Saturday, February 24, 2018

Beatitudo


Beatitudo, or perfect happiness, is a concept I learned in a philosophy class once. For life has many ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, and good and bad days, but there is something that lies beneath all that where we can find peace and joy. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses: "Beatitudo, perfect happiness, complete well-being, is to be attained not in this life, but in the next. Primarily, it consists in the activity of man's highest cognitive faculty, the intellect, in the contemplation of God — the infinitely Beautiful. But this immediately results in the supreme delight of the will in the conscious possession of the Summum Bonum, God, the infinitely good."

While beatitudo is something fully possessed in Heaven, we have a foretaste of it on earth, and it is this very concept that transcends the sufferings of life. The possession of God carries us through and allows us to be truly happy no matter what storms shake us. 

I think too that this possession of God extends to other people. For we see God in those around us--those closest to us, and so our happiness comes not only from God but the people He puts in our life. We in turn can be a source of joy to those same people.

So in what does perfect happiness consist? And how can we find it on earth amidst suffering? Blessed Margaret d’Youville says: "All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united." The key is union--our souls in union with God and our hearts in union with friends. Because one can only truly be happy by giving oneself to another, or rather that true joy shines the brightest in sacrifice and love.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Patience of 40 Days


Lent teaches us a lot about patience. I think this is one of the hardest virtues to practice, perhaps because it is required of us so frequently. There's innumerable moments throughout the day that we must endure some suffering or wait for things. The Lenten season asks us to commit to a practice, sacrifice, additional prayer, or virtue for 40 days (give or take) that help us learn patience.

I was sent a document recently on Patience by Fr. Richard Clarke that consists of a 30 day meditation on the virtue. One quote Father writes: "The virtue of patience consists in the willing endurance for God's sake of all that is painful to nature, of whatever kind it may be." I like the words "whatever kind" to remind us that really anything that presents itself as disagreeable to us is an opportunity to be patient and offer something to God.

Just as with waiting 40 days through Lent and making sacrifices along the way, brings us so much joy and glory with the celebration of Easter, the rewards of patience are peace and triumph. For I think it is in waiting for things that make the attainment of them so wonderful. There's an inner joy that accompanies those moments when you choose to be patient amidst suffering by the grace of God.

I love this quote by Mother Angelica, "Patience is adjusting your time to God's time."  Let's take Our Lady of Sorrows as our model of patience this Lent!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Taking a Drive


Do you ever just like going for a drive? Even if you don't have anywhere in particular to go, sometimes it's nice to drive along the highway and take in all the surroundings. I guess all-day drives can be a drag, but there's something satisfying about reaching your destination after a long journey.

I like the fun and adventure of trips--the idea that you can hop in a car or a plane and be somewhere else in a matter of hours. Going for a drive and playing music in the car, rolling the windows down and feeling the fresh air, laughing with your friends on the way to a movie. There's something about sharing a drive that lets you have the best conversations, those feel good moments, and the experience of getting somewhere together.

A nice drive gives you time to think, time to imagine, time to take a breather and slow down. I like the experience of new places, of the old fashioned idea of printing out directions, of capturing the moments that got you there. People laugh at the number of pictures I like to take, but you just want to savor those moments that quickly turn into memories. 

So when life hits you fast, remember you can just take it slow, one moment at a time!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Valuing Our Heritage


Our nationality is part of who we are. It might not play a central part in our everyday life as far as customs may go, but there is something to be said for our heritage. Where we come from sometimes helps us know where we are going. Being American is a distinct nationality, but most Americans have different heritages. I enjoy American holidays and traditions, but it is also nice to have some elements of our other cultures as well.

For myself, I am Polish, Irish, and German. To be honest, I don't play up the nationalities all that much, but I think it's neat to know what you are. I would love to travel to those countries and experience what the culture would be like. The food, architecture, and people would all be so interesting. 

One tradition that I have kept is a Polish one. Every Christmas we get special wafers decorated with religious scenes. Each member of the family breaks off a piece of their individual wafer and wishes the other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is a warm memory I have of all the Christmas Eve's growing up. (And I do have to say that Polish Chrusciki sugar pastries are absolutely delicious).

Heritage to me is a little piece of our past that makes the unique story of our life a little more fascinating!