Friday, September 24, 2010

Model of mercy

Today is Mercy Day, where we remembered in our school (along with sister schools throughout the U.S. and in other countries), that on this day in 1827 on the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, Venerable Catherine McAuley opened her house on Baggot Street in Dublin.

Catholic schools do things like take time out of an already-shortened day to celebrate Eucharist as a community. Catholic schools have people to look to, models of mercy like Catherine MacAuley, to inspire us to, to show us how one goes about living a life of bold compassion.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Voices that Challenge

I have read that some people have objected to the David Haas' song that says that "we are the voice of God." But I believe that God can indeed speak to us through others, and I find the song to be very in tune with the times and indeed challenging, as it names group after group of people in need of care and concern. And justice. And action.

The question is, what am I doing? Practicing the song on a Wednesday night has caused thoughts that overflow into Thursday.

It was because the song was fresh in our minds that Paul suggested this morning that the student who noticed my lack of no-complaint bracelet and asked if I was giving up (yep, I have been considering doing just that) was one of the "voices that challenge." Maybe I can do this. And maybe I should.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reminders

Someone called his mother today. Hadn't talked to her for a while, and the homily today was a reminder. I have a couple of people that I've been keeping in prayer but have not been in contact with and have been meaning to do just that. Today was a reminder of that, and I hope I will make that effort this week.

Sometimes we need a nudge from the Holy Spirit to be better people, and sometimes Mass is where we get it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sundays

Here's one way that Catholicism affects my life. It takes up a good portion of my Sundays. I'm in church for between two and three hours, setting up for music, taking down, and generally a good deal of talking to people before and/or after.

It's worth it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Words

When I talk about the "impact of Catholicism on my life," I am looking at everything about being Catholic that has some influence on the way I think or act. That influence is felt even in my Internet pursuits. A particular blog that recently I have latched onto is that of Sr. Joyce Rupp on the National Catholic Reporter site, because often her words are ones that resonate with my own experience, ones that I find nourishing to my faith. Rather than say more, I'll simply include a link for the latest reflection.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Intercessory prayer

At Mass we have our "general intercessions" which include prayers for people who are sick and who have died along with other needs in the world. I have some friends and relatives, struggling for various reasons, who recently have asked for prayer. At the beginning of classes I often ask students if they have people they would like to bring to prayer. I know it's not just a Catholic thing, but it seems like we pray for one another quite a bit. Even a friend of mine who does not pray is asking for prayers for someone on Facebook. He has a lot of Catholic friends. He knows they'll be praying. And somehow, he must find some comfort in that.

Belief in the power of prayer varies from person to person, but I think that overall there is a confidence that in some way it is going to make a difference. It nourishes our faith, too, to entrust God with these problems that are beyond us. At the very least, my promise to pray for people brings them to mind more frequently than might happen otherwise. And in some cases, the prayer is this: how can I be an instrument of God to bring some kind of comfort or blessing to those who enter into my prayer?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prayer time

It's a holiday. I wake up later than usual, but earlier than the husband. I think, "okay, I'll get up and pray now." Then I get drawn to the computer. I'll just check a couple of things there, first. Oh, look, Blogger gives stats now! Apparently that's been going on since June, but I just noticed. So I muck around in there for a while, looking at charts and numbers for my various blogs. Guess I'll read a bit of the newspaper here, too, since it's not delivered on Mondays. Next thing I know, my "quiet time" has been all used up and I didn't get to that serious prayer time.

I hate when that happens.

This is not to say that I haven't an awareness of God through my day. That is an impact of Catholicism on my life, but so is a desire for some focused God-and-me time. Every once in a while, I have to re-set my schedule when the rest of my life changes (like for a new school year when my husband has a different schedule, so bathroom times change!). And every once in a while I have to re-set my priorities.

Monday, September 6, 2010

23rd Sunday

Yesterday's gospel seems like an argument against infant baptism. Count the cost ahead of time, Jesus says. Can you really do this? Being a disciple of his, that is. And infants can't analyze the situation, of course. Students sometimes bring that up, how babies have baptism "done to them" at a time they lack the freedom to choose it. I tell them that each of us has to renew the commitment daily, so babies who grow up can decide, if not, "will I be baptized?" then at least, "will I live out my baptism?"

Even as adults, I don't think we always understand what that commitment means, but I hope that with the sacraments and with Scripture and homilies and prayer and other ways that we engage in the topic of our faith, we can grow to understand more and more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In every age

My thanks to Timothy R. Smith, a composer of liturgical music who coincidentally lives not so far from me and whom I happen to have met once. It is his marvelous setting of the psalm for this week that my ensemble leader husband chose for us to sing. Since it's new to us and I was around the house (an advantage of living with the director) Paul taught it to me and I get to sing it on Sunday. I was feeling a little bad about that since there are others in the group who are much more capable singers and would do a better job with it, but as it turns out, I am the only singer other than my husband who can make the Mass on Sunday (a very rare occurrence).

It's not the easiest and I need to practice the verses more, but it is beautiful, and it was a prayer for me in practicing it this evening. The words of the psalm are comforting: "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge." I was reminded of how often in my life I have turned to God in times of sadness or doubt or confusion or illness or fear. God has indeed been my refuge.