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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anger, the Priest and the Penguin

It is better not to allow anger, however just and reasonable, to enter at all, than to admit it in ever so slight a degree; once admitted, it will not be easily expelled, for, though at first but a small plant, it will immediately grow into a large tree.  ~St. Augustine

As I was driving to Mass this morning my mind began to wander.  It wandered back to an event this week that happened at Church.  I was upset by the way I saw two parishioner acting toward each other.  The behavior was hurtful especially to one.  So as I drove, I started to get angry about it.  Then I thought about St. Therese and how she struggled with frustration and being easily angered.  So I quickly asked for her intercession.  I was able to calm down and by the time I reached Church I was in a better frame of mind.

Then Fr. Charlie read the Gospel and explained it.  I think Father was reading my mind again.  Bartimaeus, a blind man sitting on the side of the road hears that Jesus is passing by.  Bartimaeus begins to cry out to Jesus.  Even with all the noise of the crowd Jesus hears him.  Many in the crowd, including the disciples rebuke Bartimaeus to be quiet.  They are angry that Bartimaeus is calling out. Jesus though asks that he come to Him.

Father reminded me that even though the disciples were with Jesus they didn't always get the message.  They, like me, were following but not completely understanding the message.  Father reminded us that we shouldn't let our anger or frustration with others keep us from living the Gospel. It is in our actions that we must be most Christ-like.  Actions, that word comes up a lot. How easy it is to say you are a Christian, to post it on your Facebook Timeline, and tweet it on Twitter. Empty; full of sound and fury, but nothing without ACTIONS.

So by now I am sure you are wondering why Father had his penguin with him today.  He was a prop for the beginning of Father's sermon.  In 1957 Father Charlie's father was bringing him a live penguin from an expedition.  The penguin died on the ship and was stuffed.  Father Charlie has had him ever since.  How can you not love a priest that begins with a penguin and ends with a call to live the Gospel not just hear the words.

Lord, here I am
sitting in my own frustration.
Forgetting to be charitable.

Thank you for the people that you put in my life,
who remind, who guide, and who make me smile.


Friday, October 16, 2015

A Bad Case of "The Gimme, Gimme Wants"

When the soul is troubled, lonely and darkened, then it turns easily to the outer comfort and to the empty enjoyments of the world.
~St. Francis of Assisi

When Michael was alive he wanted a car with a start button.  I told him we didn't need a new car. Now I want a new car.  Not just any car, but the car that I test drove in Tucson.  It was a thing of beauty.  All the bells and whistles!

Even after carefully looking at my finances, it was clear that I could do it, but it would put a bit of squeeze on me.  There would be no room for the unexpected. There would be no money for travel!

With help I was able to walk away.  Tho, I dreamed of that car. In my dreams I drove and drove and it was wonderful.  So I looked at the numbers again.  The same result.  I did call my parents and was hoping against hope that I would find support there for the purchase. I think Dad wanted to say yes as he has the new car bug too, but then we let Mom enter the conversation.  She was resolute in her firm denial of my purchase.  Then she gave me some good solid financial advice to follow so that this time next year I would be in a better position to buy the car.

God is like that.  He lets us want "things" and lets us figure out if it is a good idea or not.  He provides His Mother, Our Mother to go to in times of trouble and confusion.  She too has sound advice.

I must admit when I went to the dealership for maintenance I knew I shouldn't look at new cars.  I even told everyone do not let me look.  But I was led into my own temptation.  I saw it, recognized it, and embraced it with all my heart.  Then I was in a pickle, a pickle of my own making.

In the Gospel last Sunday Mark tells us about a man who knelt in front of Jesus and asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus reminded him of the commandments, to which the man replies that he has kept the commandments all his life.  Then Jesus tells him..."You are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me."  At that statement the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

There it is, possessions.  They own us. We do not own them. I did not need a new car.  I wanted a new car.

I thank you for the people
you place in my life.

Especially for the ones,
who tell me what is difficult to hear.

The ones who remind me of who I
want to become.

The ones who love me for who I am.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Not a Perfect Partner..

"We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God easily, but our brother?  Those with whom we do not identify in his background, education, race, complexion.  We could not have imagined that love for God could be so hard."
 -St. Edith Stein

Todays first reading came from the book of Genesis.  It is the story of God creating woman out of the rib of man.  Father reminded us that God made a suitable partner for man. God did not make a perfect partner for man. This was so that together they would grow in love, understanding and support of each other.

Father related a Sufi Muslim story about two friends, who over coffee discussed why one of them had never married.  The man explained that he had met many women that he thought would be the perfect partner.  Yet, each time he found some fault with them.  He claimed that only once he had met the perfect woman.  "So why did you not marry her?"asked his friend.  His reply, "She was looking for the perfect man."

It brought tears to my eyes.  Michael and I certainly were not perfect partners.  We were in fact suitable partners.  It took us awhile to figure that out.  We spent many years lamenting that our partner was not perfect.  In the end though we looked at each other with new eyes.  Eyes that saw the truth of our suitability and love for each other.  Michael thank you for being my suitable partner.  You taught me so many things.  You were my rock, my number one cheerleader, and my friend.

Lord, again You have
shown me the truth of Your ways.
Help me to see you in each person I met.
Help me to see that their imperfection are only
a reflection of my own imperfection.