Monday, March 26, 2012

The Trifecta

I will let all of you in on a movement (on more than one level) that is taking place in our house - The Trifecta. 

You see, our two-year-old got into the habit of saying what sort of waste she emitted from her tiny body, be it pee, poop or "just gas."  One day, as I was doing my daddy-duty (ie. wiping) after she finished on the toilet, she told me she had just gone all three.  I blurted out that she had just achieved the rare feat of "Trifecta." 

And, she took delight. 

With great pride she began announcing her accomplishment around our house.  In just three weeks, Trifecta went from non-existence, to a daily goal.  I've even received phone calls in the office proudly making known its happening. 

That is really all I wish to say on this topic.  Perhaps I just gave you (teens) your first valuable parenting advice when it comes to toilet-training.  For that, you can be eternally grateful to me!

On a completely unrelated topic, yet in light of the upcoming parish forum on contraception, you may find this article enjoyable. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Now, One From the Girls!

Dear Gentlemen,
First, we just want to thank you for being her this weekend. We’re sure there are other things you’d rather be doing, but we respect you so much for coming here instead. It makes you different from 99% of the guys in the world. We want you to know that we’ll be praying for you in your faith, and would like to ask for your prayers in return. Also, we know as girls how much it means to have our future husbands praying for us, and we want to ask you all to do the same for all your actions, first think of what Christ would want for you, and then think of your future wife. Your relationship with Christ should always be first in your life. As his love leads you, let that be a model for how you lead others. Thanks so much for always building us up. We know we can trust you to protect us. Know that we see you as brothers, and that we care for your genuine happiness. We can always count on you to make us laugh.  Lastly, we picked this verse for you guys, so please take it home and reflect on it.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us.” (John 4: 11-12)
Your Sisters in Christ

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crumbling Away

There is not space in this blog post to fully expound the following problem.  This will count as a start.

In last Sunday's Gospel, we heard the story of the Transfiguration - a name that's as mysterious as the event.  Most of us will recall the story:

Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain and is transfigured before them, meaning the his appearance changed, and his clothing too!  Moses and Elijah show up for this event and Peter wants to construct some tents. 

I care to focus on the last few lines of this episode, as reported in Mark's Gospel.  Those lines read:

"As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant."

Why does Jesus always do this sort of thing to people?  "Here, let me perform a miracle for you, heal your mother-in-law, or even be transfigured before you.  But, you shall not tell anyone what happened."  Is he ashamed of his abilities?  Doubtful.  Does he want to avoid being pegged a magician?  That certainly could be true.  Is he purely afraid of the authorities finding out about him?  They already knew, plus he wasn't afraid of them on any other given day.

I can reflect back upon my own encounters with Christ, whether they happened at Mass, in prayer, on retreats, or going about my daily business - they were all decisive and profound, and nearly all of them very difficult to express in words after the event, especially immediately after.  Many of us have had instances like this, where you're telling a story about a retreat experience, or even the experience of traveling overseas, and as you're telling someone the story, it's as if this precious gift is crumbling away in your hands.  You can't share enough detail, or give them enough background information to help them understand what was going on at these precise moments.

Frustration, impatience, and even skepticism can result - either from your inability to explain adequately, or the other's inability to grasp fully what you experienced.  This is almost always my experience when trying to explain a retreat to people who were not in attendance.  Perhaps it helps us to understand why Jesus so often spoke these words to people - "go home, don't tell anyone."  Perhaps it is for our own benefit.

We read in Luke's Gospel of how Mary, who had the most time and encounters with Jesus, treasured these experiences in her heart and pondered them.  Maybe we ought to do the same.  Instead of so quickly trying to share exactly what it was that happened in an encounter with Christ, it may be more fruitful to remain in the encounter, to dig deeper into its meaning for your life.  By no means does this mean that you never share the experience with anyone - obviously the Apostles who saw the Transfiguration did eventually.  But, remain where the fruit is - rooted in the experience, and rooted in, sharing that experience with those who were with you when you experienced it.  This is why a special type of community forms amongst those who attend retreats - they experienced something together, and when they come together to further discuss and understand those experiences, the memories take on new life and provide greater fruit.  The Apostles in the story of the Transfiguration do this as well, keeping the matter to themselves, and questioning various meanings.

The good fruit borne from a retreat, fruit that you continue to ponder and pray with, still bears fruit - even if you don't share the whole story of what happened with everyone you know - in the life of the believer, because the life itself is converted, transformed, and cannot remain the same.

I'll end here.  I just thought this was a timely Gospel for all of us who finished up retreat last Sunday.  Remain patient and diligent in praying through your experience with Christ last weekend.  Eventually, the time will come to share your experience with many, when it becomes integrated into your very being.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another Group's Letter to the Girls

Dear Sisters in Christ, 

As daughters of God you deserve to be protected, comforted, honored, and loved by us men. As God's beautiful creation you definitely merit a pure and honest love, a love that is going to recognize that you are completely beautiful both on the inside and out. A love that focuses on praising you for passionately pursuing Christ and modeling yourself after Mary. A love that honors all of your talents and gifts, and loves you for who you are. A love that is strong enough to be there when you are struggling and hurting, a love that tries to heal all past scars, a love that will be there when you just need someone to listen to, a love that will always be there and a love that promises to bring you to Christ, who is the ultimate healer and the ultimate lover. A love that will always sacrifice for you and will always pursue a selfless love modeled after our Savior. A love that is rooted in friendship, a love that promises to chase after you heart and protect it. A love that always recognizes what a blessing you are. Lastly, a love that you most importantly rooted in Christ and modeled after Him. A love that has the humility to follow and listen to God's will. And a love that knows its primary role is to pass you on to Jesus Christ, so that you will be eternally happy and eternally loved.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Letter from a Group of Guys to the Girls (on retreat)

The following letter was read to all of the females in attendance at our Spring Retreat that concluded today: 

Daughters of God,

We men thank you for your beauty, companionship, and grace.  We encourage you to persevere in your relationship with Christ so that these gifts are magnified in him and so that we men may  discover our fulfillment as men through you.  Thanks to your purity, sensitivity, and caring, we will be led to the eternal good together. Finally, we commend your dignity to Mary, and we too desire to protect your goodness, looking to St. Joseph as our noble example, so that your splendor,  sweetness, and light will one day shine among the angels in the presence of our God who is love.

With love and respect,
Yours truly,
The JP 2 the G squad