Take It All As Blessing
Consider the prodigal son. At the end of his time away from home he finds himself hollow, sad, and hungry. He recognizes the depth of his sin and his unworthiness of a place in his father’s house. This itself is grace.
– Tagged "Gratitude"
It’s a common saying around St. Isidore’s that in the church, the reward for good work is always more work. If you agree to help move chairs or set up for Mass, for example, there’s a real chance you may end up being asked to do that job next week as well. This seems to be a function of being as large and as much of an “all hands” type of endeavor as the Church: We rely on those able to serve being generous with those gifts.
Have you ever thought about what the first Christians were doing in the period between the Ascension and Pentecost, or what you would do in their place? It’s a fascinating exercise, to be confronted with the question “Christ is alive, what are you gonna do about it?”
This is not the same chapel I walked into for the first time three years ago. These are not the same walls. These walls have now heard my pleading prayers, raw emotions, and countless songs of praise. And not only from me, but also from so many other students, families, and K-Staters.
The words of the risen Christ to Mary Magdalene echo through the centuries into my own heart. Mary’s faith was strong and her friendship with Jesus was fierce. She had learned, over years of companionship with Jesus and His disciples, how to be in deep friendship with the Lord. I’m guessing they shared inside jokes and that she knew how to make Him belly laugh. She could probably recognize His footsteps and tell when He was feeling tired. Mary knew the living Christ, and she knew Him well. She was one of the few to stand at the foot of the cross in His last hours. Even to the end, Mary was prepared to give of her deepest self to the Lord.
“I’m sorry” is potentially the hardest phrase in the English language to say. No one wants to admit that they are wrong, made a mistake, or hurt another person. Friendships end because of an unwillingness to admit a wrong and say sorry.
However, there is another phrase that rivals this one for most difficult to utter: “I forgive you.” Rather than saying “I forgive you,” we often default to “it’s okay,” and that, my friends, is not okay.
One thing I have been working on recently is eliminating “it’s okay” from my vocabulary and integrating “I forgive you” in. My relationships are changing dramatically. Allow me to explain.
Despite landing on a Friday in the middle of Lent, today is a day of celebration throughout the Catholic Church, when we are not only allowed but expected to shake off our Lenten disciplines and celebrate. So, while I understand if you want to walk away now and break those fasts, I wanted to take this space to explain why it is that we feel St. Joseph is so worth celebrating, beyond the obvious reasons.
As I approach graduation from Kansas State, I am confronted daily with the ways I have changed since arriving here my freshman year. I remember being excited, nervous, and unsure of where exactly I would find a sense of belonging. Quickly, within the first week of my time at Kansas State, I realized I would find solace in a church on Denison. That church became a place where, even though I didn’t know a soul there most days, I felt comfortable. It was as if God kept drawing me near to Him in St. Isidore’s because He knew I would make friends there and come to share my love for that place with friends of my own that had yet to visit.
On the first day of Lent this year, I got the chance to accept a dream job. The next day, my friend surprised me with my favorite muffins for breakfast. Weeks of sudden spring weather have filled my hours with sunshine after some brutal winter days. A few weeks into this Lenten season, and it hasn’t looked much like the dry desert I expected.
I walked up the makeshift stairway to the new JPII loft at Saint Isidore’s the other day, and I was greeted by several sets of smiling eyes going the opposite way. As I opened the door to laughter and banter, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the surprising reality: there is still life happening here. Somehow, between sheetrock walls and makeshift stairs, friendships are being made, spiritual hunger is being fed, and hearts are being cared for.
To be Catholic, we are often told, is to live in tension. We are a “both/and” religion, comprised both of the eternal reality of our salvation, and the fleshy immediacy of Christ crucified. We are the pomp and majesty of the Organ and Choir, and the humbling sensation of accidentally sitting in the creakiest pew after a particularly stressful confession.
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