In the Name of Unity: A Seder Meal

Many, many years ago today, the tribe of Israel, living in Egypt, hid in their homes, the blood of the lamb on the door, as a plague passed over them. Many, but less, years ago, Jesus, the Lamb, hid in an upper room, so that He could feed us before He shed His blood. Many years later, faithful people everywhere still commemorate this day. This year is different. This year, we are living this day. We are hidden in our homes, as the Hebrews were, and as the disciples were at first. This year we have an opportunity to be united as God’s faithful people in a very special way.

The tribe of Israel was chosen to be God’s people from the very beginning of time, according to Scripture. However, in the New Testament, we see Jesus welcoming new people, the Gentiles, into His tribe. The descendants of Israel must have been so angry. “You chose us, and now you abandon us, for them?” They had judged the Gentiles harshly and now they were the Messiah’s favorite? It’s no wonder, on a human level, that they did not accept Him.

What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that theologically, Catholics still believe Israel is the chosen people. Fulton Sheen talks about this in detail in The World’s First Love, but to summarize, Jesus said He came to fulfill the law not to abolish it, so what Catholics believe is that Jesus did not change who God’s tribe was, He welcomed more people into God’s tribe. We are His adopted children, because Israel turned from Him. However, Fulton Sheen says, we are still to believe that the Jews have a special place in God’s heart, and he even talks about the prophecy that before the end of time, the Jews will convert and we will all be united. All of this is why it is still so important that we pray and study the Old Testament. 

This year, I believe God has given us an opportunity to feel this unity in a more powerful way than we ever have. This year, we are hidden in our homes praying for a plague to pass us by. Some have even suggested putting red on the door posts somehow,( I have yet to figure out how I want to do this, painting the whole doorpost feels a little rash, and we don’t own the house, and I don’t have red ribbon.) What I would like to suggest is that we take time to live what we have in common. Today, on Passover, let us commemorate with the Jews as they remember waiting for the plague to pass over them, and let us all pray for this plague to pass over us. If it helps you to visualize it, maybe you could put something red on your doors. 

The most important and beautiful thing we have in common tonight, though, is the meal. Tonight, the Jews hold “seder meal” a special meal in commemoration of the Passover. Christians too, all Christians-not just Catholics, also have a special meal to commemorate tonight. Tonight, Jesus instituted the Eucharist, whether you theologically believe it is a symbol, or actual presence, or in remembrance, all Christians believe that this bread and wine is significant. Jesus did not institute this meal on the Passover on accident. On the feast of unleavened bread, He offered the unleavened bread(that’s why our hosts for Communion are made the way they are) up as His body, so that we would not miss the analogy He was making. The Jews used to sacrifice a lamb, He offers His body and His blood so that we will not miss that He is the new lamb. We don’t do animal sacrifice because Jesus came to replace the lamb. 

Tonight, then, what if we all in unity offered the seder meal. For tonight, we could meditate on what we have in common and share the tradition of unleavened bread and wine. Jews, Catholics and Christians alike believe in the importance of the bread, so maybe we all can eat some kind of bread in commemoration of this night. If you don’t have bread or wine, maybe just take some today to meditate on the meaning of this day, and live today in a different way than any other. 

For those who are not Catholic or Christian or Jewish, I know you are a little left out of this post, please know that I see you, and I want unity with you too. There are many divisions in this world, and one of the reasons I write is to help people see common ground. We have common ground with you too, I just have to shed light into one spot at a time. 💚

Stay: For those in Isolation

Dear Friend,

You are lonely tonight. 

When the rest of us cheered

Delighted at time away,

Your heart quaked in fear.

You were faced with isolation,

Alone with yourself,

You are haunted by your demons. 

I have fought that dark fight 

When night seems endless

I begged for release and screamed

While no one could hear.

Please, friend, be patient.

Stay with me.

I’m here. 

Here in the deep, 

you are not alone. 

I am reaching out my hand to you.

Touch me.

Let you fingers linger on mine,

As I tenderly stroke yours.

