Aug 10 2014

Answer Me This #6

Published by under Answer Me This

This appears to be the only consistent thing on my blog lately. *sigh* If only you knew what has been going on lately… Your prayers would be most welcome. Thanks!

1. What do you still want to do this summer?

All.The.Things. Alas, I will likely not get to do them all. I really want to make it to Lake Michigan. Not sure if that’s going to be possible. I want to clean up my house, which will likely happen, as I will be having people over sometime in September to help me do some yard work.

2. What’s your favorite kind of pie?

I like pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust, and lemon pie sans meringue.

Leafy Greens and Goat Cheese Pie
A friend of a friend has a pie business called Sister Pie. It is as delicious as it looks!

3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get?

Not quite sure how much I need… I usually get about 5-6 hours of sleep. Although I tend to overschedule myself and end up going to bed 3 hours before I have to wake up to get to work. I can usually squeeze another 30 minutes of “sleep” in by continually abusing my snooze button. Then, I have other days when I’m not feeling so well and sleep like crazy. Like the 14 hours that I slept last night. I don’t think I even took my shoes off when I got home — directly into bed for me!

4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean?

Pool, then ocean, then lake, then river. Why? Pools are cleaner and fish will not nibble at you and there is no seaweed or icky stuff in pools. That and I can float on pool noodles to my heart’s content, hopefully without being splashed (which is why I need my own in-ground pool). I love the ocean and I dream of having a house on an ocean. I love the waves and the salty scent to the air. I like swimming far away from shore. But, then things live in there and it kind of creeps me out when they touch me. Same goes for lakes, although I tend to view lakes as being dirtier than the ocean. Less water, more algae. I haven’t really swam too much in rivers, so I left that one for the end.

Beautiful Surf
I could look at this all day

5. Do you know any poems by heart?

I don’t think so. Maybe a few really simple nursery rhymes, if they count. I remember being okay at poetry when I studied it in the 9th grade, but I prefer people to just come out and tell me what they mean. Or I’m bound to come up with an interpretation which is anything but what you meant. On the other hand, this has come to my aid quite a bit when trying to defend my questionable choices in music to my priest/best-friend:
Me: “He’s not talking about doing immoral acts with a woman who is not his wife. He’s talking about auto body repair.”
Fr: “Um… No.”

6. Do you use the public library?

All the time. The problem is that I don’t go often enough. So when I do go, I try to pick up all the books that I remember wanting to read, plus whatever catches my eye, and I end up with almost more books than I can carry back to my car. Then, my ability to read them in the time allotted is grossly insufficient and I end up renewing my check-out. Then, I run out of renewals, but feel compelled to read them before turning them back in. I mean, at this point, I’ve had them for NINE WEEKS. It would be like admitting defeat if I didn’t read them already, right? So, then there’s the actual deadline for returning them. You don’t actually get a fine if you manage to return them to the library before the library opens on the day after they are due. See what I did there? Another night to get the book read! I will admit to more than my fair share of fines, but sometimes it’s out of my control (like when I was in the hospital for meningitis). And all of this reminds me… I have a book to read by tomorrow….

Please visit Kendra’s blog, just because she’s rather awesome.  And take a peek at others’ answers to these questions

Have a great week and God bless!

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Aug 04 2014

Answer Me This #5

Published by under Answer Me This

1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs or an iPod, or nothing at all?

I have seasons of listening. I will have a period of time where I listen to audiobooks during my commute, then it will switch to listening to the radio every commute (lately Sirius XM, occasionally a playlist from my phone), then it will switch to listening to podcasts streamed over my car stereo from my phone (mostly Catholic Answers, with some talks from my priest for variety). Each “phase” lasts about 2-3 weeks, then rotates.

2. Do you prefer window or aisle?

I used to like the window seat, to be able to watch during take-off and landing, but when I flew a lot, I developed a preference for the aisle seat. I have to get up and move around the cabin a lot and it’s much easier if I don’t have to climb over people or ask them to stand up for me. Plus, I can get to my carry-on faster. After someone nearly took off with my luggage and the flight crew did nothing to help me get it back after I pointed the man out, walking away with it… I like to get my hands on my stuff as soon as I can.

3. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?

I usually start the process on my left side, then switch to my back for the actual sleeping portion. When I am waking up (and usually hitting the snooze way too frequently), I move to either right or left side and tend to switch sides.

