25 October 2015

Christian Community

Before I start this post, I want to tell you a completely unrelated story. This weekend I was taking Ciara home after we'd gone to Mass and out to Sushi on Friday. She lives on a gravel road, which they'd just dug up to build a new sewer line. They finished the sewer line and re-graveled the entire long driveway. And on Friday it rained about 7.19 inches. (Thank you, Patricia.) Anyway, I was leaving and I got stuck in a soft spot in the rocks and couldn't get my 4Runner out. I had sunk down to the middle of my tires. Long story short, there were cops and neighbors trying to help me rock it back and forth to build up momentum to get it out (and it was raining). I was praying "Come, Holy Spirit" (my go-to prayer right now) and for some reason it popped into my mind to ask for the intercession of St. Isidore. I have no idea why. I don't even know that much about him. But I asked for his intercession and we got my car out. He's the patron of farmers and laborers, so that doesn't have much to do with getting a car out of a rut, but I'm thankful for his intercession regardless. It was such a random person to pop into my head that I wonder how many more of the saints want me to ask them to pray for me. I'm sure they have the free will to pray for whomever they choose, but I felt like he wanted me to ask for his intercession, so I did, and he came through. It was awesome. (Also sometimes if saints pray for me I make somewhat irresponsible promises to name my children after them... I should probably quit that because I'm about 99% sure I'm not Abraham going to have descendants as numerous as the stars to name after all the saints who pray for me. Saint Joseph, if you're reading this, I still got you covered... don't forget about what we talked about.)

Anyways, moving on.

Relationships and friendships move much more slowly in the "real world." I suppose it's because I can't see my friends every day, or really even every week in most cases. I see my colleagues every day, so if I worked somewhere that I had colleagues who I wanted to be friends with (FOCUS/anything with the Church), I suppose that wouldn't be the case. I live in the suburbs because I work in the suburbs. I'm not willing to drive 30 miles and fight traffic for an hour to get to work each day. I don't need that kind of stress in my life. One of the trade offs though, is that I don't know many faithful Catholics my age who aren't married or married with children. There are young adult groups at my Parish and also at the Parish where I attend daily Mass twice a week. But their events are often at the same time as daily Mass, and if I'm given the choice, I need Jesus more than I need them. It's not that  I'd feel guilty going to one of those events instead of Mass, it's that I legitimately prefer going to Mass. I've skipped daily Mass before to go to dinner with some couple friends of mine, I do think that Christian Community is important enough to miss an occasional daily Mass for. But I only have the ability to go a few times per week, so usually when I can go, I go. I'm terribly in need of the grace of the Eucharist to make it through the week. Why can't these events happen after Mass? Or why can't an organic community form from among the daily Mass goers and evolve into something that provides an opportunity for that Christian Community? God is big enough to make it happen, so I'm going to keep praying for it, trusting Him that slowly and surely He will bring it about. I think it's worth waiting for and being faithful to Him.

What do you think?

St. Isidore, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, angels and saints of God, pray for us.

21 October 2015

Extroverted Homebody?

Hey little blog readers! I love you!

I have been thinking over a blog post I want to write about Pope Francis KICKING MY ASS through the entirety of my reading of Evangelii Gaudium. SO GOOD. I love that I can be so challenged by his words and so affirmed and encouraged at the same time. And in case you're keeping track of my #30b430, you'll be pleased to know that I've figured out how to check the box for "build something useful." More on that to come once it's finished... it may take the better part of this year. 

I've probably said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I really love my 30 Before 30 list. I am a dreamer and a realist all wrapped into one and my type A personality requires that I get.shit.done. I get super antsy if I haven't done anything productive in a while. (Sometimes a while can be a few days, sometimes it can be a few hours.) When this happens, the remedy is to take my laptop and a notebook to a restaurant or coffee shop and make a few lists, and then start checking things off. This usually appeases me. I'm a weirdo.

