Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the Journey Towards Claiming the Sabbath

I came across this reflection in a Henri Nouwen Society newsletter. It was written by Doug Wiebe. Doug has been a member of L'Arche since 1989 and currently fills the role of community leader in L'Arche Lethbridge, Alberta. He also serves as a lay preacher and congregational chairperson for the Lethbridge Mennonite Church. He is married and has one son.

Like many other overanxious first-time parents, I used to go into my son's room at night to make sure he was still breathing. Now I go in because I know he's resting. I want (and need) to welcome him into my life not only when he's awake and busy but also when he's asleep.

Perhaps the way a child sleeps after a day full of discovery is similar to the way God rested after he finished creating the world. Perhaps the love, gratitude and awe we feel when we watch our sleeping children is similar to the way God wants us to be aware of his presence during our times of quiet.

Imagine that the hours of our Sabbath day of rest are no longer numbers on a clock but pillars supporting a beautiful temple. Sleeping in perfect peace in the centre of this temple is the Creator of the universe. Our Sabbath invitation is to enter into this "temple of time" and to simply rest with God, who on this day has nothing but time.

I don't know the details of how this happens for any one of us. What I do know is that there was a marked contrast between my experience of my son during the work of toilet training and my experience of him when I watched him sleeping in my arms or in his crib. I need both experiences, and so does my son. The same goes for our relationship with God. May God continue to show us how to enter into the Sabbath temple of time to learn more and more how to rest with, and in, God.

I often do go check on my little ones after they have fallen asleep. Our house is so wild and crazy when they are awake. Seeing them resting peacefully is always a comfort!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Uh... right......

I have been meaning to post about this recent Call To Action "liturgy" for a couple of days. I think one of the reasons that I have not is because there is part of me that does not want to give it any further attention. But then again, if we do not point out the absurd conclusion that can come about, one might think that the smaller liturgical abuses are tolerable. Know what I mean???

Please make sure that there is something soft in front of you before you watch this. I don't want your chin to get bruised when your jaw hits the floor!!!

When I first viewed it, a comment made by fellow blogger Andie over at Theophany All Over came to mind: "Liturgical dance stupid".

The Anchoress (host of the the blog where I found this er, celebration) noted, "Ever notice how all liturgical dance looks the same? Lunge left, lunge right, leap and spin - it’s always the same."

How very, very true. HOWEVER, please click below for the exception that proves the rule!!

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

I know, I know, including the Colbert "King of Glory" clip in a post on Liturgical Dance is way, way too predictable in the Catholic Blogosphere. I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Perhaps someone should suggest Gigantic Puppets to Stephen. Then again, they might remind him too much of bears...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Print it. Ponder it.

A few weeks ago, Deacon Greg provided a link to Peggy Noonan's WSJ column on the Pope's upcoming visit. I really appreciate her insight. Money quote:

A Vatican reporter last week said John Paul was the perfect pope for the television age, "a man of images." Think of the pictures of him storm-tossed, tempest-tossed, standing somewhere and leaning into a heavy wind, his robes whipping behind him, holding on to his crosier, the staff bearing the image of a crucified Christ, with both hands, for dear life, as if consciously giving Christians a picture of what it is to be alive.

Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.

That really spoke to me. I grew up with JPII. It is easy for me to remember images of the only Pope I knew - kissing the ground after descending the airplane steps, spreading his hands out to a sea of young faces at World Youth Day, you get the idea. The only Pope I knew - until recently.

When I was fortunate enough to receive two tickets to the Papal Mass at National's Stadium, I took it as an opportunity to get to know more about the man who was the successor to Saint Peter. The more I read, the more I liked. Now that he has left, I continue to read and pour over his public statements. I came across this gem from his homily during the Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

I would like to draw your attention to a few aspects of this beautiful structure which I think can serve as a starting point for a reflection on our particular vocations within the unity of the Mystical Body.

The first has to do with the stained glass windows, which flood the interior with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor. Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself. It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit. It follows that we, who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion, are called to draw all people into this mystery of light.

This is no easy task in a world which can tend to look at the Church, like those stained glass windows, “from the outside”: a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet finds it difficult to “enter into” the mystery of the Church. Even for those of us within, the light of faith can be dimmed by routine, and the splendor of the Church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her members. It can be dimmed too, by the obstacles encountered in a society which sometimes seems to have forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality. You, who have devoted your lives to bearing witness to the love of Christ and the building up of his Body, know from your daily contact with the world around us how tempting it is at times to give way to frustration, disappointment and even pessimism about the future. In a word, it is not always easy to see the light of the Spirit all about us, the splendor of the Risen Lord illuminating our lives and instilling renewed hope in his victory over the world (cf. Jn 16:33).

"The one who has hope lives differently." How can I live my life in such a way that those who have yet to experience the grace, beauty and gifts that are to be found inside the Church are inspired to "Come and see"?

Where has my experience of Church been "dimmed by routine"? What can I do to change that?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I knew it!

I was the first born in my family. I have a sister who is two years younger than me. I just forwarded her (and my parents) this article I came across on MSNBC. The highlights (as far as I am concerned):

Now, a new study has confirmed what first-borns like Joshua have always suspected: The oldest kid in the family really does bear the brunt of parental strictness, while the younger brothers and sisters generally coast on through.
When a job needs to get done, it’s the habit of the parent to call on the first-born, because they’re the most reliable and conscientious,” Leman says. But it's no accident that the oldest has become a responsible wonder child; it's the parenting strategy that made them that way.
Amen! (emphasis added by me)

Anything else?
By the time the second and third kids come around, many parents lighten up, and realize that they probably overreacted a little with setting rules for their first kid, Leman says. “The first-born’s a guinea pig; we practice on ‘em,” he says. “Once the other kids come in, we lighten up. Or exhaustion takes over.”
So, Diane, I was not making it up those many years ago. Mom and Dad were tougher on me. And I am the "wonder child." Science says so!!!