Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vocations - The Best Kept Secret

In today's homily the priest said that the best kept secret of religious vocations is that a life devoted to God, prayer, and serving others leads to deep and lasting satisfaction. Now, why didn't anyone ever tell me that? Because I had pop psychology in my Catholic school back in the 1970s, that's why.

Today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Here is what I copied and pasted from the Vatican Website, so you don't even have to click on a link.


Theme: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be celebrated on 29 April 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, prompts us to meditate on the theme: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God.
The source of every perfect gift is God who is Love – Deus caritas est: “Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16). Sacred Scripture tells the story of this original bond between God and man, which precedes creation itself. Writing to the Christians of the city of Ephesus, Saint Paul raises a hymn of gratitude and praise to the Father who, with infinite benevolence, in the course of the centuries accomplishes his universal plan of salvation, which is a plan of love. In his Son Jesus – Paul states – “he chose us, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him in love” (Eph 1:4). We are loved by God even “before” we come into existence! Moved solely by his unconditional love, he created us “not … out of existing things” (cf. 2 Macc 7:28), to bring us into full communion with Him.

In great wonderment before the work of God’s providence, the Psalmist exclaims: “When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep him in mind, mortal man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:3-4). The profound truth of our existence is thus contained in this surprising mystery: every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God’s thought and an act of his love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting (cf. Jer 31:3). The discovery of this reality is what truly and profoundly changes our lives. In a famous page of the Confessions, Saint Augustine expresses with great force his discovery of God, supreme beauty and supreme love, a God who was always close to him, and to whom he at last opened his mind and heart to be transformed: “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (X, 27.38). With these images, the Saint of Hippo seeks to describe the ineffable mystery of his encounter with God, with God’s love that transforms all of life.

It is a love that is limitless and that precedes us, sustains us and calls us along the path of life, a love rooted in an absolutely free gift of God. Speaking particularly of the ministerial priesthood, my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, stated that “every ministerial action - while it leads to loving and serving the Church - provides an incentive to grow in ever greater love and service of Jesus Christ the head, shepherd and spouse of the Church, a love which is always a response to the free and unsolicited love of God in Christ” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 25). Every specific vocation is in fact born of the initiative of God; it is a gift of the Love of God! He is the One who takes the “first step”, and not because he has found something good in us, but because of the presence of his own love “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5).

In every age, the source of the divine call is to be found in the initiative of the infinite love of God, who reveals himself fully in Jesus Christ. As I wrote in my first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, “God is indeed visible in a number of ways. In the love-story recounted by the Bible, he comes towards us, he seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the Cross, to his appearances after the Resurrection and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the Apostles, he guided the nascent Church along its path. Nor has the Lord been absent from subsequent Church history: he encounters us ever anew, in the men and women who reflect his presence, in his word, in the sacraments, and especially in the Eucharist” (No. 17).

The love of God is everlasting; he is faithful to himself, to the “word that he commanded for a thousand generations” (Ps 105:8). Yet the appealing beauty of this divine love, which precedes and accompanies us, needs to be proclaimed ever anew, especially to younger generations. This divine love is the hidden impulse, the motivation which never fails, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to open our lives to this love. It is to the perfection of the Father’s love (cf. Mt 5:48) that Jesus Christ calls us every day! The high standard of the Christian life consists in loving “as” God loves; with a love that is shown in the total, faithful and fruitful gift of self. Saint John of the Cross, writing to the Prioress of the Monastery of Segovia who was pained by the terrible circumstances surrounding his suspension, responded by urging her to act as God does: “Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and there you will draw out love” (Letters, 26).

It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God’s word and to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbours, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord (cf. Mt 25:31-46). To express the inseparable bond that links these “two loves” – love of God and love of neighbour – both of which flow from the same divine source and return to it, Pope Saint Gregory the Great uses the metaphor of the seedling: “In the soil of our heart God first planted the root of love for him; from this, like the leaf, sprouts love for one another.” (Moralium Librisive expositio in Librum B. Job, Lib. VII, Ch. 24, 28; PL 75, 780D).

These two expressions of the one divine love must be lived with a particular intensity and purity of heart by those who have decided to set out on the path of vocation discernment towards the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life; they are its distinguishing mark. Love of God, which priests and consecrated persons are called to mirror, however imperfectly, is the motivation for answering the Lord’s call to special consecration through priestly ordination or the profession of the evangelical counsels. Saint Peter’s vehement reply to the Divine Master: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:15) contains the secret of a life fully given and lived out, and thus one which is deeply joyful.

