Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.
Monday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time
First my Saint Michael medal comes back to me after being lost for a few weeks (he is now safely attached to my Confirmation Rosary). Now this bit of amazing providentiality.
I got to church at my usual 7:30ish this morning. I dropped my stuff at my pew and went to get a bulletin since I could not find the bulletin I brought home after Mass yesterday.
I come back and pray Office of Readings and Lauds (in Latin, of course).
One of the things that has been weighing down on me has been how the heck I am to pay for grad school. I think I have missed the FAFSA deadline. FAFSA is such a waste of time for me since apparently my family makes too much money even though my senior year I had to take out private loans because my federal loans would not cover all my costs. Even though pretty much all through college things were redonkulously tight with finances with my family since my father’s job was in limbo because of the economy falling into the deepest, smelliest, and most painful part of Purgatory in Michigan.
Now that my father has a nice job, that probably would not have helped my chances because you know, “Let’s give money to some kid who won’t finish college or end up using the money for non-educational purposes (it’s called fraud but it happens … trust me, I have seen it) but the person who actually wants to go to school and better themselves … poo poo … you make too much money according to this (unnecessarily) elaborate equation that states that you have plenty of money to afford this. Even if in the real world (something from which the government is terribly disconnected) you do not because you are paying for other things besides schooling … you know … basic necessities that are not cheap either.”
Anyway, I have been wondering how I was going to pay for grad school. I have resigned myself to the fact that it will come out of a.)my pocket, b.)private loans, and c.)any and all grants I can find.
Well, after I was done praying, I putzed a bit.
I have a tendency to sometimes just sit and church and be. It’s like how when one is with one’s significant other and you are so comfortable with each other that you don’t have to be saying or really doing anything.
Well, that’s how the Lord and I are. Sometimes, I just sit in my pew and am. Sometimes, that is the best time spent during the day since it’s spent just being with the Lord.
I picked up the bulletin and started to flip through it and sped-read some of the article. College makes you up your reading speed. Especially when you have a couple hundred pages to read and synthesize in a day or so. Did I mention I absolutely loved my Theology classes (except for my one Liturgy class where the adjunct prof had the NERVE to mark me down for writing about the TLM and the four ways the Lord is present in the Eucharist (you know, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity))and all my other meaty reading-intensive classes?
My parish is one of the largest in the AOD with about 3,000 families (about 12,000 souls) with a large school (about 500 kids) and a large religious education program (about 500 kids as far as I know) and a mess of groups and ministries (though I have a thing about using that term loosely).
Yeah, so our bulletin is not one little folder of notes. Nope.
Our bulletin is usually about 20ish pages. It was shorter this week because of the Fourth of July holiday and it’s corresponding early deadline. During the year, it can be quite long and it’s a production in itself. I used to help the office manager with it when I worked at the parish.
Toward the end there was a page with the header: “Fall Semester at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.” SHMS is where I WANT/AM going to grad school.
At first, I looked up at the Lord in the tabernacle and rolled my eyes.
“Yes, Lord, I know I have to get stuff done. You nag so beautifully vexingly sometimes. Hence why I love you so totally.”
I kept reading. It was mostly about their satellite and online course for their undergrad courses.
But then it said, “Can I get financial aid?”
All right, Lord, I’m listening/paying attention.
As I read that paragraph, something pops out:
If you are doing any catechetical work at a parish, you may be eligible for the Archdiocesan Catechetical Leaders award which provides up to 45% percent of tuition
I really hope that qualifies for grad courses too. It’s not my fault I have a pre-existing degree … in Theology. lol Actually. It is.
I mean, I have only volunteered at my parish since I was in grade school and I worked there for five years before entering the convent! I still fill in as needed with things around the parish and I help with things like Vacation Bible School and I always tried to add some catechesis whenever I trained altar servers (the basics of liturgiology and such).
Please, God, let this work. You’re the One Who showed it to me. I never read this far into the bulletin. You’re the One. I lovingly point to YOU!
And then, to be the extra maraschino cherry in the Shirley Temple of joyness by which I was completely taken (I ❤ Shirley Temples … extra grenadine and cherries if possible): there was even a checklist of what I need to do to get to my goal.
I already knew what I needed to do but I think this was the Lord saying, “Okay, Allie, I’ve given you this … now get down to it. You will be fine. Trust me.”
Did I mention I have to trust the Lord more? Yeah. I have to work on that.
I probably had a stupid smirk on my face when Mass started. If the priest saw me, he probably thought I was crazy. Not that the priests at SJA are not already acutely aware of my insane hyper-rational-ness. I am a walking, talking oxymoron.
