Second looks

OLPH51415-49

My junior high school science teacher, Mr. Beimler, always insisted that second looks allow not just for comparing and contrasting, but also for enrichment.  So, over the course of my lifetime, I’ve tested and tweaked that notion, adding depth and complexity as well as enjoyment and perspective.

Do-over

When Steven emailed from his Wednesday evening ACTS team meeting that we’d be returning to Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), I was relieved.  One of my posted photos of the stained-glass windows looked fuzzy, so I was glad for the opportunity to replace it.

Still, what I’d really hoped (and longed for) since our first visit to OLPH was to indulge my third eye in its post-Lent unveiled statues.

Second looks

Attending Saturday evening Mass presented a slight dilemma, however.  The lighting was different.  But I took my time, made lens adjustments, and hoped for the best.

As Steven recruited for the men’s ACTS retreat, I moved about capturing not only what I’d missed during our first visit, but also what the church community holds dear.

The all-white angels on either side of the all-white Madonna and her child dazzled me.  Who thinks to have uncolored statues in church?  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph reminded me of the original statues from the old St. Joseph Church in Port Aransas.  They resemble collectible prayer card depictions.  And Mary, featured prominently near the altar, emotionally transported me to daily Mass as a first-grader at Immaculate Conception School.  Even now Mary is celebrated with floral bouquets in May.

All in all, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was just as insightful the second time around!

OLPH51415-54      OLPH51415-50      OLPH51415-55

OLPH51415-38        OLPH51415-51        OLPH51415-48

OLPH51415-25        OLPH51415-1        OLPH51415-10

OLPH51415-46        OLPH51415-40        OLPH51415-33

OLPH51415-59      OLPH51415-56      OLPH51415-27

OLPH51415-53      OLPH51415-37      OLPH51415-58

OLPH51415-63        OLPH51415-65        OLPH51415-69

OLPH51516-1  OLPH51516-2  OLPH51516-3  OLPH51516-4

Prayers

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying.  O purest Mary, O sweetest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips.  Delay not, O blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on you; for, in all my needs, in all my temptations, I shall never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary.  O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce your sacred name or even only think of you.  I thank God for having given you for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name.  But I will not be content with merely pronouncing your name.  Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you, mother of perpetual help.  Amen.

My powerful Queen, you are all mine through your mercy, and I am all yours.  Take away from me all that may displease God and cultivate in me all that is pleasing to him.  May the light of your faith dispel the darkness of my mind, your deep humility take the place of my pride, your continual sight of God fill my memory with his presence.

May the first of the love of your heart inflame the lukewarmness of my own heart.  May your virtues take the place of my sins.  May your merits be my enrichment and make up for all that is wanting in me before God.

My beloved Mother, grant that I may have no other spirit but your spirit  to know Jesus Christ and his divine will and to praise and glorify the Lord, that I may love God with burning love like yours.  Amen.

V.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
R.  I give you my heart and my soul.
V.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
R.  Assist me in my last agony.
V.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
R.  May I sleep and take my rest in peace with you.

June 9, 2016

“Most people have no idea what God would make of them if they would only place themselves at his disposal” (St. Ignatius of Loyola).

OLPH51415-23

OLPH51415-3

OLPH51415-72

OLPH51415-74

Links of interest…  ACTS Missions…  How to ask Mary for grace in a moment of desperation…  Mary: Indispensable to the gospel…  Never be afraid to take the same photograph again…  OLPH: facebook / Mass timeswebsite…  Our Lady of Perpetual Help: about / devotionshistory / image (elements – icon) / meaning / prayers: novena – safeguard – thanksgiving (petitions) – video / who is…  Time to free Mary…  Your blog is your mothership…  Why priests (& all evangelists) need Mary

WP posts…  Building community…  Call of service…  Church time blues…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lingering memory…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Notre Dame revisited…  One prayer…  Our Lady…  Picturing God…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Undeniable familiarity

Undeniable familiarity

OLPH31316-131

When Steven announced that St. Paul’s would co-host the men’s ACTS retreat together with Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), I was over the moon at the prospect of visiting the church for the very first time.

