Monday, May 7, 2012

Mass Reflection

                The first weekend of the month in May is always First Communion Sunday.  I really love this day because there is nothing better than seeing all the precious children participating in Eucharist for the first time in their lives.  The problem with this service is the church is packed with a ton of family and friends for the kids; plus, the Mass runs extra long.  My kids don’t like going for these reasons.  I hate sitting in the back and feel guilty for taking seats in the front where the people supporting the celebrants should be able to sit.  Thus, this Sunday we decided to attend 8:00am Mass instead of 10:30am Mass.  Of course now I am sad because I didn’t see Lily, Molly, or Kyley receive Communion.  Hum, I can be such a conundrum.
                So, without being a part of the celebration, I sat at the earlier Mass tired from a late night of children and an unusually early wakeup in the morning.  My son almost fell asleep during the homily which I worried about for myself, but Father used his three point homily.  I love when he does this because I listen harder to remember the points.  The other good thing he does is repeat the points a couple of times to really drive home the message.  The gospel dealt with the vine and the branches, one of my favorites. 
                Point one talked about us being connected to Jesus like the branch is connected to the vines and to stay connected.  I love the imagery.  Father traveled to England and saw a vine over a thousand years old.  I can’t even imagine seeing something that old.  I will have to put this on my bucket list.  In the mean time, I will stay connected by continuing to attend church, praying, and reading.
                For the second point, Father talked about producing fruit.  I don’t think it is enough to just stay connected; we need to live our faith by being charitable in words, thoughts, and deeds.  This is the fruit that comes from being connected.  In fact, if our branch doesn’t produce, we will be cut from the vine.  We will no longer be connected.  Producing fruit is vital to stay connected.
                Finally, the point that touched me yesterday and still resonates with me is the third.  I have always thought that God will prune us where needed to keep us producing the rich fruit which he does, but there is more to it.  We must actively prune as well.  We must cut out the areas of our lives that begin to disconnect us from the vine.  I need to cut out my negative and judgmental thoughts of not only others but also about myself.  I need to clip off following those who don’t keep Christ at the center of their lives.  I don’t need to remove the people from my life, but I can’t participate in their destructive behavior either.  I believe I have done this, but I need to continue to watch for the areas in my life that don’t produce fruit.  Now, I can think of the vine and my ability to vigorously prune out the deadness.
                I so love when the Homily speaks to me.
                Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Standing By The Sidelines

            The biggest responsibility I have with my journey to holiness other then my own faith life is the life of my children.  The last couple of weeks have been trying with last night and this morning overflowing with emotions.  The biggest drama encompasses my son, the middle child.
            Over the last two years, I have watched, listened, and advised as he treads the waters of dating.  He splashes, sinks, and learns as we all have through these teenage years.  Our guidance is to pray, be lovingly honest, be true to self, and always be a gentleman.  I really struggle with sitting on the sidelines as drama enters the picture with only listening and advising.  Last night, he talked about an argument that happened and my heart broke a little more for both parties. 
This morning a little of the emotions from the argument slipped onto facebook in a post I read from one of the sources.  I am bothered when these posts point fingers at others so publicly even when names aren’t mentioned.  Granted, here I write on a blog post pointing my own finger, so I am feeling a bit hypocritical.  In the days the Bible was written, people stoned others.  To me this is a cryptic verbal stoning.  Instead we are to take the person aside to speak to them of matters not shout it from the market place.  As a parent, what am I to do?  If it were bullying, character defamation, or another tremendous breach of behavior, I would become more involved, but it is minor.  I didn’t mention it to my son.  I continue to pray.
As he left the house this morning, I gave him my blessing.  “Also, remember you are loved.” 
He grinned.  “Remember you are loved too.”  My daughter and I just had a fight and he lovingly reminded me that I needed to remember as well.
Raising a daughter has been very challenging for me.  The emotions are so overwhelming.  I don’t do so well with them.  Last night, she came into our room with tears flowing down her cheeks.  “I think something is wrong with Kermit.”  I passed her over to her dad because I was busy editing a project.  As they left the room, I realized this could be big.  I jumped up and followed them.  Sure enough, poor Kermit the hamster was dead.  We have only had him for a month.  As expected, Madelle was devastated.  We found a biodegradable box for a coffin.  Kermit was laid to rest in the backyard with an Our Father said and some special words. 
This morning she was still sad as was I when I thought of him.  As I packed her lunch, I asked about her homework.  With the death of her pet, we all forgot about it the night before.  She started working on the math.  The details aren’t important.  The result is her not listening, me raising my voice, and her running to her room slamming the door.  I prayed.  She apologized.  We hugged.
As she gathered her gear to leave the pickup in the school parking lot, I reminded her of my love.  “Also, I prayed for you.”  She left with a heavy heart.  Again, I am standing by the sidelines watching her go through the waves of grief.
Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

                May Day (May 1st) brings back fond memories of my childhood.  Each year, my friend and I walked across the street from my house to the side hill.  We picked wild flowers for my mom and his aunt.  Of course, we knocked on the door after placing them on the porch running around the house to not get caught.  I think Mom did catch me a time or two, so I gave her a kiss.  I loved the ritual and miss it. 
                Thinking back to those times, I believe the hillside began my love of flowers.  I picked what I discovered.  Once home, my parents told me the name of the flower.  My favorite then and now is the delicate shooting star.  Up on the mountain that borders our little city, these flowers bloom in all their glory.  Yesterday, I didn’t find any, but I did enjoy seeing the wild crocus and a couple other types of flowers.
                Here is a verse I found in the Bible that I would like to share.  “Let us go early to the vineyards, and see if the vines are in bloom, If the buds have opened, if the pomegranates have blossomed; There will I give you my love.”  Song of Songs 7:13.  God meets me in my gardens and in nature’s gardens.  No wonder I always feel so close to him there.  I included a pomegranate blossom, so very beautiful.
Happy May Day and Blessing to you all.