Godmother

I will be honest, sometimes, I feel like an awful Godmother. Even before my almost year-long hiatus from Church, I feel like I definitely don’t do enough as an active Godparent. What should I be doing? What am I missing? I think I was 18 or so when I was asked to be a Godmother to the newest addition to our family friend’s son. It was awesome. I was so honored because I’d always hoped that someone would ask me to play that role in a child’s life.

As time and life gets busier, kids get older, I find over time I do less to try to influence my Godchildren’s life in the way of prayer and believing in God.

This weekend, an opportunity presented itself for me take the twins (my sister’s middle two children, Mr. M & Lady M) to Mass with me. On the way to Church, I asked them what we should pray for. Lady M said, I want to pray for J (their older brother) and for him to be better from his surgery. I said, “Well his surgery is over and he’s all better, so we can pray to thank God for that.” She agreed. Then they began naming everyone in the family, which touched my heart. Mr. M even came up with this lovely intention, “For my friends who went to Mema’s house last night for a dinner snack.” When I asked who, he asked me who. So basically, we prayed for anyone who’s ever gone to Mema’s house for dinner or an after dinner snack. I thought it was a good compromise.

During Mass, the last time we went, they discovered my little Mary statue in my purse and they took turns holding her during Mass. After we named all of our intentions for Mass, Lady M asked, “Hauntie, do you still have that angel in yours purse?”

Then I tried to explain that Mary was a person like us, not an angel, and that angels are kind of like people but they have wings…to two 3 year old children.

Some of my favorite moments of the Mass were when:

-Mr. M reading his Cars 2 book in a loud whisper

-Lady M holding up the Mary statue as high as she could, and she stood in front of me while I was kneeling for the consecration and bowed her  head when I did. It was so sweet.

-The feeling I had as we left. I brought 2 of my Godchildren to Mass and I survived alone with 2 3 year olds at Church. It was great.

Hopefully a young woman with no rings on her left hand and 2 young children didn’t cause scandal of it’s own. (Which I highly doubt at such a loving, welcoming Church as this one! If you read this and are looking for a new Catholic Church on the Main Line in PA, check out St. Monica’s)

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Mustard (yuck!) Seeds

I do not like mustard. I never have and probably never will. But when the Gospel and homily today revolved mainly around the concept of a teeny, tiny, mustard seed, it was a different story. 

I have heard and read this passage so many times, but today, the words of the homily made it brand new to my ears, and my heart. 

To give you some context, here is the main verse that was discussed in the homily:

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. -Luke 17:5-6

What caught my ear today was Fr. Robert saying very simply that the size of our faith is not what matters, but the power of who our faith is in. So, whether I put faith the size of mustard seed or a mountain in God, God’s power is always the same power. (I can’t compare that to an object, because I won’t try to put human limits on God’s power)

How do we put that tiny or huge faith into action? Fr. Robert then summed up my current state in one line. When we have that inkling of faith, that tiny mustard seed’s worth, “we give God a signal…we invite him into our struggle”. He explained it could be as simple as lighting a candle in Church. We give our signal that we are ready to  let Him in and act in our lives. 

For me, it was starting a novena. A novena that when only half way through renewed by desire to go to Mass. When I arrived there today, the DRE was walking out from the ‘coffee and’ from the Mass before. She pulled me in for a hug and said how nice it was to see me. After I walked away from her, I felt loved, wanted, part of a whole. Just last Sunday, I was looking up Episcopal churches and considering coming to terms with not attending church anymore at all. Today, my Mother (Our Lady) brought me home. 

