God is in the Pots and Pans.

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“God is in the pots and pans.” – St. Teresa of Avila 

St. Teresa of Avila tells us that we are never closer to God than when we’re immersed in the ordinary moments of daily life. I love this part of the Carmelite spirituality because it plonks you right back down where you are supposed to be. 

There is a false notion that God is only found in church on Sundays. Wrong! Or that spirituality and holiness are these mysterious lofty ideals that can only be accessed by Priests and Nuns. Wrong! God calls each and everyone of us to holiness. That’s right – even YOU! Our job is to find God in the tiny moments of everyday normal life: Our journey to work, folding laundry, sitting at our desk, changing nappies, texting, cooking, moments of silence, the words we use… everything. Little acts of love, kindness, self sacrifice and beauty. 

If we remain mindful of this reality during the day, then it becomes apparent pretty quickly that God is present in everything we do each day. It also becomes apparent how we all rush around so busy busy busy, yet miss so much hidden within the finer details. 

After practising this for just a few days i have also become aware that the people God is calling me to evangelise are right in front of me. Just like charity, The New Evangelisation begins at home. We all have members of our family, close friends, work colleagues and neighbours we see regularly. These are the people God has put in your life for you to witness to. You have the opportunity to be the bridge of trust they need, to come to know and start a relationship with The God who loved them into existence and then died for them out of the same love, to give them the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. How is God moving in their lives at the moment? Can you recognise Him in them? Can they recognise Him in you? 

So as i cook for my husband and my kids tonight, i will pray for them. I’ll marvel at the fact that God has provided us with incredible foods that come out of the ground, and that He has given me the creative talent to turn these into dinner! I’ll thank God that we have a home to eat this food in, and i’ll remember all the mothers in Iraq who don’t have it as easy as i do at the moment. I’ll remain mindful that God is right here, in amongst the pots and pans.

 

Happy 1st Birthday Faith in our Families!

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My Body is a Temple…

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in  you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought  at a price.  Therefore honour God with your body,” 

(1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Since the birth of my two children I have gained over 2 stone in weight and despite my best efforts – I have not been able to lose it. Unfortunately, God did not give me one of those bodies that just pop back into shape!

I eat junk to try to take my mind off of the stress in my life and it has worked, for the most part. Chocolate and crisps has got me through 2 rounds of post natal depression, the death of a family member, a very difficult patch in our marriage, the long lonely nights of the new-born feeds, the stress of un-employment and endless demanding screaming kids! Junk food is my best friend, my loyal companion, my rock in times of trouble, my comfort and pleasure.

So why am I about to end this love affair?

1 week ago I leaned over the bath to turn the taps off and BOOM! – My back went. It is not the first time it has happened (another result of carrying large babies and lifting toddlers!) This time it was really bad. I have spent all week on crutches and have to see the back doctor pretty much every month for ever now. The fact that I am 2 stone over weight and completely unfit and out of shape has contributed to this.

During the week we had no food at all in the house so I went with my daughter to the local supermarket. We walked through the door and the security guard felt so sorry for me he told me to use the electric mobility scooter to do my shopping!!! (Secretly I have always wanted to have a go on one of these!) Before I could politely decline, my 3-year-old daughter has already climbed into the driving seat! “I seriously CAN NOT do this!” I told the guard “I’m 32 years old!”. Anyway, I  estimated that the chances of seeing someone I knew were very slim at that time in the morning – and my daughter wanted to ‘have a ride on the special car!’ so we took it!

Actually it was such great fun! she sat on my lap and we whizzed along making terrified people jump out of the way! It was quite embarrassing when I was trying to reach some breakfast cereal and she suddenly grabbed hold of the controls and shot us into reverse at top speed sending us careering backwards into the Coco pops!

Anyway, the point of this post is for me to come to terms with the fact that my body and my faith are not separate things. It is a very common thing to think that they are. But didn’t Jesus use His body to serve God and mankind by dying on the cross? How much more physically/spiritually connected can you get?! God gave me this body as am opportunity to honour Him with it – and it is up to me to take care of it. It has served me and my husband and my children well so far, through work, sex and child-bearing, and it is my responsibility to keep it working.

The catechism puts it like this…

II. “BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE” 

364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 233

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

Used in accordance with His will, my body becomes a prayer to God – a way of acknowledging that what He wants for my body is better than what I want. It is a very hard and humbling thought and I know I am going to struggle with this one. I am going to have to give up and grieve for my beloved junk food, and face life stress depending on God now, not chocolate. But I know I am not alone.

 

 

All Saints Day Cookies!

We had great fun this year making All Saints cookies!

My son chose to do St. Isidore – the patron saint of ‘not wanting to do your homework’ !

My 3-year-old daughter decided to do ‘St. Gingerbread-man’ ! (I decided not to argue with this comment until my son started singing “Pray! Pray! as fast as you can, you can’t catch me – I’m St. Gingerbread-man!”)

I would have liked to have shown you their efforts, but unfortunately both St. Isidore and St. Gingerbread-man were both suddenly martyred (eaten!) earlier on this afternoon. There is always next year!

Here are some that I made. There is a prize for the person who guesses all the names correctly!…

No Meat on a Friday…

Who’s idea was it to re-instate Friday a day of fasting and abstinence? Someone give that guy a medal! It is the best idea the Church has come up with in decades as far as evangelisation is concerned.

My husband had a work dinner last friday evening and – it being friday and all – ordered the fish. This raised a few eyebrows amongst his colleagues, and once they had established that he was really was not ill, or on a diet they wanted to know why this self-confessed carnivore was not ordering the usual steak.

Keeping in mind that his audience were hardened succesful city boys – and the fact that they had certainly not been abstaining from beer that evening – he decided with trepidation to tell them.

“Well, I’m a Catholic and we don’t eat meat on a friday out of respect – to mark the day that Christ died on the cross.”

What was the reaction of the crowd? Genuine interest and admiration. To all but one of the guys there it was a concept they had never heard of. To the one who had heard of it – a lapsed Catholic himself – it was really interesting. To think that a young guy who he worked with valued his faith enough to make a public gesture of respect and loyalty, would have been thought-provoking at the very least.

No-meat-on-a-Friday is a non-intrusive, non-judgmental, memorable form of evangelisation that everyone can carry out, whether we practice it in a restaurant in front of work colleagues or friends, or at home in front of our children.

Long Live Fish and Chips! (or mozzarella pizza, vegi sausages or sea-food paella – nom! nom! nom!)