Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

7 random things about me

I guess I've always known this day would come. I've been tagged. Annie of Well, That Would Be Telling tagged me with the 7 random things meme. Unfortunately, this meme has already gone around most of the blogs I read, so I don't think I have anyone left to tag. I can, however, tell you 7 random things you didn't know about me...

1.) I HATE being sung to on my birthday. And if you think it might be funny to do it anyway, I can't be held responsible for the outcome. Please, please, please don't sing to me. I mean it. Just don't.
2.) I took a "which The Office character are you?" quiz once. I was sure the result would be Phylis. No, it was Dwight. Dwight! I was horrified. Still am.
3.) My mom is gay - transgendered actually - and most of the people in my life can't comprehend how the daughter of a lesbian could possible end up a cloistered nun. I'm asked about it on an almost daily basis. I can't understand what the problem is here. I really don't get it. It baffles me that so many people are baffled.
3a.) Because I was raised by a mom who thinks she's my dad, I can't do my hair, paint my nails, etc. I can, however build a bookshelf, change a tire, plunge a toilet and split firewood.
4.) For years, some friends and I have played this "perfect man" game. We create the perfect man by adding up percentages of men who actually exist. My current perfect man: 50% Thomas Merton, 20% Steven Colbert, 10% Bobby Flay, 10% Lasagna Man from the lasagna episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, 5% Johnny Depp in Willy Wonka (minus the greenish complexion), 5% Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.
5.) For me, changing into my pajamas is like hitting reset. When work is really crazy, I just keep telling myself "In a few more hours, you'll be in your pajamas and everything will be all better." Poor Clares don't have pajamas - they sleep in their habits. Not sure how well I'm going to handle that.
6.) I take voice lesson with the cantor at my parish so that I'll be able to chant on key once I'm in the convent. If this seems silly to you it's because you have no idea how unbelievably badly I used to sing. Now I actually do okay. I've actually said the words "I rocked Vespers last night." I meant it too - I rocked it hard.
7.) I think it would be nice to have a little farm. Every morning I'd milk the cow and gather eggs from the chickens. Maybe the nuns will get some animals...

Since I have no one left to tag with this meme, I think I'll make up a new one. We'll call it the 3 meme. Here are the rules: answer the three questions and tag three people.

1.) If you had to give one million dollars to any 3 charities, which ones would you choose and why?
2.) If you could only ever read 3 books again, which books would you choose and why?
3.) If you could somehow incorporate 3 people (living or dead) into your family who would you want to be realted to?

I tag Annie of Well, that would be telling..., David of A Roman Catholic Convert and Scott of Καθολικός διάκονος !

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's Mass readings can be found here. The Gospel reading from Matthew is the parable of the talents in which a master going on a trip entrusts three servants with three different amounts of money. The servants who were given five talents and two talents both took what was given to them and doubled it. Their reward was to be invited to share their master's joy. One of my big rants this political season has been that those of us who have so much should be grateful, and in gratitude we should want others to be blessed as well. Hopefully, we'd then figure out that God blessed us in these ways so that others could be blessed through us. Instead we hoard what we're given and look down our noses at those who don't have health care, citizenship, homes, adequate education, employment, grocery money, etc. Worse yet, we find a way to tell ourselves that it's all their fault they don't have these things, that we worked hard and deserve what we have and we're not going to let someone take it from us - "Wah, it's not fair!" The gifts we are given aren't to be grasped at and clung to, they are meant to be shared. Why? Because the good God does is a sign that points to the Good God is. The love of God is profuse; it should overflow every vessel it's poured into so that the good God does in us becomes the Good God does through us. The reward for this is the act itself - we are privileged to share in the life and work of God.

Now let's talk about the third servant. He took the talent he was given and out of fear he buried it. When his master returns, the servant brings the coin back and is severly punished for not using what he had been given. His talent is taken from him and given to the servant who made good use what he had been entrusted with. What's saddest to me about this parable is that the last servant says to his master "I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground." He losses the opportunity to fully participate in the life and love of God because he was afraid. But the only people who are afraid of God are the ones who don't know who He really is. They see what He does, but they're confused about the why and the how and the role their supposed to play in all this. So they keep their heads down and just try their best not to screw up.

What if the servants who understood the plan had gone to their brother and offered to help him? What if they had said something like, "There's no need to be afraid. Our Master is demanding, it's true, but it's because He knows what you're capable of doing and who you are capable of being, and He loves you too much to let you settle for anything less. In serving our Master, you'll become that person He knows you can be, and you'll be a part of helping all of creation become what it was meant to be as well. And you don't have to do it alone - we're in this with you, and He's in this with all of us."

