LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
What I've learned: My life is not a corporation, my body is not boardroom, my children are not employees, and I am not the CEO. God is.
The following happened to me last week at The 2015 March For Life in Washington, D.C.:
* I was swept up in sea of Pro-Life marchers
from at least 38 states that were easily identifiable; quite
possibly all 50 states may have been represented.
* I was impressed and moved by the large
turnout of high school and college students, men
and women who traveled long distances to march.
Those who had attended previous Marches indicated
that there was a significant increase in youth attendence
over previous years.
* I was humbled by the immensity and the
magnitude of the event.
* I was able to formulate an idea of what I see as
the scope of the conflict between Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life.
The pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. afforded me
the opportunity to sit for a long time and ponder
what it all means. I am finally able to put words
to what I believe is the cause of the problem:
Many women forget the sacred responsibility
of their biology.
Midday tomorrow, a little more than 13 hours from now, I will be climbing three steps and getting on a bus that will be taking me to Washington, D.C. I am not traveling to visit friends or family. I am not going on vacation. I am told, by those that have been there, that I will not return from this journey the same person.
March For Life is a peaceful demonstration that since 1973 has marked the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that has had a great effect on mine and countless of other women's lives. Abortion is considered the greatest human right's violation of our time. In the next two days I hope to get my mind around what it really means to be "Pro-Life".
"Pro-Choice" is no longer an option for me since I now pray these words: "O, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you". This is what it means to be faithful. This is what it means to be Catholic: I must trust in God more than myself. I didn't live that way three decades ago. I live that way now.
And while this is known to be a peaceful demonstration, I can't help but feel like Doc Holliday at The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It comes down to this: It's about life and death. This is about a decision that often takes less than thirty seconds to make. This is about an act, that each time it occurs, changes the course of history. This is about courage or the lack of courage. This is about faith or lack of faith. When The March is over, I expect to have left the old Evelyn behind.
Why am I Marching for Life on January 22nd? Because an innocent life, a baby, should not have to depend on a woman, in desperation, making an uniformed decision that destroys lives.
Follow www.letitallstarthere.com as I find my way through The 2015 MARCH FOR LIFE.
“So, you could not keep watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:38) When I was a girl I found Jesus’ question to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee very disturbing. In those ten words I would simultaneously hear the disappointment in Jesus’ voice and I would feel his disciples’… no, his friends’ shame.
I felt I had let Him down. Impossible, perhaps. Unbelievable…no. Not unbelievable, if you consider Carl Jung’s theory of collective consciousness, or understand what Freud means by archaic remnants. We often know “stuff” that we have no business knowing about. We can’t explain it, so we shrug it off. I wasn’t there in the Garden, but I might as well have been. That scene has plagued me for years.
But what of all that? www.letitallstarthere.com is not exactly the place to discuss the psychology of man. The purpose of my writing is to encourage all, myself included, to work toward an understanding of what Matthew Kelly calls: The Genius of Catholicism. It involves our recognizing how everything now, relates to everything that has ever happened throughout the History of Our Salvation. We are all pieces in His colossal jigsaw puzzle.
I believe that what happened during the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before Christ’s crucifixion, when he spoke to his disciples saying: “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch me” is never ending. I believe Jesus continues to ask this of us even now: “Keep watch with Me…” He asks that we remain with Him always. And so that is the purpose of the Holy Hour devotion.
I once heard an old Polish woman shout to her loving husband through the back door of her house: “Honey, I will be right back. I am going up to church. He’s there all alone. I’m going to keep Him company for awhile.” And out the door she went humming to herself. I stood in the driveway and watched her figure grow smaller as she made her way down the street. Cute, I thought. She’s going to keep Him company. Funny old woman. But there was a lesson in her actions about devotion. There was another lesson for me as I started thinking about the time we spend in Eucharistic Adoration, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. What actually goes on in the church when we are joined in song, in silence and in prayer? We have been given, undeservedly, the grace of First Friday Holy Hour, the grace of His Real Presence, His God-with-us-ness, to liberate us…to comfort us, to allow us to realize that we no longer are helpless spectators. We can do something about His feelings of isolation and abandonment. We can “keep watch” with Him. We can do the right thing.
That is the grace we Catholics have been afforded.
I was constructing a post inviting my readers to "keep watch" with Christ during first Friday Holy Hour when this email came in from a friend who is in her early sixties and who is struggling with the passing of time and it's effects on her physical beauty:
"I was good. Now I am crashing and suicidal. Ugh.
I miss you too. Really a lot. I hate being old."
