Wednesday, December 04, 2013


I have found, since becoming a Catholic, that folks have a lot of questions about the church.  What is all this with Mary?  I don't understand Purgatory.  I can't get my head around the saints, the Eucharist, the liturgy.

The funny thing is that people rarely ask me to explain these things.  They will give me the list of their objections, but won't invite my perspective.  I never really get a chance to explain how I came to understand Marion doctrine, or Purgatory, or any of it.

Which makes me wonder if they just aren't really that interested in understanding.  I almost never volunteer to explain if I am not asked, mostly because I don't want to seem defensive.  But if we are having coffee and you want to know my opinion on Mary, just ask.  I would be delighted to share.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wedding Ring Wrangle

While planning to rededicate our marriage, my priest mentioned that he would bless our wedding rings.  I felt a moment of anxiety.  I haven't worn my wedding ring for at least a couple of years, because I am a drummer and I was worried that constantly taking it off to play would make it more likely that I would lose it.

So I went home and started looking for my ring.

Which I couldn't find.

I ransacked my jewelry box, my bureau, all the likely spots where I would have stashed it.  I looked for days.

Finally, I decided that I would need to get a new one.  Nguyen and I went to a Cambodian jewelry store near the Asian market and I picked out a very plain gold band.  Looked fine, felt fine.

Of course, a couple of weeks later, I found my original ring.  But since it was a little less comfortable, I decided to keep wearing the new one.

But then I lost it.  I took it off for drum class and hooked it on my drum.  And forgot to put it back on, so the ring goes missing.  I searched my car, drum bag, the studio where we play, everywhere.  Nowhere to be found.

So, out comes my original ring.  It is a sweet ring... channel set sapphires in a simple gold band.  It fits snugly enough that I can wear it while playing with drum sticks, so I don't even have to take it off for class.

Yesterday, I was playing drums at McAuley House.  My stick bag fell off the chair and dumped my sticks on the floor.  As I was picking it up, I heard a little tinkle sound.  And sure enough, there, on the floor, was my plain gold wedding band.

I decided to put it on my RIGHT hand... so now I have two.

Which in a funny way, seems appropriate.  Nguyen and I were married almost 25 years ago, but it wasn't a Christian wedding.  A month ago, we rededicated our marriage in the Church and in a way, it is like part two of our original wedding.  Two parts of the same, wonderful, event.

So for today I am wearing both rings to remind me of the double blessing of our marriage.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Into the silence 2.0

Last year about this time I went away for a silent retreat and came back a Roman Catholic.  In the silence, I heard God asking me if I was willing to carry the cross.  I heard God calling me to the Catholic faith.  I remember how it felt.  I cried a lot.  I felt joy and terror and peace and Jesus.  It was such a big, sweet, loving, encounter.

Simon of Cyrene was there.  The cloud of witnesses looking on.  The quiet of an empty church and solitude.  I wrote a lot, and read scripture.  I slept for hours at a time.  I walked.

When I got back I was teetering on the edge of radical change and knew it.  And knew it would be hard.  And suspected it would be beautiful.  I was thirsty, so thirsty for deeper connection with Christ.  I longed for him.  It was at once lovely and painful.

I met with a priest and began the unpleasant task of finding a parish.  It was funny that it had never occurred to me that being a Catholic meant finding a new church.  Truly one of my least favorite tasks....  I checked out a few parishes and mostly felt uncomfortable and foreign.  Thankfully, I wound up in a church with a wonderful pastor.  He met with me weekly to prepare for confirmation.  I also met with a couple from the church.  And while the process was hard, it was also clear that it was the right process.

For me, the liturgical year feels more relevant than the calendar one.  Christ the King is coming and I am coming to the close of one of the most eventful years in my spiritual journey.  When I look back, I can hardly believe that in the midst of all the chaos at my work, I was simultaneously undergoing a radical spiritual transformation.  But I believe that the conversion was a gift God gave me to equip me for the work he has planned for me.

This year, as I enter into silence and the rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours, I pray that I will, once again, seek his will for me.  And rest in his presence.  And praise him.  And love him.  I love Him.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Elizabeth Claire

I have never gotten a straight answer for why you had to die.  I have heard, variously, that you were going to have some sort of birth defect, or that you were going to be a financial burden.  I suspect it was deeper than any of those things.

But I am sure that if you had made it into the world, we would have loved you, regardless of your health or costs.

And though in this life I can never know for sure whether you were a boy or a girl, I always think of you as my sister.

I pray for the day I will see you again.

Prayed up

This past week has been an extremely busy one for me and my team at CareNet.  We were getting ready for our annual banquet and were expecting 560 people.  Always, always, there are dozens of last minute additions, changes, cancellations, and table shifts.  In the midst of all of this frenzy, I need, as the main speaker, to remain in a place of calm, open to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.

It seemed easier this year.

First, we did a great job of organizing.  We had a team of folks who showed up every week to help and a group of people who were dedicated to praying for us every day.

I was extremely intentional about taking time for prayer.  I began to pray the liturgy of the hours the week before and found it to be a God send.  (Literally, of course)  In the midst of the hubbub at work I would slip into one of the private rooms with my ipad and read the prayers for that hour.  Every day I would start the morning with the office and morning prayer.  Every night I would end with Compline.

I went to Mass nearly every day.  After, if it wasn't a work day, I would drive to Oakland beach and park my car, drinking coffee while soaking in the beauty of the day.  I sat in silence, waiting for God to nudge me.  I had a notebook and pencil and would jot ideas as they came to me.  Eventually, these ideas came together to form my address.  And while my team was nervous that on Monday I still didn't have my speech prepared for the event on Thursday, I was in a state of quiet expectation, knowing that God was going to give me the words.

On Tuesday,on the way home from the beach, I stopped at St. Timothy's and sat in the adoration chapel for awhile.  Jesus calmed my soul.

On the night of the banquet, I was very very busy greeting over 500 folks, chatting with pastors and friends and supporters.  I spent hours at the venue, checking on details, working with the AV guys, rearranging the table chart at the last minute to fix a mistake.  It would have been so easy to get stressed or frazzled, especially because some of the folks around me were.

But I felt a sense of complete calm and peace in the midst of all of it.  I knew what God had given me to say.  I had practiced it several times and felt absolutely sure that I could do no better.  Periodically I would duck into a tiny room off the lobby of the venue, shut the door and rest in his presence for a moment or two before heading back out.

