The last few days I’ve had the phrase, “help me feel compassion for you” running through my head. Today, Good Friday, is a great day to dig deeply through the crap that sometimes fills my soul and examine that. The selfish, self-righteous, if only you’d listen to me the world would be perfect, I’m way better than you are, kind of thing that is part of simply being human. Good Friday is our way out of that. Staring at the Cross, looking at the life Sacrificed, and wanting to be more like Him is that way out. It is at once the letting go of the selfish, prideful, I’m always right kind of thinking, and transforming it into a compassionate, kind, thoughtful way of thinking. This requires a willingness to look beneath the layers of the person and/or situation and deal with some things that are potentially painful.
So I’m going to back up a bit here for a moment. I mentioned earlier that Holy Week is my favorite week of the year. Christmas is great, but Holy Week. Twenty four years ago on Saturday night, after a rough road, I entered into Full Communion with the Church. I’d experienced the deep grace of my First Confession, wept at Palm Sunday Mass, witnessed the beauty of the Last Supper, experienced the emptiness of Good Friday and the incredible Joy of Holy Saturday. Being Confirmed/anointed with Chrism, blessed earlier in the week, is kind of amazing. I remember the moment and fragrance well. And that First Eucharist. That moment stands alone.
It’s kind of emotionally painful right now that I can’t celebrate this week the way I’d like. It’s okay, I know deep down that there is more than one way to celebrate and sometimes the lack of something makes it all the more beautiful. And sometimes for meaning to have deeper significance, not being able to Celebrate makes it sweeter.
Sunday evening I went to the Mass we usually attend. I went alone this week as my sweetie is recovering. I get there about 20 minutes or so for some quiet time. Much to my surprise. . . . let’s just say that I was home at 4o minutes past the hour. This is such a rich Mass with deep meaning and significance. And the short version was celebrated. Sigh. And (inserting whining here) it was the one Mass/Celebration I could go to this week. Whining might be a wee bit dramatic. Nope it’s not really.
So tonight I celebrate 24 years as a Catholic. I was born (baptized) into and chose this Faith. I would choose it again. I am home. Is it perfect? Well the Church is, the people are not, we’re sinners in need of that place to grow holier. The Church is, to use an overly-used phrase, a “hospital” to become whole and holy. And I realized this morning that the desert is a holy place and beautiful. Just as Jesus spent time in the desert, so must we. It’s not an easy place, as one feels raw and exposed. It is a gift though. And embracing this gift of now and in this moment is what is necessary.
So while there are struggles, everyone struggles and why should I be exempt. Jesus struggled.
So while there are deep interpersonal challenges that I may not be able to fix, these offer me room to grow, and honestly stand up for myself. Jesus had some doozies.
So while I may not want to be where I am at the moment. Here’s the Cross.
One of the greatest joys in all of these challenges is meeting quilters, particularly women, who are in need of a true focus shift in how they view themselves, and their own worth – watching, if only for a brief moment, the realization that they are beautiful, and if only for a moment that they are worthy of that bit of fabric or new machine. It’s not simply about the new sewing machine, that’s part of it. It’s the right tool for the job they see themselves doing and can’t quite get there with the equipment they currently own.
It is the gift of giving quilters a little something more.
It is the gift of quilters seeing they can do this, that they are smart and can get through this momentary challenge.
It is Holy.
PS – back to the “help me be compassionate” – well I just have to be, and trust God that I can be regardless of the words and actions of the ones who need that compassion. I need to see beyond the current experience of the person through the Cross, to compassion. Jesus died for them too