Write In Between

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The new edition of CANTICLE is out!

I'm honored to be one of the contributors in the March-April edition of Canticle, where you'll find my article, "Longing to Have Them Home."

New to Canticle? It's not your average women's magazine, but totally devoted to the totally devoted Catholic woman. Is that you? Get subscription details here. And by the way, Canticle is offering a free trial issue by calling 800-558-5452.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In other "blog break" news...

Under the subject of where the heck is she, and why is she not posting?

You may recall I'm taking a bit of a break from blogging to complete the course work for my Masters in Theology. I'm proud to say that I'm down to taking two last exams before March 1, I think it is kind of fitting that my last exam is in the subject matter of Eschatology (you know, the "Last Things"? Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.) Yup, it is rather ironic.

But then, after that final final exam........dare I say it?....I'm D-O-N-E.

That's right, sing it now: "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers... er, nevermind.

All that remains will be the COMP EXAM. The what, Pat? Oh, OKAY,

THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me? Nervous? nahhhh, never, ah , well, yup, ya got that right. Scared straight out of my eva lovin' mind!

I will be studying for that exam--the one that stands between me and my diploma-- for the next 6 weeks.

So, pray for me. The COMP is April 12th. I covet your prayers. Thank you, Thank you. Thank you.

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On Deliberate Detachment and Intentional Attachment

I’m no expert on keeping “a good Lent”. I’m just a Catholic trying to stay close to Jesus, my family, my community, and my Church. Even just typing that last sentence makes me squirm a bit, because if you met me last week, you’d probably say I wasn’t really making any headway in those categories.

So, for the sake of those moments when we all feel spiritually weak and immature, I’m here to say: Inch forward.

Leaping, striding, dashing headlong into trying to recover what’s left in Lent by gritting our teeth, being extra-extra mortifying or sacrificial, etc, etc… well, forget it. Inch forward.

What we really need is a way to keep moving forward, if only an inch at a time. It’s a humility to be little. To be… less. (Especially to be less successful than we thought we’d be.) John the Baptist said it best, referring to Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30.)

Less is more when you bring it to Jesus. He’s the great multiplier of whatever few “loaves and fish” we’ve got.

Remember the boy who gave up his lunch for Jesus? Andrew said to him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" (John 6: 8-9) Look what Jesus did with that little one-time sacrifice! Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to [the multitude] who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:11)

Remember what St. Therese of Lisieux recommends? "I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." C’mon now, a pin? I was thinking a little bigger than that…. but I wonder, could I really pick up a pin and do it in a loving way? If I’m honest about menial chores, (as my teenagers would say), I’m busted… the saints always get it right.

It all comes down to what I can do deliberately and intentionally. What can I do to deliberately detach myself from worldly goods? In what ways can I “give up a lunch” so Jesus might do more with it?

How can I intentionally attach myself to Jesus? In what ways can I “pick up pins for love”?

Better to skip lunch and make one prayerful, attentive daily Mass than (fill in the blank with something “extraordinary” I thought I might do for Lent.) Better to shut down the Internet and pick up my rosary with heartfelt devotion, than to (fill in the blank with what I thought sounded like a heroic Lenten practice.)

So, I’m inching along. None of what I might do this Lent will change the world. But it is supposed to change me. That way, come Easter, there might be an increase of Him, and a decrease of me. One lunch, one pin at a time: inch-by-inch.

©2008 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lent: for the bent

Sometimes we get bent over by the weight of life. It doesn't matter what causes it: infirmity, illness, stress, sadness, problems. We might even feel like we're already in a kind of Lent ... we may be already experiencing a kind of deprivation. How can the Church ask us to make any more sacrifices than we already are? Precisely. Why. We. Need. It.

We already know how hard life can be, and yes, sometimes we are downright bent over by the weight of it all. Like the woman in Luke 13: 11-13 (go read it, we'll wait), we need the touch of Jesus's hands so we don't have to be bent so out of shape. And we will find Jesus preaching in the temple of this holy season.

So, let us use what the Church recommends: more prayer, a fast, and giving alms and support to another. Each, in its own way, brings us face to face with Jesus. Each can allow us to hear the voice of Jesus calling out to us. Each "practice" can put us "in touch" with Jesus in a deeper way.

Lenten observances are not intended to add more weight to what we already carry, but to empty us of what is useless baggage.

Lord, Jesus, straighten what is bent in us, so we may stand tall and glorify you!

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