50 days after Easter we celebrate Pentecost. In commemoration of the first Pentecost. Reading the passage it always has an other worldly feel to it, rushes of wind, tongues of fire and amazing feelings and sensations running through the disciples from sadness to hyper happiness to being bale to speak in toungues, all in the space of a Holy Spirit whoosh. Acts 2 1-11;
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them….
As I drove to church today I drove past some pretty poppies and they made me think of tongues of fire dotted against the green grass. But they swayed gently in the breeze and were so peaceful, and that made me realise the past few months and weeks, this particular Easter season, was a gentle Holy Spirit season, no whooshes or fiery tongues. But the Fruits of the Holy Sprit were our saving graces. These fruits were indeed sensed and practiced, love, peace. No manic preparations and hectic celebrating, no sudden highs from super lows, but lots of fruits none the less.
So as we celebrate Pentecost today and pray for the Holy Spirit let us be aware of these fruits and grow them as they will serve us and others all the days of our lives. As we receive the Holy Spirit le us cultivate these fruits and become better people for it.
Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Blessed Happy Pentecost Everyone!!!
This video-cast can be watched on the Saving Graces YouTube Channel.
Quarantine musings – Faith, Life, Sacraments
How has life been affected by the lockdowns? Here I just chat through what it has been like for me, and the hopes for the time to come 🙂 What insights has quarantine-ing revealed about your life? How has God been speaking to you? Listen so some of my quarantine musings.
Welcome to podcast number one, numero uno, yekutanga tanga. I am so excited to be able to have some deep meaningful conversation with you all around life, God, existence, spirituality and some silly chat as well just because. And yes conversations because you are all an important part of this via your comments here or on the saving graces blog. I’m also scared at the same time, because this could bomb. In a spectacular way, which is why it’s been a work in progress for about 6 years…
So why is my blog and podcast called Saving Graces? I am a language nerd so an English definition of a saving grace is a redeeming quality of something that’s not all that fab, a sliver lining around something not so great. It makes a negative not so bad. In Christianity ‘saving grace’ is a gift from God, it is God’s grace that redeems us. Now God’s grace is not just a ‘redeeming quality’, it is THE grace that makes us exist.
Saving grace results in our sanctification. So all these little bits of God moments, of joy, or peace of virtue shining forth, these are all saving graces that make life all so amazing and wonderful, because they sanctify us, they make us holy, they bring us to holiness. I want to notice then that the path to holiness is paved by all these saving graces and even when I cannot see it, every moment in life is a moment of sanctification, a moment to tap into God’s grace, all I have to do is trust it. Grace is also given so that we can lead others to holiness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2000) describes these graces as
“Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.”
Wow such a long winded explanation just to say I like Saving Graces LOL.
Called to greatness
I’ve always believed that we are all created to be great. Now the worlds definition of great varies and does not always commute depending on your culture backgrounds etc. but regardless we all have greatness within us. But we are scared of it, we hide it and we don’t know how to use it. I find this so sad, when so much God given talent and potential is laid to waste. We need to redefine greatness, success and meaning, so that everyone feels they can embrace their God given greatness, their purpose, their raison d’être.
Your greatness can come in being the best teacher, mother, doctor, cleaner and in embracing that greatness you help those around you do the same. We were not born to be mediocre, we are made in the image of God, and that image is not mediocre. It burns, it glows, it mesmerises, it transcends, So like St Catherine of Sienna said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Be not afraid, God is with us so life can only be beautiful. Dare to live in His will and taste and see His goodness.
If you cant tell I am passionate about people supporting each other, especially women supporting one another and daring to believe that they are capable of reaching their full potential in Christ. I’m a passionate about love, about drawing from the source of love that is God and giving that love, living a life full of meaning and of giving of ourselves in a way we can only do because we know who made us. I don’t always know how to do that but the lives of other catholics and saints have helped me over time, so I want to help others in the same way. So I want to share insights from my own life and from other people’s lives in order that we all grow to know and love God more, to love each other more, see the beauty of the human condition in all it’s facets.
What we will talk about
So at Saving Graces we will talk about prayer, life, productivity, culture, money, food, studies anything under the sun really as a way to help you realise you have more power over your life than you think, and thus empower you to make decisions for your daily life to achieve peace and joy and love. I hope this podcast becomes a way to pause and reflect, and to consider what brings us together in this shared human condition and how we can live a life that best reflects our limitless potential, and our value in God’s love for us.
That’s it for the intro podcast! Can’t wait to journey with y’all 🙂
Is there beauty in silence?
The sound of silence...
You so confound me
Sometimes peaceful at times distressing.
Quiet and and yet loud,
Eery and dark or golden and light
Dear Silence your sound it surrounds me
Cocooning me in a dampened embrace
Your sound goes through me and pierces me
Screaming through my heart
Deafening in your scream
Your sound fills me and leave me empty
Oh Silence whose sound I love and hate
Oh dear sound of silence
I’ve been discovering the beauty of silence. Silence is one of those things that can have so many qualities depending on where you are, where your heart is, where your emotions and mind are. These past few months have been filled with a lot of silence, but on the whole it has been positive. It has been heart opening, showing me parts of myself that I had forgotten about or sidelined in the loudness of life. I have always enjoyed silence except when it is awkward in company, but even then I can put up with the awkwardness. If I’m around “my people” though, silence is impossible I have so much to tell. A lot more people are uncomfortable with silence and find they have to fill it with any sound whatsoever, from music to chatter to TV.
