Monday, September 28, 2009

The next few days...

This has been an exciting few days for me. Last Tuesday, the 22ND was mine and H's last fraternity meeting as candidates. These last 2 1/2 years have been at times a struggle, but mostly filled with exhilarating moments, especially during our round-robin segments and ongoing formation discussions. I never knew just how deeply God has worked his way into my soul, the me of me. Many times I've had to stop with my presentation just because I let my emotions get the best of me. At 54 I'm still one of the youngest members, and I think sometimes the enthusiasm of H and myself can scare people. I'm hoping our Brothers and Sisters will grow to understand us a bit more. We're coming in next Wednesday and we're coming in for life! I invited my Mom and Dad, my brother and sister and there families, but we'll see who shows. At first I think they thought us joining the Seculars was a type of novelty idea on our part, something that was going to either wear off or not amount to much. I'm thinking they all looked into it a realized who the S.F. are and what the commitment is, and I think they all accept our choices. I hope so, but if not, so be it.
And this Saturday is the Transitus of St. Francis. 783 years ago on Oct. 3rd Francis flew from this earth. We are so lucky to have 3 Franciscan priests at our parish, and every year they have a nice service that evening. Other Friars and Sisters come from around the area, especially from Chicopee MA. We, the Seculars, will have a little something set up in the church hall for after the service. For a follower of St. Francis, this is a great time. I have to admit, Franciscan priests are a different lot. Some go by the letter of the law, so to speak, others, the spirit of the law, and the differences can be seen especially in the way they dress, when they're not working, so to speak. Cutoffs or jeans, tight tee shirts, lots of tattoos (Yes! Yikes!), almost anything goes in the spirit of St. Francis. I realize now that I'm more of a traditionalist. I guess maybe because I was somewhat wilder in my youth I feel closer to the more prayerful spirit of Francis and the Church. I think also, for me, there is never enough time for quiet prayer, or maybe not enough time to do nothing. When one does nothing, that leaves a lot of time for prayer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Word loss for sure

If this is Friday, then it's a fast day. I don't want to spend a lot of words on this gift that God has given me, but I think now that the more I find it difficult to fast twice a week the more I pray about it and then the more I understand the whole gift. Get it? If it was easy for me I probably wouldn't get anything out of it. After all these years fasting still leaves me feeling, I don't know, more prayerful perhaps for lack of a better word. This is a poor attempt to describe a feeling that I can't even describe to myself. Failure!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The unexpected gift...

First, as you can see, I've changed some colors on the blog. I grew tired of the black, and it was beginning to make me uneasy, in a way. And I've come to love the browns and greys of the Franciscans, and, God willing, Oct. 7Th H and I will be professing together into the Seculars. A big day. As the time comes nearer I can sense an attitude adjustment taking place, believe me, with no will of my own. It can only be the Holy Spirit at work. I thought months ago I was ready then to profess and I was, but not in the same way I am now. The excitement of something new has passed; now the idea of the long haul has settled in and it is good. I know this is the right thing. But as all things that have to do with Our Lord God, as one door opens and you pass thru another appears, and you pray and pass thru into something different, and then the Spirit gets a hold of you and points you yet again. To me, that is part of the freedom of living with Christ, laying all your prayers, hopes, dreams, humbleness, humility at His feet, at His altar, at Himself, and letting go. When we can do that the eyes open, the heart is freed, the mind is tuned to Him. These are the small changes in my life that I try to do every day, to open my eyes, to free my heart. Some days the journey is smooth. Most days the road is rough. My job is a rough road at times, and I fail miserably at bring Jesus to the forefront there. That's usually my biggest regret at the end of the day; my failure to proclaim him to my brothers and sisters as I should. This last bit of a revelation came to me in the last 15 minutes or so of this afternoons Adoration, after Our Lord had lulled me into a strange state of, well, not prayer, and not sleeping, really, but it seemed I was in a tranquil state and then alert, tranquil state and then alert until the last few minutes when all the thoughts of the failures and how Francis must have felt when he chastised himself, when opportunities were missed even by him, moments lost by me. Every once in a while we're given a small insight by God, and I know I've missed 99% of them given me, but I think I felt a small one this afternoon. It was a small unexpected gift, a simple yet beautiful flower from a friend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Evening Rosary - aftermath

Just want to say that Monday evening rosary, The Sorrowful Mysteries, were beautiful. Just three of us, but a perfect way to end the day.

