Past, meet future

As I work closer toward The Call and The Goal, it’s time to move on to the new.

Past, meet the future.

You can follow my new blog (tumblr) at http://viajedelaperegrina.tumblr.com/. There’s also a link on my new blog to my Etsy shop, which I’m trying to get running.

Thank you all for your support, and I look forward to seeing you on tumblr.

God bless.

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Gifts for the king

Epiphany. It’s something I never really celebrated until I became Catholic.

At mass today, three men from the parish dressed as the wise men and brought “gifts” to the baby Jesus. (One, the incense one, gosh how I love it. Smells so good but dang did it give the singing pipes issues later in the mass!)

After they presented the gifts, and after Fr Tom started the mass, the three men took the kiddos out to teach children’s mass.

But dang if it didn’t make me think about what I’m giving the King.

And how it’d be so much more if it wasn’t for stinkin’ student loans.

The Hole

For the first time, I won’t be with family on Christmas Day.

In the past, I’ve always either been home or my family has come to visit me. This year, I’ll be driving home the day after Christmas and seeing the family then.

I don’t have to be to work on Christmas until 2pm, which is a blessing since I’m singing at midnight mass. But, it won’t take me more than half an hour to load my car with what I can. 

Christmas is supposed to be joyful. I just feel alone.

Before I realized God is calling me to religious life, I had thought for sure that by this time I’d be married. I thought I’d be happy. I wouldn’t have to worry about this weird hole in my heart.

Instead, I live in a tiny apartment, in a city I love, doing a job that I like, and starting over trying to figure out where I fit with my call.

Is this how Mary felt when she told God yes? If you look at ancient Jewish standards, she most likely fled town and visited Elizabeth to stay alive. She could have been stoned to death! Joseph was apprehensive to say the least. Mary was a scandal.

Is this what I’m to become to my family? A scandal? I’m not pregnant with the Messiah; I’m just trying to follow God’s call for my life. There are members of my family who aren’t happy with my conversion to Catholicism. What will they say when I relate to them news of my joy – my call to serve God with my life?

And maybe that’s where the joy in this Christmas is: the joy of being able to say without a doubt that My Heart belongs to God and Him alone.

Maybe it’s in the fact that I’m working closer to the completion of part one of the race. Maybe it’s with the hope of of better things to come.

But damn it’s going to hurt.

The Raising of Christ

A Jesus that confronts, converts & consoles us. Well, He’s done very well with the first two in my life. How am I preparing ahead of this Christmas season and then on through until the next Advent season? There’s still so much of the path in front of me. I can see the goal set high on a mountain, but I haven’t even entered the foothills yet.
I can’t see the pitfalls and stumbling blocks that await me. I can only know they’re there. So the next step is to get my medical kit together to present to the Divine Healer.
There’ll be triumphs as well as injury. But He’ll give me a talking to whethe journeyn I try to do it all myself. He’ll teach me to allow Him to carry even more of the burden. He’ll console me when I’m ready to give up and He’s going to give me what I need to read the summit.
One of the things I’ll have to struggle through to reach the trailhead is crossing the river that is “coming out” so to speak (about my discernment). I’ve done so with some of my friends, but how will my family take it? I know not.
Mary had to have so many questions, so much uncertainty like me. I mean, think about especially after she gave birth to the Messiah. The next step in life was clear: to raise Him. Teach Him. Feed Him. Clothe Him. Change His nappies. But what was the next step in raising the Son of God? When He was old enough, take Him to the temple. Teach Him the Jewish tradition. Wait for instructions from God? Lead Him by the hand to the market to teach Him discipline and respect of all?
But that gift of uncertainty is one God gave us as well. He gave Mary many gifts he also gave us. The gift of choice. The gift of love. The gift of hope. The gift of belief. The gift of faith. The gift of motherhood.
That last one might be difficult for men to wrap their heads around. Maybe they’d rather think of it as fatherhood.
It does not work that way.
 
First, Mary nurtured Him in her womb during her pregnancy. We also nurture Him in us: in our hearts. He starts very small like the oft spoken of seed, and as we feed Him by learning more about Him and trying to live as He did, He matures to the point we’re ready to “give birth”… to live more fully our faith. Think of this stage as the conversion states: the time leading up to becoming a Christian or a member of the Church… confirmation, RCIA, First Communion…
Next is the raising Him stage; we feed Him, clothe Him, and make sure HE doesn’t stick His fingers in the electrical outlet. When we feed Him, He’s feeding us the love that only a God who died for us can have. As we clothe Him, He’s clothing us with the garments of understanding of His works. And while we’re making sure He doesn’t get into trouble, He’s teaching to not to get in trouble, teaching us to avoid sin and the devil.
This is the discipleship stage.
Lastly is the letting Him strike out and adventure on His own stage but that isn’t what happens. He is with us always. We are comfortable in our relationship with Him. We are both adults. We, the caretakers of the acorn that grew into a mighty oak, are mature in our faith. We journey side-by-side through the foothills as we make our way to the highest peak. It’s there that is His home and that He invites us, in full communion with Him, to help in the ministry.
When we feed the poor, He is there. When he heal the afflicted, He is there, When we visit the prisoner, He is there.
He is there in us, with us, and with those we are helping and touching in our lives.
I do’t have an equivalency for this stage. I supposed you could equate it to the Buddhist enlightenment, the Hindu’s nirvana, or the secularist’s heaven-on-earth. Maybe this is what it means to become a saint.
Or maybe it’s just another stop on God’s path for us.

