#Judy

He Had Resolution

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Our theme for reflections in January is “resolutions” as we undertake the seemingly timeless tradition of “New Year/New Beginnings.” Since the word “resolution” is so common to our vocabulary this time of year, I thought I’d take a deeper look into its definition. I pulled up my trusty Microsoft Thesaurus and in reading over the list of synonyms I realized that the Reverend Martin Luther King embodied many of attributes of what to “resolve” or to make a “resolution” is: determination, steadfastness, tenacity, perseverance, resolve, promise, pledge or oath. These are all very appropriate descriptions of a man who changed the face of a nation by becoming the leader that was so desperately needed for a struggling sector of our population. “Resolution” can also be a “solution” or an “answer” and in many ways, he was just that in the tumultuous era of the ‘60’s fight for Civil Rights.

by JAM

Making A List

I have never been one to make a lot of New Year’s Resolutions. I learned long ago that the fewer you make, the more chance you have of keeping them. I try to choose only two or three and it’s never more than five. This year I’ve added a couple that I found in an article called “8 New Year’s Resolutions for Catholics.” I’d gladly add all eight at once but I know that, coupled to my two or three secular ones, would violate my own numbers rule and could doom me to failure. Instead, I’ve decided to choose one each month and try to achieve that goal in addition to my “regular” resolutions. I am hoping to continue the previous month’s so that by the eighth month I will actually be following all of them! If you’d care to join me, visit http://www.stedwardoutlet.com/8-new-years-resolutions-for-catholics.html and choose all or follow my plan and take on only one at a time.

by JAM

Dance

Peace practice for today: “Before you leave the house today play an uplifting tune you enjoy and have a quick dance.” For most people, this wouldn’t be much of a challenge but not for me.  You may as well ask me to try out for the astronaut program! Moving to music and singing have never been my forte. But I do remember how I always had the radio on when I was home with three children under four. When a favorite song was playing, I would scoop up each of my babies in turn and prance around the house with them. They loved this and would giggle and hang on to me for dear life. (Even at that age they must have sensed my inability to dance!) So, today I will put the radio on and pretend I am holding a little one. Only God will see me and he has always been holding on to me, anyway.

by JAM

Spreading Peace

Today’s Advent quote from the gospel of Matthew speaks of being blessed when you are spoken ill of and the peace practice begins with the phrase “Listen attentively to the language around you.” It reminds us to speak positively about others and ourselves. For me, this is harder than it sounds since I frequently have no filter and whatever is in my head comes out of my mouth. Sometimes I find myself saying something negative about someone without even realizing that I’m doing it, like making a comment about someone’s hair, or outfit. I almost always do that just to be funny, but it isn’t necessary and if the person ever heard me it would be hurtful.  So today I will try to keep a filter in place and look for times that I can spread peace and joy to others. Hopefully, it will become a habit, not just today, but ongoing in my life.

by JAM

 

The Shoebox

Beginning when my children were small, we had an Advent tradition that lasted many years. I had a shoebox covered in wrapping paper, with a slit in the top. There was a gift tag on it that read “To Baby Jesus.” We kept it under our tree and my kids would write something good that they did each day and put it in the box as a “gift” for the Lord. This lasted until the youngest of the three was in her teens. Over the years the box became full but it was never opened. Then when I was packing to move to California, I found it and opened it. I sat in the attic, reading what they’d written, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying. It was a difficult time for me but seeing that shoebox gave me a sense of peace because I knew in some small way, I raised my children with a sense of what the season was truly about.

by JAM

Communal Thanks

I was thinking about how many times in the mass we say “thank you” to God. In the Gloria “We praise you, we glorify you, we thank you for your great glory.” One of my favorite parts of the Mass is the preface to the Eucharistic prayer when the celebrant prays “It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ…” It is a firm reminder to be thankful for the many blessings in our lives as we are about to partake in the greatest of all God’s gifts, the Body and Blood of our Savior. It causes me to reflect on all the goodness in my own life: the freedom to worship, the blessing of being a part of such a vibrant faith community, and the saving grace of a God who is always with me.

by JAM

Thanksgiving List

Today begins Thanksgiving week! Besides grocery lists and menu-planning, no doubt we are also thinking of things for which we are grateful. Of course, at the very top of the list (and I’d guess we all have pretty similar lists) is, of course, what I sometimes refer to as the “Three F’s’–my faith, my family and my friends. What would have to come next is being able to work with our middle school families who participate in our parish Outlet program, performing service projects.  The parish staff often teases me because I’m always exclaiming “I love my job!” or “This is the best job I’ve ever had!” But, to be honest, it really isn’t a “job” to me. It is a gift.  To be able to introduce young people to ways they can follow Jesus by helping others is anything but work. It is not a “job.” It is pure “joy.”

by JAM

Thank You Mama

My mother passed away this past March. I had the great privilege of being able to be with her for her last months and in many ways, it was a “refresher course” for me on being a Catholic woman. My Mom lived her faith daily. She prayed the rosary every day and in fact, went to her eternal reward with her hands wrapped in her beads. She always, always gave of herself to everyone, no matter how difficult it was. When it came time at the post-funeral reception for me to give my remembrance of her, all I could put on paper were about thirty lines, each of which began with “Thank you, Mama” and was followed by some aspect of my life that was a direct result of her having been my mother. Even six months later, I still find myself looking upward every so often and saying “Thank you, Mama.”

by JAM