Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Gifts

I don't know about you, but it feels like Lent never came to an end. I won't get into the particulars but I was concerned enough that I went to confession today. I rarely let a week pass without going to confession and after reading St Pio's recommendation, it is a practice I will continue.  Afterward I went to the Adoration chapel, silently asking Jesus how long He will put up with me and my mood swings. And then "they" came in, seemingly floating in their spotless white habits. A group of 6 nuns, all of them young,  kneeling down in front of their Eucharistic Spouse.

What's more, it was announced that the Mass would take place in the upper church, a space I have been dying to see but which is closed to the public on weekdays. Friends, I was in Heaven. I think this has to be the most beautiful church in all of Phildelphia and it is kept in immaculate condition. The Stations of the Cross were nothing short of exquisite. The statuary was breathtaking. I saw what looked like a little side chapel and discovered just that -a small but gleaming chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The high altar rivaled anything I saw in Italy.  Statues of The Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph so beautiful it made me want to cry. The Crucifix behind the altar was shadowed by a stained glass depiction of the Resurrection.   All this to take in plus the nuns sitting in front of me during Mass. I certainly didn't think I deserved such beauty considering the blackness of the mood in which I entered  that church just an hour before. 

The fact that this church is in a very poor neighborhood made its beauty that more moving. 

The priest's sermon was about Christ seeking out Mary Magdalene, not the other way around, and how Christ came looking for her.  He reminded us that Christ seeks each of us in the same way.

I needed to hear that message for a number of reasons. I didn't deserve any of the beauty I saw, nor did I deserve the most beautiful Gift of all - the Son of God visiting me personally in the sacrament of  Holy Communion.

I am struggling to make my soul a place of respite for Him. Most days it feels like I fail miserably at this task. 

A friend included me in a group email she titled: " To my holy friends". I wanted to reply: please take me off this list, I am not holy. I wanted to say: Holy women don't snap at their children and their husbands and they don't get discouraged.  Holy women embrace every opportunity to suffer - they don't complain and show their displeasure.  Holy women put everyone else first and never feel despair over having to endure unpleasant people and unpleasant tasks. They don't feel sorry for themselves when they think they're being ignored or overlooked. They rejoice "to be little", they never resent it.  They embrace every cross. They don't ask: How much longer do I have to do this?  

I am so NOT holy. 

But I am determined to keep trying. In fact I think that might be my new motto:

Get holy or die trying.

 I am sure of God's mercy. I am sure of His love. This must suffice.  And with the help of the Mother of God and all the angels and saints, it will.   

Fall down and get back up because tomorrow is another day.  

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