And then maybe the other servant could chime in with something along the lines of, "I know it's hard, and it can be scary. I've messed up over and over again. But each time I do I go to my Master and tell Him I'm sorry, and He helps me make it right. What matters most is that you love Him enough to want to serve Him and be a part of what He's doing in the world and in all of us."

We need to support and encourage each other in living our Christian faith. This is why God gave us the Church. This is why we gather together to be fed by the Eucharist. I'm off to Mass.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A long van ride home

So I have a low grade infection in the kidney they did the operation on. It's not too serious, but it's causing a lot of inflammation, so the doctor said I had to do a run of methylprednisolone (steroids) which makes me more than a little crazy. I almost never talk about my past at work unless someone asks me about it directly. Tonight though, it was like I had no filter - so what started out as a conversation about which beers I like at my favorite microbrewery turned into a pretty detailed description of my former life. I think this was good for two reasons:

1.) I've tried to explain to my coworkers on literally hundreds of occasions that even though I'm going to be nun I'm still a regular person just like them - nothing special, nothing better or worse than anybody else. Some of them get it, but most of them still have this tripped out picture of the religious life that seems to be a cross between Sister Act and The Sound of Music (maybe with a little Dogma thrown in.) I want them to understand that I'm not this perfect person who had some vision and now is locking herself away with Jesus in an ivory-tower-convent. I'm a person who encountered the Love of God and was blown away and said "I want to love like this too, please will You show me how?" And when the answer took the form of a vocation to the Poor Clares I said yes because even though I was scared shitless something deeper than the fear said that if the call came from that Love it would be okay somehow - more than okay actually.

2.) When one coworker asked me if I ever miss doing some of the things I used to do I was able to answer that question for myself as well as for her. When I look back and remember the drugs and the sex and the parties and the craziness there are a few images that make me shudder, but most of the time I really was having fun. And I do miss it a little sometimes. But my life now is so much more than fun - it's filled with a significance that was there all along but that I was unaware of before. It's not that I wasn't happy - I was, but that happiness seemed fleeting and superficial and directionless. I used to think that religion, especially Christianity, restricted people and made them less than themselves. Turns out that understanding who I am in relationship to the God who created me and loves me is making me more myself. Living in the awareness of perfect Love is absolutely liberating. Now and again, I catch glimpses of this person I never would have thought I could be - couldn't even have imagined - and I realize that this is who God wants me to be - who He created me to be. Faith tells me that the love of God is turning me into that person and that He's doing this for all of creation as well. I want to cooperate with Him, give Him free reign to keep doing what He's been doing. So yes, I do look back once in a while, and I miss some stuff. But I'm much more intigued by, and grateful for, what I see when I look ahead.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!

What shall we not do for the love of such a loving God, so generous that He has called us to follow Him so closely and to continue the mission of Jesus on earth! Let us correspond to so great a love. Let us be generous, and remember that the salvation of the world is entrusted to our charity. We can do nothing because we are poor and weak, but let us have a lively faith and trust in Him who strengthens us. Let us expand our hearts to help so many souls lying under the yoke of the king of darkness. With the fire of our love, let us break the heavy chains keeping them bound in the terrible service of the devil.

When we see our efforts are unsuccessful, let us throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus. Groaning over the world's iniquity, let us beg his divine heart to lay bare his infinite treasures of mercy. Then let us return again to our work, without giving in to exhaustion. Hardships must never discourage the spouse of Christ; rather they should make her stronger and more determined. Do not be dismayed by rejection and mockery. Go forward always with the serenity and fortitude of angles, because you are the angels of the earth and so must continue on your way in the midst of so many contrary influences. Everyone can be serene when things run smoothly; it is in difficult situations that fidelity and constancy are proven. - Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A prayer from Pope John Paul II

Holy Spirit, we appear before you as sinners, but gathered together in your name. Come among us, stay with us, enter into our hearts, teach us what to do and what direction to take. Show us what to choose so that, with your help, we may please you in all things. Be our counselor and the author of our purposes; you who with God the Father and his Son bear the name of glorious; you who love justice, do not let us become its destroyers. May our ignorance not lead us astray, success not deceive us, may our own interest or that of others not fail us. Bind us closely to you with the gift of your grace so that in you we may be one and never distant from the truth. And since we are gathered together in your name, may justice guided by love govern us in all things, so that we may do nothing against your will in the present, and by our good acts earn eternal reward for the future.