It’s almost here.


The season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. As we trace the steps of Christ. Not only to the cross, but as we retrace our steps, according to the Holy Father, toward Christian Initiation, “for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him.”

I’ll be stepping slowly.

In music (and Italian) lentamente means slow. Which, as I’ve grown in wisdom, is the way I choose to approach Lent. As I’ve matured (notice how I side-step the words “gotten older”), I’ve recognized the importance of taking it slowly. Making it methodical. I don’t have a schedule that supports sporadic — if I plan to accomplish anything. If I’m not metered during Lent, I might as well just hang it up right now. Two days before I bear ashes.

So, my theme is going to be that prayer about Christ having no body now, but ours. And then I’ll make some promises that center around breaking habits that draw me from, rather to, our Lord, and trying to replace them with something more meaningful: Prayer time.  Mass time. Patience. Compassion. Forgiveness. Sacrifice.

I will make an effort to fill what I’m trying to remove with the love that is and can only be Christ. And I will try to do this, remain sane, not get crabby and help my children grow in their Lenten journeys as well. So it’s lentamente or insanity. (Maybe that should be my Lenten theme instead?)

Although I’m sure it’ll start off slowly, soon enough I hope to look forward to the promise of Spring and the promise of new life, of course knowing that it has already been fulfilled in Him that first Easter. A fact that I think is truly the beauty of the season. Our willingness as Catholic Christians to sacrifice and do more to become closer to Christ, recognizing that He’s already conquered death. We already know that He’s already offered everything for us. So, the least we can do is (keep trying to) do our best to offer our paltry sacrifices for Him and remember His sacrifice for us that, you know, redeemed the world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours
no hands but yours
no feet but yours
yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion
is to look out to the earth
yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good
and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.


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I know I’ve posted about how Cliff doesn’t talk. There is some hope on that front. He does say more words. In Mandarin. We think. But he says some in English, too.

Unlike my Mynah bird children of yesteryear, I cannot take him around the house and point to any old object for him to repeat. Oh no. There’s none of that let’s-develop-a-vocabulary uselessness. He’s not interested in any old thing. He’s all about doing.

Busy boy

Clifford speaks in verbs. Almost exclusively. His favorite one-word commands are: EAT. NEED. DOWN. UP. NO (actually an adverb). GO. HAVE. The others are less intelligible to the untrained ear and usually involve him pointing, tugging at pant legs, shoving me into the next room, trying to force the TV remote control into my hand and the like.

Okay, he appeases us with the occasional Mommy and Daddy. And he yells Henry. He knows we’re the suckers who fulfill his commands. And he knows Henry is his ally in testosterone and things that bounce and shoot, if nothing else.

Oh wait. He does very sweetly say Jesus.

Maybe because Cliff knows Jesus is his ally in all else.  (Or at least that he’s mine.)

A wing and a prayer

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As I’ve been preparing the children’s choir for our special nativity program, (which is tonight!) it has been my greatest prayer and hope that they will always remember this experience–that they will take some bit of their joy, their reverence, the details of the story, the words of the songs with them–as they grow in their faith.

After our practice yesterday, the mom of one of the angels questioned if her daughter’s costume was too fancy, because it is trimmed in gold and the others are simple white. I assured her it wasn’t because her daughter was Gabriel.

That mother put her hand to her heart and said, “I was Gabriel when I was a girl at school here.”

She remembered, and now she is passing her faith to her daughter. Glory to God in the Highest!

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord .And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

A little more than two decades

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That’s how long Richard and I have been married. Twenty-one years in December.

That’s also how far we got saying a family rosary tonight, before Lillian stormed out of the room, stomped her feet all the way to her room and slammed the door. Why? Because Cliff was whipping her with the rosary he was holding, and she wanted to lead every prayer.

Which is actually admirable.

But if you have to tell her everything to say in bite-size phrases, it gets a little cumbersome for everyone else. Distraction is inevitable. We decided to quit while we were ahead. Twenty-one Hail Marys amid kicking, whipping and screaming has to count for something.

