Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Praise of Sameness

If you've ever been to a Roman Catholic Mass, you may have noticed, it pretty much doesn't change format. This is the beauty of a liturgical service. There's the Procession of Altar Servers, Reader and Priest. Then comes the opening prayer (Collect), followed by the Penitential Rite, asking God to forgive our sins. This prepares us to hear God's word from the scripture. After the Liturgy of the Word, we recite the Nicene Creed together, to profess our Faith; and then we pray the General Intercessions for our family, community and world. Now begins, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where the Priest consecrates the bread and wine, which become the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we come forward to receive our Lord, in this sacred meal, we see our "connectedness" and our Communion with Heaven and Earth is revealed. For those not familiar with this type of worship and even those who are Catholic, but not close to God, it may seem different, repetitive or the "same" each time we go to Mass. It's this sameness that comforts my soul. No matter what's happening in my life or in the world, I can go to Mass and experience the unchanging "sameness" of God. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. I can count on this "sameness" in a world of chaos. This unchanging God is where I find my center and balance. Since the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, we have followed his lead..."Do this in memory of me..." and we do!! If you explore the 1st Century Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, you will find this same format. They came together on the first day of the week to listen to God's word and break bread. Many had to meet in secret, as do many Christians today. How fortunate we are, to be able to express our love for God without fear. I crave this "sameness"!! If you're looking for this unchanging, "SAME" God, I invite you to attend a Catholic Mass. If you want comfort and peace in an ever changing world, you can find it at Mass. There's no loud pastor or booming music, just the REAL PRESENCE of Christ in the "Manna" from Heaven.The Mass is the only worship that is continually being said, in the same way, in every time zone, at every hour and every minute around the world. That's why it's Catholic (Universal)!! Satan must tremble as our Savior is worshiped and offered up at every hour! Thank you Father, for you gift of "Sameness"!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finding Mr. Right

Having an almost 17 year old daughter, something has been weighing on my mind, as of late. She seems obsessed with finding Mr. Right, to my protestation. I keep insisting, it's ok to take time and God will reveal the right man; all of which is more than true. But it suddenly hit me today, as Christian young women, they should always be looking for a potential mate: aka, Mr. Right. Young, Christian women shouldn't be trying to serial date or just hook up for the purpose of being someone's girlfriend. Our beautiful girl's should be looking for the ideal man, not just a hook up. So maybe she has it right after all. I'm encouraging her to write a list of character traits she would like in a "husband", not a boyfriend. If she meets a person, she should ask herself, if this young man measures up to her list. If he doesn't, there's no sense in dating a man, who doesn't meet the job qualifications. It doesn't mean, she will marry the first man who is marriage material, but at least she will know she isn't just dating to date. After making this list, I suggest she pray every night for her future husband. Ask God to send the perfect mate and to mold and form his heart for God and her. I saw this amazing idea, so I'm going to take her shopping to buy a man's tie. The tie will be in her possession and each time she looks at it, she can be reminded that God has a special person chosen just for her. She can pray, the man who eventually wears this tie, will be the one God meant for her to marry. On her wedding day, she can present the tie as a gift to her future husband, and he can know that years of prayer, tears and love went into finding the Mr. Right that God chose for her. So, yes, girls, don't waste time just trying to hook up, always be on the look out for the man that will fulfill your dreams. Date only those who could be potential husbands. Keep on Dancing!! Lisa

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Can President Obama Affect the Election of the New Pope?

I'd like to think President Obama has no effect on the interior workings of the Church, but I'd be remiss, in not thinking his attack on religious liberty and the unborn, might not be on the minds of some of the Cardinals. Regardless of what other parts of the world think of the U.S., politically or culturally; the world still looks to us to come to their aid, and be a worldwide leader. I guess it's just my wishful thinking, and wanting to see a U.S. Cardinal emerge onto the Loggia, but wouldn't it be wonderful and prophetic to have the leader of the Universal Christian Church, a former, U.S. Cardinal, defend the rights of ALL people to practice their faith, and to defend ALL human life. What a message that would be to President Obama and the world. Even the talk of an African Cardinal as Pope is quite exciting and would also be the antithesis of a President of African descent, who has done everything in his power to diminish faith and respect for life. I have no doubt, either prospect would be a message from God, a redemption for the worldly choices our President has placed into law. Man's law, or God's law...man can attempt to be god, but God will be the one and only ruler!

