Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Being Humble

I opened up my journal this morning, and right away saw a verse that related very nicely to last week's Readings on salvation. Then I saw that there was only 1 Reading and the Gospel on the page. It was then I realized that I had started reading tomorrow's Readings...Oops. And that is why this blog is called "The Not So Perfect Catholic".
After I flipped the page and started reading the correct Readings, there was a line that jumped out at me: "and alms attone for sins." (Sir 3:29) As I've said before, I'm not a theologian, and I have a tremendous amount to learn, but, I wondered if that was where the early church got the idea that they can buy their way into heaven?
The Gospel goes on to tell us that we have to be humble in order to get that prize. Here we have Jesus, who was no doubt invited to the dinner just so the guests could look at him a little closer and see what this guy was all about. But then, Jesus turns the table on these people who were probably invited to the dinner because of who they were, and their status in the community. Jesus stressed that it's necessary for us to be humble, and not be caught up in human rewards, honors, and status. ePriest says that "humility brings discontent and conflict; human rewards are limited in time and quantity; they can't satisfy our soul." We are to "trust in the Lord- don't seek to be rewarded in earthly things." 
Today's world is all about ME. We try to fulfill our happiness with material things; things that make us feel good at the moment. Jesus offers us eternal happiness- as long as we can center our lives around Him.
As I listened to the Deacon begin to read the Gospel, this thought came to me: We are to humble ourselves so we are invited to sit by God in everlasting life. I was reminded of the time when a friend asked me to think about being a Eucharistic Minister. I told her that I didn't think I was worthy enough to even touch the host, much less distribute the body and blood of Christ. Her response: None of us are. Shortly after that, I became a Eucharistic Minister.
The Priest began his Homily with the quote at the beginning of this post. He then asked why is humility so important? Our hearts must have the right disposition; there is "no room for God in a heart that is full of himself". Wow. I'm not sure if he came up with that on his own, but if he did, just...WOW. 
Father ended the Homily by saying that we must pray for the humility to be led where God wants us, and use our gifts to serve Him. We are to conduct our affairs with humility throughout our week. We are all called to different vocations; God has given us gifts for those vocations. I have to remind myself of this often: We are to use those gifts for the glory of God; not for accolades for ourselves. 
I'm not sure if anyone else does this, but there are times when I read the Readings and a song pops into my head. This morning, I couldn't get this one out of my head:

Have a fantastic week! Go out and fulfill your all the glory to God!

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: Working on Salvation

I used to refer people who asked me about being saved to the quote above. I haven't been asked in a long time about being saved. I'm not sure if it's because people automatically know I'm Catholic by the necklace I wear daily (it's a cross with miraculous medal in the middle), or if they just don't care if I'm saved or not! But that's a whole different topic for another day.
This week's readings remind us not to get caught up in "being saved", or, thinking that we are. We aren't to get too comfortable in thinking that we're going straight to heaven just because we do the right things, like go to Mass every Sunday & Holy Day. During the homily, the deacon said something that made me slap my forehead. During the teaching in the Gospel, Jesus says that there will be some who say "We ate and drank in your company..." (Luke 13:26)Just going through the motions isn't going to cut it. Just going to communion (eating and drinking in Jesus' company) doesn't mean we have our ticket to heaven punched. We have to live the Gospel; live as Jesus wants us to live. 
I was listening to Lino Rulli on the Catholic Channel (Sirius XM) the other day, and he talked about the narrow gate. He likened it to the Olympic Athletes...only the most fit athletes go to the Olympics. To get through that gate, we have to be fit...and we have to train for it our whole lives. As Father Greg Friedman mentioned in the daily reflection video on the USCCB website, It's a "mistake to sit back and think you're in". He goes on to say that it's not who you know or if you get there first. We're called to openness & hospitality; we're called to mercy.  ePriest   suggested that we pray for happy deaths. Lately, that's what I've been doing. My father is in his 90's, and while he's in incredible shape for that age, I know it won't be too much longer before he passes away. My greatest prayer for him is that he will have a happy death. ePriest also suggested that we pray for the "grace to persevere until the end". We can't give up on God if we want salvation. We can't judge others...we have to "attend to our own soul". 
As the deacon said during his Homily, there are 168 hours in a week. we have to give every hour to him, not just 1 hour on Sunday. He pictured Jesus saying "What planet are you on?" when he does something that is questionable. When something isn't convenient, that's when God is working through us the most. He is asking us to give of ourselves in His name. He left us with this thought: "Have we shown enough, done enough that Jesus will recognize us as being from His planet?"
As I read through the Readings this morning, this song from Matthew West kept going through my head:

