Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My journey into the Church was filled with uncertainty, angst, and surprise. During the RCIA process, Kevin and I went on a walk after one of our preparation classes. He asked me, "So, do you think you're going to go through with it?" Looking back, answering "yes" or "no" was so much more than deciding whether or not to go through a ceremony on the Saturday before Easter. The implications of this decision were infinite! What will happen if I become Catholic and Kevin doesn't or vice versa? What will happen to my relationships with Protestant family members and friends? Will I "lose" people I love? Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist? Is all that the Catholic Church teaches on contraception, abortion, marriage and the all-male priesthood really true? If I aligned myself with this institution, I would be taking a stand-an unpopular stand-on many faith and moral issues.
In the end, joining the Catholic Church was the best and most monumental decision of my life. I have heard it said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by his perfect love. Recently, I heard a fellow convert go even further to assert that we all have a Catholic-Church-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by the sacramental graces Christ offers through the ministry of the Church. And to this, I say "Amen!" As difficult as the transition from Protestant to Catholic was and is with family, friends and within my own sensibilities, the sacramental gifts of the Church-Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Marriage-have brought so much love, hope, peace, and blessing to my life that, like Peter, I often ask, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)
Happy Easter Season to you all, and may Christ's love and joy continue to deepen in your hearts!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Yes, there are three varities of jelly beans; not to mention two others we have in the candy stash. Total jelly bean varieties in our home: 5 And just a reminder, we don't have kids. Apparently, this is all intended for the two of us.
I can feel my teeth rotting already.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Today, as I watch the snow fly, I really wish I was back there soaking in the sun!
Rusty ol' tank on Flamenco
Extreme Reading at its best
A leisurely run on the beach
Monday, March 17, 2008
They're way of life is simple and beautiful but so foreign from my everyday existence. I can enjoy 30 minutes of silence and solitude, but a life that is lived that way 90% of the time was difficult to take in. I can honestly say that watching (or attempting to watch) this movie was one of the most humbling exercises in all my lenten activities.
In my opinion, the best scenes were in the last half hour. One segment showed the brothers during recreation in the mountains surrounding the Grand Chartreuse. They hiked the peaks in their white, flannel habits and snow shoes and went sliding down the mountainside, falling head over heels, laughing and knocking mercilessly into one another. Throughout the movie, as I looked at the faces of these men, I found myself wondering what they were like as children. Were they as silent and austere as they are now? Watching them slide in the snow, laugh, and call to each other reminded me that we all need a bit of "rough and tumble." I was glad to know that life for these monks, while very ascetic, allows for play as well.
And this video is my favorite scene. It's about 5 minutes, but so worth the watch:
Even through the screen this monk's manner, his words, his voice which is so little used, pierced me. How often do I curse God for a traffic jam or a trifling cold? "Had it been up to me, none of this would have happened!" I think. And I must remind myself that it is not up to me. That like this monk, I am invited to acceptance and joy in God's infinitely good presence. But just as you must accept or decline an invitation, the joy of knowing that God has my eternal best in mind at every moment must be accepted or declined. And Lord help me, I want to accept this truth because as the wise monk said,
"This is all one must do and then one is happy."
I believe this is true because the more I am able to accept my life as it is, with all of its tumult, the happier and more free I become. And that is why Christ came in the first place, to set us free from sin, from Satan, and from our self-tyranny.
I'm glad I did not give up. I'm glad I finished the movie. Though humbling and challenging, it was worth every moment to witness the love that God has poured into those men at the Grand Chartreuse. I may not fully understand their way of life, but I am glad they are out there, praying for all of us.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Now, I know spring will be here soon!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
1. My own bed. Falling asleep and waking up in your own bed cannot be matched, even at the Ritz.
2. My pooch. There are many days when I don't particularly appreciate caring for ol' Buck: his muddy paws, pooper scooping, shedding and stinkiness. But let me tell you. When he came bounding in the house after Kevin brought him home from the place he was boarded, I was just overjoyed to see his little doggy face and to give his little doggy self a hug. He is so great.
3. The kitchen. Eating out for a week straight really gave me an appreciation for being able to walk in the kitchen and just get something healthy to eat, instead of paying $12 for a greasy piece of a pizza and rotting lettuce at the airport.
4. Familiar faces. The office may not be my favorite place in the world, but it's nice to walk in the door and know that you'll be dishing about American Idol and discussing the merits of different coffee roasts with people you enjoy.
5. Routine. Getting away from "it all" really helps me to appreciate "it all." I come back and notice the sunrise during my commute, the soft warmth of the throw blanket on my couch, and the freedom of having a car I can depend on. I come back and realize how much I have, and in turn, how much I have to give
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Back to March in the North. But we're used to it, right??
Pictures of beautiful, sunny Culebra to come!