Bloggerhood Etc. 6/30/14

Reflecting trees in lake

Photo: Jon Eben Field (CC BY 2.0)

Maybe it’s because my dad is visiting us this week, but the posts I liked most seemed a little more reflective than usual. There’s an abundance of self-reflection, lots of looking back, and a little bit of silliness to break the serious stuff up in this round up of my favorite posts of the week.

Best Parenting Post.Why I’m Fine With My Kids Growing Up So Fast” by Aaron Gouveia at The Daddy Files.

Best Reflection.The Pressure of Definition” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Self-Analysis.A Generational Faith Journey Told by a Fortysomething GenXer” by Carmen Andres at In the Open Space.

Most Inspiring.This Beautiful Bride Wasn’t Going To Let Anything Stand In The Way Of Her Wedding — Not Even Cancer” by Cavan Sieczkowski at Huff Post Weddings.

Best Boast.I Ate the Rangers 2-Foot Korean Beef Sandwich and Lived” by Marc Normandin in SB Nation.

Best Milestone Post. “What Turning 40 Means to Me” by Alice Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best List.The 7 Biggest Mistakes of My Twenties” by Lindsay Morris at Relevant.

Best Special Needs Post.Privy to Joy” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Best Spoken Word Poetry.You Can’t Keep Me Out” by Tamára Lunardo at A Deeper Story.

Best Advice.How to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket” by The Rookie Dad.

Best Guide to Prayer.How a Protestant Learned to Pray Like a Catholic (and actually started LIKING prayer)” by Elisabeth Esther.

Best Video.This VIDEO will BLOW YOUR MIND and be the BEST PART OF YOUR DAY!” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

You won’t believe what happens next!

I am Grateful

Julia and I kiss Anna after her first communion.

Photo: Olga Burgess

It’s been a very busy and very emotional week, and as it comes to a close I have a lot to be grateful for.

I am grateful that Anna received the Body and Blood of Jesus for the first time in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.

I am grateful that Anna’s Godparents could make the drive up from Sacramento for her First Communion Mass on Saturday, and that we got to spend the day with them.

I am grateful that Julia’s “medical procedure” was successful, and that—following her recovery—she will free from the chronic pain that she has suffered with for the last year or so. (Out of respect for her privacy, that’s all I am saying.)

I am grateful for all those who have prayed for her and continue to pray for her recovery.

I am grateful that the dark cloud that has hung over my own head for the last year may finally be receding. I am grateful for those who have helped. (Out of respect for my own privacy, that’s all I am saying.)

I am grateful that we have people to turn to when we are in need.

I am grateful that Julia’s mom is close by and always willing to help.

I am grateful that Anna is happy at school, and she has a teacher who cares enough to both challenge and support her.

I am grateful to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country—even when it rains.

I am grateful to God for every blessing in my life.

Five Minute Friday

Three Prayers Before the Easter Vigil

A Ω 2014

For all those being baptized tonight, and tomorrow morning …

Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin. Grant that those baptized this weekend, being reborn to new life in him, may live in righteousness and holiness all their days; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For all those being confirmed …

Grant, Almighty God that all those who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, may be renewed by the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation, and live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For all receiving First Holy Communion …

God our Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament has left us a memorial of his passion: Grant us so to adore him in the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood, that we may perceive within ourselves the fruit of his redemption, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Prayers adapted from the Collects At Baptism, At Confirmation, and Of the Holy Eucharist, found on pages 252-4 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

Triduum, a Liturgical Drama in Three Acts

Truddum Triptych

A Triduum Triptych by Stephen Crotts (via Facebook)

Beginning tonight, churches throughout the world will reenact the greatest drama in human history. Like many great dramas, this one will be presented in three acts. But unlike most dramas, which are presented in one showing, this drama will be spread out over three nights. Perhaps it is too great a story to fit in one night.

(Note: I’m using the Catholic liturgies for these three nights as my example. Many Anglicans and Lutheran churches will also observe the Triduum in a similar way, with a few small differences.)

The Paschal Triduum.

Act One: Holy Thursday evening.

Foot washing at last supper

Duccio di Buoninsegna The Washing of Feet (1308 – 11)

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins as usual, with a sung Introit (extolling the glory of the Cross) or a Hymn. The Gloria is sung for the only time during Lent—excluding the Feasts of the Annunciation and Saint Joseph—and church bells are rung. After this, the bells (and organ, if the church has one) are silenced until Easter eve.