The other practical expression of love, that towards our neighbour, and especially those who suffer and are in greatest need, is the decisive impulse that leads the priest and the consecrated person to be a builder of communion between people and a sower of hope. The relationship of consecrated persons, and especially of the priest, to the Christian community is vital and becomes a fundamental dimension of their affectivity. The Curé of Ars was fond of saying: “Priests are not priests for themselves, but for you” (Le cure d’ArsSa pensée – Son cœur, Foi Vivante, 1966, p. 100).

Dear brother bishops, dear priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, catechists, pastoral workers and all of you who are engaged in the field of educating young people: I fervently exhort you to pay close attention to those members of parish communities, associations and ecclesial movements who sense a call to the priesthood or to a special consecration. It is important for the Church to create the conditions that will permit many young people to say “yes” in generous response to God’s loving call.

The task of fostering vocations will be to provide helpful guidance and direction along the way. Central to this should be love of God’s word nourished by a growing familiarity with sacred Scripture, and attentive and unceasing prayer, both personal and in community; this will make it possible to hear God’s call amid all the voices of daily life. But above all, the Eucharist should be the heart of every vocational journey: it is here that the love of God touches us in Christ’s sacrifice, the perfect expression of love, and it is here that we learn ever anew how to live according to the “high standard” of God’s love. Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist are the precious treasure enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the Kingdom.

It is my hope that the local Churches and all the various groups within them, will become places where vocations are carefully discerned and their authenticity tested, places where young men and women are offered wise and strong spiritual direction. In this way, the Christian community itself becomes a manifestation of the Love of God in which every calling is contained. As a response to the demands of the new commandment of Jesus, this can find eloquent and particular realization in Christian families, whose love is an expression of the love of Christ who gave himself for his Church (cf. Eph 5:32). Within the family, “a community of life and love” (Gaudium et Spes, 48), young people can have a wonderful experience of this self-giving love. Indeed, families are not only the privileged place for human and Christian formation; they can also be “the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 53), by helping their members to see, precisely within the family, the beauty and the importance of the priesthood and the consecrated life. May pastors and all the lay faithful always cooperate so that in the Church these “homes and schools of communion” may multiply, modelled on the Holy Family of Nazareth, the harmonious reflection on earth of the life of the Most Holy Trinity.

With this prayerful hope, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to all of you: my brother bishops, priests, deacons, religious men and women and all lay faithful, and especially those young men and women who strive to listen with a docile heart to God’s voice and are ready to respond generously and faithfully.
From the Vatican, 18 October 2011

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Pregnancy Test

cost $104.00.

See, I am just like you married ladies. I too can talk about my pregnancy test and how it came out negative. Well, some of you have had pregnancy tests that came out positive. I'm trying to relate to my married readers: pregnancy test, pregnancy test, pregnancy test.

Last year I had outpatient surgery and the hospital said I had to have a pregnancy test. I didn't want one. I knew I was NOT pregnant, and I told them WHY I knew I was not pregnant. Too bad, I had to have one. Today I FINALLY got the itemized statement I requested and the urine pregnancy test is listed at $104.00.

Okay, I am really not like my married friends. When women have babies, it's like they advance in life and go to Mother Land, while I'm at the bottom rung of the ladder in Chutes and Ladders. Sometimes I really feel left out and abnormal and not a real woman or a real adult. Yet, I don't think of other childless women that way. I should be kinder towards myself.

Why do I have a uterus if it's not being used? I hated, HATED, it for a very long time because of the agonizing cramps once a month or every six weeks or eight weeks or whatever crazy schedule that wasn't really a schedule. Then as I grew older, I got regular and less crampy. Then I read a very large book on NFP because I was curious. By reading that book, I came to APPRECIATE the clock (hormones) inside my body and how it all works.  Now I am like a train schedule and much less crampy. Go figure.

I can't believe I'm writing something this personal and am putting it on the internet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This morning I went to work and sat down at my desk as usual. About two minutes later, a handsome young man walked in with a bouquet of flowers FOR ME!

For me, for me, for me!!!!!

I just have to relive that moment. And the people (mostly men) in the office looked on.

He was from the staffing agency who placed me in that job and the flowers were for Administrative Professionals' Day (formerly known as Secretary's Day).

I like getting flowers. They brighten up the office.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two Saint Theresas

Last night I dream of St. Therese of the Little Flower. Perhaps I should say a novena to her.  Sometimes I feel St. Theresa of Avila gets left out of the popularity contest. Actually there is no popularity contest, but it seems like St. Theresa of the Little Flower is more popular.