4. When is the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?

I went to the 4th of July parade that our neighboring city puts on every year. I didn’t have any digital camera batteries charged and ended up spending $65 to get 4 rolls of film developed. Yikes!

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The parade honored police and military, which makes sense, but then there were a lot of politicians, which is stretching it a little for me, and some local businesses and other interests. It was not as exciting of a parade as I recall from when I was younger, but I am still glad that I went.

5. Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?

My favorite quote is from the Didache:

“You shall not hate any man;
but some you shall reprove,
some you shall pray for,
and some you shall love
more than the breath of life that is in you.”

6. What’s the best thing about summer?

I love the warmer weather because I *may* get the opportunity to go swimming — which I love. I also am happier with my commute, since summer means that I don’t have to worry about black ice or snow causing accidents on the highway, or having to shovel my driveway.

DSCN5613
It’s a big driveway to shovel, and I’m not really supposed to be doing things like this…

For more answers to these questions, check out Kendra’s blog!

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Jul 27 2014

Answer Me This #4

Published by under Answer Me This

1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?

Currently, this 8 second video.

I work in IT and support this application, so it’s kinda funny that someone made a YouTube video about blowing it up. It’s actually a pretty good program and I love being a part of the project. I was sent the link by one of our interns.

I don’t really watch anything on YouTube all that often unless someone sends me a link. I do, however, subscribe to a few channels and check in on them periodically.

My parish has a YouTube and every month my priests make a new video. I watch these as soon as they come out.

There’s a girl named Alejandra with a Home Organizing channel which fascinates me – probably because I’d love my house to be this organized, yet know that I’ll never actually get around to doing it.

Arturo Trejo is just hilarious. If you want a laugh, check him out.

And I find ASAP Science to be informative and amusing. I haven’t watched one of their clips in a few months, so I don’t remember if they are kid-safe or a little off-color, so use discretion and pre-screen before showing them to kids. (That’s probably true with all videos….)

[We will see if I've finally figured out how to embed video on this blog...]

2. Who taught you to drive?

My dad taught us the basics growing up, and made sure that I knew how a car worked and had some basic maintenance skills before I got my driver’s license. Then, I went through the Driver’s Ed program offered by the public school system. (Remember Mr. Canjar?) My mom supervised most of my “in training” hours. She was pretty relaxed about it, which was good. I was a good student, but I remember really worrying about passing. In high school, it was a point of pride to drive EXACTLY at the speed limit and follow all the rules of the road, no matter how much my friends wanted to get somewhere just a little faster. And this in a bright red Firebird.

3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?

I have a recipe for lasagna that everyone seems to love, so I like making that when I have people come over.

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?

I’m a pretty huggy person, although I tend to hold back if I’m not sure if *you* are a huggy person.

5. Where do you pray best?

In a chapel. I prefer to be by myself when I pray. It tends to get uncomfortable for me sitting for long periods of time, but I feel weird about walking around when there are other people trying to pray.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?

My last grandparent died in 2009, and I hadn’t really seen him all that often prior to that. I saw him in the hospital that year, but I can’t remember the last time I really talked to him. He wasn’t really the type to have a conversation with us. So, probably my other grandfather, shortly before he died when he was staying at my parents’ house. I was in college, but had come home and he was awake — I think pain was keeping him up. My parents were asleep and I went into the living room and talked with him for a while. It was really hard to see him in pain like that, but I was glad that I could spend time with him and talk about it.

image 19-11-2006 (8)
My paternal grandparents

Head over to Kendra’s link up to see how she and others answered these same questions!

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Jul 21 2014

Answer Me This #3

Published by under Answer Me This

More questions from Kendra at Catholic All Year! (She must know that I love answering questions!)

1. What’s something you’ve won and how did you win it?

The first thing that pops to mind is this orange Tide go cart. At least, I remember it being a go cart. I was fairly young and I won it from the local Farmer Jack grocery store. I was so excited to have won it. I think I was either a little too big/old for it or I outgrew it and we ended up giving it to my Uncle Jim.

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

I tend to save them. After a few years, if the card is just a generic card, or if I’m not particularly close with the sender, I’ll eventually get rid of it, but the ones with pictures or personal greetings — those I save. I cherish my friends and these are reminders to me of the relationship. I wish that I took more time to write people letters and send cards. There’s a level of caring that you just can’t get with an e-mail or post, and I’d like to show the people I love that they are worth the time.

