Happy Epiphany and Random Updates

The Twelve Days are well-nigh over, for another year.  I didn't get nearly as many posts as I would have liked, but my time has been spent at work or with family.  My sister's bridesmaids and I found our dresses for her June wedding - only 5 months away!  The dresses we found are absolutely gorgeous, though, so we are happy about that.  My parents and I have done almost all of the preparation for our annual Epiphany Open House - the list of cookies is almost endless and the guest list extensive.  I was able to spend New Year's Day with very dear friends, getting a good long "catch-up" session and a healthy dose of "college talk".  Attended a funeral today for a church acquaintance and Knight of Columbus.  I enjoyed hearing visitors compliment our lovely parish!  It will be hard to say goodbye to Holy Rosary next weekend.  I miss La Chiesa Del Santo Rosario and Father Magiera while I am at school.  A pretty chapel and fairly conservative Masses don't make up for the Romanesque arches and solemnity of the Extraordinary Form.

I am currently cleaning for my awesome roomie-for-the-past-two-semesters to come and visit tomorrow.  She is driving all the way over for Illinois for a last visit before she goes to Rome in February.  Next Friday I get another friend from college coming, to spend a couple of days with me before we head back for the start of another semester.  We will be meeting up with a nearby alumnus for a visit, which will be lovely.

As an update, my Great-Grandmother was alert when we went to visit on  Wednesday; although she is fading, which is very hard to see, it was good that she was at least responsive when we were there.  Keep her in your prayers for a happy death -  I slipped a Miraculous Medal under her pillow, Our Lady pray for her!  My uncle is doing better, although he was in the hospital for days.  Pray that he doesn't become sunk in the depression that he seems to have fallen into with his trials.

I have to say, the highlight of my Christmas was receiving the bi-annual phone call from Sister Michael Joseph.  She is so very happy.  Honestly, she sounds like a nun!   I know she's still my sister but it almost doesn't seem real.  It will be three years come February 14th that she entered the Carmel.  Never before have I seen her so radiant as the day of her entrance, and never have I heard her so happy as she is every time we talk to her.  Even her letters radiate the joy of her life there in the cloister.

Some days it seems like the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, that society is collapsing around me and even my little world is in unfixable chaos.  Some days I see all too clearly the power of the evil around me, the power of the devil to crush my joy and turn the fates against me.  Some days it seems as if the stress is unbearable, the burden overwhelming, the depression unconquerable, the darkness beyond all hope of light.

And then - then there are days when my happiness is unbreakable!  There are days when all the troubles of the world are dust beneath my feet, when I feel as if I could fight the devil himself because I have God and the powers of heaven on my side and the gift of a good man.   Some days the stress is just a petty irritance, the burden light, the depression easily tossed aside, the darkness lit by stars.  Some days I remember the joy of Christmas and the little baby in the manger; I remember my sister there in the convent praying, a perpetual candle before the altar of God; I remember the goodness and strength of the people around me and the friends who love me.

But those aren't the best days.  The best days are when I feel the burdens and the stress the most, when I know the most clearly that I am weak and small and powerless, and feel as if I can never fight - and know then that of course I cannot fight, cannot carry the burdens!  It is then that I am finally driven to God in my weakness.  I cannot fix all the problems of the world around me, not the problems of society and not the problems of my friends.  I cannot even fix my own problems.  I need Him.  And I have Him, every day and every hour.  That child in the manger is my brother.

The dawn after the dark night is brighter than the sunlight of a cloudless day's noon.