A Phone Conversation

I received a letter last Monday, the 16th, from Mother superior informing me that I should really call the Novice Mistress, or if that’s inconvenient, to email her. The irony is that I sent a letter because there was no response from the email I sent her two weeks ago. I called and let Sister know when she could call me.

She called on Thursday (traditional Corpus Christi). In the middle of an initial session with a client and her parents. This kid needs a lot of prayer, her parents, more. Anyway, the call went to voicemail.

So I called later after Mass and Eucharistic procession, around 10pm. We did eventually speak on Friday the 20th. She told me about how they still maintain duties for hospitality because they follow the Order of St. Augustine; they are a “daughter” of a religious order over here. Sister spoke frequently of “if you’re a serious discerner” and “you could come visit”. Sister seemed to be understanding of my work schedule, but suggested visiting on the weekends. I may be able to find a time to visit for 4-5 days (especially if I take advantage of weekends), perhaps as early as the middle of July. I’ve also received a copy of the “simple” vocation questionnaire. I can answer most of these easily, I’m only concerned about how to phrase the response about my family.

I need prayers for this.

I spent time today driving to Hermosa Beach to speak with my spiritual director about this, but he had a previous task which ran late; it was cancelled after I got to the residence. Since I don’t know when I’ll be speaking with him, I didn’t feel confident in thinking about it (I like to do my thinking while hiking). Instead, I cleaned my room. I have a ton of junk: chargers with nothing to charge, an ereader without a charger, books, 3 trashbags of clothes, jewelry, etc. It took all day and a set of plastic containers from Target to sort, organize & clear up. I also found my old vocation story and acceptance letter. Heh! That was strange; I felt like I was reading about someone else, and back then, still living at home and hampered, I was someone else. I’m not going to use any of the previous materials in this questionnaire, since I’m more fully myself today than I was in 2008.

Please keep me in your prayers; the spiritual attacks are, well, you know how they get difficult.

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Oh, St. Joseph!

Do you have an absolute favorite saint?

Perhaps you pray to him/her, wear their medal & frequently ask help.

And there’s the other saint who surprises you.

Seemingly out of nowhere.

My favorites are Ss. Anthony, Benedict & Michael

I ask help of some additional ones like St Dr Guiseppe Moscati

And, there’s St. Joseph.

He’s so quiet – literally in the Gospels; only sometimes being addressed in private devotions. Over the years, I’ve read many stories about the miraculous staircase to the nun’s choir loft, of real estate breakthroughs, jobs found, etc. I never really understood it, how do you get attached to a Saint of which you have no personal reflections? No writings? Almost no presence? Does it not strike anyone else of how funnily he’s absent from the Gospels and we know nothing after the Angel tells him the Child is in danger? Yet, there’s always a statue of him somewhere in every church? He’s hotly contended in tradition: old vs youthful, assumed into heaven or not; how he came to be Mary’s chaste Spouse; so forth.

Years ago, when I was trying to process the reality of my brother’s abortion (my sister & I were informed via her Confirmation letter), I sought the advice of a Christian leader of a student religious group and she wisely suggested naming my brother to make him “more real” and less abstract. The processing stopped there for several years, simply naming him Joseph. But that’s where I got to know St. Joseph. In the past 3-4 years in which I’ve been attending the TLM, I’ve been praying to St  Joseph, asking him help in the grieving and adapting process pertaining to the loss of my brother. I prayed his Litany every Sunday, without fail. Eventually, I came to reflect on more than just the loss of my brother, but on him who is Terror of Demons or Lover of Poverty, and Mirror of Patience. Holy cats, that’s what leaks through the silence surrounding him! There’s also the prayer at the end of the litany asking him to be our lord and protector on earth as he protected the Christ-Child & our Lady; to protect the Church from error.

Now, especially on Sundays, I’ve taken to adding on the prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary, which is typically for October, but that’s been good overall. And finally, my spiritual director told me I should say a novena for my vocation. He didn’t to whom or any other restrictions. I figured, why create a new devotion when I already one. So I ventured down to the local massive Catholic store and got two prayer cards (size, plastic & weight of a gift card) one from Padre Pio & one from St. Joseph. The St. Joseph one had to be said for 9 mornings which is hard for me to manage because I’m a school-based therapist, my mornings are eat-wash up-drive; they’re not very leisurely. So I messed up, but I put in my nine mornings, and that day (actually about 12 days after starting) someone name-dropped a particular monastery. I put them on the list along with 4 other places that were attractive to me; and narrowed it down to just 2 places during my last meeting with my spiritual director. However, if I’m actually trusting St. Joseph to pick the place for me, why do I have two places listed? A plan b does not say trust!

Nope, just one place. I got impatient with sending Mother Superior an email, so I also sent a hand-written note.

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interest and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do help me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son and spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms, I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls – pray for us. Amen.

ASH #9: A bet with God

God, a deity, who is supposed to be bigger, badder and better than me, or you. I suppose because I’ve never seen him. Although I have a tome of 73 books that I read at breakfast & dinner that tells me so. Yet (most) of these authors don’t see Him either. I’m hopelessly falling into the David vs. Goliath cliche with this, but I’ve got enough vinegar to not care. Oh, you don’t care for vinegar….some vodka then? Dern not vodka, fine yo-yo, I’ll give you single malt scotch whiskey. So yeah, this quiet social worker with her scotch takes on God. Lemme back up for a minute, I wasn’t always a social worker or a scotch imbiber, those come with time. But a bet with God, the one and only Deity in my life, shot that’s just tomfoolery. Yet, I made it. I was fresh out of life (like that feeling you have when you’re out of tp and you gotta go?). How in tarnation I was standing, breathing or moving…must’ve been God’s Will ‘cuz it sure as heck not mine. Nosiree in 2005, living took too much effort. My mind & craw were jammed full of other thoughts like pills, death, funerals and what color roses would cover a fresh mound of dirt. God would have it that I practically wander into the funeral Mass for someone I once knew, and make a bet – more like a threat:

I’m giving you one last chance. It better be good, because I can’t live like this. If it’s not good, I’m gone. I’ll leave you for good.

Er, what? Some chick blackmailed God. If He wanted/wants me, He’ll have to come and get me. Otherwise I’d crossover to the not-so Catholic side of things. It’s hard to tell who’s winning, but I’ll let Him claim it.

Prayer Request ASAP

I have a friend who is doing a summer internship for her Master’s program in Lusaka Africa. She’s had some recent injuries following an assault in a hotel by the hotel management. She is also unable to file charges due to corruption in the police system. Her name is Kerri and has self-treated what is possibly a sprained or broken finger, swollen wrist with bruises and infected scratches. Please pray for her & the country of Lusaka which clearly needs assistance.

Side by Side

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What can you do when the person you counted on the most to be there for you, leaves the seat next to you empty?

I’ve been living in the lurch for the past 4 years, the most recent past 3 years being quite difficult. God stopped responding. I kept plodding along, perhaps not as well as others would hope, but forward nonetheless. Yet my professional and personal lives have fostered an anxiety, hopping from one crisis to the next. Jittery and shaky as this made my life, without God constantly interacting I was lost. So I sat down on a rock and waited.

I’m still waiting. I’ve got my Guardian Angel for company, but I’m looking for Him.