Category Archives: Andrea

Heavenly Spam

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Man… it’s been one of those weeks on the back of a couple of those weeks. You know the kind, when a trip to the restroom- away from whiny children, all these dogs that always want to eat, and people who ask all manner of questions like, “Why did you plug the extension cord into itself, Andrea?”* (I don’t know, Margot!)- feels like a mini-vacation? Yeah. The last few weeks have been super hectic- my husband separated from the military, we moved across the country, I got a new job, my toddler is entering his Terrible Twos with no holds barred, and in an unfortunate, distracted eyebrow-grooming session, I turned myself into Vanilla Ice.

Did I mention I start back to school today? Thank God for makeup, amiright?

Lately, I’ve just been turning my gaze heavenward and yelling saying “Pray for us!”. I’m not even specifying who I’m asking at this point, just hoping that somebody (or a few somebodies) will take pity on me.

Anywho, whining aside, this prayerful desperation reminds me of when I first started going to Mass after a lifetime of Protestantism, and how one of the lines (which is still one of my favorite parts of the Mass by the way) stuck out to me in a surprising way.

Which line, you ask? Why, here we go. The Penitential Act:

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Maybe I’m just spiritually greedy, but I want as many people praying for me as possible. Mary, the saints, the angels, all of you… I’ll take what I can get. Lord knows I need it. Seriously- He really does.

After nearly 24 years of the Protestant mindset, this Catholic view of prayer has been eye-opening, to say the least. At first, I was all:

“Wait wait wait… you ask everyone to pray for you? Like… even the angels? Not just people you know and are still alive? If you ask them to pray for you, do they like… have to?”

I was hooked almost immediately. I pictured all of the saints and angels stopping what they were doing to pray for me, because I asked. I was pretty sure that after a while, their prayers for me would turn into “Ugh, Father… it’s her again. Who told her that she could ask us for our prayers, and why didn’t they tell her that she didn’t have to do it all the time? Does she know there are other people who might need prayers, too?”

I had to learn to find the (for me) fine line of prayerful enthusiasm and Heavenly spam. “Did you get that forward from Andrea? I just don’t even open prayers from her anymore.”

I kid… mostly. I don’t spam Heaven. Maybe I say that part of the Penitential Act louder than the other parishioners, but outside of Mass I keep it low-key. Ya know… just the few saints I really love. So, at my confirmation, when you discover that I am now:

Andrea Lynn Mary Therese Faustina Paul Peter Ignatius Irenaeus Augustine Monica Edith Stein

Don’t be surprised.

And if I get to Heaven as I hope I do, and find all these people trying very hard not to make eye-contact with me and saying things like “Did I remember to present those bowls of incense to God? Better check!” when they see me approaching… I won’t be surprised, either.

 

 

*As much as I wish I could say I made this up for humorous effect, the extension cord thing really, actually happened. I offer you the following photographic proof. Yes, I took a picture of it, because when you do something this unbelievable, you save it for posterity… and blog readers.

Extension Cord Fail

Everything for the love of Him

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How can I cultivate my relationship with God more? That thought runs through my mind frequently- usually when I crash on the couch after a busy day of chasing my toddler, two dogs, doing housework… you know the drill. I’m often sheepish by the time bedtime rolls around at how little my mind has turned towards God- or, in the times it did, it was to whine petitions in His direction.

Oh sure, I have grand plans. “I’m going to start praying the Liturgy of the Hours!” I’ll tell myself. Or, “Every day at 3-o’-clock I will sit down and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.” That… doesn’t always work out so well. How can we be in the world, fulfilling our vocations and still pursue God with the love and attention we ought? How can I change my mindset to “What can I do for You today, God?” from “This is what You can do for me today, God.” Brother Lawrence offers this solution:

People seek methods of learning to know God. Is it not much shorter and more direct to simply do everything for the love of Him? There is no finesse about it. One only has to do it generously and simply.

Cristo Redentor

Cristo Redentor

This… I love this. This I can do. I say “Everything for the love of Him” to myself like a day-long litany, trying to keep God in the forefront of my mind. My husband grabbed the wrong (scent-less?!) fabric softener at the store? Bite my tongue for the love of Him. My son is being whiny and I want to snap at him? Take time to be patient, for the love of Him. My friend had a bad day and wants to vent but I really don’t feel like listening? Take time for her, for the love of Him. And the list goes on and on.

I’ve found that when I’m doing things for the love of God- I’m not doing them for myself, or any perceived rewards that could kick back my way. It’s in this mindset that love has fertile ground to grow. Loving God (who is love) is a beautiful paradox- because the more love you give Him, the more love is available to you and in you for others. You withdraw love from your love account to give to Him, and find that your balance of love keeps getting higher. When you love someone, you care about what they care about. In my life, that’s fleshed out in surprising ways. When some lady cuts me off and I want to lay on my horn and mean-mug her when we get to the light, I remember that she’s someone really important to God, and I love Him. With that perspective, I’ve found the two great commandments (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”) are realized. If she- or anyone, for that matter- is important enough to God that He came and died for her, who am I to be uncharitable?

Doing everything you do- no matter how small- for the love of God puts us into the mindset of a servant of all- which is what Jesus calls us to be. It’s not always easy, and it’s certainy not always fun, but on days when I really try (with varying success) to do everything for the love of God, by the time bedtime rolls around, my heart is overflowing with love for God and others. I have peace. My family is content. It’s not complicated, because it only requires one thing: dying to self.

I hope that one day (soon, God willing) I’ll be disciplined enough to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and daily Divine Mercy Chaplets. I hope that I’ll get better at carving time out of my day to turn my heart towards God and really listen for Him. In the meantime, I will try my hardest to do everything for the love of Him.