Thursday, April 27, 2006
There is something to keeping everything in balance when it comes to one's health. At times my life feels as though I am a plate spinner who lacks the timing to keep all the plates rotating at the same time. No matter how quickly I move that last plate teeters precariously and falls before I can get there to snatch it and get it spinning again.
I have decided it is time to retire some of the plates in my act. I have been trying to do too much. Mrangelmeg has been telling me this for over a year now, and so has my Dr. I thought that I could do everything; my job and the family commitments and schoolwork, and take care of myself. The problem is one of those plates keeps losing steam. It is only because I am not alone in any of these areas that I haven't lost any plates yet. The plate that seems to get left out most often lately is the taking care of myself and my family.
One of the scariest effects of the stress of trying to keep all the plates spinning is how damaging it has been to my overall health. I know that I am getting worse, not better. My energy level is shot, and my stamina is about half what it normally is.
I spent a wonderful evening today with the angelbaby (our youngest daughter). She will be going into 4th grade next year and they had a Spring open house so that we could go and check out the 4th grade rooms and teachers and decide which one she wants to be in next year. My first inclination was that I didn't want to go to this evening. My energy level was shot for the day, but I realized how much she wanted to go, and how important it was to her that I go with her to help her decide.
We had a very nice time talking to the teachers (some of whom have had her older siblings) and discussing the merits of each teacher's classroom pets and teaching styles. In the end she realized that she doesn't really have anything to worry about, because each of the 4th grade teachers had something that impressed her. She will be happy in any of their classes. It was a great moment of growth for her. When we wrote up our criteria for the school to use when placing her in a class next year, we stated just that: she will be happy in any of the teacher's rooms.
Had I selfishly been concerned with only my own needs tonight I would have come home from my exhausting day at my job and taken a nap, taken it easy and not gone to the Open House with the angelbaby. But then we would have missed the chance to grow into this decision about her future, and I never would have realized that my family is much more important to me than my job ever was.
I think it is time to take that career plate down for a while and refocus my energy into keeping that family plate spinning.
Love this excerpted chat from Gerald - a Q&A between young people and the pope (and how I like that Benedict spends so much time talking one-on-one with his flock - he is a good teacher!):
Holy Father, my name is Anna. I am 19 years old… One of the problems we are constantly facing is how to approach emotional issues. We frequently find it difficult to love. Yes, difficult: Because it is easy to confuse love with selfishness, especially today when most of the media almost imposes on us an individualistic, secularized vision of sexuality in which everything seems licit and everything is permitted in the name of freedom and individual conscience. The family based on marriage now seems little more than a Church invention, not to speak of premarital relations, whose prohibition appears, even to many of us believers, difficult to understand or anachronistic. Knowing well that so many of us are striving to live our emotional life responsibly, could you explain to us what the Word of God has to tell us about this? Thank you.
Benedict XVI: This is a vast question and it would certainly be impossible to answer it in a few minutes, but I will try to say something.
Anna herself has already given us some of the answers. She said that today love is often wrongly interpreted because it is presented as a selfish experience, whereas it is actually an abandonment of self, and thus becomes a self-discovery.
She also said that a consumer culture falsifies our life with a relativism that seems to grant us everything, but in fact completely drains us.
So let us listen to the word of God in this regard. Anna rightly wanted to know what the word of God says. For me it is a beautiful thing to observe that already in the first pages of sacred Scripture, subsequent to the story of man’s creation, we immediately find the definition of love and marriage.
The sacred author tells us: “A man will leave his father and mother and will cleave to his wife, and they will become one flesh,” one life (cf. Genesis 2:24-25). We are at the beginning and we are already given a prophecy of what marriage is; and this definition also remains identical in the New Testament.
Marriage is this following of the other in love, thus becoming one existence, one flesh, therefore inseparable; a new life that is born from this communion of love that unites and thus also creates the future.
Medieval theologians, interpreting this affirmation which is found at the beginning of sacred Scripture, said that marriage is the first of the seven sacraments to have been instituted by God already at the moment of creation, in paradise, at the beginning of history and before any human history.
It is a sacrament of the Creator of the universe; hence, it is engraved in the human being himself, who is oriented to this journey on which man leaves his parents and is united to a woman in order to form only one flesh, so that the two may be a single existence.
Thus, the sacrament of marriage is not an invention of the Church; it is really “con-created” with man as such, as a fruit of the dynamism of love in which the man and the woman find themselves and thus also find the Creator who called them to love.It is true that man fell and was expelled from paradise, or, in other words, more modern words, it is true that all cultures are polluted by the sin, the errors of human beings in their history, and that the initial plan engraved in our nature is thereby clouded. Indeed, in human cultures we find this clouding of God’s original plan.
