Archive | August 2015

Punctuality

I love Irish Music. When I was in college I was able to go to my first ever Irish Fest in a nearby town and met an amazing band called the Fuchsia Band. Awesome guys!

Anyways, they have a song on their c.d. that goes something like this,

Punctuality is all very proper I know
all the hurry and worry I hate
but it always occurs that wherever I go
I’m exactly ten minutes too late.

Welcome to my life. In America, we put a lot of emphasis on schedules, timetables, deadlines and due dates. These little buggers seem to dictate our lives with their very existence. This is not to say they don’t have their place and purpose. Certainly they do, but there are times that they become our sole focus. We anticipate the coming deadline. Then life turns into something like a word problem found in a math book:

Mom has one hour until she and her three children have to be at a doctor’s appointment fifteen miles away. She plans fifteen minutes to get ready to go for the day. She then adds in another ten minutes to find her keys, cell phone and purse. In the remaining time Mom must wrangle the kids, get their socks, shoes and coats on; prepare a diaper bag, deal with two meltdowns and load the children into their carseats.

Once buckled in, Mom will realize that she cannot find her purse which has the keys and the insurance card in it. After locating the items she rips out of the driveway and onto the road. She is then stopped at by a red light every half mile. The road she normally takes is under construction and she must use a detour that will take her two miles out of her way. Just as she is about to pull into the parking lot she gets stuck behind a city bus unloading passengers.

What are the odds Mom will make it to the appointment on time?

or perhaps a better question:

What fraction of Mom’s sanity will be left in tact?

Like a pregnant woman past her due date our patience dwindles as we encounter failures in meeting our scheduled goals. We want it to work out how we planned. We want things to be on time. We want to be able to look at those frazzled people who come stumbling through the store/school/lobby doors with pity. All with a smile in our hearts that we aren’t in their shoes (today, anyways). But, that’s the thing with life. We are not living on our time, but on God’s time. Everything happens for a reason and has been allowed for our own good.

Life is an obstacle course for us to jump over, dive under, climb up, and fight through. God sets the obstacles. And though we may see them, we have to be able to face them, not just look for a way around them. Like a Tough Mudder run we have to battle through one obstacle knowing that another is just on the horizon. There is one way to finish and that is to complete the obstacles as they are intended to be completed. It is our challenge to not just recognize that which God has set before us but to rise to the occasion. Not to be that person that looks around the sides of an obstacle for an easy out.

St. Gianna

 

Reflection: At the Annunciation, our Blessed Mother encountered the Angel Gabriel. Here she, a virgin, was told she would conceive through the Holy Spirit and bear a son who would be Jesus. This child would be the Messiah, the one prophesied for centuries. The one who was to free Israel from its bondage. The one to fulfill the final promise made to Abraham. The one to establish the everlasting and worldwide kingdom! And she was to bear Him in her holy womb for nine months. Can you imagine her anticipation? What would it have been like if she had been 41 weeks and still waiting to see the face of God? To hold this miraculous and divine child? Do we yearn for Christ’s presence as she would have those nine months? Or do the weeks slip by and we barely notice His presence in our prayers, at Mass or in our homes?

Challenge: What can we do for those who are frazzled by life’s schedules? Can we help them? Do we pray for them as soon as we see them? Even our small quick thoughts can become prayers when we see the poor parents juggling five kids and looking like they haven’t slept all night. Pray for those who are feeling the strain of life’s challenges this week right when you see them—the frazzled parent, the crying toddler, the standoffish teen, the struggling elderly.

Listen to Him

tug of war

https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/practical-parenting/g/8165495/tug-o-war/8167457/#6

Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for his ‘will to power’ theory.

Nietzche didn’t have kids.

If Nietzsche had kids, his ‘will to power’ theory would have been obliterated at the first all nighter with a newborn.

If the newborn didn’t get him, it would have been the two year old dancing in his crib when he’s supposed to be napping then proceeding to tear through the house like a tornado. Coupled with the fact that while you’re cleaning up the house the little one grabs your toothbrush, dunks it in the toilet and proceeds to brush his teeth with it.

If the crazy non-sleeping two year old didn’t warrant a submission then the whiny pouting five year old whose pizza isn’t peeled of all its toppings, cut up and quartered before it is all cold would have.

Not to mention the tantrums…oh the tantrums.

Those lovely things that you can anticipate with certain events (i.e. someone has something I want but I can’t tell you because I’m so mad and the only way to express it is through pushing, shoving or screaming, going to a doctor, trying to get them to sit still), others that are complete blindsides (food isn’t cut right, juice is too hot or cold, blanket is folded wrong).

Many I have talked to say that the love this stage, right when little ones are finally able to communicate St. Rafaeland begin to reason. I too, looked forward to this time and I do cherish much of it. But sometimes…oh sometimes I envision myself as grating my head against a brick wall as I argue about what the name of our country is, the reasons we go to Mass, the reasons we need to pray, how to be grateful for what we have, how to deal with not getting what we want, how to pray at the table and why we don’t fling rosaries around like lassos…basically trying to instill knowledge, virtue and formation on a young soul that is supposed to become a saint under my patronage.

(Then again, as I think about this, maybe children were the inspiration for his ‘will to power theory’ Hmmm…)

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some great parent to child speeches. Ones where at the end you mentally give yourself a pat on your back and surprised by your own words of wisdom.

Then the blank stare and, “But I don’t want to (fill in blank)”

*Face Palm*

We as humans don’t listen well. Especially when we don’t want to hear it. If my five year old doesn’t want to hear about it, he won’t. He goes some place in his psyche and thinks about planes, cars and trains until Mom stops talking.

There is something reassuring about this state of battle of will pitted against will–God knows exactly what we are going through.

We are called to be children and co-heirs to the kingdom of God. To have child like innocence and docility to the Will of God. But sometimes, we can stretch this analogy.

Why do you think He explicitly says in Matthew 17:5, “This is MY SON with whom I am well pleased. LISTEN TO HIM.” Black and white. Short and to the point. There is little room for interpretation. Here it is little ones. I have just told you who He is and what you are to do.

Just as I tell my toddler to turn around, pick up his toys and apologize for hitting his brother in the face with a car. God is specific and explicit with His words. Yet, we don’t always listen to God. He could say this upside down, inside out, and in twenty different languages but if our hearts and ears are closed He will get the typical response. Blank Stare + confused look = “But, I don’t want to…”

His words repeat, “Listen to Him.”

We can run, plug our ears, ignore the knocking on our hearts but He still calls, “Listen to Him”.

We have to open our ears and heart to listen to Christ not just about Christ. Where can we do that? At Mass, in our homes, in our prayers and especially in Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church. We can say it, sing it, read it and pray it. Most importantly we have to receive it, take it in, and be changed by it!

Reflection: Do you really listen to Christ or about Him? Every week at Mass we hear the words of Christ in the Gospel. We hear about His ministry, His life, His teachings. Yet, do we really sit at the feet of Jesus? Can we place ourselves at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes? Can we picture ourselves as a part of the crowd at the Multiplication of loaves? Do Jesus’ words resonate with us or do we just let them slide in one ear and out the other until we stand up for the Creed?

Challenge: Pope Saint John XXIII constantly lamented his failures to stay focused during his meditation with the Rosary, at Mass and in class. But he never gave up. He was vigilant to recommit and start over. This week, pick a devotion (rosary, chaplet, litany or novena) or book of the Bible to pray with every night. Listen to the words and try to pray them with an attentive and fervent spirit. Get to know the Lord.