Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beatification of John Paul II

A big day for the world, May 1st. Big day for the Body of Christ. Big day for Humanity.  Whether you believe in ("my", "a", "your", "absence of") God or not, trust me, this day affects us all.

In Rome, the Vigil Mass is going on, and there's a worldwide pilgrimage to view the Beatification of John Paul II.  I wish I could go. Someday, I will make my pilgrimage to some site dedicated to JPII. 

I wish I was more well-versed in papal history so I could speak (blog) with eloquent authority about his accomplishments to the human race -- NOT just the Catholic Church.  I wish you knew how he changed the face of the modern-day church. I wish you knew how much he appreciated, valued, loved all of us, (yes, even you!) purely & wholly. He prayed for you. And he prayed for me. And we are we, in part, because of him.

This man was Pope most of my life.  I was not always Catholic.  In fact, I used to not only be agnostic, but I was anti-Catholic.  However, as far back as my teenage years, I distinctly recall being drawn to watch him on television whenever images of him happened to appear on my parent's television during the nightly news.  I was always compelled to him. I never understood why. 

He has a warm, playful twinkle in his smiling eyes. The depth is endless. His hands convey compassion and strength. His demeanor was calm, confident, peaceful. He defines the word 'perseverance'. 

His expression conveys his spirit.

There is opposition to his "fast-track" to sainthood. Beatification is the step before canonization (a.k.a. sainthood. Catholics have fancy words for every thing!).  Personally, I don't mind one bit that he's on the fast-track.  If I were Queen of the World, Pope John Paul II would've been sainted on his death bed! 

I will call to him for intercession. I will always hold him near and dear to my heart.  I will be paying attention through the night, waiting, hoping, praying.  The peace I saw him embody, I pray I do as well.  Surviving struggle the way he did, I pray I do.  To be loving to you, I pray I am. To having smiling, playful  eyes, even in my sadness, I pray to have. 

I discovered that in his youth, Karol Wojtyla wrote poetry.  Here is a poem you might enjoy:

Song of the Brightness of Water
From the depth—I came only to draw water
in a jug—so long ago, this brightness
still clings to my eyes—the perception I found,
and so much empty space, my own,
reflected in the well.
Yet it is good. I can never take all of you
into me. Stay then as mirror in the well.
Leaves and flowers remain, and each astonished gaze
brings them down
to my eyes transfixed more by light
than by sorrow.

Good night.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Drum Roll, Please....

I'm not overly excited yet. I refuse to jump for joy until it's official, but....

*drum roll*

I unofficially made a B in my class!!

*faints*

Now...to find the life I left behind.....

*wanders off*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Test Anxiety

Tomorrow is my final.

I'm terrified about the outcome.

My grade isn't as good as I hoped it would be, but it is a fair grade considering the effort I've put into the reading, which has turned into a part-time job. It's seriously a struggle and I realize that I need some accommodation of some sort for future classes.

I've been madstudying, but feeling like I'm wasting more time than utilizing it. I'm positive I have some focus issues (as evidenced by this post!), as well as reading comprehenion issues. I am considering getting tested for the reading comprehension, if they even do that sort of thing for 40 year old college students! *laughing*

Anyway, to add to all that just-described mess, I'm having anxiety.

My class is "Social and Personality Development" and it focuses on the way our personalities are shaped from birth through adolescence.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this class! I want to immerse myself more often in it, truthfully. My professor is astounding, and I will take as many classes from her as possible.

During the course of the semester, there was some material about self-fulfilling prophecy. Upon learning more about this peculiar aspect of the human psyche, I am convinced that I'm limiting myself by relying on notions of "I have test anxiety", and "my reading comprehension sucks", etc. While those things might be true, I will move past them. I will not allow that mentatlity of those facts to limit my potential. Now... the question begs... HOW? 

Reaching out.  That's how.

So, with that said, babystep one:  I'm reading out to you, requesting that you keep me in your thoughts, prayers, etc., as I take my final tomorrow. The magic number is 55 (or higher). 

Back to the book....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

God Is Dead

He's quite the captivating speaker - emotive, gripping.  He uses inflection, passion, urgency. He moves around the Altar, vestments cascading in the broken sunlight.  His booming voice commands attention.  He speaks, too, with his hands.

Some would say he's a good priest --  holy, devout, strict, knowledgeable. He professes the importantance of confession, community, denial of self/flesh/This World.

Women might even tease about his fetching good looks.  He's fairly young, Italian, has good hair, wears his glasses smartly - fit build.

Giggling kids would ooze about his sense of humor and how he used "diarrhea" in a homily once.  He tells jokes. He shares silly stories of his own embarrassing moments, and intertwines his faith into the anectdotes.  He's very popular at St. Ann's in Coppell, Texas, where he is adored by the teen youth. I believe there is even a Facebook fan page for him craeted by those kids!

