The readings this weekend at Mass had to do with the story of the Prodigal Son. But Fr. Darrell’s take on the reading was more like the prodigal father. And when he was talking this way he implied that the father in the story was the same as our Father in heaven. That made me think. He defined “prodigal” as “spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wasteful extravagant”. That made me think. And I think it was the point he was trying to make. I took it that God, our Father, is immensely extravagant. He’ll give us all that He has. He only asks one thing of us, to follow Him.
But then I started thinking about inheritance. The prodigal son asked for his inheritance early. I don’t think I could do that. If you were to get your inheritance before you were entitled to it, to me, it’s like asking for the person who is “leaving” you something to leave. Now, if I had a rich old aunt that I didn’t know about that was going to leave me a gazillion dollars, I might want a part of it right now. But I think I know about all of my aunts and I can tell you that none of them are rich. But if I did . . .
When my grandmother died, I inherited a small sewing rocker that I had bought for her. I had bought it at an antique store. She had been with me and told me about her mother having one of those. I was so proud that I was able to take my babysitting money and go back to that store and buy it for her. When she died, her daughter, my aunt, gave it to me. I treasured that little rocker. I still have it although I wouldn’t recommend sitting in it.
When my father died my mother inherited everything. We didn’t know there was anything to get. About a year or so before my mother died she started giving everything away. She put our names on everything. What she didn’t divvy up, we did not long after she died. We had all of the furniture to get rid of, just all kinds of things. It seems strange to me now, but I ended up with quite a bit. Through the years I have lost some of those precious items but other things I still have. It’s a shame that I have allowed the memories of those items diminish. Sometimes you just have to move on. Every once in a while I note a table that Mom got from her aunt or a pair of earrings and I remember what Mom used to wear those earrings with. They’re nothing special except I can still see her wearing them, some 30 years later. I kept Mom’s Evan Picon red suit too. It was a size 6. It’s been awhile since I’ve been a size six. I wanted to give it to my daughter one day. If I had made up my mind that I wanted to do that then I should have taken better care of the suit because when I pulled it out for my daughter to wear it for senior pictures it had all kinds of moth holes in it. Oh well, it still made me smile. Just like my son wore my daddy’s suit coat for his senior pictures. Again, moth holes; again, it didn’t matter. He looked so much like my daddy in that jacket.
But if God promises us the kingdom of heaven, do I expect that I will go around putting my name on the bottom of items I want? I don’t think so. You know, I’ve never wandered what I would do if I am lucky enough to make it to heaven. I’ve never considered how my existence will be. I just want to be there. I just want to be welcomed in. It doesn’t matter if the streets are lined with gold, I won’t care. All I want is the streets to be lined with those who have gone before me. I want to see my grandmothers again. I want to sit down and analyze my life with my mom and dad. I want to hold my precious granddaughter Lucy in my arms, for all eternity. And I want to bask in the glow of the Father and His Son.
I know that God has been extravagant with me. I know that He has given me anything and everything that I need. He might not always answer my prayers but He knows what’s good for me, and what’s not. Now if only I could figure that out then I feel that I will be welcomed into His arms. Because when it comes down to it, that’s all I could ever want.
“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3
On the first Pentecost a huge wind came upon the house where the apostles were hiding. And then, tongues of fire came to rest on each one of them. And then they left the house and everyone who heard them understood them. I always took it that the apostles were speaking in all languages but it was the people who were able to understand everything that they said. Wow.
Catholics believe that when we are confirmed that the Holy Spirit comes into us. At that time then we become a “soldier of Christ”. I learned that when I was confirmed in the 3rd grade. I may not have always practiced that but I have always believed it.
Through the years though I know that the Holy Spirit has been alive in me. I can feel it when He descends upon me. I can feel it right before I serve as Lector during Mass. I can feel it when I watch my children practice their faith. I can feel it when I attempt to influence others in my faith. I can feel it. And it’s not just a feeling. It’s physical. In other situations I would consider it to be butterflies. But when I am professing my faith those butterflies take on a whole new meaning.
Right now I feel those butterflies in my arms, not telling me what to write but encouraging me to write. Writing is pretty scary. I can understand how scared those apostles had to be. They saw what happened to Jesus. And yet they were told by Jesus that they had to go out, put themselves out there, to teach about Him. I’m sure they were sitting there going, “yeah, right”. I can remember when I made up my mind to do what God asked me to do. It was only then that He made me write. Writing is one thing, letting someone read it is something completely different. But when He had me to write, He also put people in front of me that I could ask to read my writing. I remember my son, who is a writer, and a teacher, proofread my writing. I had to go back to him and tell him I wasn’t looking for an editor, I was looking for his opinion. I let others read what I had to write and most didn’t comment at all. That was good for me. A no comment meant to me that they didn’t hate it. Subsequently I have gotten good comments out of those people. But those silent opinions made me realize that maybe I could write, maybe I did have something to say. And so I have decided that it is my writing that the Holy Spirit wants to see out of me.
