A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘Epiphany

Last night, as I prepared dinner, I couldn’t believe the allergy warnings on a couple of packages. Buyer, beware: the peanut satay sauce may contain peanuts and the pork and shrimp dumplings may contain shrimp. Yes, really.

Sometimes things are so obvious they don’t need to be pointed out. But sometimes we need a gentle reminder.

I’ve been reading Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage, and Transform by Elise Ballard. Among the interviews of famous and not-so-famous people, Ms. Ballard includes the story of Maya Angelou.

Ms. Angelou, at the time in her twenties and taking voice lessons, was asked to read out loud. Several times, her teacher asked her to read this line: “God loves me.” And the fact that it was the truth suddenly sank in. Her story ends with these words:

I could weep with joy at the knowledge that I am loved by Love itself.

embroidered card

One of my Great-Nanny’s embroidered cards from WWI

How many people know that God is love and that he loves us but don’t know it deep in their hearts? How many people feel unworthy of God’s love because of the things they’ve done or are afraid to trust in God because of hurt they’ve suffered in relationships? How do we help them to see?

We can be with them where they are and just listen.

We can invite them to come with us to parish events and Mass—whether they’d be visiting our parish for the first time, or for the first time in many years—so that they can learn more about God’s great and merciful love for all people, whoever they are and whatever they’ve done.

We can remind them that the Bible tells us of God’s love for us in many places, such as 1 John 4*:

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. (v. 7)

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (v. 16b)

And we can pray that God would fill their hearts with the knowledge of his love.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, may we know—really know—that God is love and loves us.

Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth: for love proceeds from God, and cannot rest but in God, above all things created.

~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux, quoted in “Celebrate February 2015,” Catholic Digest, January/February 2015

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)




They shall bring gold and frankincense,

and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

~ Isaiah 60:6*

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Epiphany. As the priest pointed out, we think of this as the time when the Wise Men—however many there were—followed the star to Judea and sought the king of the Jews. When they found Jesus in Bethlehem, “they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

As the priest also noted, these Wise Men came from the East. This “showing forth” of the Messiah wasn’t just for the Jews but for all peoples. And we are to show Jesus to others.

So how are we doing on that score? Is our faith made plain by the way we live? For example, could we be more forgiving and generous? Could we worry less, letting “the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day” (Matthew 6:34), and trust God more? I know I could.

Do we invite others to come and see? Could we invite someone to a Catholic Women’s League or Knights of Columbus event or a Bible study? Could we encourage our teens to invite a friend to a youth group activity? I know I’d like my husband and I to have more friends who share our faith, and I’d like the same for my son.

And do we share our treasures? We may not have a lot of “gold” to offer, but do we offer the best of ourselves—our time and talents—in serving our family, our parish and our community? I’d like to find more ways to share in the life of my parish and this city—to let the things that touch my heart move me to act.

Early January feels like the right time to set in motion changes in our lives that we’d like to make this year. Beyond the usual resolutions to quit smoking, lose weight and get organized, we can resolve to show Jesus to others and share the gifts he has given us. To give others the opportunity to know about his love and receive his blessings.

For you bless the righteous, O LORD;

you cover him with favor as with a shield.

~ Psalm 5:12

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

  • In: Faith
  • Comments Off on Having an Epiphany

Although the new year is a few days old, until yesterday my house looked a lot like Christmas. I like to leave my decorations up until Epiphany and play some Christmas music while I pack everything up.

Somehow the house feels plainer after we box up the ornaments, even though it looks the same as it did before December 1st.

Bulldog with the January blahs

Some of us find January a bleak time…

In the same way, many people find January a bleak time. I tend to see it as full of possibilities—and those who really know me know that I’m something of a pessimist (although I like to think of myself as a realist).

True, a new year is just a new calendar page. We don’t really shake off all the cares and concerns we had on December 31st. And yet I always wonder whether there’s a class I could take, a craft I could try, a concert or an art exhibit I could see, or even some corner of the house I could organize better. As my mother has often said, “A change is as good as a rest.” So January usually finds me poring over course calendars for school boards and recreation centres and scanning the newspaper for notices of upcoming events or volunteer needs.

We all know the three most popular changes to make: quit smoking, lose weight, and get organized. But maybe another opportunity for change is waiting for us if we pray about it and listen to God’s answer. Read the rest of this entry »

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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