Iâ€™ve taken a fair share of friendly potshots for my love of blogging and all things social media. I know itâ€™s not everyoneâ€™s cup of tea, but hereâ€™s the thing. Blogging is a prime means to share my charisms, or gifts from the Holy Spirit, of evangelization and faith. As an at-home mom, this blog is a vehicle to share those gifts in a way that complements my primary vocation. I enjoy connecting with and learning from the fine folks who frequent this space, and my online interactions are an important, edifying aspect of my daily activities.
Writing, however, is not one of my charisms, especially creative writing. Yet this blog is perpetually hungry for creative content, so I choose to commit the time and energy required to work at and hopefullyÂ developÂ better writing skills. Just as my haphazard efforts in the kitchen sometimes produce a five-star, thumbs-up from the kids kind of meal, my hope is that some of the content published here not only feeds this starving blog called The Practicing Catholic but also empowers you (and me!) for the evangelization of the world — to â€œDo not be afraidâ€ and go out and share the Good News to our sisters and brothers.
An Easter Writing Challenge
Early yesterday morning I learned about an online writing project called the â€œBlogging from A to Z Challenge” that may help me develop better writing skills. Itâ€™s a movement encouraging bloggers to spend the month of April writing about something that starts with the letter scheduled for that day. The A to Z adventures started yesterday, April 1, beginning with the letter A and continue every day throughout April except on Sundays. The challenge ends on April 30 with the letter Z.
Right after I read about the A to Z Challenge, it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered:
Are you really ready, as in really, really ready, for a challenge? Yes, you say? Okay, well here you go Ms. Eager Beaver. Do not beÂ afraid!
Because then the following blog post titled The Easter Challenge: Living as Though Resurrection Was the Final Word For the Next 50 DaysÂ hit my radar. It’s written by Sherry Weddell, Co-Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute. I attended a Called & Gifted workshop a few years backÂ facilitatedÂ by Sherry, and that’s where I firstÂ learnedÂ about my charisms of evangelization and faith among others. It was Sherry who handed me that proverbial match and challenged me to light the passion within — to “Do not be afraid” to share my charisms to build up the Church. Â
Here’s what I read yesterday from Sherry that really stoked the fire.Â
â€œWhat if the Catholic blogosphere was filled primarily with stories of awe, conversion, and transformation, healing and resurrection, joy, hope, the Presence of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit for the next 50 days?Â Not to hide from our challenges but to remind ourselves of how the story ends: that in a truly Christian worldview, the Resurrection is theÂ final wordÂ on human sin, corruption, and stupidity.â€
ALLELUIA! Wait â€¦ did I just shout alleluia! Hey, alleluia starts with A! Thereâ€™s my first word for the A to Z Challenge! Do you think I can complete this A to Z Challenge within the context of Sherryâ€™s 50-day Resurrection-is-the-final-word challenge? Can I, will I,Â commit to spending the next 50 days of this Easter season sharing stories of awe, conversion, joy, hope, and the power of the Holy Spirit?
Iâ€™m sure going to try. How it’ll all fit into the A to Z format is uncertain, but boy do I appreciate beingÂ intellectuallyÂ challenged. Iâ€™ve got a bit of catching up to do given I’m starting a day late, but I’ll give it a whirl.Â Letâ€™s kick this â€œA-Z Resurrection is the Final Wordâ€ series by sharing a few thoughts about the word â€œALLELUIA!â€Â Really, what other a-word seems more appropriate today? The poor thing’s been buried for the last six weeks, so now letâ€™s give it some time in the spotlight. Â
A is for Alleluia!
The word alleluia is a term of great joy; Hebrew for â€œpraise Yahweh.â€ We proclaim and sing it during Mass as a way of participating in the angelsâ€™ worship, a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is already established here on earth through the Church. Our participation in Mass is a participation in Heaven.
During Lent, however, our focus was on the Kingdom coming, not the Kingdom having come. For six weeks we journeyed through the Old Testament Israel toward the coming of Christ, to His death and resurrection allowing salvation for all. We are on a spiritual journey, too, walking toward our final resting place. God willing, ours will include citizenship and full Communion in Heaven. The Church removes the Alleluia from Masses during the six weeks of Lent to emphasize this journey â€¦ to look forward to the day when we may have the honor of worshipping God and singing Alleluia in Heaven just as the angels do.
What aÂ gloriousÂ moment during the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening when we were finally able to shout Alleluia! And not just once, but we even sang a triple Alleluia before the Gospel reading. A triple Alleluia! That seems right and just,Â doesnâ€™t it? Christ is risen! The Kingdom has come! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Did you hear the concert of angels and saints singing it with you?