Monthly Archives: October 2014

Wash Away

gods-hands-holding-childI really wish I could draw, for every time I have a visual of a scripture reading, one where I vividly SEE exactly what God is showing me, I wish I could draw it. Of course, as with every blog, I try to find the perfect picture from Google Image… and there are times that I do find a good or even amazing picture… like the picture above… it would be perfect if it wasn’t of a child in God’s hand but was an adult, preferably a woman… but I suppose it fits… because we are all children of God… which reminds me of the two year old this morning in church who kept wanting to dance in the aisle when the band played… that was awesome…. but I digress… as usual.
Back on topic…. The other day, meditating on Psalm 51 (Lecitio Divina) I got caught (enwrapped!) on the words at the very beginning… “wash away…. Cleanse me…” Ps. 51: 4. I got that far and no further and received a visual. The image of God the Father taking little me, and I mean little… smaller than I am now (and I am only 5’ tall) a Thumbelina sized me, a little woman who can fit into the palm of His hand…. Yes, that small (like the picture)… And He, while holding me in His palm, washes me, pouring warm water over me, washing all the dirt, literal and figurative, off of me. As the water is poured over me it is also pouring into me… I can feel the dirt on the inside being washed away too… warm water, His living water, flowing in me, flowing through me, taking it all, all the bad, all the wounds and hurt, all the evil and despicable …easily washed out and away. This living water He continues to pour over and in, seeping deeper into me …. All the way down and out my toes. And out my eyes. I am clean inside and out.
He then dries me with His warm breath… the Holy Spirit. He blows gently. His breeze warms my skin and dries my hair which flows back as His compassion flows around me. My skin prickles and tingles as if alive once again. The wind of His breath also blows and seeps into me, blows all my worries away. This wind, flowing through me, warms, enlightens me…. Literally lightens me, makes me glow with His beauty and fills me with great joy. A smile crawls across my face and He smiles back at me, pulls me to Him and hugs me, envelopes me in his warm embrace…. I am lost in Him, in the folds of His white robe, in the feathers of His wings. I lose myself, become someone else, the person I should have always been, cleansed by God and filled with light and love of the Holy Spirit.

The image dissolves and blows away. I am ready.
“Renew in me a steadfast spirit” Ps. 51:12 .
Thank you, Lord.

Well, maybe I don’t need to draw….

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Kinesthetic Catholics

catholic calisthenics

When I first moved to NH and joined a new parish, the parish where I currently reside, I noticed they did not have missalettes in the pews. Hm. This was disappointing. I love those books! I was told by a parishioner that the priest at the time wanted the congregation to sit back and LISTEN to the readings and absorb it that way. He believed this was the best way to hear the Word of God. Hm. Well, I disagreed. Listening was just not the best way for me to grasp anything. Don’t get me wrong, I like to listen … but there was more that needed to be done in order for me to enjoy and understand mass.

I had always liked to read a long with not only the readings but the whole mass. As a book lover, I always loved picking up the missalette at the beginning of mass and thumbing through to find the days readings, then following along with the rest of the mass. As you know, I am VISUAL and need to SEE IT, whatever IT is… If I am told to just sit there and listen I will listen for a bit and then, sorry, I will float off into lala land… (oh look a butterfly!) I just can’t stay focused on the readings if I am not anchored by the sight of the words in front of me.

Back in the day… when I went to school (1970-80s) teachers taught, for the most part, by lecturing…. and you listened and absorbed the lesson or you fell asleep … for me many times the latter. And I always wondered why I was so stupid (I wasn’t) and didn’t always do well on tests and quizzes. That monotonous Charlie Brown teacher voice just didn’t do it for me and, I suppose, for most of the children.

Well, as a special ed teacher I now know differently. Now that we know about learning styles teachers are (finally) being creative and trying differentiated instruction… finding new creative ways to teach to all the learning styles. For those who don’t know, the major learning styles are: auditory, visual and kinesthetic (tactile). Wish they knew about this back in my day. The only time we did hands-on activities was during labs in science. And we almost never saw movies or visuals… that was a treat. And I wish I knew my learning style back then…

Like I always say, I am a visual learner. I need visuals and such to help me SEE the whole picture. Though I say this … a couple of years ago I took a learning style quiz and I found out that though I am mostly a visual learner I am also auditory and Kinesthetic too. Meaning… I have to hear it, see it and then do it. So for instance: if you want me to learn how to do something: tell me how to do it, show me how to do it and then have me practice: make me do it (if at all possible).