Keep on Dancing!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Day, I Saw a Saint...An Unforgettable Pilgrimage

"Please, please", I begged. "I want to go see the Pope". Somehow, I convinced my mother and Godmother to take a one-day, round-trip, on a Greyhound, to see Pope John Paul II. I became Catholic, in 1976, at the age of 10, and Karol Wojtyla (voteewa), became Pope in 1978, so he was the only Pope, I really knew or remembered. He was the young, charismatic, prophetic, leader of the Catholic Christian Faithful. The first non-Italian Pope, former Archbishop of Krakow, and famous Cardinal of Poland. A man, with which so many could relate. He had suffered the loss of both parents, by age 21, and had endured the Nazi take-over of his beloved homeland, Poland. There wasn't much I hadn't read about him and I just knew, I had to be there, when he came to the U.S. I was 21 and in college, when our Church announced, that we would be gathering a group to attend his Mass, at a New Orleans campus, on Sept. 12, 1987. My mother and Godmother, laughed and tried to talk me out of this crazy, one-day journey, but I wouldn't hear of it...I must go! The day was full of surprises, pain, and joy!! Our first hurdle, was the 4am call, to the bus! The bus would be loaded at St. Stanislaus, in Wylam, AL. If you've ever been to Wylam, then you know, the streets are old, and really tiny, so when the bus tried to head out, it was quite a challenge, but once we were on the open road, I felt sheer happiness. My mother and Godmother found my excitement to be funny, and contagious!! The further we drove, the more excited we all became. When we arrived, we were all given special ticket/passes to hang around our necks, and the human herding began. Our passes, indicated the roped-section into which we would slowly move. I've never seen so many people assembled in one area. We had our cooler of supplies, binoculars, and umbrellas. We settled into our designated section, and began another journey of surprises. I don't remember, the exact times, but I'm sure we were there by noon. We were in an open field, on the Eastern campus of UNO. They had First Aid stations set up throughout the field, along with what seemed like hundreds of porta-pottys!! The Mass was set to start late in the afternoon, about 4pm. The heat was unbearable and started to affect the crowds amassed in the huge field. Many people, began fainting and being transported to First Aid stations. Someone screamed behind me, and I turned to find a thin, elderly man, had fainted. I immediately went to his aid, until the rescue team arrived with a stretcher. Even, mother had to have her blood pressure checked, and we were all trying to drink water and other fluids, to stay hydrated. Then, a huge black cloud began to form to the left of the field. The cloud was so ominous, it looked as if a tornado could drop down at any minute. The wind started to blow and people were getting a little frightened. I mean, what could be worse, than a lightning storm and a crowd of people, in an open field. Umbrellas went up as the torrential rain began to fall. Despite the wind, rain, and lightning, no one moved. We came to see the Pope and we weren't leaving!! About 30 minutes before the Mass, the cloud, moved to the right of the field and the sky was overcast, with a gentle breeze blowing. God had sent a big storm to cool off a big crowd. With the welcomed breeze, came a a white Popemobile. Where just a few hours before, people were suffering heat stroke, now the crowd began to chant..."John Paul II, we love you!" I stood against the rope, as the Pope rode by and blessed the crowd and me! I felt a feeling, I've never felt before or since. The Spirit was moving and literally blowing through the crowd on the breeze. As the Mass began, I told myself...listen carefully, and soak in each moment. Despite the large crowd, and the distance, I tried to hear every word. The Mass was accompanied by the gorgeous strains of New Orleans Jazz music, and a Jazz rendition of Amazing Grace, with trumpets. It's just a moment in time, I will never forget, spent with 2 people I loved the most. Then imagine 130,000 people trying to dismiss from the field afterward. It was a little chaotic waiting for our bus to arrive, but no one was angry or mean. We patiently waited and then boarded our bus for home. As, darkness fell on our ride, our hearts were raised in praise to God. I think I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Mission accomplished...An unforgettable pilgrimage, to see an unforgettable Saint!!

Keep on Dancing!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

True Contrition vs. Fear: A Catholic Girl Explains!

If you're not Catholic, you probably don't hear the word contrition very much; but Catholics are fond of saying a prayer, called the Act of Contrition. It's a memorized prayer, like the Lord's Prayer. Since contrition means to be sorry, it's a prayer telling God we're sorry for our sins, so it's basically a prayer of repentance. We tell God we're sorry and ask for his forgiveness. So, even if you're not familiar with the word or the prayer, most Christians can identify with repentance and forgiveness. I wanted to write about this topic after seeing an interview that Oprah did with Joel Osteen, the smiling preacher. At one point, after mentioning Catholics, she says, people are just tired of doctrine, dogma, fear, and guilt. Many people think, this is what drives the Catholic Christian. Oprah's assessment, couldn't be more off target. What Catholic Christian's believe, is often misunderstood and misrepresented. For Catholic's, TRUE Contrition or Perfect Contrition, comes from our desire to please God. We don't repent because we fear God's punishment. We repent, because we don't want to hurt our Heavenly Father and subsequently, the Body of Christ, his Church. We are driven from Love, not fear! I'm not going to say sinning doesn't come with guilt, but there's a difference between healthy guilt and guilt that brings fear. God designed each person with an internal conscious, a desire to do what is right, and to know right, from wrong. This internal conscious is a gift from God, not a feeling to ignore. So, despite Oprah's interpretation of religious-based fear and guilt, I respectfully disagree. True contrition is not fear-based, but born from a clear conscious and a deep love of God!!http://www.thefreedictionary.com/contrition

