Photos, sometimes with Commentary, from a lay Catholic.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
An Advent Winter's Night
Driving home the other night around 9:30 or 10pm. The snow had started up again and was falling quickly. It was one of those times when your bright lights illuminate so many snowflakes that you're better off just using your regular beams. The rural roads are amazingly quiet and if you take your time, it's not too treacherous. I watched for deer along the road's edge but didn't see any. There weren't many other drivers out at that time. Most drivers had probably made it home much earlier and why would you go out after dark when it was cold and snowing??
Well, I found a reason. As I was starting through our small town, I decided to take some side streets and drive by St. Joseph's Catholic Church, just to see it lit up at night with all that snow! St. Joseph's was built just after the Civil War to serve the Catholic community here. Their original church had been destroyed in a fire on another site further west of town, and so the parish came together to build this beautiful one to replace it. It's an historical building now, symmetrical in its architecture with a warm, intimate feel. Its interior is too small for the size of its current parish, so they have built a newer church north of town that is much larger and is used for most of their worship services. This smaller church is still used for weekday Masses.
The other night, I parked along the side of the road and got out of the car to walk in front of the church. How still the evening was! Not a sound to break my thoughts, nor a person to interrupt my time travel as I considered those original parishioners, and all who have followed since, gathering in Decembers long past to wait and pray, and then to celebrate at Christmas the birth of the One who fulfilled their many hopes. Just as we do today.
This photo doesn't quite capture how thickly the snow was falling, or just how strikingly inspiring this tall steeple was as I looked up at it from the street below. It was worth the chill in my hands and the damp in my hair just to be standing there as a witness of this moment caught by my camera lens in 2013.
I'm a wife, a mother of grown children, and work full time as a nurse practitioner with cancer patients. My work is gratifying often, and difficult and sad sometimes, too.
I'm average and extraordinary, just as you are. I've experienced profound failures, significant disappointments, had a few successes, and been the recipient of a lot of mercy. I try to keep perspective on what's important in life, and not get too upset about the rest.
My Catholic faith is important to me, and while I'm no theologian, it's my intention that my faith inform my outlook and values, and inspire personal virtue. I love that God desires to reveal himself to us. I love the small hints, the little bread crumbs, the multiple clues, and the pieces of the puzzle that dot the created world and point to the hand of the Creator. I love that He uses beauty, art, science, all his creatures and the invisible realm of our heart and emotions to communicate His goodness to us. And I love that the fullness of his love can be seen in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, which makes me free.