I have to say, today…I’m thankful for the Catholic Mass.
Maybe it was because I was feeling emotional, maybe it was because I could actually see the priest, maybe it was because he was so genuine and engaged and passionate. Whatever the reason, I sat there thinking the Mass is really beautiful.
The way the priest held up the body and blood of Christ and repeated the words that Jesus spoke, “Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which has been given up for you…when the supper was ended he took the cup, again he gave thanks and praise, handing the cup to his disciples he said…” If you are Catholic, you are reading along with this and can continue to recite the whole thing. It’s in our heads and in our hearts.
Sometimes, it’s just in our heads.
But today, it was in my heart. I felt those words. I felt Jesus saying them. I felt that bread and wine being transformed. I was there. With him. I felt his love.
I felt His love for me. I felt His love for my dear friend who lost her mom. I felt His love for her mom. I pictured her with Jesus at the table in heaven. I felt Him loving all of us. Sacrificing for all of us. Saving all of us.
The words we say at Mass aren’t just words. They are real. They are powerful. They transform.
So when we lose someone we love and we are sorrowful, we remember His promise that we will be with Him in heaven one day. We remember the words from John 14:2-4, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Can you feel those words? Can you see that place?
Can you feel that He goes before us and prepares the way?
The Mass ended with “How Great Thou Art” which was amazing. I found a version on line I had to share.
I went to the library the other day. I needed a book to help me escape, to “not think”, a place to go other than the political news shows and the internet. I wanted to laugh.
I walk into the library and ask the woman at the front desk…”I need a fun book, where should I look?” She pointed me over to the newer best sellers. I saw books about politics and Steve Jobs and ….ugh. I knew she didn’t get what I meant. I started to feel a little lost and then she shouted out…”Oh, a YLD book came in!” I didn’t know who she was talking to so I asked, “excuse me?” She said, “A YLD book came in!” with a big grin on her face. I said, “What’s a YLD book?” and she said, “It means, it’s YOUR LUCKY DAY!!!! ”
Woo hoo! My lucky day! BRING IT! She explained that these YLD books are never available and if they are, well then, no doubt about it…it’s your lucky day!
Honestly, I barely looked at the book. I tore out my library card and tried to get out of there fast before someone tried to steal my book and ruin my lucky day.
Speaking of lucky days…Election Day is November 6th.
November 7th is going to be someone’s lucky day.
I know people are out there saying, “It’s not luck, so and so deserves to be president.”
I get it. I have an opinion. I care. I feel strongly. I will vote. Then I will watch and count and try to figure out how my guy can win. Then I will go to sleep and it will be fitful and anxious sleep. I will be uncomfortable, flipping channels in my dreams, still counting, still wondering, still hoping. In the morning we will know. Maybe. Or maybe there will be lawsuits and talk of hanging chads. Oh, never mind, that’s the past…a different time, a different night (week? month?) of fitful sleep.
Here’s what I want to remember. When we wake up that next morning or whenever we find out who won the presidential election…HALF of the country will be disappointed.
This means your neighbor.
I repeat. HALF of this country will be disappointed. Either way.
I have said there are two Americas.
But I’ve thought about that now and I want to take it back. There is one America. And it’s beautiful and strong and I am so grateful to live here. There is one America.
Your neighbor may vote for “the other guy”. Your neighbor may have a yard sign you don’t like. Your neighbor may not wave to you in the carpool line on Wednesday. Your neighbor may have hoped and prayed the night before for the opposite of what you hoped and prayed for. It’s okay. She’s still your neighbor.
She’s still your neighbor…the one who brought you a casserole when you moved in. The one who drove your kids to their activities when you were sick. The neighbor who gives tirelessly at church or who runs the PTA. This is your neighbor who you have known for 15 years and always thought was such a good mom and a good friend. This is the neighbor who knows when to bring wine and when to bring chocolate and she usually shows up with both! This is your friend. You love her kids and her husband. You admire how she handles working full time and raising a family.
Or maybe you don’t know her but have always wanted to. Maybe she smiles at you when she walks the dog or keeps a beautiful garden that you’ve always admired. Maybe she works at the coffee shop or the dry cleaner. Maybe you just see her in passing but she’s friendly and kind.
Maybe she’s the mom that’s fought tirelessly for the kids with special needs. Maybe your kids have benifitted from her advocacy. Maybe she’s the teacher who took extra time to help your daughter or the parent who serves on the school board.
Maybe she’s the neighbor that came and sat with you when your mother died or when your child was sick. Maybe she’s the person you call when you need a hand or a hammer or a cup of sugar. Maybe she’s the one you call when you just need to talk. Maybe she’s the friend who invited you to church.
Or maybe it’s your dad. Your dad who has loved you since the day you were born. Maybe he can’t even sleep he’s in such a tizzy about the election. Maybe you are worried about his health.
Maybe it’s the military family down the road who lost a son in the war. Or maybe it’s a mother whose son is away on active duty now and she is terrified and wants him home.
Maybe it’s your brother whose business has fallen on hard times. He’s worried about payroll and health care benefits. He’s trying to survive.
You get the point. The list goes on.
We are all neighbors. We are all Americans.
So, here’s my plan for November 7th … smile and wave at my neighbor…no matter who wins and no matter who she hoped would win…because I like her. She’s a good person…a good American…and we need each other.
God bless my neighbor. And God bless the United States of America.
Romans 13:9 “whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(I love to throw that in wherever I can 🙂 It simplifies things for me when I start to get confused by the external noise. )
Here’s a video/song for fun. Turn it up people. Trust me. Turn it up and remember…we are blessed.
Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.
Ikkyu – Zen-monk poet, 1394-1481
Isn’t amazing how BIG our universe is? Isn’t amazing how BIG God is? As I get older, I realize He is so much bigger than my previous narrow understanding of Him. I remember hearing Father Barron, say, “If you think you know everything about God, then that’s not God.” It’s difficult to even try to use words to explain a God that is so infinite, so present, so EVERYWHERE…He is amazing and I stand in awe. Our words are inadequate.
I was thinking of this when I was talking to my friend who climbed Mt. Rainier. He showed me pictures and they are stunning. They are unbelievable really. I kept wondering, if I was up there, would I be paying enough attention? Would I be able to remember?
Since mountain climbing is not my thing, I asked him why he is drawn to it. What makes him want to climb? He said that when he got to the top and he saw the sun rising through the clouds, it was a “spiritual experience”.
When I saw the pictures, I can see that it must have been awe inspiring.
What this makes me realize is that we are all seeking in different ways. We are all “climbing” in a sense. I love that God is so infinite and so present that we can find Him anywhere.
This same friend doesn’t believe in God. He has concerns about organized religion and has decided it’s not for him. Yet, when he was up there in the clouds, he felt something.
Now, he didn’t see God with a white beard and a white robe. He didn’t see legions of angels and saints. Mary wasn’t there welcoming him encouraging him to say the rosary. He didn’t decide to start going to church every week.
But he felt something. I tried to put it in my language and said, “Oh that’s great, you recognized there is something bigger than yourself.” And he said, “No”. (As in, don’t put it in your words Sue.)
And I don’t have to. He can keep it in his words. He said, “It was a spiritual experience”. And that’s enough.
When before the beauty of a sunset or a mountain, you pause and exclaim, “Ah,” you are participating in divinity.