At the same time, however, if we look at cultures, the whole cultural history of humanity, we note that man was never able to forget completely this plan that exists in the depths of his being. He has always known, in a certain sense, that other forms of relationships between a man and a woman do not truly correspond with the original design for his being.
And thus, in cultures, especially in the great cultures, we see again and again how they are oriented to this reality: monogamy, the man and the woman becoming one flesh.
This is how a new generation can grow in fidelity, how a cultural tradition can endure, renew itself in continuity and make authentic progress.
The Lord, who spoke of this in the language of the prophets of Israel, said referring to Moses, who tolerated divorce: Moses permitted you to divorce “because of the hardness of your hearts.” After sin, the heart became “hard,” but this was not what the Creator had intended, and the prophets, with increasing clarity, insisted on this original plan.
To renew man, the Lord — alluding to these prophetic voices which always guided Israel towards the clarity of monogamy — recognized with Ezekiel that, to live this vocation, we need a new heart; instead of a heart of stone — as Ezekiel said — we need a heart of flesh, a heart that is truly human.
And the Lord “implants” this new heart in us at baptism, through faith. It is not a physical transplant, but perhaps we can make this comparison. After a transplant, the organism needs treatment, requires the necessary medicines to be able to live with the new heart, so that it becomes “one’s own heart” and not the “heart of another.”
This is especially so in this “spiritual transplant” when the Lord implants within us a new heart, a heart open to the Creator, to God’s call. To be able to live with this new heart, adequate treatment is necessary; one must have recourse to the appropriate medicines so that it can really become “our heart.”
Thus, by living in communion with Christ, with his Church, the new heart truly becomes “our own heart” and makes marriage possible. The exclusive love between a man and a woman, their life as a couple planned by the Creator, becomes possible, even if the atmosphere of our world makes it difficult to the point that it appears impossible.
The Lord gives us a new heart and we must live with this new heart, using the appropriate therapies to ensure that it is really “our own.” In this way we live with all that the Creator has given us and this creates a truly happy life.
Me again: Now that I have stopped weaping I think I will call my beloved husband mrangelmeg and let him know how much I love him.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
He calls them Indexcardart
I have linked to one of my favorites, but once you get to the page click around and see all of the ones he has created so far. They are wonderfully expressive and just plain fun. I have taken to going there almost every day just to see what he comes up with next.
The commentary on his blog that goes with the art is worth the trip as well.
Thanks for sharing your gift with us Owen. Keep thriving.
All weekend fear and doubt and unbelief came over me like waves as I tried to process the fact that my work at the parish was actually going to end, and with it, I thought, my self identity, Becky's words of strength and encouragement kept coming back to me. I realized that the skills that she spoke about in her presentation were mine to cling to, and call upon to give me hope and peace in a time when I was struggling to find my way through the present darkness that was not wholly of my own choosing.
Becky's presentation was imaginative and fun and filled with a love for the Church and God and the faith that we all share. I want to encourage anyone who lives in the Midwest and who is looking for someone to give a motivational speech or retreat talk or any other type of presentation to look into getting Becky to come to their venue. She is well worth the stipend.
I know that my life will forever be enriched by my experience with her. Since then I have been in email contact with her, and she has continued to pray with and for me and my concerns. Check out her new website , and keep her in mind for your next available booking.
Monday, April 24, 2006
I was happy to see that the choices that the young men made seemed to lead to a true sense of peace, because that should be the end product of good discernment; internal peace.
I was amazed at the confession of Steve, in front of his entire congregation. What a way to share your joy with those who have been a part of your life. For isn't it true that we cannot live our faith in isolation? Isn't that what all of the young men found? Mike found it in talking with the retired priest on his retreat, and in his relationship with Aly, and will find it in his teaching the children. Joe found it on his pilgrimage, and in his work at John Carol. Dan found it at Fort Zion and in his ministry work on campus. In a very profound way Steve found it with Fr. Jorge at the mission in Guatemala.
Gashwin has an awesome review of the finale on his blog. Check it out too.
She is home and feeling tired, and in a lot of discomfort, but that is to be expected. She really got through it nicely and her Dr. thinks she will be healing nicely.
Thanks for all the prayers. This process of healing will take a long time, but sometimes God's miracles do take a long time.