Entering OLPH Sunday morning, March 13, 2016, I fully understood why Rosie, firstborn daughter of mom’s older middle brother and my dearest playmate growing up, was such an ardent parishioner.

Thanks to the ceilings, the walls, and the lighting, the church ambiance resonated with such intense familiarity that its spirit tugged at my heartstrings, evoking long-ago memories of our families’ church, Christ the King, founded in 1953, that Uncle Ray helped build (twice) in Brownsville, TX.  Yet the look and feel of the bare pews, maple stained, ultra smooth, perfectly curved, provided the welcoming embrace that took me home again the moment I sat for eleven o’clock Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

OLPH31316-1      OLPH31316-127      OLPH31316-129

OLPH31316-21      OLPH31316-24      OLPH31316-67

OLPH31316-37      OLPH31316-43      OLPH31316-44

OLPH31316-76      OLPH31316-29      OLPH31316-19

OLPH31316-25      OLPH31316-26      OLPH31316-74      OLPH31316-58a

OLPH31316-68      OLPH31316-71      OLPH31316-70

OLPH31316-61      OLPH31316-62      OLPH31316-63

OLPH51416-13a      OLPH31316-65      OLPH31316-66

1OLPH31316-17        2OLPH31316-15        3OLPH31316-14        4OLPH31316-13

5OLPH31316-12        6OLPH31316-11        7OLPH31316-10        8OLPH31316-2

9OLPH31316-3        10OLPH31316-4        11OLPH31316-5        12OLPH31316-6

OLPH31316-56    13OLPH31316-7    14OLPH31316-8    OLPH31316-82

Prayer

Mother of Perpetual Help, woman of eternal hope, your wordless gaze tells us so much about you.  Knowing eyes look upon us with tender love.  The slight bend of your head reveals such maternal concern.

While your left hand supports the Child, your right hand is ready to receive us, too.  Just as he feels the beating of your heart, so you encourage us to lead a life of hope and holiness.  Just as his sandal will fall on your lap, through your intercession may God pick us up as we stumble and fall.

Never let us be parted from you and your son, Jesus.

Lady of love, you invite us to place our hand where his fingers touch yours— near a heart of endless hope— so that we may be united often in prayer here on earth and joined forever with you in heaven.  Amen.

May 19, 2016

With Mary live joyfully, with Mary bear all your trials, with Mary labor, with Mary pray, with Mary take your recreation, with Mary take your repose.  With Mary seek Jesus; in your arms bear Jesus and with Jesus and Mary fix your dwelling at Nazareth.  With Mary go to Jerusalem, remain near the cross of Jesus, bury yourself with Jesus.  With Jesus and Mary rise again, with Jesus and Mary mount to heaven, with Jesus and Mary live and die (Thomas à Kempis).

March 3, 2017

God, you are my strength and my song.  You are the reason for my joy.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and drive away the forces of discouragement and despair.  Jesus, I trust in you!  St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

OLPH31316-31

OLPH31316-95

Links of interest…  ACTS Missions…  Called to be living stones…  Christ the King Church: diocesan page / facebook / Mass times…  Lent: should statues/pictures be covered / veiling (more) / why crucifixes & statues are covered (more)…  Mary: Indispensable to the gospel…  OLPH: facebook / Mass timeswebsite…  Our Lady of Perpetual Help: about / history / image (elements – icon) /  meaning / novena / prayer (video) / who is…  Stations of the cross for children & families: download / fifteen candles / illustrated / prayer / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / resources / virtual walk / visuals

WP posts…  Building community…  Call of service…  Christ’s passion…  Church time blues…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Full circle…  Gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Notre Dame revisited…  One prayer…  Our Lady…  Picturing God…  Second looks…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes

Quiet prayer time

OLCC72314-30

What a beautiful morning, so peaceful, so full of promise.  And the countdown is on!

