Monday, April 16, 2012

In His Own Time and Space

So, I'm tempted to say I did not have a profound Easter season like last year.  I mean, check out these Easter blog posts from last year...I couldn't even keep it all in one!

Holy Thursday

Good Friday

Holy Saturday

It has definitely been true in my life that I do not control when I'm really "moved" by something.  In fact, the sheer unexpectedness and surprises of life are the supreme indication that we are not the Masters of our reality.  For this I am grateful.  In something I just read, it pointed out how the surprises in life are "our salvation."

So, this Lent has been a begging: "Lord, I want to see your face.  I'm not even sure what your face looks like or how long it's been, but I want to see your face and be certain that it's you."

This has been a really humbling move for me, because I lead a lot of things and people often look to me for advice, certainty, insight into who God is and it's been a little scary to say, "I don't know."

This question, "God, who are You?" has been a new starting point for me and has given me life again.  It's making me a desperate seeker of truth and certainty that I can't talk myself out of.  I'm reading my texts from Fr. Giussani with more attention, I value my time with others and try to talk about things that really matter...I'm soaking it up in opportunities to visit others, make myself available even if it's a risk of time away from home, my chores, etc.  I'm really being honest with God in prayer..."This is what I want, Lord, show me.  Mary, take care of me."

I look back to my last year's posts on Easter and think, "Man, I really missed something this year."  But even that statement presumes that I have some mountaintop experience on a certain day.  Instead, He comes when we least expect it.

Like in Cincinnati when, with friends, we decided to go to Mass on Saturday night at this dinky Church, hoping for a "quickie" so we could get on to the other evening's activities, when we were HIT with the Presence of this priest.  A Chinese man who was so full of life you had to be dead to not see it.  He spoke of never stopping the questions that arise in our hearts--to be the doubting Thomas--to not fake certainty.  Here's a guy who came out of Communist China to be a Chinese priest.  I mean, he's either crazy or Jesus is real.

And as I'm looking down this row of friends in Cincinnati with me, all different ages, different professions and interests, but we are linked by something.  So much so that all weekend people asked me, "Who are you guys?  How do you know each other?"  And honestly, we are linked in our search for truth.  That's it.  But it's a deeper link than most have with anyone.

This unexpected event has jumpstarted my week.  I came home last night aching to pray and wrote my prayer in a poem...which I've never done in my life, but kind of liked. (I'm thinking about posting it, but we'll see..)  I was already late for work, but I HAD to pray the morning prayer was the only adequate response to my heart that wants to see Christ again like I saw Him in that priest.

I've spent a good chunk of my morning trying to find some contact information for this priest in Cincinnati because I want to tell him what keeps all my questions alive, why I keep coming to Church and the place where truth is never taken for granted.  He knows too that it's in the Catholic Church and for me specifically, it's in my education with Communion and Liberation (or CL) which I write about a lot too!  The Blog About CL

I'm so grateful to have had Mass on Saturday and to be up against this extraordinary man.  If nothing else, seeing him reminded me again that we can't plan for God to move us.  He just does.  I live today with renewed hope that He'll come again and I'm holding the question, "Where are You?" as the most important of my day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Wonderwall, Pear Trees, a KLOVE Song, and Jesus All Have In Common

(Editor Note: This was SUPPOSED to publish on March 21st, but didn't...Secret's out--I schedule my posts!  Haha.  Oh, well.  It's still a beautiful reflection to share even if it's three weeks late!)

A lot of things were working together on Sunday morning when I awoke.  First, I read something in my Lenten reflections about Jesus fully knowing our humanity--its fraility, its ability to be easily distracted and persuaded, its limitedness--and HE STILL chose to die on a cross for us.  Because He knew us better than we knew ourselves.

Second, I was thinking of two friends from my college days who, when we get together, always play the song by Oasis, "Wonderwall" on the guitar for me when we are together.  It's not a secret amongst people who really know me how much I love this song.  What's moving is that these two guys don't even ask, "Erica, what's your request?" anymore.  They just go into it, with this smirk on their face saying, "When's she gonna figure out that I'm playing the song she loves?"  I, of course when I hear the first few chords, smile, whoop, cheer, whatever, and am left in awe of their selflessness in front of me.

Third, there's this song on KLOVE called "Something Beautiful" by the group Need to Breathe that's really amazing.  One of the lines in the refrain is "...this is my desire, consume me like a fire, because I just want something beautiful to touch me..."  It's a song about begging for something beautiful to reach him in the day--because his heart can't take it if there's no beauty there.

So, it took me beholding these beautiful PEAR TREES on my parents' street Sunday afternoon to link all of these three seemingly random thoughts together.  But, I turn the corner into my parents' housing development and BAM...trees in full bloom.  Totally gorgeous.  Taking my breath away.  Song "Something Beautiful" is playing on the radio.  And BAM.  It hits me again...God was just WAITING for me to figure out that this was all just part of His little gift today.

God as Jesus Christ, knows our humanity better than anyone else.  This means He knows the crappy ways we fail, but He ALSO knows all the things/ways we delight.  I didn't wake up Sunday thinking, "Wow, I can't wait to see blooming trees today!" But God gave it anyway because He knew I'd love it.  Much like my college pals Josh and Dave playing "Wonderwall" for me even when I don't ask.

And the reward for God?  My smile, my cheering, my heart leaping!  (Pretty much the same reasons the guys play songs for me....)  It's amazing to think that my smile, my praise could bring so much joy...

How many times a day do I miss the little gifts that God is waiting with upraised eyebrows saying, "When's she going to see what I'm giving her?"  And just like a determined child, God continues to pour them on...not getting mad and giving up...but persistently helping me drown in His beauty.