Truth is, Fathar Alfonse is just a human. He's like me and you. He wears baseball caps and likes to cook, just like the rest of us. He is in conflict with his father.  He says women are pretty.  I would venture to guess he shops at Target.  He speeds and gets tickets.  He and we are the same. He has sinned, and continues to sin.  Just so happens, by his very service to God, that he happens to have way more religious education than most of us do and a wider breadth of the human condition.

But I'm not here to adulate one of the priests at my parish.  I am here, however, to honor Father Alfonse as one of the Vessels of God, thusly, giving glory to God. Father indeed has a special God-given talent with spoken words.  Through Father Alfonse, similar to Monsignor Don, I hear words in ways anew. I breathe them in in ways that offer me more life and warmth. Not all priests possess this ability, even though I'm open to hearing the message from any priest.   So I am thankful to have the blessings of Father Alfonse (the blessings of God).

+

Fr. Alfonse opened the Good Friday homily in rather intentionally dramatic fashion with, "I'm about to tell you something, and I'm not exaggerating.".  He quoted the German athiest philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, referring to how all of us - you and I - have killed God. Then Father said (paraphrasing)God is dead.  Today (dramatic pause) God (slight pause) is dead. And we have killed Him. Everyone of us, you and I included, we've killed Him.

I'd never thought about that before - that on Holy Saturday, the world is without God. There's no heaven. No promise. No life in Him. There's no glory or hope. There's no light or faith. There is Nothing. There is darkness.

My mind and Triduum habits have historically leapt over Holy Saturday from Good Friday's Passion to the "Service of Light" (Christ Light to the world -- the darkness ignited with The Resurrection)  in the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night (my second favorite service behind the Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday).   This year, I was awakened to living in darkness.  Yeah, I needed that.

+

Next reverberation - more words spoken through Father: Today, we are united with our separated breatheren.

With the understanding that God is dead  today, there is no divide of humanity. If you are athiest, non-Christian, fallen-away Christian ... ANYONE...you and I, we are Godless today. We.Are.The.Same.People.  I'm not sure if it's good or bad, right or wrong, or anything that can be defined, but I find great peace and comfort in knowing that finally, for one day a year, you and I are the same.

Throwing my faith into the aforementioned truth, I can see that I should be unsettled. I should not feel peace. How could I feel peace when I am in a dark, scary, lonely, Godless world? I should feel fear and anxiety.

But I don't. And I'm not going to judge that I feel peace about it.

Fr. Alfonse's Blog

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And Just For Kicks....New Music!

I thought I'd post some of the choice songs from the Duran Duran album All You Need Is Now:

+  Being Followed
+  Man Who Stole A Leopard (featuring Kelis)
+  Before The Rain
+  Too Bad You're So Beautiful
+  Early Summer Nerves
+  All You Need Is Now

The whole thing is good, like I've said previously.  Safe, Girl Panic, Leave A Light On...all songs with good moods to them.

Do yourself a favor and pick it up....

~whoosh~

April Showers

Gawd! I miss this place! I'm finding other homes, healthy and unhealthy, approved and disapproving, but I'm lurking. Always. I am paying attention, even if you can't tell I am.

School has really become a part-time job. I'm making a C, which is about what I'm putting into it. It's fair. I need a B. I'm not sure I can catch an A at this point. Pray for me....

I managed to overcommit myself. Imagine?!  MOI? Too busy?!

Today, one commitment ended. Next weekend, another will come to a close.  School will be done by month-end. My work has suffered and I'm ever so grateful for my friends and co-workers, bosses and other staff who have carried some weight there for me.  I'm also grateful for a family who has tried so hard to bend with the wind, yet managed to find it slapping them right in the face in full gust.

I miss my family.

I miss my friends.

Thankfully, I feel like I'm missed, too.  *kiss*

And, between the busy, I've tweeted the hell out of sports and double entendre and poetry. I love that #the2300 group!  It keeps me up way too late, but it's a fun, innocent escape.  I managed, too, to go to a Duran Duran concert at the Winstar in Thackerville, Oklahoma.  Best! Concert! EVER! I've never seen Simon so animated with each and every song! At the end, Simon screamed out "who's your daddaaayyyy?" over and over and I think I came pretty close to ...  well... you get the idea!  haha  Seriously, such a good show and I'm hungry for more!  The new album is really wonderful...well, beyond wonderful. It's money well spent!

My Stars lost tonight, which means no playoffs. I'm going to try really hard to like baseball this year.  I draw the line at Mavs. Can't do pro hoops.  Speaking of hoops -- Duke.  *sigh*  Yet another sports fail.

I need to get back to reading but wanted to steal a moment to say hi for those of you still out there checking every once in a while (I'm so glad you do...).  Not too much longer and I'll be back more regularly.

~whoosh