Friday, February 22, 2008

I feel the Earth Move Under My feet

I was so looking forward to the eclipse of the moon the other night. My husband and I took Cabo, our dog out for our usual evening walk only to find a cloudy overcast sky. We walked our usual moderate pace. Despite the cloud cover the evening was bright ,still and peacful. The cold air was dry and invigorating. We moved as if a treadmill was underfoot, but it was only our good hearty earth.

We sat out on the deck at around 8:30 and snuggled under down throws. Cabo is a husky and was oblivious to the cold.

The clouds moved quickly like the curtain in a theatre and revealed the spectacular astronomical show. Minute by minute the moonshadow of orange encompassed the bright full moon. At the height , the sky became alight with the beautiful stars whose light is ordinarily dimmed by the moon. We saw saturn.

As we lay we found ourselves grounded with peace and gratitude for our awsome world,
I had an apple.
He ate popcorn.
Cabo had both.
Do you suppose that's how Eden was before the bad apple?

For All Of Creation, God is good!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Addition and Subtraction

Every year at Lent, I have struggled with what to give up. One year it was music, but that was kind of hard as I was living with other people who constantly had radios going and cds. One year, it was caffeine. I lasted six days with a headache I wouldn't want anyone to go through.

Every year growing up, we discussed what we would give up. And even non-Catholics would ask, "so what are you giving up for lent this year?" And I guess that if anyone had a certain holier than though air about not having to give things up, I would console myself that I was on the path to heaven because I knew about sacrifice. I didn't expect this year to be any different.

This past Ash Wednesday, I arranged for an extra hour off at my lunch and went to mass to get my ashes.

Our priest, Father Bob, is a great and sometimes funny homilist. In his homily, he talked of lent as a time of either addition or subtraction. Wait, was that addition I heard as well as subtraction? It was. He described that for some lent was a time for giving things up. But for others, it was a time of adding something to their lives to bring them closer to God. In all my 28 years of being alive and Catholic, I'd never heard of this. He also urged us not to try to do too much or we would fail. This, he said, after all was only going to be six weeks.

So, I opted to add the rosary daily. Specifically the sorrowful mysteries. And the reason for that goes back a few years. Five years ago, shortly after my wedding, the US invaded Iraq. It was Lent. We all remember hearing about the army convoy that was ambushed and we looked on in horror as the American POWs included a woman named Shoshana Johnson. I heard her giving her name over the radio to the Iraqis and my heart seized in fear for her. I heard a voice say, get your rosary and pray, the sorrowful mysteries. I didn't question, I just did. And did every day until I heard of her release when Marines liberated her and her comrades.

Months passed and then I saw an interview on television with the POWs. In the interview, Shana Johnson talked about how when her mother was alerted to her capture she told reporters, "I hope she had her rosary with her." Shana didn't have her rosary. But back in NC, I had mine. And I honestly believe that helped her in some way gain her freedom and face very little mistreatment at the hands of the Iraqis.

So this Lent, for all those around the world who are suffering in some way, I offer up my rosary that their suffering might be lessened. And that by this addition in my life, more than just my life will be enriched.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

He's my Brother

Who's your hero?

Mine, for the most part are like the stars- too numerous to count.
Of late, I have to say, it's my "baby brother", Jim.

Through hard work in his career Jim has provided his wife, Eileen, and their four children with a comfortable home and lifestyle. Recently, the fruits of his labor have provided critical healthcare for his 12 year old son, Andy. In November 2007, Andy was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Andy is receiving his treatment from an institution that is roughly two and a half hours away from his home. His regimen has required travel and intermittent stays nearer to the treatment facility. Jim for the most part has stayed at home maintaining his work commitments and helping grandparents with the other three children. His wife mostly stays with Andy. In the middle of each weekly stay, Jim would leave work at the end of the day and head to Andy and Eileen, spend the night, and travel back home late the next evening. I was visiting on one such evening while Jim was preparing to depart for home at 9pm. He mentioned that he was going to do some final preparations for a presentation for work in the morning. It was cold, dark, and late, and I wanted to cry for him. But he wasn't complaining at all, in fact he seemed happy. He was full of gratitude for for the enjoyable time he had at Red Lobster with his wife and son. That special time made all of his sufferings worth it. As he embraced Andy he gently lifted him saying "I love you Andy, you're the best!" And off he went into the hostile night. But something in his mood and spirit was almost reminiscent of the joy of Singin' in the Rain

A seriously ill child is difficult for any parent. You want never to leave their side and it's painful when you must be apart. Jim says over and over that Andy is his hero.

Of course Eileen, Andy's mother is wonderful too. She holds a special place of nurture in my heart. She is very special to a lot of people. I think that we naturally run to the side of the mother in times such as these and the father maintains a quieter, behind the scenes role of strength, comfort, providence and assurance. St. Joseph modeled this role for us as parent and provider for Jesus. Hence he is the patron saint of fathers and workers.

Over the last three months my baby brother has journeyed through terror, tears, searches for treatment, anguish and more prayer. He has lifted himself to the heights of hope. Through his love for his family he lives in the moment with joy.
I fix my eyes upon him and I see
a hero.

May your love grace your moments as well.
Peace and All Good!

The Litany of St. Joseph

The Litany of Saint Joseph is a traditional, indulgenced prayer, often recited in public with one person introducing each invocation, and everyone responding with the conclusion ("have mercy on us," "pray for us"). For a wallet-sized copy of the litany, click here, print, clip, and fold.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.

Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.

Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of artisans, pray for us.
Glory of home life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. He made him the lord of his household.
R. And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray.
O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.
R. Amen

Singn' in the Rain: