Sunday, February 23, 2014 – St. Philip Parish – Norwalk, CT – The 30 Hour Famine!

I don’t know where to even begin with my observations and emotions on this one. This was the 11th 30 Hour Famine that I have been a part of since its inception! It was like “going back home” to a very good place! The Famine is the epitome of what a church community should be about and that really has to do with the spirit, love, creative talents, and community leadership of Kali & Ralph, Terry, and Mike. Over the years though, there has been a ton of people who began the Famine event and then continue year after year to let Love shine through their Actions!

Several years ago, we lost Claudia then last October we lost Kathy. These two women, women who never asked for the spotlight, but were always so present, were there at the ground level years ago and their touch continues all over the event to this day. This weekend was so emotional because their physical presence is not there yet, their spiritual presence is so obvious! Such a strange thing happened on Sunday morning. Throughout the weekend, many people spoke or mentioned the Holy Spirit being at work. There seemed to be a calm presence that everyone noticed. Then when we all got together to take a group picture, I looked at the photos Vincent took for me and there were transparent perfect orbs all over the group shots! Spirits show up in pictures as transparent perfect orbs! I truly believe we were surrounded by Kathy’s and Claudia’s love and energy, along with the energy of every loved family member of every person there doing the Famine for the weekend. It was a very special feeling this year, and those of us who have been there for a while recognized it. One added strange twist to the story was when I told Kali I visited Holy Spirit Church in Stamford last Tuesday, and she said, “That was my parish that I grew up in”!  I have known Kali for over 18 years and NEVER KNEW THAT! Tell me the HOLY SPIRIT (in words and action!) is not working overtime in my world right now! Coincidence?? I think not!!

So..the Famine. 11 Years…..a total of over $250,000 raised to end world hunger! World Vision is such a great organization. Vinnie and I have sponsored a total of 4 children in Uganda over the past 9 years or so. We had Lilly and Reagan for years and now we have Cissy and Samuel. Such a blessing to know we are touching the lives of children in their own communities and their families. It is frustrating to know though that there is plenty of food on our planet to feed everyone….but due to so many other political reasons it just can’t get to everyone.  The theme of this year’s Famine was “TELL EVERYONE”…..Everyone needs to know this. I really have no idea how to fix the political mess of the tribal nations that keep people in complete poverty in various countries in Africa or the dictatorships of some countries in South America or Asia! But at least I feel that by working through a solid organization like World Vision, some families might be doing a little better because of my family.

This weekend 50 teenagers had 2 hours of service time. In those 2 hours, we all packaged 10,000 meals! It was amazing. Those meals will go from Tracy Elementary School in Norwalk, CT to the Congo region in Africa! WOW!! That organization that we all served with is called “Stop Hunger Now”. They partner with Catholic Relief Services. The guy who lead the packaging talked about his “calling to do something more”. It was such a pleasure to meet this young guy who coordinates the packaging and then sends thousands of meals to places in our world! Very cool!

Bishop Caggiano kicked off the event and then also said the Mass on Sunday. What a blessing to have him with us. He seems like such a normal guy. He spoke about the hunger far away and the hunger here in Bridgeport Diocese. He also spoke about the physical aspects of hunger and the aspects of emotional and spiritual hunger. He was so easy to listen to. He seemed to have an open heart for the kids and adults in the church. He never sounded “preachy”….he sounded sincere. Very nice….So glad to have met him. One line he said at the opening kickoff has stayed with me. He said, “Instead of “I live for me”, our life’s mission statement should be “I live for you”. At the very basic foundation of our faith, Christ always said, “I live for you”… and I died for you.  So simple and so beautiful. It creates a very cool image if I take a minute to really think about that. It kind of changes how and why I do everything if I really am very honest with myself. I do many, many things for my own benefit….not always for the benefit of others! Nice message to take as a “take-away”.

So…the weekend is over and I feel blessed. Blessed to have raised my children in a community of love (I just hope all 4 of them realize this someday!!), Blessed to be able to “go back home” to friends and families in the church I have known for almost 20 years, and Blessed to have good friends to be with me when I get there!

AND I truly am Blessed to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of those I love, and recognize it when I do feel those spirits, in so many aspects of my life!

