A year ago, on the eve of Fat Tuesday, I came across a table full of assorted boxes of Paczki at my local grocery store. Wanting to treat my family, I seized the opportunity to buy a box of six. But I quickly realized there were several different fillings to choose from. I was overwhelmed. All of them sounded delicious, so I ended up grabbing four boxes. Yes, it was gluttonous.
A few years ago, I remember going through my 7-year-old son’s backpack and finding an egg carton with little objects in each cavity. One by one, I began to take them out and study them — a tree twig, a plastic star, a ladder made from toothpicks and so on. When I asked him for an explanation, he told me all about the “Jesse tree” that he created in class.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself (Mt 6:34)
Hmmm ... I will confess I struggle with this one. I want to believe that this quote from Scripture is God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry, I got this! Everything is gonna end perfectly well.” The problem is, things don’t always end well. Illness happens, people die and wars break out, whether we are holy or not.
More than ever, there is a great need for healing in our world. So much so that Pope Francis declared 2016 as a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Our pastor recently encouraged everyone in our parish to fast and pray every Wednesday until the end of the year. The purpose is to pray for the Lord’s mercy upon our nation.
My husband and I embraced this charge. And on the first day of fasting, we didn’t just get our feet wet; we dove in. We went full-force – no food, just liquids. If the nation needs healing, we are here to fast it into shape!
It was brutal.
In Ireland and the UK, since the Middle Ages, tradition and folklore have surrounded the Feast of St. Michael the archangel, or Michaelmas. A well-known legend suggests that when Lucifer was banished from Heaven, he fell onto a blackberry bush. Upon falling into the thorny brambles, he scorched them with his fiery breath. He cursed and spit on the blackberries, making them bitter and unsuitable to eat. And he renews his curse annually, so if they aren’t picked on or before the feast day of September 29, they become unfit to eat.
“No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13)
This past Memorial Day was a particularly solemn one for me, and the verse above kept coming to mind as I thought of the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
For a community that has already faced many challenges, Flint’s residents are now in dire need of life’s most basic necessity – clean water. When news of the water crisis broke, individuals, organizations and churches from all over took action to help. Truckloads and pallets of bottled water are being brought in and distributed to those most affected.
May is an exciting time of year for my husband and me. Summer is around the corner, and we are in full planning mode for our outdoor space. May also happens to be the month of Our Lady, and, coincidentally, among our favorite of outdoor spaces is our Mary garden. A trellis of roses along the back side of our house partially encloses a statue of our Blessed Mother. And surrounding her, we enjoy the juxtaposition of soft lavender and intensely bright marigold in full bloom by the time summer arrives. But the flowers are chosen for more than just their beautifully contrasting colors.
I love candles. They symbolize life, love and celebration. And I love burning them in my home, but I’ve had to resort to enjoying them only when the boys are out of the house. Between my husband being afraid of the house burning down, and my son playing with the wax like it is Silly Putty, the candles just don’t stay lit. So, their illumination is very short-lived in my house.
A typical Easter Sunday during my childhood included attending Mass with my family, then driving straight to the nearby hotel restaurant for a huge brunch. This wasn’t the unappetizing brand of brunch — dessicated scrambled eggs beneath a heat lamp and a picked-over salad bar behind a sneeze guard. For us, it was a special treat we all looked forward to, where my parents had to make a reservation several months in advance and open up the pocketbook. Large decorated tables with beautifully arranged food selections would greet us upon entering the hotel’s entertaining area.