Living a fruitful Catholic Life
March 28, 2015
Celebrating Matthias on Holy Tuesday
I love to see his name. I love to hear his name. It is confusing for people who seek to support those who mourn. I remember thinking and in innocence saying it. “ I was afraid that mentioning him would make you sad.” I can’t speak for anyone or everyone who mourns, I don’t want to. I only speak to my thoughts and feelings. I love to see or hear his name – Matthias
Matthias’ day in our house is the Tuesday of Holy Week. It is Holy Tuesday. The most important part is mass and its readings. They gave us tremendous comfort once we read them and knew they were being read at the time of his birth and will continue for all Church time as they have in the past. They speak of Jesus and they reassure me that all things are in His plan. These readings were and are a blessing to us. (They are found below.)
Getting to daily mass for me is a difficulty. I arrive routinely 3 minutes late. I try to change my pattern but it seems that something happens to prevent a timely departure and results in a late arrival. That is a big problem on the Tuesday of Holy Week. If you want to hear the first reading, you have to be on time.
Every year there is a different scenario that impacts hearing this first reading but I want to share my favorite.
Thank you for reading.
The year was 2009 and I was traveling in California. I had John with me who was 9 months old. I had taken him to a conference resulting in many lessons learned :
#1 – Nine month olds will not sleep through entire sessions. They may begin a session asleep but they will not remain asleep until the end, ever.
#2 – Jiggling a 9 month old is exhausting.
#3 – Lesson #1 will result in Lesson #2.
#4 – Allowing a baby to drool on an iPod will ruin it.
I had planned the day for success. I had plans A - F. I was prepared for everything and was ready for anything. I had searched the churches nearby for a perfect time that would make everything possible. I had confirmed the time of mass by phone. I was ready. I had rented my car the night before, paying an extra day to assure no delays. I would attend mass at the University of San Diego, a Catholic University near my hotel. I wanted to hear the keynote speaker that last morning of the convention and then I was on my way! I had packed my bags prior to climbing on the shuttle to go to the convention. John Paul was in a baby carrier. His stroller packed in the rental trunk. Waiting for the bus driver to unload a stroller was just the type of delay that could cost me valuable time. The car seat sat in the back seat ready for a quick get away.
I enjoyed the morning, jiggling John in the back of the enormous room now nearly empty as people left to catch flights home. I knew the time of the last bus departing and was ready for it as it pulled to the curb. I was alone in line and I smiled. My plan had included time for the bus to stop at five hotels before reaching my hotel. This would save a lot of time. John and I settled in to the front seat and enjoyed conversing with the driver. As we approached the exit for the University of San Diego I asked him questions about getting where I needed to go. “Why don’t I show you, “ he offered taking the next exit. I have plenty of time, I assured myself. I had saved easily twenty minutes with the direct trip. I thanked him and said yes.
I made mental note of the turns as we worked our way to the hill that ascended to University. We stopped at the gate. I hadn’t anticipated that. The driver explained that we were driving the loop and then leaving. “Wait!” I thought. "What was I going to say?" Would they allow me entrance just to attend noon mass? I looked at the time and tried to concentrate on controlling my breathing. We drove around the circle of a much smaller campus than I had expected. The driver pointed out the church and quickly we had circled the campus and returning to the gate. We returned to the interstate, the hotel, and I thanked this kind gentleman while trying not to bolt for my car.
I repeated the turns in my mind reminding myself that I was coming from the opposite direction. In my house, I am famous for my U-turns. I say, “It isn’t a party until you make at least one U-turn.” As I exited the hotel parking lot for the University, I watched the clock and rehearsed my line to deliver to the man at the gate. I honestly can’t remember what I said, if I paid a fee, or if it was as simple as saying I was going to mass. They let me in, that I know.
