Kitchen Catechism: Words of Wisdom
Only God is permanent, unchanging and always there.
I looked at the sad state of the picture hanging on my bathroom wall. It was very old. It was far from new when I got it from an elderly aunt at the time she had to give up her apartment and enter a nursing home.
That was twenty years ago, and all the while I have dearly loved the delicate, lavender water painted blossoms and the elegant style in which it was framed. For the umpteenth time, since that fateful morning of January 17th, 1994, I thought - I have to replace the broken trim on the frame or maybe have the entire picture reframed. This picture was one of the last remnants of the damage our house sustained that horrible few minutes of the Northridge earthquake when it felt like a big giant had picked up the house, as a child might a toy, and shook it as hard as he could. My whole world was turned upside down, everything we owned was broken, the house even went off the frame three inches, and my thinking would never again be the same.
From that moment on I would always understand the stark reality of how temporary everything of this world is - how in a minute your whole life can change and never be the same again. Only God is permanent, unchanging and always there. So I made a decision to leave the picture exactly as it was and put up the framed words, right above it, "Lest We Forget"
My frail human mind is so weak and with the passage of time I am inclined to forget the devastation and forget even that lesson learned from such a traumatic experience. That's why it is really important for me to have a reminder, like the framed words "Lest We Forget". We must not forget but more important - we must always remember. So a little wake up call are the 'words' and it jogs me and makes me tread carefully through my day, always keeping focused on what is really important to reaching my goal - eternal life with the Lord - and what is temporary, fleeting and sometimes even nonsense.
God is constant everything else is fleeting. Especially the devil who is fickle and changes with moves as quick as mercury. Look at the bad priests caught up in the current scandal. They fell prey to Lucifer's temptations and now he's deserted them and is off seducing new souls. Don't fall prey to the devils wily ways. Put your trust in God and develop a mindset determined to stay with the Lord no matter how long and weary the years you may tread this earth.
There are so many benefits living your life centered on God. You can know He is always there watching over you, and totally concerned about your welfare every second of your existence. God loves you with an immensity and depth that in your humanness you can't even begin to understand. He showed how great this love for you is by coming down to earth and living the life of a mere mortal. He could have come as the most powerful of warrior kings as the Israelites were expecting. But no, He came as a powerless, poor infant and then allowed mankind to hang Him on a cross suffering a humbling, excruciatingly painful death. All of this was done for you, so that you could always relate to Him, not as a distant, omnipotent Divinity but as a human who lived a life probably more difficult than will ever be expected of you.
How can you reap all the benefits of His love? By living in His perfect plan that has been there since the beginning of time just for you, as well as, the entire Universe. The plan for us humans began with Creation and unfolded in its full dimension with the birth of Jesus. The Blessed Trinity - three divine persons in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, - is how the Incarnation becomes explainable. The word 'Incarnation' means God becoming man. The Trinity is said to be a mystery that we must take on faith because it is too difficult for our human minds to understand. That's true, but another mystery for me is that the older I get and the less interest I have in the hypocrisy of the world, the easier it seems to be to understand and accept these unfathomable beliefs of the Catholic faith. Maybe it goes along with the old saying 'With Age Comes Wisdom'. So just hang in there.
Now we come to how the 'plan' was actually fulfilled. For God to become man and enter the world, exactly as each of us did, it was necessary for Him to have a mother. This mother would have to be 'without sin' in order to have God emanating from her very flesh - the greatest privilege bestowed on any human ever - and her name was Mary. Mary is the most perfect human who has or will ever exist. That is why we revere her so highly and pay her homage. The nice thing for us is that Mary so mirrors God that she loves each of us as God does and desires nothing more than that she can lead us to her Son, Jesus, on this earth and eternal happiness in the next life.
What I very much like about the Catholic faith is that her core beliefs never change and as long as it is authentic Catholic teaching it will be the same, just as God is, today, tomorrow and always. Sometimes it may be expressed differently but the message is always the same. I found this to be true when I read the June issue of "Crisis" magazine. An article by Sandra Miesel, titled 'The Witches Next Door', relates much of what I have been saying in the last two paragraphs and she has worded it more elegantly than I. Comparing Catholicism to paganism she writes:
"Christianity's unique response to Wicca is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Unlike the pagan Horned God, our dying and rising Savior lived as an actual historical person in a real time and place. His Incarnation sanctified human nature and the whole material universe. He remains among us sacramentally, scripturally, and mystically, regardless of our subjective reactions." "The dynamic inner life of the Holy Trinity makes the One God - imaged in both male and female humans - infinitely more than the solitary tyrant whom many pagans imagine we worship. Our ancient tradition of mystical prayer, in which every soul is relationally feminine, yields union with the Triune God. Although Mary isn't the "feminine face of God," she is femininity conformed to God and every bit as nurturing as their Triple Goddess."
Dante Alighieri, the famous Italian writer of the 13th century, wrote this about the Blessed, Virgin Mary:
Virgin mother, daughter of your son,
More humble and more high than other creatures,
The constant goal of the eternal plan,
You are the one who so raised human nature
That your Creator did not hesitate
To be created in your mortal flesh,…
Another benefit of the 'plan' that I find most wonderful is the Communion of Saints. We are all members of the Communion whether we dwell in the glory of Paradise, the purification of purgatory or here on this very planet, especially if our hearts are rooted in 'The Kingdom of God'on earth. The Communion of Saints assures you that you are never alone no matter how many people surrounding you, oppose you, or if you are totally isolated and have no human contact. Our Mother Church assures us, through canonization, of souls who are in heaven and can advocate for us on earth. This is what I find so wonderful and I am constantly begging their intercession. Practically every day I call on St. Jude apostle of hopeless causes, St. Rita for the impossible, as well as harmony in the family and always to St. Therese, the Little Flower, for my grandchildren, my godchildren and anyone who has learned any of God's teachings through me. I hope this includes you, dear reader, and I want you to know I strive always in all humility to look at you through Christ's eyes and love you through His Heart.
One of the prayers to St. Therese, the Little Flower, will be our prayer of the month. It is the simplest of prayers and really a Novena, meant to be said nine times on different days or even weeks. I like it especially because it is so unsophisticated and therefore unworldly. It casts you as a small child invoking the advocacy of another child, The Little Flower, and that is as God most loves us when we realize how vulnerable we are and how He cares for us and will protect us.
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus,
please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly gardens and
send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus,
ask God today to grant the favors I now place
with confidence in your hands. (mention specific requests)
St. Therese, help me to always
believe, as you did, in God's great
love for me, so that I might
imitate your "Little Way"