Sunday, November 13, 2016

Taking the Call

The word "prayer" gets a bad wrap, you know? It's kind of sad. Because when you actually talk about it with people, I haven't come face to face with a lot of people who would tell me that prayer is an inherently bad thing. In fact, they don't even find it annoying when they really think about it. But, somehow, whenever someone says, in passing, "I'll pray for you," or every time someone starts up a Rosary, I think the majority of us tend to inhale rather sharply. And no one seems to know why.

It's one of those unfortunate facts of life that we tend to look on prayer as something of an over-pious activity, especially when we're in high school. I went through it. My parents went through it. Their parents went through it. Of course, there are those who take to it like ducks to water, but there will always be those who look sideways at those ducks.

Most of us have this picture in our heads of "prayer" being kneeling with your head bowed reciting incantations, and the first thing we all say when we imagine it that way is that we simply don't have time for that. We are getting to the point where the ticking of the clock is beginning to rule our lives, and we have things to do and places to be, doggone it!

One of my dad's favorite prayers was a two-word one used in the famous musical, "The Sound of Music," when Maria first arrives at that big mansion and it suddenly hits her just how terrifying her situation is. It goes like this:

"Oh help."

Best. Prayer. Ever.

We need to stop thinking of prayer as this exclusively incantation-related thing. True, some of the most powerful forms of prayer (for example, the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, heck, even the Our Father and Hail Mary), and certainly the most well-known, come in this format. But the fact of the matter is we need to be praying with our very lives. With our actions and our works. For that matter, there are hundreds of forms of prayer--seriously...hundreds. What we need to do, especially now that we're old enough to understand the concept of prayer, is find a form of prayer that works for us. Journaling? Service? Straight-up daily Rosaries?

Try them all on for size. Find what works, find what doesn't work. But pray. Never stop praying.

Much love!
Ceci Galvin

Sunday, November 6, 2016

To Men of Goodwill

Remember that old saying that our moms used to spew out at us whenever we were in a volcanic argument with a sibling: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"?

When we really take a moment to look back on this, what exactly is this saying accomplishing? Telling you to keep quiet if you disagree with someone? Not exactly. What our parents usually mean by this is that were not supposed to whip out an insult whenever we feel insulted. It's especially potent when considering that children have the propensity to be insulted by anything and everything.

But, these days, when every little thought is so easily shot out into the universe via the internet, it's easier for us to regress back to those childhood days when hurt feelings would be immediate cause to spit out a "stupidhead" that would get us tossed right into writing-I-will-not-say-stupidhead-1,000-times territory. Except, of course, we're older now. Our words are a little more volatile, our meanings are a little more acidic. And every time someone brings us to that boiling point, we find that we've even more deeply entrenched ourselves into our world view because we don't like the idea of someone who hurt our feelings being right.

This Tuesday, it's going to get heated--as if it hasn't been bad enough already. I've heard the saying "Don't be so open-minded that your brains fall out" being tossed around quite a bit by both sides these days, ironically enough. And while it's easy to think of ourselves as that sole member of society who believes the right thing (who IS open-minded, but also grounded), we have to remember that pretty much every other person out there is going to feel the same way. And the worst possible way to see things from another person's point of view, or to get anyone to see things from our point of view, is to play the "stupidhead" game when they don't instantly agree.

When Tuesday rolls around, whatever happens is going to happen, and we should all play our part to uphold the teachings of the church and to exercise our rights as Americans and as Catholics. But let's also remember that we're not "fighting" against a "cause" as though we were the protagonists in the latest young adult novel about some dystopian society. The "sides" we perceive are composed of human beings who have beliefs. And it's important to view them as we would want to be viewed: first and foremost as people. Not ignorant people. Not uninformed people. Not wrong people.

Just people.

So, as we careen toward the next election, let us take the time to remember that our mothers' saying still applies.

And so does Jesus's...

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

~Matthew 22:37-40

Much love!
Ceci Galvin

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ghouls and Goblins

Halloween: that particularly spooky time of year in which costumes and Jack-O-Lanterns rule the world, and tooth-rot becomes the new TV. Such fun.

Halloween was a way of life for us when we were kids. There was this sense of motivation in the air and we never worked harder in our lives for candy. The costumes, the get-togethers, the traditional 30-person candy-swap that took place after every Trick-Or-Treating Session.

There's a fair amount of nostalgia and whimsy that comes with this time of year, and we learned historically from last night why. I never used to think about why we used to do the things we did, we just sort of went with it: dressed up and knocked on doors like normal, healthy humans. It wasn't until we got older and started taking a look around that Halloween lost a bit of its sheen. Dressing up was kind of a chore, and trick-or-treating was just for little kids.Why had we always put in so much effort?

I think it's just one of those weird factoids of life that most people go through a phase of "coolness" before they come to their senses. It's just a shame that it would have to be in roughly middle school or high school. Because, when you think about it, that's when you could be out there having the most fun if you really wanted to. You could really embrace the spirit of Halloween: not as the holiday we love to not think about, or as that "cult-night" we all hear about, but as well-formed and well-informed people who understand the benefits of acknowledging the spiritual at all. Let's face it: in today's day and age, you're not going to get a lot of that, and certainly not from a healthy viewpoint when you do. How much more helpful would it be to have a group of teenagers who not only know what Halloween is all about, but who keep that sense of wonder and liveliness around for the younger generations, so that they can learn about it too when the time comes? How against the grain would that be? How unnatural and almost weird?

But hey, it's Halloween. The perfect time for all things weird and crazy.

Pass it on.