 

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – Holy Spirit Church – Stamford, CT

Today was a vacation day for the schools, but I had to go in. It was SNOWING! I went to 7:30am mass with all 4 other attendees!! It was a very pretty church, but I did feel kind of like I was in the spotlight a bit. There was one reader, one guy who lit the candles and cleaned up, two ladies who sat in the last two rows, and myself! It was a 20 minute mass. The priest seemed like a very nice guy, but I was a bit disappointed when there was no homily. I have to admit that!

It did make me wonder something though. For me, as a visitor I had no expectations based on any experience there, but the other 4 people ventured out on a cold and snowing morning to make their way down long winding kind of roads in the North end of Stamford to a church where it seemed normal for a 20 minute mass! That was true dedication, devotion, commitment to starting their day with a sense of calmness.

At the end of Mass, the priest did come up to me to chat. He thought that maybe I might have been representing the family of the person who the Mass was being said for. I think it was obvious to him that I was not a regular. I think he knew those other four folks. When I told him I wasn’t part of that family and that I was in fact just visiting today to fulfill my 2014 New Year’s Resolution of visiting a Mass in all 85 churches of the Bridgeport Diocese, he shook my hand and said, “Well, good luck and God Bless!” He kind of nodded his head to me and looked like he totally approved of that!

He did make me feel welcome on that snowy morning! It was VERY NICE!

Sunday, February 16, 2014 – St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church – Brookfield, CT

Vinnie came with me this morning to 10:30 Mass, then we went to lunch with Danny and Michelle since we were “in the neighborhood”, kind of!

Whenever I think of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys , I think of Sr. MaryAnn in the parish I raised my children. Marguerite Bourgeoys was the “founder” of Sr. MaryAnn’s order, I believe. If you talk to her about Marguerite, her face lights up as if she is talking about her own sister. It is kind of beautiful to see the reverence to a woman who lived from 1620 to 1700. I remember Sr. MaryAnn always giving the kids at religious education classes a little card about St. Marguerite Bourgeoys. I don’t think I got the full appreciation of it all until I sat there in the church today and really saw the beautiful tribute of stained glass to Sr. Marguerite! It was gorgeous…just her and two children! A teacher through and through….who left her family and all possessions to take care and educate other children in the back hills of Canada. It is a beautiful story.

I couldn’t help but think of the days (I believe it was twice) that Sr. MaryAnn stopped what she had planned and went to my children’s elementary school to be their “SIGNIFICANT OTHER”. Because my children’s grandparents lived in Italy and Florida, they didn’t have a “grandma or grandpa” to visit them on that special day, but Sr. MaryAnn and Fr. Bert did not flinch when I asked them to go to their school. It was so kind of them. I am forever grateful to them.

Sr. Marguerite Bourgeoys may have “flinched” in 1653 when she was asked to leave France and go to Montreal, but she did it anyhow!

So, back to the church in Brookfield. It was pretty and gorgeous –not overly ornate – stained glass highlighting specific Biblical stories. So “just right”.

The pastor had the same readings to deal with as the deacon the night before, but had a totally different spin on it. He hit the Commandments head on. He did not dance around them or spin them to reflect the testimonies of long lasting marriages. It was like a mini Bible study. He talked about the lawlessness and ruthlessness of the tribal people in the time of Moses. He talked about the fact that “those people” needed some serious rules….then he gave the whammy…..We, the people, of today also need rules. He actually challenged the congregation to think about how many rules there are in life that we deal with everyday….when in reality – if we follow Jesus’ example and followed these 10 Commandments, most of today’s rules would fall under them and we could all live quite simply.

Here are the 10 Commandments.

See how many of today’s laws you can think of that are not already connected in some way , to the “laws” set out for all of us thousands of years ago! Kind of interesting to think about………..

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  You shall have no other gods before Me.
2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands,to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter,no r your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which
the Lord your God is giving you.
6 “You shall not murder.
7 “You shall not commit adultery.
8 “You shall not steal.
9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014 – St. Luke’s Episcopal (Darien, CT) and St. Luke Church -Westport, CT

At 2pm I went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien for a Memorial Service for a student I had a long time ago. Mookie had just turned 30 or 31. His mom teaches in Darien – great family. It was my first time in that church and it was a beautiful church.

Then I went to 5:30 mass at St. Luke’s in Westport…..Strange that I landed there. The only time I had been there before was for a funeral mass for a Darien Mom two summers ago!! Two St. Luke’s Churches for 2 Darien people!  Just by chance? You know how I feel about “chances” and “coincidences”!

So, I need to know who put my tear ducts so close to the surface??

