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Be still: surrender over striving

When I signed onto Facebook this week, I found a private message from someone who told me that a Life Lines column I had written about surrender eight years ago had been instrumental in helping her “let go and let God” in the midst of her struggle back then, and again even now as she faced new challenges. I have to admit that not only was I humbled, but I went to my own website and tried to find what words I might have written that had made such an impact, because, Lord knows, I could use some advice on how to surrender.

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Life in my 50s: the final frontier

Today I begin the first day of my last year in my 50s. Feels significant in some inexplicable way. I guess all the birthdays become significant, or more significant, as we age. I woke up this morning with my usual aches and pains in hips and knees and lower back, with eye issues that have become chronic, and the ability to jump out of bed becoming a distant memory, and yet I thought: I’m breathing. I woke up to see another day, another year, another birthday, and for that I am grateful. At one point this morning I remember thinking: I am now 12 years past my mother’s age when she died. Trust me, that is no small thing. And most people who have lost a parent too young totally get that.

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‘The Chosen’: TV series as prayer

As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I grew up with my share of interesting entertainment options when it came to exploring the life of Jesus. I performed songs from “Godspell” with the folk group at St. Aedan’s parish in Pearl River. I saw Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway with my parish CYO friends. I was a devoted fan of the annual airing of the multi-part TV series “Jesus of Nazareth,” so much so that I later owned my own copy of that series so I could watch it every Lent. So, when I started hearing about a new Jesus series called “The Chosen,” I didn’t pay much attention. What could this latest take on Jesus’ life have to say that all the other shows and movies hadn’t already said through drama, song and sometimes straight up kitsch?

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Miscarriage: love and loss 23 years later

My annual tribute to the baby I lost 23 years ago today, the baby I call Grace:

For the past few days I’ve been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was 23 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy.

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Doubting Thomas: possibly the best title

Doubting Thomas. That title is a reminder, if ever there was one, that nicknames stick, even if the nickname isn’t necessarily warranted or fair. Sure, today’s Gospel tells us in black and white that Thomas the Apostle said he would not believe in the risen Lord unless he could see and touch the marks from the nails of the crucifixion and the wound where the soldier’s lance had pierced Jesus’ side. But what we tend to gloss over is that all the other apostles had already been treated to that visible proof the first time Jesus was in their midst. Jesus’ core group wasn’t exactly packed with quick believers. Remember how they initially doubted Mary Magdalene’s news of the resurrection. Remember how afterward, in the scene just before today’s Gospel, Jesus appeared to them, showed them his hands and his side—and then they rejoiced.

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Confessions of a rosary convert

Rosary-challenged. That’s how I’ve described myself for most of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I have more sets of rosary beads than I can count, tucked away in my nightstand and desk drawers, in multiple purses and hanging on my bedpost. When I’m in a panic, the Rosary spills from my lips without warning. I once embarrassed my daughters by reciting the Rosary at full volume on a crowded plane to Rome when we hit a scary patch of turbulence. I reserve the right, as a Catholic girl named Mary, to call on the Rosary at will, even if the prayer is not in my regular repertoire.

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The journey is the goal

Last week I was working out in a corner of our backyard where I decided to create a meditation garden. The area, which had once been home to a swing set, had become overrun with weeds and was, for the most part, lost space. I came up with the idea for the garden last year when pandemic gave me ample opportunity to work outside.

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The rules we live by

As we round the corner on pandemic and see a faint light at the end of our long Covid tunnel, I’ve found myself stuck—physically, due to some minor injuries and illnesses; mentally, due to months of near-isolation coupled with the long upstate New York winter; spiritually, due to an inability or unwillingness to simply sit with God or at least go through the motions of prayer and hope something sticks.

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Life Lines podcast: grief and grace

After a few months MIA, the Line Lines podcast is back. On the eve of the 33rd anniversary of my mother’s death, I’m talking about grief and grace, sorrow and subconscious memories that wake us up even when we’re unaware. The body, mind and heart remember. Always. Listen here:

For more Life Lines episodes, click HERE.

Responding with heart means jumping in with trust

I love how Peter tends to respond to Jesus with such pure emotion. As in today’s scene, when he leaps out of his boat and races through the water toward Jesus; as on the Mount of the Transfiguration when he wants to erect three tents; as he answers without hesitation that he believes Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”; as he tries to convince Jesus that his Passion doesn’t need to happen, causing our Lord to say, “Get behind me Satan”; as at the Last Supper when he wants Jesus to wash not only his feet but head and hands; as in the Garden at Gethsemane when he cuts off the ear of a servant; as he warms his hand by the fire and denies even knowing Jesus.

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