is renowned for his work ethic. It is also the official start of Pope Francis’s ministry as he celebrated his inaugural Mass today! As a member of St. Joseph’s Parish and a huge fan of people name Francis, this is a big day for me. I think it’s terribly appropriate that the two intersect because it’s time for our new Pope to really get to work! It’s time for the lot of us to get to work, really.

Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.                                             

–Matthew 9:37

If you don’t think the world is in desperate need of the Gospel, you haven’t been keeping up with the news. In the news, I see nothing but heartache, despair, animosity, and hopelessness. It’s time for us to spread a little hope and show the world what love actually is!

 

Prayer to St. Joseph the Workman402884_117115251769190_160324476_n

Composed by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.

Amen

Categories: Chasing After God, Saints, Year of Faith | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Enough to Make You Sick

There was a gaping hole in the wall at Mass on Sunday for the second week in a row. Not a figurative one, though we’ve had one of those for a few months now. It’s a real, honest to goodness, gaping, ugly, dark hole in the wall. Our holy water fonts have been removed due to the flu season, and I couldn’t be more displeased. My sister-in-law agrees with the decision, citing the horribleness of the flu.

I continue to disagree. It’s holy water, for crying out loud! It’s been sanctified!5557860487_5d3ee179b3

At Mass last week, we were also told not to shake hands during the sign of peace for fear of spreading the flu. However, I joined a band of rag-tag renegades. We shook hands. For Pete’s sake, the sign of peace was originally the kiss of peace.

Unfortunately, I have further evidence to cite. When one of our deacons was giving us the tour of the church in RCIA, he said that one day he saw a woman slather her children’s hands with hand sanitizer after the sign of peace and he thought that was just wonderful.

Well I’m having a hard time with it.

Let me start off by saying that I’m incredibly sensitive to staph. Not just the really bad staph that is bad for everyone, but lots of staph. I am constantly getting staph infections and sitting on a public toilet is a game of Russian roulette. So, let me tell you, I know full well the power of germs. Therefore, I am actually hesitant to overuse antibacterial products because, well, it’s overkill and more and more research is showing it does more harm than good.  

I just don’t like the attitude. It’s an attitude of fear, when we should exercise an attitude of faith and family. How can we say, “We are the body of Christ…but I’m afraid to touch you.” How can we say, “I have faith in God, and I believe this water has been blessed…but I’m worried I’ll get the flu from it.” It strikes a bad chord with me. I’m not saying we should be careless by any means. If you have the flu, stay home! That’s why we have Eucharist ministers to bring the sacrament to the sick. And as for those prone to infection, well, as someone who is very prone to infection, I know what to do to take care of myself. Dousing myself in hand sanitizer every 5 minutes is not the answer. Avoiding shaking hands with my parish family isn’t either.

I’m torn here. I know I should submit to the authority of our deacons (our Priest would be that figurative gaping hole I alluded to earlier) but being told we shouldn’t touch…I’m not a touchy-feely person. I don’t like to be touched. But at the Mass, I want to embrace everyone around me! St. Francis embraced lepers for crying out loud. Many more great saints lived in filth with the sick as well. How is it acceptable for us to refuse to embrace each other?

I want my holy water back. As bad as it is to tell brothers and sisters in Christ that we can’t touch each other, to give credence to the idea that water that has been blessed will cause illness is an outright lack of faith. It’s enough to make me sick.

Categories: Chasing After God | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being a Wife: Sometimes You Don’t Have to be “Right”

About 6 years ago or so, Scott and I went to a bridal shower. It was supposed to be men and women but, as these things usually turn out, there were mostly women at the event. Come to think of it, the groom-to-be wasn’t even there. The hostess’s boyfriend was present, and he and Scott hid in the corner for most of the event. I sat on the couch, wishing I could hide in the corner, too.

Most of the ladies in attendance were single or divorced, which made the “advice” game a bit idiotic interesting. It wasn’t really a game, per say, but everyone anonymously wrote down a piece of marriage advice on a little card, placed it in a basket, and the bride-to-be read all the advice aloud. I smiled to myself when I wrote down my advice. Scott and I weren’t married yet, and we’d only been dating for about a year, but I’d already learned a lot about the impact of the little things. “Surprise him with a romantic dinner…especially if you’ve been fighting!”

After Scott and I had our first argument, I was horribly upset. I hated the tension it put between us, and I wanted to take an eraser to that fight so we could be happy again. My previous relationships never made it past the first fight, and I just knew this one wouldn’t either. We’d only been together a few months at that point, but I couldn’t bear to lose the happiness we had together. After the fight was settled, the tension still hung in the air between us. I needed to make a gesture, take him on a romantic date–something! But I didn’t have any money to do anything.

So, I invited him over after work. I lit candles. I made Hamburger Helper. Hey, it’s what I had! He was probably dreading coming over to see me after our fight, but when he walked in and saw the candles, the dinner, and me in my fanciest dress, all of the tension was gone. I felt the anxiety melt away as we sat down together, happy again, no longer worried about that stupid fight. It was perfect.

