Wednesday, June 25, 2008

thinking out loud

You know what story from the Gospels that's really speaking to me right now? It is the one where Jesus was 12 and he stayed behind in Jerusalem and Mary and Joseph had to go back and find him. Often, I think: "Boy, he's lucky that I wasn't his mother or he might not have gotten the chance to save us from sin 'cause I would have killed him."

But as my kids get on my nerves I think, what is the Lord trying to tell me about how I ought to handle myself and discipline my children when they are defiant, when they use their selective hearing, when they disobey, when they bite/kick/punch each other?

I mean, I just don't see Mary screaming at Him or anyone else for that matter. Then again, she was conceived without original sin. And I certainly was not.

I've been meaning to use some imaginative prayer to reflect on this, but I can't get quiet enough.
Maybe I ought to go to Adoration.
I am so grateful for when people tag me for memes. It's content that doesn't require too much thought on my part. So, Aimee, thanks for taging me for the ABCs of Me. Let's dive in.

A. Attached or Single? Attached. To Scott.
B. Best Friend? Scott, but my non-husband best friend is Aimee.
C. Cake or pie? hmmm... depends. If it's summer, I prefer pie, winter, I prefer cake.
D. Day of choice? Friday. It's pizza and family movie night.
E. Essential item? Chocolate.
F. Favorite color? Blue
G. Gummy bears or worms? gummy worms
H. Home town? Philly
I. Favorite indulgence? Chocolate covered anything
J. January or July? I'll take January since it's Primo's birthday. But I prefer May and October.
K. Kids? 3 on earth (2 boys, 1 girl), 3 in heaven. I'm up to going for more, but I really ought to lose weight before we try.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Jesus
M. Marriage date? 3/4/00
N. Number of brothers and sisters? Two brothers, one stepbrother. I am the oldest.
O. Oranges or Apples? oranges.
P. Phobias? nothing that would require therapy, but I have a thing about heights. Like driving on the George Washington Bridge or coming down out of the top of the Cape May lighthouse.
Q. Quotes? "Do or do not. There is no try." Yoda
R. Reasons to smile? kids, Scott, living parents and stepmom, waking up, but I am extraordinarily ungrateful, so I fail to appreciate them and don't smile as often as I ought.
S. Season of choice? Fall
T. Tag 5 people: if you want to, do it!
U. Unknown fact about me? I crashed my dad's car because people applauded me for belting out "I try to think about Elvis" at a traffic light. I thought I'd be all cool and speed away, but the 18 wheeler in front of me hadn't moved yet. I was never so glad that my stepmom answered the phone.
V. Vegetable? baby spinach
W. Worst habit? overeating and not exercising.
X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasoundsnever had an x-ray
Y. Your favorite food? Have I mentioned that I like chocolate?
Z. Zodiac sign? Scorpio

whats up?

I am going to post Life is a Highway Part 2 after I write it down, but I wanted to update my reader about why I've been too busy to post.

1. Primo, our eldest was in baseball camp last week and someone's got to pick him up.
2. My mom was away last week visiting my grandmother so I had no one to mind the hooligans whilst I blogged.
3. I got to spend last Monday night alone in my house with my husband.
4. I have been spending some time on facebook. Why can't we be friends?
5. Drama continues with the new next-door neighbor
6. There is a lot of TV I have to watch.
7. Trying to toilet train Curly Sue who will be 2 in August.
8. Last week of school for Bubba.
9. Moving the furniture in the living room.
10. Getting work done at the office so I can take July and August off. See you in September... See you when the summer's through...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Life is a Highway, Part 1

In my line of work, I get to talk to lots of different people who are at different places in their faith journeys.  I get to talk to everyone from the "pray the Divine Office, attend daily Mass in the vernacular and Sundays in Latin" types, to the "I go to Mass on all the holidays: Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Easter, Mother's Day" types.  

