Daily Mass for a Jesus Girl

My friend Katie called me a “Jesus girl”.  It took me by surprise when she said it, but I admit that it instantly made me smile.  First of all, I just turned 40, and my oldest of three sons is a teenager, so there was some basking in the glow of the word “girl.”  Really though, I know she is right and being a Jesus girl is a grace born of prayer.
Prayer for me started in earnest at one 8am daily mass after another a couple years ago.  What I didn’t understand then was that the simple, obedient act of showing up each morning was all that was required to change everything about my day.  The suggestion to attend mass was a tiny whisper in my soul, barely audible.  Listening and attending to it was borne of the feeling of being lost and lonely in the midst of my chaotic life.  I was attending mass because it was the only thing I could think to do to catch my breath.
Our God is brilliant and loving beyond our comprehension. He wants to draw us closer.  All that is required is an open heart.  We don’t need to earn it, be smart enough or feel worthy an ounce.  I began showing up and then I couldn’t do without it.  There came a longing, a yearning to be there.  To say that I never expected to feel this kind of fondness for mass would be a major understatement– it would be somewhere in the ballpark of me thinking my sons might offer to do MY laundry.
With all apologies to the wonderful priests of our diocese, I feel the need to pause and explain.  It’s not the homily.  It’s not the music.  The daily masses I’ve attended contain little of either.  It’s JESUS.  I receive Him and I am changed.
How often do you truly consider that at every single mass, we have the opportunity to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus?  A Protestant friend of mine, Lori, said to me recently, “If I believed what you Catholics supposedly believe, that Jesus is TRULY PRESENT in the Eucharist, well you simply could not keep me from mass.  So, where are the people?”
I looked at her and smiled.  Then I said, “You have come to the right baseball mom, Lori.  Rarely do I miss a daily mass because I don’t supposedly believe…I KNOW Jesus is present.  I can’t wait to go back tomorrow—really.”
Come join me anytime.  Jesus girls love company.

What’s in a Name?

NULA.  It’s a name that stands on its own, her son eulogized this week.  Think “Cher” or “Beyonce”.  Her son, Joe, couldn’t have been more accurate in his description of his larger than life mother during her funeral mass Monday afternoon.  She lived her life with passion, where slackers need not apply.  Her battle with pancreatic cancer scarcely changed a thing.  She wouldn’t allow any child or grandchild of hers to get away with standing in the batter’s box watching strikes go by, and she went down swinging!

Some people just have a way of making our lives sunnier, our hearts warmer.  They show up when the chips are down, or stop by with a diet coke, or make you laugh until your sides ache.  They just keep putting love out there.  They latch on to the affirmative.

When Fr. Farrell gave the most beautiful funeral homily I have ever heard this week, that’s part of what he said made Nula such a genuine person.  But the most important thing he shared was a reminder.  He reminded the packed house at St. Pius X Catholic Church that God doesn’t want us to be the next St. Catherine of Siena, or Francis of Assisi.  He wants us to live our lives with zeal being authentically US, from start to finish, just like Nula did.

Virtually every great accomplishment, program, or movement about which I have ever read or learned firsthand was started by someone who believed and lived passionately.  It’s painfully easy to decide one “cannot”.  It’s a simple path to nowhere living with a pocketful of excuses and the sense that we surely cannot acquire the capacity to do it.   Is there a single saint who spent their time glorifying God on this planet, on their path to canonization, preaching by word or example the idea of loving as moderately as possible?

So, today, I am writing about loving my Catholic faith, again.  Writing about God doesn’t help me pay any bills.  It’s something I’d told myself I shouldn’t waste my time doing anymore.  I should be matching socks, or helping someone practice their spelling words, or making something slightly fancier than boiled noodles for dinner.  I am madly in love with my family, and I would like it to appear to them that these are not merely words.

Here’s the thing.  I love writing and I love Jesus.  Those two things are my passions as well.   So, I acquired this crazy idea at Nula’s funeral that being Shelly, really living genuinely and passionately as the Shelly God means me to be, well, it means I am going to have to step confidently in the direction of passion.   I think I am just supposed to keep putting love out there, even though Blogging, and Twitter, and all social media seem incredibly narcissistic to me, and despite the fact that there seems to be no reason to believe my homemaking skills have any hope of improving.

It’s all an effort at living who He created me to be, to the fullest extent I can endeavor to try, and with the help of His grace—that’s what He wants for all of us, and He Never Misses.

Visit me at www.HeNeverMisses.wordpress.com or on Twitter at @shellythieme