Over the past two weeks I house sat for some rather wealthy friends of my mom's who were on a cruise in the French/Italian Riviera. #mustbenice 
But it actually was pretty awesome for me because they paid me. A lot. So now I'm thinking I should start a house/pet sitting business. Cash business, no overhead... Sallie Mae will be so pleased! Anyways, that's in the back of my mind. 

I've also been reading a mom blog, Catholic All Year, from the beginning. I don't feel very productive when I sit and read it for a while (unlike a book... also probably why I hate the idea of e-readers.), but I've enjoyed getting to know her family. I wonder why so many mom blogs are so viral but you see very few single girl blogs with more than a few readers. Probably because being a single girl comes with so many insecurities and question marks, and no one cares to read about that stuff. I'm not sure. I like reading mom blogs... I hope this blog will one day turn into a mom blog. But that day is not today.

I spent this past weekend doing all kinds of hipster/trendy things. I stayed out till 2AM on Friday, ate at a Paleo restaurant, drank a beet/rosemary/agave margarita on a rooftop bar, and attended an open mic night in an obscure art studio in a warehouse type building on Saturday, then drank mimosas and brunched in a different rooftop bar on Sunday. It was fun and I was glad to have branched out. I want to do that more often and meet more young Catholics. This requires going out of my comfort zone and my area of town. I am happy to have agreed to lead some girls small groups this year because my presence is required at these weekly events. When it comes to things that are optional, like going out, meeting new people, etc., I tend to stay home. But I wasn't made for comfort, I suppose! I still maintain that I am an extroverted homebody. I hope God made someone who can deal with all the juxtapositions contained within this one little soul.

St. Joseph, pray for us. 
St. Gianna, pray for us.
St. Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us! 

07 October 2015

Because Human Suffering is Redemptive

Today we had to put my sweet little Nana (Bella, Belly, Smelly, Bumble Bee, Nanny, Nana, Nina, Bellatrix, Boo, Noodle, etc.) to sleep. She's been having seizures and the vet said there was likely a lesion on her brain.

I came home at around 8 this morning to say goodbye. Since the seizure was over, she was calm and normal looking. When we went to put her in the car to take her she even ran up to me to get in.

From about 8 to 11, I sat here with her, just petting her and loving her, and getting in some final memories. I just had to keep reminding myself that suffering, for my sweet girl, was not only meaningless, it was cruel. I'm the kind of (rude) person who makes fun of people for treating their pets like children, but taking her to the vet today was one of the hardest things I've ever done emotionally. This is why God made faculties, and gave us the gift of our intellect and our will. If we only acted on emotions, Bella would still be here for my own personal comfort, and that isn't fair. I had an overwhelming feeling of having the power to decide who lives and dies. I hated it. I would have rather she been taken from us than for us to have to decide.

I just kept thinking of prison guards/executioners on death row, willing themselves to perform actions which would result in someone's last breath. I'm absolutely terrified of that kind of decision, and I'm honestly shocked that they can find anyone who will do that as their job. I wouldn't do it for all the money in the world. But there's a HUGE difference in taking the life of a person, and taking the life of a dog. A human can be redeemed. A dog has no need of redemption. And suffering, be it gruesome or cruel or involuntary, helps us to be united to Christ on the cross. And that is more valuable than gold.

After she was gone (we stayed with her through the process), I felt SO at peace. Immediately. I knew her suffering was over, and the rest was just selfish on my part. I was hugging her as she took her last breath and I felt her leave and I know she doesn't hurt any more. Occasionally little doubts creep in about what if she wasn't actually that sick and we just killed our dog for no reason, and of course I already miss her like crazy. It's going to be very hard to come home and not have her sweet face and wagging tail meet me at the door. I'm just thankful that God made creatures who can legitimately teach us about Him by their selflessness and unwavering loyalty. Every thing exists to point us to Him. Everything. Praise God. And because everything God made is good, I believe that He wants all of His creation with Him in Heaven. So for today, I believe that Bella is in Heaven with God.

Please keep my mom in your prayers over the next few weeks in your charity.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.