But in general (except among the Latin Mass, Divine Office folks), I get to talk to a lot of people who sign their kids up for CCD so they can "get/make sacraments."  And I encounter an general misunderstanding (miseducation?  misremembering?) of what the sacraments are actually about.  So I've decided we're going to have Back to CCD night and we're going to talk about sacraments: what they are and why Jesus gave them to us.  This talk has been brewing in the back of my head for a few years now and it all just sort of came to me through the grace of God a few weeks ago.  What follows is generally how I'm going to approach this and this is where you come in. 

I need criticism of this approach from any of you who read this.  If you're lapsed from Catholicism, I want to hear from you.  If you're practicing, I want to hear from you.  If you're a priest or religious, I want to hear from you.  If you're looking to "get sacraments," I want to hear from you.  I am interested in challenging ideas people have of the Seven Sacraments.  I know from 5 years of experience, I am going to tick some people off with this talk, but in my line of work, I am always ticking people off.  As long as I'm not ticking Jesus off, I can live with it.  We're both going to be OK.  

And let's remember, this is a parent meeting, not Mass.  Let's start.  

Thanks for coming to Back to CCD Night.  I'm glad so many of you were able to come.  

Tonight we're going to discuss the seven sacraments, what they are and why Jesus gave them to us.  Let's start off with thinking about the following scenario: Let's say that you and your family are going to go on an RV trip around North America.  Gas is 99 cents a gallon (remember those days?)  and the plan is for you to go all over the USA and maybe hit Canada and Mexico while you're driving around.  In your small groups, come up with a list of the sorts of things you would load into the RV so that you had what you needed for the trip.  I'll give you just a few minutes then I'll ask your small groups to choose a person to report back what your group came up with.  

[Now at this point, I would expect answers like: food, change of clothes, soap, first aid kit, sunscreen, money, radio, dvd player, passport, maps (since you'll be going outside of the USA), tool kit, etc.  I'm going to have a backpack or suitcase with props in it on the table next to me that will correspond with some of the answers I'd expect.]

Those are really great answers.  I think you're well-equipped for your journey.  

Let's talk about this journey around North America in a slightly different sense.  Many of you have heard of the concept of faith being a journey.  You're probably not in the same place in your relationship with God that you were when you were four.  And you might not be in the same place 10 years from now that you are today.  Your relationship with God changes as you change.  As you come to rely on Him more, or less, things change.  Most of us don't have the same simple faith that we had as small children.  That's why Jesus reminds us that we need to have the simple faith that children have.  

In my work with families, I have met many people who register their kids for Religious Ed classes so that the kids can "get Sacraments."  I am SO glad that those families are in our program.  There are lots of baptized kids running around today that are not going to RE classes.  If you are sitting here and if your kids are in our classrooms tonight, this matters to you.  And I am glad you're here.  And I know God is glad you're here too.  

When we think about sacraments in terms of something you "get," it sounds a lot to me like they are stamps in our spiritual passports.  And I guess they can be in a sense.  The day of your Baptism or the baptism of your children is a HUGE deal.  Confirmation is a HUGE deal.  First Holy Communion is a HUGE deal.  But I think we're missing something if we think about the sacraments in only the terms of "things to do before I die."  

We need to think about the sacraments not just as stamps in our passports, but in terms of the essential items we pack in the RV so our journey through life into the afterlife goes as smoothly as possible.  

So, you're packing clothes, right?  [pull out a white T-shirt that says "Catholic" on it] Your nice, clean clothes can symbolize Baptism. In Baptism, you are marked for Christ, you are given a share of God's life in the form of the sacramental grace that wipes away Original Sin (the stain on the souls of all human beings-except Mary and Jesus- that is a result of Adam and Eve's first sin) and makes us members of the Church.  