3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

I usually wear shoes. If my feet are badly swollen, I’ll walk around in socks. But I never go barefoot unless I am actively in the middle of some sort of foot spa treatment or something like that. And usually as soon as I’m done, I’m right back in socks again. I sleep in socks. I love socks.

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met?

When I was a teenager, my first job was at Kerby’s Coney Island. One evening, I served dinner to Guy Gordon from the local news station.

When I was living in Orlando, we had a little interaction with Shaq, who was playing for Orlando Magic at the time. Although we had our music turned up pretty loud, when we were at a light (on I-4? International Drive?), our mirror was being vibrated by the bass of the car behind us. As the car came up behind us, Schuster asked the other guys what kind of car it was (Mercedes Roadster, wait. A Mercedes Roadster with a Superman logo on the rear that lit up when he braked). Then, all of the guys started shouting, “Shaq! It’s Shaq!” [There were 6 of us in the car. 5 guys and me.] We were stopped together at a light when we snapped this pic. [We had a camera because we were on our way back to base from a trip to Disney.] We also got another one of him flipping us off, because Johnson had yelled at him, “Go Bulls!” So, somewhere out there, there is photographic proof that Shaq flipped us off once.

Shaq

5. What has been your best work of art?

Well, I have a number of photographs that I happen to like a lot, but I usually categorize photos a bit separate from “art” for some unknown [to me] reason. Again, what popped in my head right away was my “famed” stick figures from high school. Now, don’t get too excited. They aren’t as awesome and Mama H’s drawings from Mama Knows, Honeychild, but they have been epic in my eyes. :)

Bob was one of my favorites. Bob was the protagonist of my Physics I and II classes in high school. See his awesomeness?

DSCN6992
Bob in and out of a spacesuit

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Bob being mischievously inappropriate

6. What’s your strongest sense?

Um. My color vision, I suppose. I worked in photography/printing for about 8 years or so, and my discernment has grown. I’m not particularly gifted with phenomenal sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell, so this is the best I can do. :)

Or maybe my sense of compassion/empathy/intuition. This might be my strongest “sense”.

I think these questions are best answered by what first pops into my mind. I’m sure I can come up with some more famous people whom I’ve met, or think up more interesting replies, but I think it’s more honest to give you whatever comes up first, just as if it were a face-to-face interview. No time to make myself seem more important or my life more exciting. :)

I hope you play with Kendra and I! I look forward to seeing your answers!

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May 09 2014

7 Quick, Quick Takes

Published by under 7 Quick Takes Friday

— 1 —

I have been working almost 80 hours a week for 21 days straight. My next day off is Memorial Day. So, please understand why these are short and uninteresting and wander from topic to topic with no logical organization whatsoever… :)

— 2 —

I have started a new project called God to Go! You can find information about it on the God to Go Facebook Page. Basically, I plan on showing up in various areas ready and eager to answer your questions about the Catholic faith, intercede for you, be a shoulder to cry on, or just hang out. Kind of like college professor office hours. I’ll be there, drop in if you’d like. :) You can read about my first session here.

— 3 —

Reading!

I read Jen’s book, Something Other Than God, and just loved it. One day, I will finish writing my review(s). One day. I also plan on competing in all (or most) of her contests. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. But I WILL. DO. ALL. THE. THINGS! Please be patient… :)

— 4 —

Thursday was my last day of Bible study! I have been attending the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan for 4 years now and I have graduated! I’m looking forward to our celebration at the end of the month! It has been a wonderful program and so worth it! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned. The nice part is that once you graduate, you can retake the courses as many times as you want — for free! So I think that a bunch of us are going to start right back over with Year 1. I haven’t yet decided if I am going to do that or do something different. But certainly, just because I’ve graduated, doesn’t mean that I’m done reading and learning about the Word of God. If anyone has any suggestions for me for a follow-up program — I’m open to suggestions!

— 5 —

I find myself taking more pictures, now that the weather is getting nicer.

20140414_161106

— 6 —

10 hour work days on Saturdays and 15 hour work days on Sundays makes Mass attendance tricky. On Divine Mercy Sunday, the liturgy ran longer than I had anticipated, so I was the one who went up to receive Jesus and then left immediately. Once I made it outside, I *ran* to my car and drove like mad to get to the other side of campus to training. I wonder what everyone thought of the crazy lady fleeing church like she was on fire. Sorry, St. Thomas parish. Your church is beautiful, though.

