Saturday, October 18, 2008

I just had to share something from the homily of this evening's vigil Mass. The gospel reading described the interaction between our Lord and the Pharisees where they ask him if they should pay the census tax. As you know, Jesus asks them who's image is stamped on the coin. When they answer that it is Caesar's image, Jesus tells them to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. Father pointed out that the coin carries Caesar's image, but we are made in the image of God. He is imprinted on our hearts, and so we are His, and it is only right to offer Him our very selves. How beautiful that we are made to do this and given the grace to do this - this self donation is our destiny and the satisfaction of the desire of our hearts.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Scoop from the bottom"

Several years ago, I was a waitress at a little restaurant in Michigan called the Parkway Inn. There was a regular customer who would always order soup with her dinner and demand that her waitress "scoop from the bottom." As I write this, I can hear her voice again, plain as day, and it makes me shiver a little. I used to get really angry when I waited on this woman. How selfish to demand all the good parts of the soup for yourself when that means leaving others with a less desirable portion! I realize that soup is a pretty insignifogant part of life, but her request pointed to a deeper mentality that really bothered me.

Sadly, I think that too many Americans vote for the politician they think will "scoop from the bottom" for them. "Joe the plumber" from last night's debate is a perfect example. Instead of feeling blessed and grateful that he has the money and opportunity to own his own business, Joe worries that he'll have to pay higher taxes and spend money to provide health insurance for his employees. I wish the American dream involved looking out for others and making sacrifices to so that we can all live a decent life. Instead it seems to mean that we do whatever it takes to stake a claim on the things that are important to us while leaving the more vulnerable members of the population to deal with the consequences.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath

I could listen to this song on repeat for a week straight and not get sick of it. It reminds me of an experience I had when I was about nine years old. I was in the car with my mom, and we were waiting for the light to change at a very busy intersection. Hundreds of cars were passing in front of me, and I suddenly realized that the people driving and riding in those cars all had lives, families, dreams, pain, etc. I was filled with awe at the hugeness of humanity. I realized for the first time that life is more than my tiny experience of it.

I've had simular encounters several times since then. Driving on a highway. Sitting in a NYC subway car. At work when I think back on the people I came in contact with that day and wonder if I gave them anything of value, anything that might hint at how precious they are.

Last weekend, I went back to Michigan to visit my family. As I was getting off the plane, I found myself unreasonably frustrated about how slowly everyone seemed to be moving. Out of nowhere, this thought entered my mind, "What if you didn't see people as in your way? What if you saw them as placed there for you to love?" I thought of this song and prayed for grace.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Little Poor Man of Assisi, pray for us!

All day long, I've been trying to think of something wonderful to say about the spiritual father of the Poor Clares, but what I keep coming back to it this - St. Francis wouldn't want me to. I think nothing would make him happier than to spend a few minutes in joyful praise of God and the infinite ways He reveals Himself to us, the children He loves. I love this version of St. Francis' most well known and loved hymn. Take your laptop someplace private and sing along!