Can’t wait for our second eight-day spiritual exercises silent retreat at Our Lady of Corpus Christi (OLCC) in September.  Truth is, we haven’t been quite the same since our first time living among the SOLTs: two seminarians; fewer than ten priests, most retired, some physically challenged, yet all zealously engaged within their vibrant community; and their steadfast assistants, religious and/or members of the greater church community, in various capacities.

July 20-27, 2014

Steven and I arrived at Our Lady’s House at OLCC an hour early to unpack and get situated before the official start of our retreat at five-thirty in the evening.

Having gone through ACTS (March 29 through April 1, 2012) at the OLCC retreat center had been torturous— too noisy, too rushed, too orchestrated, too confining— yet there I was ready to embark on not a three-day, but an eight-day silent retreat?!!

I could no longer keep my true feelings from Steven. 

“What was I thinking when you signed us up in January?  I know I agreed to experience the journey with you, but I don’t want to be here!  I thought I could do it, but I just want to go home.”

Still, I was curious.

Since ACTS I’d wanted to enter and explore Our Lady’s House, but all I could do was wonder about it from a distance.  So how could I pass on the golden opportunity?  On the other hand, confinement, obedience, and “detachment?”  Hmm, I wasn’t so sure about the latter— Fr. Dan’s nagging nugget— that dropped more like a bomb than a rose leaf on this Chicken Little’s tail during our brief welcome two hours later.

Discomforting disequilibrium reigned supreme despite my resilient spirit and cool, calm, collected demeanor.

Could I make it without climbing the walls and wanting to flee in the middle of the night?

Steven had the keys to the Tahoe, his room was down the hall from mine, and we weren’t supposed to talk.

I was desperate for an escape plan just in case! 

I struggled off and on despite sharing these feelings, first, with Steven on Sunday before retreating to our separate rooms and then with Fr. Dan at Monday’s one-on-one, half-hour meeting.

But what a view from my room!

During ACTS we’d stayed in the dorms across the street from Our Lady’s House and the big fenced area.  I’d very much wanted to explore the proverbial carrot then but hadn’t had time.  Yet, here, from the window of my newly assigned room (205) within Our Lady’s House, I glimpsed that slice of heaven.

So how could I resist God’s delightful invitation to fully engage in the meditation garden?

OLCC72114-21   OLCC72114-12   OLCC72514-28   OLCC72314-136

Quiet prayer time

Steven’s “easy fix” made my retreat doable.  He gave me the keys to the vehicle so that I’d feel free to stay.

My daily visits to the meditation garden became my treasure trove, my saving grace; the lovely garden, an extension of my living space within.  I could hide in plain sight, visit throughout the day, enjoy the solitude, and immerse myself in prayerful thoughts and devotions familiar and new.

For the very first time I was able to enjoy, embrace, internalize, and grow my devotion to the Stations, thanks to the Behold! The Way of the Cross booklet that I’d intentionally selected from among the prayer items available for us to borrow during our retreat.

Moreover, as I worked on Fr. Dan’s daily assignments, I sat by the window that provided the best view not just to whet the senses and savor the day’s memories, but also to observe visitors— individuals and/or couples with babies in strollers— whose peaceful, cheerful indulgence in quiet prayer time allowed me the luxury of double- and triple-dipping in God’s awesomeness.

OLCC72314-96

Sharing the experience

I was so captivated by the Stations of the Cross that Steven ordered copies of the Behold! booklet for me the third day of our retreat.  And— wouldn’t you know it— the first box awaited us on the front porch when we arrived home.  I could continue the devotion without skipping a beat!  I was so stoked that I had to share with others!