And when I walked up to the stage to address the assembled guests, I had no nervousness at all.  I opened my mouth and spoke the words God had given me and let the Holy Spirit take control.  It was a wonderful night and a great experience to be in the midst of his embrace, his will, his love.

Prayer.  No kidding.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I count it joy

I love being a Catholic.  Never have I felt closer to Jesus.  Never have I felt more in tune with God.  I am on the ride of my life in the church that Jesus himself established and it is incredible.  I get to take communion.  I get to sit in adoration.  I get to pray the psalms.  I am standing just inside the door of the body of Christ himself.

I love being a Catholic.

I just needed to say that.

Divine liturgy is, well, Divine.

A friend suggested I pray the daily office.  (If you must know, it was my spiritual director.  About 10 years ago.)

As an Episcopalian, I found it a bit complicated.  I had an Book of Common Prayer, but it didn't actually contain the readings for the office... so you had to look them up in the bible, flipping back and forth.  It was a pain, frankly.  There were versions online that had all the readings, but I just never found reading the office on the computer screen that satisfying.  So, I stuck with the psalms.  In my most impoverished period I was squeaking by with one psalm a day.  Pathetic, I know.

A year ago, I began to thirst.  As a deer longs for the brook, so my soul longed for scripture.  I began to read the bible every day, vaguely following a 'read the bible in a year' schedule.  It broke down to 2  chapters of old testament, 1 psalm, 1 section of proverbs and 1 chapter of the New Testament every day.  I began this in November, so I just started where I was.  Come January, I found myself at the beginning of the bible and have been reading through ever since.  In the summer I finished the New Testament, so at that point I started to read the Deutero Canonical texts instead.

My same spiritual director suggested that maybe this year, I start reading the bible by praying the Divine Office instead.  As Advent is approaching, I thought I would give it a try.  This time, I ordered the books that actually contain the readings.  By now I am a Catholic, so I ordered the Catholic version.  While waiting for them to arrive, I found an app for my phone.  For the last few mornings, I have been reading my 2 chapters of Jeremiah and then moving on to the Daily Office, which is 4 psalm sections and a chapter or so of scripture and then a part of a homily or writing of a saint or some section of one of the councils all tied together with some beautiful prayers.  It is a lot of reading, but it still only takes about 30 minutes or so.

The full liturgy can be as much as 7 times of prayer a day.  I have found myself, over the last couple of days, reading the prayers whenever I have a free moment.  Yesterday, I read the prayers 5 times.  Today it was 3 and I am going to read compline before bed.

I found out that priests in the Roman Catholic Church are required, by canon law, to pray the entire liturgy of the hours every day.  This amazes me, frankly.  Amazes and awes me.  (I find the priesthood pretty awesome, to be honest.)  That means that every parish priest is spending about 2 hours a day in prayer.

As a lay person we are not required to pray the hours, but even just in the last couple of days, I have gotten a tiny taste of what it must be like to order your life around regular prayer.  And the fact that you are praying with every priest, monk and nun on the planet is genuinely humbling.  For me, that this has been going on for over 1000 years just adds to it's power.

I hope that this becomes a regular part of my daily life.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

It's not that bad

At first it was like somebody shoving a knife into my heart. I felt sick in my stomach. I felt anger and pain, sorrow, sadness and rejection. Someone finally withdrew their support from my organization because they believe that the Catholic Church teaches heresy.  Does that make me a heretic, I wonder?  Ah well.  No matter.  While the enemy is having a field day watching christians splinter into ever tinier fragments, I am going to focus on the work at hand. I went to Mass with my beloved husband and let the prayers of the ancient church wash over me.  I am going to try and stop taking it personally and try to accept rejection with grace, letting it unite me closer to my sweet Jesus in his suffering.  Him whom the pharisees rejected is the cornerstone of my life.  I pray for unity, forgiveness and compassion.

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Feast of All Saints

For me, the definition of a saint is one who says YES to God.  My dream and goal is to live a life that is one big yes.

Yes, I will follow you to a river and be washed clean by the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I will embrace the sacramental quality of my marriage and dedicate it to you.  I will say yes to raising my children to be Godly men.

Yes, I will sacrifice all that I am in order to follow you.

Yes, I will try to live a life worthy of you, sweet Friend.  And I will fail.  And I will confess and continue to ask the Holy Spirit to sanctify me despite my brokenness and sin.

Yes I will endure ridicule, disdain and even hatred in your name and the name of your blessed church.  I will say yes to rejection. I will trust you.  I will love you.  And when I falter, I will crawl back to you on my knees and beg the Holy Spirit to fill me with the courage and fortitude that is not mine, but yours.

I thank you, sweet Jesus, for all the saints you have put in my life.  My husband.  My sons. My spiritual director.  My beautiful and Godly co-workers.  My priest.  Thank you for all you have done for me through them.  Thank you for their patience and ministry and love.  May you bless them abundantly in this life and the next.

Sweet Friend, you have asked for so little and given me so much.

Today I say YES.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Conversion of heart

Dear Jesus,

I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be Catholic.

Since my conversion, I have been through trials.  But lately the blessings have been far outweighing the trials.  I thank you, God, for that. 

My marriage has been the best it has ever been.  You have been doing incredible things for us.  I am grateful, Lord, for this unexpected blessing.

My heart has been opening to your heart.  The other day I was angry at someone who wrote very bad things about my organization in his blog when suddenly, my heart was filled with sadness for him.  True sadness.  I actually began to weep and have been praying for him ever since.  Lord, that is not of me.  That was you giving me the grace to see this man as you see him.  It was a moment of clarity that has been with me ever since.

The Eucharist.  Oh, Jesus, I can't even begin to talk about what this has been for me.  Even in the few short weeks since my confirmation, the Eucharist has become the food of my soul.  I long for it every day.  On days when I don't take communion, I feel like I am incomplete.  It was the Eucharist that drew me to your church, but I had no idea, of course, what it would be like to be able to participate in it... ancient and ever new.  Beautiful.  Enlivening.  Full of your Grace and love.  Oh, Love.  How did I live without you for so long?

I am a child.  After 10 years of being a Christian, I thought I understood you, at least a little.  But after coming into your Church, I recognize that your vastness is beyond my littleness to grasp.  I understand nothing.  I know nothing.  My soul is tiny and my heart longs for you, only.  What joy there is in this.  