Just a note on last night. My old self reared its' ugly head yesterday, I hope only the product of a long weekend doing 'stuff' contrary to my normal living. Probably too much time at the fair, seeing too many people, which, in and of itself is not bad, but at times I can't handle it too well anymore. Come last Sunday that was my situation. I needed quiet time and I couldn't find it and instead of seeing the situation as it was and getting through the day praising God for giving me difficulties, I failed completely, feeling sorry for myself, and taking some of it out on H. I read a great quote recently but I'm afraid I don't know where or who from. It goes like this; "No matter if he is playing, working, eating, talking having fun or even sleeping, he is in prayer." I'll figure out who said it and where its from, but these are truly words to live by. Well, that was my failure, not staying in prayer most of the time this weekend. So this evening I really needed the time in church and the calming effects of Our Mother and the Rosary. Thank you Rosary folk and Praise God!

Evening Rosary

Today is the third Monday of the month, so that means Evening Rosary at our church. Two Mondays' ago it was Labor Day, and I really didn't expect anyone to show up but I was hoping, but at 7:00pm it was only H and I. Which really doesn't matter to me. I'm there to start the rosary at 7:00 and to make sure the doors get locked when we're done. God provides the rest. But I do have to say, with the westering light flowing through the stained glass just as we begin, and only a few lights on inside the church, with the heavy silence broken only by our voices in chant-like unison, St. Edward Church is a beautiful place to be on a Monday evening, whether it's only me, or H and myself or 6 or 8 others. It's a nice place to be.

Come and join us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Over-done at the Big E

Today H and I, our son, our daughter, her boyfriend, (good kid), H's two sisters and a niece went up to New England's great fair, The Big E. And it was good, for most of the day. Everyone got along just fine, we shared food, (although being Friday, H and I were fasting, sort of. More on that later.) saw a lot of stuff and enjoyed each other's company. But by the time late afternoon rolled around, I'd had enough. Too many people, too much noise, too much of the world I'm trying to leave behind pressing in all around me. H felt the same. For those 4 or 5 hours that this Fair had pushed itself into my consciousness I had lost track of God a little bit. He wasn't first and foremost in my mind, or on my lips or in my heart. Once we decided we'd had enough we couldn't get out of there fast enough. On the way back to CT H read a bit from The Fatima Crusader which calmed us down a bit. It was just too much being back into that world of bright lights, entertainment and random buying of stuff one really doesn't need. I'm not coming down on fairs. I really do love them, and I have to spend most of tomorrow and part of Sunday (oh, no! not Sunday!) at our local Four Town fair. I guess I really only like a fair in little doses and not when I let all the fun drive out Our Lord and Savior.

About that fast...

Today, being Friday is a fast day for H and myself. Wednesdays and Fridays are the days our Blessed Mother asks us to fast, so we do, bread and water. Been a few years now, no big deal. H is much better than me, I drink coffee during the day at work, sometimes have a couple of crackers, maybe a pretzel or two. It's extremely hard for me to fast the way I believe the B. M. intends, asks us to. H, on the other hand is rock solid, and although she speaks to me of temptations on her fast days she hardly ever wavers. Well, today is a fast day and we're going to The Big E! If you've never been there let me say this; lots of food booths of every kind. And the aromas! Not a good place to be on a fast day. Anyway, today September 18 the readings from the red book entitled Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blessed were for Joseph of Cupertino, Franciscan priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. It was also a Franciscan Feast day, which H and I usually celebrate as a feast, namely by not fasting. Which was fine, and we planned on feasting today, no problem, until there, in our daily reading in Medjugorje, Day By Day, for today the 18Th of Sept. Our Lady tells us: Observe the complete fasts, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pray at least the full rosary, the Joyful, Sorrowful, and the Glorious Mysteries. Well, the feast was put aside, and we gave up what probably would have been an afternoon of over doing it anyway to a day of ignoring the smells and avoiding the sights and for us to just nibble on the crackers that H brought. We did share clam fritters with everyone, but we somehow justified having them by saying they were mostly dough, which they were.

