Imagine if you will the horror of being a 14-yr old high school freshman and being asked to play the guitar at an all-school mass the very first week of school. Nobody knows who you are yet and the first impression they are going to get is that you’re a “religious guitarist”?
As my husband tells it, we were practicing the mass songs with the students prior to mass when I became perturbed. “Ok, you St. Lawrence people, I know you know this song….so sing!!”
If I was there playing, they better be there singing, darn it! So, I decided to take my case to the entire student body rather loudly into the microphone. Clearly, I’ve never been one for sliding under the radar.
With is tongue firmly planted in cheek, he tells people all these years later “She was sooo H-O-T. That’s when I knew she was the one for me!” He quite enjoys torturing me with his mocking of this moment from our shared Catholic school experience years ago.
This is the life moment that came to mind as I read about Pope Francis and his daily homily from yesterday.
“You’re able to shout when your team scores a goal, and you are not able to sing praises to the Lord, to come out of your shell ever so slightly to sing (his praise)?” the Pope asked during Mass.
The guy’s got a point. We all need to get over ourselves and sing. Don’t have a good voice? Well, God gave it to you, let Him deal with it.
Are you more grateful when the Colts score a touchdown or PG drains a “3” than you are for your healthy children, your thoughtful spouse, a sunny day, your eyesight, the ability to smell the chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, a warm bed, your kids amazing school? The Pope is reminding us that God loves when we love Him with enthusiasm, praising Him for all the blessings He pours upon us. It’s something to think about.
Catholic Schools Work
Today at my parish school, a kind, gracious and faith-filled teacher named Kristy Worthington was honored by her peers as the “Mother Theodore Guerin” Teacher of the Year as part of our Catholic Schools Week celebration. While she is deserving of the honor for many reasons, I would argue her most laudable quality is the JOY she exudes to all in her path. It draws us in, calls us all to our own discipleship.
Our churches, our schools and our communities need people like Kristy, along with her enthusiasm, her creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of her youthful spirit.
Do you know what else? When the school choir breaks out a few verses of “Trading My Sorrows” and they get to that refrain which is a beautiful prayer of joyful praise, she is ALWAYS among the first to bust out her “Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord” hand motions….and it quickly spreads.
Says Pope Francis, “The fruitfulness that praise of the Lord gives us, the gratuity of praising the Lord: that man or that woman who praises the Lord, who prays praising the Lord, who, when praying is filled with joy at doing so, and who, when singing in the Mass rejoices in singing it, is a fruitful person.”
Thank you, Jesus, for Catholic Schools where our children can learn about how much You love them. This week we thank You for all the amazing gift of that grace filled presence in our lives and for all the underpaid, but AMAZING teachers like Kristy who make it possible and through whom You work. Today on the carpool ride home, Lord, we’ll be breaking out a song of praise to honor and thank You for the blessing of all the schools where we can pray with each other and with our classmates. We ask for Your grace to help us to do a better job of honoring You with JOY each day!
Yes, Yes, Lord….Amen.
**Post script: The song I referenced (link below to listen) is called “Trading My Sorrows” by Darrell Evans and is available on iTunes.