Your Church is full of Grace.  It was been said of your Church that the walls around it are high, but once you are inside, it is a wonderland.  I am only just beginning to catch a glimpse of the truth of this.  I wonder why the journey was so long.  Why I had so much fear.  Why I stood at the gate and looked in.  But now I am here, in the heart of your Church, and am so full of joy and peace and GRACE.  Thank you, sweet Jesus, for inviting me in.  Thank you for telling me to trust you, even when I was gripped with fear.  Thank you that you have given me the courage to walk through the narrow gate into the heart of your love.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Daily Mass

I'll admit that since summer began, I have been finding it a little bit more challenging to get myself motivated to get to Mass in the mornings.  I am embarrassed by this.  I am going to see Jesus.  I should be getting up at the crack of dawn in anticipation every day.

But I am mostly hitting the snooze button and dragging myself out of bed after a night of not enough sleep.

Today was no different.  But as I pulled up to the church, I prayed that I would be open to what God had for me.  And from the moment I walked in to the church, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit.  I sat, mesmerized by the rosary prayers, my head bowed.  All through the liturgy, from the readings to the consecration, it was as if I was experiencing it in exquisite detail.  Each word, each moment heightened somehow.  And then, in the final moments before I stood to walk forward to receive, I saw Jesus standing (as Fr. Friedrichs was standing) breaking the bread at the last supper.  Carefully.  Deliberately. Overflowing with LOVE for us.  I was overcome with awe, humility, joy.  I felt as if I were floating in a dream as I stood to walk with my fellow parishioners to the front of the church.  I was so transported I was almost afraid I would drop the precious blessed sacrament.  But no, I received a thin triangle of the large wafer and said 'amen, Father' as I received it in my hand.

Thank you, Jesus, for this extraordinary gift today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The nativity of John the Baptist

Yesterday the Church celebrated the nativity of John the Baptist.  This day feels significant to me, since John (and his mother, Elizabeth) are my confirmation saints.

I remember the first time I read the depiction in the Gospel of Luke of the day that the Virgin Mary came to visit her elderly aunt, Elizabeth.  I was sitting in the living room of a friend on Rochambeau Avenue in Providence.  It was late fall.  She had made pumpkin muffins and hot apple cider for a bible study we were holding.  None of the participants were Christians.  They were all from the Unitarian Universalist church I attended at the time.  Only our host, Katherine, professed to be Christian.  If I remember correctly, I wasn't even Christian yet...

We sat together and began reading from Luke.  And there, in the dim light, I began to read of Mary's visit to Elizabeth... and how John leaped in his mother's womb when Mary entered the room.  And somehow, inexplicably, I began to cry.  Great, huge tears rolled down my cheeks for no reason at all, except that maybe, in that moment, I too was recognizing the truth of Jesus and who he was.  Mary, at 3 months along, wasn't even showing yet.

Scripture says nothing of whether Elizabeth knew that Mary was pregnant.  For all she knew, her younger cousin was simply showing up to help her older aunt through the last few months of pregnancy.  And yet the moment Mary walks in the door, Elizabeth and the baby John in her womb, know exactly who she is carrying inside her.

Scientific American recently published an article about research that shows that when mothers are carrying their babies in the womb, some of the fetus' cells actually cross the placenta and implant in the mother.  Years and even decades later, they have found cells with Y chromosomes in the brains of women who carried male children.  By her third month of pregnancy, Mary already had Christ's cells in her body.  How could she not have been affected by that?  The actual cells of Jesus Christ were already a part of her, and Elizabeth and John, by a miracle of God's grace, knew.

I was a latecomer to Jesus.  I spent the first 38 years of my life in darkness, searching for a light, but not understanding what or WHO that light was.  Finally, at 38, I surrendered and accepted that Jesus is the light of the world.  From that day, my life has been totally different.

So maybe, on that dark, cold night in December, with pumpkin muffins and hot cider, I was yearning for what John and Elizabeth had.  Jesus was in their midst, as he is for all of us.  And they recognized him for who he is.  And leaped for joy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Body of Christ, The Bride of Christ

In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul says that the Church is the body of Christ.  Christ acts in the world through the members of the body.

I never understood this until becoming a Catholic.  But now, I am beginning to feel a sense of Christ's presence in a way I never have before.  

It isn't that I haven't felt his presence before.  Jesus has been an almost constant companion since before my baptism 10 years ago.  I have felt the Holy Spirit in many churches, many venues, many situations.

But this is something completely different.  I suspect it all hinges on the Eucharist, but I am not really sure about that.  What I have been feeling for the last couple of days is a kind of quiet conviction that Christ in the Church is living out the incarnation in an extraordinary way.  It is a deeply trinitarian reality that Jesus is alive in the world through his Church.  

From the outside of the faith, it would be hard, if not impossible, to perceive this.  Go to a normal Mass and you might find a bunch of lukewarm Christians going through the motions.  There are scandals and brokenness, corruption and power.  From the outside, it doesn't seem possible that Christ is truly inhabiting the Catholic Church.  But I am more and more convinced that Christ is in the world through His Church... and that in this broken mess, he is present in a very real way.  A unique way.  

There is no real explanation for why I have come to believe this.  I haven't read about it in a book.  It isn't being preached at Mass.  It is just a sense that there is present, in the Church, the second person of the Trinity, living and breathing, present.  Really Present.  The body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Disciples of all nations

As I was driving home from Mass today, I was pondering the purpose of the church.  What did Jesus ask his apostles to do?

This is what he said to his apostles, who went on to become the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church:

Jesus came and said to them, "...Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."  Matthew 28:18-20

For me, discipleship is about a relationship.  Jesus is asking his apostles to help people become students of Jesus, practitioners of his ways.  Disciple and discipline are from the same root. Both speak of learning, of practice.  The Catholic Religious might call it a 'rule of life' that centers on the relationship with Christ.  There is rhythm to it.  Just as a student at a university has to show up for class in order to learn anything, so a disciple of Christ has to spiritually 'show up'.  In my case, that means reading scripture every day, attending Mass, daily prayer.  For me, discipleship is only possible by being in deep relationship with him.  Jesus promises that for his disciples, he will be with them until the end of the age.  And so far, I am finding that sacraments, the liturgy, the rhythms of the church seasons have indeed been deepening my love for him, strengthening my relationship with him and giving me the discipline of keeping him first and foremost in my day to day life.  All of this is by his Grace alone.  He promises he is with us, and that is HOW we are going to be disciples and make disciples of all nations.  

