Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a prayer

i'm reading this book called "reading between the lines: the hidden wisdom of women in the gospels." someone was saying the other day how people often perceive the catholic church to be anti-women...but how women are the only ones who look good in the new all the disciples are bumbling, backstabbing, pathetic guys and the women are all faithful and observant and understanding. it made me remember this book i bought a long time ago, and i dug it out of the "stacks of books i am going to read some day" and started reading it that night. and this seemed appropriate as it is lent. and while i'd been listening to christian radio this lent, i have to admit, i was getting a little bored of the same forty songs or this book was a welcomed new avenue for expanding my knowledge, understanding, and, always ultimately, faith.

it has been a slow, deliberate-feeling kind of lent. not that all of my actions have been deliberate...i'm pretty much still flying along at my normal pace, only able to give my normal amount of consideration to the things i pass (and normal is kind of, well, notsofabulous). but it sure feels like the world around me is working in a deliberate way. it's a longer lent than usual...46 least that's what my kids tell me...and i believe they're least it feels that way.

i don't usually share a lot about my faith. christians have gotten sort of a bad rap (and hey, i know it was deserved in a number of instances). and i'm not trying to force my faith on anyone...i believe choice is important. but i do want to share my faith so people can maybe see there are christians who just want to love you, not change know? anyway, i thought this was a beautiful prayer, so i'm going to put it here....(it's from the book i mentioned...)

"Jesus, even before you were born, you revealed the Father's love to the poor and simple. You revealed that you are present in our ordinary life, and you are present when we help and love one another. True worship has become the gift of self to others in humble service to the God of love, present in every human being. You have come close, so close to us, closer than we are to ourselves. Open our eyes to your hidden presence in the least of our brothers and sisters. Help us to see that others bring you to us. Give us the joy to reign with you by serving others, especially through the service of forgiveness. Let us bring your understanding and compassionate love to all who are burdened, especially to those burdened by guilt. Let us bring your hope to all who feel that you are distant or, worse yet, nonexistent."

one of my nephews is one of my daughter's godfathers. (his brother is her other godfather, but i'm not looking to talk about him right now.) my dh and i chose this particular nephew because the week before he was going to be confirmed as a catholic, i was chatting with him on facebook and i asked him if he was ready. he asked me if he had a choice and i told him oh yes, you always have a choice. and he laughed (i tell my nephews and my kids that a lot...that they always have a choice...good choices, bad's up to them) and said yes, he was ready. i asked him why he was choosing to be catholic, what it meant to him...and he said, to him, being catholic meant serving others. and right then and there, all this confusion and conflict within me about my faith and religion and where the two meet just settled down and made sense. the path became lit by this one simple light. all the doubts and the pride and the fears fell into the shadows.

the catholic faith is not perfect. the sex scandals of ten years ago are not nearly as great as the scandals and corruption of previous centuries. but just as people do not want to be defined by their mistakes...but they can be changed so positively by terrible mistakes...mistakes that hurt people and change lives...yet still great things can result from i believe the church grows. and she's so can you not feel a little bit of affection for her? (don't answer that...i know how a lot of people cannot feel one iota of affection for the catholic was rhetorical, i swear...)

anyway, i'm going to go watch them crucify my son tonight. we're walking the stations of the cross and my second born is playing jesus. it makes me feel a little wobbly in my stomach (i know, i know...roll your eyes at my melodrama). i told my second born that it made me nervous to think they'd be "crucifying" him and he looked at me like i was speaking a different language (which is unusual for my second born...he's usually pretty in tune with other's feelings). i explained i'd have a little better understanding of mary...hoping he'd "get" what i was saying...and he still looked so confused. so i said, "look, we all know how to the story die!" and he just looked at me and said, "no mom, resurrection."

thank god i have these smart kids to teach me stuff.


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