A day of fun at the fair is behind us, Bless the Lord.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

After 4:00 Mass this afternoon we had our Knights of Columbus Officers Installation Ceremony. I think at final count we had five Brother Knights who didn't show, two of which had told me that they couldn't make it, they would be out of town. No problem, your still an Officer. Our District Deputy was the man in charge, and he did a great job. I really like him a lot, and look forward to working with him when I have to. Three of our wives were there also, and they actually adorned us with the jewels. Fr. R. was there and participated, and I think he knows or can feel the urgency and high expectations that this new leadership brings. I don't know. I'm not a born leader, at all. I have to get all of my Grand Knight leadership skills from our Lord, literally. As I stood in front of our District Deputy as he read to us the moving passages of the K of C installation ceremony, I prayed. Prayed that I could do the job my Brothers elected me for, to lead them and to help them to accomplish our goals in the name of Our Lord and God. H thought I was getting ready to faint, but that was the farthest thing from my mind. Just standing before the altar, with the huge Franciscan Cross hanging before me I have to admit I thought of Francis and the awesome responsibility that he took on for his Brothers and our church. And at the same time I felt, well, not love, really, but the good vibes that were all around us in the church. I'm so glad that we had the installation in the church, after Mass. I was the right choice.
This has been a soul-moving week for me. I use soul-moving for lack of a better word, as I don't think eye-opening works here. Adoration, prayer with H everyday, Mass this morning and this afternoon, private gifts from above for my interior journey, how can I complain about anything? But I still do! I'm an A_ _! Lord, smack me and punish me for such stupid thoughts! Bless He Who Reigns Above Forever!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thorns and Adoration! Rejoice!

Friday morning, and I don't know if I'm still feeling the after-effects, (so to speak), of yesterdays' hour of Adoration, but, well, some days everything is more clearer than others. Ever have a day like that? Today is one for me. Thursdays' Adoration was the first of the Fall through Spring schedule that our Parish follows, 12:00 noon until 7:30pm. I am there from 5-6. As soon as I entered the Church I could feel Him, and He lead me and opened me for an hour to just plain peace and enlightenment (for lack of better words. I'm at work, so I'm rushing this post!). And then this morning, during Morning Prayer with H, the Reading, 2 Corinthians 12, the thorn in my side and My grace is sufficient for you, brought about (again!) an intoxicating feeling of humility in me. It's hard for me to read these passages, I can almost hear Paul's voice, even though he probably never actually read this letter to anyone, instead being read by millions of faithful through the years. Today, Paul slapped me a little harder than usual. It could be because of trials going on in my life right now, even though small to most still loom as obstacles to contend with to me. This reading, combined with Adoration reminded me that trials are given to us to celebrate, to gain strength and to keep us on the right road.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Evening Prayer

Tonight, as every Wed. at 7:00pm we have Evening Prayer at our church with our fellow Secular Franciscans. I was asked to be the antiphonerian, which i love because I just happen to really love the pauses between each segment. (I don't know the proper name.) The pause after saying the antiphon for the second time and before saying the next one gives the prayer a special magic to it, as if it needed any more magic. I especially liked the Reading, Ephesians 3: 17-21, the first line; May Christ dwell in you hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. I don't remember that line before, and I don't ever remember it smacking me between the eyes. But between the light through the stain glass windows, the reading, the timbre of the Evening Prayer, I just didn't want it to end.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A change of view

Back on-line after a long delay. Our PC was down but now up and running again, and I'm going to try to post every night, if possible. Be patient with me, I'm slow and stupid at formulating myself lately, and most of the time I only wish to read others' blogs and not write in my own. But we'll see...