Tomorrow, November 1st, is the Solemnity, or as I prefer to think of it, The Feast of All Saints. We go to Mass and remember all those who went before us and “made it”!
Honestly, how do you become a saint? I know we are all called to be these holy people, but I haven’t had any opportunities lately to lead an army to victory while trying to hide my true identity (Joan of Arc), start a school system (Elizabeth Ann Seton), or reform an order of nuns (Teresa of Avila).
All joking aside, we are all called to be saints. We are born with this God-gifted potential and through our sacraments are given the grace to actually succeed! True holiness is achieved by the everyday, small sacrifices and kindnesses that we include in our life.
Some days it may seem like you will have to perform a miracle to carry out loving actions to your kids, who are driving you crazy, your spouse who is rankling your last nerve with the very thing you thought was “so cute” when you first met or the elderly woman moving so slowly in front of you in the store when you are already late to pick up those crazy-making kids! But is it enough? Do these things count when we handle them without allowing our humanity to get the better of us?
Yes. Yes it is enough and they all count. Because all God really expects is that we do our best every day, in every interaction. To remember to see Christ in others…and that will make attaining sainthood pretty easy.
May your path to sainthood be paved with smooth roads…
Possible Answers to Prayer
BY SCOTT CAIRNS
Your petitions – though they continue to bear
just the one signature – have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties – despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value – nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.
Your repentance – all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment – is sufficient.
Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.
Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you –
these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.
Scott Cairns, “Possible Answers to Prayer” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.
St. Theresa of Avila is without a doubt my favorite saint. I came to know of her through a silent retreat held at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville, MD and presented by Michael Fonseca.
I was entranced by her ability to write about the journey to God in a way that made it visible. It also made me wonder which Mansion would I be able to attain as many days it seemed that I was only gazing at the Castle from afar.
Here is a quick inspirational prayer video from her writings…I hope you enjoy it!
Okay, I have to admit I was inspired by my husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, to add this to my own blog. (Of course, I was the one who inspired him to even write a blog!)
But, I really do mean this:
‘I welcome comments on any of my posts. Feel free to add your own insights, even if they disagree with mine. I won’t be offended. I am a fellow seeker, and I don’t have anything approaching a monopoly on inspiration.’ Deacon Gary Dumer 10-12-13
You will probably hear a lot about Gary here…it really is a big love fest between the two of us…even during our very occasional disagreements! That’s him on our recent trip for his 50th birthday to the Grand Canyon!
The picture here is entitled “The Annunciation”. I found it about ten years ago when I was writing my Master’s thesis for the Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola University in Maryland while searching for pictures to match each of my chapters. It is by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859 – 1937), the first African-American to gain international acclaim for his painting talent. I love it because it is so non-traditional, more like I imagine the actual happening of the visit to Mary by the angel Gabriel.
The theme of “yes” will be visited more than once in my writings. While such a simple word, it carries wonderful delights and weighty responsibilities.
The first time I pondered Mary’s “yes” was when I was given a gift by my best friend, my next door neighbor, Cathy, when we were in our freshman year of high school. It was the book “Two from Galilee” by Marjorie Holmes. Ms. Holmes tells the story of Mary and Joseph outside of what we read in the Bible, filling in the blanks and helping us to understand what it must have really been like for them. I read it during Advent almost every year and have passed it along to many.
Why did Mary say “yes”? We are led to believe it was an automatic response from the soul. Did she know what it would bring to her? Shame, divorce, possible stoning for adultery? I have to think that she did. That she knew and it didn’t matter. That she knew the possibilities and trusted in her God so fully that she knew that God would bring her through anything. That the deep agape love that had developed between she and God allowed her to respond without thought of herself and only for others.
It was her intimate relationship with God that compels me to want to know more about her. How can I have the courage and depth of love for God that allows me to put myself fully into a place where I can be used without any thought of myself?
I invite you to share your own thoughts and stories about “yes”…
The idea of this blog has been rolling around in my heart for quite awhile. Sort of like baking bread. You knead, punch down, and let it rise over and over again, until you finally put it in the oven, allow the warmth to bring it to its fullness. The aroma wafts through the air, your mouth waters and finally, you cut through the crispy, hardened crust to reveal the tenderness inside. You might add your favorite jam or butter, you may just revel in its unique taste without any addition.
That is what this has been like. Rolling ideas around. Punching them down with the “fist of fear”, only to have them rise up again, until I have finally allowed God to reveal the message:
‘I gave you a voice. I gave you a voice to use in service to Catholic women. To those who have left, to those who are seeking, to those who are still at home, but unhappy here, and to any women simple seeking the solace and comfort of simple answers based on the mercy and love of Christ. USE it, it is my gift to you to be used in service to others! I need YOU.’