Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for February, 2015

SHROVE TUESDAY

Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (or Marty Grass, as my son called it)…whatever you call today, it’s a day of preparation. A day to prepare for tomorrow: Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday mass is my favorite mass of the year.

I am traveling and presenting at a Symposium tomorrow, then traveling home (barring any weather issues). But my one thought was: when can I get ashes?

I spent some time today walking around St. Augustine, FL (great town if you haven’t been here!) looking for a Catholic Church.┬áIt is raining (I think I prefer 20-degrees and snowy in Maryland than 50-degrees and rainy in Florida) and the Cathedral a block from my hotel is closed for renovation.
They aren’t making this easy on me.

But faith – and living a life of faith – isn’t easy. It takes work, it takes daily attention and it takes planning; just like the symposium I am attending. In fact, anything that is meaningful and important takes work, attention and planning, so our faith should too.

But what’s interesting to me is that the reason I enjoy Ash Wednesday run contradictory to the mass readings themselves. Tomorrow we will hear about how when we fast, we shouldn’t look like we are fasting. And how when we give, we should give without recognition; how we shouldn’t let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. And yet, I enjoy going to mass tomorrow because I like the reminder and sign of the ashes. I like representing my faith in a visual way.

Hmmm – I may need to work on that. Perhaps during Lent.

Whatever you call today, and however you honor the next 40-some-odd days, be humble and be pure in your offerings. I will try to as well.

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  • Often times I have a topic about which I want to write; (in fact, I have many of these partial posts “saved” in my drafts box) but sometimes the words aren’t there. Either I can’t articulate my thoughts accurately or I am afraid my words will not do justice (or give enough respect) to the topic.

    Today, I can’t stop thinking about two families whose sons passed away: both the United States Naval Academy and the University of Notre Dame lost students this past week. Two institutions that are so entwined with my life are hurting. As part of the ND and USNA communities, it is not surprising that my heart hurts as well.

    This morning at mass at the Naval Academy Chapel, I was prepared to pray for the loss of a midshipman. What I was not prepared for, however, was that his family was sitting in the pew just a few feet away. Listening to the words of the priest, knowing they were being heard by a family in their deepest grief, gave new meaning to the readings and the homily. These were God’s words being spoken directly to a family that needed His comfort: a reading from Job, who suffered more than most of us; and God’s love for us as he sacrificed His only son for us. It was powerful to be in the presence of such divine compassion.

    I came home to learn the news that a student at Notre Dame had passed away on Friday, and that tomorrow mass will be celebrated in his memory. I know there too will God’s words be spoken from the priest to the family and friends who need His comfort.

    I too am comforted by this. Can I live my life feeling the daily sadness of the hurt in our communities? No. While it is easy to become consumed in the hurt, there is too much joy in life each day to focus on the sadness. But I can live my life each day working to strengthen my community so that it is always there for those in need. Because we will all, someday, be the one in need.

    God Bless those who are hurting today.

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