Friday, September 21, 2012

Following Without Hesitation

from Today's Mass Reading from EWTN Matthew 9:9-13

9As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
10And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
13Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

It should have been a tough call. From the looks of it, Matthew had a pretty good life going on. Jesus said, "Matthew, come follow me!" Matthew didn't ask questions, he just followed. I imagine his friends, fellow tax collectors, frowned on his new relationship. Certainly, Jesus' observers took exception to his new friend. While it is uncertain, tradition suggests he was martyred for Christ so it was not a choice without any eventual and immediate consequences. Had he continued on his initial path, Matthew would have enjoyed a much more profitable and pain-free life--by the world's standards. We certainly have been blessed by Matthew's ability to recognize what God wanted him to do and to do so without hesitation. I am sure Matthew concurs that it was the right choice.

     To always be so certain when the road is difficult; Saying Goodbye to Bishop Vann

On my way to Mass this morning, I heard about our local Bishop, Bishop Vann, and his immediate transfer to lead the people of the Diocese of Orange County in California. It is with a heavy heart I see him go. He is a personal favorite in our family. A pastoral Bishop, my baby girls learned how to properly communicate with a bishop by watching him walk the halls of our church. OK, maybe not properly, I may never be able to see Bishop Vann without thinking of my baby practicing, over and over again, "Good afternoon, My Tushie." Also, a strong advocate of all life, we will miss his undying work on behalf of the unborn.

However, I can see how the Holy Father found him a good choice. He communicates fluently in Spanish--sometimes switching back and forth between the two languages in the same mass...even the same paragraph! Like Ft. Worth, Orange County has a huge Hispanic population. Our church, if not our country, needs to acknowledge the impact that the largely Catholic Hispanic population brings to our country.  

While I am sad to see Bishop Vann go, I am sure Bishop Vann is not completely happy with the decision either, leaving the comfort of the familiar and comfortable is never easy, I am happy he continues to follow the will of God and the Holy father without hesitation. I am encouraged by it. I have struggled with our relocation to Texas from the familiarity of Pennsylvania. I struggle with the loss of the community we grew up with and began raising our children in. I question whether people are meant to move about the country toward opportunity or for the will of God, or if it is right to stay with family for the sake of family. In times of uncertainty, I always cling to home. I face fear, which is obviously not of the Lord, and hesitate in setting down roots. I understand that we are to live in the moment, but its hard to embrace my life if I am not sure this is where we belong. Is the only thing that ties us to TX Shawn's job and is that enough? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can reply here, or right at the Dwell in Glory Facebook page...Please "Like" us while you are there!!

So, on this feast of St. Matthew, I pray for our beloved Bishop Vann, who goes with the prayers of all the faithful in the Diocese of Ft. Worth. God Bless you...

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Off With Her Head...

Lessons learned from John the baptist...

John the Baptist was kind of a laughing stock. As the songs go, he walked around in rags, ate bugs, and yelled to whoever would listen, and even some who wouldn't listen, the moral truths of the time they were living in. It made him wildly much so that the queen had her daughter ask the king for his head on a platter. A sad demise for a man who only loved God and tried to get the people to listen to the truth.

A gay activist in Toronto taunts parent's at a Catholic school telling them if they opt their children out of sexual rights "education" they are attacking "Inclusivity" and contributing to a hateful environment.  In Libya, our soldiers and our diplomats are being killed. In fact the Middle East is in turmoil. Is there a connection? I am afraid to blog. I have lost my words. I am so tired of fighting my friends, kids for being so different from everyone they know.

It isn't easy going against the popular culture.

Yesterday, I took Mariah to a dentist appointment. Armed with my recently acquired knowledge that fluoride is bad for us, I didn't allow her usual fluoride rinse and talked with the hygienist when she wanted to change my mind. I told her I was reading about this now and trying to educate myself, but nothing I had read suggested to me that it is effective in preventing cavities and further, if there was a chance it might hurt her, I would hold off until the next six month check up and we could revisit the issue. She understood and told me that she loves fluoride and wishes everyone would understand it like her, but she understood my reluctance. Not so Mariah. She berated me on the way home for being so rude. The familiar complaint, "why do we have to be so different." was starting to wear on me. I know that it not unusual for teens to feel this way about their parents, but as a mom to 11 adopted children, largely minority children, in a very white neighborhood, and Catholic to boot, I realize that there is some truth to the complaint.

Why we must persevere...

Sept. 11th this year I forgot...why was there a flag outside the children wanted to know. They did not experience the horror of that morning 11 years ago when our country watched our towers fall down, clung together in horror with friends and family, and talked about where our loved ones were. Were they OK? It is just a story to them. Even the ones who lived it were too young to really remember. While in the business of everyday life, I forgot...But I will never really forget. The horror was brought home anew later that afternoon when I heard that protesters had killed our Libyan diplomat and several marines. Because we had allowed a film to be made that was disrespectful to their Islamic leaders. Really...And we apologized for that movie, thank you Mrs. Clinton. But really...Some things are just wrong. I don't hate people who are gay. I may not agree with them, but to tell our Catholic parents that to not allow their children...their children to hear propaganda for gay marriage is wrong. Our church has some absolutes and it is unchanging. The same truth's that John the Baptist was preaching against are still as wrong today as they were 2000 years ago. God doesn't change his mind with the "times." Sometimes saying it will make me unpopular. And not exposing our children to that activism is not promoting hate. What the gay activist chose to forget is that in most families, we teach love not hate and that includes people who are gay. And Muslims. And telling Muslims that it is not OK to kill people to get because they don't like what we say is not right and is not not promoting an atmosphere of hate but it is necessary. We need to say it is not right. Not saying it doesn't make it any less true. And it makes us look weak. Life is not full of grey areas. There are moral absolutes...

So my children's discomfort at not being like everyone else might cause some discomfort. Hey, getting un-friended on facebook is uncomfortable, too. But, unlike John the Baptist, who told it like it is, I probably won't lose my actual head. I hope he is smiling down on me right now, in heaven, whole and basking in  glory with Jesus as a good and faithful servant. I persevere so that I might one day be able to join them.

We must never forget and we must always do and say what is right, regardless of who disagrees with us...even if, maybe especially, if it is hard.