Why I am a Catholic Pt. 1

About 3 weeks after joining the Catholic Church, someone asked if my journey thus far was filled with grace.  At that point, I had to answer, frankly, no.  It was instead, filled with much anxiety, some fear, some sadness.  I was coming face to face with the reality that many people have huge antipathy for the church.  People that I care about were reacting badly.  I was being challenged and grilled.  There were some who simply could not conceive that God would lead me to the Catholic faith.

I cannot pretend to know God.  But I have spent the last 10 years earnestly seeking to do his will.  That desire has led me to places I would never have ventured if I was following my own will.  I stayed at Grace Church because God called me there.  I began working for CareNet because I discerned that God was asking me to.  Frankly, I have stayed at CareNet because of that, too.  And I stayed at Grace for 8 years because that is where I felt God wanted me to be.

Until it wasn't.

Until one day I sensed that something profound had changed.  I sat in a dark church in Weston, MA and felt the presence of Christ in deep and real way and realized that he WAS present in the Blessed Sacrament behind the altar.  And I heard, deep in my heart, the words that have changed my life so profoundly.

It is true.

And suddenly I was flooded with a profound sense that this moment was going to be a demarcation point for my life.  This moment was the one I was converted.  This moment, I was going to remember forever as the one in which I accepted not just Jesus... but the church HE established.  The church through which he works in the world.

It is true.

And as those words resonated in my heart, I understood that if the Blessed Sacrament is true, then so is everything else the Church says about herself.

The moment of conversion took place in the dark church.  Actually living it out will take a lifetime.  I am finding that Catholicism is deeply challenging and more joyful than I could ever have imagined.  It is HUGE.  Polarizing.  Yet encompasses profound polarities.  I am utterly alone in the walk, yet part of something that has spanned centuries and actively involves billions of souls, living and dead.  It is rigorous and challenging, demanding much and giving everything.  It is a rhythm of life that opens me up to something so vast, so profound, so beautiful I can only grasp a tiny bit.  Yet it is like the entirety of the church exists in the Eucharist at St. Catherine's Church on a Tuesday morning.  That sweet, simple, spare event that transcends time and place... 25 folks who worship together and participate in something so grand, so massive it is impossible to conceive of it.

I am Catholic because I am a Christian who seeks to follow Jesus.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Love Fest

Yesterday I went to a meeting at which most of the people were Catholics.  Some knew of my recent conversion and were very encouraging.  A co-worker from many years ago was there.  She was a nun in a former life and is still active in the church.  She remembers me when I was unmarried, wore a stud in my nose and had no use for religion whatsoever.  Though even then I was fascinated with people who led religious lives, especially nuns and monks. 

I leaned over at one point and whispered into her ear.... C, I was confirmed in the Catholic Church last month.

She was amazed, of course.  And happy.  And when she found out who my priest is, she confided that she thought he was wonderful and that I was very lucky that God brought me to his parish.  (I couldn't agree more....)

It was wonderful to be surrounded by Catholics.  But even so, I have to confess, I have found a certain amount of isolation in this journey.  Lifelong Catholics love their faith, but don't really understand the conversion experience.  And non-Catholics can't even begin to know what this is like.  The fear and doubt which is slowly giving way to a level of joy I can't even begin to describe.  Tears may be the only way to express it, frankly.

Every day I wake up thanking God that I am a member of His Church. Every day.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


At my little parish, Wednesdays are our priest's day off.  Well deserved, of course.  He works the other 6 days a week, so I can hardly begrudge him the time away.

For me, though, this creates a little dilemma.  Most Wednesdays, sleeping late wins.  It is the day I start work at 12:00, so it is a luxurious morning of doing nothing.  On those weeks, it is usually the only day during the week when I am not in church.

Some days, though, I get up and head to another local parish for Mass.  There is a church right down the street with Mass at 9.

In either case, I start the day with scripture and prayer, reflecting on the Grace that God has given me.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Like a storm

When I was a kid we used to summer on my grandmother's island in Georgian Bay, Ontario.  It was a beautiful place, all rocks and moss and stunted trees deformed by the west wind.  There was a beach of garnet red sand and little wooden cabins with chemical toilets.  (Read buckets filled with pine sol).

On many summer afternoons, storms would roll in from across the lake.  We could see them coming from miles away, fierce gray bands moving ever closer.  The air would crackle with electricity.  Lightening would start to flash.  Once we saw a whole bank of clouds rolling sideways like an ocean wave in the sky.  And one year a tornado hit like a freight train and knocked down a third of the trees on the island.

The weather could be frightening.  But it was also thrilling.  We would stand, as kids, in the pouring rain, laughing when the hail drove us back inside... or daring each other to jump in the lake in the middle of the downpours, getting called back out by our concerned parents when the lightening got too close.

My conversion to Catholicism has been a little like that.  A summer storm in the midst of what is usually a peaceful spiritual landscape.  I am both excited, thrilled, and a little afraid.  I stood and watched the spiritual storm coming from miles away... and as it got closer, there were moments when I wanted to run in fear, but more moments when I wanted to stand in the pouring rain and sing and shout for joy.  Laughing and splashing and shouting for joy.


You have come into my life like a storm.  I am soaked to the bone.  Sometimes I want to run and hide.  But mostly I want to shout for joy.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Corpus Christi

On Saturday I went to St. Catherine's and we celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi.  It is the celebration of the Eucharist.  I told Nguyen that the homily was the best I have yet heard at St. C's.  Nguyen laughed and said that I say that every week.

Perhaps.  This time, however, it might just be true.

Fr. Friedrichs was somehow able to capture the awe inspiring mystery, the great blessing, the incredible gift that the Eucharist is for us.  Christ gives himself to us with nothing held back.  It is almost more than we can bear to think of.  More than we can fathom.

I sat and wept through the whole homily.

I am just over a month in as a Catholic and I can tell you, it still amazes me that I can take communion in the Catholic Church.  Every day I think "Oh, good!  I get to go to church tomorrow!"  And every day I go to church and nearly have to pinch myself because I can't believe it is true.

