Friday, October 28, 2005

Granny's Cheese Biscuits

My mom's friend invited us to a Day of the Dead party tomorrow. We are supposed to bring a photo of a loved one, and some of their favorite food. Nguyen is bringing a picture of his mom and some of her famous spring rolls. I am bringing a picture of my grandmother. I had a hard time thinking of her favorite food. Truth be told, it would be the pope's nose (the tail) from a roasted chicken. But by golly, that is a tough thing to bring for a potluck. (Same with lamb shanks!) My grandmother had very funny taste in food. She was Canadian, and of Scottish decent, so there was a lot of meat at the table. But she also was a housewife in the 50's and had a certain appreciation for the foods of that era. (Toad in the hole, for example, which was basically hot dogs in a dough wrapper.)

She cooked a few things consistently well. Short bread cookies, rhubarb pie, and cheese biscuits. I have decided to bring the cheese biscuits. They are easy and delicious, especially when served with a stiff cocktail, which is how Granny enjoyed them.

Granny's biscuits:

1 cup flour
1 stick butter (slightly softened)
1 tub sharp chedder cheese spread. (She used Old English... I am guessing a 5 or 8 oz tub.)

I mixed these in a cuisinart and it took about 3 seconds. You could do it by hand though. Her recipe says to start with a whisk and then graduate to your bare hands.

Roll the dough into a snake and chill till stiff. Then cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, dust with cayenne pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden.

I'll be tilting a glass of wine with these tomorrow, Gran. I know they will bring back all kinds of memories of parties long past. I sure do miss you sometimes.


PS: isn't this photo amazing? My aunt Betsy took it a couple years after Grandpa died. I think it shows just how complex my grandmother was. The first time I saw this photo was at Granny's memorial party. I was in her bedroom with Betsy and she showed it to me. I took one look at it and burst into tears.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Sad Goodbye

The last time I saw Alex was in the spring, at the little show my son's preschool puts on each year. He was the younger brother of one of Emmett's friends. Alex was wheelchair bound, and couldn't speak, but I remember smiling to myself watching him watch the show. He had a HUGE grin on his face and kind of sang along with all the songs, gesticulating madly with the music. After the concert, his brother Kevin, ran over to him. They clearly adored each other.

It was a large wake on Monday. There was a line snaking out the door of the funeral home... we stood in the rain for at least 45 minutes, waiting to hug Alex's parents. We didn't really know them. I think that day last spring was the first time I had actually met them because Kevin was usually dropped off by his caregiver, Adriana. But Nguyen and I wanted to pay our respects and say goodbye to that sweet, sunny little boy. He looked so serious in the coffin... not at all like the charming 4 year old we knew.

I just kept thinking about his older brother Kevin. And his parents. And Adriana.

It made me want to go home and hug my boys.

The Obit

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A stranger amoung friends

Another church today. This one is promising.

First, I should say that I conciously tried to change my heart with regard to this process. My mother gave me an excellent suggestion that I should enter these churches, not with the intention of discerning whether they are the 'right' church, but with the intention to worship. So, I felt much less judging and much more open to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Church of the Epiphany, in Providence, is only a few blocks from my house, but in many ways, it felt worlds away. It is in an economically depressed part of the city that is, not coincidentally, one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, with immigrants from all over the world living in close community. The church itself has clearly fallen on hard times. The buildings are in disrepair. The main church building is, from the outside, a falling down, vinyl clad orphan in the midst of urban blight. There is a little paper sign on one door announcing the mass schedule, but other than that, no signage that I could see.

Once inside, though, I realized immediately that I was in a consecrated and holy space. It had an almost monastic quality to it... dark, but light, empty, but full of life and spirit. The pews had been rearranged from their former positions into a kind of round, with a lecturn in the midst of them. A couple of chairs sat at one end and the alter at the other. The former Sanctuary at the East end of the church was in darkness. I was initially confused about where to sit (As the choir pews were still in the chancel) but the priest came up to me immediately and welcomed me and indicated where I could sit.

Like the St. Francis mass at St. Teresa's, this felt very warm and informal, yet very reverent. There were probably only 10 or 12 people in the congregation today, most of whom seemed to be African or perhaps Carribean. (I recognized one name as being Nigerian...) The priest was a beautiful, soulful woman in her mid or late 50's, I'd guess. I felt a complete sense of calm in her presence. It was remarkable, really.