5 Thing String

On my old blog, I would occasionally take part in a blog community event called 7 Quick Take Fridays. You post 7 quick takes about your week. Today, I don’t have 7 things. I have a string of 5 things from the week. So here’s my “Friday 5 Thing String”

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Novena: My mom and her Cursillo groupies discovered this novena to Our Lady under the title: Undoer of Knots. They prayed if before and my mom mentioned they were doing it again and it was ending this week. I decided to check it out and I started it on Monday. Each day, the prayer begins with an Act of Contrition. Having not been to confession in months, it was so humbling to say these words and try to make them prayerful, not just reading off the page. Then you pray 3 decades of the Rosary, read the meditation, finish the rosary, and end with the closing prayer. This led me back to praying…

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the Rosary: I must be honest, I never prayed a daily rosary for a long period of time. I’ve always wanted to. I grew in my love of the Rosary when during my ‘Youth 2000’ days, I was asked to lead the Rosary during retreats. The first day, I prayed the rosary at my desk at work. I could not believe how good it felt to have the words fill my mind. The words of the…

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…Hail Mary. As I prayed the words, such peace and joy came over me. At my desk. At work. I knew it was from the Blessed Mother because those two things have not been common feelings that I get at my desk at work lately. It changed my day around. I prayed the next day at work also. Then I was out on Wednesday so I missed a day. I brought the prayers home with me last night so I could catch up on the missed day…

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Since I was praying the 4th day at home, I walked over to my slider door and grabbed the rosary beads that I left there (for good weather on Matt & Danielle’s wedding in May). As I prayed, I recalled the circumstances surrounding these specific rosary beads. Emily brought them back for me from her semester abroad. I recall how they summarized who I was. They are wooden (which always reminds of me of my connection/roots in Franciscan spirituality). They are from Lourdes (my favorite place, where my favorite saint saw Our Lady). They were blessed in Medjugorie (another awesome place that Our Lady has been appearing). There is a medal on it and on the front is Our Lady of Perpetual Help (patroness of Haiti) and on the back is a rose (my middle name) and in Italian the words for Pray for Me (I’m Italian). It was like in an instant, praying on this rosary reminded me who I was, who I am, who I am called to be…

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…called to be in my everyday life. Then I looked around me, saying the words I know so well, praying in my home. A few years ago, I told a very good friend that I needed to get out of my house and on retreat, so I drove to NJ to have a silent retreat alone. He asked, “Why did you have to go all the way to NJ to hear God speak to you?” I couldn’t answer then. Even though I knew in my heart why. I wasn’t ready to admit that there were places that I didn’t want God to see (as if that’s even possible). Now that feeling is gone. I have experienced that God will not ever leave me. I can and will allow Him into every part of my life. It’s the only way He can heal all of the places that are  broken.

People: All of this is happening in my life during this novena and I’m not even done with it yet! Check it out!!!

 

 

The Homily Finally Got Me!

A few weeks ago, I posted about how uncomfortable I felt going to Church with my parents and my neice and nephew. This led me to believe I would feel the same way going to Mass before a friend’s party. Sitting with a group of women at Mass when I am “not feeling it” and feeling more like I want to run out wasn’t really my idea of a good time.

Interestingly enough, I got there before them and sat off to the side, so I was alone for Mass. The homily was going in a different direction than I was interested in and I almost tuned out. Then the priest started talking about the difference between being a “good person” and living out our Catholic faith by attending Mass, participating in the sacramental union with Christ in the Eucharist. He got me. I realized that when I wasn’t living out my life the way I had when I was fully participating in the Church, I wasn’t much of a good person. I mean, sure I was still nice, hardworking, and many other good things. But at my core, I was slowly slipping into becomnig a self absorbed nightmare.

The good thing was that I never stopped talking to God and I knew no matter how nightmare-ish things got, Jesus had still died for me. His love would never fail me.

I didn’t get to Mass this weekend,  but I find myself having a desire to go to confession and Mass again, which had been missing. I am spending less time alone, had a house full of people on Sunday, and just find myself in a place where I want to be part of community again. It feels good to share my life and feel. It’s what I was longing for when I first posted in this blog.

What really got me this week too was listening to Turn Around (live version) by Matt Maher. In the end, he speaks to the audience quite emphatically, and says, “In the story about the prodigal son, he got as far as the property line before his father saw him and his father ran out to meet him. He didn’t run to his father, he didn’t have to. His father ran to him…you don’t have to run to God, He’s already run to you”. How beautiful. I never focused on that part of the story. But it is true, He chases us, pursues us, seeks us who are lost. Amen.