Sunday, December 30, 2007

me, me, me, it's all about me. you go away.

"No one is insignificant in the Father's plan. We all matter."

Fr. Gary Caster, author of "Mary in Her Own Words", made this statement just now on EWTN's Bookmarks show. It hit me like an rock that recognition and contemplation of "the Father's plan" is an always-available antidote to the inescapable self-centeredness in which we each inhabit our selves and live our lives.

We know, instinctively, that WE MATTER. We are intensely aware of our own significance to ourselves. If we have committed ourselves to Christ, we believe and try to grasp the reality that we are significant also to God. Our journey in life is one of dedicating our will, our reason, our senses and our actions towards living "not I but Christ in me".

But we still feel constantly that it's all about us. St. Benedict realized that the daily cycle of "ora and labora", prayer and work, could give us the repetition and order that we need in order to disabuse us of our reflexive self-centeredness. It helps us to daily remember that the Father's plan guides all of reality, and to re-align ourselves with that knowledge at the close of day, when we reflect on our lapses. I used to loftily abstain from daily morning and evening prayers, thinking that such routines were not for enlightened, spontaneous disciples like myself. Hah!

Gossip is a twisted interpretation of the reality Fr. Caster describes. When we gossip, we are making a feeble attempt to analyze the significance of the people who wander in and out of our lives either because we have chosen them, are born into their families, or encounter them in our jobs, neighborhoods and recreations.

Gossiping is a misguided way to feed the very real hunger to understand the significance of others, to see how this person or that person matters in the Father's plan. But most of the time when we gossip, we wind up measuring the people about whom we talk by our own inflated sense of significance, not by an objective understanding that they matter in the Father's plan.

When I was a kid, it was almost impossible for me to imagine that my brothers and sisters were as important to my mother as I was. I mean, how could they be? They weren't me!

Now, it is almost impossible for me to imagine that the people I hold in contempt are as significant to the Father's plan as am I. How could they be? They aren't me!

"No one is insignificant in the Father's plan. We all matter."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Born to be .... or, where have all the easy riders gone?

For all you aging baby boomers, and all you who cannot wait until we're all dead because we screwed things up so much..

Hilarious... Tip of the hat to my sister Marguerite for this one.

This is from Pulitzer Prize winning animator Walt Handelsman. Watch more of his animation here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hello, Rae of the past

I came across a poem today that I wrote in 1990. I was trying to incorporate all 7 sacraments into a single poem. What I like about the poem now is that it brings back to me the life I lead back then, when my kids were young and life was SO MUCH BUSIER but I was SO MUCH YOUNGER.

Poem of the Ordinary

As if this ordinary Monday
could be transformed one detail at a time,
I call to order ordinary items:

Kerosene heaters, flame on!
child go to bus stop!
husband get coffee!
teens mount your vehicles!
dog find your bush!
cat lick your dish out!
walkers get moving!

Warm clear sunlight,
invited in kitchen
coffee still strong
roasted beans, like vanilla.

Cup to my lips
offered now in communion.
Kiss at the doorway,
matrimonial tug.
Stairs to the shower
for morning baptism.
Sharp with the kids,
scrubby dub now for penance.
Dress now for work,
holy orders resplendent.
Anoint with perfume,
fragrant prayer against weariness.
Last cup of coffee,
a quick confirmation.
Let the cathedral
doors swing as I leave.

Two ordinary quiet
hours of waking;
sacrament Monday,
Your blessings received.