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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Casual Cancer Connections

Cancer.  The word itself makes my heart pump.  I don't like the reality of the disease.  I don't like it at all.  But, I accept that it is here and it takes and it kills without prejudice.

I came across a woman (employee) at the neighborhood bulk store (which is decorated in RED and the employees wear red (and khaki) and I avoid wearing red when I go there) and she tried to steady herself on my cart.  When this happens one quickly checks on the person to see if they need help. So, I followed suit.  Then she leans over and tells me, "I am fighting cancer and I feel sick and nauseated too.  I had my chemo this morning and it is really taking it out of me."

I didn't know what to say.  People just say things to me, I don't always say something back.  Most of the time I just listen and let them talk.   I asked her if she needed to sit down or for me to call someone to come help her get to a resting place.  She declined, said she needed to work and that she was fine just tired and woozy.  She chatted with me about her four year old daughter and how she loves certain bubble bath and body washes.  And how she loves to play dress up.  We talked about skin care and eczema and motherhood.

She eventually said, "I am not worried. I have a good outlook on this thing.  I will go in for my numbers next week and they will go down." I told her that I am sorry she has this battle to deal with and that she is not alone. She smiled.  We exchanged pleasantries. I wished her well and walked away.

I haven't stopped thinking about her.  She made an impression on me.  Despite what she said, I know she is concerned about her well being.  But more so, I know she is concerned about her daughter.  So, I pray for the woman in red (and khaki).  May her spirit be held up and her courage maintained as she battles this horrible cancer.  May her worry for her daughter be soothed.  May she regain her healed body. Amen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beginning Catholic Spirituality

Catholic Spirituality seems like a mystery to many. I have had conversations with people of other faiths (christian and non christian) in which my religion is seen as lacking in spirituality.  Generally, I don't argue with people who don't know Catholicism.  I probe to find out what they know.  Even those that were once Catholic or even raised Catholic, have very little knowledge about our religion and spiritual practices. I am no different.  I learn much by listening, studying, and asking questions.

So, I decided to share some Catholic spirituality in several posts.  My fear is that this could drive away my [very few] readers.

The first act of spirituality I would like to discuss is the Catholic Crossing of one self.  This is not only the first act of spirituality taught to children and initiates but, it is the most recognized act or gesture across the globe.  When anyone crosses themselves, just about anyone knows that the person is of the Catholic faith.

Now, to many this just seems rote or reflex gesture.  And for many it is.  But it still means something huge.  It is our way of connecting hear and there.  Our link between seen and unseen, this realm and the next realm, what is know and what is unknown, it connects us to the trinity.  It is automatic, it is fast, it is special, it is a life line for Catholics. We do this when we can't even think of prayers.  Catholics do this at just about anything that touches their spirit.  We do it at church, we do it driving on the highway as we pass accidents or graveyards, we do it in the middle of the night when we wake up frightened,  we do it when we are happy or relieved, we do it to end and start our prayers, it is something that is appropriate at any time for us.

Some might say, well you don't have to do gestures to connect with God.  True, but we are not just our minds and spirits, we are also our bodies too.  We feel in more than just tactile or just heart.  We are with God more than just in mind and spirit.

Doing "The Sign of the Cross"  is the simplest and most powerful blessing that can be taught to anyone in the Catholic faith.  It automatically consecrates our beings to God and holiness in less than a minute.  It is the beginning of Catholic Spirituality for me.