This morning, I lit a candle.

The day has been filled with Christmas light.

DSC_1791I got up early this morning…Max and I did a before-the-sun-came-up walk.  On the circle, Christmas lights on houses and in trees still dazzled the snow-sprinkled morning.  A cold bite to the air, I pulled my hood up and we made our way into day, leaving our footprints behind, the first in fresh snow.

The magic continued.  As is usual, it was possible to hear one good classical tune on CKUA on my drive to the church, where upon my entrance, I was greeted by the familiar voices and smiles of old friends.  After a short morning prayer, I decided to light a candle.  It is the feast day of the Holy Family and I couldn’t stop thinking about my family…Dad, Mom…my brothers and sister and my children.  Mom would have me light that candle and say a prayer and acknowledge, with gratitude, the blessings of this season and my life, and so I did.

Social media enjoys its fair share of cynicism about God, Jesus and ‘religion’.  While somewhat accepting of ‘spirituality’ and spewing a constant blast of Rumi quotes, many people generally dismiss the power of belief and embrace the power of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘now’, ‘manifestation’, ‘selfie’, and ‘self-gratification’ instead.  I’m not here to knock all of that and all of them, but I’m here to proclaim just how powerful faith is for me.  I felt as though when I lit that candle, a tidal wave of love spilled over me.  I experienced ‘God-be-with-you’ in the truest sense.  I am grateful for the grace and power of the divine within me.

I’m a big one for family history, studying my maternal and paternal lineages intensely for the past five years. The Liturgy of the Word was filled with family history today…stories of hope and amazement.

The Mass was filled with blessings of every kind. Deacon Greg shared a heartfelt homily that touched me deeply.  Sometimes personal narratives just have a way of reaching into the soul and healing something.  Greg’s stories of faith, family, struggle and joy were so meaningful and so relevant.  I cherish my family deeply and I’m so grateful for their love and support always.  Each member of my family, whether they be in Lethbridge, Raymond, Magrath, Ottawa, Halifax, Comox or Calgary, is light to me.

During Offertory, we sang the Little Drummer Boy.  Today’s version, with some percussion, sent chills up my spine because I felt as though Mom was sitting right beside me.  This carol was always her favourite and my spirit lit up at the first tap of the drum.

Three baptisms…Isaac, Ethan and Noelle.  What’s not to absolutely love about baptisms?  The children from the congregation gathered, wearing their new Christmas outfits, excited to celebrate in the welcoming of three new infants into our community.  Ethan and Noelle appeared to be twins, looking so fragile and sleeping so soundly.  Father Cristino gently blessed their small round heads with water and there was barely a peep from either of the wee angels.  Isaac was fully immersed and his back stiffened at contact with the water, when all at the same time, he let out a cry.  Wrapped up in a cozy blanket, Daddy held him close and he was quickly consoled.  The congregation was invited to applaud our welcome and our excitement for this beautiful event.  That small candle continued to light up my heart.

The Consecration at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist left me gobsmacked.  My readers might have to look up the term in their urban dictionaries.  I just could not find a term that would suit this moment better.  Gobsmacked, it is!

This day has been a very special day for me because of its beginning.  The snow continues to flutter gently to the ground.  My daughter came by and shared a meal of beef barley soup.  We snuggled.  Max played whizzo outside and flew through the snow…again.  The light has long since left the sky.  The Christmas tree lights are once again plugged in.  While the sky is very dark, it feels as though I am lit up.  I am grateful.  I am happy.

 

Palm Sunday

The Faithful Recall the Passion of Our Lord

Palm Sunday, we begin with such celebration as we recall the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Quickly though, we enter into the solemnity of this Mass, as we hear the reading of our Lord’s Passion, a reading that brings chills to me whether I read it silently to myself or hear it delivered as a Reader’s Theater as it was shared today.  I have been graced by a profound Lenten journey this year and now I prepare myself spiritually for the anniversary of the Washing of the Feet and special recollection of Holy Orders, the Veneration of the Cross,  time spent in the garden with Jesus, the Holy Stations of the Cross, the Holy Sacrifice through our Lord’s Crucifixion and finally, the Baptism of the Catechumens, the Rite of Initiation for the Elect and Catechumens, the renewal of marriage vows and the sharing and celebration of the Easter Resurrection.  It is such a beautiful journey…full of heart ache and of celebration.  I am grateful and filled with anticipation!

Tomorrow evening we join the Bishop at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Chrism Mass.

The Holy Oils are removed from the cabinet, in order that they be replenished during the Chrism Mass tomorrow evening.

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

Wednesday Afternoon: The Tree of Life

It may seem that this project has been going forever, but that’s ok.  Very gradually the branches of the tree are reaching up to the outside edges…the bubbles are being developed with layers of paint and the angels are one-by-one embellished with marks that create a bridge with the background.  Today was the first day that I felt as though this major project is almost completed.  I have really enjoyed having Marilyn join me on my afternoons in the St. Anne’s room.

 

I felt excited as we worked this afternoon…time flew and everything seemed freeing where the paint was concerned.  As a result, I left the church later than I had planned.  I was looking forward to the Confirmation this evening, of 90 grade six students.  I’ve been keeping a number of those students in my heart and prayers as I’ve painted on the wall this past month.  Their names are on the wall.

Whimsy on a Monday Afternoon: The Tree of Life

Because I teach today, I went into the church to paint yesterday afternoon.  Marilyn joined me again and together, we shared stories of faith and immersed ourselves in the whimsy of the angels on the wall.  It’s rewarding to see the layers building and from a distance, a rich surface is coming to life.  Ajay is one of the grade six students who will be confirmed by the Bishop next week.  I keep him in my prayers as he makes his journey of faith.

Tuesday’s Collage: Tree of Life

Progress is coming along as I have finished the application of Cycle B of the liturgical readings and have begun Cycle C.  I will use this cycle of readings for the embellishments of the root system at the base of the tree and for the detailed branching reaching up and around the crowd of angels, created by my students two years ago.  I am feeling happy that I will be painting into the piece after another three or so sessions of collage!

A New Main Branch

Tuesday’s Collage:Resurrection Tree

I’m back to work on the wall in the St. Anne’s Room of St. Albert the Great Church.  This is the space where mothers bring their babies to nurse them or to comfort them when they are crying.

Inscribed on the wall will be over a thousand names of the baptized.  Presently, that process is on hold while I apply, in collage, the three complete cycles of the liturgical readings.

Angels in Branches

The readings represent the stories of our faith and so I had a sense that they needed to be in the piece.

Cycle B

I hope that my readers will enjoy following the process of this mural to its completion