The problem was I chose to wear it at St Meinrad last weekend when I went down there for class. St. Meinrad happens to be a Seminary that is connected to a Benedictine monastery. The Benedictines didn't think my I (heart) Jesuit shirt was all that appropriate for their hallways.
Now I ask you, is not one of the tenets of Benedict's Rule supposed to be hospitality? Where was that Benedictine hospitality last weekend when I kept getting stares from the monks, and even a few (joking) remarks about how inappropriate my shirt was?
I guess when you have been around as long as they have you just feel you have the right to be bossy. Considering my professor this session is a Monk, I don't think I will be wearing my shirt anymore. He already calls me Jesuit anyway, as if that bothers me. I keep reminding them that even though I go to school at a place that is connected to a Benedictine house I will never be a Benedictine, it just doesn't work that way.
Lucky for me I have my home on the blogosphere: A Little Battalion. I bet they wouldn't mind if I wear my shirt.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
My oldest daughter has to have ACL replacement surgery tomorrow morning. This is the exact same surgery that I had seven (or was it eight) years ago, by the exact same Dr. She is a bit freaked out by it even though I have told her, and the Dr. has told her that there is nothing to worry about.
She will be home within a few hours and in less than a month she will be off crutches and well on her way to a full recovery. If she does everything that the Dr. tells her to do she will be fully functional in six months.
The Dr. is a member of our Parish. I am pretty sure that she saw him at Mass today, though I didn't ask her. I am sure that he will pray with her tomorrow if she asks him to. He prayed with me before my surgery. I will be there with her, and having been through it I know what to expect.
Please keep her in your prayers, this is the first surgery she has ever had to undergo.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am not by nature a morning person. I would sleep till noon every day if I could. When I get down here though something happens to me. I think in all of the weekends I have been down here I have missed morning prayer maybe three times. Ususally I wake up on my own just before the bells.
I used to wonder why God was playing such a stinky trick on me, until this year when I have been in such turmoil over my job and my health and everything. It seems as though the psalms and the readings of vigil and lauds have been so comforting to me each time.
Today especially they were such a balm, considering I had another contentious few days with my boss who is making it his mission to revise history so that rather than my deciding not to stay on in my job, now he decided way back last fall not to renew my contract for performance reasons. (all of this has come up since I told him I did not want to pursue the lower paying-more hours-including youth ministry position that he so graciously wanted me to apply for in replacement for the current job I have). If his scenario were true why in January February and March was he begging me to take the new job, before I saw what the job entailed.
I wanted to announce my plans to leave in December, but he asked me to wait until the new position was set, so in obedience to him I waited. I just wanted to leave the parish with some dignity and grace, but at every turn he has found fault with my work and is tearing me down, almost as if he wants me to quit or he wants to find a reason to fire me so that he can have the upper hand. In my mind that will negate the five years of service I have done at the parish.
Anyway, today's vigil and lauds were all about a balm, and being under attack for a time but in a while God would set things right. The message was repeated over and over, in the psalms, in the readings and in the songs.
I am often in awe, but never amazed at the wonders God does for me. Even when he has to drag me out of bed at 0 dark 30 to do it.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I have a few problems with some of the way the choice is portrayed. For instance the narrator keeps referring to the choice of "the girl" as falling. As if to choose marriage is somehow a lesser vocational choice in the eyes of God than the priesthood. I for one do not find that to be the case. The Priesthood and marriage are equally holy vocations in the eyes of God. Men are called to each. If a man is called to marriage but chooses the priesthood he will never be fully actualized or realize the full potential of who he was created to be, because he has not listened carefully to God. The same is true for a man who is called to the priesthood, but chooses marriage instead for some reason (fear, misplaced loyalty, whatever).
I was a bit disappointed that Mike's mentor couldn't show some happiness that Mike chose marriage over the priesthood.
These episodes have really sparked some debate in my household. We have made our choices of which of the remaining three we hope will choose the priesthood. My daughters pretty much agree that Steve will be such a Fr. What-a-waste, but they have been deeply moved by his story.
We can't wait to see the final episode on Sunday evening.
I woke up this morining feeling very out of sorts. Every arthritic joint in my young body was screaming with pain. It was raining outside -- wet weather and arthritis don't go well together I have found, especially cold wet mornings and just waking up arthritic joints.
I was laying in bed debating what strategy would be best. Should I ease out of bed and carefully move around for a while, or should I jump out and rapidly move about? The debate is a bit like which is the best way to remove a bandaide, slowly or quickly, either way hurts. Some people would rather take the big hurt right off the bat and get on with it. others would rather work up to a big hurt.
