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China & Tea

Motivated by my biannual, ironclad, inflexible and completely self-imposed, imaginary deadline, I was out just after sunrise this morning washing my windows. Since we got these replacement windows I wash them twice a year, before Christmas decorations go on and before Easter. They look sparkly and enhance neighbor supervision wonderfully.
The other more private chore is the biannual washing of the china and its’ cabinet. It’s a big job, a picky job and even a dangerous job but boy is it worth it. I missed the pre-Christmas wash as who cares what your china looks like in its’ den of iniquity, when you’re in Jamaica? Now that I’ve rearranged the display for more variety of teacups and saucers and less mind-numbing repetition of a lovely pattern of old Lennox. I go in just to turn on the little light and gaze on the wondrous display. Most men don’t understand china cabinets and their draw, Dan does. He loves all that is elevated and fancy my ‘fancy Dan’ loves anything that pleases me and allows him to live in the manner to which he’s become accustomed.
Normally I avoid china cabinets like the plague, circumventing rooms that would be a good cut-through to save me the accursed rattle. This cabinet is expertly leveled and installed by my German perfectionist and we live on a slab so no give to the floors and thus no rattle. My daughters have absolutely no idea how lucky they are not having to worry about treading like bigfoot on their path to the laundry room.
I love china and teacups. Momma never had china until later in life and I have no memories associated with it. She did have 4 Red Rose Tea promotional teacups stashed above the fridge in an amazingly greasy cabinet (Momma fried stuff and the vent on the wall was by that cabinet, also Dad had a fully functional machine shop in the basement for his hobby jobs).

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When Louis and Anne Roche, Momma and Dad’s childless friends from their single days, would drop over unexpected but very welcome, Mary Lou and I would be turned loose to get ‘the tea.’ We’d get a chair, scale the counter, reach the cabinet and bring down with great care those 4 cups and saucers. Momma would slip Mary Lou a five and whisper ‘go get a sweet,’ the most popular and scarce food group. Mary would run to Andy’s, the corner store, to get something, packaged Danishes mostly and I would wash off the protective covering of bacon fat from the teacups. How we enjoyed getting the ‘tea on’ for these dear and very exotic friends of our parents. They were out for an entertaining ride and possibly to get a taste of what could have been before running back to their orderly life.
The stuff in a house only has meaning if it is used. I use my stuff, the good china every big holiday so my girls will have memories associated with those old-fashioned carnations on a field of Lennox ivory and gold. The teacups are prominently displayed now in the china cabinet, a promotion from their previous perch in my kitchen bookcase and their safe retreat above the refrigerator in Momma’s tiny kitchen on Roger’s Drive. I’m so blessed by these memories and the leisure to enjoy the refined things in life, that is when I’m not under some crazed deadline.

by Theresa Jay Julian 

The Annunciation

LUKE 1:26-38

 

 

Friends, our Gospel today introduces the most important Advent personage: Mary, the Mother of God. The Church Fathers often made a connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw her as “the new Eve,” the one who undid the damage done by Eve.

 

The angel’s greeting to Mary is important here: “Hail Mary, full of grace.” Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive. And Mary’s reply is also significant: “How is this possible, for I do not know man?” There is nothing cowed about Mary.

 

The angel explains to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” At the heart of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you. The real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the one who loves us. Mary is someone who is ready for the impossible, and this makes her the paradigm of discipleship. “Let it be done to me according to thy word.” That’s an acquiescence to adventure.

— Bishop Robert Baron, Los Angeles, California 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

We have two St. Patrick’s Churches here in the Diocese of Charlottetown, the older is in Grand River a lovely yellow wooden building in a magnificent water setting.

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The second is in Fort Augustus, a prominent brick building on a hill that can be seen from great distances.

God bless our ancestors who built these houses of worship and God bless all those who worship in them today and into the future.

The Pope Francis challenge: consult the Bible as often as your cellphone

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This past Sunday Pope Francis challenged Catholics (again) to keep a pocket-Bible and return again and again to it throughout the day. He reflected, “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?”

Pope Francis explained how, “If we always carried God’s Word in our hearts, no temptation would distance us from the Father, and no obstacle would take us off the path towards good.”

He then encouraged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized Bible so that it would be easy to consult throughout the day.

This is the not first time Pope Francis has brought up this subject, going so far as to distribute free pocket-sized Bibles during Lent of 2014. He explained to those gathered for the Sunday Angelus, “Last Sunday I suggested that you get a little copies of the gospels, to carry with you during the day, to read often. Then I thought over the ancient tradition of the Church, during Lent, to give the gospel to catechumens preparing for baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the piazza – but as a sign for all – a pocket-sized gospel. They will be distributed to you freely…Take one, carry it with you: it is truly Jesus who speaks to you.”

During that same year Pope Francis suggested that the morning commute would be a perfect time to open up your pocket-sized Bible and read a few verses from the Word of God.

What Pope Francis suggests is something many saints practiced. It consists of immersing a person’s entire life with the Word of God to find comfort and inspiration on a daily basis. The beauty of the practice is that anyone can do it and it can take a matter of minutes to complete

There are many different versions available, including an English version of the pocket-Bible that Pope Francis distributed. It is available through the USCCB. Otherwise there is a very durable version available through Ignatius Press that is also a good option.

At the same time, there are numerous apps that have the entire Bible and so even though you may be looking at your cellphone, you are actually reading the Word of God.

In the end, it is a wonderful practice and something we should all consider during this Lenten season.