Worth Revisiting: Coffee, Communion & Conversation

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

So, many of us are quite familiar with the 3-R’s of Reading Writing, and Arithmetic in our academic studies.. but our faith lives have their own necessities too! From which come 3 of my own favorite C’s of spiritual reflective prompts!


Coffee, Communion & Conversation

With cheers and tears, I have begun thinking about the back-to-school essentials for my children who are, by the way, returning next week. Likewise, as with any good Jesuit student, it has been a cue for me to reflect on my own much needed necessities at this time in my life as well.  While there are of course countless others that could be included in this list, these chosen three are the ones that leapt to the forefront of my mind!

1. Coffee- (Substitute tea, juice or a smoothie for those that find those more preferable.)

Strong, and certainly caffeinated, the inviting aroma beckons me to take seriously the day’s events ahead. This is my time for morning reflection, and perhaps one of the few times during the day that I will sit still without a project, paper, or errand to complete. It is quite literally the reminder for me to re-fill my cup- to empty myself and the events of the day prior so that I can be able to accept and embrace God’s gift of self in my every moment. Not the least of which are the many requests upon my own time.

Father, you ask us to be still and know that You are God, that you are always with us at the break of each new day, and that with you we will not be shaken. (Ps.46:6-11) Fill me with your love, grace, and compassion for those who might need you most today.

  2. Communion (daily if at all possible!)

Several years ago, after having made my Cusillo retreat, I consciously resolved to attend daily mass whenever the time allowed. Yet, initially, this commitment was but a new curiosity, filled with an unknowing of whether I could continue, or how I would be affected in my own spiritual growth. One morning in particular, in that first week, I noticed a woman about my own age, and felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to speak with her after mass. Having seen her before on Sunday mornings with her family, I remarked how happy I was to have another mom with small children there that day. Smiling, and with all earnestness she said something that moved me profoundly.

“I’m here because this is where I need to be as a mom, it is my time to regroup, talk to God, and gain the strength to be the mom that God wants me to be”.

Her words were meant for me, and found a dwelling place deep within my heart. God wants to do something great for me in giving me the tools and the space to break into my ordinary with the extraordinary experience of this intimate closeness with Christ. I think of this moment often these days as I slide into the pew, kneel before Christ, and let out the biggest sigh, a breath of relief that I actually made it there. No matter how I arrive- rushed, anxious, or frustrated, I leave transformed in heart, mind and spirit. As I think about the future after graduate school, I have already begun thinking about daily mass times in the area that might allow me to continue this now essential time with God in my day.

IMG_06163. Conversation(Lots, with those that uplift and draw you closer to Christ)

As you may have noticed my precursor to this one, conversation just for conversations sake isn’t essential at all. In fact, the wrong conversations are draining, disruptive, and detrimental to both you and all those in your life. We have all, at some point found ourselves in these instances, whereby the conversation turns gossipy, argumentative, or judgmental towards others. Yet, as a mom of school aged children whose time is limited anyway, I can honestly say I leave these conversations feeling unsatisfied. The question I keep returning to is whether this is healthy for me even if I am not participating.

Conversely, the right conversations lead us and others nearer to where God wants us to be, and leave us knowing our time was well spent. They inspire, nourish, enlighten, support, and buoy us up when we need to feel God’s love most. They remind us to listen deeply and speak when needed. These are moments of awareness to the Holy Spirit’s presence  guiding and filling us with peace and joy.

One of the best assignments I have been given in my graduate ministry work, in lieu of reading, was to take time to pursue that which uplifts us. Here, I was given a week set aside to reconnect, to decompress, and renew. Not surprisingly, I made sure that I met with those also in ministry to give them that much needed break as well. So essential is this for me, that I do this now on a regular basis!

With much gratitude to my advisor, friend (and creator of the above assignment), Eileen Daily for helping me to see that self-care is not selfish but vital if I am to be of help to myself much less anyone else!

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Worth Revisiting: Currently, Chicago Edition

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

With my upcoming trip for commencement in less than two weeks, I am excitedly awaiting all the sights, sounds and tastes of Chicago! Not to mention, catching up with close friends, colleagues and the esteemed faculty at Loyola. Thankfully this time will not be as short- since Chicago has so much to offer!


Currently, Catching My Breath and the Spirit

(Originally posted October 13, 2014)

Currently (1)

giving thanks and praise for // A safe journey and the company of good friends with my whirlwind trip to Loyola Chicago’s beautiful Madonna della Strada Chapel on their Lake Shore Campus! Consisting of less than 24 hours, this trip was certainly not long enough to see all of Chicago or to visit with everyone that I had wanted to but it was an incredible experience.

Staying with my former roommate while in Rome, I was welcomed with Chicago deep dish pizza, Italian pizzelle cookies, wine and the best of late night conversations.

The next morning, we attended the 7:30 mass led by Fr. Mike Solazzo at St. Tarcissus on Ardmore Avenue. The interior of this beautiful church constructed in 1927 is filled with marble, stained glass, statues and pieta. As graduate pastoral studies students, Paula and I both remarked how engaging and on target Fr. Solazzo’s homily was with what we have been studying.