The readings at the Liturgy of the Word describe the original Passover celebration (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14), recount the institution of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and retell the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 13:1-15). After a brief homily, the priest removes his chasuble and washes the feet of twelve parishioners—standing in for the apostles—following Jesus’ example.

The Eucharist follows. After communion, the Reserved Sacrament is carried in procession out of the church and to an Altar of Repose where the faithful wait with Jesus—whom Catholics believe is truly present—for at least the hour that the disciples couldn’t manage. There is no recessional or closing hymn. The altar is stripped privately in silence.

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The First and Greatest Painter

Rows of tulips in various colors.

Rows of flowers at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Photo: Julia Ozab)

Every Spring as the flowers open to the warming sunlight, we are reminded who the first and greatest painter is. He doesn’t need paint or canvas. He paints in wavelengths of light, and his subjects are also his canvas.

Tulips

Tulips (Photo: Julia Ozab)

And he gave us the eyes to see the beauty and the minds to appreciate it. We paint it, we photograph it, and we write words inspired by it. We will never improve upon the original, but we will always strive to come as close as we can.

Farm and tulip rows

Looking across the field to the farmhouse (Photo: Julia Ozab)

May the beauty of Spring remind us of the beauty we were created for, and may we grow in holiness as we finish our walk with Christ through Lent and rise with him at Easter.

Amen.

Today is Julia’s birthday and we are taking her to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival tomorrow to celebrate. It’s going to be a glorious day.

Five Minute Friday

 

The Crowd of Witnesses

Crowd in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis’ first Angelus blessing March 17. (Photo: Joshua J. McElwee/NCR)

I hate crowds.

I hate being in the middle of a mass of people. I hate standing in long lines. I hate traffic jams. And I hate elevators most of all.

Maybe it’s because I’m claustrophobic. Or because I’ve lived in big cities most of my life. But I would rather be in a big, open space, either by myself or with a few people, with room to stretch out and breathe.

I hate crowds. With one exception.

As much as I love praying alone in a beautiful old church, I love it even more when I’m surrounded by people at Mass. I love joining my prayers with others and I love seeing the long lines leading up to the altar as each member of the Body of Christ takes a turn receiving the Body of Christ.

And in my imagination I can see all the people in all the churches in the world united with Christ. One Bread, One Body.

And that unity goes beyond the Mass. When I say the familiar prayers with my family or I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, trying to time my prayers to coincide with the monks at Mt. Angel Abbey (as much as my schedule allows) I know that I am part of that great cloud of witnesses.

That great crowd of witnesses. In heaven and on earth. The Communion of Saints.

That’s the one crowd I want to be in.

Five Minute Friday

Note: This Five Minute Friday post was delayed one day due to circumstances beyond my control, but since I usually take longer than five minutes to write these posts, consider it a Six-Minute Saturday.

Five From Francis

A child takes off Pope Francis' white zucchetto, or skullcap, during a meeting with children and volunteers of the Santa Marta Vatican Institute, at the Vatican

Photo: AP/Gregorio Borgia

Today marks the first anniversary of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio’s election to the Papacy, and the end of the first year of the Church’s walk under the guidance of Pope Francis. A year ago, I posted five thoughts on the Holy Father’s election. Today, I post five of his most memorable quotes from the last year along with my reflections on those quotes in light of his shepherding of the Church so far.

Bishops and priests must be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” —Chrism Mass Homily, Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Pastor—the word used in the United States from both Catholic priests and Protestant clergy—comes from the Latin verb pascere, meaning “to lead to pasture” or “to shepherd.” Yet clergy in our culture, and many others, are seen as set apart from mere laypeople. Popular preachers write best-selling books, build personality cults around themselves, and become rich off their flocks. Catholic priests surround themselves with an aura of mystery based on their Sacramental calling. Bishops and church leaders cozy up with the rich and the powerful while overlooking Christ in the powerless.

Francis sees the hypocrisy, and wants it to change. He knows that the Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep, and leaves the ninety-nine to chase down the one that is lost. He knows from his days as a priest and bishop in Buenos Aries, washing the feet of the poor and of prisoners what it means to “live with the smell of the sheep.”

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