OLCC72914a      OLCC72914b      OLCC72914c

BW72614a  BW72614b  OLCC72914d  MrsT8114-1  MrsT8114-2

MrsT8114-3      MrsT8114-4      MrsT8114-5      MrsT8114-6

Meditation garden

OLCC72314-129    1OLCC72314-32    2OLCC72314-34

3OLCC72314-35    4OLCC72314-37    5OLCC72314-39

6OLCC72314-41    7OLCC72314-45    8OLCC72314-47

9OLCC72314-48    10OLCC72314-51    11OLCC72314-54

12OLCC72314-56    13OLCC72314-57    14OLCC72314-60

OLCC72314-61      OLCC72314-62      OLCC72314-63

OLCC72314-70      OLCC72314-109      OLCC72314-115

OLCC72314-87   OLCC72514-11   OLCC72314-75   OLCC72314-93

OLCC72314-116      OLCC72314-117      OLCC72314-118

OLCC72314-123      OLCC72614-34      OLCC72314-78

Prayer for detachment by St. Peter Faber, SJ

I beg of you, my Lord, to remove anything which separates me from you, and you from me.

Remove anything that makes me unworthy of your sight, your control, your reprehension; of your speech and conversation, of your benevolence and love.

Cast from me every evil that stands in the way of my seeing you, hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you; fearing and being mindful of you; knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you; being conscious of your presence and, as far as may be, enjoying you.

This is what I ask for myself and earnestly desire from you.  Amen.

September 1, 2015

Turn your eyes incessantly to the Blessed Virgin; she, who is the mother of sorrows and also the mother of consolation, can understand you completely and help you.  Looking to her, praying to her, you will obtain that your tedium will become serenity, your anguish change into hope, and your grief into love (Pope St. John Paul II).

September 2, 2015

Steven emailed in response to my invitation to view the photos.

Sent: Wednesday, 10:41 AM
Subject: Quiet prayer time

Great post.

My perspective is different, as should be expected.  I found that starting the day in the blue dome with the SOLTs chanting the morning Divine Office produced serenity and a contemplative spirit that lasted through the day.  The afternoon participation in the rosary and vespers in community with the religious balanced that and prepared me for a quiet evening of study.  I would usually complete the readings and do most of the assignment work before I took my long afternoon walk.  The heat, exercise, and solitude combined to allow me to think about what I had explored, apply those things to myself, review my shortcomings, and devote it all to God.  It was a sweaty time of confession and adoration.

Like you, the time in the meditation garden was special.  The booklet offered more of a Marian perspective on the stations than I had experienced before, and that made it an increasingly emotional time.  The last couple of days I was in tears toward the end of the prayers.

It was also very special to see the love and care the religious showed for each other, especially the way the young revered the elders and founders of the order.  They lived their vows, and it was a blessing to witness it.  I look forward to being in their house again.

September 8, 2015

What a joy to remember that [Mary] is our mother!  Since she loves us and knows our weakness, what have we to fear? (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

September 10, 2015

“Let those who think that the Church pays too much attention to Mary give heed to the fact that Our Blessed Lord himself gave ten times as much of his life to her as he gave to his apostles” (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen).

September 11, 2015

There is no one, O most holy Mary, who can know God except through you; no one who can be saved or redeemed but through you, O Mother of God; no one who can be delivered from dangers but through you, O Virgin Mother; no one who obtains mercy but through you, O Filled-With-All-Grace! (St. Germanus of Constantinople).

September 19, 2015

“Prayer is a pasturage, a field, wherein all the virtues find their nourishment, growth, and strength” (St. Catherine of Siena).

September 22, 2015

After lunch at the retreat center yesterday, Steven and I took a walk as I mentally ruminated my morning.

I wasn’t sure about sharing my thoughts with Steven, being that we pretty much stay in silent mode on retreat; but halfway through the walk I pushed my reluctance aside to “make meaning” out loud.

Walking to the meditation garden the long way around to the back of Our Lady’s House (priests occupy the first floor; retreatants, the second), I shared my discomfort, dismay, disillusion, and downright disgust.  Yep, still “mad” this morning, though not looney!

Whenever anyone insults my (our) intelligence or in some way irks me (us), Steven and I break away to compare and contrast our experiences, thoughts, and feelings about the situation (as we did last summer when Fr. Dan disturbed my sense of correctness by refusing to lend me a Behold! Stations of the Cross booklet despite my promise to promptly return it after I scanned the prayers at home).