The entire service, save for the readings and the homily, were sung or chanted. There were several influences, from plainsong psalmody to Zimbabean allelujiahs. The opening music was a sweet tune played by a lovely young woman on an alto recorder. That was, other than a drum, the only instrument at the service.

Throughout the service, I felt more and more at home. I joined in, missing notes and singing off key at some points, but feeling unembarrassed, as I was singing to my Beloved, and never lost sight of that.

During the Eucharist, the cup and bread (and it was real bread) were passed, person to person, each in turn calling the next by name. It was very powerful. Finally, in the end, a parting song and then, from the kitchen, snacks and drinks appeared and joined the consecrated bread on the alter.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. More than anything, the experience felt like I imagine a house church would be like. I was in God's house, today. And I felt right at home.

Thank you, Beloved, for bringing me to this peace-filled, joyful place today.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lunch with Fr. P.

Once a month or so, I meet with my spiritual director for lunch. Early on in the relationship, we determined that a homemade lunch in exchange for spiritual direction felt like a fair deal for both of us.

I love our lunches. I usually plan what I am going to make a couple of days ahead. It always involves a big salad, as he loves them. And then, the main course can be as fancy as left-over paella with artichoke hearts and linguica (today's menu) or as plain as a tuna salad sandwich. I know that it is part of his spiritual practice to eat whatever is placed before him, so I really don't know if he has dietary restrictions or preferences, except that he has admitted that he doesn't eat meat on Fridays. Since we usually meet on Tuesdays or Thursdays, this is rarely an issue.

In the morning before he comes, I clean the house up a little. Not for him, mind you, because I am pretty sure that he wouldn't care if my house was a wreck, but because I have come to feel that our time is sacred, and want to spend it in a place that feels, well, loved. So the vaccuum comes out and I brush most of the crumbs off the counters. Do the dishes. Wipe the table.

We have been meeting this way for 2 years now. Once a month, a standing date to sit and talk about life and religion and church and mostly about God and Jesus.

Over the last couple of years, I have started to recognize that God is at work in this relationship. So many times we come together and talk about stuff that has gone on in our lives, only to discover that shifts have been happening for both of us... in a kind of parallel experience. In talking about our struggles, joys, fears, we start to see patterns. It is true that we are mostly talking about my stuff. That is the unspoken understanding of the relationship, at least at our lunches... but often Fr. P notices that he has experienced something relevant to my situation and is willing to share it with me.

And so often, I mull over our conversations for days or weeks, mining new insights as I meditate on what we discussed.

Or didn't. Some of the most poignant times are when we fall silent and just sit in the knowledge that God came to earth, took on human form, died and was resurrected... for us. For the world. It is enough to bring us to tears.

This last 6 weeks have been so wrenching in some ways... since I left my church and am a perpetual stranger on Sunday mornings. It reminds me that Jesus, too, said " the son of man has no place to lay his head."

But today, I didn't feel like a stranger. Today I felt peaceful and loved and calm in the presence of God. My Beloved. My Savior.

Thanks, God, for bringing Fr. P into my life.

Monday, October 17, 2005

So what's with the Tarot stuff?


I know. How can you be a Born-again Jesus Freak AND a tarot junkie??! I ask myself the same question all the time.

Tarot came first, of course. I started reading when I was about 12. I had a cheesy 1970-ish Rider Waite knock-off and a book by Eden Gray.

Later, I got more serious, buying a reproduction of a 15th century Italian deck and some scholarly tarot books.

And then, I had this completely Holy Spirit experience that turned my life around, but since I wasn't a Christian, I started to explore the tarot on a much deeper level. I discovered, really, that tarot and astrology and kabbalah and all those other occult "sciences" were really just ways for people to try and understand the great creation of God. They were all ways of putting a system onto the chaos that is the universe. Once I realized that, I started getting interested in the source, rather than trying to organize the creation. That is when I began to take a deeper interest in God. Tarot got me interested in kabbalah, which got me interested in the Hebrew alefbet, which got me interested in psalm 119, which brought me to the Torah... which ultimately drew me straight to that crazy Nazorean. See how this works?

And here's another thing: The tarot, having been invented in the 15th century in Italy was almost certainly invented by Catholics. It started as a parlor game for the bored rich ladies in the Visconti-Sforza court. It makes sense, then, that the imagery on the cards is taken from Christian and Catholic symbolism. The trumps, especially, represent the death/rebirth salvation cycle. I honestly feel that 15 years of working with these images finally started to sink in. In large part, I have the tarot to thank for my conversion.

