Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We're not going to see the pope.

Surprisingly, I'm OK with that. I remember finding out about the World Meeting of the Families in Milan and thinking, "wow, we need to be part of this!". Over time, though, it's become pretty clear that we don't really fit the mold.
I may have to order this, though...pure Philly

- I went to the WMOF website and found that you can only have 4 people in a room if you hope to be anywhere near the meeting site. So, you spend five to seven nights away from your spouse while celebrating the World Meeting of Families. Better than NFP ;0) (or you can lie about how many kids you have, or you can pay 500-1000/night to have your whole family in one place)

- While I was on the website I also found out what happens to your family while you are there...The Congress will include engaging speakers for adults, lively activities for youth, and daycare for ages 6 months to 6 years. Yes, that's drop off your kids at 8 AM - at daycare (6 months to 6 years) or the youth congress (6 years to 12 years) - see them for an hour at lunch, then separate again until almost 6 PM. When I told DH this he said, you mean I have to go listen to presenters talk about stuff all day and I don't even get to see my kids while I'm on vacation? Wow.

It's pretty clear that this is "family-friendly" in a way that the world defines. That's not us...not even close. We purposefully choose not to put our kids in daycare (or school even) because it means missing out on those precious moments with the gifts God has loaned us for a very short time. I'm kind of disappointed that our opportunity to participate is yet another example of our failure to fit into the definition these days.

Oh, then there's that. We were at holy hour (specifically for the pope's visit) tonight. We made our usual holy 45 minutes (pretty good since there is not a father figure at the moment) and that was enough for me. I listened somewhat attentively (somewhat) to the readings from Pope Francis's writings. He spoke about meeting people where they are. He spoke about being the example of Christ to them. He spoke...well, he spoke about being a good, loving person. That's fantastic. Truly. The sadness to me is that you could substitute so many people in for "Pope Francis" and it would be the same message. This is the head of the Catholic church. Is there anything to that anymore?

This is not "we're better than you...blah, blah, blah". I'm really struggling at the moment and it would be SUPER and I would be FILLED WITH JOY if I could just sleep in on Sunday instead of taking my kids to Mass, or holy hour, or adoration or helping out in any myriad of ways. I need a rest. I really, really do. If it's just about being a "good person" I think I could swing that all alone with my kids and God, at home.

I was at confession the other day and I went full bore on the topic of my feeling of isolation, of non-support, of hearing the words of "family support" and seeing very little. We are doing what we feel called to do and I guess that's our mission - to have the dark nights sometimes. Not surprisingly, that was my advice/ should pray the fourth sorrowful mystery because this might be your lifetime cross. Wow. I am filled with joy. (and sarcasm, I admit).

I'm digressing. The stuff above is merely about the congress and not even about the pope...he comes over the weekend. DH took off for the long weekend in anticipation and I still can't do it. Tonight, at holy hour, it all just clicked for me. I should mention, out of a very large congregation, there were maybe 40 people there (that includes us 6). There were four children other than ours. It was a better showing than a typical holy hour but only by about 10 or 20 people.

This is circuitous, bear with me. Last cycle of 40 days for life I was wondering aloud at the people who will fill buses and walk a long distance in thousands of people to be part of the March for Life and, except for a handful, they are no where to be found at the vigil. A dear shift leader turned to me and said, "that's the show and this is the grit". He went on to say that, although it's possible, it's unlikely that you will ever encounter the person-to-person combat that you are open to any day of the vigil. At the March, you are insulated by people who think like you; at the vigil you are open on the street with very few defenders, sometimes none.

Tonight at holy hour, struggling with my kids and begging for God's grace, I realized I will always be the grit person. I know that there are those who need the huge adrenaline rush that comes from being surrounded by thousands of "like minded" people...that is great for them and I applaud their effort because, let's make no mistake, it is an effort. For me, I'd rather not stand in a crowd of thousands and know that there are many who are Catholic and many who just want to "be there" because it will make me crazy when Communion time comes.

This was at the Papal Mass in the Philippines...I know, I'm judging. When I receive, I'd rather it not be like someone passing me a chip from the bowl. He's GOD you know?

So, we're passing on all of that. The kids can say they went to papal holy hour but never saw him when he was in the US. Unless the Holy Spirit works a small miracle, most of the pilgrims will be watching on the jumbo tron just like we're watching on TV.

What are we doing on our extended weekend? Well, I guess you could say we're celebrating our Catholic family. We are traveling, all together in one car, to Stockbridge, MA where we will spend most of the time here  
We will go to confession and Mass and pray the beginning of the novena to St. Faustina. We will attend the blessing of the families. Maybe we will find one other family that is like us? Mainly we will spend time talking to our kids about what makes a family and how our Catholic faith supports and defends that. I think, at this point in time, it's the right thing to do.

We will be praying during our journey and many of those prayers will be for the pilgrims traveling to the WMOF and to see the Holy Father. We will pray that God will bless their effort and draw them closer to Him in the process.

In the end, whatever road we travel, I am happy to see that people are willing to make the effort. Society has made it kind of an "us or them" lately and it's getting late to decide which side you will choose.

Back to my mantra...

We are blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Right there with you on the fourth sorrowful mystery, I've often reflected on that one in my daily journey holding that cross squarely on the back.

    We were planning to head to Philly. Had everything paid for but cancelled. I also couldn't justify putting my youngest in daycare during the congress ( to the tune of close to $400). So we are planning a Civil War battlefields trip, complementing our unit study, with a stop to a shrine this coming week.