Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday... whew!


--1--

I'm glad it's Friday, but I'm terrified that it's Friday. Friday means that Monday is only two days away and my term paper for my Old Testament class isn't done. Friday means that Wednesday is only five days away and I still have twenty-four costumes and accessories to finish for my 9th and 10th graders' Living Stations. Methinks this will be a weekend without much sleep and lots of caffeine.

--2--

Last Friday I didn't post because I was at a Diocesan conference on "parish revitalization." The first day of the conference was fantastic, mainly due to its amazing keynote speaker, Leisa Anslinger. However, I almost walked out of Friday's session, and many of my collegues did. Friday's keynote was Paul Wilkes, a less-than-orthodox Catholic known for his dissent from the CDF's document Dominus Iesus (and other things) and his less-than-positive view on our clergy. The morning started with his declaration that "the age of priests is over. It's time for the age of the laity!" Yes, we're living in a post VII world. Yes, laity are important. But the way he said it (and in the larger context of his talk) he seemed to be saying, "move over, guys with collers! You're washed up!" His wording was so eerie it actually gave me flashbacks to this guy -----> saying," "The age of Men is over. The time of the Orc has come." Anyway, he was giving away issues of the National Catholic Distortor/Reporter; that should have been my first clue that I was in for a long, frustrating day. Oy.

--3--

Despite Paul Wilkes and his boo-hiss Church schpeel, last weekend I was incredibly encouraged by the many faithful Catholic youth at the YOUTH2000 retreat in Madison run by the CFR brothers and sisters. The CFRs are a great community, and their honesty and pastoral approach to the truths of our Faith was awesome. The kids all seemed to respond really well. I was sitting with kids from St. Ambrose Academy though, so most of them are already from rockstar Catholic families. But even public school studnets seemed to be responding well. It was beautiful. I cried, especially at the end of the weekend when brothers invited anyone who had felt a preistly or religious calling that weekend to come forward. Three of "my" girls and three of "my" boys from St Ambrose went up, and I felt buyoed with so much hope I was soon a blubbering mess. Hope! The New Evangelization is happening; there *is* a coming springtime in the Church!

--4--

I was able to chat with a college friend who is in Ave Maria University's Institute for Pastoral Theology Master's program; he couldn't stop raving about it. He encouraged me to look into it, and it looks like something I definitely will pursue when I finish Commissioned Ministries in three years. I like that it's part time and once a month; I like that I can trust the professors will be from an orthodox theological background; I like it a lot! Something to keep in mind.

--5--

The Feast of the Annuciation was Wednesay, and so I kicked off my nine-month Novena (ending Christmas Day). My intentions list is really, really long this year. Really long. But I entrust it all to Blessed Mary and her powerful intercession!

--6--

I have had some more vocational clarity of late. Thanks so some brave people in my life who told me things I needed to hear, I'm getting closer to actually discerning my vocation *for real* rather than constantly waiting to discern. That sure will be nice.

--7--

I may have found a new spiritual director. I'm excited about this possibility. Spiritual directors = Made of Awesome. I love Fr. Philip's awesome post about SD here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Finally Jumping on the Bandwagon....

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Jen F's Conversion Diary. "Huge fan" might be an understatement; in fact, between Jen and Thomas Peters over at The American Papist, perusing the blogosphere has become as much a part of my morning routine as a cup of tea.

Anyway, for a while now Jen has been hosting a fantastic tradition called "Seven Quick Takes Friday" in which we all list seven tidbits, not substantial enough for their own complete posts, but should be out there anyway. Given, also, that I've become really, really lax at regular writing on this thing, it might be a good way to make sure I blog about *something* at least on Fridays. We'll see. But for now, here we go!
--1--

I'm getting more and more excited -- and more and more nervous -- for our 9th and 10th grade classes' Living Stations of the Cross performance, coming up in a mere three weeks. Because this is a new thing at the parish, the kids are understandably hesitant, especially since it involves 18 of them wearing costumes and saying a memorized monologue in front of perhaps 200+ people. However, I'm going to try to stay calm about it. After all, every other time I've directed/costumed/acted/been somehow involved in a Living Stations, things are horribly stressful until right before showtime... and then they usually go off without a hitch. Deep breaths. Jesus, I trust in you!

--2--

My sister has been accepted to two colleges so far. Neither is her first choice, but it's good to know she has options. I'm still hoping she'll be going to the conservatory 40 minutes from my house.... but we won't know all the admissions decisions for about three more weeks. Gah, I remember that awful time of limbo, waiting to hear from schools.... is there any better way to to torture a seventeen year old?

--3--

In the past month or so I've gone on an intense health food kick, mostly a response to reading Michael Pollan's fantastic book, In Defense of Food. His thesis: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I feel about 150% better physically and emotionally when I eat well, so there's really no downside. Appropriate for Lent, too, as any sort of processed, sugary anything is certainly not what Mr. Pollan classifies as "food," but he instead calls an "edible food-like substance." It's far easier to ignore the recently-delivered boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my pantry when I remember that they are "edible food-like substances."

--4--

Yesterday at the store, I silently grumbled that the price of blueberries had risen from $3.99 a pint to $3.29 for half a pint in the last week. However, such a dramatic price change didn't affect my ability to buy the berries, and I realized what a luxury it is that I can buy whatever I want to eat, shop at a grocery store full of fresh produce, drive home in my nice car, and store them all in my refridgerator. It's a damn tragedy that 85% of the world (and a sizeable percentage of Americans,even) doesn't have the same privilege. Like Elton John sings, "Times have changed and now the poor get fat..." The vast majority of people can't afford to feed their children fresh fruits or vegetables, and instead must resort to processed, sugary, fast-food like meals composed of "edible food-like substances." I don't know the solution, but it makes me very angry.

--5--

This morning Larry D over at Acts of the Apostasy posted a truly disgusting story about a British scientist who wants to use the organs and tissues of aborted babies. It's a horrible story,but needs to be read and shared. God have mercy on us all.

--6--

So far I'm loving St. Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle. It's also helpful that two friends are reading it along with me, so we keep one another accountable to our reading pace and get to discuss. St. Teresa's humility is striking; practically every page contains a vehement plea that she's not worthy to write this or that no one could possibly find it helpful or fruitful. Beautiful.

--7--

Lately I've been wrestling a lot with the need for social justice **and** personal spirituality in one's life as a Christian, especially a Catholic Christian. In my parish personal spirituality is a very unpopular thing; devotions are almost unheard of, and prior to this liturgical year we didn't even have Adoration with any regularity. However, there's a thriving social justice component. I'm trying to figure out how to get these two crucial aspects of our Faith in better balance, especially with my students.