Saints and mystics regard silence as one of those ingredients necessary in the quest of holiness. But why? How does silence help us to holiness? Without it there is no place for contemplation, no place for reflection because our hearts and minds are chaotic. Our emotions take over and our reason is overcome.
I think of the silence needed like that of being in the eye of a storm, the eye of a hurricane. Our minds are usually like the hurricane, but when we embrace silence and are still we are in the eye and can see the chaos all around us. This can be terrifying but it also allows a perspective that was not possible before. One can look the storm straight on and clearly see what is happening, see the magnitude of the storm and thus be able to plan and know how to act when back in the fray, and also have the assurance that when it all become overwhelming you can always go back into calm eye to get some rest and recharge.
Hearing God in the Silence
Can you imagine trying to hear anyone in the midst of a storm? And hearing God in the storm that is life? He speaks into the stillness of our hearts in a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). We need to be even more still in order to hear it.
The word for silence in German is Stille. With stillness and silence comes relaxation and peace. When you wake up well rested you would not have moved around a lot in your sleep nor made a lot of sound. And those words and prompting of the Holy Spirit that you hear in this stillness, in peace, they resonate through your whole being and cannot be ignored. They move you to action, to changing and not on a surface level. That still small voice, because you are still and silent becomes so loud like a resounding gong. It resonates with each step you take when you are back in the fray. It motivates you to move. To be better. To grow. and as you make the changes to change and grow.
The beauty in silence becomes so apparent you wonder how you missed it before, and you begin to seek more silence and contemplation and thus grow more, and before you know it, you are a few steps close to holiness. One way I have begun to embrace the silence is through contemplative prayer, and the peace from those moments and the stirrings the Lord has given me travel with me throughout the day, like ripples from His centre, like echoes of a conversation we had together…
That has been my saving grace of late, the beauty in silence. What saving grace do you find in the quiet?
Crystalina Evert wrote a tweet. It was challenging women to not dress as if they’re going out to a club when they are going to mass. Modesty always makes people defensive for some reason. I was quite surprised by the comments and the replies. Most of them were geared towards “at least they are there”, or that we shouldn’t judge a person’s dress. They totally missed the point.
Do we actually believe in the Eucharist? If we did, would it not take us hours to prepare in order to be ready to enter the presence of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords? Why is it ok for us to come not at our best, but to give the Lord the dregs? Have you seen priests vest for the mass? If not ask to do so one day and see how each article of clothing has significance and importance. We too must vest when we come to mass, physically in our dress and spiritually as we prepare for worship.
If I can plan for a date, plan how to dress to impress and even if I will be rushing from work I can plan to look good, why can I not do that for mass? If I have sport before mass why not carry in my kit bag pair of slacks, a dress, something I can quickly change into before going to mass? Why do we give the excuse that well I was doing this and I was doing that so I did not have time to be ready for mass? It means that whatever else we were doing is way more important than mass by far. Because if the mass was important I would prepare for mass and align everything else around it not the other way around.
The excuse that it doesn’t matter what we are wearing at least we are there… has mass attendance become a Numbers Game? Does it not matter to be in the right right mood, to have the right preparation? Is attendance ‘no matter how badly done’ all that matters? Mass is communal prayer, not individual prayer, so it’s not about me but about the Body of Christ.
Modesty in dress and wearing our Sunday Best, it all still has a place. The Western and westernized world for some reason thinks that Come As You Are means Come as Badly as You Possibly Can. Not so! It is about realising our failings but still putting our best foot forward. If we dress up for work, for school, for the governor, for the queen, to impress, to fit the occasion, then why is mass an afterthought when it comes to this? Parents instruct their kids, “hey it’s cold outside wear a jersey, swimming in jeans won’t work, that suit is better for an interview”, and yet feel for some reason ill-equipped to do the same for mass. We need to do the right thing, not do what is popular. I can tell you now at an African mass if you cam in wearing butty riders one of the mhamhas will give you a wrapper to cover up. If when we visit Rome we make sure to cover up when entering the Cathedrals, then we can do the same for our home parish.
Dress well for mass to show that you have put thought into the event, the celebration the Eucharist, that you are going to be attending. Dress meaningfully in order to teach those around you how important the mass is. Suit the occasion, you are after all going to be meeting your Redeemer, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This should be the most important hour of your week. We can sacrifice our comfort clothes surely for an hour or two? It should not be how badly can I do something and it still be acceptable, it should be how well can I do it. The widow with two coins brought her best, we are called to do the same. It’s not about being archaic, it’s about showing our faith outwardly to the world, and about preparing ourselves inwardly for the Lord who saves us.