Ryan, my nephew, returned from his combat duty in Afghanistan this past week. He is skinny but fit, healthy and happy - but not the same ol' Ryan. Nope, he is the new and improved Ryan.
He is a man, with a lovely sense of humor, a sweet disposition and willing to do things for his Auntie that would probably have driven him to drink when he was here before (and probably did drive him to drink, though he denied it at the time).
Last night, for instance, he let me give him a party. Not just any party, a party at the Parish. He came to Mass with me and Grandma, George and Marla. He brought a present for Julie and Dean that he and I had cooked up (an American flag, flown by his Platoon and signed by all the guys in his squad, as a Thank YOU to J and D for all they do).
We had a HUGE cake and balloons and coffee and streamers and soda...and two dvds about Ryan and about the St Joseph Ministry.
He came with his great friends, Adam, Kris and Jessica (Kris' wife - how he got such a gorgeous girl I will NEVER KNOW - just kidding, Kris). He was gracious, he was kind, he was funny and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated him being so lovely to all my parish friends.
One of the things that have been tough with me, and that my dear readers have known, is my strained relationships with family members. Lots of them have been saddened and put off by my return to the Catholic Faith ten years ago (or has it been 15? I lose track when I have fun). They liked it better when I did not go to Mass every Sunday, pray every day and go to Confession once a week. When I was not doing that, I let them take advantage of my need to be loved by human beings.
And that rarely happens today - oh, I am not perfectly aligned with God's Will every day but I am trying. Which is, of course, the difference between those Christians who believe salvation and redemption is a one-time "I'M IN" kind of thing and Catholics who have the fullness of Faith. We know, because we know we are good solid creatures of God with a taste for sin, that we have to be on guard every day. We have to work to keep our salvation - it is not a done deal - which is why the proper Catholic response to "Are You Saved?" is Biblical:
I am saved, I am being saved and my hope lies in the Mercy of God that I may BE saved.
But I digress:
because I have been lonely for family connections, I have had to cultivate some friendships within the Church. I have had to learn that my true leaning must be on God, the Triune God of Christianity, but that my Parish Family might have to actually BE my family.
That is why yesterday was so cool. People from the Parish came to welcome Ryan home. Julie and Dean were there - George and Marla, John and Barbara, Pam and Stephen and Jillian - family WAS there and that was so fabulous. I guess what I am trying to say is I saw how my blood family and my spiritual family could come together to welcome one of our own home from War.
And Ryan, bless his little Army heart, put up with us fussing over him with a smile.
How fabulous is that?
I have to go to work tonight. I am waiting to hear from Environmental Health regarding a possible change in jobs. It would mean going to day shift which would be hard but it would be a little closer AND I would be able to be home in Modesto in time for teaching and in time for my meetings. If I don't like it, I can still retire in March with 25 years but if I do like it I can keep working and get some more time in on my pension.
So I pray and hope for the best.
A weird thing has happened on FB regarding Corapi. Apparently a group of Corapi Supporters (not a bad thing, please do not misunderstand me) discovered the name of the person who lodged the complaint against Father with the Bishops. They have been bombarding her FB page with pleas to stop the madness, to tell the truth, etc etc etc.
Now, oddly enough, she has made some other claims that are pretty spectacular. She claims his real name is Coradi, that he was never in the military (but his records are on line at the network that helped me find out about Rick Seguin's phony claims) and that he had tried to seduce her grown daughter under a fake FB profile.
I actually spoke to her on line, and she responded. I did not push it...I told her that I have no idea who is telling the truth and who is not at this point, but that I did not agree with the bombardment and that if she felt threatened she needs to go to FB authorities and have it stopped OR she needs to get off the Internet. I shared with her the stalking stuff I went through and she thanked me.
She seems pleasant enough but the entire situation is just getting weirder and weirder. My heart breaks for SOLT; what a scandal to have to put up with and why now?
I agree that Father is a powerful teacher and preacher - but again, and I may be completely wrong, something just does not seem right about this entire episode.
More shall be revealed.........