Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Realizations from Christmas - A Brain Dump

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from the one and only Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here!

Christmas is officially over.  That would indicate that I have my tree and all of my decorations down and have transitioned my house back to Ordinary Time, but that would be….less than true.  Working on it though.  

These seasons have been a whirlwind for me.  Advent was the shortest it’s been in the time that I have been Catholic, and Christmas seemed to fly by as well.  I’m deeper into my theology courses, I took two friends on a tour to the Monastery that I am an Oblate of, and I’ve seen new sides of people this past couple of months - both good and bad.  

Here, in no particular order, is a recap of moments that stood out to me during this season:

-Take care of your priests ya’ll.  They are human just like you and I, but with such a high and beautiful calling.  Sometimes I think we focus so much on how much like us they are, that we forget how different they are as well.  When I took two friends to the monastery, one of them was looking to get a cross blessed.  The monks that are priests and the monks that are not dress exactly alike - there is no way to differentiate unless you know them.  Even the ones I know, I often forget which ones are priests and which ones are not.  While looking for a priest to bless my friends cross, I stopped dear elderly Brother Maurus, not able to remember if he was a priest or not.  He smiled a greeting and I hurried up to him and asked if he could do a blessing.  I will never forget the way his face lit up before he grabbed me in a hug, kissed my forehead, reminded me that he was not a priest, and with absolute joy thanked me for thinking that he was. This sweet humble man was elated to have been mistaken for a priest, and thereby reminded me by his example that these men among us are indeed set apart.  They are like us yes, but they are called to be a special form of light in the darkness, and as beautiful as that is it’s also challenging.  We need them - we need good and holy priests.  We should take care of those we need.

-I’ve seen a lot of people in veils at Masses - more than I remember seeing before, and two in my small parish alone.  Both of the two in my parish are younger than you might think.  One is a teenager and one probably in her forties.  The young people want tradition, they want liturgy and they want to know their faith.  We need to do more to answer this call.

-Spiritual friendship is a thing, and I would go so far as to say that everyone needs a spiritual friend. One who you can trust completely, one who helps you be the best Christian you can be, even when it’s hard and they have to tell you things you don’t want to hear.  One who lives the faith with you, that your soul connects with at a spiritual level, that you know will walk the road with you no matter what.  This may be your spouse, it may be a sibling or family member, or it may be your best friend.  Whoever this is, or becomes, for you - treasure them.  They are a priceless gift.  

-Time just goes SO fast guys.  Treasure those around you.  Treasure your faith.  The same way you go deeper into relationships with the people that you love, go deeper in your relationship with God and with the Church.  Ask people to join you at Mass or Bible Study.  Just ask.  So many just need a nudge.  Just a nudge.  I have been blessed to witness so many people really grow and take ahold of their faith in the past few months.  I’ve seen a father dive into studying theology and help his questioning teenage daughter embrace and own her faith. I’ve seen a mother who used to question the teachings on Mary turn to the Miraculous Medal to pray for her sons conversion, nudged by just a small clarification on the teachings. It is such a humbling and inspiring thing to witness.  I want you to witness these things too - so ask someone.  Ask more than one.  Maybe aim to ask one person a month.  But start somewhere.  Just ask.  

-A lighthearted note to end, although those of you that follow me on Twitter already know, and probably read the conversation between Haley and I - when the priest comes to bless your house, he means business ya’ll.  Don’t think your going to hide clutter in the closets, or basement, or attic.  He’s going all of those places and more!

By the way - get your house blessed!  In this day and age we can use all the spiritual protection we can get!

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