“They Departed”

Fr Kulway's First Mass 5-22-2016 - 004 - Version 3

I was encouraged to start a blog, because of my journal writing.  I prayed about it, and decided it was in God’s will for me.  It is one of the most difficult tasks, I’ve done, sharing my personal reflections, on how God moves in my life.  It makes me vulnerable, expressing moments of my spiritual journey, in a public way.  Even if it’s not widely seen, the fact remains that I have shared it, it’s available to the eyes of the world.  It has not gone unnoticed.  Like many endeavors in life that God calls us to, satan takes note. He looks for an opportunity to pounce… a place we feel exposed.

St John Vianney was tormented by satan every night.  He heard confessions for 16 hours a day, and had the gift to read souls.  Satan took note.  I think, when we enter into God’s will, the spiritual battle of this world can become very real.  Our beds may not rattle, or levitate, like St. John Vianney, but we encounter obstacles to our mission, to discourage us.  I also believe that once the culprit is identified, once we know who our enemy is, the battle is half won. Satan is cunning, “prowling like a lion”, trying to be unnoticed, and deceiving.

“The demon is very cunning, but he is not strong. Making a Sign of the Cross soon puts him to flight… when I made the Sign of the Cross they departed.”

St John Vianney

I think it wise, before we want to abandon something that becomes difficult, or seemingly unfruitful for the Kingdom, we check the tall grass, around us, for that lion….and take comfort, in the power of God,  in the sign of the cross.

 

Caregivers

8AA90ED1-8A3B-4CDE-9EDF-C273A3674363We all have gifts of different natures.  One isn’t better than the other, but I’ve recently encountered a “caregiver”.  A caregiver is the one, in my opinion, who notices a need.  Mother Mary noticed they needed more wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana.  Veronica saw Jesus, and was moved to care for Him.  As caregivers, we see what is needed.  I hurt my back once and had to miss a family day at the fair.  My son, 6yrs old, came to me and said, “Mommy, I would rather you stay home and get better, than go to the fair.  I don’t want you to get worse.”  I didn’t need permission to stay home, but knowing he wanted me well, above all, made my staying home easier.  He saw my need.  It’s not necessarily service, but it’s seeing the human condition first.  Mother Mary realizing the embarrassment of the wedding host, Veronica recognizing Jesus’ loneliness, my son seeing my anguish.  

I think it’s in the noticing.  You may bring someone a glass of water, because you were asked, or it’s your job, that is service.  To do it because you notice that someone has been surrounded by people, who want to speak to them, and they can’t get away, on a hot day, that is a caregiving.  

I think of our Lord and how he cares for us.  I believe it can go unnoticed, so subtle are His ways. The people who happen into our lives, we may identify as coincidence, but are there, because the Master saw a need, and sent a servant to us.  I think again about the Wedding Feast.  Today, I am greatly appreciating the caregiver recently placed in my life.  You see deeper than the surface, and have made me feel truly noticed.  It is your gift, and I thank God for His care, and sending you to me.

Shiney

CF094911-B769-49EF-A5DD-2696B0BA866EI quit wearing earrings, when I started having babies.  It only took a couple of eager pulls of a baby’s fist full of earring to persuade me. That a shiny, sparkling, or colorful bob was too much temptation, and so easily in grasp to resist.  I think shiny things come in many different forms, some good and some bad.  That thing that we desire, that draws us, it gets us excited enough to reach out and pull, without much thought to what that means to the world around us.  Shiny things have draw, but seem innocuous, and they can be depending on who is grabbing it.   

Spiritual experiences, or highs, are good, unless your faith  becomes dependent upon them.  Friendships and relationships are good, if they don’t pull you towards temptation or away from Truth.  An earring is good, if it’s not being pulled from your ear.

When I was young, I had the opportunity to pilgrimage to Medjugorje Yugoslavia.  It was reported that Our Lady was appearing there.  I felt called to go, but it was also very “shiny” to me.  How amazing would it be to experience a miracle there.  My Uncle said to me, “ Why are you going?  There isn’t anything there greater than Who is in every Tabernacle in every Catholic Church.”  Aaah now I could go, because I had received a proper perspective of “shiny”.

I think shiny things can be dangerous. They can distract us from our purpose, very possibly a great purpose, and cause us harm. I pray that I can always see things dull, when placed next to the Light.

Casting Stones

671A47B1-5820-4223-A870-66C560E8EF5AMy thoughts today seem to be preoccupied with forgiveness.  If it was easy to forgive, we wouldn’t need to be commanded to do so…forgive us, as we forgive.

Mary Magdalene is one of my saint heroes.  I thought about her life, public ridicule, possibly even stones held in hand for her.  Was she a prostitute?  She had seven demons cast out of her.  Were some of Jesus’ disciples/followers her accusers?  Did they hold rocks, or use and abuse her?  What about Matthew?  Did he take funds or homes, from some in Jesus’ company?  Did he create hardship or hunger for their families?  Then there is Paul.  He persecuted and killed Christians!  Did he take lives of the families, children, friends of those early faithful?  How could this early Church, get beyond these offenses against one another? How did they look at those in their company, and not repeatedly feel the sting of their offenses?   How did they welcome them into the fold, without vengeance?  I can think of no other way, but they had to forgive.  If they hadn’t forgiven each other, this poison would have been detrimental to the early church.  I’ve heard about, victims forgiving their assailants; families, who forgave those who’ve murdered loved ones;  the innocent forgiving their abusers.

There has to be a place in our hearts for the remorseful, the repentant. If we can’t, the words forgive as we forgive, may come back to accuse our very selves.