Once at the gazebo in the meditation garden, Steven pulled up two chairs for us to sit and talk openly without regard to anyone seeing us.  At that point, rules were moot and our researcher instincts (doctoral training) took over.  We, not they, were in full control as we analyzed data before deciding on a course of action.

Last summer the solution was simple: We got the Stations booklet info off the back cover, Steven placed an order from his cell phone, and the box of booklets awaited us when we returned home from the retreat.  But the matter wasn’t an easy fix this time.

Red flags started when we showed up on Saturday.  Our brains are not tabulae rasae!  I sensed repetitiveness and mediocrity.  Right away I wanted to leave but said nothing.  Long story maybe for another time?

Then, during my Monday morning half-hour session I was offended, resulting in a second talk that I initiated moments after the last retreatant’s session.  “I want to go home,” I told Fr. Dan.  And, exactly what I thought would happen, did.

Once Steven and I talked, we realized that we’d both been thinking and feeling the same since Saturday.  He, too, had held off sharing “to keep from ruining the retreat experience.”  So, at four o’clock we took flight and vowed not to return.

Sent: Tuesday, 10:44 AM 
Subject: Steven’s response

The last part is rather harsh.  Accurate, but harsh.

If it were my post, I would soften it by acknowledging that the first retreat was a wonderful experience.  Then explain…

“This year we anticipated being able to pick up where we left off, but there is no provision for a progressive experience.  We were to start over: same material, same process, and same dogmatic direction.  That was not what we wanted; and it was dry, unfulfilling, unimaginative.  There was no intellectual dialogue to explore the interplay of spirituality and emotional experiences so that we could grow.  We were basically on our own for that.  Guidance was prescriptive, normative, and out of synch with our current spiritual status.  We had moved to a higher level than OLCC was able to offer, so we chose to leave rather than increase our disconnectedness and frustration.”

October 5, 2015

Silence is not classified as a virtue, but it is the atmosphere in which virtues develop.  At the same time, it is a sign of their maturity.  Thus, just as we know that when the golden spikes of wheat appear in the field the grain is ripe, so also when a virtue is tinted with silence we perceive that it is reaching maturity (Archbishop Luis Martinez, When God is Silent).

November 4, 2015

Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time and so give God more pleasing worship?  Listen, and I will tell you.  If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out.  Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold.  In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can.  Stay quiet with God.  Do not spend your time in useless chatter….  This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day… (St. Charles Borromeo).

June 14, 2016

“Do not condemn, even with your eyes, for they are often deceived” (St. John Climacus).

July 11, 2016

“He should know that whomever undertakes the government of souls must prepare himself to account for them” (St. Benedict).

OLCC72514-23

Front view from the second-floor veranda – Our Lady’s House – OLCC

Links of interest…  Advancing in the spirit…  Detachment: finding freedom / graceletting God be all we need / meaning (more) / prayer…  Feast of the triumph of the cross (our only hope)…  Four big mistakes we’ve made with catechesis…  God is our consolation…  Ignatian Spirituality: online / videos: (1) prayer, (2) an overview, (3) finding God in all things (other 6 & picturing God), (4) spiritual exercises, (5) examen, (6) discernment…  Joy of silence…  Little Office of Our Lady: about / book (more) / consecrating the hours / hymns, psalms, & readings / introduction / prayers (more)…  Liturgy of the hours: about (more) / & Lent / Breviary / Divine Office / history / Universalis: apps & programs & daily email…  Love of a good hug…  Mary: help of Christians / mother of God quotes…  Missing ingredients of evangelization…  Most influential Catholic you have never heard of (Fr. James Flanagan, SOLT)…  Online retreats: 34-week (multilingual) / adult & teen / Catholics on call / Colleen Spiro / Ignatian: 3-minute  & 8-week…  Our Lady of Corpus Christi (OLCC): adoration chapel / bookstore & café / deep prayer / retreats / website…  Pilgrimages meet our soul’s need for peace, quiet, & strength…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  SOLT…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fisheaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Familiar yet new…  God’s master plan…  Holy Cross Church…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Making meaning…  Sioux chapel stations…  St. Michael chaplet…  Today’s Beatitudes

Today’s Beatitudes

Spending time at St. Bonaventure Church and Father Casey’s tomb was truly emotional for me.  I cried so much my eyes were squinty but I laughed and smiled a lot, too.

