Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Wandering Style

In an effort to start posting more content more frequently I want to attempt the 7 Quick Takes from the Conversion Diary. So, let's begin!

As my name suggests, I try to be a patient wanderer. I do feel that God has been putting my husband and I to the test in this regard. We are trying to be both patient and willing to where our discernment has been taking us. With a lot of twists, turns, dead ends and lack of a road map, it's been an interesting journey.

Please, please, please, pray for the youth of my parish and the three other parishes who are joining us for the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday. Mass will begin at 10:00 AM CST and prayers for these students, sponsors and their families are greatly appreciated.

I have an unhappy car. Lately with strange noises, difficulties with the power steering and a few other hiccups are making having only one vehicle a struggle. It's just been hard.

For those of you who are my Catholic readers, next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is a great way to remember that Lent is a time to be penitential, give alms, and dive deeper into prayer. Ash Wednesday is also a day of Fasting (one full meal and two smaller meals not containing a full meal) and Abstinence from meat. 

I was double checking the rules for Fasting and Abstinence with my friends who are wiser than I. When my non-Catholic friends started asking questions a friend of mine who teaches Theology and blogs over at Truth and Charity sent me this amazing article on the reason that we abstain from meat. Why do Catholics Abstain from Meat?

It's still cold...

I know I grew up in northern Minnesota where negative 50 below days (prior to wind chill) were common, and I still walked to school! My husband's employer has a tally on the white board in the break room counting the number of days this winter we have been below zero. The regional record is 54, we currently sit at 51. Winter is still "here" for another month. I have no doubt that we will hit this record. :(

I am branching out into the unknown territories of hobbies. I have always been an amateur photographer and writer. I want to branch out. I am starting to draw and paint a bit but I want to be able to share that with you. Along with my Catholic commentary please look for more of my passions and hobbies to come out too. Just looks like my wandering is taking me more places and I will be documenting it all here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On Love and Despair

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to celebrate mass with our priest and our Junior and Senior High Faith Formation classes. We had what is often called a "card table Mass" since we celebrated Mass in our Gymnasium. It was really everything I could have asked for. The students were mostly polite and engaged, good music, awesome message, great student involvement in ministries and of course Jesus was present! At the end of mass where "announcements" would usually go we had a prepared reflection about the wisdom of Solomon.
One of the most famous stories of Solomon's wisdom comes from first Kings Chapter 3 in the Bible, and tells of two women who came to Solomon asking him to solve their problem. The two women lived in the same house, both had given birth to babies within days of each other, and now one of the babies had died. Now both women were claiming that the baby that was still alive was their child. King Solomon asked one of his servants to bring him a sword. When the sword was brought to him he said, "Now, cut the live baby into two pieces and give each woman half."
One woman said, "No, please, my master, do not kill the baby. Give it to this woman." The other woman said, "Yes, cut the baby in two. Then neither of us will have him." King Solomon said, "Give the baby to the first woman because she is the real mother."
God gave wisdom to Solomon to make right decisions. God will give us wisdom and many other gifts if we only ask Him to.
As a child, hearing this story of Solomon always made me think "Wow, what a clever way to solve a problem." I never really had a reason to go back and look at the passage as an adult. (I will admit my Bible reading has been lax lately) As an adult my interpretation of this story is vastly different, rather than Solomon, I focus on the women.

Their babies we know were about the same age, must have been the same gender and still very young. If they were still very young and the one baby had recently died, both mothers still had the opportunity to nurse and care for the baby as if it were their own. Both women love their children but are going through a very traumatic time in their lives.

The first woman is clearly the voice of love. Love is self sacrificial in nature and would rather see the best of the other over fulfilling their needs. She would love her own child to the point of giving him up to see him live. She would also have the opportunity to still watch him grow and celebrate his milestones with him since they would live in the same home.

The second woman shows us the dangers of despair. Under the supposition we made above, their children are still relatively young. She has had the opportunity to see her child alive, hold him, nurse him and love him. Her response of "Yes, cut the baby in two. Then neither of us will have him." is not a response of hate but extreme loss and pain. Pain causes us to do uncharacteristic things. If they have both have been caring for the child as their own, she clearly cares for the child, but pain has blinded her saying, "If I can't have something, neither should anyone else."

The second woman's response is something I fight with often. It could be when a friend announces they are expecting, "Well why haven't we gotten pregnant yet?", when plans seem to always fall through, "It wasn't going to be that fun anyway", or when I'm just in a big blue funk, "If I can't enjoy this, no one can." I hope I'm not the only one who has battled with these thoughts. The important thing is that I don't get bogged down by them.

On Heaven and Earth - Book Review

On Heaven and Earth is a wonderful and enlightening look at what brings people together despite their differences. Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka bring to light what cam be accomplished through well thought out discussion and difference of opinion.

The future Pontiff has through his friendship and obvious respect for Rabbi Skorka brings
about an enlightening inter-religious dialogue which is vastly different than what is seen in mainstream media and religions today.

Each chapter is its own unique conversation between Bergoglio and Skorka, allowing readers to take each chapter at a time or to bounce between topics that interest them.  While not usually one to read introductions to books, the independent introductions by Bergoglio and Skorka allow us to know the authors independent of each other and know their individual voices when they are having their conversations.

As a Youth Minister and lay woman, this book first interested me as a chance to learn more on hot topic issues such as Religion, Euthanasia, Same Sex Marriage and Education. This book became more than just a resource but an opportunity to purposefully engage in these topics in my own life.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for review.