My Father’s Smile

My father has a wonderful quality: faith.

Recently I received an unexpected bill and was feeling frustrated. Just when I thought I was getting ahead! I aired my frustrations to him, and he quietly smiled.

Just seeing that relaxed me.

He reminded me that there will always be unexpected expenses in adulthood. It’s not something to despair over– just a part of life to accept and tackle. He’s confident that I will manage and overcome these situations as they arise, so I’m beginning to believe it.

It used to be that I wanted a partner who would embody those qualities in him.

But now, I am delightfully surprised to see them appearing in myself.

I rarely panic these days– even when I have just reason to be overly emotional. When I do, I get over it much quicker.

His gentle strength emanates. I’ve become a calmer woman.

Someone my friends rely on.

And today I’m relying on myself, more and more.

Yet I always know his advice is a phone call or a hug away– if I do need him.

He’s taught me that though I may fall, he’s not far away. He will always encourage me to get up and keep going. He will always smile at me.

When my belief falters, his bolsters.

Advertisements

God, Again

Today I had a shorter shift, so I did something I rarely get to do: went to Saturday afternoon Mass.

Right here, in Joliet.

And it was just what I needed. I could hear everything.

The priest’s Homily talked about Adoration and the Real Presence of Christ.

That’s what makes Catholics special– that’s why we are so devoted. We believe in the Real Presence.

He talked about how we naturally want to spend time in Christ’s presence. That’s why we go to Mass, that’s why we sometimes go to Adoration.

When I try to make sense of Jesus by reading the Bible or other religious literature, it just doesn’t work.

But when I go to Mass, I feel calm. I feel loved. I see people all around me who believe what I believe.

And I realized today that whenever I’m in a Catholic church, I’m home. I don’t need to go to Chicago to experience something special or exciting. I see the Body of Christ all around me, reciting the Nicene Creed.

I can find it right here in my hometown. Even better, I saw a co-worker during Communion. I NEVER would have guessed him to be a man of faith– especially not mine! I felt then that God definitely has a sense of humor.

I realized I prefer the word Christ to Jesus. It’s more reverent. Majestic.

The power of Christ is gentle. Steadfast. Open.

If you’ve ever wondered what Catholicism is about, you won’t find it in a debate on facebook. You certainly won’t find it in a Salon.com article.

Stop looking for ideas and research and “proof” to validate your beliefs. Stop obsessing about dogma.

Look to the people around you who love you. Look inside your heart.

If you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough, you may just FEEL something. Something wonderful.

Something mysterious and loving. And THAT is God.

Just consider going inside a Catholic church– it’s quiet. A sanctuary. If you’re lucky, there may even be real candles you can light. And just be there. Maybe pray. Or not. You’ll be safe.

You don’t have to be one of “us” — just go. Just see. No one’s going to kick you out.

If one parish or church doesn’t feel right to you– there are so many others. Don’t give up.

Today, I felt that I wanted to invite someone to Mass with me. I used to think of that as so aggressive and even annoying. But now, I feel like it’s something I want to share.

I still feel shy about it. But I’m at least open to the idea.