Then, for two and a half hours Joseph Taylor, our young, charismatic, self-appointed guide, treated Steven and me to an unforgettable “pilgrimage” that concluded with the historic yet familiar depictions of the modern-day Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center.

Ask, seek, knock.

For more than three years I’d envisioned myself at Father Casey’s tomb, so imagine the sensory overload once there!

Oh, my gosh!  How special to discover three very powerful words from one of my favorite Bible verses etched on the glass door leading to the Beatitudes!

Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.  For the one who asks, receives.  The one who seeks, finds.  The one who knocks, enters.  If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him! (Matthew 7:7-8, 11).

Memories

While resizing photos for this post yesterday, I searched for Beatitudes online and found references to Matthew, chapter five, not only as verses one through ten, but also as one through twelve.

Hmm.  I reached for my Bible to clear up the discrepancy.

Seeing the Beatitudes on the page, my mind went off on a tangent.  Father Pat gave each of us in his high school CCE class a copy of the New Testament, so we became quite familiar with the gospel readings.  But why did the title, the “Sermon on the Mount,” not ring a bell?

The ol’ pea brain suddenly exploded with a plethora of memories that included the women’s ACTS retreat, March 29 through April 1, 2012.

ACTS retreat

After I registered for the retreat, I pestered Steven off and on.  “Is confession required?  Why do I have to go to confession with someone I don’t know?”  I was seriously, rebelliously, thrown aback by the notion of having to confess to someone other than our parish priest.

Steven was so tired of my whining that he finally said, “Look, if you don’t want to do it, don’t.”  Of course, he also added, “Everyone else will do it, but you don’t have to.”

Hmm.  I could read between the lines, but fine.

The retreat was too noisy for me.  I wanted some quiet time alone to rest before our next group activity.  The ice-cold temperature in our dorm the night before had kept me from sleeping, but napping was out of the question.  I’d be wide awake again that night and even more mentally drained the next morning.

I’ll lie down and read the “Sermon on the Mount.” 

Two months prior Father Xaviour had summarized the passage in one of his homilies.  “For all the answers to all your questions just look to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew, chapter five, especially if you want to make a good confession,” he’d told us.

I’d been clueless— a tabula rasa— on hearing the title, so I’d vowed to read and find out what I’d missed.

Opening my Bible to Matthew 5:1-12, I smiled.  There in all their glory were the Beatitudes, cherished nuggets, heralding chapters five, six, and seven, the familiar teachings of Jesus.

But the title…  How could my eyes have glossed over the title all these years?

The team leaders began rounding up the group.  Still immersed in my thoughts, I closed my Bible and walked to our meeting place.  I felt refreshed and energized… until the unexpected happened.

Oh, my gosh!  Confession time!  Why?  How do I get out of it? 

I was angry.  I was upset.  I didn’t know what to do.  Finally, I got up to look for one of the team leaders I knew.  Quietly, I spoke into her ear, “If I’d known I had to do this, I wouldn’t have come.”

“It’s okay.  You don’t have to do it.  Just go sit down.  It’s all right,” she reassured me.

It’s all right. 

The words registered as a text tail on an electronic marquee.

My friend’s soft voice was so soothing that, without giving confession a second thought, I walked over to sit beside the woman who was next in line.  I was cool, calm, and collected as I waited.  Then, when my turn came, I simply walked into the makeshift confessional.  I was so filled with gratitude that I didn’t even worry about what to say.

