There are many, many weeks I am grateful to God for the arrival of Friday. I'm grateful usually because it means that our family can once again be together for two days straight. In addition to that, today means the end of another successful camp experience for #s 1&2. It also means day 7 of the novena. All good things.
I was thinking about Five on Friday but I don't have enough time to be that formal so I'm just going to touch on a few things that were extra blessings this week. It's good to spend time thinking about things I am grateful for...it helps me keep the proper focus.
Last night the pool afternoon worked exactly as planned and we had much more docile children in the pew. In fact, Mr. G passed out cold about 10 minutes in and I had the blessing of holding him the whole Mass and hearing the entire homily! There were lots of good things that Father had to say but, to me, the most simple was the most powerful...
When we were baptized, we couldn't walk or talk, we didn't have an important job, we didn't have fame or fortune, we weren't great athletes, we could do almost nothing and yet that day God put His hands over us and said, "this child is the most important thing in the world to Me!". We were that valuable to God having done nothing...we don't have to earn our value to Him, we already have it. Yet, in the years following, we spend all of our time trying to prove how valuable we are. Why?
Wow. Talk about refocusing your priorities.
Earlier in the week Father (or his brother...who can be sure - these two are really identical!) talked about being a disciple. He talked about how the first disciples "got it" because they were with Christ and learned at His feet. We don't have that opportunity but we do have the Bible, which we believe is God's word, so we should read and study that...it will tell us what we need to know!
As such, I've been trying my best to spend some time each day with the readings to really think about and glean what I can. Truthfully, some are difficult but many are pretty straightforward. Like today's First Reading...
Yes, the Ten Commandments! Guess what, even though society would lead you to believe that they are way out of date, they are still the same and they are still God's Law! Nothing has changed! (sorry...just wanted to be clear in case you were confused). The First, for me, is particularly important in these days of fads and trends...are we making something else in our life superior to God? It is also a good reminder that God is merciful to those who follow His commands but for the others? Well, read it over yourself just as a refresher.
Reading 1 Ex 20:1-17In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:
“I, the LORD, am your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
him who takes his name in vain.
“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter,
or your male or female slave, or your beast,
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother,
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.
“You shall not kill.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
nor anything else that belongs to him.”
Reading it yourself
I subbed for Adoration at 2 AM today. That time of night is difficult for me. These people don't settle down until about 10 so I only get a few hours of rest before I'm up again. Add to that this lovely respiratory mess I'm dealing with and the coughing allowed me about an hour's sleep. Good day to go to Adoration...I'm up anyway and I can offer up all of my distress for those who can use some extra grace.
Often when I have Adoration so early I try to read something new so it keeps my mind focused. Today was Pope Francis' Joy of the Gospel. I hadn't heard much about it except in passing from a friend who is all about happy-clappy joy and not so much thoughtful joy. My friend made the point to me that the Pope didn't want people walking around with long faces...we need to be JOYFUL!!!
Imagine my surprise when I read the first chapter and, yes, the pope did talk about being joyful but he also acknowledged that there would be times in your life when you must "sow the message through tears". Yes! He actually said that people would have difficult times in their lives and that the trial should not keep them from carrying the joy of Christ along with them, even in their grief.
My point? Don't believe what the press, the chat boards or even your friends have to say about current Church teaching. Go to the source. Hash it out with your spouse or spiritual advisor. Sometimes (most of the time in the press's case) they pick and choose what makes a good soundbite and leave the rest behind.
I'm looking forward to beginning "Laudato Si" since it seems to be causing a lot of Americans to lose some love for our Holy Father. That, in itself, is usually an indicator that he has something important and challenging to say. Oh, I do know that it's not just about the environment so if that's what you believe, perhaps we should read along together ;0)
National NFP Awareness Week
We are wrapping up another Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. I wasn't at my home parish for Mass last week so I don't know what happened. Nothing happened where we were because of the novena and, truthfully, that is too bad because it would have worked wonderfully with the whole St. Anne bit.
I'm not a person to talk about NFP because we don't use it. We did when we were actively trying to have children and since that time, well, we're old and we're open to God's plan. It doesn't matter if more babies come. We would be joyful ;0) and welcoming to new life.
It's an individual decision for a Catholic couple to make...whether or not to follow NFP in their marriage. Whether to use NFP or sterilization/contraception is not and individual decision for a Catholic couple. It's not. Period. Sterilization and contraception are contrary to Church teachings. NFP when used correctly (same words as any contraception you choose) has a higher success rate than anything other than abstinence and, oh, it builds your marriage as well. So, struggle if you must but know that NFP, abstinence or using nothing are the only things that keep you on the path to heaven. There is no excuse. You are a reasonable, thinking human being. You can take your temp and write it on a sheet of paper. You can do this! You will be better for it! It's so much nicer than adding to the abundance of hormones already being flushed into our water system or, heavens, putting a wire coil in your fallopian tube (it's true...ug.).
OK, I guess I do have some opinions. Go figure ;0)
Have a wonderful Friday and a very blessed weekend. I'll see if I can dig up a picture of the happy couple on Sunday. If not, keep us in your prayers. Twelve years seems monumental to me!
We are blessed.