JESUS WEPT.

"Jesus wept." It is the shortest phrase in the Bible (John 11:35) and yet it is, to me, one of the most powerful.

Jesus wept.

What does it mean to weep? I typically don't say I "wept" when I'm crying tears of frustration after being pushed to the brink by my kids, or when I stub my toe so hard on the door frame, or even when I cry tears of joy. No, to me, weeping implies something much deeper. Tears from the soul, that stem from a grief no words can encompass. A sorrow so deep it cannot be contained, so deep it must be given an exit, an exit in the form of saltwater streaming down my cheeks.

Jesus wept.

And I believe He is weeping now, that His sorrow over this massive wound in my beloved Catholic Church is so deep it must have an outlet, so deep it cannot be contained.

I, like so many Catholics, am shaken to my core over the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released this week. I am gutted, heartbroken, sick, shattered, confused and, yes, mad as hell. I want to march on...I don't even know...St. Peter's Square with torches burning demanding an answer. I want to know who knew what, who covered what up, how high up does the abuse and scandal go? I want to know. As a member of this Church I call home, I deserve to know.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. I believe prayer should be our first step, in every single circumstance. A terrorist attack overseas, a high school shooting in Florida, a police involved shooting in St. Louis. First, and always first, prayer. For the victims, for the perpetrators, for everyone involved. I know that idea is probably unpopular. What good is talking to God - usually in my head, not even out loud - going to do? But I take my model from Jesus, and Jesus prayed. He prayed a lot. He acted, of course. He healed and talked and acted (and flipped tables out of righteous anger) but first and most important, He prayed. He stayed tethered to his Father through an ongoing conversation with Him, and we simply cannot forget that.

I also believe prayer without action is futile. You can pray for a job all you want, but to offer those prayers without putting pen to paper on job applications is ridiculous. "God helps those who help themselves"; I've seen this to be true in my own life again and again. Pray AND act. PRAY and act. Pray and ACT.

We cannot simply pray for the victims of this horrific abuse. We cannot simply pray for healing for our beautiful Church. We cannot simply pray for a resolution. We can pray, and we must pray. And we also must act.

It's usually the acting that feels murky to me. What do you actually do? Who do you actually contact? What do you actually say?

I certainly don't have all the answers, but here is where I've started. I titled every email "Regarding the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report."

  • I've emailed my bishop. You can copy the wording I used here (taken almost entirely from this post shared by @themerrierworld on instagram.)
  • I've emailed my parish priest. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Director of Vocations for our diocese. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Vicar of Clergy for our diocese. You can copy the wording I used here.
  • I've emailed the Papal Nuncio for the United States, who reports directly to the pope. You can copy the wording I used here.

I've been dialoguing with my husband and Catholic friends. Talking about the hard things, the questions we have, the ways our faith has been shaken, how we can move forward amidst such atrocities. Do not underestimate the power of community. The devil wants nothing more than to separate and divide, to make us feel as though we're alone in our sorrow, disgust and outrage. Fight his lies. There are millions of Catholics in the United States and I'd be willing to bet the vast majority feel the way I do.

I've been reminding myself that as gutted as I am, Jesus is a thousand times more so. As angry as I am, Jesus is even more. He yearns for justice more than I ever could, for healing more than I could ever imagine. No one cares about people the way He cares about people. No one wants to see His church rise from the ashes more than Him. And no one is more capable of carrying this heavy, heavy burden than He is.

Finally, let us remember what we're fighting against. It is not us versus priests or us versus bishops or even us versus policies and procedures, it is us versus evil. It is us versus evil.

And one group's hurt does not undermine another's. The victims' deep wounds do not negate the fact that all across the nation and world, righteous priests are also hurting. The priests' hurt does not negate the victims' deep wounds. Focusing on who's hurting more or whose hurt matters more does not unite us to action, it divides and weakens us. We - all of us, all across the Church - are hurting. And I believe Jesus can - and will - bear it all.

Let us rise up together. Let us use our prayers AND our actions. Let us not wait for change, let us demand it. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus to heal these horrific wounds. Let us be the ones who say "I will not be silent. I will not sit idly by. I will stand it no more. I WILL NOT."

