Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thanks for saying Yes!

     Last week Carly, Chelsea and I went to see The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey.
I read the book about ten years ago, so I had forgotten many of the details of the story. Watching it come alive on the screen was really amazing.

     One of the themes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that has always appealed to me is the theme of being chosen. In the LOR, so many are chosen to carry out tasks that they would have preferred not to have been chosen for. They feel too weak, too insignificant... but they choose to say "yes." All those "yesses" together conquer evil in their world.

     The same theme is running through the Hobbit too--being chosen and responding to the call. It was a great movie to see during Advent...

     Mary's yes to the Angel brought a new hope to the world. This young girl, so insignificant, said a word that set off a chain of events that has essentially changed each of our lives and has called each of us to say our "yes" in spite of our weakness or insignificance.

     You and I are chosen. At times the path we are called to walk is not easy or desired. It could be quite unexpected or even dreaded. When we say yes for the sake of our brothers and sisters--for the sake of Christ, we are changed and our yes changes others.

     Where would the Dwarfs have been without Bilbo the Burglar? Imagine if he hadn't said yes. (well, there would not have been a great book to read or an amazing movie to watch--but you know what I mean.) Reflecting on this has helped me to come to a greater belief that my yes every day has consequences far beyond what I can see. Why does God choose me and you to carry on His work? It's a mystery. But God has reasons and there is a purpose far greater than we can see.

Sr. Rebecca Marie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pretty in Pink

It's that one time of year where the church puts on her best and brightest pink pizazz!

Honestly growing up I LOVED "pink" Sunday for three reasons:

1. Christmas was soo close you could taste it! (or better see it--I love being catholic!)

2. I could freely share and promote my disgust for the color pink.

3. It was the one Sunday I could lovingly tease my pastor for sporting a "manly" pink.

Seriously, it is tradition to this day in my family to talk about in the car on the way to mass how we were going to break it to Father that he was wearing pink... And he loved the attention. Every year Padre would grin and say in his accent right out of Spain "it's Rrrose."

I guess, looking back now, it was kinda bonding. He hated pink. I hated pink. He loved the third sunday of Advent. I loved the third sunday of Advent.

In college I discovered the church's great word for this week of Advent. "Gaudete."

Personal Translation: week that's " a little gaudy." And the third week of Advent rightly is a gaudy pink! The joy of the coming of the Incarnation should be at a melting point. The church can't hold it in any longer. Like Buddy in the film "Elf" she cries out in public " I'm in love! I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

If you haven't seen Elf it looks something like this:
Here  and particularly Here

The church bursts with joy and blushes pink because Christ the redeemer of us all draws in close.

So growing in grace and wisdom, pink has grown on me a bit. Especially as a color of great joy. The real Latin translation of "Gaudete" is "Rejoice!" Today, Saint Paul calls for a two fold call to joy.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Phillipians 4:4

So, if you haven't already let your Parish Priest know how great he looked in Pink this Gaudete Sunday. You should. Really. He is a visible sign of Church's overflowing joy in the Birth of her Savior.

On a different note...

Father had a great reflection in His Homily today in the wake of Friday's tragedy:
Joy is not the absence of grief or pain or tears in the wake of Sandy Hook. The beatitudes teach us, "blessed (or Happy in some translations) are those who grieve".
We should learn to be good grievers...Because even in the midst of sorrow we should rejoice so that we can allow Christ's peace to fill up our hearts and minds. It is our faith in Christ's goodness that we can know with great certainty that in Heaven every tear will be wiped away and every moment of sadness will be turned to great joy.

~Postulant Carly

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Even a year later...

“And also with… your spirit?” oops….

Yes, even a year later I still catch myself saying the “old” Mass responses… and Yes, I do realize I’ve been to Mass about 368 times since it’s been changed (AT LEAST).  But just recently I’ve been having trouble with one response in particular.
It’s the phrase directly after we say the Lamb of God when the priest elevates Jesus in the chalice and the host.
We used to say, “Lord I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Now we say, “Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Last year, when I found out that we were changing that phrase, I was devastated. My whole life I had said that prayer and I felt very attached to it. Throughout my life I had never left the Church, but as a teenager I definitely went through a period of doubt and skepticism of the Church and especially the Eucharist. However, It was THIS phrase that played a major role in my mini-conversion and journey back to a great love of the Church and an intense love for Jesus in the Eucharist.
So when I heard that that the phrase was being changed, every fiber of my being revolted. The poor Sister who told me that phrase was being changed… I was not a happy camper. She found that out right away.
The first time I actually heard the new response I thought to myself, “Why the heck are we talking about roofs in the middle of Mass??” I remember complaining to Jesus about all the reasons why I didn’t like this new response: It was weird that we were talking about roofs…I thought it sounded awkward…I liked the word “receive” and now it wasn’t there…It didn’t “draw me into the moment”…blah, blah, blah…
In the midst of my soliloquy of complaints I had the revelation that no matter how much I complained, the phrase wasn’t going to magically change AND (most importantly) if I truly believed that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ and that the Pope, who is the head of the church, is a successor of Peter and Peter was chosen by Jesus Himself, THEN I had better listen to what the Church had to say because Christ speaks through His Church.
Needless to say, once I accepted this, I’ve found that the words “aren’t so bad”.
One day at Mass I was praying with this phrase and I was deeply struck by the beginning, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof…” As I said these words in unison with the rest of the congregation, I heard them in a new light.

I thought about how I am a human person, both body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. I am a temple. So as I say this response, I am really inviting the Lord into my temple.
I then reflected on how often I’ve “dirtied the temple” by my sin. This is when I was hit with the power of the second part of this phrase, “…but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” By one word Jesus can restore the “cleanliness” and original beauty of my soul. There is so much more to it but, as Catholics, we believe that through the power of the Sacrament of Confession, our souls are restored to their full beauty. This is why it is so  important to go to confession. We ARE NOT worthy to receive this incredible and wonderful gift of sacrifice, but when we are healed, when we are restored to worthiness through confession, we ARE able to worthily partake of this beautiful sacrifice. Jesus loves us so much that He wants nothing more than to be intimately close to us. Who are we to deny Him that closeness? Let us go to confession often so as to prepare our “temple” to receive the Body and Blood of our Beloved Jesus!