Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Getting along...

I think I'm getting old. That or death is moving in quickly. I seem to, as of late, have some of that focused vision that people gain through experience and at the end of life. I put this out as a disclaimer first and foremost...I have, much of the time, failed to master much of this in real life on a consistent basis. There are still moments when loving my neighbor (have you met my neighbors?) is a Herculean task. Still, it's what we're called to and I do believe I'm softening with time (see above).

Someone had posted an article on FB recently. I was something like,"That's really beautiful, but it's not for me" about getting along. There were members of two religious orders sitting on a panel, discussing charisms, when one of them said that exact phrase. The author made the point that if all of us, especially moms, could get to that point...imagine how the competition/depression/comparisons would diminish to almost nothing.

I've had the opportunity to see this in action over the past two days. I've attended daily Mass at a church some distance from my own. I used to call this a "happy-clappy" church but have moved to "waving" as a gentler way to describe it. I can't say Charismatic, per se, because I don't see talking in tongues, jumping, or other things that are sometimes associated with that movement (which I have witnessed at other Masses), just a lot of arm gestures.

I'm grateful for that article because, as much as I felt like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I leaned heavy on that phrase. It's true...waving is not my way to grow closer to God. I prefer Latin, incense, and quiet. I was not in the majority and God was there to sacrifice Himself for all of us. Amazing, huh?

I find myself at that Mass because our kids are attending Maranatha, a Vocation bible school, in which each grade learns about a different Religious Order. God is good to connect the dots because I'm kind of sleep-deprived as of late.

If there are so many different Orders, each with a different Charism, in religious life, why would He have created those of us non-consecrated folk to be any different? Let's look at the Benedictines...there are 100 Benedictine houses across America and most of those are further divided among four major congregations: American=Cassinese, Swiss-American, St. Scholastica, and St. Benedict.

This is why it's difficult to even call someone a "Traditional" or a "Charismatic" because among those are a miriad of ways in which the person may express their devotion to and gifts from God.

So, let's agree to disagree or, better yet, just agree to get along. Perhaps a waving church isn't to your taste. That's really ok. I would challenge you, however, to see the goodness that the people at those Masses bring to the worship. If it's destracting (like it is for me) just find a church that isn't so much or is more to your call from Him. He created so many types of people and expressions to give Him glory...surely you can find one for you.

If not, there's always the opportunity to begin your own. I'm thinking I may know a few people who would like to begin a cloistered family order with my friend and me. If so, contact me through email...there are still a lot of bugs to work out. ;0)

Ultimately, I pray that through your search for God, you will find the way in which He is calling you to praise and follow Him. It doesn't have to be like me. That's not the only way. Your way is beautiful but it may not be for me and vv. Let's just follow Him and His call and see if it doesn't help everyone in the end.

Oh, one last note. If you find yourself in the library trying to work and there is a girl behind you talking non-stop, or in the subway with a bunch of kids running wild while their mom plays on her phone, or even at traditional Mass when you are definitely the waving type...offer up your discomfort and upset. I know for a fact that God can use every ounce of that for good and many of us could use some of those graces. You may even walk away feeling pretty pleased that you could go through it and keep your peace intact.

We are blessed.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The END of the Great Western Pilgrimage...part 13

I'm not sure what I originally thought about San Francisco before I left but, in retrospect, I suppose it's like most things; like depends on what you decide to concentrate. We went for some of the big tourist attractions and kept the rest to churches. I would say it worked out perfectly for us. Ahem.

Speaking of...when we talked to a dear couple at church before we left, the husband kept saying, "the bridge is great as long as it's not fogged in." I couldn't believe it was that huge an occurrence but, having just watched The Great Food Truck Race and seeing, right there on tv, the fogged in bridge (wouldn't they have waited to make it tv-nice if they could?) I figure it is a common thing. How delightful, then, when God decided to make it work out for those of us who don't plan to be there again in this lifetime.

As we drove up to the parking lot beside the bay, it was drizzling a bit. The Slovak in the car (actually he's more lazy than Slovak) said, "oh, we might as well forget's raining and we won't be able to see anything anyway." Sigh. I admit I was kind of over that negativity on this, our last day of vacation, so I restarted the car and pulled away. I figured I'd drive a bit closer to the bridge (but not go across...although, I admit, that Diesel song was playing in my head)
Hot summer night in Sausalito
Can't stand the heat another mile
Let's drop a quarter in the meter
And hit the sidewalk for a while
I'll have a burger and a root beer
You feed the heap some of the grape
A shot of premium to boot, dear
We'll get across the Golden Gate
We somehow got on this twisty little road and ended up above the bridge. The rain had stopped and, yes, there was a rainbow. The rainbow ended in Alcatraz. You can't make this up, people. God has a great sense of humor.
We didn't have time to take the ferry to the gold ;0)

I can see why people live in California...this is 5 minutes after it had been pouring rain.

You know me...I have to end with church when at all possible. Our LAST Mission! Mission San Francisco de Asis was the 6th Mission, founded by Saint Serra, on June 29, 1776. The Mission is no longer active but happens to be right next door to the Mission Dolores Basilica, which is thriving. Because the world is small, the guy who sold us the tickets for admission was originally from the East coast, one of many kids, and thus obligated to give us a break on the price. I was not arguing. That was the best deal to be found in California!
"Sancto Francisco"

I adore these kinds of staircases in the old churches

Saint Michael with his scales of justice. Is the devil dying or mocking???

Mission roof - incredible


Saint Pascual - his new favorite ;0)

A Saint knelt here!

Kind of hard to imagine bustling San Francisco used to look like this.
This is the outside of the basilica - the little roof on the left is the Mission - I was trying to keep the kids from being run over so pictures outside didn't work well.

