Tag Archives: Catholic

Hopeful waiting.

It’s the day before Easter and I’m sitting at our kitchen table at the Cape.  The house is quiet in a way that it is almost never quiet.  

hopeful waiting

Nick and Grace went to run errands, picking up bird seed and putting air in our running stroller tires.  Baby Nick is napping.  And Clark is perched on a side table (definitely not allowed, but I’m not in a rule enforcing mood), keeping watch over the neighborhood.

As soon as Nick was asleep, I started checking items off my list.  We have family coming down for the holiday and I am buzzing with excitement.  I set out our dishes and started thinking about what would go where.  I rearranged items in the fridge and pretended like I had functioning spacial relations skills (I don’t).  I contemplated ironing the tablecloths, but

  1.  LOL, NO. 
  2. I don’t think we have an iron at this house

I was four or five items in on the list when something grabbed my attention– a bird chirping in the yard or a neighbor out walking (our weekend life on the Cape is so different from our regular life in the city).

I decided to scrap the list (for now) and just listen.  

There are so many pieces (big and small) of the Easter story to meditate and pray on that I think I could start and never be done (and for sure, my list would remain unfinished).  But it’s the hopeful waiting that I’m feeling especially aware of today– the way that faith can carry us forward because we know there is good to be found (and celebrated), the way it can help us transform times of worry, anxiety, stress or restlessness.

I have such a tendency to fill the time, as if doing, doing, doing would speed us along to the next thing.  (Though most often, it feels as if life is speeding ahead and I’m hanging on to the tailgate… and not in a cool, like, stunt-person-on-a-skateboard way.)  When was the last time you really sat still?  It seems like a luxury, I know.  But is it?

I sat in that place of hopeful waiting for some time (I lost track… mostly because I had also lost my phone, which also serves as my clock… and like 900 other things).

The baby will be waking up soon, and Grace and Nick will be bounding in the door shortly.  Clark may or may not fall off the side table in excitement.  My sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be arriving soon too, and the house will be filled with happy noise.  It will be even more full tomorrow.

Eventually I’ll get around to labeling which food goes on which platter (I’m not ready to show my entire deck of neurotic cards just yet).  I’ll head out to the store, finish stuffing the eggs for tomorrow’s hunt, and go for a run.  We will help Grace dye her eggs (they’ve finally cooled down) and watch her attempt to play fetch with Clark as Nick trails behind them.

I might feel the day getting ahead of (or away from) me, but there is still so much to look forward to… so I will come back to that place of hopeful waiting.  And the place of no ironing, too.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Passover, Easter + Springtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your mind today?

 

Today: Habemus Papam.

If you speak a dead language or dropped everything yesterday at approximately 3:30 EST to watch a live feed from the Vatican, you know that habemus papam means “Ladies and gentlemen, we haaaaave a pope.”  (I added the ladies and gentlemen part.)  We don’t have just any old pope, we have our first Jesuit pope, and our first pope from a continent other than Europe since the Middle Ages.  I like firsts.  It means we’re making progress.  Usually.

As I watched Pope Francis I make his way onto the balcony, overlooking tremendous crowd that had gathered in St. Peter’s Square, I couldn’t help but feel great hope for our Church.

Gasson Hall at Boston College, snapped mid-way through my last 20 miler before the 2011 ING NYC Marathon. Took a little break to pray. And take photos. And swear. And consider taking the T back to Southie.

When I was a nerdy exchange student in high school, I had the incredible fortune of attending an audience with Pope John Paul II.  I was sixteen, and no taller than I am now (I suppose that goes without saying?), and could barely see over the heads of those in front of me.  We waited for the pope to emerge, and many around us chanted “Viva il Papa.”  When he spoke his first words to the room, I burst into tears.  I don’t really know why, other than I just knew this was an important moment.  There was a Swiss guard at the end of our row of seats who must have witnessed my, um… moment, if you will.  He kindly rushed over and encouraged me to stand on my chair, so that I could see better.

Having grown up Catholic, I’ve had a number of defining moments when it comes to my faith (bear with me, and I promise I am not trying to covert nor terrify anyone).  That was certainly one of them.  Most have been much less glamorous or dramatic.  Some have been more challenging than uplifting.  There have been times when I’ve worried that my convictions, which seem so opposite to the Church’s teachings, make me less Catholic.  Or that things are too broken.  I’ve seen suffering that has broken my heart.  But I have also witnessed the good, the grace, the humility and the community that are the real foundations of our faith.

When I was a freshperson at Fordham (before transferring to BC… I took a sort of a mini tour of the Jesuit universities of the Northeast), one of my professors made us write AMDG (short hand for ad majorem Dei gloriam, the Jesuit motto which means “for the greater glory of God”), next to our names, on all of our assignments.  At first I thought it was just a formality, but I soon realized it was a sort of accountability practice (and possibly the sneakiest guilt trip ever).  Was I really going to offer up some piece of crap paper for the greater glory of God?  Nope.  Well, not in good conscience at least.

I worked harder in that class than I had before.  Those four letters, and the message behind them, have had application well beyond my class assignments.  They’ve informed my real life work, my relationships, my interactions with strangers, my political and social beliefs, and so on.  Samesies (sorry, had to bring it down a notch) for other tenets of Ignatian spirituality (St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuit order) – including the Daily Examen, vocational discernment, and a commitment to social justice.  Oh, and the Jesuits don’t take life too seriously. (Click here for proof.) That helps.

