Archive for April, 2011

Three High Holy Days

Today marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Church’s holiest 3 days. Tonight, Pope Benedict reminds us, that “God doesn’t want to trample on us, but kneels down before us to exalt us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be small…Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another.”
So many stumble at the ability of our ineffable God condescending to become simple bread and wine. Why is this so difficult that the creator of all seen and unseen wants to be in such close union with his creation? What amazing love and patience he imparts on us, and how little we appreciate his kindness.
Good Friday, tomorrow starts the Divine Mercy Novena which brings with it a plenary indulgence…don’t waste this gift.


Pretzel In The Sand

All of us, I dare say, played in the sand at one point or another in our childhood. In fact we still head towards the sand as adults; it is just usually with a swim suit on and umbrella drink in hand.

As children there was much to learn in the sandbox. They were a great place to discover who we were and how to deal with the things and people who entered that space. We began to ascertain the best toys, friends from foe, and that kitty cats preferred sand over grass.

Seeing a pretzel in the sand instantly brings to memory a gritty, unpalatable recollection of something that did not belong in that space. How many times have we seen something that is really out of place; noticed it, pondered it…did something about it?

Over the last couple of months I have perceived some hearing loss and imbalance issues. Being a busy mom and youth minister, and having a million things on my plate at any given time, meant that I pushed this “pretzel” around in the sand and went on with my life. After finally taking the time to pursue the root of the problem, it seems there is a pretzel in my ear that has spilled over into my brain.

Pretzels do not belong in the sand, nor do “masses” in the brain.

There is good news, there is no cancer and that makes this pretzel less threatening, but still something to be dealt with. I am in the process of discerning decisions involving “drilling or blasting.” I am leaning towards excavating. Having a “grape growing in my gray matter” can wreck havoc on my already deteriorating ability to remember anything.

In the sandbox of our life we are going to run into a variety of objects, people, and distractions that can take us away from our purpose and mission. What is most important is how we meet these events head on and learn from them. Understanding is key, which comes from filtering everything through the lens of faith. How do we know what is good from what is bad? We look to a higher authority than ourselves. The truth is outside of us and it is not something, but someone. There is much to learn this Lent, from that Someone. For many of us, it will be about trust, suffering, and surrender.

Mother Elvira Petrozzi writes, “Sometimes the Lord wants us to participate in human suffering. We must mature in this capacity to suffer and at the same time offer it to Jesus…We must form this way of thinking so that, in the moment of the Cross we do not walk around complaining, trying to escape it, and wasting this precious moment in which Jesus is sharing the Cross with us and giving us a small part of His pain on the Cross. Pain is a part of human life. Do not avoid it, minimize its significance, or talk about it in such a trivial way…It is the mysterious school of the Cross, of our God who did not explain the Cross but welcomed it, experiencing the Cross in the body of His crucified Son. The risen Jesus is our true hope, because in Him pain and death are defeated. ”

I know in this current challenge and cross that I will not be left alone to figure things out. We are here to help one another and pray as we each uncover the pretzels lying in our sandbox. There is an interesting fact about the history of the pretzel. The story goes that a monk in the area between France and Italy was playing with left over dough and came up with a unique twist that resembled arms crossed in prayer.

I know that I am assured of the prayers and assistance of so many people that God has blessed me with throughout my life. May I “cross my own arms in prayer” as I unite any suffering I may undertake with His Cross, trusting in its strength, love and redeeming power.