I will sing to you tonight,

Whatever is your favorite song.

Lay your hand in mine,

Let me hold your weary bones. 

Stay.

Recoil

Here’s a poem inspired by a scrupulousity spiral yesterday

Recoil

I read a meditation
And it said,
“Picture yourself
Among the crowd
That crucified Jesus.
A few Easters ago
I cringed
When the Gospel instructed,
[Crowd speaks]
Crucify Him.
I trembled.

In the name of guilt
We daydream we are
Murderers of God
The worst sinners we could be
But I am not evil.
I spent my entire life
Trying not to be
So I don’t want to pretend I am.

If I were there,
I would be screaming
Crying my heart out of my chest
I wish I would rise up
Or be a help to Him instead.
I’d like to imagine I’m Veronica
And touch His loving face,
Or Simon and graze His arm
With love while I helped Him
With His Cross.

Don’t tell me I’m a monster
And my sin’s same as murder.
I love my Savior with all I am.
He chose to be crucified for me
Because He loves me
I will not punish myself
For every mistake
And make it all my fault
This isn’t about me
It was for me,
And that takes Him away.

Ask God For the Miracle

Dear God, Abba, Daddy,

Help us. We have screwed up as a people in so many ways. We have been lost, we have been confused, and we have been selfish. We are afraid.

God. Help us.

We have turned from those who needed our help. We have not seen who needed us. We have been harder on ourselves than we should be. We have pushed ourselves and our families to the breaking point. We have neglected those in need.

God help us.

We have lost the art of resting in you. We have left your arms and protection. We have acted as if we have the strength to brave this world without you.

God help us.

In our confusion and fear, we have turned from you. Maybe without knowing it, maybe knowing it deep down, maybe knowing it with no doubt. We have turned from you. We turn back to you now. Jesus, take us by the hand to the Father.

Abba, Daddy, help us.

We have been wounded, we have been afraid, we have been angry, we have been lost. We have been lonely. God, we need you.

Abba, Daddy, help us.

We have felt betrayed because of those who follow you, you know that pain.

We have felt your wrath because all we have seen is wrath, you heard our cries.

We have cowered in fear of you, because we were afraid of you, you came to show us not to be afraid.

God, we are full of fear this lent, it is dark, and scary. We turn to you, like a baby runs to their father and mother and we beg for you to keep us safe. Hold us in your arms, comfort us, soothe our fears and keep us safe. Protect us from what is scary in the world, and dry our tears.

God, you ask penance for what we have done, and we are trying, we are willing, but please have mercy on us. Please accept our small sacrifices and little offering of our struggles and make the most of them. Mary offer our struggles, joys, and daily efforts to God for us every moment of everyday.

Please help us, God, don’t turn your face from us. We love you, please hold us in your arms. Protect us Lord, heal the world you created for your Love. We rest the world at your feet and ask for your will, May your kingdom come.

We believe that you want the good for us, and you need only say the word.

By the power of the precious blood of Jesus, by Mother Mary’s love for her children, by St. Joseph’s sweet tenderness, God forgive us our sins, and heal us from the damage that mankind’s sin has done.

Amen.

Original Sin

When I gave birth the third time,

Everyone told me what a perfect birth it was.

They marveled at how calm and “unafraid” I was,

How I “roared” my baby earthside.

I’ve ached in that lie for a while now,

Lost in their awe and my own despair.

What they didn’t know is that

While they were calling me calm and unafraid,

I was facing the endless exile of humanity

With trepidation, anger, and despair.

While they were resting and calm,

My head bowed over the water’s edge

And realized nothing will save me.

This is an effect of original sin.

My husband leaves every morning for hours,

Like so many other husbands.

He’s far away, but not as far as many others;

I’m not blind to my own privilege.

He feels so far away to me though,

A piece of my heart leaves with him,

And the hole aches inside of me.

But, “the man shall work…

and the woman will long for her man.”

They tell me, “it could be so much worse,”

My own voices, and others sometimes,

And I know they are right.

I am lucky to be alive, lucky for my family,

Blessed even.

