Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday & Judas & Forgiveness

The tragedy of Judas is that he despaired of the forgiveness that Christ had promised he had come into this world to give. Bereft of faith in this promise, he remained lost. What "saved" the other apostles from this fate was that they believed that if the Lord truly passed from death to life as he promised he would, he would also be true to his promise regarding the reason he had come: "For the Son of Man did not come into this world to condemn the world, but to save it and to offer his life as a ransom for the many."
This quote is from the Word on Fire Blog.

Today is Holy Thursday.  This is a very important Holy Day in many Christian faiths, and especially in the Catholic faith.

I attended the Holy Thursday Mass tonight at my Church, and I had my feet washed by our parish pastor.  Why do holy priests stoop to wash feet?

Here is an image of the future Pope Francis washing the feet on an unidentified woman in a maternity hospital in 2005.

Forgiveness is not something that any of us should ever presume.  No one is obligated to forgive.  It remains a gift of undeserved compassion.  The startling surprise in Christ's revelation that he is willing to forgive us even when, as the circumstances of his death clearly demonstrate, he doesn't have to and in fact shouldn't.  He does forgive us, and if we are not surprised by this, we really aren't paying attention to what it meant to die as he did.  The problem for Judas, it seems to me, is that he despaired of this possibility of forgiveness for himself.  It is this despair that makes the outcome of his decision not just sad, but tragic.

Honesty demands that we admit that our own betrayals of Christ place us in the same spiritual space that Judas inhabited.  We may not be, as Judas was, thieves and liars, but we all have had the occasion to say "no" to Christ, and most of us if pressed would have to admit that we did precisely that- and more than once.  We have all in the course of our lives had the opportunity to stand up and be counted as Christ's followers and then slinked away, preferring as Judas did, the cover of night to the Light of the World.  How many of us have, through the free assent of our own will, delivered our faith in Christ into the hands of his enemies, allowing those enemies to use us against him, and letting them, through us, kill Christ's life in this world?

There is much in us that is like Judas.  What can only differentiate us from Judas is our willingness to accept what he could not- that Christ knows us from the inside, understands our predicament and is willing to set right what we have made wrong.  Christ is willing to not only call us out of darkness into light, but go into that darkness to find us.  That is, after all, what he did in his cross.  He went into the dark to find us and to forgive us.

We must believe that Christ is willing to forgive and this must be our act of faith, or the tragedy of Judas can be our own.
Father Steve Grunow is the CEO of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Above is a continuation of the first quote from the blog.  To read the whole entry please click on the link above titled "Word on Fire Blog."

My pastor's homily tonight was about forgiveness- about forgiving others- washing their feet- as Christ washed the feet of the broken in the Gospels.

I truly believe the first step in forgiving others is being able to forgive our own failings, to truly understand:
The startling surprise in Christ's revelation that he is willing to forgive us even when, as the circumstances of his death clearly demonstrate, he doesn't have to and in fact shouldn't.
God is bigger than we can imagine.  Christ is bigger than we can imagine.  The Holy Spirit is bigger than we can imagine.  And together, in the Holy Trinity, and in the sacraments, that is where peace can be found.

Jennie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Appearances are not the end or St. Francis of Assisi

And this is why Francis loved the poor so much. It was in embracing the poor that he embraced Jesus. It was in serving the poor that he served Jesus. It was in loving the poor that he loved Jesus. All because Jesus first embraced, served and loved him. 

At the heart of Francis is the heart of Jesus. There’s nothing cute about that. 
This is a quote directly from a very insightful blog entry by Father Damian J. Ference.

The blog starts out talking about how everyone knows St. Francis- he is recognizable, he is a "comfortable" saint.  He loved animals.  This is true.

However, it is just one dimension of St. Francis.  I have read several biographies of this great Saint of our Church.

If you would like to know more about St. Francis in particular send me a message and I can recommend a book or check out the blog entry above, it is wonderful!