So back to the missalette problem… well I needed to see the words! I did. I couldn’t live without the words in front of me… So I wound up buying either “Word Among US” or “The Magnificat” so that I could read along with mass. Since then my church acquired the ‘blue books’ in the pews, which has not just the hymns but the readings too. Yay finally.  I still bring my Magnificat along with me. (I love my little paperback Magnificat). So I am able to listen while I read … and I am happy.

But wait. There’s the “do” aspect~ the tactile kinesthetic learner that needs to be appeased. Yes as Catholics we do do (yes I said do do haha) what I call “Catholic calisthenics” during mass … sit, stand, kneel… sit stand kneel…sitstandkneel …. And genuflect, sign of the cross, raise hands (there’s a name for that), sign of peace, hold hands, sing, respond, pray…ETC… but besides the typical things we do at mass shouldn’t we also “DO” when we leave mass?… isn’t that what the priest says at the end of mass? “The mass has ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” He asks us to DO. To be Kinesthetic Catholics.

And yet… this is something many Catholics forget … or, the horror, don’t know that they should be doing. They think being a Christian is just a once a week thing. Go to church, be a warm body in the pew, go home and you are good for the week. That is all that is expected of you…  Hm. No. no no no no no nooooo …

As a Franciscan I have learned we are supposed to go from gospel to life, and life to the gospel… meaning… Hear the gospel and LIVE the gospel. Preach the gospel with your actions (if necessary use words). DO. Being a Christian is about DOING for others. LOVING. It’s a verb. It is movement. (It is a movement!)… We need to BE Christ to others…. Do His work. Be his hands and feet….

So listen… read along… and… don’t forget…
BE a Kinesthetic Catholic!

jump-for-joy
WOOO HOOOO!

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Prodigal Daughter

prodigal_daughter-_blue-_oil-5_w480
So those of you who have been reading my blog know that part of my morning prayer routine/ritual has been practicing/praying Lectio Divina. What I love most about it is the visuals that come to mind as I meditate and pray. The other day I finished my old list of scripture passages and received a new one from my priest and spiritual director. Well the first passage on the list was the parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). I slightly groaned to myself for I believe several months ago I had already “lectio-divina-ed” this passage… but as with any scripture… every time you read it (meditate on it) you read it with fresh eyes and a new perspective, because you are not only in a different place in your faith journey when you read it again, but you always get something new and different out of scripture if your heart is open.

So the first read through (yesterday) I stopped and meditated on, “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him…” Luke 15:20. And I thought to myself, when was it that I first turned and started back to God the Father? When did He “catch sight” of me turning back to him? At what exact, specific moment in my life did I turn? Hm. Well, as you know, if you have been paying attention to my past blogs, the major catalyst that brought me back to the faith was the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”
But the “moment” I turned back wasn’t when I was IN the movie theater, it was afterwards, that drive home in the minivan. That moment when it all-of-a-sudden hit me and I was overcome with emotion and … I broke down and sobbed … and I did not know why. That moment. It was then that I started to turn back to God. That 39 year old mom in her minivan … weeping.
Now I did not go back to my faith that day, or the next, or even that week. It took four months before I finally decided to go back to the Catholic Church and it took years of searching and learning to bring me to this place I am now (this amazing, wild journey!). But that minivan moment is the beginning… the Prodigal Daughter moment for me.
Now they say that when someone repents and turns back to God angels rejoice… which is actually in the parables before The Prodigal Son: The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, “there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15: 10. Cool. Angels rejoicing! So you know me, the visual chic who SEES everything… or has to see everything to make head or tails of it.

So my visual: there I am in the minivan, Spring of 2004, weeping because something HUGE and GOD inspired hit me like a 2X4 upside the head… and God senses me turning back to Him (and you know He smiles!)… and then the angels converge … oh those awesome angels… are all around my minivan~ fluttering, flying, dancing, singing, shouting~ REJOICING! Ha! And I laugh because I can picture myself… completely oblivious and confused over why I was crying… and again… the angels hooting and a hollering and singing and flying crazy, laughing circles about the minivan … rejoicing over me … hahahaha
wow. Too cool.
Man I love my Lectio Divina visuals.

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