And here's a shout out to St. Ulrich, my patron saint this year.

Little Flower

of Avila

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stations of the Resurrection

The following is in today's church bulletin. The bulletin credits the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The Stations of the Resurrection

1) Jesus Rises from the Dead
2) Women Come to the Tomb Encountering an Angel
3) Peter and John Visit the Tomb with Mary Magdalene
4) Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
5) Mary Magdalene Proclaims His Rising to the Apostles
6) Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus
7) Jesus Gives the Disciples the Power to Forgive
8) Jesus Confirms the Faith of Thomas
9) Jesus Eats with the Disciples on Tiberian Shore
10) Jesus Forgives Peter and Commissions Him
11) Jesus Gives the Great Commission to the Disciples
12) Jesus Ascends into Heaven
13) Mary and the Disciples Keep Vigil for the Spirit's Advent
14) Jesus Sends the Holy Spirit

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kite Flying Failure

My friend Emily and I went to a kite flying event. We saw kite teams do synchronized kite flying to music, which was cool. I didn't know there was such a thing as kite performances. We also bought and flew our own kites. My kite spent more time on the ground than in the air. Small children managed to get their kites up in the air and keep them there including the little boy still in diapers. I was a kite flying failure, but at least I had fun on this sunny Saturday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm Poor, but I Swoon

On Monday morning the Chief Mechanic/Owner of the Service Station called me with several options regarding my car repair. The options ranged from Expensive to Super Duper Expensive. After going through the options I said I would think about it. I called me dad who went into Caring Dad Mode. It's been so long since he has cared for me in an active way. Dad had questions and ended up calling the Chief Mechanic himself. I loved having my dad in Caring Dad Mode.

After all that conversation, I made my decision.

Then I thought how I would date any of the three mechanics there because they are so gentlemanly. I don't even know if any of them are married or Catholic. They are nice, nice looking, seem to be in my preferred age group and male.

They fixed my car. I went to pick it up yesterday and made a payment that probably will put someone's kid through college or pay the mortgage for a few months. I also picked up a candy bar because I needed chocolate when making such a big payment. The cashier gave me the candy bar for free because she said I spent enough money that day.

I was SO HAPPY to get a free candy bar! Really, it's the little acts of kindness that get to me. Never mind that I spent MY rent money on the car, I got a free candy bar. It's the power of chocolate.

Then when I got in my car, something was different. Eerie. Different. I questioned whether it was my car. Strange. Odd. Oh my Gosh! They totally cleaned the inside of my car and vacuumed it too. I fell in love with whoever used the Dust Buster. When was my old car that clean? Probably when I bought it many years ago. I was thrilled. I was embarrassed because the inside of my car was like the bottom of my purse (very messy). I was thrilled. I was embarrassed.

The car drives like a dream, and it's SO QUIET.

When I came home from work there was a phone message from Chief Mechanic/Owner. He thanked me for my business and said to bring it back in a few weeks, so he can check the fluids and make sure the repairs are holding up.

This is the second time he's called me later for a follow-up report. Is that normal mechanic behavior?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Prayer Circle, I was at Peace for about 20 minutes.

During Lent I was part of a Prayer Circle. Were you? It was part of Lenten Prayer buddies. I prayed for Karen. Karen prayed for Lianna, and Lianna prayed for me.

This morning as I head out, I thanked God that I have no current anxieties. I thanked God I was at peace. I'm sure if I thought about I could find something to be concerned about. Then as I was driving to my dad's place, a warning light came on in my car. Oh Oh. I picked up my dad, and he insisted I drive straight to my mechanic, which I did. It was 12 minutes before closing. I left my car there, and the mechanic drove me and my dad to my place. From my place my dad was able to call for a ride home.

Now I am stranded home alone all weekend, and I don't like it. Not sure how I am getting to work on Monday if at all. Not sure what this is going to cost. If I talk aloud in my apartment, no one answers. That's because I live alone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nasty Politics

If you are here via a nasty political web site, please know that I did not link to that site. I do NOT hate anyone. I believe in civil discourse and using our right to vote to remove disagreeable politicians from office.

I do not support hate. I support standing up for the truth through strong but respectful actions and words.

HATE is such a strong, ugly word. I don't have the energy to hate. I may be disgusted, but not hateful.

I am happy we have elections and freedom of speech. There's no need to be nasty even when you can't stand to see the guy on television or hear his sound bites.

