#WorthRevisit: My Semiannual Spiritual Attack

Shame on me. Once again I’m letting myself fall victim to my pride, and I’m letting that pride get in the way of the holiest 3 days of the Church year.

In short: there’s only one group of musicians at my parish that is invited to participate in the Triduum, and that’s not the group to which I belong. So instead of acting like a grownup, I pick up my toys and go home and don’t come to the Triduum.

Shame on me. The only one I’m hurting is myself.

I said this last year, but I didn’t follow through:

For the past several years I’ve basically boycotted the Triduum, because it hurts to be there. It hurts to be excluded. So I rant in this space (and to my husband) and commiserate with the rest of the folk group–and nurse my wounded pride.

That needs to stop, and I’m the only one who can stop it. This year, I need to make it my business to be at the Triduum.

Honestly, it is pride that gets in my way here. I rail about the entitlement mentality but I let myself get all caught up in it when it comes to music. We’re there every week, yes. But we’re not owed anything because of that.

This journey, like any journey, will begin with a single step. And I’ve decided to make a plan for that step. I’m starting tonight by refusing to rant at folk group practice about the fact that we’re left out. It’s time to stop licking my wounds and just start praying.

Please pray for me, in your kindness, as I try to get over this.
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I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Inside, She Weeps

There is an image in the Adoration Chapel this week: an artist’s depiction of the Pietá — but unlike Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, this one portrays Mary looking straight ahead as she cradles Jesus in her arms, holding him so that His face is next to hers.

Her eyes are not downcast as she holds her crucified Son. They are wide open, staring back at the beholder, filled with emotion.

But what emotion, exactly?

Defiance? I can imagine that her inner Mama Bear comes into play here. She grasps her Son’s body and looks straight ahead, daring anyone to take Him from her.

Shock? She has just watched her only Son complete his earthly mission, culminating in a death so horrible that no one would wish it on his worst enemy, and she witnessed it all. Is she numb from the shock of it?

Grief? Surely. Those eyes, partially in shadow from the veil that covers her hair, are deep pools of grief and pain. Her heart has, indeed, been pierced.

Strength? No tears are on her face. She is hanging on, not allowing herself to give in to those other emotions, sitting straight and not crumpling to the ground, holding Jesus and not letting go.

She will have to let go soon enough. She will have to allow Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus’ body from her for a hurried burial before the sun goes down.

But not yet. Not at this moment.

For now, she holds on — to her Son, to her composure. She looks straight ahead.

But inside, she weeps.

"Inside, She Weeps" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (Franciscanmom.com) #MondayBlogs
William-Adolphe Bouguereau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS

#WorthRevisit: St. Therese

At daily Mass on Monday, Father gave me two hosts.

Actually, he gave most people two hosts, unless they receive on the tongue.

The gentleman in line ahead of me stopped, looked at his hand, and said to Father, “You gave me two.”

“Yes. Yes, I did,” replied Father, and continued distributing Communion to the other people in line.

After Communion Father mentioned that he should have said something before we all lined up. He was giving everyone two hosts because they want to deplete the reserved Eucharist in the tabernacle before Holy Thursday.

With two churches in our parish and a succession of substitute priests this spring, we have a lot of consecrated hosts in those tabernacles. So on Tuesday, when Mass is celebrated in the other church, we all received two hosts again (this time, with fair warning from Father before Communion.)

I expect that the same will be true today.

story of a soul tan classicsWhenever I receive a portion of a host, it makes me think of the moment in St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, A Story of a Soul, in which she worries about only receiving part of a host:

I do not normally feel any anxiety about going to Holy Communion, but there was one occasion when I did. There had been a shortage of Hosts for several days, so that I had received only a small piece, and on this particular morning I most foolishly said to myself: “If I only receive part of a Host today, I will know that Jesus does not really want to come into my heart.” I went up, and to my joy, after a moment’s hesitation, the priest gave me two complete Hosts: what a lovely answer! (p. 105)

I actually like when I receive only a piece of the host, because it makes me recall an extra time, “This is my Body…broken for you.”

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For #WorthRevisit Wednesday I’m linking to my review of Shirt of Flame, which chronicles author Heather King’s year spent delving into the life and work of St. Therese.

…this is a saint to whom I don’t take easily.  A priest once described her in a homily as “immature, fussy, and a bit of a drama queen” and I’m inclined to agree.  I read her autobiography as a teenager, and I think it appealed to me more then than it does now that I’m fortymumble years old (I’m actually 50 now) and most of my idealism has melted away amid the cares and worries and chores of taking care of my husband and family.

That book got me reconsidering my opinion of St. Therese.

Have you ever found a book that completely altered your thoughts on a particular saint?

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Agony in the Garden: How I Spent Holy Thursday

"Bruley chapelle du Rosaire Gethsémani" by Utilisateur:Djampa - User:Djampa - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.
Bruley chapelle du Rosaire Gethsémani” by Utilisateur:DjampaUser:DjampaOwn work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

On Thursday, Hubs had his 30-month/30,000-mile checkup at the cancer center.

That’s always a tense time. The doctor he was supposed to see had already rescheduled the appointment once, so we’d spent an extra two weeks wondering whether Hubs still gets to consider himself “healthy.”

The cancer center is an awful place. Don’t get me wrong; they give terrific care. But from the second you pull off that busy Philadelphia street onto the winding, tree-lined driveway, you enter into that world of clenching dread. It’s impossible not to. Every person, every family, in the place is dealing with their own personal hell.

A cancer center on any day of the week presents many, many versions of agony in the garden. On Holy Thursday, that was all I could think about.

As we sat in the waiting room of the imaging center (watching Rachael Ray wave around “chicken cutlets” of the non-edible variety and wondering why she didn’t just stick to cooking on her show) someone called our name. Someone we knew. Someone whose husband has been battling a very aggressive cancer for nearly two years now. Someone whose husband is in great pain.

We moved to stand near them in another part of the waiting area where there was room for his wheelchair. We hugged them, and listened, and all talked about our kids (because that’s what parents do) and waited together until Hubs’ CT scan was done and we had to go downstairs to see his doctor and get the results.

In the next waiting area, more agony. A family sitting together in a corner–husband, wife and adult daughter, chatting quietly in another language while an elderly man sat nearby and struck up a conversation with them. Turns out, they’d gotten good news that day. He shared that his wife wasn’t going to be able to beat this, that she wouldn’t even let him in to see the doctor with her.

And then he rejoiced with them–total strangers–on hearing their good news.

How much grace does it take to be able to do that?

I was practically in tears, in the waiting room, overhearing this.

We finally saw Hubs’ doctor. He got his all-clear for the next six months.

I am grateful. I am relieved.

But it’s hard to celebrate Hubs’ good news when so many of the people we saw there that day would not be receiving a similar prognosis. It’s hard to rejoice when someone we know is in pain.

Father, if you will it, let this cup pass away…