I wanted to reflect today on outward appearances- they can be deceiving.

Statues of St. Francis show him in general, holding a bird in his hand, sometimes with a bird feeder on his head.  As you can see from the photo above I own a statue of St. Francis- it belonged to my grandmother, who had a great devotion to St. Francis and knew his story.  That statue is a cement garden statute but has never been kept in the garden.

Our respect for St. Francis is too great. He is holy.  He is a Saint.  He is not in the statue, no.  But, he is somewhere better- he is in heaven! With God! And, because he is a great Saint those of us here on earth can pray for his intercession (we can ask for him to pray for us) as we would with a friend here on earth.

And because St. Francis is a great Saint, we hope that he is close to God in heaven, we hope that he hears our requests for intercession.  We hope that as we pray to God ourselves, and light candles, and say the rosary, St. Francis will also pray for us.

But, St. Francis is a Saint- he is in heaven, with God.  So he can more easily speak to God, because of his physical location.  It is always better to have more prayers in my opinion.  Prayers are so powerful.

In the end, what do we have?  Prayer, friends, God and family.

Also, I would like to say this- because I forget all the time 1. Love God  2. Love yourself  3. Love your neighbor as yourself

It is a very simple formula but actually very difficult to accomplish.  So I pray.  And I ask Saints to pray for me.  And I find Saints all the time that I personally admire and I ask them to pray also.

So if there is something about St. Francis that you like- the birds- the animals- whatever :)

Ask him to pray for you- he is a Saint.

For me this is the St. Francis I know- here he is, but there is no statue of this St. Francis only paintings.  This  St. Francis is embracing Jesus, loving our crucified Savior.   That is why I love and ask St. Francis to pray for me- because I would also like to embrace the crucified One.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Making mistakes... and being a good parent along the way :)

Another way to say the quote above is, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.  Ha, ha.

My last post didn't have much about chickens- so I thought I would write another one on this beautiful spring day.

My son, DV, came home from school yesterday with a note from his teacher stating that he was unprepared for class.  It was pretty serious to him- you know, one of those papers that they used to call carbon paper with triplicate copies :)  And, he's in 3rd grade- this was his first one EVER.

He forgot to bring his binder to school! He left it sitting in the living room.  On a recliner.  I told him twice to check his backpack.  He is 8 going on 9..... time to break a few eggs to make an omelet (or a responsible teen/adult.)

Someday, children have to accept responsibility for their own actions.  And I do believe that my job as a mother, although it can be unpleasant is to give him just enough rope to "swing for a while but not hang."  Ha, ha I think I made that one up.

I love my son, unconditionally.  And, sometimes in loving someone we have to let them make their own mistakes so that he/she can learn from their mistakes.  Without ever making a mistake (which I admit would be more pleasant) I think I would be pretty stupid.

Uh, oh.  I meant this post to be about chickens! And, it was about DV and raising kids.... guess I am in a deep thinking mood today.  I am going to call one of my girlfriends and see if she'd like to paint nails or something on this lovely day.

If you want to read about chickens check out this Freedom to Fail in a nice blog which actually IS about chickens!

Jennie

Spring vegetables the easy way.... from your local CSA!!!!

I found this great photo today in my facebook feed- you just have to LOVE facebook! My husband swears if you look long enough you can find anything on there.  

It comes from this GREAT CSA located here where I live in Southwest Alabama, Seasons In The Sun.  Actually, I haven't had the pleasure of visiting their farm yet- but I hope to do so soon.  They have a really nice facebook page and are very friendly on the phone.  They also have classes for children (which I like since I have DV) and all levels of adults.

I hope to get out there and visit them soon- they have a working farm with livestock and organically grown vegetables and flowers.  They also deliver CSA baskets to our area- so if you are local check out this website: http://www.seasonsinthesun.biz/.

