I knew my legs would be shaking

9 Feb

I wanted to pick the perfect white dress and I wanted to go alone. I knew I would know it when I saw it, and didn’t want any help. None the less, when you go into a store like that, help is all your going to get, and lots of it. A lady took one look at me and squealed, “I have the perfect gown”! She pulled out a tight fitting , ivory, mermaid shaped gown. I shook my head and told her what I wanted was a tea length in bright white. She looked disappointed. I found the perfect dress, with a sweetheart neckline , fitted waist and big poofy bottom. It looked like it was made for me. I ended up buying two pairs of white shoes. One pair had high heels while the other was lower and way more comfortable. I wasn’t sure how nervous I might be walking down the aisle. Especially since I’d be going to the Basilica of Saint’s Peter and Paul in Center City Philadelphia!
When the big day came, I opted for the lower heels, I was a nervous wreck. I knew my legs would be shaking. My mom and my best friend Julie helped me fluff my dress and pin a simple veil to my head.”J” was already at the front of the church. I couldn’t stop looking at all the beautiful statues and artwork, it was amazing. This was the most incredible church, I never knew there was anything like this. Such a holy place. It was time to walk up. I paced myself and kept my eyes on the feet in front of me, when she reached the fifth pew, I started down the aisle. It was surreal. Confirmandi were coming down every aisle. Cardinal Kroll was there to welcome us all into the church. I was going to be confirmed and receive my first Eucharist. I couldn’t stop shaking. When it was time, I went up and the Cardinal made an indellible mark on my forehead with chrism in the sign of the cross. I received the Holy Spirit, I was marked as one of God’s, finally. The mass was so beautiful, and at communion, we all went up before the rest of the guests to receive the Eucharist. I flashed back to Andy’s pier on Long Beach Island NJ, when I held my sand dollar up to the sun, between my thumbs and index fingers. The Cardinal held the host up in just the same way. He said” The Body of Christ”. I said “Amen” and received our Lord for the first time. Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.

I the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry

9 Feb

On Sunday, I sat a little closer this week. I still felt uneasy,like I didn’t belong there.My engagement ring really sparkled in the sunlight coming through the stained glass. I noticed something really cool. On the flat top of my diamond, the Blessed Mothers reflection was coming from the window and was showing up on the flat top of my ring. Note to self, always sit here, and I did. I couldn’t stop staring at Jesus on the cross. I was thinking about the crown of thorns. The torture, the name calling, the pain and humiliation. They really had no idea. It was God himself, that they whipped and scourged, ridiculed, then killed. He knew it was going to happen, and He suffered it. Just a week before, He came into town like a rock star. Everyone had heard of Him. He had quite a reputation, a good one. They heard about the miracles, and the things He was saying about heaven and God. They lined the streets just to see Him. Giant crowds growing faster everyday. They threw their coats down in the street, kind of like rolling out the red carpet for some-one important. They waved palm branches saying Hosana, Hosana in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosana in the highest.I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to the mass, while I daydreamed about Jesus riding into town on a donkey, of all animals! Why not a stallion? I listened to music being played, I was listening to everyone singing a song, the words were making me feel like crying, “Here I am Lord, is it I Lord, I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord , if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart”. Pretty soon,I would get to go up there and receive the Eucharist. It was exciting and frightening at the same time. Would I ever feel worthy? I asked Father Carey what the alter boys were doing with the brass plate on a stick. He called it a patan. He said, you wouldn’t want even a crumb to fall, so they hold the patan right under their mouth.It truly is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. With a twinkle in his eye, Father Carey told me that if someone tried to receive in their hand, he had instructed the alter boys to just hold the patan over top of their hands so that they had to receive on the tongue. That’s how he wanted me to receive communion, on the tongue. So I nodded and said, “ok”.

Just let Him in

28 Jan

Unless in the first waking moments of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on the wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.
– Oswald Chambers