Tonight at St. Luke’s in Westport it was their Sweetheart Celebration Mass. They said tonight that every year, they do it on St. Valentine’s weekend. They celebrate couples who are having their 20th and beyond anniversaries, that are in multiples of 5. Although, the deacon did make a cool statement. He said, “After the 1st anniversary, each one is significant!!” I totally agree.

There were 11 couples who signed up to be recognized – between them 670 years (each couple was a double – kind of like “man hours”!) of marriage were witnessed and celebrated! There was a couple celebrating 50 years and she was obviously struggling with health issues. The cane and the clutching of his arm were dead give-aways. The priest had all the couples turn and renew their vows. You guessed it. I watched them and got weepy! The woman I was watching in particular got emotional when the priest got to  the “in sickness and in health” part. She got a bit teary and I got weepy!!

Ironically, the readings tonight were about following the laws of God: The Commandments. Same ones for thousands of years. No murder, no killing, no adultery, no lying!! The deacon (who has been married for 44 years) did a great spin on them by talking about the couples being a testimony  of following the commandments and  of love through the sacrament of marriage. It was very nice!

The song they sang while bringing up the gifts was “When Love Is Found”. Although I have heard it before, I really listened to and read the words. I think I want it played at my funeral!!

 When Love is Found (Wren/Hopson) 

When Love is found and hope comes home,
sing and be glad that two are one.
When love explodes and fills the sky,
praise God and share our Makers joy.

When love has flowered in trust and care
build both each day, that love may dare
To reach beyond homes warmth and light
to serve and strive for truth and right.

When love is tried as loved ones change,  
hold still to hope though all seems strange,  
Till ease returns and love grows wise
through listening ears and opened eyes.

 

When love is torn and trust betrayed,

pray strength to love till torments fade,

Till lovers keep no score of wrong, 
but hear through pain loves Easter song.

Praise God for love, praise God for life
in age or youth, in husband, wife.
Lift up your heart let love be fed
through death and life in broken bread.

The third verse of course reminded me of Parenting…..”When love is tried as loved ones change, hold still to hope though all seems strange” I love that line!!

The fourth verse and especially the line of “Till lovers keep no score of wrong” is a great line that makes me think of marriage. On the radio the other day, heading into Valentine’s Day,  they were talking about what makes a marriage last, the answer was a simple one – overlook each other’s minor flaws! I would have to add…..and don’t keep score!

Parenting and Marriage in a strange way is kind of like playing the TV Show – “Who’s line is it anyway?”…..Life is a mix of funny scenarios and the points don’t matter!

S

 

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 – Saint Pius X Church – Fairfield, CT

Right after the 7:30 Mass at St. Anthony of Padua, I drove across Fairfield and went to the 8:30 Mass  at St. Pius X Church. It was such a pretty church that had a calmness about it. The altar was so peaceful looking.

The priest read the Gospel and started his homily. He reminded us that this Gospel reading is also known as The Story of the Rich Man. In the story, Jesus tries to get this rich man to give up EVERYTHING; all of his material possessions and then follow him. The man just cannot do it.  He gives Jesus some excuses, and ultimately decides not to give up everything to follow him. He just can’t do it. The priest explained that Jesus was likely disappointed, but he also knew that the man had FREE WILL. Truth be told, I did not see that punch line coming!  The story was familiar to me, but I hadn’t ever realized that same bottom line. And the priest said it so nonchalantly. Then came the big reminder…….WE ALL HAVE FREE WILL and Jesus still loves us, as he loved this man, without conditions.  This is true even when we make the conscious decision not “to follow him” in our day to day interactions. He went on to remind us that although Jesus recognized his own personal sadness, he suspended all judgment of this man. He recognized that the man had a choice and he had Free Will. Free Will is a powerful concept.

As a mother, I am not so sure I like the powerful concept of Free Will. Free Will means that as my children and nephews and nieces get older, I need to love without conditions and recognize that God gave each of them Free Will. This, by it’s very definition means, that I cannot control them! That is not easy. I have struggled (and my own kids know this because I have told them!!) with letting go and trusting their Free Will.  I needed to hear this homily  with regards to my own kids, my nephews and nieces since I really have to come to terms with no longer controlling everything about them and be OK with their decisions. It is the who and where and when they are doing what they are doing that I no longer have a say in that makes it hard for me. It was easier for me to control their lives when they were younger!