I was confident when I put my advice card in the basket that it was a gem. Let’s just say I was the only one who thought so.

I don’t remember the exact advice on the other cards, but I remember the gist of it. “Tell him to do as you say. You are the boss.” When my advice was read aloud, it was ridiculed. “Who wrote that down?!?!” someone shouted. “Yeah right! Have him cook for you! I’m not cooking for my husband! Especially when we’ve been fighting!” The general consensus was that he’s always wrong, you’re always right, and make sure you get your way. Or else! And make sure he knows you’re not his maid and you’re not his cook!

It’s in our human nature to be selfish, to want to be dominant. When I look around at failed relationships, the most common themes I see are a complete lack of willingness to do anything for the other person, and an unshakable determination to be right and have your own way. How can we say we love someone with all our hearts, forever, but refuse to do anything in the relationship? How can we be so unyielding and so domineering that we put being right and having our way in front of our relationships? Just making a gesture to show your love doesn’t make you a slave, and neither does letting the person you love have their way.

Just ask Scott: I like to have my way and I like being right. We can’t drive to the grocery store without me correcting him on which lane to get into and when to change lanes. Doing laundry is a challenge because clothes have to be folded the right way–aka my way. And I cannot tell you how hard it is to hold back from going into gross detail as to why you have to get into a certain lane at a certain time and why shirts should be folded a certain way.

The last few months, I haven’t been feeling like myself. I’ve been back and forth to the doctor, poked, prodded and scanned, and there’s still more to come. I don’t know if it’s just from anxiety, but my energy level is zero. I feel exhausted constantly, and I’ve fallen behind on the housework. Without complaining or waiting to be asked, Scott started doing the laundry. He’s even made an effort to fold things the way I like them to be folded. He hasn’t mastered it by any means, but he’s put forth a real effort. It’s the little things, after all, that make you feel loved and protected.

I recently started following Hallie Lord, aka Moxie Wife on Facebook, and she’s been doing a marriage challenge with a different task for each day. Here are a few samples:

Happy Sunday, pretty ladies! I just love today’s marriage challenge! Are you ready for it? Simply “leave him a sweet note.” What fun!

Tomorrow’s task is another sweet one, my fellow marriage challenge participants! “Kiss your husband the first time you see him in the morning.” Well, that shouldn’t be too hard. 😉

Sounds easy, you say? Brace yourself for the toughie:

Oh, girls. We should probably start praying for one another right now. Tomorrow’s marriage challenge? “Go a whole day without correcting your husband.” Good luck! 😉

Now, I just started following, so I haven’t been doing the challenge….yet. When I saw that last one, I knew immediately that I needed to follow along, even if I’m a few weeks behind. Somewhere along the line, I turned into the stereotypical nagging wife and left the eager to please, young girlfriend behind in the dust. In a way, our relationship has matured. I’m far more willing to stand up to Scott than I was back then, and if something he does bothers me, I need to let him know–to a point! But while I’m just as likely to admit fault when I do something to hurt him, I’m less likely to make a romantic gesture in an attempt to erase the hurt. At some point, I allowed my want to control things get in the way of making his happiness my priority. Is our marriage failing? Absolutely not. But I do everything I can to make sure Scott knows at every turn that he is loved and the he is my top priority? No, I’m afraid not.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord. –Colossians 3:18

Probably the most hated verse in the Bible. However, you have to keep in mind:

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter towards them. –Colossians 3:19

It’s about serving and loving each other to build each other up, not trying to beat each other into shape. It’s easy to forget that in our me-me-me culture. But we’re supposed to be separate from the culture. I’m not talking about any radical changes, just making an effort to do a little something for him every day, to put his needs before mine.  I think it’s time for a 30 day challenge; to make myself a little sweeter, and maybe rediscover the woman who cared more about being in love than being right.

Categories: Everything Else, Marriage, On a personal note... | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Meditating on the Beatitudes: Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

This is the second in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

I’ve got to admit, I wanted to have this up two days ago. However, I ended up typing out the Beatitude, staring at it, and wondering: what’s so great about mourning? I kept thinking about Aunt Sarah’s funeral. We kept saying it was wonderful that she was finally with God, at rest. Why is mourning a blessing?

So, I took advantage of a great technological advancement (which I highly recommend). I pulled up the Bible online and searched for the word “mourn.” I think this is a great way to get more information on a topic because you can literally see every instance the word is mentioned in the Bible. I know that sometimes a particular word isn’t used, so it’s not a definitive topical resource, but it’s pretty awesome!

For the word “mourn,” the #3 result was quite enlightening…

And the Lord said to Samuel: How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? –1 Samuel 16:1a

Ah-ha! I kept thinking of mourning as being about death. However, what if mourning isn’t about death, but about loss and love?

Samuel didn’t mourn because Saul was dead (he wasn’t), he mourned because he loved Saul. He believed in Saul’s ability to lead Israel as God’s chosen King. However, because  Saul chose to defy God, Saul was lost to Samuel. Samuel saw someone he loved turn his back on God. He watched Saul’s life spiral out of control.

