Weekend Ponderings: Paul’s Thorn … and Mine

This is a little late getting to the blog — I should be posting “Miracle Monday” about now.  Please bear with me.

Today I was listening to our parochial vicar, Father Gordon (who will be leaving us in a week or two), talk about St. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and I was reminded what a breath-taking confession that must have been for St. Paul to make. While no one actually knows what the “thorn” was, my bet would be either migraines or depression. I blog about it  today at “Mommy Monsters.” 

Okay, you back?  Now for the “main course” …

One of the things I took away from the Catholic New Media Celebration — from Father Roderick, actually — was the idea that each post should be like a good meal — with a tantalizing appetizer, hearty main course, and “something sweet” to finish. Also, he talked about the five I’s of a good podcast (which I’m also extending to blog posts), which should …

  • Interest:  “Hook” them with something intriguing. (Like a good title.)
  • Inform:  Tell your audience what the post/podcast is going to cover, so they know whether they want to stay. (This involves keeping important content “above the fold” for bloggers, I think.)
  • Instruct: “Give people the tools they need to resolve their problems.”
  • Involve:  “Invite a response.”
  • Inspire:  “Pray over your show/blog.”  Here goes …

Lord, today I’d like to remember those who struggle with their own “thorns,” whatever those might be. Use those moments of suffering and weakness to mold us into the beautiful creations you want us to be. St. Teresa of Avila, patron saint of migraine sufferers, pray for us! In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

Last but not least … dessert!  Bit of pav, anyone? (Yes, I know his point was metaphorical. But this looks much better.)

pavlova

Advertisements

Weekend Ponderings: Caution! Do you know where your friends are?

kitchen-madonnaThree of my favorite Catholic women writers just posted about the lunch they had together they other day. Oooh, I WISH I could have joined them!  Writing can be such a solitary, sedentary sport, with most of the communication going one way (out!). It can be tempting to lean on our virtual connections, and neglect the real-time ones. And yet, there is nothing quite like a REAL cup of tea (or a Cosmopolitan, as Kitchen Madonna and I are doing here), sitting across the table from a good friend. Getting to see her eyes twinkle, hear her warm laughter, crunch the cookies, feel the warmth trickle down the back of your throat. Yum.

Those personal connections soften the hard times, and sweeten the good ones. But they do require a bit of effort. Tonight for the first time in . . . well, forever . . . I’m going out with my girlfriend Katy to a benefit for Safe House. It’s being held at St. Andrew Parish in Saline (7-9 p.m., if you’re interested), and it will probably just involve sipping tea and buying a new set of sheets. But with a good friend . . . sounds like heaven!

Like all God’s gifts, friendship requires a certain amount of investment to function properly. I recently sent out invitations to a half dozen church friends — we used to run the mother’s program at church together, but have since moved on to other things. I’ve missed these women, and figured it was time to do something about it!  A little chicken salad and iced tea, maybe a pavlova for dessert. Time to catch up!

We’re all busy. We all have a million things on our to-do lists. But a year from now, how many of those things are going to matter? Only the relationships we build with one another. I was reminded of the importance of keeping proper perspective again today from the first reading, from Acts 5, which is about the Pharisee Gamiliel, one of the greatest Jewish teachers of all time (and some say a secret follower of Christ). In discussing what to do with St. Peter and the apostles (who had recently gotten on the last nerve of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court), Gamaliel makes an astute observation about human endeavors of all kinds.

“…So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

So the question I put to you today …  How many of the activities on your list are “of human origin,” and how many are of lasting significance? Are you maintaining the gifts God has given you — including the gifts of friendship? When was the last time you hugged a kid . . . or a friend?