I would have rather stayed in bed, to be bluntly honest. But, since that wasn't a viable option, I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving that I was actually awake and breathing this fine wet morning, and chose the get up and get moving as quickly as possible tactic. I put on comfy clothes that didn't take buttoning or fastening, I even have slip on tennies, and went about the business of my morning. I even put in a few minutes of piano practice for good measure.
The trick now is to keep moving, as appealing as the bed looks right now, if I get back into bed and let my achy joints relax they will hurt all the more. I have to find things to keep myself busy this morning. (As if that will be hard to do, the Laundry pile is beginning to take over the laundry room again)
Thank you God for bringing the rain, that will water my garden and make the flowers beautiful. Any discomfort I might feel right now will be worth the beauty of my flowers.
And besides, my achy joints help me remember I am still alive, right?
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Thanks to Owen, who created this wonderful logo, I can tell you all about the six people in the RCIA process at the parish where I work who entered the Church tonight at the Vigil ( I suppose technically it was last night since it is now after midnight).
They come from very different backgrounds and have different stories of how their faith journey led them to a small parish in south central Indiana. Some came from no faith tradition, some came having lived as committed Christians for years.
The one thing that they all had in common was an open heart to the still small voice of God that was calling them home. I am so blessed that in some small way I was allowed to walk with them over the last year as they prepared to make this leap of faith tonight.
So you see, while I did not enter the church tonight. Please say a prayer for your new brothers and sisters in Christ; Brian, Jeremy, Diana, Lisa, Emily and Bill. The newest members of the Lawrence County Catholic Community: St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Bedford Indiana.
I watched as possibly the last RCIA class I will ever be in charge of was welcomed into full communion. I kept trying to imagine what next Easter Vigil will be like. I can't imagine not having some small part in the RCIA. I will have to volunteer as a sponsor at my parish of worship simply to be included.
I love to watch the faces of the neophytes as they sit in rapt contemplation after receiving the Eucharist for the first time. Some are tearful, some are serene, some have a very far-away look in their eyes.
I feel as though the liturgy was beautiful. The music was truly amazing, and Fr. Jonathan doesn't just say the Mass, he truly prays it.
This may be the last Easter Vigil I have to fuss over like a mother hen, but it surely won't be the last I savor.
Christ is risen, Alleluia!
He is truly risen!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Then the printer began to work again. It printed one page of the script and stopped.
I took the page out of the printer and looked at it. It was the Renewal of Baptismal promises from the middle of the script. They go like this:
Do you reject Satan?
And all his works?
And all his empty promises?
Do you believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit. . .
then the page is basically blank.
I showed the page to Fr. Jonathan. We both agreed that the printer had performed its own exorcism. We had a really big laugh.
Then I got back to work printing the script for Vigil. No rest for the weary DRE on the Day before Easter Vigil?
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Knights per se. My devoted husband mrangelmeg is a 4th degree Knight and Past Grand Knight of our local Chapter. I totally support everything they stand for.
What I object to was:
1) the moving of the washing of the feet, from within the movement of the gospel to an afterthought, and
b) that 6 men in tux's is hardly representative of the church
I blame the fact that this was allowed to occur on the Knight who also happens to be the head Rubricist on our Liturgy committee. I don't have a problem with the washing of the feet being all men, so long as the men chosen come from all strata of parish life; young, old, working men, men in business suits, retirees. But to have to see 6 men in tuxedos as representative of "the parish" or "the apostles" just seemed somehow to be way too High Drama to me.
Their hearts were in the right place but they should have kept their street clothes on.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
He thinks that maybe I am having an adverse reaction to a medication he had me start taking two weeks ago, and wants me to stop taking it immediately. If I begin to feel better in a week we will know that it was just this medicine that cause the fatigue.
Then he has given me a new medication to try for the allergies that will take care of the symptoms the other one was taking care of as well as the annoying cough that still hasn't gone away. So this other medicine might be better all the way around, at least we can be hopeful. The biggest problem with the new medication is that it may take up to a month before I notice any real difference in how I feel or how my allergies are doing.
I realized today that this must be very frustrating for my Dr. Though not quite in the same way or at the same level of frustration that I personally feel most of the time.
So. Pray that this time things will go right for a change.
At least the weather has been really nice today.
I got my grade in my Old Testament class today. My professor emailed me and would you believe, he first apologized for having to give me a grade in the first place. He said that he felt that any grading scale was somewhat subjective and could never really measure what a person had learned, but he was forced by the institution to assign a grade. He then said that he felt that I had done solid B+ work but wanted my input before he sent my grade to the registrar.