But they are missing the point.

It’s not about my pain being so horrible,

It’s about pain being horrible.

It’s not that my struggles are the worst,

It’s that they are the least.

It’s not a little pain,

It’s the largest pain there is.

It’s the anger, it’s the fear, it’s the hope,

In the face of a God who will not relent.

Or sometimes won’t. It depends….

On what?

On His mood? On my merit?

If God shall number our sins,

“Lord, who can stand,”

But if God does not hear our merits,

Lord, who can stand that either.

Eve may have fallen, and so have we,

But we have also begged you to return.

We have made you king.

We have fallen again and gotten lost

In this terrifying world you have created,

But we have come back to you and we have begged you to return,

No more to go away.

But you won’t hear us, Lord.

Please forgive me, my anger Lord,

My heart breaks over nothing, I know.

My heart breaks for the whole world,

I cry for days over a 6 month old boy I never met,

I break in half over a family who loses their father and almost their mother.

I shatter over shootings, over bombs, over countries, over worlds,

That cry out like violent small humans for your help.

Oh God see us in our weakness and have mercy on us.

We are so desperate for your love we are destroying each other,

God, we want you in your fullness,

We just don’t know it yet,

Have mercy on our misguided attempts to find you.

Reveal yourself, and hold us until we stop crying,

Like a mother with a flailing infant,

Hold us in our fear, despair, rage,

While I kick my legs against you and scream,

Hold me and receive my tears,

Understand that I am lost in your exile,

And I just want You to come home.

Today is a Marathon, not a Sprint

I’m going to tell you about my favorite mom secret. The way I handle the days when everything is falling apart and you don’t even want to open your eyes, let alone run after toddlers all day long. It started when I was pregnant with my youngest and exhausted from HG. Willow and I would curl into a ball together on the couch and watch ‘The Chew.’ She snuggled her head into me and held my arm around her. They were these perfect quiet moments in the midst of chaos. Sage has not quite picked this cuddle habit up yet, but the idea remains the same. My motto for those days is “Today is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Monday should have been one of those days. I woke up heavy-lidded 3 hours early wanting nothing more than to crash back to sleep. I was determined to be better than what I had in me that day, inner me had a whip and was not afraid to use it. I can almost hear her even now, “GO! Make an omelette! Clean everything! You’re disgusting why is it dirty? Why aren’t you playing with the girls better? DO IT ALL RIGHT NOOOOWWW!!!” And you know what? I did. I rocked Monday. We played board games, we cleaned, we ate fancy all day, we worked out….twice, we did the laundry(we read books.)

Then, came Tuesday. I was angry and hopeless. I hated everything. I was so tired I did not even want to move and the kids touching me made my skin crawl because all I wanted was to sleep. In true waterfall fashion, all the stresses of Monday and Tuesday fell onto Wednesday evening ending me up in tears that bled over to the 4 am wake up. I have officially declared an emergency marathon not a sprint day, to make up for the two that should have been.

Runners talk often about the difference between a marathon and a sprint. In a sprint, you go all out as fast as you can because it’s such a short distance, but if you are running a marathon, you run at a slower, steady pace acknowledging that you need to preserve energy. Sometimes, as moms, we need to take a minute and rest, refuse to hold that against ourselves and allow ourselves to breathe and heal. We hold ourselves to such a high standard of working constantly on whatever the next task is, but it is so important to stop to hear our own thoughts and voice inside and catch up with ourselves. Just as runners run slow and steady when the course is long, we need to slow down sometimes because ours is even longer. Our marathon is 18 years long, and that cries out for slow and steady.

So, if you need to take a second to breathe for a day, slow your pace. Motherhood is always running, so take a break from everything unnecessary. Watch too much tv, lay around on the couch for a day, eat makeshift meals(the kids will probably like them better anyway.) Let things go a little bit. Then, when you have gotten through the marathon, build yourself back up, drink some water, take a breath, and get back up.