People are not perfect, and so our leadership will never be perfect.  But if we focus on the basics (the good, the grace, the humility and the community that I mentioned before), and share responsibility in caring for one another, I think we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Needless to say, I am feeling hopeful.  (I wanted to write popeful so badly, but I am attempting to practice restraint.  It is Lent, after all.)

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite college course?  What else rhymes with pope?

 

Today: Our wedding Mass.

Let’s get down to wedding business, shall we? I truly appreciate all the kind comments and tweets and am excited to catch you up on our wedding and honeymoon over several hundred posts.  And yes, I promise to tell you all about those killer bridesmaids dresses.  While I was extremely excited for our reception (and the aforementioned dresses), the highlight was definitely the moment we exchanged vows and our marriage became “official.”

For Catholics, many – if not most – of life’s greatest milestones are marked by the seven holy sacraments.  Since I will never receive the sacrament of holy orders (obvi), that leaves six:

  • Baptism
  • Eucharist
  • Reconciliation
  • Confirmation
  • Holy Matrimony
  • Anointing of the Sick

Holy Matrimony (or the sacrament of marriage, if you’re feeling casual) is a public sign of giving oneself totally to your partner, while also making a commitment to our faith.  Because Nick and I have such a warm, welcoming faith community, our decision to get married at our parish, St. Cecilia, was an easy one.

Our wedding rehearsal [this photo and the truly special one at the bottom of this post were taken by my lovely friend Kristine]

In the months leading up to our wedding, we met with our pastor and our pastoral associate (he was also our cantor and coordinated our Mass).  We requested our baptismal certificates from the churches where we were baptized – mine from Hyde Park and Nick’s from Lowell.  [Catholic fun (?) fact: The parish where you were baptized – most likely as an infant – keeps all of your official records regardless of if/when you join a new parish.  Most records are still kept by hand.]  We completed a day-long marriage preparation class (often referred to as pre-Cana) at The Paulist Center in Boston, which focused on conversations about faith, finances, and relationships.  I had no idea what to expect going into the process, but truthfully, we had an overwhelmingly positive experience.  We are really lucky to have found a home in our parish and the people that make up that community.

For the Mass itself, we were encouraged to choose the readings and music that best spoke to us and our relationship.  Not surprisingly, we chose readings and songs about love (truly creative, I know) and joy and peace.  In addition to our bridesmaids and groomsmen, we had a chance to involve family members in a special way at our Mass.  We chose two readings from the New Testament that I adore.  Ordinarily a Catholic Mass includes one Old Testament reading and one New Testament reading, but most of our OT (…if I may) options were a little too “wife, obey your husband” for us.  I do what I want.

After the Gospel reading (John 15:9-12), Fr. John gave such a touching homily.  I am so grateful for the way he welcomed our family and friends, and shared bits and pieces of our conversation with him in the days leading up to the wedding.  He talked about the things we love most about one another and reminded us how important it is to continue to “bring these words to speech.”

[Photo taken by Tina… and snatched from her blog]

I managed to keep my composure (mostly), but teared up a number of times throughout Mass.  The music and readings were just perfect.  Being walked toward the altar by my father, and seeing so many loved ones on each side of the aisle, was incredible… especially knowing that Nick was waiting for me just a few yards away.  To have so many people gathered around us as we exchanged vows was such a gift.  At the risk of sounding like a cheese doodle, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we felt that day.

Who knows.

Overwhelmed… and ready to dance.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your signature dance move?

Today: The calm before the storm.

It would seem like Hurricane Sandy is the real deal, and is set to reach Boston tomorrow morning, so I spent much of today doing any and everything that requires electricity.  Like laundry.  And charging anything that comes with a charger.  I tracked down our flashlights and candles, filled the gas tank, picked up my prescriptions, and bought enough bananas to last us the week.

With six days until our wedding, I’m rather inclined to panic.  What if our caterer or venue loses power?  Or like, what if we lose power, but then get it back, and I plug in my MacBook and we have a power surge and the list that says who is having chicken and who is having pumpkin ravioli gets zapped?  Because I’ve vowed to worry less, though, I’m choosing to stay calm.  That means lots of mint tea and snuggling with Clark, a change of nail polish, and showing up early to the six o’clock Mass.

Making it to church on Sunday night always helps me in that way.  Our parish’s commitment to social justice means so much to me, and helps me to start the week thinking of others, rather than myself.  I prayed that everyone will stay safe during and after the storm, and that I will get a life some perspective and stop focusing on things like table numbers.  I can be such a dingbat sometimes.  Speaking of numbers, if you’re a fellow Bostonian, be sure you have these important ones nearby.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you keep calm?

Today: Back floats and naps, box jumps and lunges.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a quick back float in Boothbay Harbor, I’m back and better than ever probably just my same old self.

Salt water is good for your soul.  So are naps, especially when you have a Frenchie to serve as your alarm clock.

We were only Downeast for 48 hours before returning to the city, but we made sure to get our fill of swimming, lounging, and snacking.

Nick and I had to get back to Boston for our day-long Pre-Cana (marriage prep for Catholics, required if you’re getting married in the church) on Saturday.  And, um, we were also anxious to catch as most of the Crossfit Games as possible.  God before wods, though… obviously.

I am in awe of how strong, fit and focused all of the competing athletes are.  Watching various parts of the Games served as great motivation.  We hit up Crossfit Southie together on Sunday morning and, though I am still scaling my workouts on the easier side, I completely crushed it, finishing in 6:17.  Apparently I have a strong affinity for box jumps and lunges.

[Image source]

They’re almost as much fun as back floats and naps.  Almost.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?