Monday, September 14, 2015

As Rocket Lay Dying (Reflections on the Triumph of the Cross)

Happy Monday, everyone! I am praying for all of you as you begin your work week, and I hope that you will be able to see God blessing your life today! I also want to give a huge shout-out to all of the awesome people out there who were praying for me prior to an interview this morning. Thanks!!!! Y'all are awesome! For those of you who may be going, Wha??? right now, let me explain really quickly: 

On Friday, I received an e-mail from the producer of Seize the Day, a show on The Catholic Channel (Sirius XM radio) with Gus Lloyd. The producer asked if they could interview me on the phone for their live show on Monday morning! Naturally, I spent the rest of the afternoon bouncing, screaming, skipping outside, and texting bajillions of people, asking for prayers. I was super excited for a radio interview with Gus, but I also really needed the prayers-because when I get super excited, I tend to talk fast, mix up my words, and sound a bit like a fool. And while I'm all about humility, I didn't think it would make me or the show look good if I wasn't speaking coherently. So, thanks for the prayers! I think it went well, and I had a lot of fun. I woke up, went to Mass with my husband, came home, and the producer called me up! It was great, and talking about the papal visit was really cool. Also, Gus had the marvelous idea that I could carry around a big sword with Mary on it, to fit with my whole "marian ninja" thing. I approve. I've decided that Gus Lloyd is pretty awesome, and his show seems really cool. 

So now that I've shared that bit of excitingness and thanksgiving, let's talk about today: it's the Triumph of the Cross! Super awesome! There are many ways I could discuss this beautiful Feast, and to begin, I want to talk about a raccoon. 

On Friday morning, the weather was quite lovely outside, so I decided to sit at a table by the trees and read my book (don't worry, a literature-focused post is coming soon, where you shall hear all about it!). Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of gray. Figuring it was a squirrel, I glanced over. Nope, it was a raccoon, lying in the ground just two yards away from me. There was a swarm of flies above it, so I thought it was dead. The raccoon was breathing heavily, and kept shifting and rolling over, so I hoped for the best. Maybe he's just sleeping? I named him Rocket, because I love Guardians of the Galaxy.
Looking super cute when I first found him!
After a while, one of the maintenance workers came over. Why are you taking all those pictures? She asked. Excitedly, I pointed to Rocket. She called over another maintenance worker, who bluntly said, He's dead. 

No, no, he's still breathing! The woman replied. Like me, she wanted to hold onto the hope of each breath that Rocket took. The man wisely noted that, since we were in the grilling-and-eating area, it would not be wise to let a dying raccoon rot there with flies, so he bagged up Rocket and took him away. It was really sad. Emily Dickinson's words flew into my mind: 
I heard a fly buzz when I died;
      The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air

      Between the heaves of storm.
 Have you ever thought about how awful dying would be if the only sound you could hear was a fly buzzing? Instead of love, compassion, and consolation, to hear the nagging monotony of a fly? Originally, Rocket would have died with only the sounds of swarming flies around him. Instead, he died while listening to the maintenance woman and I affirm his cuteness. 

Fighting to hold himself up.
There is sorrow and grief in death, but there is also life and hope. Yes, a cute little raccoon died. However, his death brought communion-it brought me into conversation with the maintenance crew and with a random homeschooling mom who came outside to see why I was snapping pictures. This joy in our conversations, this community, this solidarity, all strengthened the hope we had in the midst of a poor raccoon suffering and dying. 

Today, we celebrate the Triumph of the Cross. The sign of suffering and death becomes out sign of consolation and victory. As St. John Paul II wrote, "the Redemption was accomplished through the Cross of Christ, that is, through his suffering." (Salvifici Doloris #3) Through Christ's Cross, we have hope, joy, life, and union with God. We receive the Eucharist, the gates of Heaven are opened, and we can become closely intimate with God in a while new way. Because of the Cross and Resurrection, we have a new, hopeful perspective on our suffering-there is the light of salvation, because God triumphs on the Cross! 
"How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life" (Theodore of Studios).
On a final, somewhat unrelated note: 
As I mentioned to Gus during our talk earlier, today, I am starting a novena to St. Francis of Assisi for Pope Francis's visit. That way, the novena will end on September 22, which is when Pope Francis arrives in Washington D.C.! I am super excited for his visit, and I think we all should be-even if we aren't travelling to see him ourselves. Check out my article on Ignitum Today for more ideas on how you can prepare for the Pope's visit-without leaving your city. 

Thanks for joining me in my reflections! Have an abundantly blessed day!


  1. Awesome! You make me proud to be Catholic! (convert 04-19-2014)

    1. Dave, I'm so glad you appreciate this!! Congratulations on on joining the crazy, beautiful family of the Catholic Church! Wow, you've been Catholic for what, a year and a half? That is so beautiful! I'm sure you're discovering one of my favorite things about Catholicism, which is that there is so much beautiful wisdom & so many awesome devotions-I've been Catholic my whole life, and there is still so much I want to learn!!