I hope you have a great day, and if it is a marathon day, I wish you well, and I’ll see you in the trenches. ♥️♥️

Also, for anyone who thought I was a parenting expert about 30 seconds after I wrote this I found my toddlers with my special birthday markers and theyrepeatedly tore their diapers off. I did not keep my cool.

#justbreathe #Todayisamarathonnotasprint

Happy New Year 2020:2 Weeks Later

I am at that weird point a couple of weeks past the new year where it feels like all your resolutions were useless and stupid, and all the hopes of the New Year seem to be empty. 2019 was a war for me, and I was so excited for 2020. I felt in my bones that this year was going to be different, but the first day felt like a reality check. Social Media and daily life was full of reminders that people still die, the fall is still real. The 2020 pain was overwhelming and this year has not gotten off to the sparkling glitter that I was expecting. I gritted my teeth and told myself to manage my expectations and everything was going to be ok.

Today, I felt God reminding me that He does want abundance for us, and I felt the bitterness of the last few weeks working in my heart. A prayer thread I follow asked us to “Ask big” from God, and I felt a voice in me saying “why bother?” It was followed by the Gospel passages about Jesus feeding the 4000 and the 5000. Then, I watched a powerful meditation about nature and God and the ache of my desires weighed on me even harder. My little ones cried for daddy, reminding me how far we are from the together-more-often family life we are working towards.

There are times in life where we keep the faith even when everything around us looks impossibly dark. In 2019, I thought I was probably dying, I was in physical and emotional pain almost constantly. God and my faith in Him has worked so much in my life in the past year, and He has brought beauty from struggles I never would have imagined. I received and acted on life-changing opportunities and I am so incredibly grateful for them. Still though, doubt in Him creeps in so easily.

Maybe what we need to remember when we feel this way is that this is exactly what the serpent did to Eve. He made her believe that God does not want what’s best for us, and she believed Him. Over and over in my life I have been close to my dreams and I have given up because they were hard and I couldn’t see them ever working out, but last year, over and over I pushed through these terrifying times, and that’s when the Spirit took over. God worked in those moments when I felt like I could not go on. He didn’t always change everything, but He knew what I needed the most and He would fill that. He let me see over and over how He was working in stages so I would be ready for each step.

When Jesus came, He showed us the kind of love He and the Father want to show us. He healed the blind, the lame, the sick. He raised the dead. He comforted those who were hurting and fought for those who were marginalized. He sacrificed Himself to save us, but even in death He emerged victorious. He showed us that He has power over everything including death, and He wants to use it for us. It is true that there is still suffering, and even Jesus Himself suffered, but what God really wants for us is the abundance He brought with Him, not the suffering that is present in the world.

So today, though I’m feeling discouraged and lost, I will give that to God. I will remind myself of His goodness. I will be patient waiting for His goodness and I will continue to serve Him. A writer I admire wrote a prayer about her deepest struggles, “Lord, you can, but even if you don’t…” I am praying that prayer today while I fight for my dreams, and lay them at His feet. I pray that this year is a year of miracles, and that God heals every single person from the pain that is breaking their hearts. I pray that He frees us from the weight on our souls, and that He restores. Even if He doesn’t do it every single time for every single person though, I believe that He wants to, and in time He will. He will wipe away every tear. Continue to ask big from Him, even when it feels like He is not listening. Then, ask Him to pour His love on you in the meantime.

Angels as Patrons of LGBTQ

Did you know that Catholics do not actually believe that angels have a gender? As much as we refer to them as “he” and discuss them as these knightly men, because they do not have bodies, actual Church doctrine is that they do not have gender. It occured to me tonight as I was writing “he” when talking about an angel, that, in a way, that makes them the perfect patron ‘saints’ for those who struggle in some way with gender norms. (Quick note here: technically, angels are not saints because they are not human, however, there are a select few angels who are prayed to like the saints are, and they are often referred to as patron saints.)

I am pretty sure there is no saint that would better understand the feeling that comes with being referred to as a specific gender when you are not that gender than those who have it done so consistently. Granted, they are angels, so they may not care what we humans do, but we don’t know, maybe they do care. What if Michael is actually more feminine than we think of him, and ‘he’ would prefer to be called a ‘she’? Or maybe they would prefer a different pronoun altogether to encompass their body-less androgyny.