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church

— 7 —

I delivered mail from the Vatican!
Papal Blessing from Rome

My goddaughter’s papal blessing arrived and last Friday, I was finally able to meet up with her Godfather at her house to give it to her.

That’s my quick, quick version of what’s been going on in my life. What’s been going on with you?

God Bless!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

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May 09 2014

Being Present

Published by under God to Go

There’s something about this time of year that makes me restless. I want to DO STUFF. I want to re-evaluate my life and make it shiny, and new, and fruitful. I want to REALLY live instead of going through the motions.

We are still in the Easter season and everything is greening up and the weather is getting warmer. If you know me, you know that I tend to be optimistic already, but these things only elevate my enthusiasm. I get ambitious.

While I have been busy at work lately, I still think that there is a hole in my life. We are all called to serve God in some way. We are all called to evangelize. And, to be honest, this hasn’t really been something that I was overly eager to do. What does it mean to evangelize anyway? I’m not really the type of person who would walk up to people and ask them if they had a relationship with Jesus. I’m not a preachy person. But proclaiming the Gospel is important. If it’s real and if it’s true, it’s the most important thing we could do with our lives, right?

With a combination of listening to Catholic Answers Live, following Fr. John and the Alpha team as they attend the Alpha conference in London this week, and thinking of different ways in which I can positively affect other peoples lives in light of the particular gifts God has given me, I came up with the idea of being available.

See, I love people and meeting new people and seeing new places. I like to help people and listen to their stories and pray for them and socialize. So, wouldn’t it be great to be able to hang out places and meet people and talk to them about things that are important and listen to them and pray with them and maybe answer some questions that they might have about the Catholic faith? It sounds great to me!

Without consulting anyone or letting them know what I’m up to (because maybe I’m a little impulsive like that), I set up a Facebook page for the project and decided that I’d start first thing in the morning.

God to Go #1
Starbucks in Troy
I didn’t have to be to work until a little later in the morning, so I planned on going to a local Starbucks for my first God to Go session. Let me just say, this Starbucks is really busy! There were 8 baristas on staff and there was still a continual line! I had grabbed a book by Dr. John Wood, “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission,” to read in case no one stopped by my table. I hadn’t read it before, but it sounded like it might be speaking about what I am trying to accomplish with this project. I ordered a mocha (and forgot to order my scone) and took a table for 4 right by the front entrance. I did read some of the book, but most of my time was spent smiling at people coming and going. Most people were so intent on getting their coffee that they didn’t acknowledge that anyone else was present. There was a pair of women talking and the two tables on my wall were occupied with individual men absorbed in their electronics.
Book and Mocha
Sitting here this time really changed my perspective about other people. I have been guilty of seeing other people in places like Starbucks merely as obstacles to me getting what I want in a timely manner, and getting frustrated at them, merely by their presence. Being here *for* people makes me see them as fellow humans. They have hopes, dreams, and struggles just as I do. And my heart softened towards them. In my book, I read, “I want to love as God loves.” And I really do.

It also says that, “Not having ‘Catholic careers’ does not excuse us from being teachers of the faith.” I am not professionally Catholic. I am not consecrated to the religious life. (I *am* a grad student working on my Master’s in Theology, but I haven’t graduated yet…) My daily work doesn’t have anything to do with the Church. And yet it does. Just because I am dealing with other people.

Whatever I am doing, it is not enough. I don’t want to live an “adequate” life. I don’t want to live a “little” life. I want to make an impact. I want to know that I tried, I lived, and I loved. I want to live fully and passionately. And I want to serve others.

Perhaps my being present in this God to Go project isn’t a big thing. But maybe it will be. I trust that God will lead me if I let him. :)

So, please stop by! I’d love to see you!

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May 08 2014

God to Go

Published by under God to Go

I have a new project in the works. It’s called God to Go. I will be making myself available in various places and communities for people to drop by to say “Hi”, talk about the faith, ask questions, request intercession, or just be encouraged in whatever they may be going through. I’ll post up times and places where I’ll be on the FB page, and post entries on my blog about the interesting places around town that I find and experiences that I encounter (as appropriate). I hope you can join me!

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Apr 27 2014

My Papa in Heaven

Published by under Pope John Paul II

Jenn and Pope John Paul II - dscn1457

Today is a blessed day for a lot of reasons. First, it is Divine Mercy Sunday. Second, we are celebrating the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Make that Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II.