I suppose, ultimately, everything would have brought me back to God. But for me, it was the tarot.

Yes, Virginia, a born-again Jesus freak CAN be a tarot junkie.

So, the card for the day is: The House of God (aka The Tower)

Ha. Funny one, God! Like I didn't already know that you are in complete control!

PS: The gorgeous card image is from a reproduction by Jean-Claude Flornoy of the Jean Noblet deck from the 1650s. Check out his site.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday double header

Because they were celebrating the feast day of their patron saint, my first stop this morning was at the 9:15 mass at St. Teresa of Avila church. Fr. Ray was his usual quiet and low key self. It was actually a short mass because there was going to be a coffee hour afterwards, so there was no lectio divina or conversation during the service. There was, however, incense, which for this high-church junky is a great way to start the day!

I love St. Teresa. She was a whacky, out-there, mystical, Jesus freak. Something that I can definately relate to. It seems like every time I open a book of hers, she manages to comment on exactly what is going on for me at that moment. I also love that she was basically a mediocre nun for the first 20 years of her career. It gives me hope that I won't always be such a half-assed Christian. If I ever do become a Catholic, I am going to take her as my patron saint. (Can I do that?)

Here is one of her prayers. We read this during the mass:

Let nothing disturb you, let nothing afright you, all things are passing; God does not change. With patiences, all things are obtained. Who has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices, God alone suffices.

You said it, sister!

I also decided to visit an Episcopal church this morning because I haven't had communion in a couple of weeks and was missing it. So I stopped by the Church of the Savior (not it's real name), which has a 10:30 mass. I chose it because it had a rainbow flag hanging outside, which made me feel right at home, since I am coming from the UU church.

The church itself was lovely... cream colored walls with dark wood trim. Very tasteful alter. Oak pews.

The service had all the same readings, since both the Anglicans and the Catholics use the Revised Common Lectionary. It was kind of fun to compare the two sermons. The priests said very different things about the same story. (Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's). But both homilies were thought provoking. At this mass, though, there was a homeless man sitting in the front pew and he more or less continuously talked to the priest throughout the service. I thought the priest handled the situation very gracefully. He made the best of what could have been very disruptive.

What was more disruptive, and for me, disturbing, was that there were a couple of women sitting in the pew in front of me who talked throughout the Eucharist. They were obviously lay leaders in the church and were talking loudly about committee work and things. They were even complaining about a particular committee at one point. Oh, Martha, Martha... even if you don't believe in the Real Presence (which I do) isn't there space in your life for silence? Isn't coffee hour a better place to talk shop? I was pretty put off, I'll admit.

It is true that after the service those same two women turned around immediately and introduced themselves and welcomed me to the church. They were very kind.

But still.

During coffee hour, the priest introduced himself and asked if I were visiting the area. (Standard ice breaker, I have discovered.) When I told him that I was church shopping after leaving the UUs, and that I was still in a discernment process about which denomination, he volunteered that "The Episcopal Church is like Catholicism Lite. All the ritual without all the rules."

Today, it felt like it was missing more than just the rules.

How long, my Beloved, will I wander in the desert? This church-shopping business is turning out to be harder than I expected.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Abraham, Hagar and Sarah

They are interesting spokespeople for the great religions of the world because they are just so, well, flawed.

In my bible study we recently read Genesis, and boy is it full of wild and weird characters! Abraham, for example, not once but twice offers up his lovely bride Sarah to various pharoahs because he wants to save his own sorry ass. And Sarah tells him to have baby with Hagar because she (Sarah) just can't believe that God's promise of a son is true. Then, when Hagar actually has the baby (Ismael... a wild ass of a man, according to the scriptures) Sarah beats her up and abuses her so badly she runs off to the desert.

And let's not even get started about Abraham's willingness to slaughter his son...

Here is the common thread: They all doubt God's promises. They all do despicable things. They all are, in other words, profoundly human. And while I sometimes find the stories to be disturbing, I also find them oddly comforting. It reminds me that God can do amazing things with the most flawed people. It makes me feel a little less judgemental about myself... and others. We don't have to be perfect in order to serve God. He'll take us just as we are.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

God's Surprise

Today Ramadan and Yom Kippur intersect. It is a day of fasting, repentance, surrender.

There is an ecumenical organization who is calling on all people to fast today. The Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah is asking for us to fast in honor of world peace and religious tolerance. I have fasted today. I hope you have, too. If not, maybe you can say a little prayer for peace.