As I look beyond just my family I quickly can think of friends and co-workers who have gone through tough times with their own family members that involve this notion of Free Will. It would be nice if everything could wrap up neatly for each of them so that everyone could make things nice nice, but EVERYONE has the same Free Will that I have. They can’t control my decisions just as I cannot control others’ decisions. And they cannot control the others in their own families if everyone really has this powerful thing called Free Will. This is hard stuff!

One other thought I had after mass was……How quickly would I be willing to give up all my material possessions and follow Christ. How similar am I to the “rich man” vs. being Christ-like? I will readily admit that I am a follower of Christ, but I have to also quickly add that ….only when it is convenient; as long as I can “control” the “conditions” to a certain extent.  If I was faced with the decision the “rich man” in the story was faced with, I am not so sure that I would use my own Free Will in any other way than how he used it. I would like to say I would do something different than what he did, but I am not so sure….

This concept of Free Will stuff is a blessing……and a challenge….all at the same time!

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 – St. Anthony of Padua Parish – Fairfield, CT

I went to 7:30am Mass. The priest who said Mass this morning was Fr. Baran. He was a priest from my late teenage/early adult years from St. Joseph church in South Norwalk. He had officiated Lisa and Rich’s wedding back in 1986. He looked a bit different and looked like he walked in pain. I was taken back and felt sad a bit to see him struggle and lean on the altar for support (There is an image that was not lost on me…..how often do we or should we “lean on the altar for support”? Here he was physically living those words!!)

On the way out of church I chatted with a man. He explained that Fr. Baran had been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. It was like a shot to my heart. I thought maybe he had had surgery or took a fall on the ice. I did not know of his physical challenge until this moment! How could the young, fun loving guy in my mind match this news?  The man was so genuinely happy that Fr. Baran was doing well. The man and I agreed that Fr. Baran was “such a good guy”.  I told him I’d keep him in my prayers. I really will.

Fr. Baran’s sermon started off by highlighting a statement; “They were like sheep without a shepherd.” What an image! The thought of a leaderless group roaming around not sure where they were going is an interesting one. Back in Jesus’ day, these people the reading referred to did not know what to fear, what to desire, where to go, whom to follow. He continued by saying that Jesus needed to teach them: He was there to be a teacher among the others. He pointed out that it was not the content that was so critical for them (and now us) all to be taught, but rather it is important that we are taught the connections between what we do physically and the faith that keeps us coming back to the Gospel.

Sheep will be led back to a safe and secure place, but only if they have a shepherd who guides them. We, everyday people will often wander aimlessly if we don’t have something that leads us physically back to a focused place…that may be our faith base.

If I think a little deeper…as a teacher, the content really doesn’t matter! Page 8, 10, 95, 137 are just pages of a book that a teacher might refer to. The important role of a teacher is to help the students (no matter what age) to see the connections between the details and facts. Teachers lead others in a way that focuses them and helps them to see the connections. The role of the teacher is one that brings a focus back to pieces of information that on the surface might seem to be disconnected, random bits of “just stuff”.

Jesus, or a faith base, does the same thing. Often, from the random pieces of stories and “biblical tidbits” comes a focus that is quite simple most of the time.  It is a matter of “following the leader” and seeing the connection between what our faith says and how we interact with the physical world around us. And, most often, this connection between faith and our physical connection is quite simple –  – LOVE.

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 – The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist – Stamford, CT

Christine and Liz came with me on Superbowl Sunday!!

We walked into the Basilica and all I could think of was that this was a “Throw Back Thursday” kind of deal. I felt like I went back in time maybe 75 years!

The church was beautiful in that traditional, elaborate, ornate kind of way. There were paintings, decals, intricate decorative painted designs on the columns, big arches with meticulously painted colored layers, statues, candles, Latin words and songs, Gregorian Style chanting, a railing in front of the altar, a pulpit raised high above the people, and an altar that faced the crucifix. The opening songs were led by the Latin-singing cantor from a balcony, the pews were filled with people singing in Latin following along on a weekly bulletin type of sheet, and the priest had his back to the congregation during the consecration. It was a “throw back” moment!

The priest said a nice homily, but honestly, I was on such a visual overload I really have no recollection of what he said. However, when Communion came, I saw Fr. Stephen DiGiovanni come out from the back area to help serve the people. As some people went down the side aisles to wait their turn to kneel at the railing and take Communion by mouth, Christine, Liz and I went down the middle so that I could take Communion from Fr. DiGiovanni. As I got closer, I could see the younger man I used to know from my teen-aged years. Many years have changed us both! And then I knew his voice as he looked me in the eye and said, “The body of Christ”. I almost couldn’t say “Amen.”  I suddenly was a bit overwhelmed and a bit emotional as I returned to my pew with Christine and Liz.