As I rounded the corner that led to the church, I looked for activity and a place to park. The doors for The Immaculata were open and as I slowed to turn into the parking lot I could see into the church, and it was empty, ENTIRELY EMPTY! It was certainly being remodeled to and to make matters worse I missed my turn. I looked for a space to park, a spot perform a U-turn, nothing. I had to complete the entire circle to try again. I was tight for time but that was not the big issue. I didn’t know where mass was. I didn’t make the mistake again as I turned into the parking lot next to the hollow church. A lady pulled in next to me and I franticly asked, “Where is the noon mass?” "Founders Chapel," she said calmly not noticing that I had broken into hives. “Where is that?” I inquired. She pointed to the classroom building next door hoping and I hoped she would offer to walk me there. No luck, she wasn’t going to mass but she said pointing in that direction, “Follow her, she’s going to mass.” I caught sight of a older lady heading across the grass in a purple sweater. I thanked her and hurried to grab the baby and seat out of the car.
We followed a path down an incline with the purple sweater in sight, I felt like Alice following the white rabbit. Just that as I turned one corner to see her she would disappear around another one. I was struggling to keep up, carrying a sleeping baby and seat with both arms and diaper bag heavy on my shoulder. At least I had her to follow I thought, until I turn the last corner and she was gone. Tears gathered as I realized I didn’t know where I was or where I was going and most assuredly I had missed the first reading.
I despaired. I opened the door in front of me to work my way back to the car. As the door opened I was amazed. I was standing just off the altar and a more surprised face a priest never saw. I stepped to the side and slipped into the second pew. Everyone was sitting and even though I was pleased to be there, I was fully disappointed. I had done my best and I had failed. Fighting my emotions, I stood robotically with everyone. I expected to hear the Prayers of the Faithful. Instead heard the words, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Tears streamed down my face, what was lost had been found – me!
The Father knows our thoughts and our needs better than we know them ourselves. He cares not only for our needs but the depth of our desires. He is the giver of all gifts, the best gifts. I settled in the pew that day knowing I was not walking alone, I had never been alone. In my need for comfort in my need to heal, God was with me in San Diego.
Please visit the story of Matthias' short but blessed life. He was born Holy Tuesday and passed into the arms of Our Lord Good Friday afternoon 2006.
First Reading and Responsorial Psalm
Hear me, coastlands, listen, distant peoples. Before birth the LORD called me,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword, concealed me, shielded by his hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me.
He said to me, You are my servant, in you, Israel, I show my glory.
Though I thought I had toiled in vain, for nothing and for naught spent my strength,
Yet my right is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him;
I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
In you O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me and deliver me incline your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge
A stronghold to give me safety for you are my rock and my fortress
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked
For you are my hope O lord;
My trust O Lord from my youth.
On you I depend from birth
From my mother’s womb you are my strength"
My First Best Gift!
March 18th, 2015
David and I with Great Grandpas
Brother and Sisters
I am a middle child surrounded by love
My First Best Gift!
March 18th, 2015
Today is my brother’s birthday. As a kid, it was the most exciting day of the year. Even as an adult I anticipate his birthday weeks before, “it’s almost David’s birthday” my mind joyfully repeats. There was no better day.
My brother was my playmate, my best friend, and my protector. He was my everything! He was bigger than life and with 15 months separating us, we were close. One year apart in school, we did everything together. Until he graduated from high school, we shared the same sports and activities, friends, and daily life.
His birthday was the first date I learned to anticipate. The planning of the party, the arrival of his friends, the activities taught me how to celebrate life. I loved that it was his day. I loved that he was being celebrated. He was always generous in including me and every present he opened meant fun for both of us, together.
My first day of school was upsetting when I realized that I could not play with him at recess. The parochial playground was separated, boys from girls. I cried so hard that the nuns made an exception. I sat next to David that day with the green grass of the kick ball field beneath my feet. We sat on “the log” with the rest of the second grade boys as they waited their turn. He put his arm around me and made everything okay. I don’t remember him ever acting embarrassed or complaining about his little sister.
What a wonderful way to grow up. Today I celebrate my first best gift - David.
There were many more “best gifts” to come in life but he was the first. Here’s to experiencing unconditional, sacrificial love without limits from the day of my birth. May each of you be so blessed.
Happy Birthday David!
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