It was the Eucharist that called me to Catholicism.  It was the deep mystery of Christ's presence that beckoned.  And as Fr. Friederichs says, I am unable to wrap my head around the stunning truth that Christ gives himself to us so completely.

Nothing held back.

Lord, sweet, sweet Christ. Jesus.  I pray that I, too, will hold nothing back from you.  I pray that I will give everything to you.  I thank you for the glorious gift you have given us in the Eucharist.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

True, that.

Perhaps it is because of the Eucharist that I am beginning to catch a glimpse of the depth of my unworthiness lately.  I have not earned Christ's love.  In my flesh, there is nothing I can do to earn it.  It is by his grace alone that I am loved.  He gives it to me freely.  I have always known this, but lately it has become more real to me.

Calvin said that humans are so utterly depraved we are incapable even of accepting God's love.  His theory is that the only way we can have faith is through predestination.  We are so deeply depraved that we cannot even accept God's grace by our own free will.  And likewise, cannot lose that Grace once it is given to us.

I don't buy the predestination theory.  I believe that we have been given the free will to accept or reject God's Grace.  I do, however, agree that I am essentially unworthy of God's incredible love.  It makes the gift of his love even more amazing.

I think this has become more clear, more evident, since I started participating in the Eucharist.  Each time I receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, I am reminded of the stark contrast between the Eucharist and me.  That contrast has been a strange sort of blessing in that it reveals the true depth of God's love, his grace, his willingness to love me beyond anything I could imagine or deserve.  It is a love that glorifies God and saves me.

Which is why participating in the Eucharist either leaves me feeling like I can't wipe the goofy grin off my face... or fills me with such a sense of awe that I can't stop weeping.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pentecost 2013

I am clinging to the sacraments.  Today I decided to go to confession.  I showed up at church at 4pm and sat in the nave.  As my priest came in I asked if I could make a confession.  He showed me where to sit and how to know when it is ok to come in to the little room.  (At the appointed time the door will be open when he is free.)

There was another person there to confess, but I was there first, so I went in.

I had a few things I needed to share.  I asked for counsel and absolution.  I was humbled and saddened by my sins.

Afterwards I went to the little dock on the pond nearby and sat for awhile to think and pray.  I recited the prayer of St. Francis aloud... and psalm 103, both of which remind me to keep my mind off myself and consider how I can be of service to others.

And then I went back to the church for the Pentecost service and cried through the entire thing... mostly for joy and gratitude for the fact that the depth of my sin is matched and far surpassed by the expansive love of God's forgiveness.

Come Holy Spirit.  Come.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'll meet your fear and raise you an hour of self pity

I am working through some things right now, most of which have to do with my conversion.  The fact is that following Jesus is, by definition, a willingness to pick up the cross.  I know this.  I anticipated this.  I saw this clearly on that cold day last November when I stood in the cemetery at Campion Renewal Center and meditated on the 5th Station of the Cross: Simon carries the cross.

And yet, when it actually comes, spiritual struggle is something of a surprise.  Maybe it is my pride that dupes me into thinking I am going to handle it better than I do.

Anyway, today was a heavy day.  I woke up feeling burdened by some conversations I have had over the last couple days.  It is clear that this transition to Rome is not going to be easy.  There is going to be pain involved, along with the joy.

So, I pulled out the Spiritual Tool Kit and ran through my list:

  1. Read the Bible
  2. Said the Rosary
  3. Went to Mass
  4. Spent an hour in Eucharistic Adoration
  5. Called my spiritual director

Cried a lot during all of those steps but came away feeling stronger, better, safer.

Jesus, you have given us these things as gifts.  I am so grateful for all of them.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When I realize how much I miss you....

...It only takes a couple of minutes to remember that I will meet you tomorrow.  Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

A stranger in a strange land

Today was the first time I have attended Grace Church without receiving communion.  I wasn't sure how it would go.

It did feel strange, just sitting there while everyone else got up to receive.  But as I sat there, Nguyen and Noah went forward and I took the opportunity to pray for them, for union, communion, One.  Noah said I looked sad, and it may have been true that part of me is sad that we can no longer receive as a family.  But it encourages me that they take communion.  It wasn't that long ago that Nguyen would not have.

During communion, I slipped to the back of the church to use the bathroom and when I came out, Noah was sitting near the coffee table.  He regularly does that, heading back to help prepare for coffee hour.  We sat together and talked quietly during the end of the service, then stood together to sing the closing hymn.  It is ironic, really, that this is the first time we have sung together in years.  (He always sits with the rest of the youth group on the other side of the church...)

God is opening new doors.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Late have I loved you....

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

St. Augustine

The weight of the past

My aunt has moved to RI and a couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon unpacking boxes in preparation for her arrival.  I put her clothes in the closet, unpacked her kitchen tools, pots and pans.  I hung some of her decorative items and moved a few pieces of furniture.  And then opened a box labeled ''T  Ang".  It took me a moment to realize it was the urn of her step son's ashes.  There was another box labeled with his mother's name.  And finally, a bigger box with several items, including the urn of my aunt's late husband, who died just a few months ago.

That is a lot for a widowed woman to carry around, if you ask me.  An entire family boxed up and moved from place to place.  Between them they have come from Newton MA, Florida, and New Jersey and have all wound up in my aunt's house in RI.

I think this is one strange little consequence of our moving away from communities of faith.  We have now been tasked with dealing with our dead on our own.  There is no priest, no parish, no group that comes alongside us and helps us deal with our loss.  In my aunt's case she is too overwhelmed to really know what to do with all these ashes.  She has vague plans, but it all seems like way too much for a seventy something woman to manage on her own.  As I was mulling it over I wondered if it was too late to ask a Greek Orthodox priest to help put all these folks to rest.  Or perhaps we can buy a plot at Swan Point and have them all interred together.

Nguyen says he wants his ashes spread in the little lake in his home town of Dalat, in Vietnam.  I wonder, though, if I am going to want to travel 15,000 miles to arrange that.  Or will the kids?  Is it really fair to ask that?

I honestly don't care where I am buried, as long as it is in hallowed ground somewhere.  Sprinkle holy water on my casket (or urn, if my survivors insist) and cover me with the beautiful earth that God created.  Say a prayer and walk away.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I am going to bore you to tears

Let's face it.  No one really wants to hear conversion stories.  Mine are exciting to me... but I am pretty sure they aren't that exciting to YOU.

