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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sacramental Season?

There are times in a year:  Weddings, Proms, Graduations.  For me, as Coordinator of Children's Catechesis, there is a Sacramental Season.

It is chaotic and challenging and can cause sleepless nights and endless worry.  Details, lots and LOTS of DETAILS that need to be tended to and loose ends to tie up.  Decorations to make and programs to plan...but all of that is a culmination of two to three years of hard work on the part of the Catechists.

The children have been sponges.  They have soaked up our teachings - THE teachings - of Holy Mother Church.  Prayers have been memorized and rituals explained but most importantly the love for Jesus and His Church has been fostered in their hearts.

A wild and crazy 3rd grade boy suddenly stops poking his neighbor and pulling his hoodie over his head to shout with joy, "THE EUCHARIST IS WHAT MAKES US CATHOLIC!" in response to why Holy Communion is important.

A shy little girl who has come out of her shell enough to help clean up the board at the end the class arrives at the Church in a pretty dress, clutching her "Penance Book", ready to tell all her troubles to the priest in the Confessional - looking at me with a smile and saying, "I know he will be acting in the person of Jesus.  That's what Miss Cassie told me.  I am not afraid of Jesus".

A little boy who has had a year of challenges, missing his Daddy who has to work away from home during the week, and sometimes having little meltdowns in class emerges beaming from Father Mark's Confessional.  He spots me and, with his Daddy in tow, runs across the plaza.  "Oh Miss Leslie you were RIGHT.  I feel WONDERFUL".  Turning to his Daddy, he says, "I am gonna come back and talk to Father Mark OFTEN - that way I won't be so lonely while you are working.  That's what Miss Leslie says will happen".  His father looks at me and smiles in gratitude.  He knows I have his back.

Little girls transformed into confections in white lace and tule, veils blowing in the breeze, determined to walk in their 'high' heels.  Little boys in suits and ties, looking handsome and solemn with the twinkle of mischief I so love in their eyes.  "Boys", I tell them, "If men knew how handsome they look in suits and ties they would wear them swimming".

And they laugh.

I get to introduce them to the reason for being a Christian - to Eat the Flesh and Drink the Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Nowhere else will they find this Precious Gift.  Nowhere - no 'mega church' with a great band and flashing lights will offer the gift of Jesus Himself except the One, Holy and Apostolic Church.

The sleepless nights, the worrying about the details - I get to do that for them.  I get to help them on life's journey towards heaven.

My life is awesome.

It is a gift from Him.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Family is The Church

Yesterday was 'Mother's Day' in America.  Our day was really fun.  My mother, who is 96 1/2 years old, was surrounded by her grandchildren and our 'other grandmother'.  All came to celebrate together and laugh and eat and other wise have a glorious morning. 

I got to be the short order cook.  'Who wants another waffle?' and 'do we need more bacon?' were the questions I got to shout from the kitchen.  I scurried back and forth, paused for a group picture, and then made more waffles.  I had so much fun - we all had such a GREAT day!

 
The family is not united - there are two missing - but I pray that this will not be forever.  We are also worried about the health of one of our family members who could not join us but we all know that God is in charge.
 
I love my family.  I love my Church.  I am blessed to have a family that is The Church.  I pray some day for all my family to be members of The Church.
 
I know that is God's Plan.  Those who straddle the line - who kinda sorta want to be Christians without committing to the whole shebang - will find themselves struggling off and on throughout their lives with their faith, with their commitment to friends and with their sanity.  I do not make this statement lightly - I have seen it again and again. 
 
I am so grateful today to walk with both feet on the ground and worship in they way God asks me to worship.  I am grateful I got to spend one more Mother's Day with these wonderful people.  I am grateful to be the person I was supposed to be....one day at a time.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Kids are All Right

Today I watched two classes of my students receive Our Lord in the Eucharist for the first time.  I saw a packed house - relatives and friends - dressed to the nines and excited as their little ones approached the altar to receive Him.  The tears were plenty, the smiles genuine and I am once again overwhelmed with the blessings of my life.

