The Beauty of the Faith

God. He’s amazing! He’s majestic; He’s perfect; He’s mysterious; He’s above us. He tells us so in Isaiah 55, where it’s written, “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” We can study. We can pray. We can try to be kind and good and love our neighbor. But no matter how hard we work, no matter how hard we try, He will always be a mystery we can never really quite grasp.

That’s one of the things I love about Him, and it’s one of the reasons I love my Faith.

You see, to me, the mystery of Catholicism–the fact that it’s just too much to ever really fully understand–the fact that we could study it all our lives, line every wall of our homes with bookshelves full of good Catholic books, actually read them, and still never really “get” it all–that’s just one more facet of Catholicism that reflects God’s heart so well that this millennia-old Faith could have only been crafted by God Himself. Catholicism is a perfectly mysterious reflection of a perfectly mysterious God–a God who lets us understand only as much as He deems good for us. A God who leaves the parts hidden that we couldn’t handle yet. A God we can never completely understand and whose love for us is beyond our reason.

So–God’s majesty–His mystery-the way He stays above us–those are things that always speak to me of His beauty and, because the Catholic Faith reflects that element of Him so well, they speak to me, too, of the fact that Catholicism is a wonderful gift from Him. The beautiful mystery of this Faith is like the wrapping paper He put around it when He gave it to us–both to hide the contents and to be His signature. To prove it’s from Him.

But there’s something else, too, that speaks to me of Catholicism being truth. And that’s the opposite quality–the humility of it. God reaches down to us in whatever simple way we will understand…knowing that we are incapable of reaching all the way up to Him. He does it every single day, for all of us, in the Eucharist. Can you imagine–the greatest King ever known, actually hiding His glory so that we can look upon Him without being harmed by the sheer power of it? Can you imagine the One Who, with one word, calmed the seas– coming to us every single day under the appearance of common bread and wine so that even the poorest of the poor can share in His life? Wow.

Only Christ, with His heart for us, could come up with that! The humility of it all–it speaks so well of the humility of Christ Himself. It couldn’t come from anyone but Him…and we have it right there, in John 6: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Catholicism–both majesty AND humility!…or, in other words, Isaiah 55 and John 6, all wrapped up in one simple–yet incomprehensible–gift! Thank You, Lord!

To the Mom in Mass with Three Little Ones

(Originally posted November 16, 2014)

I saw you.

You, the husband-less mom who rushed into Mass just after the entrance hymn and sat your three little ones down in the first empty seats you spotted.

You, with the still-damp hair, the fussy baby, the two-year-old little boy carrying his pet monkey, and the chubby-cheeked little girl whose hair you had carefully braided instead of drying your own.

I saw you come in with a diaper bag, your purse, and a “Big Bag o’ Stuff for the Kids to Do” all slung across one shoulder, bouncing off your hip with each step. You had to do it that way, because in your other arm was the baby.

You were herding the baby’s brother and sister into the pew with whispers that you knew we could all hear.

You were trying. You were mothering. You were leading your children, in those whispers you knew we could all hear, to God.

I saw the way you spent the whole hour coaching, teaching, comforting, refereeing, nursing, taking all three children to the potty for the sake of the one who really had to go, and never getting a solid minute alone with God. Instead, you were teaching your children to find Him.

And they’ll learn, from the way you’re planting these patient little seeds of faith in their hearts now, that God loves them…and that the Mass is the best place to go to draw closer to Him. They’ll be able to feel His deep love for them, largely because He helped you to show them your love, in His house…

…while you were picking up all the things and putting them back into the “Big Bag o’ Stuff to Do”…again.
…while you were taking all three to the potty for the sake of the one who really had to go…
…while you were shushing and nurturing and refereeing in whispers…
….while you were doing your best, amidst the struggles of an imperfect situation, to lead three little souls to God.

Faith Spoken Simply

(Originally posted November 8, 2014)

In the nearly thirteen years since I’ve come home to my Faith–the Faith I wish I’d stayed with my whole life!–I’ve met some really, really great people. Quiet people (like me:-)), loud people, people who could easily emcee a New York dinner for someone reeeeaaally important, and people who preferred to just stay in their tiny little comfortable circles of friends. The thing that has made them all good friends, though, is that they took the time to sit and talk with me–and teach me about this Faith that’s two thousand years old. I’ve had the blessing of sitting at so many kitchen tables–across three counties here in our neck of the woods–and soaking in the great Catholic wisdom these wonderful people had hidden in their hearts. They’ve taught me about papal encyclicals, Scripture, the Catechism, Sacred Tradition, the saints, mercy, and love. They’ve prayed the Rosary with my children and me; they’ve held my crying babies so I could receive Communion; they’ve warned me away from sin. Four of them are priests; many of them are moms battling for their families deep in the trenches alongside me; some are parents with empty nests; some are elderly. All of them have a beautiful way of doing their best to live according to Church teaching. For thirteen years now, these wonderful people have poured out on me the greatest treasure they had–their deep Faith.

Now, I’d like to try to honor them–by sharing this Faith with you. So here I am, writing at my kitchen table, and I ask you to join me at yours. Grab a cup of coffee and a cookie or two, and pull up a chair. I’ll say a little prayer each time and then do my best to say these things right, hoping the way they come across will be a blessing to you. It’s faith spoken simply.