It was my personal “Throw Back Sunday” moment.  How many times had this one man given Communion to me, personally? How many times to others?  Probably a half a million times or more he has passed Christ to someone else to nourish them and show God’s love.

Today, it hit me. I was 15 or 16 or maybe 17 all over again.  Fr. DiGiovanni did not recognize me, but I recognized him. It would have hit me even with my eyes closed. It was his voice that spoke to me. Yes, he’s older, and a little greyer, but his voice hasn’t changed. I felt like he was talking to the girl inside of me, not the 50 year old woman whose hands took the host from his. It was weird. It brought me back to a time and place, not as ancient as the environment of the church would suggest, but to a time of fondness and love. In my mind, he had always been nice to us kids at St. Joseph in South Norwalk and to me, personally. In those teenage years, when no one is totally comfortable in their own skin, Fr. DiGiovanni, conveyed a fun kind of inclusiveness to all of us! He had such a nice way about him. Today, his voice still held that kindness.

This weekend, God brought me to three people;  three people who helped shape who I am as a woman in some way. Mrs. Haywood trusted me with her kids, Elsie helped shape me to be a good teacher, and Fr. DiGiovanni helped shape me to be a good Christian. All of them have been examples of Christ in some way or another for me.

 

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 – NECC –Norwalk, CT

I haven’t been to NECC in a few weeks, so I decided to go for at least part of the  service. I was planning on going to noon mass in Stamford, so I had to leave early.

Anyway…the series in the church right now is “Concrete – A Life Built on the Gospel.”  It is the last week of this series, but the service opened up with a quote on the big screen. “Faith is believing in what you CAN’T see because of what you CAN see.”  It was a really nice thought to kind of reflect on for a little bit. There are so many things that happen around us that we can’t really point to or see happening, yet we know things are happening because of the other things we do see. Faith has never really been described like that to me before. Maybe in bits and pieces it has been, but this was a nice one-liner that wraps it all together for me.

During his sermon, the pastor talked about living up to the Rules of Religion vs. Following the path of Christ. He talked about having stringent rules of what it means to be religious and the fact that we might always fall short.  OR, conversely, believing the rules are for others because we are already “Good to Go” in our minds when it comes to “knowing how to be religious” and think of ourselves above the rules a bit. Whereas, when you simply put the examples of how Christ dealt with others, lived his life, interacted with people along the way, and then try to emulate those examples, you walk more closely to the path of Christ. It made a lot of sense when he said it, I might not capture it right, but the bottom line for me is how the pastor summarized it.

“If Christ came to visit, would he recognize you as one of his followers by your actions and words.”  WOW…..quite a simple standard to keep in mind actually!

 

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 – St. Gabriel – Stamford, CT

I had to be at my school for the play “Aladdin –Jr. Version” today for the 1pm show and the 6pm show. So, I decided to run over to St. Gabriel’s in Stamford for 4pm Mass. I had no idea that it would look like a converted gymnasium attached to Trinity Catholic Middle School.

I went in and it was a pretty enough church. A very nice woman offered me a candle to light at the start of mass for the Feast of the Presentation. It was a nice prayer prior to mass and we all passed our lights on to each other (there’s a pretty image) and as the priest came down the center aisle to officially start mass, everyone’s light was shining. The place was pretty crowded!

The second reading was Hebrews 2:14-18. The last verse says “Since he was himself tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are tested.”  It made me think of how often people say, “If you only knew.” To which someone else always say, “Trust me, I’ve been there.”

For me, it is much easier to talk to a friend who I know has struggled with something that I am going through. I know they will judge me less (or in a perfect world, not at all) if they have been through a similar struggle. As a parent, friend, or professional, it is hard to let my guard down sometimes and truly open myself up to someone else for fear of being judged or talked about later to someone else. Yet, when I find someone who I can talk to who I know has been through a similar situation, it is easier.

In this verse from Hebrews, it just reminded me that there are so many people out there in my life who have gone through some pretty tough stuff and in some weird way maybe they had to go through their own stuff so that they can turn around and be someone I can confide in or have as a role model so that I can make it through those tough days.