During our talk the SOLT priest and I had an amazing dialogue.  We even gifted each other with heartfelt epiphanies.

“Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!” I exclaimed afterwards.

As I exited the confessional I felt empowered.  Wholly exhilarated and light on my feet, I also had an open invitation to Our Lady of Corpus Christi for Mass and confession anytime at all.

Afterthoughts

For some time God had been whispering…  Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  Yet, my refusal to let go had kept me from opening the door.

Why I’d made a mountain out of a mole hill I have no idea, but God never gave up.  He used a familiar voice to whisper his message: It’s all right. 

Then, having been liberated from my misguided notions, I entered and received God’s healing grace.

One-two-three punch

Still, I have to wonder about God’s sense of humor in regard to his lovely favors.  Even when we internalize the message, God checks for understanding.  Through subtle hints or hard konks on the head he seems to say, “I still remember.  Do you?

Take yesterday, for instance.  We arrived a bit early for the All Saints vigil; so Steven and I sat with our dear friends, Carmen and Carlos.  We conversed as quietly as we could about Father Casey and the Solanus Center before Father Xaviour rang the bell for us to rise for the start of Mass.

Imagine my delight when Father’s gospel reading was the “Sermon on the Mount!”

I smiled for the remainder of Mass, then talked nonstop on our drive home about the timeliness of my blog post.

Today’s Beatitudes

To God everything’s a teachable moment, impeccably delicious, perfectly timed.  The Beatitudes are not only part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” but also a universal lesson and, certainly, a memorable anecdote in my book of life.

Moreover, the Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center are true-life depictions of eight extraordinary individuals celebrated for all time: Dorothy Day (Poor in spirit; 1897-1980); Jean Donovan (Mourn; 1953-1980); Takashi Nagai (Non-violent; 1908-1951); Clement Kern (Justice; 1907-1983); Teresa of Calcutta (Merciful; 1910-1997); Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Pure of heart; 1896-1985); Martin Luther King, Jr. (Peacemakers; 1929-1968); and Oscar Romero (Suffer persecution; 1917-1980), respectively.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12)

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.  He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Steps to sainthood

“When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory,” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153).

               

               

October 10, 2013

Father, give me more of your spirit so that I will keep asking, seeking, and knocking for your kingdom.  As I do, give me a revelation of who Jesus is and how much he loves all of us (the Word among us, October 2013, p. 30).

March 30, 2014

“Don’t forget that the saint is not the person who never falls but, rather, the one who never fails to get up again, humbly and with a holy stubbornness” (St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer).

May 7, 2014

“You will become a saint by complying exactly with your daily duties” (St. Mary Joseph Rosello).

August 10, 2014

“It is indeed more through suffering and persecution than through eloquent preaching, that God wills to establish his kingdom in souls” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

November 15, 2014

“The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive all that you ask” (St. Albert the Great).

March 17, 2015

The saint does not view sacrifice as an executioner with a sword who will take away his life, but as a yoke that is sweet and a burden that is light.  The devout do not hate life because life hates them or because they have drunk of its dregs and found them bitter, but because they love God more; and, in loving God more, they dislike anything that would tear him away (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen).

March 25, 2015

Overmuch sorrow makes the door of the confessional heavy to open, for fear that a voice inside will be as hard and cold as the shrill modern sirens that led so many to physical and moral death.  But when the door is opened, there is “joy in the presence of the angels of God” (Fr. George W. Rutler, 2015).

March 27, 2015

All hope consists in confession.  In confession there is a chance for mercy.  Believe it firmly.  Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God.  Hope and have confidence in confession (St. Isidore of Seville).

Remember, every saint had a past and every sinner has a future” (Fr. Robert Barron).

May 4, 2015

Sin is a blazing fire.  The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns” (St. Mark the Ascetic).

May 5, 2015

Do you really want to be a saint?  Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

December 10, 2015

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less” (C. S. Lewis).