Here is mine:


I join thousands of people in sacrifice today. I thank you for your love. I thank you for your guidance and grace. I ask that you give us the will and the strength to be peaceful ourselves that we may better be peaceful with each other. On this day of fasting, prayer and remembrance, I thank you, dear Beloved, for the pangs which remind me that my deepest hunger is for you.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dancing with Mozart

One of the things I have done to keep myself humble is take piano lessons. I am 40 years old and this is the first time I have taken an instrument. A friend gave us a funky 1960's vinyl trimmed Wurlitzer piano last year, and in January I started taking lessons.

I suck.


But what is cool is that I started the lessons with the very intention of sucking. I am, in most areas of my life, sort of an overachiever. I was never satisfied with adequate. (Except for my housekeeping, which is generally less than adequate!) So, when I decided to take lessons, I did so with the full intention that I would be mediocre at best and it would be a practice in humility.

Part of my willingness to suck at piano is that it reminds me that even in my deep imperfection, I am wonderful in the eyes of God. He, who knitted my in my mother's womb (psalm 139:13), knows every last fault, every sin, every humiliation and shortcoming. And yet, and yet, he loves me so deeply, so unconditionally, so completely, it just boggles my mind.

Anyway, for the last, oh, I don't know, 3 months maybe, I have been working on a simplified minuet by Mozart. It is a dance piece, with all kinds of beautiful rhythms and harmonic contrast. He builds you up and drops you off... he creates tension and then releases it. It is kind of sexy, really, thinking about couples dancing to the disonance and release. I can picture it.

And this week, I finally started to get the piece. I got into the groove of it. I began to feel the music in me as I danced across the keys with Wolfgang.

I feel like that with centering prayer, sometimes. Like I don't get it, don't get it, don't get it. And I keep on trying, praying, sitting in silence, praying some more. And then, for a moment, I can see clearly what it is all about and there is such grace and joy and humility. I feel that immense connection with God and know that even in my lazy mediocrity, he loves that I pray every day.

Love Letters to God

In my normal journal, the black leather one that matches my bible, I write all my entries as love letters to God. Well, OK, some of them aren't really love letters. Sometimes they are sent to the Complaint Department. Sometimes they are whine letters. Sometimes just boring news bulletins about my life.

But all of them begin:


That is my name for God.

What I am noticing about these posts is that they feel far less intimate. They are much more about reporting what is happening rather than engaging with God. My other journal is all about reflecting on what is going on from a spiritual perspective... always with the idea that God and I are at least discussing it, if not collaborating on it.

I sort of miss that with this online version. I realize that it would get mighty irritating if I started every post with "Dear Beloved," so I am going to just imagine that in my head. I will intend these to be suppliments to my real journal... and write them that way.

Because, really, everything in life is about getting closer to You, God, isn't it?


Monday, October 10, 2005

It's all about the Tofu....

What is it about the soothing power of Tofu? Or maybe it was the company?

I went St. Stephens for the plainchant evensong with my spiritual director, Fr. P, and a mutual friend of ours I hadn't seen in ages. Then later, we went out for dinner at a very good, authentic Chinese restaurant. (I think it was called the Lucky Garden, on Smith Street in Providence. If you are in the neighborhood, you should definately check it out. It serves a lot of very interesting food. (And some typical Chinese-American fare if you are timid about, say, crispy eel....)

The plainchant evening prayer was beautiful. It was a drizzly night... the chapel was lit only by candles when we first got there. Fr. P and Adrienne and I sang the psalms together. Fr. P sang the male parts, while Adrienne and I sang alto and soprano on the female parts. It was really lovely. I especially like the Magnificat, which is song together, male and female. And there is some latin thrown in for good measure!

After the service, we drove separately to the restaurant. It was a still raining. I listened to George Winston on my stereo and thought about how much it sounded like a movie score. I realized, too, that it was dark at 6pm, which means that Fall is definately advancing, even if the weather isn't cooperating.

Dinner was great. Fr. P was in his clerical garb, so when he suggested grace, I thought we should go the whole way and hold hands. We were quite a spectacle, I am sure, especially since he said grace in Chinese. (He has studied in Taiwan for several years...)

What became clear during dinner was that we all three are facing major shifts in our lives these days. We are all in places of transition. It was nice to talk with each other about our various life journeys. And share tofu and steamed rice and ginger beef and pea leaves. And plenty of cha. All in all, it was great. We are going to do it again in a couple of weeks.