And you're going to need to eat, right?  So you're packing food [pull out loaf of bread] and something to drink [pull out water, juice]? Maybe a little something to make the camping even more pleasant? [pull out a bottle of wine]  The Eucharist, or communion, is something that Jesus gave us to sustain us, to keep us going on Earth so we can get to him in Heaven.  Let's read from the Bible about what Jesus said about this bread that He has given us: [have a volunteer read aloud from John 6, The Bread of Life Discourse].  You're not going to eat only once during your month long trip, right?  You're not going to pack only enough food for one meal, are you?  You won't have enough energy to drive or to enjoy your family or your surroundings, right?  If you're like me, you get downright unpleasant to be around when you're hungry.  The Eucharist is what feeds us spiritually.  The sacramental grace we get from the Eucharist, Jesus' Body and Blood, no longer just bread and wine, is what makes being with the other people in your life even better because it brings you intimately close to God.  You eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood.  It doesn't get more intimate than that.  

But you won't eat with dirty hands.  Of course you wash up before you eat.   So you need your soap [pull out soap labeled Reconciliation].  

Later: Getting cleaned up, and when some healing needs to take place...

Too gimmicky?  On track so far? Reserving judgment until it's all here? Say it in the combox.  

Hello, it's me

I know.  I've been away awhile.  Allow me to update you.  In no particular order:

1. Bubba got himself a shiner on Monday night from tripping over a fan on the floor of his room and landing on the corner of his brother's open dresser drawer.  It's pretty.  I'll have to post a picture. 

2. Today, Bubba graduated from Pre-k.   He's officially a kindergartener now.  Primo finished 1st grade on Thursday.  Now the praying about the 2nd grade teacher begins.  

3. My confessor and sometime spiritual director was transferred to another parish and the farewell Mass and reception was last Sunday the 8th.  I chaired the committee for the party which caused some stress on my marriage.  Seems Scott likes it when I'm home.  He's fussy like that. 

4.  I had Jury Duty starting last Tuesday the 3rd.  I got picked for the case on Wednesday.  We returned the verdict on Friday afternoon.  It was a very pleasant experience.  I'm not even kidding.  I made a new friend.  (Hi, K.!)

5. My stepbrother, B. graduated from High School last Thursday the 5th.  His party was the day we handed down our verdict. 

6. After many visits to many doctors (including a horrible allergist right here in Linden.  Email me if you want to know whom to avoid. ) and dealing with symptoms that seemed like Congestive Heart Failure and an anaphalactic latex allergy, my mom went to an awesome internist and he figured out she has a...wait for it...B-12 deficiency that is exacerbating all of her MS symptoms.  Why her neurologist didn't figure this out is really sort of beyond me.  

7. I made it safely out the other side of Sacrament of Initiation Season (ie: the month of May) and I have learned the value of asking others for help.  

8. I anticipate a change in my work schedule that will make life better for all who reside in my home.  Full report when the contract is signed. 

9.  Our awesome next door neighbors, Hector and Diana, here on Diana's work visa, had to return to Colombia because her visa ran out and she couldn't find a new job.  After a lot of nonsense on behalf of the buyer's attorney that gave them 24 hours notice on the date of the closing (I am NOT kidding), they sold the house to a woman who so far has asked us to put out $3500 in cosmetic improvements to the exterior of our duplex (For those of you who don't know what a duplex is, we own one side of the building and she owns the other side.  We share a wall and if one is going to say, reside the house or reface the steps it probably ought to be done jointly so it doesn't look like Frankenstein house.).  This of course would not bother me if a. we had the money for it (we are going to do the siding since she "know[s] a guy"and b. I were confident she knew our last name (I don't know hers.) and c. She were not so gall darned freaking pushy about it.  So not only have good friends moved about 2000 miles away, they have been replaced by someone I don't like yet, but I hope that I will be able to like after she finally freaking decides to move in.  This probably deserves a post of its own.   

OK I think that's everything.  Back next week with some work related stuff I'd like you guys to help me with.  

What have you been up to?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Paging Grace Slick...

Me: They built this city on Rock and Roll?  Who built it?  And why Rock and Roll for a foundation?  Who builds a city on Rock and Roll? 
Scott:  The Rock would be good, but the roll, not so much.