I feel lonely in this, to be honest.  I want to just sit in a puddle of tears and tell you all about how different I feel today.  How today is completely different from, say, the day before yesterday.  How I feel like I am going to crawl the walls if I can't somehow let this joy out.  I just want to cry for joy.

I went to church this morning.  I felt exactly the way one would going to see their Beloved.  My heart was racing.  My stomach in knots.  I could not believe how excited I was to walk in, knowing that today I would get to take communion.  Today, tomorrow, the next day, forever.  And I do believe, forever.  I don't know what theology says about this, but I am imagining that in Heaven we are in a perpetual state of Communion with Jesus.  Isaiah describes it.  So does the book of Revelation.

I soaked up the words of scripture.  The prayers.  Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena.  It is said that at the end of her life, she stopped eating all food except the bread of the sacrament... and it kept her alive.  I believe it.

The prayers.  The joy in my heart.  And finally it was time to go forward and join, once and for all, my friends at the daily Mass.

After the service a nun, who is a regular at Mass, came over to say that tomorrow she is traveling to India, but that she was overjoyed to get to see me take communion after all the months I have sat there, day in day out, watching everyone else receive.  Days upon days, weeks upon weeks, for months, for years, forever have I longed.  I have longed for so long.

I have longed for so long, not even knowing what it was I was longing for.  

But now, finally, I understand.

Today is the day.

And tomorrow.  And forever.

God, I can't believe the joy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blissed out

The service today was beautiful.  Ancient and new, as St. Augustine would say.  Both ancient and new and full of love and joy.  There were two of us being received into the Church... and 4 others being confirmed with us.  So the two of us were called up first to profess our faith.  I had been practicing so I wouldn't trip over the words.   And then the rest of the candidates came forward and joined us facing the priest.  One by one he went down the line and was introduced to each of us by our sponsor, using our chosen name.  Mine is Elizabeth John.  It was only this morning that I realized that it is the name of my father and his sister.  My intent, of course, was John the Baptist and his mother, Elizabeth.  I honor them because I was so late in coming to recognize Jesus for who he was... but Elizabeth and John knew the moment that pregnant Mary walked into their home.  John lept for joy in his mother's womb.  Mary wasn't even showing yet.

Father put his hands on our heads and prayed for the Holy Spirit to enter us.  As I stood there, I actually did feel the Spirit.  I was trembling and felt a little faint.  My head was swimming, but not in a frightening way.  I felt like I was riding a wave of energy towards the Eucharist.  After we were confirmed, I went to the back of the church and helped carry the wine back for communion.  I handed it to Father, bowed, and returned to my seat.

I was the first invited to receive.  I took my time.  I walked to Father.  Rachel, he said, the body of Christ, and placed a consecrated host into my upturned palm.  I lifted my hands to my mouth and took the host on my tongue.  Then I stepped to the side and stood in front of the woman holding the cup.  She raised it to me and said 'the blood of Christ.' She expected me to take it, but for a moment I just looked into her eyes.  We both recognized the wonder of that moment... the moment of my first taste of the blood of Christ.  I lifted the cup and took at taste, then turned and walked back to my seat.  From that point on, the rest is a blur.

Later though, when I was home, I reflected on the miracle that had taken place today.  I have felt a sense of warm love all day, like Jesus really and truly is in me.  Like he is with me in a different way.  And I can hardly believe my good fortune that tomorrow morning I get to do it all over again.  Tomorrow and every day.  To God be the glory.


This is the homily that Fr. Friederichs preached for our confirmation

Confirmation, like every sacrament, celebrates something special happening between God and the individuals receiving the sacrament. In this case, we are celebrating because these six people have chosen to leave themselves open for the Spirit of God to touch them in a way that will make it possible for them to live like Jesus. Basically, by presenting yourselves today, Nick, Rawson, Jack, Glenn, Rachel and Vincent, you are making yourself available for God to do good –and maybe even great— things in you as a follower of Jesus and a member of the Catholic Church. Because you are making yourself available that way, this is a great day for you, for the church, for our parish, and even for God. You are giving God a gift –the gift of yourselves-- today even as God gives you the gift of Jesus’ Spirit. This wonderful and personal exchange of gifts is certainly a reason to celebrate.

Our scriptures for today shed light on why we are celebrating as we are. Actually, the scriptures we just heard aren’t specially chosen for Confirmation today. They are the usual readings for this Sunday. But they are perfect for the occasion. They are perfect because they speak about three important aspects of living as a confirmed Christian.

First of all they remind us that God’s care for us is for keeps: God’s dwelling is with the human race….they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God,” the second reading tells us. In other words, God will stay with us through thick and thin, whether we feel it or not; whether we walk away or not. God is no quitter when it comes to loving us. That message is precisely what the anointing means that you will receive in a few minutes. The anointing says that you are consecrated to God and God is committed to you.
That same reading also has God saying, “Behold I make all things new.” That’s good news for us. God takes us and the events of our lives and keeps re-shaping them. God keeps picking up the pieces of our lives and uses them to keep us connected with God. In other words, God works with us to maximize our strengths and to minimize our failures. That’s something to celebrate.

Our first reading reflects the challenge of Confirmation. Leaving yourselves available to God won’t always be easy. The text says, “It is necessary to undergo hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” The words “Entering the kingdom of God” are what we might call a code “for aligning our hearts and our lives with the heart of God.” Aligning our hearts with God’s comes at a price. It involves compassion and forgiveness. It insists on reverence for each person and all of life. It requires giving God priority in our lives. It means resisting patterns and values contrary to those of Jesus. Lots of people and patterns in our world will tell us it is foolish to try to align our hearts with God’s heart. So it will require courage and commitment to live by the example of Jesus. That too is what the anointing symbolizes; the strength that only God’s spirit can give us to be strong enough to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Our third text is the gospel. In it Jesus, couldn’t be any clearer. He tells us, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Those words, too, are a challenge. But they are also an encouragement because they make clear that he gives us his love before he asks us to give ours. In other words, his love for us will give us the strength and courage to love the way he loves. It’s a lifelong learning process, this loving as Jesus loves. Your confirmation is a key step in that process, offering you a deeper share in the Spirit of Jesus so you can love like him, more and more, with the passing each day.

