Friday, November 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 126) Birthdays, Joy, Saints, and the Blessing of Hope Edition

Grace is…realizing again that God has been answering prayers you prayed over a decade ago in miraculous and hope-inspiring ways, offering your prayer intentions at Mass for someone who is struggling in mind, body, and/or spirit, finding out something hurtful and frustrating happened completely due to a misunderstanding and both sides feeling much better once given the chance to clear the air, having hope when it could only mean having faith in God’s plans for your future even when He hasn’t made any of them clear to you, yet, having dinner and time to visit with three adorable little girls who are way cuter than any Disney Princesses…

All You Holy Men and Women, Pray for Us. This verse is part of the Litany of Saints that is often sung at Mass, reminding us that we are connected to all of those past, present, and future who have been open to the Lord’s love and grace moving in and through them.  I personally have found it extremely comforting to know that people throughout the ages from a very wide variety of backgrounds, time periods, socio-economic situations, abilities, skills, personalities, and passions are present each and every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist.  Not only that, but we have a number of intercessors who will pray with and for us when our own measly prayers hardly seem adequate.   

My Sisters the Saints Can women with very different lifestyles focused on doing the Lord’s will above all else be companions, true guides, and sisters for women of today?  Absolutely!
     My Sisters the Saints illustrates the truth of the adage that you should choose your friends wisely because you will become like them in some interesting and unexpected ways. 
     The six saints most prominent in Colleen Carroll Campbell’s life and spiritual memoir are holy women also very dear to me: Teresa of Avila, Thérѐse of Lisieux, Faustina Kowalski, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Blessed Mother Teresa, and Our Mother Mary.  The concept of considering female saints as sisters is one I believe in and have embraced wholeheartedly.  For many years, I have felt a greater closeness to some of the saints and my sisters in Christ than I have sometimes shared with my two biological sisters.

     To read a complete review of this amazing book, click here.

The Saint that Is Just Me I first heard this song when John had Kevin and me over to his apartment for dinner one evening.  As has been the case with every single one of her songs, the lyrics which Danielle Rose always writes in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament resonate with me on a very deep level.  I’ve read a great deal about and by the saints, and most of the time, I have found it inspiring and uplifting.  Other times, I have gotten extremely discouraged when I see how I am eons away from having the sort of trust, devotion, faith, and dedication to God’s Will that they had.  
The Saint that Is Just Me is a perfect reminder that every single one of us is called to be a saint, meaning we are called by God to be holy, but that our sanctification and living out what the Lord calls us to often looks different from what it looks like for other people, even the saints.  If we conform our lives to Christ, then we will become the saint that the Lord wants us to be and knows we can be.  If we imitate the saints and try to become like then, we’re liable to end up failing miserably.  God doesn’t need another Blessed Mother Teresa, but He always needs people who are willing to use all of their mind, body, and spirit to serve Him in the unique ways and with the special set of talents with which He blesses us.  He loves you for who you are, where you are, and is calling you to holiness and sainthood. 

Birthday Blessings I tend to dread my birthday, not so much because it means I’m a year older, but more due to the fact that it makes me likely to take stock of my life and what I have or have not accomplished or done by the age that I am.  I received a beautiful, very loving card from my mom for my birthday and frequent reminders throughout the day (though she was out of town at a funeral) that having me in her life has brought her a great deal of joy.  My mother loves me, God loves me, my husband loves me, and so do many others.  That is enough to be grateful for. 

Honoring Our Departed Loved Ones Four years ago, I went by myself to an All Soul’s Day (November 2) service our parish had.  There were a number of people I added to the list of the faithful departed loved ones that year, my dad being just one of them.  I wasn’t sure how well I’d hold up, and really wished Kevin had agreed to come with me.  Being there and offering our sorrow and sadness to the Lord and having the courage to get up in front of others and speak a few words about the loved ones we’d lost recently was quite powerful.  So many friends and family members have lost loved ones this year.  It is my hope and prayer that they will also find comfort and courage that there is indeed life after this one, and that we will again be with those we love in the next life.  My grandmother passed away this last January.  I will be praying for her this evening and for all who are mourning the loss of loved ones.  This is the reflection I wrote about the All Soul’s Day service.
All that Matters is God’s Will, His timing, and His plan for our lives.  My husband continues to look for a
new job, and we are bracing ourselves as his severance package which includes our insurance coverage ends on November 12.  I have confidence that the Lord will lead Kevin to a job that is a better fit for him, more fulfilling, and incorporates more of his skills and talents, but his hope is running low the longer he waits.  He’s frustrated and angry that so many contradicting things are said and advised, and he’s not sure which to follow.  It’s easier for me to look at this situation and have faith that things will work out, because he’s a hard worker, fast-learner, awesome at customer service, great at sales, very gifted in a number of other areas, in addition to being a good, compassionate person...than it is for him to trust at this point.
     Our sometimes very different approach to things has again nudged me back to our spiritual memoir.  That and several reminders that the most fervent prayers I have prayed in years past have been those which the Lord placed on my heart.
Check out Jen Fulwiler’s tradition of 7 Quick Takes Friday at her tremendously popular blog Conversion Diary
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