 

Worked into a fury

In 1942, the U.S. government moved more than 100,00 people of Japanese ancestry living on the internment campsmainland to camps across the country. These were called internment camps, and 62% of the internees were United States citizens.

They were forced to move from the West Coast (which had military bases and ports), to inland with the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The fear was they were spies for the Japanese military and passing on secrets about the U.S. military’s movements and plans.

 

Starting in 1867, the U.S. Congress passed a series of acts and amendments providing blacks with the right to vote and elect their own political leaders. They also passed an act in 1875 that forbade racial segregation in accommodations. However, once occupation troops left the South, there was nothing that could be done to fight what was a growing movement of “separate but equal.” Black kids were sent to separate schools. Blacks had to sit on the back ofsegregation the bus. The had separate lunch counters, public restrooms, hospitals, and water fountains.

It wasn’t just in the South, although a majority of what history tells us is from the racism that to this day runs rampant in the South. Remember – history is written by the winners. Across the country to this day, blacks more often live in different neighborhoods than whites. They’re still less like to go on to college, although that’s changing more rapidly. Even when you look at professionals like doctors and lawyers, you’re more likely to see someone with light skin.

 

After many of the Founding Fathers moved from politics, retired and died, and as the country grew into its own, things started to change. In 1824, President James Monroe approved the first plans for Native American removal laid before him by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. In January 1825, Monroe requested the creation of the Arkansas Territory and Indian Territory. Those tribes and nations east of the Mississippi were to voluntarily exchange their lands for lands west of the river.

trail of tearsThe House of Representatives killed it. However, President John Quincy Adams resurrected the Calhoun-Monroe policy. But the delegation from Georgia refused to go along with the plan, forcing Adams to make a treaty with the state’s Creeks and Cherokees.

Andrew Jackson became president. Instead of treating each group as separate nations, he lumped them together. He doggedly pursued ways to force the people from the land. Those plans claimed constitutional sovereignty and independence from state laws. Native Americans were forced to exchange eastern for western… to areas where their laws could be sovereign without state interference.

Congress approved the Indian Removal Bill, and Jackson signed it into law 1830. But it was only authorizing the president to negotiate land exchange treaties. The Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw all eventually negotiated for lands in the west or money.

The Seminoles in Florida refused to leave their lands and fought as long as they could. Eventually they would call a truce. Some left for the west. Others moved deeper into the Everglades.

The Cherokee were forced out their lands due to abuse by government officials and some sneakiness. A small faction of Cherokee tribe members – but not the tribal leadership – signed the Treaty of New Echota for lands out west. It was after that the Cherokee were forced west and walked what’s now called the Trail of Tears.

 

Americans have had a long history of self entitlement and fear of the unknown. Look at what’s happening today with the fear and hatred shown toward the Syrian refugees. Governors from several states have come out – telling the federal government not to send refugees to their states.

In Indiana, two refugee families were diverted to Connecticut after it was discovered they were headed there.  The state told two Christian charities, one being Catholic Charities of the Diocesesyrian refugees of Indianapolis, to alert the refugee placement agencies they work with that they were NOT ALLOWED to accept any refugees.

In Tennessee, the state House GOP Caucus Leader said it’s time to send the National Guard to politely round up any Syrian refugees already in the state and take them to the nearest Immigration and Customs Enforcement Center and tell them that they’re their problem now, and they’re not allowed back in Tennessee.

In Roanoke, Virginia, the mayor said that any Syrian refugees were not welcome. In a letter he wrote “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Dude, first of all, it’s ISIS, not Isis. Second of all – wut? Yes, he was saying we should send the refugees to internment camps.

Do you know what internment camps are just another name for? Concentration camps. Yes, I went there. We already have enough fear-mongering and people who refuse to educate themselves and understand.

Yes, we should be aware, alert, and worried about what happened in Paris. Yes, we should educated ourselves about what’s happening in the world.

But that doesn’t mean that a terrorist with a fake passport stating he’s from Syria means we should become racists that don’t help our neighbor.

Didn’t Jesus say we should love our neighbor as ourselves? And love thine enemy? And what about Christian Charity and Mark 25?

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed matthew 25you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (NIV Translation)
But even putting aside the Christian arguments, what happened to the United States? What happened to our pride in accepting people who want to pursue the American Dream? What happened to a country founded by immigrants? What happened to the melting pot?

 

So, this happened today…

I went to St. Joseph’s Church in the city today. Another gorgeous, gorgeous church.

You can tell it a bit by the video.

Anyway, they celebrated the 90th birthday of a long-time parishioner. In fact, I’m told that until a couple years ago, she helped keep the church clean!

This sort of thing would only happen in New Orleans.