Myself, instead of being able to pray for much of the day, I will be working a 15 hour shift. A long day. But Saint JPII spoke quite a bit during his papacy about the dignity of human work, so perhaps this is appropriate.

On their Facebook page, Our Lady of Good Counsel asked, “What sort of impact did (Saint) John Paul have on your life before he entered into Heaven?”

I joined the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI, in 2007, so Pope John Paul II was not “my” pope, but in a way he was.

  • He was the Pope for most of my life.
  • I clearly remember watching the days surrounding his death, funeral and the conclave electing Cardinal Ratzinger.
  • And I consider him as family.

The third point is kind of an interesting story. Growing up, we spent a lot of time visiting with my Memere (great-grandmother). She would always have tomato-rice soup simmering on the stove, mincemeat pies in the freezer, and had a toaster oven in her kitchen, which I thought was rather unique and “old-fashioned” as we had a regular toaster. In the entryway, she had a display cabinet filled with pairs of salt and pepper shakers — souvenirs. And in the living room, there were two large photographs on the wall in matching oval frames.

The twist comes from the fact that she was from Quebec and grew up speaking French. So, when I was young and visiting, I’d ask, “Who’s that?” for each of the photos. And she would reply, “Pepe,” which is similar to saying “Papa”. I assumed that both pictures were of her husband, my great-grandfather, who had passed away when I was only about a week old. They were black and white photos, which — to me — meant that they were taken A LONG TIME AGO. In both of the pictures, the man’s clothing seemed a little odd, but I just figured that people wore odd clothes way back then.

However, only one of the photos was of my Pepe. The other was a photo of Pope John Paul II.

I grew up thinking that Pope John Paul II was my great-grandfather. He was a part of my family. And, I suppose, when I was baptized, he *did* become my family. Who knows what kind of influence this happy mistake may have had on me? Perhaps it was something as little and seemingly coincidental as this which led to me becoming Catholic later in life. You never know all the subtle ways the Holy Spirit may be guiding you.

I love you, Papa. Please pray for me and those whom I love.

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Apr 15 2014

Give Everything to God

I admit it freely; I have fallen behind on many things that I wanted to do for Lent, but somehow, this is okay. It is okay because I realized that it isn’t a race to the finish. None of this is “over” once Easter Sunday dawns. Until God calls me home, I will always need work. I will always need to keep striving toward conforming my heart to Jesus’s heart.

This morning, I worked on reading the backlog of things in my e-mail inbox, including the messages from Saints in the Making University. The story, “The Pearl Necklace” really struck me today.

There once was a young girl who was in the check out line with her mother. It was then that she saw it; a beautiful plastic pearl necklace! She begged her mother to buy it for her, but her mother told her that if she really wanted it she would have to earn the $1.47 herself. Her mother told her that she could help with some chores around the house to earn a few bright shiny pennies, and reminded her that her birthday was coming up soon and she would surely get a new crisp dollar bill in the birthday card from her grandmother.

So the little girl worked very hard over the next few weeks and saved up all her earnings. She asked her neighbors if she could rake their leaves for ten cents and she did extra chores around the house. One day, she finally had enough money to buy the treasured necklace. She was so happy when her mom took her to the store to buy her necklace and she got to pay the woman at the check out with her very own hard earned money. The small girl wore her necklace everywhere. It made her feel so beautiful and grown up!

Now every night the little girl’s Daddy would read her a bedtime story, say nighttime prayers with her, and put her to sleep. But one night when the little girl’s Daddy was putting her to sleep he asked her a question. He asked, “Do you love me?” She replied, “Daddy, you know I love you more than anything!” Then he asked her if he could have her pearl necklace. “Oh Daddy,” said the little girl. “I can’t give you my necklace. I love it so much and it is so beautiful. But you can have my pink unicorn, the one I got for my birthday.” “That’s ok,” He said. “Daddy loves you, darling. Goodnight.” And he kissed her gently on the forehead as he left. Every night the loving father would patiently ask his daughter for the dime store necklace and every night she would refuse, offering one of her many other toys. But her father would always say it was ok, tell her how much he loved her and give her a good night kiss ever so gently on the forehead before leaving.

