I realized last week that it's been over a month (nearly two) since I'd been to confession. The benefit of going reasonably often is having that internal clock after a while that reminds you of the grace you're missing...we don't have Saturday confession here and since it was my Uncle's birthday last week, we figured we'd do two things, penance and cemetery, on the same end of town.
Our former parish priest who has changed assignments just happened to be in a church near the cemetery. I had no idea if it would be him who heard the confessions. I had no idea if he would think we were crazy for showing up there. I had some idea (because, let's be honest, I don't come up with these things on my own) that it was the right choice.
I like when God gives me time and opportunity to really parse out what I'm going to say before I enter the confessional. I am really bad at it...I blame my first beloved spiritual director because for him, it was just a nice conversation that ended up with absolution (completely correct in form, just more friendly-like and meaningful to me than counting sins)...so it is always a bit nerve wracking for me now. It's just like God to make sure I have an hour to wait (while watching 3 or 4 little ones) so I can really think about things.
I had no idea where to go so I read the daily readings. I actually laughed when I read the first reading from 1 Corinthians.
Brothers and sisters:Ahh, who but my Creator could know me this well? My heart has been so troubled by the "spectacle" we have become in the world, merely by trying our best to follow His will. The choice to follow, troubled or not, is directly the result of knowing that all I possess was received from Him. So, I follow...it's rare, though, that I bless when I'm ridiculed, or respond gently when slandered...enduring persecution is definitely a work in progress.
Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written,
so that none of you will be inflated with pride
in favor of one person over against another.
Who confers distinction upon you?
What do you possess that you have not received?
But if you have received it,
why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?
You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich;
you have become kings without us!
Indeed, I wish that you had become kings,
so that we also might become kings with you.
For as I see it, God has exhibited us Apostles as the last of all,
like people sentenced to death,
since we have become a spectacle to the world,
to angels and men alike.
We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ;
we are weak, but you are strong;
you are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty,
we are poorly clad and roughly treated,
we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands.
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
when slandered, we respond gently.
We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all,
to this very moment.
What a wonderful discussion came from this. What great thoughts Father had, including the conclusion that there are no great thoughts for some of it. We know what is right and we try to do so but it carries no assurance of an easy life, especially in today's society. Only knowing God's will and following will allow us the grace to do all of those great things the Apostles accomplished.
Visiting the cemetery with the kids is always a good time. I like that they're familiar with what happens and where we go and I like that they are centering themselves on praying for the souls in Purgatory. I remind them that, upon my death, they need to up that several-fold to help me in my time of need.
My brother was also in this weekend and he and DH took the "twins" to the ballgame while #s 1, 2 and 5 accompanied me to vigil Mass at a neighboring parish. Again, the readings were so full of things on which to chew...the book of Wisdom:
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdomThe Gospel according to Luke:
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after meFollowing Mass, we stayed for day 9 of a novena to Mother Teresa and the rosary (the second of the day...there were some complaints but they came home saying it was a "great day"...definitely worth the extra nudge). Sitting there, looking at this woman who seemed to always say "yes" to God. I see that the opportunities are abundant and it's really only us who stands in the way of becoming a Saint.
cannot be my disciple...In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
I am so far from Saint material it is laughable and yet there is rarely a day that passes when I do not give God so many thanks for the guidance He provides. Sometimes I follow it immediately and obtain the grace swiftly and sometimes I merely learn the lesson from refusing to follow. How grateful I am, however, to even have that opportunity to fail. He is so good and so full of mercy and love. What an amazing Father we have! Each of us...every one...the same love and mercy. Wow.
So, as you go through the day, try to look for all the opportunities Our Loving Father gives you to move toward sainthood (or even Sainthood!). It is amazing how many ways there are to say "yes" to His will for your life. It is more amazing how those "yeses" can ripple as good through the world.
Saying "yes" to being open to life - then cherishing that life...even if it's trying a lot of the time.
Saying "yes" to extended family time even when they don't live exactly the way you would like them to and praying patiently for their conversion
See? That's only the "yes" times I could remember from the weekend. Were there "no" times as well? Indeed. Many. That's also why I'm not anywhere near the beautiful woman who was just made a Saint. Still, it's really good and important, while examining your "no's" to also count your "yeses". Then you can see all the ways God is working in your life and pray for the grace to keep saying "yes".
Because it's St. Teresa of Calcutta's feast day, here are a few wise words from her. Enjoy the holiday and remember to listen, say "yes" and follow...you'll be amazed at what He can do.