Q: My mom includes what I call a “brag letter” in her Christmas cards. I find this so egotistical especially during a holy season, and I am uncomfortable being included. How can I address this with her?
I’ve always cringed when I hear the expression “offer it up.” While the phrase actually refers to something called redemptive suffering—the idea that our suffering can unite with Christ’s on the cross and, in doing so, can take on redemptive power for ourselves and others—redemption isn’t what comes to mind when I hear someone (usually an older woman or a Catholic mommy blogger) use the expression.
As a Catholic, I embrace the idea that God exists within the context of my everyday life, and I welcome the Shehecheyanu as a verbal manifestation of that idea. It helps me put words behind my feelings of joy and gratitude, and moves me to verbally recognize God’s abundant blessings in the everyday moments of life. As I continue on in this year, I have a feeling that I’ll be saying the Shehecheyanu a lot more.
Becoming better versions of ourselves — learning more, growing kinder and stronger, expanding our perspectives — is hard work that takes introspection, honesty and discipline. Pie charts are a fun way to guide yourself on the journey…and to make it a little more colorful along the way!
There are moments when I wonder if I’m trying too hard to control the circumstances of my daughter’s baptism, if—with both a nagging perfectionism and an air of hubris—I’m trying to micromanage the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps I am. Then again, Jesus turned water to wine during the wedding at Cana even though everyone would have survived without it. A crass utilitarian he was not. He did the unnecessary—the extra—in favor of celebration and delight. If the Son of God himself wasn’t a “check the box and be done with it” kind of guy, then, well, I don’t have to be either. I’m holding out for my daughter’s baptism with patient hope and joyful anticipation.