Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I began working a part-time, secretarial job last week for a seasonal business. Upon reflection, I realized that everyone is so focused on getting their work done, that I am a bit invisible. I’m only visible to the extent that I meet their needs, i.e., writing checks, answering phones, etc. Otherwise, they do not have the time, nor the inclination, to learn who Janet is. For instance, they know nothing of my family, my writing, my religion or my love of learning.

It occurred to me when I realized this that it’s possible that I carry this same tendency toward the poor. I started thinking, what do I know of them? How do they get noticed? Is it only when they meet a need (think migrant workers, for instance) that they get noticed? No, not from my experience. Meeting someone else’s needs is not enough to get you noticed.

If you are poor, you may do a job, but I still do not know who you really are. I do not know what you are like, your family makeup, or even if you have a religion. Often, you are collectively considered by terms such as “they” or “them.” You don’t even get the benefit of being noticed for your individuality.

That’s terrible. Just terrible. How are the poor supposed to get noticed? Do they have to interject themselves somewhere in order to be detected, or must they simply wait until others sit up and take notice?

Take some time this week to notice those around you, and those whom you typically overlook. See them, really see them. Invisibility is simply not acceptable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

From Ashes to Diamonds?

Can you imagine this? I read in PARADE (Sunday, April 20, 2008) that there is a new trend--taking your loved one's ashes and incorporating them into things. No longer is it fashionable just to distribute them, but now you can have them put in synthetic diamonds, glass balls and pottery!

As if that weren't bad enough, apparently we now also have man-made reefs on the ocean that contain human ashes as well.

The Catholic church allows cremation (as long as it isn't a protest statement of sorts), but the remains must be cared for with dignity and respect--no wide distribution--especially on ocean reefs and in diamond rings!

One of the things I absolutely love about the Church is its respect for the sanctity of human life. Even human remains are given that extended dignity. To distribute human ashes as this article described is very wreckless--even if a solemn occasion is made of the event. Simple piety and a few prayers, when offered, will never elevate such an occasion to a sacred act.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Are you responding to God in your life?

I’ve noticed something recently, a pattern of sorts . . .

About sixteen years ago I went through a conversion experience that drew me closer to God and increased my interest and awareness of my faith. It wasn’t dramatic or anything like that, but a slow process of teaching and studying that opened my eyes.

Today that desire and experience of God continues, but after this time of what seems like interior preparation, it is moving outward. I cannot tell you, yet, how it will be manifested outwardly, but I sense that it is.

When I started thinking about it, I realized that this is a very typical pattern of God working in the lives of His people. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta had been prepared by God for many years before founding the Missionaries of Charity. Sr. Helen Prejean, author and advocate for people on Death Row, also had been doing other things when God called her to the neighboring prison in her community. Others, converts to Catholicism, seem to have excelled following their time of preparation as well.

I wonder if you, too, have found this to be true. Was there—or is now—a time of preparation for you?

As I continued to consider this, I wondered if maybe some people, rather than experiencing that interior preparation and move to outward service, simply remain idle. When you think about it, many live and die without a deeper sense of God in their lives. Many move from point A to point B without any realization that their heart desires to respond to their Creator.

Since God calls us first—and we can be assured that He calls each one of us—you have to wonder how some of us stand so still in our lives. Does distraction block our vision of Christ? Does our apathy or laziness? Why is it that some of us simply never respond to God?

These are good things to consider when you reflect on your own life in Christ. I pray that you will be inspired during this Easter season to respond to God, rooting out all indifference to your faith.