Then Mass started.
The opening song was the “classic” “The Summons” that basically talks about giving up all and following Christ. Though some/most modern liturgical music can border on and cross into the territory of the banal, I don’t really mind this one because of the message behind it and it gets stuck in my head. Not like “The Song of the Body of Christ” … that thing makes my soul cry. I cannot bring myself to sing that one. Or (I am feeling really penitential today) “All are Welcome” <— if the setting in which this song is being sung says anything … nothing more need be said besides “Get it the heck outta the hymnals!!!!”
There, now you’ve done your penance for the day. You’re welcome. Trust me, any pain you suffered was nothing compared to what I had to endure to find a “decent” (read: audible (why would I want to hear it?!?!) and acceptable quality) rendition of these songs. I found “The Song of the Body of Christ” sung by a room full of priests but that was too scandalous for my sensibilities and that would have just been a sin to share with you. Like promoting an “Elephants in the Living Room” meeting as an authentically Catholic event.
And then Gospel hit me like a 2×4 of love and “You want to know what I want you to do, Allie? Here you go.”
When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”
(Saint Matthew 8:18-22)
It was from that point on that I got yet another confirmation of what I have always thought may just be my vocation no matter how many times I may question it and try to drag myself away from it in one way or another (BTW, He is the Good Shepherd because He picks up this erring sheep all the time and puts her on His strong shoulders and carries her back. If He were not, He would just drag me along or, even worse, leave me in my confusion and angst muffin-y state):
I am called to dedicate my life to the Church in a singular way. My whole life is to be centered on and absorbed by Christ’s love which I want with all my heart (though in my fallen-ness I may not realize) to share with others. I am called to belong solely and completely to Christ and His Church. I am called to be a spiritual mother of souls and of priests and seminarians in particular.
Yeah. This is something I have been praying about since before I entered the convent and it really gained steam after I left. He gave it to me in the form of something I cannot begin to describe. An overwhelming peace, joy, and trust in Him that I cannot begin to describe nor fathom.
Oh, and then after I finished my Rosary I still had a few minutes before I would get home so I decided to catch up on podcasts. So I put on the podcast of a priest-friend of mine who records his homilies.
So I am listening and walking. Walking and listening.
Then the toward the end, my ears perk up like a prairie dog popping his head out of a hole though not literally because that would be quite strange and painful:
…Because any gift, any skill, and talent that we have was given to us by God and He equips you with the tools that you need to do whatever you are called to do in this life. Called to be a priest? God will give you the gifts you need. Called to the married life? God will give you the gifts that you need to live the married life well. Called to be a missionary? God will give you the gifts that you need. It’s a mistake to think that we can do everything by ourselves (especially achieve salvation), but it’s also a mistake to think that God won’t give you what you need to succeed in doing His will.
Dear brothers and sisters, all God asks of us is to be faithful. He’s given us gifts; He’s shown us the way to go. All we have to do is stay true to the road that He has set out for us. Stay true to Jesus, and He will lead you all the way to Heaven. Be faithful and He will give you all that you need.
(Rev. Lee Acervo, Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B)
And it all started when I opened the bulletin. I very seldom read the bulletin in Church let alone that far into it. I usually only read certain articles or something for which I am specifically looking. This had to have been in some way part of the Lord’s plan. Sounds far-fetched or simplistic to some but nothing happens without there being an ultimate connection to the plan of the Lord. If there was something that were outside the realm of the Providence of God, then God would not be God. At least that’s how my logic analyzes it (btw, got an A in Logic … whodathunkit?).
I would have written all of this sooner but I got distracted talking to one of our priests about how he spent his Sunday at a wedding on a yacht on the Detroit River and (I think) Lake Saint Clair.
I told him that now that it’s just him and the pastor, he will really have to work to keep himself out of trouble. lol It’s been a running joke with us pretty much since he was assigned to the parish a couple years ago. Every time we see each other we do the hand gesture of “I’m keeping my eye on you.” He usually asks me if I have been staying out of trouble to which I always respond to the tune of: “Of course not. I am in my very being trouble. Ontologically so.” One day, I should tell him I have been staying out of trouble to see how he reacts. 🙂
All right. I just had to share that with you. Needless to say, it made me very happy in a subdued way. I guess it’s not so much “happy” as it is “relieved” that, in the end, things will be all right. Not that that is anything different from what has always been. I just need a reminder every so often.
I have stuff to do around the house. I hope you all have a great day!