Play nice, everyone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Lord is my Boss Prayer

I don't know who wrote this prayer, but this goes out to all you who work outside the home.

The Lord is My Boss

The Lord is my boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace when chaos is all around.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things without murmuring and complaining.
He reminds me that He is my source and not my job.
He reserves my sanity and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all that I do.
Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors and an aging body that doesn't cooperate every morning,
I will not stop, for He is with me!
His presence, HIs peace, and His power will see me though.
He raises me up even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own even when the company threatens to let me go.
His faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check.
His retirement plan beats every 401K there is!
When all is said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer, and for that, 
I bless His name!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Brunch, Prayer Buddy

Happy Easter!

Easter Mass was beautiful with the sun shining in through all the windows. Of course it was beautiful because it was Mass on Easter!

After Mass, my dad and I went out for brunch. We've gone to Easter brunch at this particular restaurant several times before and expected a positive experience. After all, we keep returning for a reason. Well, they lost my reservation. We were seated anyway, but the food was a let down. I don't know if there's new management or what. The service was horrible, blah, blah, blah. As far as all the small children running around, they are lucky that my dad didn't step on any of them by accident. It was all rather stressful and disappointing, but it wasn't the most important part of the day. The most of the important part was the Lord's table at Mass.

The hired Easter Bunny at the restaurant shuffled around listlessly. She kept readjusting her head, and her blond hair was peeking out the back of the head. The white "fur" looked worn, and I didn't see her give out any treats. As someone said, the Easter Bunny had no hippity in her hop. I bet she was hot too.

After brunch, my father wanted to go Starbucks. Ah, we hung out there for a while.


I prayed for Karen at Running Solo or So Low? Her blog is private. Karen, thank you for opening your blog to me.

I was fortunate to have the prayers of Lianna at Thank you for prayers, Lianna. I can't wait to read your blog.


Back to the Real Meaning of Easter, our pastor gave away the book to Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor. Yes, he gave a book to every family who was walking out the door after Mass. Cool! I like freebies.

The Lord is Risen! 


I am by drinking some chocolate milk.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mass of the Lord's Supper


Last night I was writing on my blog, complaining really and realized what good is my blog named Eucharist Always if I don't go to the Mass of the Lord's Supper. That's what started this Wonder of the Eucharist. So I sped off to Mass.

I have not been to Holy Thursday Mass since I was a pouty teen-ager. Going to Mass willingly last night was discovering a whole new dimension of Catholicism. It was one Aha moment after another. I liked that all the altar boys were actually boys. And most of them were teen-agers. So good to see teens serving the Lord.

There was ringing of the bells during the Gloria. At first I thought the fire alarm was going off from the incense. Ten people (though there were 12 chairs) got their feet washed by the pastor. Somehow that prompted me to wonder if some womyn want to be priests because they think it's a powerful position. Father G. sure didn't look powerful. He's a man who serves his flock. Anyway he took off his garment and put on a white butcher's apron (without the blood smears). During the petitions we prayed for deceased clergy members from our parish. We had special intentions for two former pastors who are still living. It was good to remember them.

During the consecration there was a wooden clapping noise instead of bells. Does anybody know what that means? At the end of Mass Father G. put on a cape and hid the hosts beneath the cape then there was a procession to put the hosts in a special cupboard. Oh yes, Holy Oil was brought up blessed by the archbishop. All these special parts were new to me.

Two goof-ups. There were one too many Eucharist ministers and the Assisting Priest (Co-celebrant) did not have a vessel to give Communion. I thought we are suppose to defer to the Priest if there are too many Eucharist ministers (lay people).

I couldn't get in my row after Communion because the  old lady on the end did not move. I don't think she saw me trying to get because she was deep in prayer or asleep. So I had to walk all the way around to the back and come up the aisle as if I were getting in the communion line again. Anyway, I sat next the man whom I was sitting next to during Mass. I prayed. Then I thought that everything looked so much closer. And why did the familiar people across the aisle look farther away?

"Hmm, the altar looks so much closer, so do the statues and banners and plants." I was looking around trying to figure out how the altar got closer or if my vision was goofy. Then the man next to me said, "We suppose to be one row back. It's my fault." Oh. I wanted to laugh. Well, it's not like we displaced anyone because, as usual, people tend to disappear after Communion.

It's not first time I've been in the wrong row, and I'm not the first person to get mixed up either. I bet people have been sitting in the wrong row ever since churches put in pews.

