Today as I prepared for leading Children’s Liturgy, I wanted the children to consider some of the ways that we too nourish the soil in our hearts to allow God’s Word to grow in our lives. It isn’t simply that God’s Word is spoken, and we can choose to accept it or not. There is much that we can do to prepare our hearts to hear the Word each week, and continually to nourish it. Just like a tender young plant, it needs our awareness (found in prayer), attentive removing of weeds and rocks (through confession and reconciliation), our participation (experienced in community at mass), and above all- love. While so simple, do we arrive at mass, and leave without noticing any change at all in our lives? Do we even remember the Gospel reading or the homily?
To this, I sometimes challenge my family to tell me what they heard at mass. At times it is a joke from the homily, perhaps a song, a particular prayer, and quite beautifully the Word itself. It’s is so interesting to hear how each one of us is touched differently, and yet carries the potential to bear fruit not only in our lives but in the world around us. This is the second important take away that this parable contains. We are not only the soil but when we live fruitful lives, we then can be sowers of God’s love in the lives of others. Carrying God’s Word within, we become sharers and sowers in the darkest places of hate, division, and despair.
This evening is the wake for the father of one of our youngest faithful. Today, we lifted her and her family up in prayer together in community. Lord, may this seed of love bear much fruit in the hearts of your faithful, and may you grant this family peace as they gather to remember this loving father, husband and friend to many.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us* and persevere in running the race that lies before us” Heb 12:1
Today as I began my class at BC, all I could think about as we went round the circle introducing ourselves is this passage from Hebrews. How blessed I feel to be surrounded by such an amazing “cloud of witnesses”! Hailing from all over the United States, many are originally natives of Columbia, Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica, and all are witnesses to an incredible passion for the faith. These men and women have served as leaders in the church, and within their communities, quite often through grassroots programs as part of the Catholic Extension Program. “Building faith, inspiring hope, and igniting change”, these projects to build churches and homes, support faith and educational ministries, and social outreach are led in some of the poorest areas of the nation. So as classes commence, I assume my place alongside these marathoners who have not taken the easy road but chosen the path and the mission to love. Needless to say, I have much to learn!
For more about the Catholic extension program, or how to help visit: http://www.catholicextension.org/
While theology may be a verb, my initial inclination to begin this blog…let’s just say has been less than active. 🙂 With that being said, I awoke early this morning with my heart burning to embark on this journey with you-to share my thoughts, prayers and hopes as a Catholic woman of faith. Today, I am a student of theology, hopeful saint, follower of Christ, faithful mother, wife, friend, woman … and child of God. This last identification is something that while seemingly basic is essential to recognize in ourselves as well as within each other. Created with a beautiful divine spark, we have been graced with love, each given unique gifts and a desire to grow in that love towards our Beloved. If we accept this premise then we can no longer look at others as less than made in the very image of God. This carries both a sense of awe and wonder, and a responsibility to recognize the great worth and the needs of each of God’s creations. Often quoted as Catholic’s most hidden principles, our social teachings guided by scripture beckon us to embrace our discipleship not as a solitary walk but in solidarity as a community of faith. Going beyond ourselves, our families, our parishes, we have been invited to step out in faith to accept the mission that draws us forth to reach those most in need.
Yet, before we set this as a lofty unachievable goal, this begins quite simply in answering the call to love. Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege to teach summer CCD to an awesome lively group of 4th graders. Covering the Ten Commandments, and the Be-attitudes, they took hold that it all comes down to the Greatest Commandment: to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Therefore when given a service project to collect personal care items for needy families in our area, our students responded by collecting over 120 items in one week! This brought tears to the eyes of our director of St. Vincent de Paul who further encouraged them to continue in this life of service. It reminds me also as Mother Teresa once said that “What I can do you cannot. What you can do I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God”. Today, how will we answer this call to love one another with great love?
Encountering Christ's love, mercy, and compassion in dialogue & witness