Spicy Tofu in pork sauce: It's what's for dinner.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Zen of Chicken Soup

I went back to St. Teresa's this morning, for the third time in a week. This time, Nguyen and the kids came with me. The boys were wiggly during the service. I found myself remembering why Sunday school was amoung the priorities at our new church.

I didn't cry as much this time. Just teared up a tiny bit.

The Gospel was very challenging... the one about the man who throws a wedding feast and no one shows up. They are all too busy. So he sends his servants out to grab whoever they can find. The servants manage to fill the place, but one of the guests isn't wearing wedding clothes. He is promptly bound up and thrown into the street.

Fr. Ray didn't discuss this particular passage during his homily, focusing instead on the much easier to manage Isaiah.

All the way home, the kids kept asking why we couldn't go to Bell Street anymore. They miss it. I do too, actually. Especially today. I found myself wondering why I left. Why I am forcing us to go through all this uncertainty and discombubulation. All this time as strangers in strange churches... never feeling at home. Missing our home. I know this is the desert experience. I know I long for what is familiar, even though it wasn't the right place for us. (That I am sure of.)

So, I made chicken soup. I stood at the counter and chopped onions and carrots and celery. (The Trinity of French cooking!) I pulled cooked chicken off the carcasses and cut it into bite sized pieces. I simmered the bones with water and salt and pepper and thyme and bay. I added the broth to the meat and the vegetables and some pasta. I listened to the Messiah.

I did laundry.

I wrote this post.

I am going to take a nap.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The feast of St. Francis

October 4th is the feast day for the humble and loving St. Francis. To celebrate, I decided to go to the mass in his honor at St. Teresa's in Providence.

When I first got there, about 15 minutes before the mass was to begin, all the doors to the sanctuary were locked. There was a car in the driveway, and a man waiting outside a side door. Eventually, we figured out that the door to the basement was open, and it turned out that the mass was going to be held in a tiny chapel in the lower level. Fr. Ray was already in there.

Over the course of the next few minutes, several people filed in. They were mostly spanish speaking, so Fr. Ray did the mass bilingually. We sang a simple hymn. We listened to the readings from Galatians and John. We sat in a circle and shared, as the spirit moved us, on what we found inspirational in the person of this holy, simple, servant of God.

I am not sure why, but I started bawling again. It is almost embarassing, really. I get a little kick of the Holy Spirit and the waterworks just start.

Emmett was with me this morning. We brought some markers and paper for him to draw with. I was worried he would be distracting to the folks there, since the room was so small. But no. He was quiet and sweet and drew a very detailed picture of the church, complete with the parking lot and Fr. Ray's car. He even included the community garden across the street.

After the service I showed it to Fr. Ray.

We were very welcomed, even though we didn't speak spanish. During the peace, which I normally find very uncomfortable, we all felt like old friends. I even got a few hugs.

It was a beautiful morning. And it felt fitting to be celebrating St. Francis is St. Teresa's, which is, apparently, the poorest parish in RI.

It sure felt rich today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Solemn High Evensong

Last night I went to the Solemn High Evensong at St. Stephens, the aforementioned Anglo Catholic church I have been visiting for the last couple of years. The service was full of pagentry and singing. It was in stark contrast to the simple exhuberance of St. Teresa's. In fact, at some point, I began to wonder if it was all too choreographed for it's own good. I didn't like it nearly as much as I did the plainchant evensong that I participated in a couple of weeks ago. They were totally different, in fact. Whereas the plainchant version was relatively informal, begining with the rector telling us about the service and inviting us to relax and join in when we felt like it, this solemn version last night was extremely formal. It began with the incense and a procession of the huge choir, followed by the priests in gold and green vestments. The church is very gloomy, even during the day, but in the evening, not one tiny bit of light managed to sneak in through the dark stained glass windows.

As it was an Evensong celebrating the feast of St. Michael and All Angels, I guess it is customary to do a sort of procession to symbolize one's spiritual journey. That should have been fairly meaningful for me, given that I am in the midst of discerning my own journey. But as it was, I was right behind the rector for the walk around the sanctuary and was much more concerned with keeping the pace and staying on key. I have heard that at the Anglo Catholic church in Boston, they actually take the procession out into the streets. I was sort of hoping that that would be the case here, too. Why do the Roman Catholics get to have all the fun of crazy street processions? Alas, we circumnavigated the sanctuary once and sat back down in the pews.