"We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues. I see the world is rotten because of silence." St. Catherine of Siena

A few more links and posts I've resonated with, if you care to read:

This instagram post from @brickhouseinthecity was everything I wanted to express.

This instagram post from @shannonkevans

This instagram post from @themerrierworld

This instagram post from @thismessygrace

This instagram post from @findingphilothea

This "open letter from young Catholics" was spot on

Bishop Barron's call for a lay investigation.

Simcha Fisher's letter to priests.

Matt Walsh: there must be a purge in the Catholic Church.

Jenny Uebbing's essay on why she'll never leave the church.

A great article on the virtues of Catholic anger.

And if you're in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, here are all the email addresses you need should you want to share your thoughts:

  • Bishop Timothy Doherty: bishop@dol-in.org
  • Fr. Dale Ehrman, Vicar of Clergy: derhman@dol-in.org
  • Fr. Clayton Thompson, Director of Vocations (oversees seminarians): vocations@dol-in.org
  • Papal Nuncio in the USA: nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

UPDATE: Cardinal DiNardo's most recent statement is very encouraging, and gives me so much hope. Read it here.

yearly highlight reel with 1 second everyday

For the past couple years, I've wanted to do a yearly highlight reel video using the app called 1 Second Everyday. Each year, I've forgotten and then it's past January 1st and I just can't bring myself to start something like a yearly highlight video on any date but January 1st. I know that's silly - especially because I'm always telling people to just start! Start where you are! The date doesn't matter! It's okay, I own the fact that I'm a total hypocrite with these things ;)

Anyway, for the last four months I've been recording a video each and every day and adding them to my yearly project. The app makes it SO easy to add each day's video, and I love watching it every now and then and reminiscing on all the fun we've had as a family this year. Here's our video so far!

 

I wanted to share a few tips I've picked up along the way!

  • Add in non-people shots. This is totally a personal preference, but I love sprinkling in some non-people-heavy videos here and there. Things like the sky on a given day, my toes in the grass, flowers blowing in the breeze. I think they add interest to the video AND remind me that there is so much joy all around me, beyond all the (incredible) joy that the people in my life bring.
  • Don't stress if you miss a day. There are many videos in my reel so far that weren't actually shot on that day. No one will know or care if you use a video from April 15th for the April 29th spot. You won't even remember, I promise. Let go of the perfectionism. There are LOTS of videos in my overall reel that are in a different slot than the day they were taken. IT'S OKAY. The point is to have a home movie to someday show your kids and grandkids, or reminisce over yourself, and the nitty-gritty details will. not. matter.
  • Watch it often! Don't wait for the entire thing to be done before watching it. I watch our video at least every week. Seeing all the clips motivates me to keep going and gives me ideas for new clips to capture. It reminds me that little, mundane moments are often the most beautiful and is such a motivator for me to just keep going - literally and figuratively.
  • Shoot horizontally. I know we are so conditioned to take video vertically since we're all using our iPhones and posting to SnapChat and Instagram where vertical videos are king. But think about your home movies from your childhood - they seem so much more movie-like when they're horizontal! The app allows you to sort of zoom in on a vertical video and crop it to horizontal, but you lose some quality that way. I've had to use that feature a few times and it works in a pinch, but I've since gotten in the habit of shooting horizontally and it makes a huge difference.
  • Have fun! Don't take it too seriously. Don't worry about capturing EVERY moment or the PERFECT moment. Anything you capture and stitch together is better than nothing, and you'll be so glad you did it when it's done. 

I have so many ideas for more video projects after doing this one. I think it would be so cool to record a quick clip of the sky every single day for a month, or the same spot in your daily walk or commute, or a clip from each day of a vacation, or a clip of your baby every single day of their first year. Creating our video has my creative wheels turning in all kinds of new ways and I'm excited to keep exploring video as a creative outlet!

Are you using 1 Second Everyday? Do you have a link to any videos you've made using it? Drop a link in the comments, I'd love to see! XO!