It’s been an introspective week for me, so I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a few weeks: offer a little SUBSTANCE in my quick takes!
First, though, I have to share a special moment of happiness with you. As I was sitting here, waiting (somewhat) patiently for my very slow computer to process, I watched two salesmen approach my front door. And then I watched them walk away. Pure joy. Created by a simple “no soliciting” sign.
The other day, an acquaintance accidentally told me something about another acquaintance which I had been blissfully unaware of, but which is apparently common knowledge. If I were saintly and immune to the pull of gossip, I might have said, “Wow, that’s awful. Please don’t tell me anything more. I’ll pray for them.” However, being human – and me – I said, “Well, you might as well tell me because I could just Google it anyways.” And I learned information that no one really needs to know about another person. Terrible, awful, horrid information. Leave you feeling sick for the rest of the day information. As I prayed the Rosary that night, and the nasty information intruded upon my meditation, I was reminded of a thought I often have when considering the crown of thorns. The hands that wove that crown must have been as badly battered by the thorns as was the head upon which it was placed. Perhaps even more so. And that’s what gossip does to us. Not only does the thorny crown of gossip injure the person of whom we speak, it also injures the person who weaves it in the first place.
Lots of thoughts have come out of my Rosaries this week, and here’s another one. While we know that the news of Christ’s conception is among the most joyous in all of history (second only to the Resurrection), the moment that Mary heard those words, she is sure to have experienced a wide array of emotions. She was faced with the possibility of being an unwed mother, in a world that believed such a woman should be stoned to death. Certainly, while she must have felt great joy at the news, she must also have experienced fear, worry, embarrassment, and more. For, while she was conceived without sin, and remained sinless, she was, nonetheless, human, and those are innately human emotions. So, what did Mary do in this time of what many would have called “trouble”? Well, first, obviously, she gave herself over completely to God… “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” and then, instead of wallowing in fear and worry like most of us would do, she walked four days to go to her cousin Elizabeth, spread the joy of Christ’s coming (and John’s too!) and serve her elderly cousin. Indeed, one might say that when life gave Mary lemons (ok, we know it wasn’t lemons, but bear with me here), Mary didn’t just make lemonade. She made lemonade, and walked for miles upon miles to bring lemonade to a person in need. And so should we.
This afternoon found me throwing the ball with Dude, and wondering: how on earth does a woman who has a rampant fear of flying spherical objects wind up with a mitt on one hand and a ball smacking into it, as her son coaches her on throwing techniques and catching angles? But that’s what we moms do, isn’t it? We overcome fears, embarrassments, and insecurities to do what makes our kids happy. And we discover that maybe, just maybe, we can have a little fun in the process.
I received a new book this week that I’m pretty thrilled with. Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day tells the story of how a scared little bunny became the Easter Bunny through an encounter in a cave with a very special man. What a fantastic way to finally make some Christian sense of an otherwise non-sensical character, and remind our children of the real reason for Easter. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the little hopper, and this book has tipped the scales much more heavily towards love.
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I’ve gotten out of the habit of praying Evening Prayer lately, but last night felt strongly led to do so. I knew immediately that the Spirit was at work. The Psalm was Psalm 16 and the words “You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone” resonated strongly with me. No human can give us happiness. And no human can make us unhappy. If our trust, love and hope lie in God; if our very beings are centered entirely around Him, than we can have happiness, no matter the trials we may be facing in the world.
“The lot marked out for me is my delight”… We all have crosses to bear, but we are meant to find joy in their weight, knowing that we become more like Christ in doing so.
“And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay.”
Finally, when I meditate on Christ Carrying the Cross, and I think of Simon the Cyrene, I often think of how I can be a “Simon” to others, and help a friend or neighbor to bear their cross. This week, it struck me that I have a few of my own Simons, and I am eternally grateful to them.
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