To be completely honest, I had a real struggle with the assignments in this class. He had us reading 50 pages of text and then asked us to write a 300 word synopsis of what we had read. How can one be thorough and still stay within a 300 word limit? There were times when I intentionally went over the word limit to test him, and got called on the carpet for it, and then when I stayed at or near 300 words I would be challenged for leaving out pertinent facts.
So I emailed him back and said that I would be completely satisfied with a B+, and told him that I had learned much more than the assignments would ever be able to show him. I am just so happy that this class is over. I learned so much but the work was killer.
For the last five or six classes I have said each time that one of these days I was going to get a B instead of the steady stream of A's and A minuses. I am really happy that it was a class that I feel the grade was completely deserved. I don't think I did A level work this time around. I was struggling most of this semester with my health problems, or the problems I am having at work. My head just wasn't totally in this class as it has been in other classes.
So, I'm not perfect, what a shock!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I guess that is par for the course for me. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something.
I am so glad that I am a member of St. Blog's, there is so much information out here that I can tap into.
Thanks to Fra Lawrence for the link.
What an awesome idea.
Way back in 1995, in what seems like another life, when the Catechism first came out I facilitated an Adult Education discussion group at my parish that went through the Catechism. I did it mostly to make sure that I would read it myself, not because I thought I was any authority on the subject. I learned so much about our amazing faith in those months of meetings with that small faith community. We discussed each section and how it related to our lives and as I learned and grew in my faith I became aware that there was so much more that I needed to know. It is probably indirectly responsible for my being in Gradual School right now.
Even now when I reach for my Catechism to look up some aspect of the faith or clarify how I want to state something in a talk or paper, I am amazed at our faith tradition. This document is so beautifully written. I have also found that the more you read The Catechsim the more you find that you will learn.
I want to encourage all of you to bookmark this site. I actually have a button on my sidebar for the site because I know that I will be going there from time to time to learn more. Won't you join me?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The original posted response by Catherine of Sienna from The Ironic Catholic
Here is Thomas Aquinas' response
I can't wait to see what direction the next installment takes.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I imagine this in a whole new light now that I am a mother. When I see my child in pain and suffering there is a part of me that wants to take on that suffering deep within me as if I can ease His suffering. Yet, the only gift I can offer at this moment is my presence. I am nearby, as Mary is, in silent contemplation.
Did she understand what was happening to her Son? Or was this another example of her having to surrender her understanding and simply offer that up to God. Was there a moment when their eyes met where Jesus became the one who reassured her? Which way did the strength move?
She stayed nearby to the end. She was there. Her presence was the only gift she could offer. Help me to remember those times when the gift of my presence will bring the most relief and peace into someone's life.
The weight of the cross, the unbearable weight of my sins is too much for him and it causes him to stumble.
When I imagine my sinfulness crushing down upon his shoulders my heart breaks. My selfish and petty reasons for choosing my own will seem so meaningless in the balance of His suffering, and yet I continue to choose my own will. Any mere mortal would remain crushed under the weight, but He rises and picks up the cross again and continues on his way.
When I am defeated and crushed by the weight of some decision that hasn’t gone the way I expected how do I find the inner resources to pick myself up and continue on? Sometimes I have to follow a path to its conclusion even if it isn’t a path of my own choosing. In this first fall of Christ I can find an example of strength in adversity, perseverance and grace.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I am hoping to complete the last of my assignments this afternoon and turn them in via email to my professor. Then I can relax, at least where school is concerned, for two whole weeks!!!
My next class is in Early Church History, which means we will be reading a lot of the Early Church Fathers. I am actually looking forward to it, except for we have to read the Rule of St Benedict. Considering that my professor for this class is a Benedictine Monk, and when you talk about the early church you sort of have to at least bump into Benedict at some point it really is unavoidable I suppose. But I am just not much of a Benedictine in terms of spirituality, so I hope it is just a slight bump and not a full on collision.
I had better get back to work. It's just too bad that in my short two week break I have to deal with Easter at work, because being in Parish Ministry that happens to be our busy time, don't cha know.
No rest for the weary.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Welcome to the family little Mona Grace.
Friday, April 07, 2006
I write because I must, it is the only thing that keeps me sane. I share it because my spiritual director at the time asked me to allow others to share in the insights that I gained from contemplating on my relationship with God.
Thank you all for the gift of your time. I hope in some way I have amused or inspired you along the way.