Thursday, August 20, 2015

Where would you go??

Wow! Every once in awhile, all the readings line up perfectly...and hit us right between the eyes don't they? I know there's a theme each week, in the Church's infinite wisdom, but some weeks it is so obvious even I can see it!!

So, when Joshua proclaims in the first reading: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
and Peter cries out in the Gospel: "Lord, to whom would we go?" (Is it just me, or do you hear him in a whiney voice?) I get it! I really do!

I have been fortunate to work in church ministry for my whole life...really, I probably started when I was 12 or 14 in my home parish of  St Frances de Chantal in Wantagh. I loved being a part of the youth group, the folk group, the plays we put on, working as sacristan, serving as lector and Eucharistic minister and it was no surprise to anyone when I chose church work for my career. I have worked in a girls Catholic HS, then in 6 parishes, including where I am now. For the most part, I have loved every minute, and so many of the people I have met. I truly am blessed.

Still, every now and again, in a difficult moment...something makes me wonder if it wouldn't be easier to do something else, be something else, believe in a different way...cause we Catholics certainly have a lot of rules and regulations to live by. But my mind and heart really can't even begin to conceive of being anything other than the person I am in the faith I was raised in. Sure I wish things would change more quickly...Lord knows, and my family does too, I was not gifted with the virtue of patience. And so, like St Thomas More, I think, said..."Here I stand, I can do no other."

For better or worse, I am Catholic through and through. Proud of my faith, proud of my church, (especially with the leadership of Pope Francis) and even though sometimes it seems very hard to follow the words and will of Jesus in scripture...I find myself like Peter crying out: "where would I go?" I choose You, Lord. I put my life in your hands.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mary understands

It's been a strange, long week. Really, it has been. And I'm looking forward to some time to just step apart and breathe a little bit.
As I paused to think before I started writing, I noticed that this Saturday we will celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. And my eyes fell upon the beautiful prayer, the Magnificat. And all of a sudden, I could breathe again. The knot in my stomach dissolved. I found peace for the first time all week in my mother's prayer:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
my spirit rejoices in God my savior
for his has looked with favor upon his lowly servant...
From this day all generations will call me blessed
The Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name...

Why don't I pray this more often?
Why don't I turn to Mary in my distress and confide my worries in her?
Why do I think I have to handle it all on my own?

It was so many years ago now, that I met Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe when I was fortunate to work at that church on 14th st in NYC. It was through the humble faith of those strong immigrant men and women that I came to know Mary as a mother again...Having grown up in a world fighting for equal rights for women, I had neglected what was there all along-the image of Mary as a strong, loving, faith filled woman.

Most days I think I have to handle it all on my own. And that makes me tired and sometimes cranky.
Today, when I remembered Mary, all of a sudden, the burden was lighter. That's kind of amazing to me. So I invite you to do the same. Feeling stressed? Feeling beaten down?
Stop a minute and slowly pray the words of the Magnificat...and feel your heart open again. Just relax and breathe.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Be Compassionate

St Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians today: "Be kind to one another, compassionate, ...."
I find the word 'compassionate' resonating with me today as I anticipate Sunday.

We have received a surprising amount of phone calls this week that began with the words: "I used to be a member of St X church...but they closed last week and I'm looking for a place to...worship, come to Mass, baptize my child, find a 'faith home'..." We knew we might get some phone calls, some folks at Mass...but there have been more than I would have imagined.

I feel deeply for these parishioners with no parish, who find themselves searching for a new place to be nurtured and fed. And I'm so glad they've found St Francis de Sales on 96th St...because this place is so ready and willing to welcome new comers! I love watching folks greet each other when they come into church, it's like everyone is a new really is just beautiful to watch and I'm so glad to be a small part of it all.

So, as we move through these lazy days of August, I pray for all our brothers and sisters in the city who are searching for a new parish home. I hope that if they wander by our doors, they come in and receive a warm, caring welcome. I'll be waiting at the doorway to say hello to you. Together, let us follow Jesus where he leads us in our daily lives. What an adventure it promises to be!