Thursday, March 24, 2011

Silent Witness

Of the gifts with which God has blessed me, the gift of gab is not one. I find that I gravitate toward people who love to talk. My favorites are the ones who let me get a word in here and there as well. I am not a conversation starter most of the time. Instead I love to listen. There is so much to learn.

So how is a quiet person supposed to share the Good News? My heart is full of things that need and want to be said, and so I have become a silent witness. How can you witness if you do not speak well? The written word is the way I express myself. I put my thoughts in writing and then I can go back and re-read them later. I can also share it with others.

When I eat out, grace is said no matter where I am. The sign of the cross before and after the prayer is my witness. No one needs to hear the words of the prayer for them to know what I am doing.

I often pray the rosary when I take a walk. I don't bury the rosary in my pocket. I let it hang at my side. This, admittedly, took some working into. It takes courage to witness even if you aren't speaking.

My husband reminded me of my other "silent" witness; our nine children. Not that they are silent (unless they are sleeping) but they are my witness that with God in control of this aspect of my life, I can show others the beauty of His plan. When you have a large family, one of the questions most often asked is, "are you Catholic?" "Absolutely!"

Our children know that the Bible is important because they have all seen me curled up in my chair reading it while they get ready for school, or when they come to snuggle in the early morning. Sometimes they ask me to read it to them. Most often it is just a comfortable feeling they get because mom is sticking to her routine. They will remember this and, hopefully, emulate it.

All of us are called to spread the Good News. Some of us are just silent witnesses.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who Was More Centered than Mary?

To quote a famous mother: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1: 38) Can you even imagine how different our lives would be if we would utter those words every day? How we fear to let go of our own will to find out what God has planned for us!

Who knows better than God what we need? Yet we try so hard to control everything. The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan shakes us to our core because we see just how NOT in control we are. We think we are in control because we plan so much of our lives; what time we get up, who we call on the phone, the kind of car we drive, the house we live in and on and on. This is why, when the unexpected happens, we complain and carry on.

Jesus has given us His own Mother Mary to show us the path to freedom by being open to the will of the Father. Mary was so centered that even the appearance of an angel did not cause her fear. She listened as the angel told her what God needed of her, and then she gave her Fiat. Having a child was not on her list of things to do. Mary had consecrated her life to God. She had planned to spend her life in a chaste manner, meaning she would never have children. Yet God had other plans for her. She not only would have a child, but THE Child. Talk about not being in control!

Today, decide to lose control. Decide to open your hands to receive what God has to offer you. Decide to "Do whatever He tells you." (John 2:5)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open the Gift

In the movie Splash, Tom Hanks' character gives a beautifully wrapped gift to mermaid, Darryl Hannah. She ooh's and ahh's over the wrapping paper and ribbons until Hanks tells her the gift is in the box. He has to tell her to unwrap it.

John 20: 19, 26 invites us into the following scenario: ". . . Even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. 'Peace be with you,' He said. A week later, the disciples were once more in the room. . . despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them."

The disciples were given a gift. If you notice, however, the disciples didn't open the gift. They were still locked in the room the next time Jesus came to them. He gave them His peace once again. It took them until Pentecost to open the gift.

When the Holy Spirit rushed upon them, they finally had the courage to let the peace of Christ fill them. They became able to leave the locked room peaceful and content that the will of God was what was going to lead them to the greatest happiness.

At every Mass, the priest repeats these words of Christ to us: "I leave you peace, my peace I give you." We have been given the same gift. Do we have the courage to open it? Do we let the peace of Christ into our hearts and to trust that no matter what is going on in our lives, God already knows all about it? Allow His peace to flow over you. Trust that even in the storm He is guiding you to a peaceful place with Him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Label or Sign?

My six-year-old, Claire, found a stack of sticky notes and a pencil, and slyly asked, "Mommy, how do you spell 'kick me?'" Of course I knew what she was up to, but I spelled it for her anyway and turned out to be the first person upon whom she tried to stick it.

This got me thinking about labels and signs. We know that signs give us directions or commands; 'shopping center ahead 1/2 mile' or 'STOP'. Labels, on the other hand, tell us what to expect when we open a package. We don't buy a box labeled 'tissue' and expect to find chocolate. We don't hope to find a love story in a book labeled 'Managerial Accounting'.

We often put labels on other people; someone is handicapped who cannot walk without a walker, someone is dumb if they don't know what we know. Sometimes we even label ourselves; I'm a Christian.

If we are bold enough to label ourselves as Christians, should not our actions then, be a sign of what that label stands for? When a stranger, or even those we know and love, see us, speak with us, hear us speak to others, should they not come away with a clear and unmistakable understanding of what a Christian should sound like; act like?

If our outward appearance and speech do not reflect our statement of being Christian, maybe our inward knowledge of who Christ is, and what He means to us, needs to change. Do you use the label 'Christian'? Are you an accurate sign for that label?

Help us, Lord, to not only be a Christian in word, but also in deed. Amen.