He wants different things out of different people. In that 1 Corinthians reading this week at Mass it goes onto say “As a body is on though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” In order to accomplish all that we need to do for Christ we must all take our talents and put them out there. I claim a “hand” in that body. You’ve got to have a “hand” to write. I could see my youngest son saying “I get the mouth”. He’s not much of a writer but he has a lot to say so give that boy a microphone.
I have always liked the image of the tongues of fire. I took a picture years ago of a confirmation class at Youth 2000. We had all the kids lined up with the monks who put on the retreat. You can see orbs in that picture, over some of the kids’ heads. I thought that was so interesting. If that doesn’t make you believe I don’t know what would. Honestly, when I dug out that picture I thought there were more. It’s still pretty cool.
What’s more important is that we do have the Holy Spirit in our lives. He’s there, whether we feel Him or not. Sometimes life will squash him down but He’s still there and given the right opportunity He will make His presence known. We just have to be open to listening to Him.
Days after holidays are my favorite Facebook days!
Never get to go to church on Sundays
Because of my work schedule
Got to go to church 4 times last week
It was awesome and did me ALOT of good
Best part was I managed to stay awake
And go to Easter Sunday mass yesterday (early mass)
I was sitting in the back pew
Drifting off just a little when SUDDENLY…..
I was startled by a cold gush of many holy water sprinkles
Splash me from behind and run down my neck
I had not seen Father leave the altar
With that big bucket of ice cold Easter water
Needless to say, Father Darrell took much enjoyment
When he returned to the altar after generously “blessing” us all
It was then that he simply, but proudly confessed…
“THAT…is one of my favorite things I get to do as a priest!”
Susan Mills Carrico
“Show us the way that leads to your side, over the mountains and sands of the soul.”
This line, from the song, “Change Our Hearts” by Rory Cooney, really spoke to me this week at Mass. I’ve always liked the song but I caught site of that line and it made me think of the peaks and valleys of my soul. I never think of my soul as having peaks and valleys.
But that would make sense, wouldn’t it? There are times when my soul soars but then there are times when my soul is in the doldrums.
We were talking about that very thing in our PRE class this week. We’ve been talking about prayer and this week we were talking about personal prayer. I let the 11th graders know that there would be times they really needed to take a break in their prayer life and that would be fine. But that their relationship to prayer was just like a good friend and it needed to be cultivated to grow. You’re not going to go a week without talking with your best friend, why would you go a week without praying?
But the thing about this line in the song, mountains are glorious, if you’re on top. But they are very intimidating at their base. And if you have to climb that mountain that’s a lot of worry and work.
But then the sand part. I love sand. I love the beach. But walking on sand is so hard to do. First, it’s hot. Then, if it’s loose, you early have to go barefoot, sort of like walking in mud. And if you walk out in the water then the sand slips out from beneath your feet. It is so easy to lose your footing. Isn’t that the same in prayer? There are times that you are not sure footed and some times the bottom falls out and you have to scramble to keep your footing.
I guess the point is that no matter how hard we try there will still be things that force you to climb or that cause you to lose your footing. I guess we always have to be at the ready for that, and for the bridegroom.
January 20, 2016
Whenever I was younger one of my teachers told me to hold my rosary like I was proud to use it. I’m sure you could imagine little stubborn Katie did not have any of it. Now I hold it higher than I hold anything else. I’m sure you all are wondering why I’m not in Washington D.C. God had other plans. Tonight I attended the rosary at the grotto. There are wonderful women and usually dad who will go through anything the elements throw at them to pray the rosary for anyone who needs it. Brothers and sisters, I come to you not to preach, but to encourage. You see, instead of being on a bus with other pro-life members, I was in Fancy Farm. I could’ve easily chosen not to go to the rosary. In fact, I was really thinking about it. I went. Silly me forgot her new gloves that her wonderful father bought her for the March. I got through it ladies and gentlemen. Tonight was the sorrowful mysteries and I cried because I wasn’t in Washington. I then calmed down. (I’m the master of silent crying.) If you don’t know, the fifth sorrowful mystery was of course the one that always hits home. Jesus dies on the cross. I bawled of course. It’s funny how He died for us on the cross and we take that for granted often. I know I do. We try to be holy. Like the red words say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I encourage you all to come to the grotto. I know many of us try the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight. What about becoming more holy? Or at least try? The Lenten season is coming up and I cannot be more excited as I am giving up bread. (Except the Body of Christ obviously.) I encourage you all to come out to the grotto on Wednesdays at 5:30. Many of you go to The Stations of the Cross, why not come pray the rosary before it? I’m just asking for you guys to try. If you’re busy I understand. As for Washington I will be at the church tomorrow to pray the rosary, as will hopefully a bunch of others to pray for life. If you can’t come, pray at home! Below are my fingers freezing off, but if Jesus can suffer all he went through, I can get through the rosary on a cold night.