Friday, December 29, 2006


Sometimes I find myself in a beautiful state in which I can't love everyone enough. In these moments of clarity, which are the closest thing I have to being in touch with God, I realize how much I love everyone and that if I could maintain this state of love, I could maybe convince others to love too, and the world would slowly become a place in which everyone loved and was loved. And that would be heaven. These moments have been coming with more frequency and intensity. At the same time, though, I know how much I fall short of being able to love like this every minute. When I am touched by this feeling, I want to call everyone on my cell phone and thank them for living, or hug everyone at Mass during the sign of peace and make them feel how much I care about them. I could never keep that up, though, because I am not perfect. So I say that this is when I am the most in touch with God because I think that's who God is, and who God's calling me to be. Phrases like "Everlasting Love" start to make sense, in that moment. And the more times it happens the more I want to find a way to make it keep happening, so that my whole life will be lived for and in Love. To me, God is the one who shows me how to love, motivates me to think that this life is the one I should be living, and forgives me when I can't quite make it there. And from there, everything else begins to make sense. Christ's birth. Christ's sacrifice. The Trinity. The Chrurch. These are all topics for other posts, and I couldn't possibly explain everything now. I want to live like this and share this and be this. I don't know if it even makes any sense, but this mystery in my heart is so deep and true that it has to be right, somehow. And I feel like I have to share it as much as possible.

Top Ten Things That Excite Me at 3AM on Friday Morning

  1. The idea of going to the mountains with Joey and his family for good relaxing fun with my second family (I was adopted).
  2. A scarf with pockets AND cute tassels. Kudos to my aunt for getting it for me, and Bath and Body Works for making it.
  3. The distinct possiblility that I will be attending a New Years Eve party for the first time in my life (as opposed to sitting at home trying to get my parents to wake up for the Big Moment).
  4. My computer being alive (it was completely unresponsive earlier, but then I realized that while the charger was plugged into my laptop, the other end was not in an outlet).
  5. Introduction to Peace Studies with Professor George Lopez. In fact, I'm so excited about this one that I nearly want to run up to Notre Dame and make him start class right now.
  6. My quickly approaching camping weekend with my Girl Scout lovelies!
  7. Star Wars IV, A New Hope. I watched it with my little brother tonight, and I fell in love with Star Wars all over again. I had almost forgotten how rich the universe is, how complex the characters, how well-coceived the plot! George Lucas, I love you almost as much as George Lopez.
  8. A date tonight with my darling boyfriend, who abides even my most withdrawn moods.
  9. That a lovely pair of ankle-high water-proof suede Lands End boots I've had my eye on just went on sale. With the help of a gift card (from the same aunt who gave me the above-mentioned scarf), I will be able to purchase said boots for approximately $2. Now I need to figure out where to ship them to (home and have to find room in my luggage for them? or ND and hope that someone will take them from the nice UPS man for me?)
  10. My cold finally letting go of its grip on my nasal cavities. Trust me, this is a very, very good thing.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Amusing tidbits

My Christmas, aside from the usual good food, time with family, and early Christmas morning, involved several uniquely humorous moments:

  • The guy in the front row of our Christmas Eve Mass spontaneously raised his hand and his wife's hand high in the air every time our pastor mentioned that we were happy to see all of the visitors present.
  • I got a new aunt and a new uncle in one week (on different sides of the family, and both from slightly scandalous eloping type things)
  • The family cat loathed the sight of my extremely pet-loving aunt, and flatly refused all of her friendly advances
  • Mark won a video game after playing it for two days straight (which he has never done)
  • The cat, who was finally allowed to look at the Christmas tree, ignored the ornaments completely and nibbled on the needles instead. Silly kitten.
  • Just because it was my second Christmas at the Boy's house, and I had met everyone there several times except for one person, didn't mean that I could escape comments such as "I like this one better than the last one." Nearly 14 months is a pretty long trial period from my point of view. Good to know I passed the test.
  • I realized halfway to the Boy's house that I probably would get arrested if I hit a police road block because I was carrying wine from my parents to his. I later refused to carry more wine from his parents to mine.
  • My mom, at a local natural history museum, commented loudly about how an ancient Roman surgical tool looked exactly like what is used today to clear out excess ear wax in older patients.
  • I learned how to knit. Ok, that's not amusing, but I'm proud of it.

Now go share that smile on your face from reading this post with someone else. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Prince of Peace

At times I wonder how I can be so educated in my faith (13.5 years of formal Catholic education and counting) yet so clueless. Perhaps this somewhat rambling self-examination is out of place in the silence before what promises to be a happy Christmas morning, but I am wide awake and thinking.

Tonight at Mass I proclaimed (in a rather nasily, congested way) the traditional Christmas vigil passage from Isaiah, which includes the words, "The Prince of Peace... will rule with justice and peace now and forever. The love of our God will make this happen!"

My (somewhat predictable) quandary is summurized in this eloquent poem, which I found on Kristy's blog tonight:

A Christmas Ghost-Story
By Thomas Hardy

South of the Line, inland from far Durban,

A moldering soldier lies—your countryman.

Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,

And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans

Nightly to clear Canopus: “I would know

By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law

Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,

Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?

And what of logic or of truth appears

In tacking ‘Anno Domini’ to the years?

Near twenty-hundred liveried thus have hied,

But tarries yet the Cause for which He died.”

To put it bluntly: what happened to Christ's peace?

I believe the traditional Catholic answer would go something like this:
God, who continually tries to bring us into closer relationship with Him, intends for Peace on Earth/ the Kingdom of God to come about not through any imposed method, but through God working among humanity. Christ came to show us how, and the Holy Spirit fills us to enable us to work for our own peace. God wants us to choose to re-create ourselves through His grace. Christ brought the salvation we seek, but not in the form of a traditional ruler: our servant-king offers us peace as a gift to be chosen.

That all makes sense. At some level, I think (at least I hope) that I accept it. But it's all too easy to look at human history since Christ's coming and ask if we've improved at all. I think it would be hard to answer positively. The easy road is to look at the sharp contrast between the true Christian way of life and our world today and despair of the two ever coinciding.

Is it possible? Well, it hasn't happened yet, so it's easy to say no. Faith calls us to say yes, and to work towards the realization of that possibility. It's not so much that I disagree that it's possible; what gnaws at me is the gap between the possibility and the realization.

"... will rule with justice and peace now..."
This is the part I struggle with the most. Where's the now? I see the possibility, the hope for the future, but the now?
The answer that comes to mind is that the Prince of Peace can rule over our hearts now, and through that process His Peace can spread to the rest of the world. Thus, I come face to face with the unavoidable personal nature of my abstract questions: my personal relationship with God is the key to how I can offer Christ's peace to the world. It's also unavoidable that our relationship is not what it should be. My common, honest excuse is that prayer is awkward and I am busy. But it seems that if I'm going to go through with my current course of study (political science/ peace studies) and choice of career, things are going to have to change in this area of my life, so that it is no longer an area of my life but truly is my life. I suppose I've known that all along.

Merry Christmas. Welcome, Prince of Peace.