Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Do what's right

I sent my four-year-old off with her grandparents for six nights to their little village up north. Who does that? Me apparently. 
This is me spending time  alone with my chicos. 
Surprisingly, it was almost as much work or just as much without her here. Sometimes people tell me, "Why don't you put her in school? It would be so much easier for you!"
This comment has countless variations: "Why don't you ____ (insert well-meaning but not-asked-for advice)? It would be so much eeeeeasier for you." 
I have come up with a phrase to answer this connundrum: "Life isn't easy for anyone." And it's true. We have some hard conditions. But we don't have others. God doesn't want me to float through life effortlessly; He wants me to depend on Him. 
Another reply: I don't want to do what's easy, I want to do what's right.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gaudete et Exsultate quotes

This was one of my favorite papal documents ever to read (not counting theology of the body!). I usually have a hard time reading encyclicals and exhortations, but Pope Francis's style is really simple and straightforward. The entire document is available here of course. Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

"The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them." (from n.11)

"Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church." (from n.14)

"When you feel the temptation to dwell on your own weakness, raise your eyes to Christ crucified and say: “Lord, I am a poor sinner, but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better”." (from n.15)

"Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel." (from n.19)

"You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission." (from n.23)

"The same power that the gnostics attributed to the intellect, others now began to attribute to the human will, to personal effort. This was the case with the pelagians and semi-pelagians. Now it was not intelligence that took the place of mystery and grace, but our human will." (from n.48)

"This spiritual poverty is closely linked to what Saint Ignatius of Loyola calls “holy indifference”, which brings us to a radiant interior freedom: “We need to train ourselves to be indifferent in our attitude to all created things, in all that is permitted to our free will and not forbidden; so that on our part, we do not set our hearts on good health rather than bad, riches rather than poverty, honour rather than dishonour, a long life rather than a short one, and so in all the rest”." (n.69)

"Luke does not speak of poverty “of spirit” but simply of those who are “poor” (cf. Lk 6:20). In this way, he too invites us to live a plain and austere life." (from n.70)

"Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults”." (from n.72)

"The Bible uses the heart to describe our real intentions, the things we truly seek and desire, apart from all appearances." (from n.83)

"It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace, which excludes no one but embraces even those who are a bit odd, troublesome or difficult, demanding, different, beaten down by life or simply uninterested." (from n.89)

"Saint John Paul II noted that “a society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer this gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people”." (from n.91)

"The first of these great signs is solid grounding in the God who loves and sustains us. This source of inner strength enables us to persevere amid life’s ups and downs, but also to endure hostility, betrayal and failings on the part of others." (from n.112)

"It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence.[95] Saint John of the Cross proposed a different path: “Always prefer to be taught by all, rather than to desire teaching even the least of all”." (from n.117)

"This does not mean walking around with eyes lowered, not saying a word and fleeing the company of others. At times, precisely because someone is free of selfishness, he or she can dare to disagree gently, to demand justice or to defend the weak before the powerful, even if it may harm his or her reputation." (from n.119)

"So let us not fall into the temptation of looking for security in success, vain pleasures, possessions, power over others or social status." (from n.121)

"Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations." (from n.134)

"The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity." (from n.138)

"Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details.
The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
The little detail that one sheep was missing.
The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak." (n.144)

"A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan." (from n.145)

"The memory of God’s works is central to the experience of the covenant between God and his people. God wished to enter history, and so our prayer is interwoven with memories. We think back not only on his revealed Word, but also on our own lives, the lives of others, and all that the Lord has done in his Church." (from n.153)

"The memory of God’s works is central to the experience of the covenant between God and his people. God wished to enter history, and so our prayer is interwoven with memories. We think back not only on his revealed Word, but also on our own lives, the lives of others, and all that the Lord has done in his Church." (from n.162)

"Those who think they commit no grievous sins against God’s law can fall into a state of dull lethargy." (from n.164)

"In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it." (from n.172)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

We are terriers

I had a childhood dog that died a few years ago that was a Jack Russell Terrier. I always thought that the choice of a dog breed reflects the look/temperament of the dog owner, but never considered myself to be a Jack Russell Terrier by personality. I always thought it was a mishap, I should've gotten a beagle. 
But now I look at my kids, especially my daughter, and I think not only am I a Jack Russell Terrier... we are all terriers. Just as Sally Clarkson is always saying her and her kids are alike in that they are all dreamers, feelers, artists, etc., I am seeing the ways my husband and I and by reflection our kids are similar. We are energetic, project-driven, ambitious, slightly aggressive, outdoorsy people. We go on trips that are too far and do too many activities for a family with such small children, but we can't seem to help ourselves. We "relax" better when we go on an impromptu camping trip we thought of five days before and bought the tent for one day before.
It's so funny, because I never imagined my kids, especially my daughter, would turn out the way they are. I thought they would be calmer and more shy. But I'm learning so much from them, not just about them, but about myself.  

Monday, July 09, 2018

Cling to the beautiful

I have serious problems and each of my family members have serious problems that I don't share on this blog. I just hope you know that. Possibly because I am a blogger myself, I look at other people's blogs and instagrams and know that it probably only corresponds to 10% or less of their lives. Of course, I still play the comparison game but I try to remind myself that they are like me: pretty messed up. 
The picture of cupcakes above is beautiful, but it doesn't show how I don't make time for baking anymore, barely for cooking a meal a day, and I just made them for my neighbor who I "owed". It doesn't show the messy kitchen or negligence of children involved in making them. 
The picture of our "homeschool" looks picturesque, but it really only lasts five minutes and doesn't show the crying, hitting, yelling and fighting over toys that happens in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day. 
Does that mean I shouldn't post these? I don't think so. I like seeing other people's glory moments and beautiful creations. It inspires me. And I push forward for half of the morning while cooking, changing diapers, doing laundry, putting away toys, etc with the MOTIVATION of getting to those picturesque five minutes of "scholé" we do together. I push through life lately, with the motivation of getting to all the beautiful things that last a minute or I never have time for. But I still cling to the beautiful. It's worth it. 

Friday, July 06, 2018

Instagram

So I got an Instagram because I'm crazy... Was it a terrible idea? Probably. Will I ever have time to update it? Probably not. 

But I seem to be a little internet-addicted... If the Pope has one it's okay, right? And I've been following so many people on Instagram without having one, and I got a new camera for my birthday... Now is the time!

https://www.instagram.com/julie.martajuliemaria/