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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hosanna and Happy Palm Sunday


"Who am I to judge?"
- Pope Francis

Palm Sunday and I was allowed the honor of reading as the Speaker during the Gospel.  It is always moving to read the Passion of Our Lord and to celebrate His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  Though we all know that treachery was being plotted by the chief priests and the scribes.

We are also reminded that Jesus was surrounded by the undesirables of His time.  Lepers, prostitutes and tax collectors to name a few.   Even His Apostles had their faults.  Peter denies Him, Thomas doubts, Judas betrays Him and the others have their own issues.

Jesus was not an excluder.  He was including.  He accepted each of them and each of us for who and what we are, warts and all.  He knows the secret recesses of our hearts and still loves us!  How amazing.

So I am troubled that we are still the rabble that asks for Barabbas, a murderer.  We want to use religious freedom to exclude and deny other humans.  We stand beside the chief priests and scribes and use the letter of the law to hurt our fellow humans.

Have we forgotten that Jesus is about forgiveness?  He, as far as I can remember, turns to the accused and forgives them and asks that they sin no more.  He did not stone the prostitute or the adulteress.  He did not walk away from the leper.  No, He embraced the sinner.  He came for the sinner.  I fear that if He came and walked among us today He would find that not much has changed.

Lord,
I am ashamed that I continue to sin.
I constantly seek your forgiveness, 
even when I am not willing to forgive my neighbor.

Help me to truly pray the words of the Our Father,
keeping in mind that I ask you to forgive me as I forgive others.
Let me not hide behind the letter of the law.  Let my heart be open.

~Cindy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A backpack, St. Augustine, Lily and Gracie

"You have so made us, Lord, that we long for you, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."
-St. Augustine of Hippo





Lent is still confusing this year for me.  I am not sure what I am suppose to do.  So I am attempting to TRUST!

Cynthia left today for two months in Europe.  Helping her pack her backpack was frustrating, painful, and a reminder that I will be alone in this small but empty house.  I have not been alone in over 40 years!!!  I find the thought both exhilarating and terrifying.  I do not have to compromise with anyone but me.  Though compromise is the salt of life. Cynthia certainly kept me on my toes.  She kept me honest and humble.

St. Augustine struggled so hard to know God.  I think that is why he speaks to me.  What a great sinner, but what an incredible Saint.  The other aspect of St. Augustine is his longing for silence.  He is attracted to the beauty of the world and yet he longs to close his eyes from it so that he can see God.

My Mom shares with me stories of her Bible Study Group.  Really she asks me to pray for them, especially when one is in trouble or hurting.  Lily, I hope that Mom shares this with you.  I understand that your sister, Gracie has recently passed away and there is a hole in your heart.  I get that.  I still find myself examining the hole in my heart since Michael's passing.  Will it fill?  I do not know.  I am not sure that the hole is suppose to fill.  Instead, perhaps,  we are to learn from the emptiness that it brings us.  How can we be so sad when a loved one leaves us?  Are they not on their way to Heaven? Are they not closer to God than we?  Should we not be celebrating their reaching eternal life?

I am sure of this, when Our Blessed Mother stood at the foot of the cross and looked on the body of her son, I know there was a hole in her heart!  When she understood that He was resurrected the human side of her I am sure still had a hole.  He was her son, her baby.  She looked forward to being with Him in Heaven.  I look forward to being with Michael.

My prayer for the rest of Lent is borrowed from St. Augustine.

He bids you return to Him,
to that place within,
where peace abides,
peace that is never disturbed;
to that place from which 
Love never departs,
unless you depart from it.
Make your home in that place.


~Cindy

Monday, March 2, 2015

Metamorphosis

Let us become saints so that after having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.
~ St. Padre Pio

This Lenten Season has not been what I planned. I am sure though that it has been and will be what God has planned for me.

First, I fractured my foot and being on crutches and a cane and now possibly a boot is a humbling experience.  I had Plans!  Now I am dependent on others to help me out and it is slow going.

Second, because of my foot I was unable to attend the Lenten Mission at Church and I was really looking forward to hearing Fr. Foley.

Thirdly, I gave up Facebook with the expectation that it would be hard and somehow change me.  Then I started to read several Catholic Bloggers that stated extremely compelling reasons why one should NOT give up social media, but embrace it as an agent for change.  Too late, I am committed.  I must admit that has not been hard and I feel no change, however, God does tend to have His own mystifying time table for such things.

I know my prayer partner was concerned that my posts were only slightly behind the number of another friend on her wall.   She was concerned.  Perhaps she should have been.  I fear that she believed that I was frittering away my day with hitting the "like" button and sharing a little too much.  It was not getting in the way of my prayer life or my conversation with God.  It was a filler when I was waiting to go to Mass or waiting for an appointment.  But none the less I gave it up because I felt drawn to it.

But what does all this have to do with metamorphosis?  Well, the Transfiguration has always stumped me somehow.  I didn't get it.   Then Fr. Charlie used the word metamorphosis instead of transfiguration.  The clouds parted and understanding hit me over the head.

I have often spoken about how Michael was transformed.  The truth is that all of us who knew him were transformed.  His transfiguration allowed each and everyone of us to learn a lesson.   A lesson on how to die with Grace and Dignity.  A lesson on how not to complain about the hand we are dealt in life.  A lesson on how to embrace and forgive and love.  How to be the person that God intends for us to be.

Christ allowed them to see His Divinity shine through His Humanity.  He gave them a glimpse of who He was and is.  They, like me, didn't get it.  God in His Mercy shields us from His Big Plan.  He knows how it would terrify us.  Instead He gives  glimpses and riddles that we have difficulty with understanding.  Though in hind sight it is clear.  He is God.  He loves us.

Lord,
I stand before you
in a bit of a muddle.

Help me to remember that You are the Planner
and I am only an empty vessel that You fill.

Help me in my metamorphosis...

~Cindy