#Judy

St. Peter

 

I realize that often I have no “filter.” That is to say, whatever is in my head comes out of my mouth bypassing any “SLOW” signs it may encounter on the way. This can get me into trouble and probably why St. Peter has always been one of my favorites. Here was a man who so loved Jesus that he would do anything for him and yet on several instances he also had no filter and said things he greatly regretted. First, he was the “rock” for Christ to build his church, then he had little faith, and once Jesus called him a “Satan.” The humanity he possessed is inspiring to me. This humble fisherman, who also made so many mistakes, became one of the greatest saints! This gives me hope that even when a thought goes non-stop from my brain to my vocal chords, I still have a chance at getting to heaven.

by JAM

Heroes of 9/11

Sixteen years ago today our lives were changed radically. On 9/11/01 I was living in New Jersey and like all Americans was shocked and stunned by the horrific events of that day. It hit home personally to me since I grew up with people whose fathers and brothers built the Twin Towers. Then over the course of the next several days, we learned of the loss of twelve souls who were friends of mine and my grown children. Two or three days after the attack, a photograph appeared on the front page of a local New Jersey newspaper which became a symbol of our American perseverance. Three firemen, covered in ash, were shown raising our American flag atop the pile of rubble that had once been one of the greatest buildings in the world. It was an inspiration to many of us, that as Americans we could be knocked down, but we would always get up. We did then and we always will, with the grace of our loving God.

by JAM

 

Labor’s Heroine Dorothy Day

On this day, when we celebrate America’s work force, and in the month that our daily reflections focus on people who changed lives, Dorothy Day comes to mind immediately. She was the co-founder, with Peter Maurin, of The Catholic Worker Movement (CWM). The goal of the CWM is “…to live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ…” as put forth in the Sermon on the Mount. Dorothy was a single mother and a convert to Catholicism and was fearless when it came to supporting the rights of women as well as the American worker. She was jailed on numerous occasions, the last time in 1973 at age 75 when she protested with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. She once wrote, “What we do is very little, but it’s like the boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that little and increased it. He will do the rest.” To learn more about Dorothy Day and the CWM, visit http://www.catholicworker.org/

by JAM

Did Jesus Dance?

Dancing has never been my forte. Growing up, some of my friends took ballroom dancing lessons, something I never envied until I was an adult and my “station in life” required that I frequently attend black-tie fundraisers. I wouldn’t know a fox trot from a fox hole and it is quite evident when I am on the dance floor. Yet, there are times that I have let go and moved to music in my own fashion, much the way Elaine did on the Seinfeld TV series. I like to think people don’t notice how truly bad I am at this (or at least they are too kind to say anything!) and yet, I proceed. I wonder if Jesus danced? I would think that he did since he seemed to love a party. Just look at what he did at the wedding in Cana!  Music, dancing and parties are just more gifts from our loving God for all to enjoy.

by JAM

Heaven and Mirth

Have you ever had a moment when you start to laugh and are suddenly out of control? Can’t catch your breath? Tears spilling down your cheeks? Being the person that I am, I’m more than familiar with that feeling and on occasion have even been the cause of others losing “comedic control.” It is really a wonderful physical sensation! Somehow the tension just drains from your body and by the time you do get yourself together again you almost feel exhausted. At least I do. What a great gift from God is laughter! James Martin, SJ, wrote a very entertaining (and educational) book called “Between Heaven and Mirth.” Using Scripture, the lives of the saints and his own personal experiences, he shows us  “…why joy is the inevitable result of faith, because a healthy spirituality and a healthy sense of humor go hand-in-hand with God’s great plan for humankind.” Great summer spiritual reading of a different kind! Available on Amazon.

by JAM

Back Seat Games

My grandfather moved from Queens to New Hampshire in 1955, when I was just six. This was long before “super highways” and the only way to get to him was by driving for eight hours on what were mostly two-lane roads. My sister and I would sit in the back seat and play guessing games when we weren’t battling over our personal space. As a city girl, what I remember most from these trips was the beauty of the countryside. The fall visit treated us to an incredible range of autumnal colors and one winter we drove through Massachusetts just after a storm which left the forests coated in ice. The sun reflecting through the limbs made the trees look like they were dipped in silver. These gifts from God’s “palette” were like nothing I’d ever seen before and some sixty years later. I still remember that feeling of wonder and awe at what God created for us to enjoy.

by JAM

Talking and Listening

If you know me, you know I talk a lot. Sometimes I even run several questions together much to the confusion of whoever is listening. My Dad used to tell me, “You never learn anything when your mouth is going.” I find that to be absolutely true. You can’t talk and listen at the same time. I talk to God much the way I talk to friends and even with the Almighty, I use run on sentences! But lately, I’ve been trying to listen more to God. I’ve made it a habit to stop into our church several times a week and sit before the tabernacle and listen. It is always a quiet, peaceful and even a relaxing time to be with the Creator. I never hear run on sentences from him, but he does speak to me in my heart. Since my mouth is not operating, I sometimes can hear him.

by JAM

Taking the Plunge

Growing up in Queens, the only opportunity I had to swim was while spending summers in New Hampshire with my grandfather. There was part of a river near him that had a swimming hole and on hot days we’d go there to cool off. That’s where I taught myself to swim but I never learned the proper method, face in the water, taking breaths, etc.  This was the cause of never-ending teasing by my children, all of whom could swim quite well in the correct way. I just could not put my face in the water. Eventually, when we had our own pool they would challenge me to jump in from “the deep end.” I would concede, once, at the end of the season. I was recalling this memory and it made me think about baptism in RCIA. Candidates take the plunge into holy waters, ever trusting in the Lord to be their guide. To me, that means that Jesus is the Holy Lifeguard and not just poolside.

by JAM