Conversely, maybe I have had to deal with certain situations, challenges, disappointments, so that I can help someone else go through those times. In this way I can truly say, “Trust me, I’ve been there.”

During Communion, another phrase came to me. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” For the first time in my life……the Communion line started in the back of the church! It seemed so weird at first, but this phrase repeated in my head. The front row guy was actually the last one to be served. It was the dead opposite of any church I have ever been in…..interesting!

As I sat there in the fourth row waiting for the Communion line to get to the front (which was weird because I felt like I needed to watch for when the row behind me stood to go to Communion!) my friend Elsie walked past me. In my first year in Darien as a new teacher, Elsie was my paraprofessional in my room. When our boss, Don, told her about me being hired and introduced us, he said to her “Take her under your wing.” And she sure did!!! Her youngest son was in 7th or 8th grade at the time with three older ones in high school, then as the years went on she became a part of all 4 of my children’s lives! We have stayed good friends for over 28 years!

After Mass I caught up with Else and gabbed for a while! It was such a treat to see her. For the second time today, a woman from a previous part of my life reconnected with me. It was such a nice blessing!  I love Elsie and I am so grateful for all the kindness, patience, love, and guidance she has given me all those years we worked together!

I would have missed the opportunity of seeing her if I hadn’t gone to that 4pm Mass in a converted middle school gym. Again, there are no coincidences. Something called me there today! I’m convinced!

 

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 – St. Ladislaus –Norwalk, CT

I have only been to St. Ladislaus one time in my life for mass. It was Marylou and Ken’s wedding about 25 years ago. I had forgotten how quaint and comfortable it is with its big bold blue ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows depicting Jesus’ life in all the stories we know.

The priest began the homily with “With God, all things are possible.” He stuck with this message in a few different ways. Interestingly enough, it is also my key chain that a religious education student had given me about 6 years ago. I think it was from when Vincent was in 8th grade!

As much as I love the statement and want to believe it, I have to be honest! When the priest asked, “How often do we truly believe this “God can make all things possible’ and how often do we overlay doubt onto the statement?” I have to be honest.

Truth be told, my first inclination is to doubt it rather than believe it wholeheartedly. At a more childish and tangible level, I know it is not true. He can’t let me retire right now and keep leading the lifestyle I am used to. He can’t make me an instant millionaire so that I can travel the world without a care. He can make all difficult times in our family’s life easy. He cannot promise me my parents will be healthy forever. He cannot bring my father-in –law back to our family. Even “with God” these things are not possible.

So I have to be more fair in my judgment, I think. Does “all things” really mean “all things”? Can God actually DO ANYTHING?? Or….does he have to use the human (and fallible) hands and feet and minds and hearts of the people on this physical planet to help make “all possible things…possible”. That might be a little more fair way of saying it…..at least in my head!

 

  • Family turmoil can be healed and hurts can be forgiven….when people believe it to be possible and work towards healing and forgiveness.
  • Physical Hunger can be abolished when people work to heal political policies that keep certain parts of the world unable to attain food for children and their families. Only neighbors can be sure their neighbors have what they need.
  • Diseases can be cured when doctors have what they need and individual people do their part to keep their bodies healthy and their minds informed about treatment and Doctors use the talents God gave them to make the right decisions for the patients.
  • World peace?? Who knows……that will absolutely not happen until people decide that each human has the right to live in a world of peace, free of political unrest, free of terrorism, free of “tribal wars” that have been happening for thousands of years.

I think the phrase “With God, all things are possible” also assumes that we know what the best plan for ourselves and other people is. In fact, we may not know what the best plan is…and in God’s plan….what he wants to have happen is what is possible. Sometimes, we have to just give it up and let it work out the way things are supposed to. Then…opportunities or “good fortunes” become possible for each of us. Maybe with God all possibilities are possible. That might be a better way of saying it.

Leaving the church a woman said, “Debi? Is that you?” I said yes and told her I did not recognize her. She laughed and said it was  “Mrs. Haywood”. I used to babysit her kids and then had one of them as a student my first year as a teacher at St. Joseph School in South Norwalk!! Then she was a school nurse for my kids!! I haven’t seen her in about 15 years. We caught up for a few minutes. It was nice to be recognized by someone from so long ago. It really made me feel so welcome and comfortable in a church I hadn’t been to in so long;  especially since there were only 7 people there at mass.  After being spotted and sharing a few moments with someone from “my past”, it made me wonder……….

Who knows? Maybe…with God, a lot of things are possible.