So, if you or someone you know is LGBTQ, especially Trans or having any sort of issues with their gender identity, ask the angels for their help. The archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel are particularly famous and helpful in need. They are great protectors and friends to have in the spiritual life.

How to Pray about Same Sex Marriage

A few months ago, I went to a Rosary event at a parish in my city. It was a gorgeous day out, a farmer’s market down the street, and a small gathering of people in the square of the parish praying the Rosary for the Nation. It was a really beautiful experience and I kept thinking what a great witness it was. That is, until we reached a certain set of prayer intentions. One of the prayer intentions was “for an end to same sex marriage” and my heart broke. All I could think was that if someone who experienced same-sex attraction had come up to that Rosary in the square, it would only have taken 10 minutes for them to feel like they do not belong there.

Don’t take me the wrong way, I understand that the Church teaches that same sex marriage is wrong. I am not arguing that point right now. What I am arguing is that even if the Church does believe that homosexuality is wrong there are better ways to pray about it, especially in an event that is meant to evangelize.

The first and most important problem with this prayer is that to someone who is same-sex attracted it is a prayer that they will never get to experience the committed love that straight people do. (Again, not arguing whether it is right or wrong at this point, just arguing points of view.) Can you imagine being drawn to a beautiful prayer service, only to hear them pray that you could never get married? How would that make you feel? All I could think was what a punch in the gut that would be. What’s worse is that they already have to deal with so much from the world, people acting like they are worthless, and in that moment, I can only imagine it would feel like God hated them too.

I closed my eyes and continued the prayer in my head, “Lord Jesus, if same-sex marriage is wrong, then take away their desire for same-sex marriage. If it is not, than help the Church and the world to understand and embrace them. Lord, if you get rid of same-sex marriage, then comfort these people who will feel so lonely and abandoned.” I’m sure there would be LGBTQ people who would be displeased with the prayer because it allowed for the possibility of same sex marriage being wrong, and Catholics would object to it because it allowed for the possibility of it not being wrong, but my point is that right or wrong was not the point for me in that moment. The point was that if this prayer got answered, people would suffer. Whether it is right or wrong, their hearts would be broken, at least for a time, and we were praying for that break as if we did not care about the people who would feel it at all.

We need to remember compassion when we pray for intentions like these. We need to remember that there are people who genuinely do not believe they are doing something wrong and yet will feel shunned by this kind of prayer. I am not saying that the prayer I prayed is quite the right way to say it, because it is just what came into mind at the moment. I do think, though, that if Catholics are going to pray for an end to same sex marriage, then we have to pray for healing for all of the people that would hurt. In the same way, whenever we pray for something that may hurt other people in some way, even if we believe it is for their greater good, we must also pray for protection and/or healing for them.

To be honest, I even do this when I pray for snow days now. “Jesus, I would love a snow day today, but please protect everyone and if I need to not have a snow day in order that people will be safe I accept that.” It’s cheesy, but true. 😉 (Yes, I pray for snow days, my husband works long days and I’m home alone with two toddlers, 8-0 ) On a more serious note, I also recommend this if you are praying for an end to abortion, because there are a lot of scared women out there who are desperate and feel like they do not have a choice, so if abortion is not an option, they are going to need some serious help from God and from us. I also pray this way when I am angry at someone and praying for resolution, I’ve been praying for whoever is working on my taxes for the last 10 months of trying to get my tax refund.

To put it all simply, if you are going to pray for something that may hurt others, pray for protection and healing for those people too. Ask God to comfort and help them if His will is to answer your prayer, and be there for them yourself. Most of all, please, if you are evangelizing to people, do not start out with condemning them ten minutes in, there are some teachings of the Church that are really, really hard to understand, and it takes a long time to appreciate or even accept them, but compassion and love are the most important things to know about our God, and that is how we should start the conversation, with His love, and ours because of Him.

Amen.






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