Reminiscing//

the brunch that followed with Paula, her daughter Katie and boyfriend, our friend Art and his wife Madeline at Mia Figlia in the Northside of Chicago. Not only was the food scrumptious, an ample serving of sunny side eggs and polenta, but once again the conversation was a true joy! What a blessing to be able to meet the family of my two close friends and fellow colleagues, putting faces and embraces to the people I have heard so much about.

Humbled by//

the whole experience of being nominated and selected for inclusion into Alpha Sigma Nu with such an amazing group of students dedicated to both academic excellence and service. Spanning ethnicities, and continents they embody God’s incredible diversity and gifts of the Spirit at work in the world today. Through them, I experience community and recognize the consequences of my faith to work for peace and justice, trusting in the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. How appreciative I am for those who have continually challenged and inspired me to reach deeper and go further in my faith.

Fr. Steve Krupa, S.J. professor of Christian Spirituality and Ignatian Spiritual Direction at Loyola Chicago.
My friends Art Blumberg and Paula Kowalkowski

Reading//

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Loyola Press Publishing) on my flight to and from Chicago. What a truly engaging and motivating “vision for the Church” is presented in this collection of homilies, addresses, and excerpts taken from Evangelii gaudium, Lumen Fidei and Regina Coeli. Led by a deep sense of mission to care for the poor, welcome the lost, and renew the faithful Pope Francis’s message is a humble but passionate invitation to transformation. This renewal and change is to occur within through attentive listening and “abiding in Jesus”.

Yet, there is also the necessity of “leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others” in service with courage and creativity.

This is not accomplished alone, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we as faithful are called to respond to the “cry of justice” and the need for “harmony in our families, parish and communities”. This mission, however, is not reserved for the clergy  but is to be taken up by each one of us in our discipleship. In accepting the unique gifts that God has entrusted to each one of us,  we are compelled to also undertake this mission of evangelization and reconciliation in living out the Good News of the Gospel. This is a must read, I believe, for each Christian seeking to understand the path necessary to move forward as a people of God in our world today.

So, in this busy, messy, beautiful world that we live in..how do you Currently, find the Holy Spirit guiding you in your little part of the world today?  

                                         In Peace and Joy,

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Worth Revisiting: A New Perspective

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


Currently, Vol.3: A New Perspective

(Originally posted September 22, 2014)

Currently,A New PerspectiveCurrently, I have been thinking about the people that enter into our lives, albeit sometimes unexpectedly,  who enable us to glimpse a new perspective.  We are reminded that the beauty of our journey as Christians  is that as questions arise, our faith tradition is filled with deep convictions, “emerging” methods,  and new beginnings!  How thankful I am for those times that as God has sought to move me, and has opened my eyes to see  a different perspective or the need for a more pastoral approach. What a vision God has of the whole picture!

It reminds me of an art class where everyone is painting the object in the center. The object isn’t the same all the way around, even the light from the windows casts the colors and shadows differently. Yet, the artists paint what is before them in the truest way possible, faithful to the teacher, and the methods that they have learned.

Listening// This week I listened to an elderly friend, who I bring communion to, describe the sightless, hard of hearing world that he lives in. Not in a complaint, but in a matter of fact way-inviting me into “seeing” his perspective.  Though the light behind his eyes has made sleep extremely difficult, he asks to be awakened for communion because this is so essential to him. As we part, he tells my husband and I how he wishes he could see us but how much he loves and is thankful for our time spent in community.

Watching// with excitement at the new appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago!  Just a few days before the announcement, twitter was all abuzz. Eagerly, I studied his pastoral journey to gain a better understanding of the perspective he would bring to the position.  He appears to be moderate in his approach on most religious issues, and in touch with both the teachings and the people.  How heartwarming it was to hear him personally address the 44% Hispanic population of Chicago in Spanish!  In everything that I have seen and heard so far,  I have to say what an exciting time  it is for the people of  Chicago. 

Reading// Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization by Scott Hahn.  Another essential book I have placed on my learning syllabus for my Field Education work! This book  provides a necessary perspective on the mission calling us forth in “creating intentional disciples” and in deepening our own faith life. For it questions whether we can be convincing witnesses of the faith if, instead of embracing and living our faith, we tread only in the shallow end. It is a beautiful reminder to probe the deeper meaning of the sacraments in a life lived, rather than seeing these as an end in and of themselves.

bookRemembering// The love of learning that my mother and her family passed down to me.  As the daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin of educators, I recognize that this is something I could not escape (Those genes are strong) even if I had wanted to!  Not knowing where God will lead me when this degree is completed, I know that in my heart that this desire to learn, grow and share will always be a part of whatever I do.

Wisdom” , Rustic Verses by (my Grandpa) Carl Wyatt Ferrell

 It seems the older that we grow,

The more we don’t know-

At least I’ve found it true.

My wisdom I begin to doubt,

For there are things I’ve just found out,

That once I thought I knew.

 

For Knowledge is a growing thing;

Each day, more wisdom it will bring

if we take care to see.

A grain of learning should each day,

Like precious gold be stored away,

If we would wiser be.

A loving granddaughter,

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