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Stay Focused

With the crazy flooding in Louisiana, did anyone else think it was fitting that the 1st Reading was about Jeremiah being thrown into the cistern, but there was only mud? Please remember all those dealing with this life-changing flood in your prayers.
This Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) foretold what we all go through at one time or another: people are going to say things about our faith; some will back off from our friendship because of how we live our faith. But, we shouldn't back down from our faith just because some people don't understand or don't approve. We have to look to Jesus and stay strong. We have to stay focused. Jesus knew that he was going to stir things up; even within families there would be believers and the doubters. The reflection from ePriest said that His message and mission are more important that family ties. When someone is talking about you behind your back, or treating you differently because of your belief, ePriest encourages us to ask for God's grace to show those people mercy. I've heard it said if you pray for those people, you will treat them with kindness. 
The reflection from USCCB gave me some insight to the history of the gospel. During Luke's time, women probably played an important role in the early church. Isn't the same true today? Why is it that it seems that more women than men are involved with the church? It does seem that women are more forthcoming with their Christianity than men. The women are more likely to bring their faith into the light, while the men seem to keep theirs hidden. So, today's Gospel still holds true today. We see (or, at least I do) in our own families that we have siblings and even children who aren't practicing the faith. We may have family members who may ridicule us for practicing our faith. The other day, Jennifer Fulwiler had a guest on her show (I don't remember who it was), and they were talking about how they're known among their friends as  "the religious friend" or the "crazy Catholic friend". Is that a bad thing? 
We know people who say they don't think they have to go to church; they can go somewhere (mountains, beach) and be close to God. As the priest said during his Homily, we are obligated to be a holy people...ALL of us. As Catholics, that means going to Mass and taking the Eucharist out into the world. The priest said that the world tells us we should be the center of our own world, but Jesus calls us to center our life on Him who is our life. 
As he said this, I thought about how it was so much easier to be focused on living faithfully during the summer when my schedule consisted of daily morning prayer, reading the day's Readings, morning Rosary, followed by Daily Mass. I was able to go home after that & really focus on being that faithful person. Now that I'm back at work and back in the "real world", it's much harder. I have trouble remembering who He wants me to be; I'm having trouble showing that mercy to people who probably need it the most. I'm falling back into my "old ways"; ways that made me feel, quite honestly, like crap. I need to refocus and keep my eyes on Jesus. If I do that, no one could doubt that I am living my faith. I will take my faith out of hiding, bringing it out of the light...even if that means getting burned.

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: No One Knows the Hour

Every now and then, I can hear things that my mom said to me. After reading today's readings & gospel, I heard her loud and clear. I think it was after I read the book "3 Days of Darkness". Seriously...don't even look at this site unless you want to get scared out of your wits; which goes right along with today's readings. I'll get to that in a minute. Back to my mom: I talked to my mom about this prophecy, and she said, "No one knows the hour when Jesus is going to come." She was definitely next to me this morning as I read and reflected. 

We should be faithful, vigilant, ready, but not to the point of being scared. We aren't called to live our life in fear, but live our life as if each day is our last, each moment is our last. I remember in college, the fraternity where I was a little sister had an "end of the world" party. And yet we're still here. I guess that pastor that claimed to know the hour was a little bit off.

