Thursday, January 26, 2012

My One Thing---Special Funeral Edition

In Matthew Kelly's talk, "The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality"  he suggests taking ONE thing from father's homily on Sunday and to write it down in a journal.  He says after one year of going to mass you will have an amazing guide to spirtuality.

Every week, I'm going to add the ONE thing I learned from that Sunday's mass.  What ONE thing did you hear this week end.

I've been slacking the last couple of weeks.  I already forgot my ONE thing from the first week of ordanry time but here is my one thing from last Sunday plus a special one from my Aunt Joy's funeral yesterday:

Aunt Joy's Funeral at St Peter the Apostle in Joplin, MO by Fr. Jay: "We should live life right up to the edge but to be careful not to go over."

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, 5:00 Saturday Evening mass at Holy Family: "We are running out of time so the time for change is now--the time for grace is now."

Epiphany--6:30 Sunday evening mass at St. Andrew's the Apostle: "If we are truly living out our Catholic identity then we should expect to be a little weird."

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 5:00 Saturday Evening mass at Holy Family: "God calls us to peace in the midst of chaos."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Santo Subito, Aunt Joy

I'm leaving town for Joplin today to attend the funeral of my Aunt Joy who passed away on Friday night at 70 years old.  And then I'm driving across the state to Tarkio for the burial on Thursday.  For a great piece on my Aunt Joy read my sisters post, "Rest In Peace, Aunt Joy."  I have to admit, that I have some mixed emotions about the upcoming days.

I'm very sad for my Uncle Alan who has lost his spouse--the love of his life and soul mate.  I'm sad for my cousins who have lost their mom and grandma.   I can't imagine losing my mom and I've realized over the last couple of weeks how fortunate I am that my mom had me when she was so young.  Yeah, I know it sucked for her being 18 years old and having a baby but I'm blessed because I will grow old still having my mom in my life.

I'm sad because I will miss Aunt Joy.   She was a truly amazing woman.  She was funny, wacky, loving and holy woman.  She is one of those people that was a window for us to see Jesus through.   She was someone we should model our lives by.

I'm sad because it's a passing of time and I'm losing another part of my childhood.  All of my aunts and uncles were a great part of my childhood.  They all had impacts on me.  I have so many memories of all of them and it saddens me to lose these memories.

I have to admit though, Joy's passing also brings a sense of happiness and---well, a sense of joy to me, if you'll excuse the pun.

First of all, and I'll admit it---I get excited for funerals because the McAdams family does funerals right.   We makes funerals a true celebration of life.  Yeah, there will be a lot of tears shed over the next few days but I know there will be a lot of laughs too.   Funerals are like unexpected family reunions for us and our family reunions are a sight to behold.  Granted, we won't be able to sit around the camp fire drinking beer (although my daughter did point out that my mom has a fire pit in her back yard) but we will still have lots of bonding opportunities.

I'm happy because Aunt Joy has ended her pilgrimage and face to face with God now.  I'll be honest with you, I don't say this lightly.  I'm not one of these people who go to funerals and flippantly say that the dearly departed is now in Heaven.  Yeah, we have hope that they are on their way but let's pray for their souls so that they are released from purgatory soon.  Certainly, when I die---don't assume I'm in Heaven.  Pray for me!!!  In fact, I want that etched on my tombstone--"PRAY FOR ME!"  I'm pretty sure I'll make it to Heaven eventually, but I may be turning off the lights in purgatory.  But Aunt Joy, if she had to spend any time in purgatory, it was for a light dusting not the full blown purification that I will need.

Finally, and this is me being selfish again.   Aunt Joy was my son Max's Godmother.  He asked the morning after she died--a couple of weeks after seeing his sister, Emma, being confirmed with her Godmother at her side as her sponser, "Does this mean I can't be confirmed??"   I told him later on, "Max, this just means that your Godmother is in heaven praying for you."   Yeah, I'm happy because I can go to Aunt Joy and ask for her intercessions.  I have someone in Heaven praying for Max---and both Max and I need lots of prayers, I tell you what.

Sadness and happiness.  Happiness and Sadness.  It will be an emotional roller coaster week for me and my family.  So, please pray for us.  And I'm sure that Joy doesn't need our prayers but she was a humble woman and I'm sure she would be aghast if I was telling people she doesn't need our prayers so please, remember Aunt Joy in your prayers tonight.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My One Thing

In Matthew Kelly's talk, "The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality"  he suggests taking ONE thing from father's homily on Sunday and to write it down in a journal.  He says after one year of going to mass you will have an amazing guide to spirtuality.

So, I'm going to post my ONE thing I took from father's homily every time I go to mass and post it here.  I was going to start last week but things got crazy so you get a two for one.

Last week, we had a substitute priest.  It one the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  The ONE thing I took was, "God calls us to peace in the midst of chaos."

Yesterday--the Epiphany---we went to 6:30 mass at St. Andrews and the ONE thing I took was, "If we are truly living out our Catholic identity then we should expect to be a little weird."

An Absence of Love

Every once in a while, one of my kids will come up to me because they are having a bad day.  Something has gone wrong in their day and  they and are in need of daddy cuddles. [Which have been proven in studies to be better than mommy cuddles]  So, we'll snuggle up and watch some television and after awhile they feel better.   I have to admit that sometimes I feel the same way.   I'll be in the dog house with the wife.  I feel like I'm up against the world at work.   None of my friends will return my texts.  I'm just feeling unloved.  My wife calls it a "pity party."

Call it a pity party.  Call it feeling sorry for yourself.  Call it whatever you will.  I think we all feel unloved at some point or another.  It may be accurate but it's a feeling none the less.  We see it all around us.  Everyone is looking for love.  They are looking for happiness in one thing or another.  In my job, I see a cross section of society and I see people doing it all wrong.   On a Friday or Saturday night, I see men and women in my city's entertainment district out looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right--or at the very least Mr. or Mrs. Right Now.   I go on calls and see people looking for happiness in a crack pipe or a bottle of gin.  I see guys and gals looking for happiness by selling themselves on the street corner.  I see the business man looking for happiness by going to the seedy hotel and picking up a prostitute and getting crack.   I see it in my fellow officers who work second jobs so they can afford a bigger house or a boat.  Or the officers who are putting their spouse and children through divorce because of their search for happiness and love.

It doesn't take a lot of common sense to realize that love and happiness doesn't come in getting high or drunk.  It doesn't come is hooking up for a night or paying for a good time.  It doesn't come in material things.  And it certainly doesn't come in abandoning your family for someone who you think will give you a better life.

No.   Love and happiness only comes from one place.  Pope John Paul II said it best when he said at World Youth Day, "It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.... It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humble and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."   

Yeah--It's Jesus we seek when we are seeking happiness.  Nothing else will make us truly happy.   St. Augustine said, "My heart is restless until it rests in you."   Stop looking.  He is right there waiting on you.   Find a quiet place today and pray.  Listen for Him.   If you can't find him?  Keep praying.  He's there.    The only time we are really truly absent from love is when we are absent from God.  The only way that is going to happen is when we've turned away from Him.  So turn around and go back to Him.  Feel His love burning inside of you.  It was there all along.