"Cross Culture"

"Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly
of the faithful.  Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king..."
(Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a And 9b)

The beauty of our Catholic faith is contained & growing with purpose
in the youth we nourish at Christ's table. - CDHQ

"He Reigns"

"The Lord has done marvels for us.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing..."
(Ps 126:1b-2ab, 2cd, 4-5, 6)

Our Lady of Sorrows - Memorial

"Dearest virgin and Mother Mary, who could put your great sorrow into words?  Who could describe the tears you shed out of love?  Your dear Jesus has had his body nailed to the cross, and you, Mary, have had your spirit pierced by those same nails...Weep, then, my soul, as you look from the one to the other, from the Mother to the Son.  Take pity on the dear, gentle Lamb of God who has been subjected to such suffering in order to wash your filthy wounds.  And have compassion on his pure, immaculate Mother, who is afflicted and made bitter enough to die" (Father G. Savonarola, cited in Magnificat, 2011, p. 189).


So Great the Gift of Love - Exaltation of the Holy Cross

I am not one to shy away from difficult topics, but I have to say, this one is difficult to write about, but it concurrently leaves me filled with joy and gladness.

On various occasions, I look to the natural world to teach my children about life.  On one occasion in particular, on a nature walk at Torry Pines State Park, I reintroduced the concept of life and death by pointing to the various plants and flowers in their different stages development.

As I anticipated, my daughters (now ages five and seven) quickly pointed to the young plants, as reflections of themselves.  Those were vibrant in color, fresh and with full promise.  Next, they found those that were older and less youthful to signify me, "especially with whiskers."  Those plants were mature, still reaching and obviously giving shade to the younger.  Then, they were able to point to the fallen and aged tree, signifying their grandfather who has died.

Sometime between then and about a week later, they remarked, "Papa, when you go to heaven, I will miss you.  I'll be very sad.  But, I will send you white balloons, because I love you."

As my daughters and I continue this discussion about life at various times, some more humors than others, as when they ask questions like:

If God is everywhere, is he on my head?

How do angel wings stay on?

I am mindful of how important this time is to have them learn of the hope and love we have in the Holy Cross, the very path to salvation and inexplicable fellowship with our Lord.  During these moments, I sense their reception to impressions, knowledge and affection they witness though me as I kneel at the Holy Cross, without which we have no hope. In their eyes, I see their trust in God to make good on his promise.  In their actions, I see their affection for Jesus, as just before I took them to school and they placed little wooden crosses in their sweater pockets today (without direction from me), they take the cross in each of the little hands and gave it a gentle kiss.  At these times, I am struck by the enormity of what we do as parents.

Thinking about that time when I will leave my children to the influences of this world is a difficult topic for me and my children, however it is a reminder that life is transitory and what I do and do not do for their spiritual development matters.

Why is this important?  In one study I read, a child's spiritual identity can be defined as:
the development of the non-material element of a human being, which animates and sustains us and, depending on our point of view, either ends or continues in some form when we die.  It is about the development of a sense of identify, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose.  It is about the development of a pupil's 'spirit'.  Some people may call it the development of a pupil's 'soul'; others as the development of 'personality' or 'character'. (OFSED, 2004 as cited in Ruddock, 2010, p. 28)

As a parent, I hardly know how my children will ultimately relate to the Holy Cross in their lifetime.  Therefore, during the time I have with them, it is important to hear the Catechism's instruction:
Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons.  Showing themselves obedient to the will  of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law (2222).
I personally believe that educating children to the importance of their faith and on this day, in relation to the Holy Cross, is akin to helping children know their spiritual family's identity, history and hope.  Without that education, they are left as orphans to find their way back home on their own.  Taking the time to guide and show them they are members of a large family, fills each of us with hope and promise.

If events unfold in their proper course, I trust my daughters will remember to send white balloons after I have completed my work in this life; more importantly, they will remember in a deep, loving and personal way, they "who believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (John 3:13-17).  Then, Lord willing and someday if they are parents, they will carry joyfully forward the message of the Holy Cross and teach so great the gift of love to their own.


September 12, 2011

God's presence prevails through any challenge...

"Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth."