Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Last night’s lullaby

Normally, I read all of my meditational readings during the day… one in the morning and the other two sometime in the middle of the afternoon… when I can catch a few peaceful moments. However, as luck would have it, I wasn’t able to find any time yesterday because happenings in the office were so hectic. I caught myself gazing at them from time to time, feeling like I was missing something. I kept reminding myself that I would get to them, even perhaps right before bed! And it wasn’t until bedtime that I was able to get to them. Russell had gone to bed, the dogs were all settled for the night, and the house was quiet. So I turned off the tv, and read quietly form both books, which other than being about Lent, are in no way connected.

I picked up the first book, titled “The Little Black Book – Six-minute meditations on the Sunday Gospels of Lent (Cycle A)” which is based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener and published by The Diocese of Saginaw. There website is . The date of yesterday’s reading was March 22, 2011 and is based on “And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. (Mt. 17:3)” Bishop Untener wrote:

“On that mountain, the disciples got a glimpse of how human beings look with God’s spirit running through them.

That’s what Peter, James and John saw: A human being when seen with the eyes that see the whole person.

The astounding thing is that if people could see me with the same eyes, they could see a similar sight.

I am a daughter, a son of God. I have the Holy Spirit running through me. I am the beloved of God. I was immersed (figuratively, at least) in the waters of baptism which symbolize being immersed in God. I received confirmation, with holy oil soaking into me as a sign of the Spirit running, coursing through my whole being.

I am shaped by the Word of God, which Jesus calls the “Bread of Life” and which forms me, nurtures me.

When I receive Holy Communion, the Lord Jesus and with him the whole Trinity enter within me.

Lent is a time when my fasting, prayers and good works help me to sink deep within the Spirit so that I can see myself, others, and God as they truly are.

What an awesome sight.”

At this point, readers are asked to spend some quiet time with the Lord.

As I sat there, thinking about this moving passage, I was consumed with the feeling of great peace. I’ve always known I was loved… but at this moment, the power of these words… that I was a BELOVED DAUGHTER OF GOD filled my consciousness! What a glorious feeling. What a wonderful lullaby to fill my heart as I climbed in to bed and fell into a restful sleep.

And with that in mind, I am reminded of the Bedtime prayer I said every night, many years ago:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
if I shall die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
if I shall live another day
I pray the Lord to guide my way.


And of course, I am reminded of Brahms Lullaby, which my my Mother would sing and hum as she put us to bed:

Lullaby, and good night, with pink roses bedight,
With lilies o'er spread, is my baby's sweet head.
Lay thee down now, and rest, may thy slumber be blessed!
Lay thee down now, and rest, may thy slumber be blessed!

Lullaby, and good night, your mother's delight,
Shining angels beside my darling abide.
Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes and rest your head.
Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes and rest your head.

Sleepyhead, close your eyes. mother's right here beside you.
I'll protect you from harm, you will wake in my arms.
Guardian angels are near, so sleep on, with no fear.
Guardian angels are near, so sleep on, with no fear.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stations of the Cross

Just prior to Ash Wednesday, I contemplated on Lent and what my own intentions were for Lent. This is what I came up with:

My intentions for this Lent are:

To be more prayerful-
*by saying the Rosary at least once, preferably twice
*to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at least once
*to attend Mass and/or Eucharistic Adoration as much as possible
*to attend the Stations of the Cross every Friday

To be lest wasteful
*to eat at home more often
*to not take snoozes in the morning.. to not waste time

To be a better friend
*by writing a letter or email every day to one person who has made a difference in my life

To give up candy during Lent, and Meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays.

I am keeping a journal this Lenten, and writing about each day, and things that happen during prayer and throughout the day. To date, this experience has been very powerful. I am so motivated and inspired, that it surprised me when today at lunch I was feeling lethargic and blah. I explained to a friend that I had planned on going to go to the Chapel for the Stations of the Cross at 3, but that I was not sure I have the energy to do so.

How quickly we can be tempted away from our good intentions! I never saw it coming!

Truth be told, my lethargy is nothing more than laziness. My conscience spoke to me, loud and clear. This is a commitment you made to yourself and to God. And of course, my conscience was right. So I flew out of the office shortly before 3 and rushed to the Chapel. Breathless, I opened the door and there was Fr. Jerry and one other person, who was not staying. So, it was just the two of us… and we prayed the Stations of the Cross. Talk about a one on one audience with God. I’m so thankful that I went. It was awesome.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Stations of the Cross, Wikipedia defines the Stations of the cross as:

Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or simply, The Way) refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St. Francis of Assisi and extended throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period.
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death. It has become one of the most popular devotions for Roman Catholics.