Then one night when her Daddy came in to put her to sleep he noticed that his little girl was crying. “What is wrong, honey?” He asked. With tears streaming down her cheeks she held out her tiny hand, and dropped her deeply treasured necklace into her father’s hand. “Here, Daddy.” She said, her voice shaking. “You can have my necklace.” To her surprise, her Father pulled out a beautiful velvet box and gave it to her. When she opened it, a beautiful genuine pearl necklace was revealed. You see, her father was just waiting for his daughter to let go of the plastic necklace, so he could reveal the real treasure he had in store for her.

What is your pearl necklace? What in this world are you so afraid to let go of? Your Father’s gifts for you are so much better. Let go of the counterfeits so your Father can give you the real thing. –Author Unknown (Reprinted with permission)

I think, especially for me, it is these things which are really hard to stop clinging to. It’s easy to give up sinful things. (Okay, no, it is not, but at least rationally, you can see *why* you should give them up.) It’s much harder to give up something which is good and not apparently causing you to sin. Our vision is narrow, and we can’t see beyond the good to the potential greater good which God is offering to us. Instead of trusting that God is good and wants the best for us, we question why. “Why would God want to take this good thing away from me?” We don’t understand and so we hold back from God. We don’t freely give everything that we have and that we are back to Him.

I have a couple things that I cling to like this. God may not be calling me to give them up, but I have to prepare my heart and my will for the possibility that He might at some time in the future. I have to be willing to completely abandon myself to His will. And this is a struggle — at least it is for me.

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In his book, “The Gift of Faith,” Fr. Dajczer also speaks of the necessity of abandoning ourselves to God’s will. Do you *really* have faith in the goodness and generosity of God? We must trust Him in all things, great and small. This is a radical kind of faith and trust, and it is not come by easily. But, then, faith is not meant to be easy. It is wrung from us, drop by drop, collected and offered back to the Father as a complete gift of self. It is the very difficulty and completeness of the offering which makes it such a beautiful and precious gift. The best image that I have for this is the blood that Jesus sweat during His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. He was perfectly obedient to the Father and had perfect trust in Him, yet clearly it cost Him a great deal to endure what He endured for our sake. And this is why His gift to us — of His entire self, being poured out drop by drop in the garden, at the pillar, and on the cross — is such an incredible gift. And also why our response needs to be so great in return.

Cross-posted to OLGCBlog.com.

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Apr 13 2014

Palm Sunday

Published by under Holy Week,Lent

Our Lady of Lourdes with Palm - dscn9905

Holy week. Probably my favorite week of the year. I love the excitement and celebration surrounding Jesus’s triumphant return to Jerusalem. I love the promise of life that those green branches hold, especially after a long, cold winter. I love the bright red color on the altar and in the priests’ vestments. I love the procession in. In past years, I have celebrated Palm Sunday at St. Anastasia, where the procession includes kids and catechumens with loud clappers and everyone in the church waving their palm fronds. This Palm Sunday, I celebrated right after work at OLGC, at the 5 pm Mass. No one in church had any palms, and the only procession was made by the altar servers, Deacon Chris, and Fr. Clement. It felt like I was waiting for the Kings of Kings to pass me by.

But this week isn’t a week of all happy feelings. And this liturgy wasn’t all about being joyful. It was an emotional rollercoaster, to tell you the truth. Fr. Clement told us to pay particular attention to the Gospel today, lengthy though it was, and see what aspects of the story spoke to you. They wanted the parish to speak the part of the crowd during the reading of the Gospel.

I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to choose Barabbas over Jesus. I didn’t want to call for his crucifixion. But I am obedient, and so I participate. But in my heart, as I was saying, “Crucify Him!” I was also saying, “Please, don’t!”

But then, I thought of how I do this all the time. I am constantly choosing something evil over Him. I am constantly scourging Him and putting Him on the cross, and then asking Him to forgive me my sins. It was such a poignantly sad moment, being a part of this Gospel reading and realizing how very much a part of the crowd I was… am.

There was no music for the recessional. The altar servers, deacon, and priest left quietly. Many people, perhaps unaware that they were supposed to wait for the recessional, began leaving while they were still gathering at the foot of the sanctuary. Not quite realizing the full import of what was occurring. How often do *I* realize the full import of the Mass or what Jesus did for me? Not nearly as often as I’d like to think.

So, quietly, I stood and watched as the procession passed by, reflecting on the joy, the sorrow, and the sober realization of my own failings, but with the hope and knowledge that something incredible is going to happen in a few short days.

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