Friday, March 27, 2015

7 quick takes, the Lenten foible edition

I don't know about anyone else, but hasn't this been the Lentiest Lent ever? I am ever so glad to nearing the end. Yes, there is the big stuff, but it's the little stuff that threatens the sanity.

Station of the Cross, when we get to --

"I searched for comforters, but I found none."

here is where my mind goes.

2. Our exchange student made himself some hot dogs:

3. Two kids had this happen at the same time

4. I had a new dryer installed and nobody could be happier than I am about not having to be a laundromat dweller anymore. But the vent keeps coming loose and so I have this metal tape I have to put on, resulting in something like

5. Slightly stressing out over different things one day, decided to go to bed after dinner and watch Rainman on my Kindle. Forgot it was Stations night at church. Ate these while watching movie.

Not good for Lent or diet, or the fact that they were meant for Easter baskets. I did only eat a few handfuls, and only the pinks and purples. That's Lenten, right?

6.  Maybe it was that prayer I prayed, you know the one. Goes something like, "I
am willing to suffer for this and that prayer intention, for the good of my soul and others..."

Perhaps that was a mistake.

7. When this movie begins echoing my life---

--makes about as much sense as the real version.

See you on the other side, God willing!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

De Sales strikes again!

Happy St. Joseph's Day! I especially think of my friend Joyce today, and her special love and devotion to Glorious St. Joseph.

I want to share with you another bit of Roses Among Thorns

This is from the Chapter called, Saint Peter in Chains.

Do we love our sweet Savior? Oh, he knows full well that if we do not love him, we at least desire to love him. Now, if we love him, let us feed his sheep and his lambs, for that is the mark of faithful love. With what shall we feed these dear little sheep? With love itself, for they either do not love at all, or they live upon love. Between love and death there is no middle. We must die or love, for he who loves not, as St. John says, remains in death.
Or Lord said to St. Peter, "When you were young, you fastened your own belt and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will fasten your belt for you to carry you where you do not wish to go"(cf. John 21:18). Young apprentices in the love of God fasten their own belts. They take up the mortifications that seem good to them; they choose their penances and make up their own minds about God's will. But the old masters of the craft allow themselves to be bound by others and submit to the yoke imposed upon them, and travel down paths upon which they do not wish to travel. In spite of the resistance of their inclinations, they voluntarily allow themselves to be governed against their will and say that they would rather obey than make an offering, and this is how they glorify God, by crucifying not only their flesh, but also their spirit.

All I can say is. wow. With typical clarity and yet profundity, St. Francis de Sales strikes again. 

For me, this has been a very Lenten Lent. God knows how hard it is for me to put aside my own plans and preferences, so He has arranged that I am  mostly doing things that I am called upon to do, with a little of what I wanted to do for Lent and a small bit of  just what I want to do period, thrown in. I have also been dealing with some aches and pains, illness, emotional ups and downs and just a whole bunch of challenges from within and without. But this passage encourages me in that typically Saleseian way. 

His loudest message, to me, is always, not to fret about the limitations of my life or my humanity, but to graciously accept everything and also offer everything. Though I am worlds away from the "old masters" referred to above, I take heart that the small ways I am able to serve God through my daily life's path of running about doing small services, are taken into account.   

Lastly, friends, know that I am praying for you and offering my small struggles. Please pray for me also, especially my family and friends who are going through trials galore.

I am still being blessed with moments of joy this Lent, despite everything else! Not doing super great with some of my self imposed disciplines, but trying to hold that all loosely and let God lead.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pardon Your Heart

I wanted to do a 7 Quick Takes on Friday, but the snowstorm on Thursday pushed all my errands to Friday, plus there is a nasty cold going around my house of which I was one of the lucky recipients. I am still coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose. And my voice has dropped an octave. I made it through work this weekend, but missed mass, Today I am trying to do some chores but also get some rest, which is admittedly not very realistic. But blogging is at least a sitting down thing, so. All that as a preface, here are some things I wanted to share.

This lovely passage from Roses Among Thorns, which I will type out, to avoid that weird box that comes with pasting text.

  Be patient with all, but especially with yourself. Do not trouble yourself about your imperfections. Always have the courage to pick yourself back up and begin again every day, for there is no better path to success in the spiritual life than always to begin again and ever to think that you have done enough.

Pardon Your Heart

We must always desire to carry out our spiritual exercises well and with precision, both prayer and the exercise of the virtues, and we must never be troubled, anxious, or surprised if we fail to do so. Our desires depend upon our fidelity, which should always be total and yet should grow from day to day; our failures are caused by our infirmity, which we will never be able to leave behind during this mortal life. When we have committed some fault, we should immediately examine our heart and ask ourselves whether we retain a lively and thorough resolution to serve God.
One hopes for a heart that would rather suffer a thousand deaths than fail to keep this resolution. We reprove our heart, "Why, then, are you hesitating now? Why are you so cowardly?" And we make our excuse,:"I was taken by surprise, and I hardly know how it happened, but now I am again thinking of my resolution." The heart must be pardoned. It is not through infidelity that it failed, but through infirmity. It must be corrected gently and calmly, that it not be brought to anger or further trouble. We should say to it, "My heart, my friend, in the name of God, be courageous. Let us walk together, taking care as we go, lifting ourselves up to our help, to our God." And, we must be charitable toward our soul, not taking it to task severely, provided we see that it is not offending purposefully. Do you not see that in treating it this way, we practice a holy humility?

It really strikes me how many times he unapologetically uses absolutes and commands; always, never, must, should. We in this present day are taught to avoid speech like that, yet if you read it and glean the message, it is anything but offensive, just clear and forthright. Yet, the message is one of having patience, compassion, and clearly seeing oneself. Which is as De Sales says at the end, the very definition of humility. Seeing ourselves as we really are.

My Lent has been full of such messages, and I do take them to heart as being straight from God. Not only as a way of dealing with myself, but also with others. The tender conversation between the person and his heart is so gentle but spot on in its message. "Okay, that thing happened, (maybe AGAIN). Let's go forward and offer it to God, asking for the grace to remember next time before we do that." Or something.  If you have kids, what a good message about correcting with patience and without rancor. That correlation of God as Father and we as parents can also be applied to our souls/hearts. 

For those of us enjoying our first tastes of Spring, hurray! Right?