This deeper share in his Spirit that you receive today is surely something to celebrate. And so celebrate we do today, as you make yourself available to the Spirit of Jesus. Today we pray with you and for you that you will keep making yourself available for the Spirit of Jesus for the rest of your lives. If you do, it will make all the difference in the world for you. In fact, it will make all the difference in the world, period!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

He knew

 5 years ago, my sister in law died of complications following a mastectomy.  It was right before Holy Week.    I remember going to the funeral Mass at St. Kevin's in Warwick.  My older sister in law took me aside and mentioned that I should not take communion.  I was very upset by this.  During the mass, when the time for communion came, my sons and I went up to the front and crossed our arms in front of us so we could receive a blessing.  Emmett didn't understand, though, and accidentally took the host.

Last night, my brother in law, Tu, reminded me of that day.  I knew, he said, that you were longing for communion.  I knew then that someday you would be a Catholic.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I shared with my priest my fears and doubts.  He listened very attentively, sifting through my words for signs of God's Grace.  I am bereft, I said, that I might never again take communion with my sons.  It brings me grief that I will no longer be a member of their church.  I am afraid that maybe I have made this choice of my will, not my Father's.  I am asking God to be clear, to reassure me that it is HIS will that I am obeying, not mine.  If that is so, then I can be at peace, even in the grief and doubt.

And you, Father, listened earnestly.  You listened and then spoke.  And your words were full of Grace.  That the breakup of our family's faith is a reflection of the sin of the church in shattering the Body of Christ.  That our little family is a microcosm of the centuries that the Church has been broken... into pieces ever smaller and more fragmented.  But, you said, just as the breaking is true of the Body, so is the fact that it cannot be entirely broken... The body does have union, if not full union.  And when I go to the altar for your Body and Blood, Lord, I will be praying that I am also in union with my sons and husband, who receive you in another time, another place, another church... but it is still your body, now and forever.  I will rest in that.  And for the rest of my life, pray for unity in my family and in the church.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I went to the Vespers service today at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.  It was great timing, as I have been struggling lately with doubts.  Am I doing the right thing?  Is this really what God wants?  Is he REALLY calling me, or is this all a figment of my imagination?

As I looked at the beautiful church and listened the psalms being sung in Latin, I thought that maybe my upcoming confirmation is like a marriage that my Father has arranged for me.  I am the nervous bride who doesn't really know my betrothed all that well, but I know my Beloved is from a good family and that it will please my Father to marry him, so I am going to trust that, as is often the case with marriages like this, I will grow to love with a passion and depth I can't yet imagine.  This is the marriage my Father has arranged, and though I am frightened, I am also willing.  And to take the metaphor a bit farther, I am, in a sense, leaving my family, too.  I am leaving my church family for a new one.  I will go back for visits, but things will never be the same.  It is at once glorious and bittersweet.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It is coming up fast.  Next weekend I am going to be confirmed.  Jesus, it's me and you.  Wherever you want to lead, I will follow.  Whatever you ask, I will do my best to say YES.  My soul is leaping for joy.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sweet blessing

I need all the prayer I can get these days.  Every one of them lifts me out of the dark places.  Every whisper to God inches me closer.  In church today I was on the list of those who are going to be confirmed.  Our names were read aloud and I felt my heart leap when mine was called.  This is the same parish that prays daily for Mali, Syria and Afganistan and other places of war.  I am a country at war, too.  There are skirmishes in my heart every day.  Some days Holiness and Light break through.  Sometimes the darkness wins.  God is always at work, though.  On the light days he breathes joy into my heart and lifts me with Grace and speaks softly in my ear.  From the darkness I cast a line towards him, hoping to catch on so I can pull towards him.  And when, in my weakness, I cannot pull anymore, he reels the line for me, with forgiveness and love.

I need prayer these days.  

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I actually can't tell if I am tired or depressed or just wanting to be alone to recharge with Christ.  I don't want to see anyone.  I don't want to do anything but stay in my room and read.  I am having to drag myself to work and even to drumming class lately... and tonight seems the worst yet.  I don't want to talk on the phone or read my email. None of it.

Just lie in my bed with the covers up to my chin and rest.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Nguyen and I got married in the Unitarian Church.  Although we had words of scripture read, we did not have a Christian wedding.

So, in preparation for my confirmation this month, we are going to have our wedding blessed by the Church. Which meant that we needed to get the details of Nguyen's baptism.  (Mine was easy:  Grace Church, Providence, Pentecost, 2006.)

Imagine, then, that we had to reconnect with a church in a small town in the mountains of Vietnam.  And imagine our surprise and delight that in that beautiful cathedral, the evidence of my husband's baptism still exists, 50 years and one war later.  His parents, along with their Christian names, his God parents, the name of the priest... .it is all there.

And although to some people this all might seem like an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, to me it has been a sweet and wonderful adventure.  A way to connect to my husband's past.  His roots.  And a way to get his family involved, too, as they were instrumental in making this all happen.

To me, having the words 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit' added to our wedding after nearly 25 years is a joy and a blessing.  And I think it means we get a second honeymoon, right?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Tarot readers and fortune tellers cannot save you

So said Pope Francis at a recent morning mass.

(See the story here.)

Having been a tarot reader prior to becoming a Christian, I concur 100%.

It's not that I didn't want to help people.  My goal was always to point to the divine in their lives and give my clients insight into their complicated situations.   

But even so, I was often taken aback by how much power the clients gave the reader.  "Should I leave my husband?" "Should I have an affair with the man in my office?"  "Should I take this job or fly to Reno or put my kids in private school or begin a liquid weight loss diet?"

No matter how much I tried, it seemed that most of my clients wanted someone, anyone, to tell them how to live their lives.

I remember that for a short time after becoming a Christian, I continued my practice of reading cards for clients.  My heart was in the right place, I thought.  I always sought God in the readings.  I thought I was helping.  But then, little by little, my heart changed.  I began to see that people were treating me as a kind of idol.  The reality was that it wasn't MY intention that was the problem.  It was that I was leading people astray, despite my best intentions.  

So I quit.  I quit my tarot reading job.  Quit reading for friends.  Ultimately I stopped  reading for myself, even.  The scriptures are more than sufficient if I want to try and understand God's will for me.  Pray is sufficient.  I don't need a deck of cards to offer guidance any more.  

