On Being Catholic

 

Ok, so, I’m not going to give the UNIVERSE the LONG of it, just the SHORT of it.  Suffice it to say that my life led me to the Catholic Church.  Interesting, isn’t it?  When the subjects of faith and religion come up, I spend a great deal of my time accepting eye-rolling, but it doesn’t impact the peace I have at the core of me.  I stand firm.  I feel such utter joy about my decision to become Catholic while in University,  that I pretty much thank God every day for that and would not view myself as needing to be defensive about that decision.  I hang out with some very smart people and I trust that they can deal with my views being different from theirs.  I love and accept my friends who have different views from my own.  In the meantime, I hold fast to the promises of my Lord, the Maker.

I think that what I have most gleaned from life and Holy Scripture is that it is important to lead by example.  I have been most impacted by those people who were fine examples of kind and loving people who proclaimed the Blessed Trinity through their every gesture and word.  God can not help but speak through his faithful servants.

 
 

I am sponsoring a Catechumen again this year and as I journey with him, I am grateful for yet another opportunity to learn about our Lord.  I realized last year that I wanted to continue on this road of listening to The Word, sharing in the instruction of God’s Promise and growing in faith and understanding.  I will never forget the hours of instruction that Father Carroll shared with me and yet I’ve come to realize that I have a responsibility to deepen my understanding, to read more and to learn the nuts and bolts of my faith.  Yesterday morning before I set out, I listened to Father Jerome Lavigne’s talk on the Divine Mercy.  I then read about the life of Mary Faustina Kowalska and thought about how her life might influence mine and give me direction.

Later in the evening, I participated in an RCIA session given by Dr. Timothy Harvie, considering the aspect of Scripture mirroring Tradition and how the two link in our communal story as church as God reveals Godself.  I felt that the talk was loaded with rich material and that the content was accessible to all.  I also learned so much through the discussion at our table with Catechumens and sponsors, both.  A rewarding evening and a good day! Glory be to God!

 

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
by Blessed John Henry Newman

Most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus
you are concealed in the Holy Eucharist,
and you beat for us still.
Now, as then, you say:

“With desire I have desired.”

I worship you with all my best love and awe,
with fervent affection,
with my most subdued, most resolved will.
For a while you take up your abode within me.
O make my heart beat with your Heart!
Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual,
of all perversity, of all disorder.
So fill it with you, that neither the events of this day,
nor the circumstances of the time,
may have the power to ruffle it;
but that in your love and your fear, it may have peace.  Amen

 

“Breathe Me”

by Sia

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And, the worst part is there’s no-one else to blame

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I’m needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I’ve lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I’m needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I’m needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Breathe!

Breathe!

April 1, 2012

Since attending the Roman Catholic Diocese Faith Life Stewardship Forum on Faith, I’ve been inspired, even by the people who I meet during the social afterwards.  This has been a true blessing, a time for me to grow at my core.  I’ve learned a recent devotion to St. Monica and I’m grateful for that grace.

Dear St. Monica, 
troubled wife and mother, 
many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. 
Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. 
With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, 
you prayed daily for the conversion 
of your beloved husband, Patricius,
and your beloved son, Augustine; 
your prayers were answered. 
Grant me that same fortitude, patience, 
and trust in the Lord. 
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, 
that God may favorably hear my plea for 

(Mention your intention here.)

and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, forever and ever.

Amen.
One of the many inspiring talks given by the panel.
 
 

 

The Ballad of Mary Magdalene written by Richard Shindell

 

My name is Mary Magdalene

I come from Palestine

Please excuse these rags I’m in

I’ve fallen on hard times

 

But long ago I had my work

When I was in my prime

But I gave it up

And all for love

It was his career or mine

 

Jesus loved me

This I know

Why on earth did I ever let him go

He was always faithful

He was always kind

But he walked off with this heart of mine

 

A love like this comes but once

This I do believe

And I’ll not see his like again

As I live and breathe

And I’m sorry if I might offend

But I will never see

How the tenderness I shared with him

Became a heresy

 

Jesus loved me, this I know

Why on earth did I ever let him go

He was always faithful

He was always kind

But he walked off with this heart of mine

And I remember nights we spent

Whispering our creed

Our rituals, our sacrament

The stars our canopy

And there beneath an olive tree

We’d offer up our plea God’s creation,

innocent His arms surrounding me

 

