Monday, January 30, 2006

A Beautiful Day

When you get a beautiful spring-like day in January you take advantage of it. I opened some windows, walked the children back and forth to school and listened to the birds sing. My daughter rode her scooter after school - as a way to get rid of the grumpies. My son rode his skateboard and bicycle after school. He wants snow so he can try out his new snowboard - but I'm happy with spring like weather. And we thank God for all the wonderful things he gives us.

Friday, January 27, 2006

This Sunday's Reading for Children

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (cycle B)
(Mark 1:21-28)

Jesus was speaking to the people in the synagogue in Capernaum. The people were very interested in what he had to say, because instead of saying ‘the Lord told me to say this,’ he just said it. Because, of course, he was the Lord.

While he was there a man who had demons in his body came up to him. The demons yelled at Jesus and said “Have you come to destroy us. I know you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus ordered the demons to come out of the man. And they did!

The people watching were amazed because the demons did what he told them to do. The demons obeyed, because they had to obey God.

Jesus is a man, but he is also God. He has power over the earth.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Everyone Has a Story

I love family history. And while finding the family lineage back generation after generation is interesting, what I really like is thinking about the real story behind the people.

Sometimes those stories are easy to come by - an ancestor was noteworthy and there are records of his or her life. Or perhaps prolific and left a written record, an autobiography, letters, something of that sort.

But there are also the people whose stories we may never know. Think about the great-great-grandfather who came to America from the old country. Perhaps it is amazing to know his name at all. But what about his mother? Do we know who she is? If we have a name do we have a story? What did she think when she found out she was going to have a child? Was the great-great-grandfather her first child or her 12th? Was her husband her one true love, or was it an arranged marriage?

The lives of people a hundred years ago were very much like the lives of people today. True, they didn't have TV, internet, cars or a host of other modern conveniences, but they fell in love, they got married, they had children, they had hopes and heartaches.

Everyone has a story, whether it is our ancestor or our neighbor. And I love a good story. Don't you?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If Today You Hear His Voice

At my old parish instead of having song books they chose to photocopy the songs and responses that they would use for a couple of weeks and leave the photocopied page in the pews.

For some of the songs they would have instructions - such as "please repeat after cantor".

I remember one song in particular they used to use as a responsorial. They listed the title followed by the instructions. It looked something like this:

"If Today You Hear His Voice" please repeat after cantor.

Well, I guess there are worse things you can do if you hear His voice.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Explaining the gospel to my son today I told him that Simon, Andrew, James and John were fisherman, and Jesus came up to them and told them to follow him.

"What would you say if Jesus came up to you and asked you to follow him?" I asked him.

He didn't even hesitate. "I'd say 'okay'."

We should all be like that. Jesus is asking us to follow him. What's our answer?

Like my son, I say 'okay'.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sunday Readings for Children

I find that the readings during Mass can often go way over the heads of children. In an attempt to bring the Word of God to their level, I will try to post a simplified version of the week's readings (at least one of the three), each week.

This Sunday's Readings for Children

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (cycle B)
1st Reading (Jon 3, 1-5, 10)

God told Jonah to go to the great city of Ninevah and give them a message from Him. The message was a scary one. Because the people of Ninevah had been so bad, God was going to destroy their city in just forty days.

Ninevah was a big city and it took Jonah three days to walk from one end to the other, all the while giving the people God’s message.

The people believed Jonah, and did not want their city to be destroyed. They were very sorry that they had been bad. They wanted to be good now. They tore their clothes and ate no food to show God that they were really sorry.

When God saw how sorry they were, he changed his mind. He did not destroy the city.

God doesn’t want to punish us, he just wants us to be good, and to be sorry when we are bad.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Answering the Call

This past week's old testament reading at Mass was about Samuel hearing God calling him in the night. At first, naturally, he did not recognize that it was the Lord, but thought it was Eli. Finally, he answers the Lord.

Not many of us hear the Lord calling to us at night. Small children, yes. Wrong numbers, maybe. But not usually God.

But are we listening?

God (as far as my experience goes) does not speak to us via megaphone. No loud voice booming from the clouds. Though, I bet if he did that - more people would listen. No, he uses a quiet subtle touch, inside our own thoughts.

In my case, when readings or sermons were about how we can use our abilities for God, I wondered - what are my abilities? The answer, I could write.

So I will.

Monday, January 16, 2006

They do pay attention

Paying attention in church is not my son's strong point. Or so I thought. Then one day he said, "Miss L is going to get drunk." Okay - strange statement from a five year old. Upon further questioning he explained, "she takes a really big sip of the wine."

See, they do pay attention. Now, if I can just get him to pay attention to the mass.

Bitte Für Uns

The summer after my freshman year in high school I spent a month in Germany visiting a cousin. I spoke virtually no German, my cousin, fortunately spoke English. Naturally while I was there we went to Mass. I understood none of it - almost (thoughI did enjoy studying the intricate paintings on the ceilings)

The one part I understood was the response to the prayers of petition. The part where normally we say "Lord Hear Our Prayer". They said "Bitte für uns," which literally translated means, "Please, for us".

Sometimes when the response in our church has been changed to something like "God of Mercy and Light shine upon us" (fictional response, but sometimes they get quite long and elaborate) and I'm concentrating on trying to remember what I'm supposed to respond, and so don't catch what we're praying for, I remember the Germany response. It was simple and to the point. So I say that one, in my head. Because isn't that always our prayer to God? Please, for us.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Take the simple

and the ordinary and turn it into the happy and wonderful. You can do it everyday." That is a line from the song "Dawn Has Come" by the monks of the Weston Priory. That line has almost become a mantra or an anthem to me.

Our lives are full of ordinary, every day kinds of moments, we need to appreciate them for what they are. As they say when you take a trip if you spend all of your time looking forward to your destination, you'll miss the joys of the journey - of course for anyone who has ever traveled the NJ Turnpike, maybe 'joys of the journey' is being a bit optimistic.
In the show 24, which I admit to not watching, but I understand is a great show - the premise is that the whole season makes up one 24 hour day. And each action-packed episode makes up an hour of that day. If our real lives were like that I think we'd all have strokes or heart attacks or simply die from exhaustion. Who can take that much excitement at one time? I'm sure it makes for great TV viewing though.

In the Stephen Sondheim musical
"Into the Woods" there is a song called "Any Moment". In it the baker's wife is ruminating on the tryst she just had with the Prince. The Prince has left her, but assured her it was a great moment for him. She wonders why life can't be always full of 'moments' like that. But then goes on to realize that "if life were only moments, even now and then a bad one - if life were only moments, then we'd never know we had one."
The point is, and I suppose I do have a point, that life is made up of the simple and ordinary things, with some excitement thrown in for spice and seasoning. But if we wait around for the exciting parts we might miss the bulk of our life.

What makes up the bulk of my life right now? Being a stay-at-home Catholic Mom to two elementary school-aged children. Being a wife. Taking care of the things around the home that need taking care of. Why am I starting a blog? To share thoughts I have about the things around me - the ordinary and the not so ordinary. Stay tuned.