Browsed by
Category: reflect

When Eyes [and Hearts] Are Opened…

When Eyes [and Hearts] Are Opened…

My day started off with a Diocesan Youth Retreat planning meeting. How great it is to be in the company of people who are as dedicated and enthusiastic about the faith as you are! And as dedicated to the formation of youth and young adults as you are! In this Lenten season when March Madness has indeed made everything in March, just that – mad…because of the busyness that we all get wrapped up in, it is nice to pause and it is refreshing to be rejuvenated with energy and faithful spirits. Lots of exciting things ahead and my eyes have indeed been open to the number of opportunities available to see God moving in my life.

From moving homilies, to songs with lyrics that tug at my heart strings, to God-centered conversations with friends, to hugs to hanging out at the park under the warm sunshine…God’s hands are all over it all, holding everything together.

When I visited the correctional facility today, my eyes were opened to the great insight that I sometimes forget. I was reminded that when others may treat me in a rude manner or may come off as non-friendly, I must not forget that they may be going through something, or perhaps they are having a bad day. Instead – pray for them. This reminder that came through from one of the women I visited today rolled off her tongue as if it was a mantra she repeated to herself throughout the day. Watching women shepherd and support one another through verbal affirmation as it comes through in our scripture study is absolutely beautiful. It is a gift for me to witness, and my eyes were opened today with a new sense of warmth, compassion, and peace.

Being filled up with energy and enthusiasm from the morning prepared me for my visit that afternoon. And from that visit from the afternoon, I was then ready to start my week. I love how that works out so perfectly! God, you are good!

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Above: One of my favorite pictures of the Annunciation entitled: The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

On this Feast of the Annunciation, here is a beautiful reflection on our “YES!” and the struggle that comes with it too.

Here is a song by Danielle Rose, Let It Be Done Unto Me, that always comes to mind on this special feast day:

The Lord sent me to Mary
As she was praying in the sun.
I said, “Hail Mary, favored one,
The Lord is with you. Mary it is true.”
She did not understand.
She said, “Shall I touch the sky
With these small hands?”
A peasant girl from Galilee
Destined to become the Queen of Peace.

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

“Mary, do not be afraid.
Behold, you will conceive a son
Through whom the world is saved.
Humility will be your throne,
And in your womb our God,
Our God will find a home.”
“O Lord, how can this be?
I have not given any man my body’s purity!”
“The Spirit will come down,
Like once-barren Elizabeth
Can now with child be found!”

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

She said Yes to the Father,
Yes to the unknown,
Yes with all her strength,
Yes to God alone.
The first Holy Communion
Took place that blessed day.
Christ came into her body
When Mary chose to say
When Mary chose to say…

[Chorus (x2)]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

Let it be done unto me [x3]

The Future Awaits!

The Future Awaits!

Students are in the midst of discerning their college decisions. Some have already heard from their “dream” schools – some got accepted, some did not…and some are still waiting.

I remember what it was like, many, many years ago…waiting to hear back from schools, then after I heard back, then I was waiting to hear back from the Financial Aid offices, and then after I heard back, waiting to hear back from housing, to freshman programming, to course offerings, and the list goes on…waiting – lots of waiting! Such a stressful, yet exciting time!

Today, I reflected on many of the holy meetings I had with students so far who have stopped in to share some of the latest news they had with regards to college acceptances/non-acceptances. Today, please pray for the seniors who are discerning next steps after graduation. Some are even thinking about waiting a year or so until they hear back from a school where they want to go, instead of settling for a third or fourth choice. Lots of beautiful things ahead! Keep the prayers coming. The future generation needs them!

L’Arche: A Place of Grace

L’Arche: A Place of Grace

Today, my student caught me off-guard as she comes into my office, stands in front of me, and says, “Ms. Catalan, can we talk about something?” I say, “Sure, of course! Aren’t you in class right now?” “Yes,” she answered, “but it’s for class, so my teacher said it was OK.” I asked her what she needed help with and she replied, “I need to process our L’Arche trip for my project.” Here we go!!

The topic: Grace. Wow – not an easy topic, but in some ways, not a difficult topic either – rather, a topic that causes pause, reflection, and contemplation when explored deeply.

In that moment, we reminisced about the trip, shared highlights and unpacked them a bit more. Why does that moment stick out to you? What did you learn in that moment? What is challenging about what you encountered? How will you allow that experience to affect your future interactions with others or affect the way you view the world?  A couple of kleenex later, the connections started to be made between the dots, and shortly after, she came back to ask follow-up questions.

Some of us will never be able to go inwards and reflect on deeply moving encounters and experiences. For high school students to take this upon themselves and acknowledge the need to process experiences…wow – I am moved. I am grateful that my workplace cares about our students enough and so values the education found in immersion trips, that these trips are ingrained within our school’s values. I am grateful that I can talk faith topics and social justice topics with students, and these conversations are encouraged. I am also grateful to be a part of immersion trip experiences that I am confident will stay with my students and perhaps shape them in amazing ways for the rest of their lives. That in itself is pure gift!

What a beautiful day this was!

Right Relationship [ethical trade]

Right Relationship [ethical trade]

When placed in the right company, my adrenaline will rush, my excitement level will increase, and I am ready to get to work! That’s exactly what happened tonight, as our Global Solidarity Team discussed our upcoming Ethical Trade Workshop that will launch the Ethical Trade initiative in the Diocese. Catholic Relief Services has recently shifted their “Fair Trade” component to “Ethical Trade” and our Ethical Trade Ambassadors are ready to showcase this in a month. I’m so excited about it!

Rather than simply focusing on how to determine what is considered “ethical trade,” or “fair trade,” this Workshop will focus on what it means to be in right relationship with others, and how this is directly related to our decisions as consumers. What is the connection between us and the earth? How can we be in right relationship with others, while being conscious of our choices in this world?

I saw God today in the energy and enthusiasm in the room for these things that are so important. In a culture that is always seeking the most recent updated product, seeking the most flashiest, coolest, most cutting edge product(s), learning about ethical trade has drastically changed the way I view things.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

In this Lenten season, I am brought back to reflect on my needs vs. wants. I am brought back to think about the very hands that make the items I wear. While I don’t think it is prudent of me to dispose of all of my clothes which are not ethically made (probably an upwards of 90%+ of the items I own), I can certainly limit the amount of purchases I make, especially if it is not essential.

I am a work in progress, aren’t we all?! Learning more about ethical trade is so interesting to me, and I am looking forward to hosting an awesome workshop for our Diocese. More to come!