The traditional form of The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus is given his cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

I find participating in the Stations of the Cross to be a very moving reminder of how Christ suffered for all of our sins.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My 6th Grade Graduation....

Earlier this week, I found some old pictures, and decided to scan them and post them on Facebook, in order to share with friends and family. This picture was taken at my 6th Grade Graduation from Harman Avenue Elementary School, in June of 1970. After posting the picture and tagging a few people, a flurry of nostalgic conversation ensued. Several of my classmates began talking about that day, our dress, our hair styles, and what we recited and sang during the ceremony.

Normally, I have a great memory, but I remember little about the actual ceremony. So I am intrigued.. and really rather stunned to have been reminded that we recited "THE CREATION" by: James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) from The Book of American Negro Poetry. Here is the poem:


by: James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

ND God stepped out on space,
And He looked around and said,
"I'm lonely --
I'll make me a world."

And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God reached out and took the light in His hands,
And God rolled the light around in His hands
Until He made the sun;
And He set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God himself stepped down --
And the sun was on His right hand,
And the moon was on His left;
The stars were clustered about His head,
And the earth was under His feet.
And God walked, and where He trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.

Then He stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And He spat out the seven seas;
He batted His eyes, and the lightnings flashed;
He clapped His hands, and the thunders rolled;
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.

Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around His shoulder.

Then God raised His arm and He waved His hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And He said, "Bring forth! Bring forth!"
And quicker than God could drop His hand.
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods,
And split the air with their wings.
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that He had made.
He looked at His sun,
And He looked at His moon,
And He looked at His little stars;
He looked on His world
With all its living things,
And God said, "I'm lonely still."

Then God sat down
On the side of a hill where He could think;
By a deep, wide river He sat down;
With His head in His hands,
God thought and thought,
Till He thought, "I'll make me a man!"

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled Him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of His hand;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till He shaped it in His own image;

Then into it He blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen. Amen.

What an wonderful and beautiful poem! It amazes me because Harman Avenue School is a public school! Can you imagine this same poem being recited in a public school today! Yet we were allowed to talk about God and the Creation in PUBLIC!!!! How awesome was that?!?!?! Sadly, however, this is serves as a reminder on how secularism is running rampant... and so much wonderful poetry and literature is now frowned upon and/or forbidden. I highly doubt, that Harman Avenue Elementary School would be able to allow their students to recite this poem at their 6th Grade Graduation this June.

Another classmate reminded us that during our graduation we also sang "Get Together" by the Youngbloods:

"Get Together" By the Youngbloods

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Right now
Right now!

And as she said, "This was 1970, so it was right after "the summer of love!" And I suppose it was! People preach for tolerance... but doesn't secularism promote intolerance?

Monday, March 07, 2011


Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras. Traditionally it is a day of gluttony and celebration.... a sort of "last hurrah" before Ash Wednesday... when Lent begins. While some people will be "whooping it up tomorrow" we will most likely be delivering food to the hungry as we do every Tuesday. Mardi Gras is merely a reminder that it's time for Lent. I've been soul searching about this Lent... what I am going to give up... and how I can make this Lent meaningful.

Giving up Chocolate and/or sweets has been my standard sacrifice.. but this year that strikes me as, well, a cop out. Lent is also a time to become more prayerful, and that is my desire. To spend more time with God, with Jesus, and to connect in a meaningful way. So it is my intention to say the Rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy at least once a day. In addition, I will attend Eucharistic Adoration on campus as much as possible. There will be the opportunity to attend a couple of retreats as well as one or two Missions.

As far as Sacrifice goes, in addition to fasting on Ash Wednesday, every Friday as well as Good Friday, I hope to eat more at home... meals that are simple... and use the money that we'd normally spending for alms-giving. And of course, there is penance as well.

I wish everyone a peaceful and joyous Lent. God Bless all of you...


A prayer for Lent:

Loving Lord!

Thank You for bringing me into these days of introspection. I take this time to analyse my ways and meditate upon the ultimate sacrifices You have made for me, a grant sinner.

Lord! There were times when I had been so mean to others and when I had lost my patience and integrity. There were times when I had lost faith in You when I had been unfaithful to You without even acknowledging Your sacrificial love for me. Please forgive me for all the sins I have committed against You as well as my fellow-men.

Let me regain the spiritual values I have lost and restore in me the original first love for You. I rededicate myself at Your feet Lord! Search me and fill me with Your divine presence so that my life can reflect the Gospel. Let this Lenten season be a time of restoration and the means for renewed direction and perspective. Please guide me and make me a channel of blessing to others. Thank You for helping me to reflect Your love and sacrifice. In Jesus' name, I pray.