December 11, 2015

Whatever mission God gives us, no matter how common it may appear, carries within it our potential sainthood.  What God asks of us during our lifetime is the most appropriate and suitable means to our growth in holiness— whether our lives remain ordinary or take an extraordinary turn (Julie Onderko, Discover Your Next Mission From God).

January 14, 2016

You must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things, namely labors and sorrows, temptations and vexations, anxieties, necessities, sickness, injuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusion, correction, and contempt.  These things help to obtain virtue; these try a novice of Christ; these procure a heavenly crown (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ Challoner).

May 6, 2016

You don’t need to wallow in guilt.  Wallow in the mercy of God.  When you are guilty, say so to God through a confessor.  Acknowledge your problems and sins.  The moment you have stated them, God puts his hand over you and you are a newborn babe (St. John Marie Vianney).

July 13, 2016

“The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better” (Pope Francis).

August 9, 2016

Remember that, each time you pick yourself up after a fall, the feast of the prodigal son is renewed.  Your Father in heaven clothes you again in his most beautiful cloak, puts a ring on your finger, and tells you to dance with joy.  In a living faith you will not approach the confessional with dragging feet, but as if you were going to a feast (Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbée, I Believe in Love).

August 30, 2016

“In our joys, in our troubles, in the contempt that others show us, we must always say ‘thank you, my God’ or ‘glory to God’” (St. Jeanne Jugan).

March 1, 2017

Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve gone to confession— God is waiting to meet you there.  Don’t settle for ashes alone when you can receive absolution and a fresh start! (St. Teresa of Calcutta in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

SCC4914s-7

SCC4914s-6

Links of interest…  Beatitudes: according to MatthewBible / for kids / fostering love in the home / Jesus Christ Savior / man of the eight beatitudes (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati) / New Advent / on film: love lifts us up / Tripod / way of life / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap…  Catherine de Hueck Doherty: about (more) / book / foundress / poem / poustinia: desert (book) / servant of God (videos) / sobornost: unity (video) / spirituality…  Church of the Beatitudes (Josemaría Escrivá – Opus Dei)…  Clement Kern: Conscience of Detroit (more) / “labor priest” / papers (more – photo) / priest & pastor (more) / statue…  Confession: combating pride / easier than stepping on the scale / God’s healing mercy / light’s on for you / sacrament…  Dorothy Day: about / & Mother Teresa & the 5-finger gospel / saint for our time – like you & me / worker movement (model for the church)…  Franciscan saints calendar…  Jean Donovan: about (more) / life & example / martyrdom (more) / movie…  Learn to heal painful memories…  Martin Luther King, Jr: about / center / civil rights movement / life in photos / peace prize / quotes…  Oscar Romero: about / biography / last sermon (1980) / literature / martyr / peace hero (outspoken) / prayer / quote (homily) / saint effort “unblocked” (long tangled path) / seven sermons (Lent) / step along the way (prayer)…  Rosa Parks…  Sainthood: declaring someone a saint / ever wonder how a saint is made / odds on becoming a saintpatron saint list (more – more) / promoting / what is (more)  / who is a saint / why we love the saints / why miracles should remain a requirement for canonization…  Scripture speaks: Can we be perfect / Christ’s assurance…  Sermon on the Mount…  Solanus Casey Center: Beatitude people  (videos) / home / shrine / virtual tour…  St. Augustine’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount…  St. Francis de Sales’ guide to reconciliation…  Takashi Nagai: about / all that remains (blog) / books / conversion & love / familylessons / Nagasaki: memorial museum / no more / song (book)…  Teresa of Calcutta: about (more) / biography (more) / center / peace prize / road to sainthood (more) / saint of light, saint of darkness…  Tips on how to confess well…  Vatican doctors approve the miracle to make Wojtyla a saint…  the Word among us…  Yelling in the confessional? Yes, that was me

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito (St. José Luis Sánchez del Río)…  Mercy and justice…  Quiet prayer time…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani (Venerable Father Casey)…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Then and now…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)

Like this:

Like Loading…