It has been such a great year.  I have watched these tiny Catholics mature and grow in ways average adults can't seem to master.  I watched a third grader - a boy who by any standards in the public school system should be medicated into quiet, feminine type behavior - approach the priest with such reverence that my heart stopped for a moment. 

I remembered how he burst out one day in class, "THE EUCHARIST!  IT'S WHAT MAKES US CATHOLIC FOR GOD'S SAKE".

The little girls in their white dresses and veils, the boys in their suits and ties (I swear, if men realized how fabulous they all look in suits and ties they would wear them swimming) and the families - some broken, so fragile but all there together to celebrate that one thing that other denominations cannot claim - The Eucharist.

Once again my gratitude for my life is overwhelming.  I cannot imagine it getting any better than it is right now and that means that I know, without a doubt, Jesus has my back.

Thank you, God, for my life today exactly as it is...I would not change a thing....except maybe enough money to remodel the bathroom in the new house....

GO NINERS!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Drive By's and Anti Catholicism

Every once in awhile someone posts comments on my blog that are obvious cut-and-paste attacks on the Catholic Church.  I always publish those posts.  I do so because I am and American citizen and I believe in the First Amendment of the US Constitution and because, most of the time, the person posts the same tire old "The Catholic Church is False Theology" rants that show they have limited knowledge of scripture and history. 

Today I am blessed to work with a doctor of theology who is both a graduate of SES and a convert to the Catholic Church.  He studied under Norman Geisler.  He is a Thomist.  He found the fault in the Protestant thinking and, like so many before him, found the Catholic Church.

Author of the book Evangelical Exodus (https://evangelicalexodus.com/), my boss has dealt with many of these arguments and done so with love and compassion.  He does not shame the posters, he talks with them because he understands that underneath all the bluster and anger and nasty name-calling, there is fear.

The fear is this: what happens if, at the end of my life, I find myself standing in front of Jesus Christ and He asks me the same question asked of St Paul on the road to Damascus?

I firmly believe in God's Mercy and so I am not nearly as afraid of meeting Him for my judgement as others outside of the Catholic Church.  While they claim to know they are going straight to heaven, their attacks on the Church reveal the underlying anxiety not felt by a Faithful Catholic. Catholics in full communion with The Church, know they cannot earn their way into heaven but that there are specific actions required of a Christian in order to be recognized at the end of our lives.  We want to be in the group He recognizes because of how we lived.  We do not want to cry out, "LORD, LORD!" only to have Him say, "Sorry...don't recognize you".

Now, why would I make the claim that these people are really afraid that they are wrong?

I make that assertion based on my experience with human beings - and my experience is no one defends their position with hatred an attacks if they believe their position is solid.

I do not need to troll the internet looking for people who claim to have the truth and defame the Catholic Church.  I do not need to leave a comment on their blogs - without my name, of course - that is hysterically angry in its delivery.  It is not necessary.

I am fine.  I am fine where I am and with my understanding that belief in Jesus means belief in His Church.

Perfection is not claimed.  Assurance of Salvation is not claimed.  I know I have work to do because Holy Scripture has told me that Faith without it is not Faith.  So today, as I put together the programs for First Holy Communion Mass tomorrow, I can relax in the knowledge that I am Home, I am safe.

I am saved.  I am being saved.  I hope to be saved in the end.

God bless you.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Came to Believe

Each year I look at this day and am amazed.

I am amazed because of what I was when I started and what I am today.

I am amazed because I know that I am what I am because of the grace received from a Power greater than myself.

I am amazed by the number of people I have been able to meet and interact with over the years and how blessed I am to have met them.

I am amazed that I am not better than I am now - that somehow I have not been struck wonderful just because of the hard work and determination I have done to align my will with His.

I am amazed because I know I am not halfway through - I am more than halfway through - and the life I have been granted by my Creator is second to none.

Today I am someone different than I was yesterday or 5 years ago or 26 years ago.

Today God has granted me freedom from bondage.

And tonight I get to go to the movies.


YIPPPPPEEEEE!