The inside of the basilica. Beautiful.

The windows portrayed the Missions

There was an amazing, amazing museum of everything old (read traditional) that was used at the Mission. Beautiful.

Saying goodbye to the California cacti
I totally lost count - is that 11? or 12? I don't know, really, but whatever it was, we had an unbelievably blessed time retracing some of Saint Junipero Serra's steps when he followed the Holy Spirit's call to bring the faith to the native peoples. Our journey was not nearly as arduous as the Saint's but he didn't have five little kids with him so, there's that. How blessed we were, even in this modern age, to step back in time to see how he lived and where he worked for God's Glory. Amazing.

Home to a few adult beverages (thank you, Homewood Suites!) then to bed...we would be heading out in the morning!
She wanted to wear her souvenir home. I do love that shirt.

Hanging out, waiting for our delayed plane.

Thank you, dear friend, for the AAA tour books. They spent more than an hour picking out itineraries to travel in the future.

A beautiful day to fly to Denver. Too bad the turbulence on landing/takeoff almost made me lose it.

Luckily I had all of my loves close by on both legs of the trip - most of them praying for their phobic mom.

I do admit, sunset from the sky is a nice thing. God has a great seat :0)
Ahh, those beautiful Three Rivers. Home!

Six new states added! I think we only have ten to go (the map has VT/NH together so we left it off until we complete the pair)

God is so good to watch over us as we travel, allow us enough trial to build our perseverance and enough glimpses of His work to retain our hope and trust in Him. What an amazing journey. What a great reminder that people of faith may look different but ultimately share the same basic, AWESOME, center of their lives. God is so good.

We are blessed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Great Western Pilgrimage - Part know me...I like 13

The middle of a very long day...

Whew! We were at Santa Clara early in the morning because we needed to press on...there was an entire city to see!

First stop, the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. Our goal was confession and after the appointed hour had past...and the following ten minutes...dh was able to rouse a sweet little Franciscan  Capuchin (why not a Franciscan?) from the rectory to clean our souls. He took his time, mainly because he was quite deaf, but it was ok. We needed some down time before we continued our journey. In the meantime, we were able to walk around, pray at the various altars, and relax. We were also supposed to see a scaled replica of Saint Francis's Porziuncola in Assisi but after searching for Father, I totally forgot!
I was kind of amazed to find the beautiful church open!

St. Anne and little boy :0)

St. Clare watching over us

In San Francisco...across from the shrine :0)
 Done with our mini-retreat, we headed back into traffic. It's funny how the Holy Spirit works. I had "Lombard Street" on the itinerary but we were running behind so I skipped it. Of course, little eyes were reading the sheet the whole trip so it didn't surprise me to hear "Isn't that the street you wanted to see?" and down we went. The pictures don't really do it justice. It is the silliest street ever.
Rice-A-Roni ;0)
from the top!

There were many garages off this crazy/crooked street. Who would want to live here? People are always outside your house taking pictures!


mover curves

and again


Alcatraz from the bottom
Time for lunch! Where do tourists go but Chinatown or Fisherman's' Wharf? We chose the latter. I needed, and got, a sweet plate of oysters.

How can he concentrate next to ALL.THAT.BREAD???
Boudin's is obvious tourist trap but education is all around you - learn to make sourdough!
It's a working bread factory. Smelled YUM.

The balls rolled down the spiral
and came out as baguettes!

There was also a restaurant so, tourists we, the kids indulged in some clam chowder and sweet little sourdough turtle bowls!

She refused to eat her new friend

There were even more friends downstairs. The crabs were so cute.

Bellies full, we were off to find more religious happenings. We missed Mass (and had gone that morning) but wanted very much to see Star of the Sea Catholic Church. This parish has undergone a recent renewal. They have a pastor who decided to go completely "old school" as some would call it - all-male altar servers, High and Low Mass in Extraordinary Form on Sundays and Ad Orientem on week days. They have a 24-hour Adoration chapel, process through the streets (of San Francisco!), regularly attend the 40 Days for Life vigil (with the pastor!) and do all sorts of other wonderful things to give Glory to God.

I was interested to see this parish because I've been told "you won't find that anywhere anymore" and yet, here it was. We ducked in for Adoration and, as always, were greatly rewarded. First, the church was stunning. The Marian devotion could not be missed (can you say, "CATHOLIC") and during Adoration, it was refreshing to see people there, in the middle of the day, just being with Our Lord.
Good to pass a middle-name street on the way ;0)

It was so pretty, I snuck a picture. It's much prettier in person!
After about 10 minutes of Adoration, I noticed a sweet little Vietnamese lady sitting next to me, trying to have a conversation (she's a non-native speaker and we were both trying to be quiet) She, herself had eight children who were all educated at the school and, sadly, are all away from the faith now so, would we pray for them and her? She was so pleased to see our kids with us, she said, and it's Vietnamese New Year so would it be ok if she gave each of the children a card? (this is tradition, she said). We graciously accepted the beautiful cards and she made her way out of the pew.

When we returned to our car, the kids were told what happened and they opened their beautiful cards

Each card contained a $5 bill! They (I think most of them, I can guess which did not) carried them to the next Mission where they were deposited into the poor box. How lovely of that woman to be so kind to strangers. What a great experience to learn about the people of different cultures who live around that amazing parish. Please, when you read this and when you remember, pray for Lucy and her children. (I emailed the pastor, with whom I had been in contact before our trip, and he said, "That's probably Lucy, she is a good soul." Praise God that she would seek the Holy Spirit in her dark time and welcome strangers...good soul, indeed!

Well, night is falling here and we still aren't done with San Fran. No wonder we were so tired when we got home! Next installment, lucky #13 and the final of the trip. Promise!

We are blessed.