And so, I took a sullen women back to my station. I asked her how I should cut her hair. She said it didn’t matter. “Ofcourse it matters, would you like to look at some pictures?”I said. She just shrugged. She said, “I was hoping to give myself a little lift, by getting a hair cut, but I don’t have the energy to care, just do what you want.”” Really?, ” I said.”What I want is to let you know this hair cut is going to be the start you need to turn yourself around, ok?” Lets go, get ready to feel good”. I brought her back to the shampoo bowl, and while I messaged her scalp I asked the Holy Spirit to stay with this one, don’t let go of her. I don’t know why she is in pain, but I know she is. I handled her with tender compassion, I made her hair beautiful, but mostly, I prayed. I didn’t want to pry, I didn’t know her.She was watching me in the mirror. She said” do you mind if I ask you something?” I said “sure, go ahead”.
She said, ” Are you a relgious person?” I was kind of stunned, but I said “Yes, I am, why do you ask?”
She said, “I feel like I can see God in you” Wow, that shocked me! “Um, He just shines through people, I’ve seen him in some people too, I know what you mean, but you surprise me to say you can see Him in me, no-one has ever given me a bigger compliment. He just got through to me recently, I think you see peace on my face, I feel at peace.” “I need that peace”, she said. “You’ll get it, just let Him in.”

I feel like I have my sight back

24 Jan

I feel like I have my sight back. The same point of veiw that I had as a child. Only then it was blind faith, based on what I thought was obvious and logical. Now, I have an arsenal of information , my faith is valid. I feel like I uncovered a mystery.My heart knew, but I didn’t know there was a whole book at the time. The book confuses me. It’s more than a book. It’s a shame that by the time I was growing up that, there were’nt prayers in school. We didn’t learn the ten commandments, and no one could mention God. I want to know how God became unconstitutional.If things don’t change fast hardly anyone in the future will know Him. Less and less people are exposed, in less and less places. Father Carey didn’t seem too concerned. I tried to tell him there really are a lot of people that don’t know a thing about God. I grew up around them, I feel sad for them that they haven’t figured it out. More confusion, my friend Jodi was jewish, and believed in God but not Jesus.She only had the old testament and she said Jesus isn’t in her bible.I asked her who Isaiah 53 is about. And so I spread my confusion into her world.

I’ve always been honest with him up until now

21 Jan

I have always been honest with Father Carey up until now.I didn’t want to tell him that I only gave him half of the confession. The preist from Saint Andrews said I didn’t have to confess anything that I told him, it was all gone now. So I didn’t feel the need to bring it up. My next sacraments were confirmation and first holy communion. He asked me if I had thought about a confirmation name. I had. It was Elizabeth. He wondered why I chose Elizabeth. He liked the answer.When Mary came to visit Elizabeth,at the sound of her voice the child in her womb lept for joy. She knew God was there without being told, she just knew it. I knew it too.

I just didn’t have the heart

21 Jan

It was time for my first penance. I examined my conscience. I undersood that Father Carey was just going to be sitting in for Jesus, and I would essentially be wispering into the ear of God. With all the same power He gave to the original apostles, my sins would be able to be forgiven. But I was just sick over it. Over all this time we’ve spent together, I could tell Father Carey had really grown to like me. Now I had to dredge up 23 years worth of sins.I didn’t want to tell him. I didn’t want to disappoint him. I didn’t understand how this worked. He wouldn’t have held a grudge.So there we were face to face.” Bless me Father for I have sinned, this is my first confession. I guess I’ll start with younger years and go from there? He nodded. Although I left out the worst of what I’d done, it still took awhile to go through it all. He absolved me from my sins , but I knew it wasn’t any good. I didn’t tell him the whole truth. I went straight out of there and drove toward work early. I stopped at Saint Andrews Catholic Church. A preist was in the office that I walked into.The secretary asked if she could help me, I told her I needed to see a preist. He heard me, and asked “how can I help you?” I sobbed, “could you please hear my confession?” He took me into the church and showed me the confessional, I stayed behind the screen. ” Bless me Father for I have sinned it has been two hours since my last confession, let me explain…I told him everything. Everything, I just didn’t have the heart to say before. I was exhausted, emotionally drained. He absolved me of my sins and gave me a penance, I walked out of there in a state of grace. The feeling was incredible.

I was a throw away too

21 Jan

I think it was a gift to meet Joyce’s friend the other day. It helped to remind me not to get pulled back down, when I’m hurting about my father. You would think he wouldn’t even cross my mind because he’s not in my life, but that is precisely why he does.There are no words to express the pain that comes with that rejection.I guess if you could say it in words there would be no need for tears. I used to define myself by his rejection, I had no worth.I was a throw away too. Thanks to Father Carey, I found out the truth.I used to walk down this same street to the cafe everyday, avoiding eye contact, shoulders slumped.I would order coffee,by then they knew how I liked it, and I didn’t have to repeat myself because I spoke too low. Things have changed so much. Just this walk to the cafe. This is my street. This is my town. Good morning!