We decided to attend this Mass because several other homeschooling families attend there and had good things to say. After traveling through the South and seeing, for lack of a better word, more reverence during their Mass, we decided to try. I didn't fall in love immediately and I wasn't turned off. It was nice, it was holy, and it was a good start. It was familiar and the Latin sections were a great challenge to pay attention and not just go through the motions (really tempting sometimes after doing it for 40+ years).
Discussions of which Mass and where have to wait for another time. That's not the point of this post. This post is about making God the center of your life...always. Father spoke in his homily about not getting side tracked by money, politics, (add your own issue), and losing track of God. He told us spending time in service of the Saints and in good Catholic fellowship is well spent on our journey to heaven. Centering our life around Him is the right choice. As we stood chatting in the social area after Mass while the kids snacked and played together, it was clear that this was the right choice. The late Mass, the supportive friends, the time for fellowship...it was all about spending today as God's day. Keeping it holy. What a wonderful way to kick off Advent.
I was struck by the experience this morning because I was thinking about the post that would cover the next leg of our journey. We headed out of St. Louis (after Mass at St. Clement parish...another great experience of individuals welcoming and sharing with us) and drove south toward our night in Fayetteville, AR. We had an important stop before we crossed the state line, however - Joplin, MO.
Joplin, Missouri is a tiny (50,000 pop.) town in the far Southwest corner of the state. This is the birthplace of George Washington Carver, and the site of the George Washington Carver National Monument and visitors center. If you don't know about the man, take some time to read through the website...he had amazing gifts to share with others, despite the numerous hurdles that were present as a poor black in the South. He was an educator, a scientist, and a humanitarian. He was, above all, a Child of God.
You knew I'd get to linking it eventually ;0) I was expecting to see many things about his life and his work, which were abundant. What I didn't expect was the deep faith of a man who faced so many hardships and continued to persevere and work for others. He put God first and look how much good came from it!
|Such humility. Amazing.|
|Yes, they did some work on Sunday. It was a lesson about crediting God first for all of your good work ;0)|
|The Jr. Park Rangers|
Acknowledge Him!!! Wow. Even in the middle of rural Missouri, the message is clear. Look to God and He will give you direction. Wow.
So, in the end, it's not just about picking the right church with the right priest in the right neighborhood. It's about giving God your best and remembering that He is the Giver...no matter where you find yourself. I'm glad it's Advent; I have a lot of work to do. I'm grateful it's the week of Hope...I can't be dispirited!
We are blessed.