Sunday, January 1, 2017

Peace from Momma Mary

Happy January 1st! Today is both the Feast of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also the 50th World Day of Peace, first celebrated by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1967.

Pope Francis reminds us that while we live in a broken world, "violence is not the cure for our broken world… " but that we still have peace and mercy as options available to us. And as the song states, it must start with us, it must start at home.

During the homily at mass tonight, the Monsignor connected peace to the celebration and reflection of Mary's role in the birth of Christ. In reviewing the Hail Mary, the priest pointed out the phrase "blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus". He pointed out that not only does the phrase encompass Mary's holiness but also her peace. While I had never heard of this interpretation, the priest went on to discuss how Mary is a vessel of peace, bringing into the world the ultimate Prince of Peace.  During the Gospel reading, the shepherds relay to Mary what the angels have told them about her Son. The scriptures state that Mary "kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She reacted peacefully, taking in what was told to her to heart and reflecting to understand the meaning. Her peaceful reaction should be a model for all of us, a way to take in what we hear and what we see and reflect on what God is saying to us or teaching us in the moment. Blessed is She presented a beautiful devotion today on the importance of reflective listening, and slowing down to hear wheat God is saying to us. Listening to God's words to our hearts will allow us to develop inner peace, furthermore allowing us to project that peace out into the world.

 For we must remember what St. Teresa of Calcutta told us, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

2016 had its up and downs, for the world and for me. This was no doubt one of the more challenging years we have all faced, but in choosing to take each event as a lesson that we learned from,  we can enter 2017 with a spirit of growth, ready to move forward. 2016 brought a major life change for me. My mantra for 2016 was to "say yes" and to practice self care. While those still need to be worked on in the upcoming year, those two goals helped me to start being more conscious about what I ate, had me run my first race (just a 5K, but still!) and had me say yes to travel, friends, and most importantly, a goal I set for myself a long time ago that I never thought I'd achieve, going back to school to get my Ph.D. 2016 was quite the journey, and now that I'm settled in Florida, I'm looking forward to what 2017 has to offer! Here's a little snippet of my 2016.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Equip Me, Lord

In our Young Adults group tonight, we were reading Saturday's Gospel for the Feast of St. Andrew. The Gospel is from Matthew and it tell of the mission of the twelve, when after seeing a crowd filled with disease and illness, Jesus' 

"...Heart was moved with pity for them because they were trouble and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd" 
(Matthew 9:36)

After this, he summons the twelve disciplines and gives them authority to go out into ministry and drive out unclean spirits and cure illness. Somehow we got on the topic of giving and receiving, and when is it the right time to act. Some people were stressing the point of needing to fill your own cup before you can pour out to others, while others were discussing how through serving from our brokenness, we are not only giving to others but also giving to ourselves.

It got me thinking about my own giving, and not just in the sense of service work, but giving of myself, giving of Christ to others. I very often fall into the camp of feeling like I never know enough to share, or I never know what to share or how to share it correctly. I don't have it polished and perfected enough to put out in the world, either in person or through this blog, and so I don't do it. It’s a reflection of a struggle within myself, that I am hesitant to produce a product that is less than perfect and present it to the world. But someone in group tonight brought up the point that we don't learn from individuals who are perfect. Those are not the stories we are drawn to. We are drawn to those who share a common struggle, whom we can relate to, and whose lives we can learn from. I think that is something that makes the saints so powerful. They are incredibly holy men and women, and yet their stories are filled with hardship and brokenness. Look at St. Teresa of Calcutta. She went through such an extended period of darkness, of not feeling Christ's presence and of sometimes doubting, yet she is one of the most holy women of our time. Just because we don’t feel prepared or perfect doesn't mean we can't serve or share.

This whole thought process was making me think of this space, this blog. I write so infrequently one, due to time, but also due to the fact that I feel like I don’t have anything good enough to say. That no one will read it, so why bother. But I want to end that. I like to write, and I am trying to find my voice, though it isn't perfect. So why not share it all here, why not start giving of myself and my stories, because I have received so much through Christ and as the last line of the Gospel passage reflects, 

"Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give".

I don't feel prepared, but as I opened my Bible to write, a note card fell out with a quote I heard in college "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called," and I have faith that what I need to serve with be provided for by God.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other" 
-St. Teresa of Calcutta

As I sit here in Florida, my heart breaks for Charlotte, my city. My heartbreaks for those who feel the pain of injustice. My heartbreaks for those who are scared. My heartbreaks for those who don't know what the best solution is. My heart breaks for my beautiful city and for all of those cities and families and communities affected by injustices.