Jesus loved me, this I know

Why on earth did he ever have to go

He was always faithful

He was always kind

But he walked off with this heart of mine
He was always faithful

He was always kind

But he walked off with this heart of mine

 

Read more: DAR WILLIAMS – THE BALLAD OF MARY MAGDALENE LYRICS http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-ballad-of-mary-magdalene-lyrics-dar-williams.html#ixzz1uJFCwojE
Copied from MetroLyrics.com

 

 

This ballad offers us an image of the struggles of Mary Magdalene, at the loss, through such a painful death, of her cherished friend, Jesus.  I can only imagine how it must have felt to be one of the faithful women who accompanied Jesus as he struggled to carry his own cross.

 

 
 
 
Discernment is always on my mind…that I not interpret God’s will for me incorrectly…that I listen enough that I understand…that I am attentive to his voice.

 

“If It Be Your Will” by Leonard Cohen

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will If it be your will.

 

April 20, 2020

 
Here it is.  Tomorrow morning marking the first anniversary of my brother’s death.  It was Easter Vigil last year.  I feel as though that moment is suspended in a thick jelly and it will always be within reach.  I shuffled back to the hospice room after reporting to the desk nurse that John’s breathing had changed.  She said to me, “Your brother is very strong.  He will die the way he has lived.  Because his breathing has changed does not mean that he is close to dying.”
 
I felt his cold feet and then covered them for the last time with the flannel sheet.
 
I curled up in my cot at the foot of his bed.  To the right, his son was finally deep in sleep.  His daughter slept under a crocheted blanket on the reclining chair, to his right.  It was two in the morning.   The Easter Vigil would have happened and my many friends would be weaving their way from the reception to their cars in the parking lot.  A celebration of light and water and Holy oils would have been shared and the divine presence of our resurrected Lord.  I knew that my brother would be leaving us on Easter Day, after such a long journey of losing his life.  I waited with him.  I didn’t want him to be alone.
 
At a few minutes after three, the room went silent.
 
Yes, I might be unreasonable in my grief for his loss.  But, that doesn’t really matter.  Through those months, I read through the book of Ecclesiastes and wrote wee notes in the margins of my Bible pages.  I realize that through those months I was praying so hard because I believed I could pray John into heaven.  It was just what I did.  There was no explaining it.
 
What happened through the course of all of these months since is really very difficult to think about.  I’m mostly doing better now. There was no explaining the challenges that I faced.  I don’t think I fit into the category of being ‘angry with God’.  And yet whenever the part of the Mass came up that contained our prayers
 
Remember also, Lord, your servants N. and N.,
who have gone before us with the sign of faith
and rest in the sleep of peace.
 
I felt full of rage, never acting on it by standing up in the congregation and yelling, not by throwing anything…but, I certainly wasn’t walking the journey of grief, in grace.  I still don’t clearly understand why I missed Mass more than several times and stayed in my nightgown, at home, instead.  I have no idea how I began to feel the pieces of my heart come back together again.
 
Why am I writing now?
 
It’s late here.  I’m just heading for bed.  I wanted to express my gratitude for the addition of Live Stream Mass with  the Priests, the Bishop and even the Pope during this global pandemic.  I am so grateful for the comforting words.  I am also so very grateful for the gift of my faith.  Just yesterday, Divine Mercy Sunday, brought to mind my own heart, full of love, for God.  In these very frightening times, it is a beautiful thing to feel the miracle of  Jesus and his Holy presence.
 
I miss my mother.  I miss my brother.  I miss all of those who have left this world.  It is for me to carry the very best of them on into my life.  Similarly, it is for me to be Christ in the world.
 
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4 thoughts on “On Being Catholic

    • Grace, I am touched that you read this page…it’s tucked away on my blog, isn’t it? But, truly, without faith and my relationship with Our Lord, I would be a sad little Painter Lady. As it is, I’m filled to overflowing. I’m glad that apparently you are also!

  1. Hi Kathleen
    I love your work – this page tucked away as you say also really struck chords with me – very very inspiring in so many ways. I’ll be back to read more and to see more of your beautiful paintings. Every good wish for 2013. Maura

    • Maura, I really feel blessed that you found this page and that you appreciate it. While life deals us many struggles, I am constantly graced by the Love of God and his companionship. I am lifting a prayer for you and your loved ones through this beautiful season of Christmas! May your year be one of light!

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