There was a guest preacher last night. The vicar from the Episcopal Cathedral across town. He had apparently spent a lot of time in Williamsburg VA and still wore the floppy colonial style collar. (Or maybe that has to do with being a vicar... I don't know.) I saw the same collar on the minister at King's Chapel in Boston. The Vicar, whose name I don't remember, gave a perfectly fine sermon... but it was so clean and tidy compared to Fr. Ray. It was bleached white and nicely pressed, but seemed lifeless, somehow.

Next week, St. Stephens goes back to the plainchant evensong on Sunday and I am going with my friend Fr. P and another friend. I am happy it is going to be the more relaxed version.

Grapple alert: I understand why the Anglicans and Catholics want to take the focus off the sermon and keep it on the Eucarist. It definately makes sense to me that the emphasis of the mass should be on worshipping God rather than talking about worshipping God. But somehow, I wonder if in the midst of all the ritual is it possible to lose sight of that?


Sunday, October 02, 2005

God hangs out at St. Teresa's

Part of my church shopping assignment from Fr. P is to check out churches of other denominations. Specifically, he suggested I visit at least one Catholic church and one other protestant one. Today was the Catholic church. I went to the 9:15 Mass at St. Teresa's in Olneyville.

Olneyville is a section in Providence that at one time housed a lot of mills and factories. These days it is a fairly poor section of the city... and one of the more diverse neighborhoods, with Spanish, African Americans, Southeast Asians and other minorities living together. My husband's shop is located in Olneyville. My old church was right on the border, in West Broadway.

I chose St. Teresa's for two reasons. First, I have friends that go to the 11:00 Spanish mass. They were actually former baby class students of mine, and when we got to talking about churches, they said that they love St. Teresa's. Also, the priest there, Fr. Ray, has done a lot of ecumenical work with my former minister. Steve has always spoken very highly of him.

So, on this beautiful October morning, I drove to Providence and pulled into the tiny parking lot behind the church. Just as I was getting out of the car, I pulled a muscle in my back. Bad. I could barely move. But I was already there, so I creaked out of the car and stiffly managed to get up the front steps.

I kept thinking that this church was dedicated to St. Teresa, who spent a lot of her life in physical pain, as I recall. I tried to keep that in mind as I was sitting awkwardly in the pew.

Luckily, Catholic services are similar enough to Anglican ones that I didn't feel completely out of place. They have a little Missalette that you use to follow along. St. Teresa's is a low key place. There is no organ, or choir. The priest would hum or sing the tune of the hymn and then the congregation would join in. The altar boys and girls were probably in their early teens, and there were only two of them. The whole service felt scaled back... no incense, very little formality. And yet, almost from the beginning of the service, I felt very emotionally involved. Before the first reading, Fr. Ray suggested that we listen very carefully to the words, to see if any spring out at us. Then, after the reading, he asked the congregation to share which words had had particular meaning for them. I was floored. He was doing Lectio Divina in the middle of the mass.

Which was about when I started crying.

The rest of the mass was just that kind of amazing combination of informality and prayerfulness. There was lots of interaction between the priest and the congregation. Lots of exhuberant love of God. Fr. Ray pointed out, for example, that in the spanish, the passage from Isaiah that we first read started "My Beloved" which is so much more intimate than the "My Friend"that our english version used. He went on to say that God loves us, is our lover, wants to be our lover. It was really remarkable because he spoke so simply, and yet you could feel the depth of HIS love and faith coming through. I was really moved.

And then, after, as I was trying to drive home with my pinched nerve, I felt sure that God was talking loud and clear today. And I realized that Nguyen would probably actually like St. Teresa's.

Lectio Divina

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Spiritual equilibrium with 5 kids running around...

I usually have only two: Noah and Emmett, my 8 1/2 and 5 year old boys. But today we had the cousins over, plus an extra friend. Something about the gorgeous sunny day and the fact that I am still feeling punky made for conflicts all around. (Note: the Murphey's law of parenting is that when you feel sick, the kids bounce off the wall.)

I was deep into conflict resolution all afternoon. And at no point did I remember to be patient about it.

I think about the saints, sometimes, and am not surprised that very few of them had kids. I mean, really, how hard is it to lead a Godly life when you are sequested in some beautiful convent somewhere? They had it easy, as far as I am concerned. They didn't have fighting kids or spilled lemonade or mountains of laundry or a phone ringing off the hook. Thank God for Centering Prayer, that is all I can say.

Centering Prayer