Saturday, February 26, 2011

Relic of St. Mary Magdalene

As much as I love the Church, one of those things that I'm still trying to more fully understand is the devotion and veneration of relics.  Reading up on it a bit, I can grasp that the bodies of saints as former temples of the Holy Spirit through which many blessings of God were poured out ought to have a special place particularly in light of undertsanding our bodies via the Theology of the Body.  However, in practice, I'm not quite sure what to do with that.

A relic of St. Mary Magdalene (a piece of her tibia) was at Vallombrosa on February 20 making its California tour and I had the opportunity to go and see it.  This was my first time seeing a first-class relic and I had no idea what to expect.

Vallombrosa had provided some history on the relic and so it was nice having an explanation of the timeline all the way back to St. Mary herself.  When it comes to relics, I often find myself wondering how people really know it actually belonged to the saint.  I'm skeptical that some dude dug up a body part, made some outrageous claim, and then here we gullible people are, centuries later, wanting some affirmation of our faith and venerating it.  I don't really believe that, but the thought does cross my mind.  However, knowing how the Church moves and how careful she tries to be when it comes to claims like this helps that.

Entering the chapel where the relic was on display being venerated, there were many people praying before it (her?).  As I waited to go up to it, I was watching what other people were doing.  Most people went up to it, looked/stared at it, presumably praying in their heart, and then closed with a sign of the cross.  Then it was my turn.

"Wow!  That's a big-ass piece of bone."  That was my first thought.  Oops. 

"Hi! ..."  That was my second thought.

I hope I still looked reverent like everyone else.

Not having a lot of experience with non-living human body parts, I was surprised by how dark the bone was.  At the same time, I found myself struck by the fact that this was part of St. Mary Magdalene herself!  This flashed me back to a self-imagined dramatic, epic montage of the Bible stories of St. Mary.  Snapping back to reality, but with gravity still there, I had a deep sense of my faith connection being here in the 21st century going all the way back to the time of Jesus.  I felt privileged to be a part of such a rich history and even empowered to be able to continue on the battle of faith.  I closed with a quick prayer asking St. Mary to pray for me to continue to grow in my understanding of her, this whole relics thing, and following Jesus better.  Not the most eloquent, but it was me.

I think that might be what it's all about.

Procession of the relic of St. Mary

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Receiving a Blessing from God

I’ve realized that I have this underlying expectation that in order to receive a tangible blessing from God, I must have met certain requirements.  I need to first be in the “proper” emotionally receptive state to fully be aware of it when it comes so that I have no doubt and I can only receive it after I’ve had a struggle proportional to the size of the blessing.

Why is it that I have a hard time receiving it otherwise?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buying a House?!

My wife and I are trying to buy a house in the Bay Area and the numbers are so big that it just feels like Monopoly money.  Like Jon Acuff says in this post (#2), as we are going to open houses and meeting with our realtor, I keep find myself wondering when the adults are going to show up and make the real decisions.

Growing up in an affluent Chinese family, there was never a need to talk numbers.  Though my parents are helping us out quite a bit, they just gave me a rundown of our financial history.  Talk about a bubble burst.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Spoon is too Big

I was always under the impression that to be a man meant that you always had to be the big spoon.  It was the position of power and control.  You also got to be the protector and provider of warmth.

Since being married, I now have the possibility of spooning every night and for long periods of time.   However, that has turned the above ideal into awkward placements of the mattress side arm, mouthfuls of hair which always tickles your face first, and getting way too hot.

Being wiser and more married-er, I've discovered that a key to marital bliss actually lies in being the small spoon! The wifey still feels secure and warm wrapping herself around you, your arm no longer needs to go numb under her head (for some reason this isn't as big of a deal for women), and you can breathe easy, hair-free, AND have full control of the blanket thermostat (ie. how much you are in or out of the covers).  You can take that to the bank.

I've come to terms with the fact that...

...unfortunately, I can no longer poo without busting out my iPhone.