Keep on Dancing!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prudence and the Single Girl: Gurley vs. Gray

Prudence: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason, shrewdness in the management of affairs, skill and good judgement in the use of resources, caution or circumspection as to danger or risk. Unfortunately, a person in today's society that uses the virtue of prudence, is often called a prude. Being a prude, in this day and age, is thought to be a negative. I, respectfully disagree with the world's view, which isn't shocking if you know me. Prudence, is an innate, positive quality that enables one to make appropriate decisions on a day-to-day basis. Even the wildest person, can credit prudence with keeping them from running in front of an oncoming truck. I credit prudence for helping me make the right choice in many situations...call me a prude, I guess! Earlier this week, we lost two famous women, each from different walks of life. Helen Gurley Brown, the 90 year old former editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Nellie Gray, the 86 year old founder of the March For Life. Gurley Brown became a household name, when her book, Sex and the Single Girl, was published in 1962. She is often credited with helping to start the sexual revolution of the 1960's and 1970's. She was the first to tell young women, they could have it all and they shouldn't wait around for Mr. Right to get married. They should go out, have fun, experiment, and have affairs. She taught young women about the use of birth control and how they could use it to their advantage to have their flings, and then move on to the next conquest. Basically, she single-handedly taught young women to throw prudence and caution to the wind. Today, in 2012, I think we can see the consequences of promiscuous sex, birth control, abortion, and the like. Have these behaviors really liberated women and made them equal to their male counterparts? I think not!! The lack of judgement and the denial of our innate ability to make certain prudent choices, has opened a Pandora's Box of problems for today's young woman. Sometimes, having it all is not for the best. On the opposite end of the spectrum, is Nellie Gray, who founded the March For Life in 1974; one year after the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade, legalized abortion. She has worked tirelessly, since the early 70's, to promote the protection of mothers and their unborn children. She has fought the death machine of abortion and her organization has grown over the last several decades. Today, the March For Life can be seen in all 50 states and internationally. Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal O'Malley called her, "the Joan of Arc of the Gospel of Life." I find it ironic, that both Gurley Brown and Gray, were highly educated, and intelligent women. Gurley Brown a native of Arkansas and Gray, a native of Texas. Both a product of the mid-20th century, both made an impact on society, but in different ways. Both, icons to those who followed their words and believed in the causes. I find it interesting that both were called from their earthly dwelling on the same week. Each came face-to-face with their maker and each was held to an account of their achievements and accomplishments for mankind (no, I'm not politically correct). God has a way of leveling the playing field and I can only imagine his delight at having Nellie Gray teach a thing or two to Mrs. Gurley Brown. On a side note and worthy of some praise, Mrs. Gurley Brown was married for over 50yrs, while she taught other women to be "free"! Helen Gurley Brown was famous for saying..."Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere." I presume to say, she is enjoying everywhere as we speak! Well done, Nellie Gray!!! I hope your reward is great and thank you for showing women an alternative to the world!!

Keep on Dancing!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Superheros Are Real!

After watching wall-to-wall news coverage of the Century 16 Theater shooting in Colorado, I have so many thoughts running through my head. First, I'm thinking of the families who've lost someone dear to them and all those who've been traumatized for life. Why do some people go over the edge and take out others in their downward spiral? I guess we'll never know all the answers, but suffice it to say, we live in a fallen world. Our spiritual ancestors decided long ago, they knew best how to run their lives. They considered themselves on par with God, not realizing God was their ultimate creator and God knew what was best for them. Their decisions brought the world into it's present state. Our only chance to escape this world and it's present reality, is to return to God with our whole hearts. We need to acknowledge that God knows what's best for us. We need to follow his plan and road map to perfect peace. It's so easy when we let God make our decisions. We don't have those day-to-day worries about the bad choices we make. We don't have to keep up with our lies, we don't have to try and remember how many intimate relationships we've had, or try to remember the night before, when we were drunk or high. With God, we have clear vision and no regrets. These people, most of them young, came to the theater for a carefree night of fun and came face-to-face with evil. Satan won, for 2 or 3 minutes; but believe me, God will have true victory through all the good that will come from this tragedy. This movie was about a superhero, but the true Superheros, are those who responded to the scene and those who helped and rescued others. I hope this tragedy leads some of these young people to the recognition that God is our #1 SUPERHERO! He will rescue us from every evil and guard and protect our lives.

Keep on Dancing!!