As I reflected on the first reading (from the Book of Wisdom), the Jewish people knew to get ready---they had signs and heard the words of the prophets. We also know to get ready, we only have to heed the warnings. This is setting up the biggie...the Gospel. God has given us everything we need to be ready for the 2nd coming. He has given us priests who are in charge of the Church...the building and the parishioners. The greatest gift we have been given is communion. If we tire of waiting for Him to return, we may become complacent and start being lax in our faith. (As I write this, I realize it's kind of like what's happening with me right now; since vacation I'm having a hard time getting back in the routine and "feeling it".) We may fall away from our faith. God entrusts us with faith. If we choose to go against Him, we will eternally pay for it.

I like to read a few different reflections on the readings, just to see if we get the same thing out of it. When I read the Blessed is She reflection, it was totally different. Gina Fensterer discussed private vs. public faith, and it made sense. She quoted a high school teacher as saying, "Faith is personal, but never private." Gina zoomed in on the lines

For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution. (Wisdom 18:9)

I've often said that my faith is very personal; that's why I feel very uncomfortable when someone begins talking to me about "being saved" and pushing their religion/faith on me. We have an obligation to not keep our faith private. We are called to share that faith with everyone we meet...not necessarily through words, but through our actions. It goes back to the question: Do people you meet know that you're a Christian without you telling them?

During the homily, the priest's first words were "Be ready". It's necessary to set yourself aside and build treasure for eternal life. However, we should do so not in fear. We should recognize the gift of life. HOW??? By living out our faith that has to be deep in our souls. It's not just going to Mass every Sunday, it's taking the Eucharist out into the world. this shouldn't be done out of guilt, but out of joy. The treasure isn't to be kept to yourself, it's to share with others. As he always does, he left us with a couple of questions to think about: What are you doing with the treasure of faith? How can you live out that treasure?

A couple of thoughts. Growing up, my family was only 1 of 3 Catholic families in our school (and 1 of the families wasn't  practicing). I heard my protestant friends talking about Revelations and the 2nd coming. I like the Catholic belief on that a lot better. It's not one of fear; it's one of joy. It's one of being elated when Jesus comes again, because we have lived our lives to get ready for that time. We have taken that special treasure out to share it with the world. If we've lived our life as we should, we should look forward to when Jesus comes again, not be afraid of it.

Hearing the message about taking the Eucharist out into the world and doing so out of joy is something I need to be reminded of right now. I'm having a very difficult time having a good attitude about going to work. I've been doing this for 34 years; I have no doubt this is what God has called me to do, and I do love my job. I just can't figure out why I'm having this attitude right now. I'll take this message with me out in the world this week and will hopefully get back on the right track!

{SQT} Pedis, Adoration, Confession: Not at the Same Time

I had an awesome time getting a pedi the other day. I walked in, and there was a woman who recognized me from church. She knows my dad & told me some wonderful stories about my mom. Then, my sweet pedi girl grabbed one of the beautician's customers; she's a new faculty member at one of my schools, but I hadn't met her yet. She knows 1 of my sisters-in-law, so we all chatted for a while. Then, the talk turned to Catholicism. I just may have put the RCIA seed into her mind, so we'll see what happens!
I had a busy Sunday church morning. I played for mass, then spoke with a lady about hosting our CCW wine & cheese night. After being at home for a little while, I went back over to the church for Virtus training. My opinion: the Catholic Church is doing a good job of making sure people are trained to know the warning signs of abuse. 
Now that he's home, I can tell you that 1 of my sons just returned from studying abroad in France. He texted me when he first got to Paris & told me he went to confession at Notre Dame. NOTRE DAME, y'all!  And not the one in Indiana! First off, it's quite the miracle that he went to confession in the first place, but to go at Notre Dame! I told him to go before he got on the plane, but I'm glad he went post-flight.
When we lived in SC, Perpetual Adoration was a very big thing in our parish. My current parish has it, but it's almost an after-though. It's such a beautiful thing, to spend an hour alone with Jesus. I signed back up for an hour after being on a few years' hiatus. I just can't put into words what that hour is like.
The St. John Vianney Novena to pray for priests started yesterday. I get novenas delivered to my email daily through
The other night, I looked outside and saw just a hint of a rainbow. I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots. I was afraid to try to change the setting...I thought if I started messing around with it, the rainbow would be gone.
This youtube clip is making the rounds again on Facebook. It just makes me laugh: