Mercy in the Everyday

There’s a certain Old Testament story proclaimed at daily Mass ‘round this time of year that hits me like a ton of grace whenever I choose to really hear it. It’s the story of Namaan, found in chapter 5 of the second book of Kings.  (Go ahead and read it again; I’ll wait…)…  //  LEARN MORE

Starting at Zero

I haven’t written anything bloggy lately because I haven’t had anything to write.  “Write about that!” God nudges me, so here we are.  At zero.

acdbde5e87922b281ae09e218da1dd2aIt’s a difficult, scary, beautiful place to be.  I deeply know this because I can look back at another February spent wrestling with heart-shattering agony. With silence.  With Nothing.  That year, a first-grade boy from our community died suddenly.  Overcome with grief, I spent many subsequent hours sitting in the corner of my den in a large, overstuffed chair – a chair equipped with a poofy pillow, a flannel quilt, a nearby window, and even a twin companion chair.  As I sat there that winter, sometimes I cried.  Sometimes I stared at the wall.  Sometimes I drank tea, or read a book, or called the beloved boy’s mother.  Sometimes I fell asleep.  Sometimes I talked to a pal sitting in the other chair.  All the times, I prayed.  And I learned….  //  LEARN MORE

Fancy the Waiters

Picture with me an evening at the most posh restaurant ever: the scents tantalize, the seating cossets, the food is abundant and delectable, the wine flows, and all the guests shimmer. The whole experience is perfect in ways beyond description, and what ties all this glory together is the tuxedo-clad waitstaff. They have their eyes and intentions firmly fixed on our every move, anticipating and responding to even our smallest needs. As they wait in stillness for any indication of their next task (whatever it may be!), they remain humble, kind, unobtrusive, and good-humored. It’s a thing of beauty.

We can learn much about Advent from such excellent waiters.


Money Stuff

Fr. Steve and the finance council recently provided an uplifting and informative State of the Parish presentation.  I have heard some questions about the Religious Education budget; some folks are thinking that it covers the very important task of our educating our young saints through our regular catechesis program, and that’s all.  Well, it is certainly our #1 task, and a duty for all of us adults, no matter how many or few of our own relatives are in the classes.

But it’s important for our financial backers (That’s you!) to realize that the Religious Education budget  also covers the following expenses: RCIA; CYO support; parish missions; speakers; Bible studies; other adult faith programs; youth ministry which includes B.A.S.I.C., E.P.I.C., and more; the manpower behind our bulletin; the library; evangelization; Vacation Bible School; much of our website and social media outreach; and even diaconal support and some of the marriage programming.  We are very, very careful with the money we spend….  //  LEARN MORE

God’s Will

Imagine with me for a moment that you are the grown child of a tremendously wealthy father. He owns mansions, vintage cars, corporations. He has jets, islands, and staff. He has paid to redirect rivers and move mountains. Your father has SO MUCH money that he has even considered putting his name on a star in another galaxy. Yep. He’s that rich.

And as loaded as he is, your father is equally eager to share that wealth with you. Not just someday in the future, or at some point requiring his exit from your life, but NOW, and every day. Every moment, all that he has is yours, even on those days when you are not nearly worthy of any measure of it. Let’s pause and dream: What would we do with it? How would we savor it, spend it, give it away? Ahhhh, the fun! The luxury! The responsibility!

And then, my friends, with all those ideas in mind, let’s dwell on the mind-blowing fact of our Father’s tremendous wealth – and our inheritance – as described in Ephesians 2:4-7:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ…, raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Rich in mercy. Rich in grace.

What, then, is our response?

Your Pickle,
Marian Bart
Parish Catechetical Leader