Better luck next time.

Hope floats

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As do many household items, verified by the baby in the toilet. Lots of things sink, too. But hope does actually float.

I think of all the thing for which I am hopeful. The things and intentions for which I pray. Healing of loved ones and acquaintances. Peace for those in sorrow and pain. Happiness for those with new roads yet taken.  I pray for joy, forgiveness, calm, charity, love, family, prosperity, wisdom, sleep, good coffee (’cause although I’m always hopeful for good sleep …) thoughtfulness, compassion, intellect, challenges, trials, humility, mercy, resourcefulness, friendship,  yesterday, today and tomorrow and all that is yet to be.

And I always pray to continue searching for God confident in his presence.

All those prayers are surrounded with hope that only comes from the One who has risen and reminds me that hope actually does much more than just float, it soars.

Lord of all hopefulness,
Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike,
no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking,
and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness,
Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
at the plan and the lathe,
be there at our labors,
and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord,
at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness,
Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome,
your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing,
and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

Lord of all gentleness,
Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping,
and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

–Jan Struther

Press on

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That song by the group Selah? Which I’ll link to for interest.


I’m talking coffee.

Cause that’s what I need right about … now. I’m exhausted. Coffee alone isn’t going to do it. I need to pray more, work out, eat better, get more sunshine, get more sleep. But at this moment, the only thing available to me is my coffee press.  So, that’s what I’m going to do. In Jesus’ name. Press on.

Speaking of exhaustion. Hilarious re-post at Simcha Fisher’s blog.

Secret agent man

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“I am an agent of God.”

That’s the sentence Henry wrote in his effort to use his spelling word agent.

When we were praying at dinner, he said that when he prayed at school, the two boys around him asked what he was doing. He told them. They said they don’t go to church. He asked if he should hide his prayer. We said, no. It’s fine to pray silently before your meal.

Then he asked if he could wear his St. Michael necklace or his Miraculous Medal to school. (I didn’t even know he knew it was called the Miraculous Medal.) He gave a quiet, “yessss,” when we said he could. Richard reminded Henry that by his good example, he could encourage other boys and girls to want to know God.  Henry smiled and nodded. His IS an agent of God.

I’m not really sure what his teacher is going to think of our secret agent when she reads Henry’s other sentence: “I practice shooting guns at the range.” God and guns. Great.

Dear John

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If you don’t listen to Fr. John Riccardo’s podcasts of his weekly homilies, you should. He’s pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth.

I do it on my itouch while unloading/reloading the dishwasher. It makes one of my least favorite housekeeping tasks something to look forward to. I go back and listen to old ones, too. 8 minutes of always enlightening, meaningful good stuff.

Here’s the link. Or you can get them free on itunes.

He’s my brother

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I watched Clifford free fall from the hearth into Henry’s waiting arms. Cliff would chuckle; Henry would rub the baby’s head. Then Clifford was back on his feet, climbing up, ready to do it again (and again and again). I have to admit, I had to stop myself from stopping them. I think I silently gasped each time. Although it’s only about an 18 inch drop, it was a sight to behold: Cliff’s absolute faith that Henry would be there to catch him.

He's my brother

I finally said to Henry, “Wow, he really trusts you.”

“Of course he does,” said Henry. “I’m his brother.”

That is what Christ asks of us. Complete trust. He is, after all, our brother. We should look to him with the simple trust of a little child.

It took a while for me to come to grips with that particular familial relationship with Christ. It sounded a little groovy to me. You know, like people calling each other brother or sister. As in, “Peace, my brotha.” Farrrr out.

But once I finally got it: God father, Christ brother, Heaven home–his place in my day-to-day life forever changed. I finally realized I could put my trust in Him in all things. Big and little. Even when I’m in a free fall. He is, after all, my brother.

At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,  you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” –Mat 18 1-5