Photos, sometimes with Commentary, from a lay Catholic.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Azaleas

Happy Azaleas

Does life get any better than having beautiful pink blooms on a gray day?

For me, flowers are better than any other mind altering substance. They will lift my spirits, and symbolize everything that is good. They represent extravagant beauty. I would rather grow flowers than vegetables, which tells you how impractical I can be. Flowers appeal to all my senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing (the silence can be so full of thoughtful reflections that it is hardly silent at all!). (I know, there is taste, too, but for me, I don't need taste as much as the others...) I am so grateful after the many months of winter to see some color, some living things, again.

These were a gift to me this year on Easter, which, here in Michigan, was snowy and cold! What a welcome sight they were!

Today, as I post this picture, we have had a glorious day of 70 degrees and blue skies. I have been able to take a short walk outside, play with my dog and his ball, and stand barefoot in the grass. My life begins again! :-)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hidden Mysteries

Hidden Mysteries

Some reflections today about Easter and the Ressurection... At Easter we celebrate Jesus' victory over sin and death. I personally have always found the transition from contemplating the cross to celebrating the Ressurection more difficult. It seems to me, though, upon some reflection, that one of the most important lessons of Easter, is this: We only achieve the power of the Ressurection by embracing the mysteries of the Cross. There is no ressurection without the cross. By accepting, by embracing the cross, we conform more perfectly to Jesus' example of embracing the Father's will completely, and the true power of the Christian life can be realized. Some form of suffering is intrinsic to the Christian walk. The disciple is not greater than his Master. Part of our freedom as Christians is having the freedom to choose the way that He walked, the way of love. Suffering comes in many forms; one needn't create opportunities. If we practice the virtues, if we practice love, we will have ample opportunity to choose others over ourselves, and this is always good for the soul. For true love requires that one suffer for the sake of the one they love. It is the Pascal Mystery.

There are hidden realities that can't be seen with the unaided eye. Details of the flower that are usually invisible to me can be seen with a macro lens, opening up a world of surprise. A microscope can show us bacteria or cellular variations that we otherwise would not know existed. So too, prayer opens our eyes to spiritual realities that remain hidden if we do not exercise our spiritual senses and improve our acuity for things other-worldly. Lent offered us opportunities to see with our spiritual senses. Let's not walk away unchanged, but bring those insights with us to assist us on the road ahead.

I walked through an old cemetery this afternoon, reading names on the tombstones and reflecting on those people who have lived before me. Most of those I saw died in the mid 1800s. Considering their lives and the world in which they lived, I was struck by the hardships and frequent losses they endured. Infants and small children, young men and women of 18 were buried in this small church cemetery along with just a few who lived to be in their 50s or later. On so many of the tombstones were professions of faith, statements of their belief in the ressurection, and the eternal nature of our lives. If we stop and don't see past the deaths, we will miss the very important truth of the Ressurection. But we can't skip ahead to the Ressurection without really understanding the Cross, either...

The Ressurection is a reality which we will all know one day. To achieve it, one must accept the suffering that is inherent in this world, and live with our eyes fixed on the Kingdom which is to come.

I wish you Easter joy, and Life in His Name.

Friday, April 06, 2007


St. Cecelia Window

The tabernacle in the Catholic Church remains empty from the end of Holy Thursday's Mass until Easter. There is nothing to describe the loss I feel when I see the empty tabernacle in the church. I am separated from my Lord by the death He accepted on my account.

He is not there. Not physically.

On Good Friday, we are witnesses to the ultimate sacrifice that has changed the world.

"...the Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity... through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear... he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses." -Isaiah 53:10, 11, 12