I have suspended the usual programming to bring you this message.
I have written the following letter to a mutual friend about the plight of our other "aging "friend: I hope there is some value in it for all who read along.
My Dear Friend: If you study the conversations we have
had about living "uncoupled" and tease out the sentiment
behind them...you don't sound much different then Tess
when she proceeds to intonate these familiar words:
I hate being old. Honestly, by your constantly revisiting the
reputation of the younger version of yourself, the woman
you once were...you are saying the same thing.
In Ronald Rolheiser's book The Holy Longing, he speaks
directly to this problem. I want you to read this book.
There is chapter that addresses relationships:
How they change and how they are sometimes lost
in the process of evolving. Rolheiser reminds us of the
antidote that Christ came to dispense.
Remember, we possess an innumerable amount of relationships:
Tangible and intangible, with living things and with objects.
We are often consumed by these relationships. We think about them
often, they effect our lives greatly. But rarely do we reflect on
the one we have with self.
The aging process is analogous to the vitally important lesson
Jesus offers in and through the Paschal Mystery. Rolheiser
reminds us "that there is a time for everything and a season for
every activity under heaven". Ecclesiastes 3:1
I wont try explain what Rolheiser has to teach us. I would
ask that you read The Holy Longing because I couldn't do
Rolheiser's understanding and sense of spirituality justice.
I love this book! I found the answers I was searching
for in Rolheiser's writings. Get yourself a copy.
"A lover asked his beloved: Do you love yourself more than you love me? The beloved replied: I have died to myself and I live for you." Rumi
It is rare these days that someone you only casually know cares enough about you to invite you to fall in love. Even rarer, that the same person possesses the wherewithal to successfully orchestrate a meeting through which the lover and beloved can find each other. Yet, that is what happened to us New Year’s Day during the solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God when our pastor punctuated his homily with this reminder: “She (Mary) longed for the birth of Jesus with love beyond all telling, so does she long for us, to fall in love with Him.” He concluded the celebration by encouraging over two hundred of his parishioners to attend First Friday Holy Hour. He assured us that by sitting with Jesus we can cultivate our love for Him. It is there, during that time of admiration… during that time of quietude and internal dialogue (prayer) that we would get a chance to know Him better. It is a time of discovery and a way to come to Love?
It's the first Friday of the month and I just returned from the Hour of Adoration dedicated to our Lord. There were less than 25 in attendance; the majority of these "church goers" being the “die-hards” or what I like to call our parish’s “Giants of Prayer”. They are the same blessed faces that I see regularly at all the liturgies. But what of the others? I find myself wondering what keeps people away from Love? What blocks the desire? What stops a woman from being curious about this vehicle (Holy Hour) that is capable of heralding her to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ? What prevents a man from sacrificing an hour of his time to check it out? After all, doesn’t everyone long to be in love?
The conclusion I have come to is simple, yet profound. I discovered the answer lies in these familiar words: “…forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) “They know not what they do…” echoes through time and space. It's the reason Jesus gave nearly 2000 years ago to excuse our killing Love. Even now Jesus’ observation is tragically timeless. With those few words He eternally encapsulates the predicament of mankind. We so often don’t know what we are doing. We say: If I had only known? We say: I didn't know or I wish I'd known. We sometimes say it too often. And then it is too late.
We act or fail to act because we are simply unaware. For example, many don't really know who He is at all. I know I didn't for longest time.
So, what can be done for the believers who are plagued with their unbelief? What can be done for the faithful who prefer to meet Jesus on their terms, rather than His? Then, they fail to meet Him at all because they don’t have the time to find Him. What can be done to avoid 20/20 hindsight?
What can be done? Why not try this: Let us all speak knowledgeably and unceasingly about the History of Our Salivation. Educate the “cradle Catholics” who believe they know all there is to know about their faith, but who often possess a “childish” understanding of who God is. Give them detail after detail so they can connect the dots. Then… remind, promote, encourage... insist they bring themselves to Church as frequently as possible. I’m no fan of Woody Allen, but I will always remember his saying: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” That is what I did. That is what I continue to do. I trust in the Triune God and I keep showing up. The more time people spend in the company of our “Giants of Prayer”, the more opportunities they get to feel how the Church exhales The Holy Spirit or vibrates as The Word is made Man, the greater the chance of a successful union with Christ.
Follow this blog to learn about the details of First Friday Holy Hour. Understand what happens there and then attend an Hour of Adoration. It's a beautiful experience. Oh... and never under estimate, not for one minute, that Love makes the world go round.