Why is this day called Good Friday?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

St. Ulrich and unSaintly Men

Today I am revisiting my patron saint of the year, St. Ulrich. Here is his list of responsibilities. Actually I don't think saints have responsibilities or job descriptions, but let's pretend they do.

against birth complications; againstfaintness; against fever; against mice andmolesdiocese of Augsburg, Germany; happy death; weavers

So far, I have not had any birth complications because I have NEVER been pregnant. Have not felt faint. I had a mild fever that came and went. So far, I have not met any mice or moles. I would like to visit Germany. Those in the diocese of Augsburg, Germany, are free to chime in. I have NOT died a sad or tragic death. There's hope I could die happy, but I am avoiding my own death this year.* I would like to avoid death in general in fact. I have not woven anything. So, I guess St. Ulrich is doing an acceptable job.

*I'm taking basic safety precautions such as wearing my seat belt, driving the speed limit, looking both ways before crossing the street, eating food and not lead, drinking water, using the stairs instead of jumping out the window of my apartment when I need to leave home, and keeping warm on cold days.

Now I will talk about regular men. It's not a fun talk.

1) First a man called from another location within the company and asked for a special favor. He sounded rather jerky. He was trying to tease and be charming. I don't even know him. Then he said if I do this special favor he will "love me until death." I immediately said, "No, you won't. You'll just be really grateful." 

I think "love you until death" is a phrase best used in a marriage proposal or within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Well, maybe my grandpa would have said some such thing if he were still alive. My grandparents tried to give me everything they possibly could until they could give no more. Then they died. 

[Thinking of loving grandparents now.  

Back to the work story. Turned out it beyond my capabilities to do the special favor and apparently it's against company policy. He was trying to cajole me into doing something wrong. I'm being trusted to NOT break the rules. I do what I'm suppose to, and then I get money. I like getting money and being able to buy groceries.

2) Today a customer walked in to drop off some equipment that needs servicing. Sometimes when customers drop off their equipment they want a receipt or want me to sign a copy of their order. Fine. I understand that. That equipment is expensive. Today Mr. Customer** handed me a copy of their order and said, "Sign your life away."
I said, "I'm not signing my life away for anything, but I'll sign that I received your items." 
Really, my life is worth more than a thing, no matter how expensive the thing is. No one may sincerely love me until death (well, maybe my dad does), but like all people I am worth more than a thing. 

I don't know where I suddenly got all this self-worth and confidence. Maybe it's one advantage of being unyoung.

I just hate empty words.***

Ever since I wrote about shrill women, the female callers have been speaking in a normal tone of voice. Maybe they all read my blog. Ha-ha-ha.

**This customer was not Jesus Christ.

***Jesus Christ does not say empty words or try to make you do something wrong.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Tears are Like Rain

Hi, I'm having a sad, sad day.

Oh, I recovered from my cold/fever thing. In fact yesterday I went on a road trip with strangers from the internet. It was chaotic, but there were some good points to the day. Then I thought of my lack of good faithful, constant friends.

Today was Palm Sunday as you know. It triggered a memory of my friend who died one and half years ago. My friend whom I shared adventures with, giggles with, and sad times with.  When my own mother died, my friend called me long distance, and we both cried on the phone together. Two years ago, she was in the hospital as the dying process begin. After Palm Sunday Mass, I went to the hospital and took her a palm. Her husband was there too, and we had a good visit.

Today I could not take her a Palm because she's dead. I couldn't take her a Palm last year either. I thought of my friendship with her. I thought of spending the day with strangers yesterday. Seemed nice enough, but they aren't friends. After Mass I got in the car and cried like a small child.

I thought of friends who are too busy for me due to their own marriages, their own children, their jobs, or whatever. I'm sad.

I settled on the couch and started reading book. I thought it was fiction. No, it's non-fiction. It's about two couples who had loving marriages then a husband dies. Then the wife of the other couple dies. More death. So I'm crying. You can guess how the book ends. The widowed spouses (who are in their forties) find each other. They marry and experience great love. They get a second chance. I don't even get a first chance.

I want to write a note to my deceased friend's parents. I can't find their address or their email address. My  friend and her husband had a joint email account. Is that email account still active? I emailed him asking for his in-laws' address. I thought about calling, but I am crying.

I just can't get it together today. Oh well. Now, I have a headache.

I'm sure there's a psalm that resonates with me today. And Jesus was betrayed and abandoned too. Sometimes it just stinks being human needing other humans.