Anyone interested in sustainable agriculture on a small or larger scale might like their facebook page which is linked above- and they run contests periodically (which I enter faithfully!)

Enjoy the spring weather friends! And, if you are local and like me avoid the yellow pollen or take an allergy pill- it is THAT time of year :)

Jennie

Friday, March 21, 2014

Plans and dreams (of chickens?)

Hello friends,

I will start with this- it is the 3rd Friday during Lent and I attended Mass at our local Catholic Church- and was really, really touched.  My heart was healed today by the readings, the homily, the hymns, and the people.  It's so nice to be able to go to Church and have what you need given to you freely.  I LOVE our community.

But, that is not really what I wanted to share today.  I am planning to start a new hobby.  Or, I am hoping to anyway.  Around here, in southwest Alabama, backyard chickens have become very popular.  I have heard this is true in many parts of the country- and we have a nice large, fenced yard.

I am looking into getting a chicken coop, and run.  We have a medium size dog who mostly lives in the house but also runs in the yard- and does love to chase birds. :)

I have been reading books and joining groups and surfing the internet, in general researching.  Plus, I love birds of all types. And, I did raise chicks ONCE as a child in science class.

So... I checked out a book on gardening and chickens from the library:
And, I have two more coming today from Amazon.  Maybe I'll have some chicks for Easter!!!

Jennie

PS- If you like chickens, and are interested here is a cool link to a recipe for homemade chicken feed, organic and soy-free.

Homemade Chicken Feed. Organic and soy-free!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Return to Me.....

This quote is from Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry-
Return to Me with Your Whole Heart
From the first day of Lent, the Ash Wednesday readings make God's call to us clear: "Return to me with your whole heart" (Joel 2:12 NAB). It is an extraordinary invitation from God to each one of us - to me in a personal, individual way. God invites me to drop the defenses that I hold up between myself and God.
God wants us to realize that our standards, our ways of judging and loving, are very different from God's way, and so much smaller. God loves each one of us. For an entire Lenten season, for an entire lifetime, God loves each one of us.
"A clean heart create for me, God," Psalm 51:12 NAB offers. "Give me back the joy of your salvation." That is exactly what our loving God wants to give us, the joy of salvation.
This is the invitation of each day of Lent. Today is the day to accept it.
For me, personally, it has always been difficult to accept that God truly loves ME.  I think as I have gotten older, and I hope wiser, certainly more mature (read more wrinkles) that I have learned I am a perfectionist.  I don't like this about myself.

I don't think perfectionism is an admirable quality in myself.  It helps me to be successful- sometimes- but it also hurts me.  It doesn't let me see what I do well, it doesn't let me enjoy the moment now, I spend to much time hoping to be "the perfect Jennie."

I truly believe God wants us to strive to be as perfect as we can- but he does not EXPECT us to reach that goal.  Here is another quote that helps me- and this is my favorite:

For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.k
It can be found here if you are looking for a Catholic Bible.

Of course, this quote is also found in Protestant Bibles :). 

I wasn't always Catholic- I was BLESSED to find my home in the Roman Catholic Church- and it was the crucifix that called to me, and that symbol, which is sometimes misunderstood, comforts me still when times are hard.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lovely Christmas!


What a lovely Christmas we had! My parents-in-law and brother-in-law were here from Dec. 23 until this morning. We had a wonderful time with them!

I must talk about my stocking swap! Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman hosted this really fun swap where you prepare a stocking for a person only known online and another different person prepares one for you.

Unknown to me Becky at Scripture Mom was my secret Santa. She sent me such wonderful gifts! Which my husband kindly loaded in my stocking.... My two favorites are the butterfly bookplates and the magnetic measuring spoons- although I ate that whole Toblerone bar on Christmas day. The gifts also included an Eiffel tower key chain, spatula, lovely soap, candy cane, and bath beads!!! What fun! Thank you SO much Becky!

Soon I will post again with more Christmas details!