Sound familiar? I’ve watched people I love deny God, renounce their faith, turn to drugs, consume themselves with chasing after wealth and other pleasures. As we go down separate paths, my heart aches. I mourn.

To mourn a loss, you have to love. There are no two ways about it. I certainly don’t mourn the loss of the job I hated or the apartment that was too small. Not all loss is mourned. It’s only when we are attached to someone that we mourn their exit from our lives, in whatever form that exit takes. When we mourn, it means we opened ourselves up, loved someone, believed in their potential, wanted the very best for them. We mourn because we’ve lost someone we held close to our heart.

This is why those who mourn are blessed. Because they have loved and hoped and believed despite the fact that the one they held so dear could and would be lost. You can never really lose what you haven’t loved. For those who open their hearts up, dare to love, see the best and greatest in another, even though they know they could very possibly be cast aside; when the one they loved and believed in chooses to walk away, they will be comforted.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, Meditations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Aunt Sarah Pt 2: What She Left Behind

Sunday, my husband Scott and I were called upon to help out with the sorting of his Great-Aunt Sarah’s things. We laid out her worn jewelry, her little ceramic birds and angels, her collectibles from the states she’d traveled to, the afghans she made, her salt and pepper shaker collection, and her blue cornflower CorningWare. Over the years, her possessions were trimmed down; when she moved from her house in Carnegie to the independent living apartments in Norman, and again when she moved to assisted living. By the time she passed, she had only the things she loved the most. Every chipped ceramic bird, every tattered string of beads had a story. After spending so much time lately clearing clutter out of our house, I was loathe to drag anything back in, but I told Scott he could have any keepsakes he wanted. In the end, we didn’t take much. A salt and pepper set in the shape of a toaster with two slices of bread, a few pieces of jewelry, a book, and some other things that reminded Scott of the happy days when the family would load up the car and go see Great-Aunt Sarah.

At some point when we were sitting with Aunt Sarah on her final day, someone started asking about her will. Naturally, this caused a little tension, as it would in any situation. There was an additional bit of frustration because her will was of absolutely no consequence. Aunt Sarah had nothing. She was a widow and a retired beautician, not exactly a position of prosperity. What’s more is that she didn’t care about such things. Every Christmas and every birthday, Scott and I were very deliberate in our gift buying because we didn’t want to burden her with useless things. She would always insist that we not get her anything, but we would press her until she told us something she needed. A new lamp to crochet by, a bottle of perfume, some money to have her hair permed. We were always searching for some thing to give her, but when the time came, all she really wanted was to see the family, to hug and kiss the children, and to know everyone was healthy and happy and loved.

At the service, no one talked about how hard she worked to increase her personal wealth or what a big, beautiful house she lived in (she did have a wonderful home!). Everyone spoke of her faith, how much she loved and longed for God, how much she loved her family and friends, and how she found joy in caring for others. Aunt Sarah left a mark on everyone she met and it wasn’t because of her fine jewelry (she had none), her priceless artwork (none), her luxurious car (again, none), or any other treasures of this world. She was an inspiration because she filled herself with God’s love and passed that love on to others.

The message hit home for me. Hard. We’ve been longing to buy a house of our own, and as I look at houses online, my tastes have slowly become pricier. At some point, I added $50,000 onto our price range and I’ve started disqualifying homes that would be wonderfully suitable for us based on their lack of luster. Yes, yes, this house is very homey and would work very well for us, but I want something that looks a little nicer. So, the focus has somehow shifted to pleasing whomever is looking at the house, rather than the people living in the house. I’ve felt the same shift in other areas. When I’m looking at purses, I focus on finding one that looks nicer and pricier, rather than one that meets my needs and has the appropriate pockets. When I look at my little sensible car, I wish I’d gotten a little SUV instead. Even the gold-plated crucifix I wear on my neck should be replaced with one of solid gold. This is clearly not the way of life God intended for us.

And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. –Luke 8:14

Aunt Sarah’s funeral really struck a nerve in me because she was a childless Aunt, and so am I. When I die, what will my nieces and nephews say and feel about me? Will they say, “Aunt Rebecca showed us God’s love” or muse over my obsession with putting on appearances? Aunt Sarah’s life was full of good fruit. There were so many people there who saw Jesus in her and there wasn’t a soul present who would crave any other sentiment at their passing. So why do we all spend so much time and energy chasing after the material things that don’t matter?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on. The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment. Consider the ravens, for they sow not, neither do they reap, neither have they storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them. How much are you more valuable than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? –Luke 12:21-25

For some time now, God has been telling me to embrace a life of greater poverty. Reduce my standard of living and increase my spiritual walk. Over the ages, we have been given so many examples. Jesus Himself was poor and had no earthly possessions beyond the clothes He wore. We can also look to the example of St. Francis, St. Clare, Mother Theresa, and others who chased after God instead of chasing riches. And now, we can also look to the simple life of love Aunt Sarah lived.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, On a personal note... | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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