Tarot readers cannot save you.  Only through faith in Christ Jesus can you find true life.

Friday, April 05, 2013

conversion of heart

It is an ongoing process that started from my youngest years.  Long before I accepted Jesus into my life, I was seeking to know and love God.  I yearned for him.  And while it is true that I wandered down many paths, the one true path was there all along.

It has been nearly 10 years since my conversion.  I was baptized on September 10, 2003.  Since then I have been on the most amazing ride of my life.   My story with Jesus has been a love story, whispered in the darkness of an empty church, or sung in the beauty of the brilliant sun.  It is a story that has unfolded on bended knees with a broken and contrite heart and in a voice rising up in praise, prayer and thanks.

Always, always, I seek you, O God.  Always I look for you in every situation, in every ruin, every glorious day, every conflict, every sweet kiss.  You are there.

And you have been calling me, yet again.  As you once called me to yourself, then called me from the church of my youth, so again you are calling.  Calling me to the ancient church that you gave to us.  Calling me to yet one more conversion of heart.  And as the day of my confirmation approaches, I am filled with unutterable joy.  My soul leaps like a hart.  I am at once calm and beside myself with excitement.  I will take you, body and blood, into myself and nothing will ever be the same again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


We all have a bit of Judas in us, don't we? My heart is breaking today.  Jesus, with a kiss your friend led you to your death.  But even as it appeared that evil and darkness had triumphed, god had something beautiful and amazing going on.  Lord, get me through the next few days. Let me be have faith in the empty tomb.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I am going to miss it...

I have been going to church nearly every day lately.  But now there won't be another service until 7pm on Thursday.

I am counting the hours.

sweet confession

I confess to you and your tenderness holds me.  You draw me close.  Your heart seeps into mine, turning the coldness and dark into warm light.

Jesus.  How sweetly you call.  How gentle is your spirit.  Even now, in the midst of this week of betrayal and pain, suffering and fear, you are gentle, oh lover of souls.  Oh, love.  You are sweet.  You reconcile us to yourself and ever hold open your arms.

Forgive me.

I love you.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I am going to bring a little palm cross to work.  The cross was made by one of the many favorite teens from Grace Church with a palm from our Palm Sunday service.  I will put it up discretely so the clients who come into the center won't be confronted with it... but I am planning to put it where I can see it.

I love Palm Sunday.  I love all of Holy Week, actually.  The entire journey from Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed colt to Easter Sunday, complete with fancy dresses and decorated hats.  What goes on between those two moments is grueling, gripping, painful and incredible.  It is a week of coming face to face with sin.  It is a week when I have to acknowledge that I am one of those who waves palms joyfully one minute and then cries ''Crucify Him" to Pilate in the next.  Because it IS our sin that nails him to the cross.

I know that some of my evangelical friends are uncomfortable with the intensity around Holy Week.  Is it idolatry to put palms on your wall?  Is it really necessary to relive every moment of the crucifixion every year, sitting in a somber and quiet church reflecting on the 7 last things Christ said from the cross for 3 solid hours?  Or creeping towards a wooden crucifix and kissing the feet of him who is represented there?

For me, there is no controversy or conflict.  These rituals came from a church that did not yet have ready access to scripture for the masses.  These rituals were a way for everyday folks to physically, mentally and spiritually engage with the story long before Gutenberg invented his press.  And even now, for someone with no less than 6 copies of scripture in 4 translations, the physical act of standing and waving palms, or of kissing the feet of a crucifix gives the story an immediacy that just reading could not.  Those wooden feet are not HIS.  But these lips are mine....  And we are whole beings.  The physical is part of our faith.

So, the cross is going up.  The rest of the palms will be tucked somewhere in my home, to dry and wilt until I bring them to church to be burned for next year's Ash Wednesday service.  And I will pray that Christ will use this Holy Week to draw me closer to him.  And to glorify himself in the process.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I am facebook friends with a kid my son's age.  Quite a bit of what he posts is hate-filled rhetoric against the church.

And I have to wonder, where does a kid learn to hate like that?  It makes me sad to think that his parents are encouraging that kind of prejudice.  It makes me sadder still to think that this boy is going to attempt to go through life with nothing but anger towards God.

I had a snarky attitude towards Christians growing up.  I spent years hating.  And suffering.

I pray for this kid.  I pray that his hatred doesn't win.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I told my priest today that I felt like I have done a crappy job of Lent this year.  I just don't feel like I have paid enough attention to it.  Haven't felt penitential enough.  Have started the headlong slide into Holy Week altogether too fast.

He gently suggested that as Lent is a time of transformation, perhaps it has been powerfully effective, whether I feel like I am doing it right or not.  

My work is transforming.  We had a fire just before Ash Wednesday and have been spending our collective Lent trying to emerge from the ashes, reinventing our ministry and ourselves in the process.  It has been both joyful and brutal.  We, all of us, are the walking wounded.  But still maintain a sense of optimism and hope.  We see God at work and are so very grateful.  We are lifted by prayer and offers of help.  But we are exhausted, too.  Starting over is exhausting.

At the same time, I have been undergoing a major spiritual shift.  Something changed during my retreat last fall.  I have been attending church several times a week, reading scripture daily, thirsting for Jesus in a new way.  My heart is filled with peace and joy.  An indescribable delight.

And God has been giving me signs and wonders. He has given me companions on the path.  He has sweetly led the way and I have willingly followed.

But tonight, I am tired.  So very very tired.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

drawing closer

Jesus, you are inviting me ever closer.  You are whispering in my ear.  Leaning in close.  Your sacred heart is  on fire for me... and mine is for you.

I trust you.  I believe you.  I am following.  Lead on....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fear not

Much shifting is taking place for me, lately.  I have been on a spiritual roller coaster ride since my retreat in November.  But God has been giving me many graces and consolations, including a thirst for the scriptures that has been a great blessing.  He is speaking to me through his word, through liturgy, through sacraments and in meditation.

I have been going to church several times a week.  It has been a respite in the midst of everything.  On days that I don't go, I feel like something is missing.  Blessed are you, sweet King.  I am so grateful for all that is unfolding, even when I am afraid or sad.  You whisper to me

"trust me."

"don't be afraid."

"trust me."

And I think I do, deep down inside.  I think I do.