Friday, March 12, 2010

"Holiness in Your Own Back Yard" Cheyenne CCW Deanery Meeting

This morning I had the privilege of attending the Cheyenne Deanery meeting of the Wyoming Council of Catholic Women. Each Spring the women of the Diocese have the opportunity to gather at the deanery level for prayer, fellowship, and mutual support. This Spring's Theme is "Finding Holiness in Your Own Back Yard". Fr. Carl Gallinger, the Dean of the Cheyenne Deanery, was the guest speaker and eloquently spoke about holiness as the call to be in the present moment and to "choose love" in the events of daily life. Holiness is really about accepting the grace of Almighty God and allowing ourselves to be, like Jesus, fully human. "God meets us in the present moment" and invites us to "heroism" in the everyday tasks that God sets before us. Salvation is unfolding each moment as we live the responsibilities entrusted to us through our relationships with the people around us and in the tasks that our current situation demands of us. It was truly inspirational and liberating to consider that God is actively making me holy as I accept the crosses that come my way and even in mysteriousness of the ordinary I make choices to be loving. As baptized persons we are called to holiness, to greatness, to sainthood. This is not an achievement but a lifelong process to live God centered lives. Conversion is a necessary part of this process and so is the conviction that God loves us in this moment. Having a healthy sense of humor is a vital asset as we realize just how sinful and slow to understand we can be. Yet, God still works in and through us in the midst of the everyday experiences of our lives. This was wonderfully demonstrated to me as I listened to the activities of the various women's groups from Cheyenne, Pine Bluffs, Torrington, Wheatland, and Laramie. So many simple graces given by extraordinary women serving funeral dinners, organizing receptions for First Communion celebrations and Confirmation receptions, being attentive to legislation that affects families, fundraising for poor and needy in their local communities, finding ways to pray with one another and to support each other. All these ordinary daily activities done for husbands, children, grand children, parishioners and strangers are the actions of holy women. I was also inspired by the support we all receive, particularly this day the women received, from the priests of the deanery. As we continue the Year for Priests this gathering reminded me of what an honor it is to be a priest and a member of our diocese. The women of our diocese, members of the Wyoming Council of Catholic Women seemed very moved and encouraged by today's event. I too am invited and challenged to be "now here" rather than "no where" and allow myself to be holy this day! All as a response to God's love for me, demonstrated by all the women in my life especially my mom, and the women with whom I had the joy of sharing this day!