Category Archives: Sharing Jesus Christ

Winning the Lottery and Knowing You are Dying

“I know what I’d do if I won the Lottery,” my sister said to me.  I thought to myself, “Really? She knows what she would do? Hmmm…I’m not quite sure I know what I would do.” She continued, “I would pay for our entire family to go on a Disney Cruise.” Right now, that’s about 70 people at least. “Yeah, that would cost some money,” I replied.

I’m not sure how we got started talking about winning the Lottery, but our conversation right before that is what we would change if we knew we were dying. That was a much easier question for me to answer. I said right away, “I wouldn’t change one thing.” That sounded crazy to my ears at first, but I followed it with, “I have fought long and hard to get my life ordered on the right things. I have put God first, my spouse second, my children third, my family next, followed by my neighbors and community and church. I don’t think I would change a thing.”

But the more I thought about it today, the more I realized I would change some things. I would go to daily Mass. I would wake up much earlier and pray. I have done both of these things on and off for the past few years, but I cannot seem to be consistent. It’s like my selfishness and my love for God are battling it out. Sometimes, I feel as if I am on the sidelines watching. Sometimes, my vocation as wife and mother makes me wonder if this is even possible. So, I think I would change this, but everything else, I wouldn’t change.

As for the Lottery, I have given it some thought. Although I never play the Lottery, if I did, I know what I would like to do with that money. I would like to buy a large property with woods, a lake, and cabins all around. I would build a Retreat Center for Families. This would be a place where families could come and spend time to relax and grow in their faith. I would ask the Sacred Heart Sisters to teach and plan the retreats because this is their charism–to serve the Married Church–and they are awesome at it. I would make it so that money was never a barrier for experiencing a weekend full of grace and spiritual growth. On the days when the Retreat Center was empty, I would have a 24-hour Adoration Chapel and I would pray.

As I type this blog, I am thinking the whole time: “You will never win the Lottery. Why are you even writing this?” Just now, it hit me. In all truth, I have won the Lottery already, and it is because God’s plans are so much bigger than mine. See, Jesus Christ died on the Cross for each single person. He made sure each of us “won the Lottery” in the most incredible way possible. He gave us Eternal life and invites us to be adopted sons and daughters of God! This changes the whole way we look at living and dying, too. If I knew I was dying, I would know I was that much closer to being with God face-to-face. I imagine I would be experiencing a “quickening” of sorts that would prepare me for this. Although those around me would grieve, I would only more strongly have to share my belief and faith in God’s plan. I would want everyone to know that we all have won the lottery, and death has been conquered! I pray that all people will come to understand that they have won the lottery in this way when they know they are dying.

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The Eyes of Jesus

Could you take 14 kids, ranging in age from high school to kindergarten, spend only 7 1/2 hours with them, and then produce a Passion play? That’s what our awesome director did, along with myself and 2 adult volunteers. Our production had lights, music, scenery, props, costume changes–basically the works! The kids had to memorize their lines, follow all the staging cues, and work without a few actors due to illness during part of the rehearsal time. Truly, we had less than 7 1/2 hours of time with them before this group had to perform before a live audience.

Tonight, during the actual performance of The Passion of Christ, the children took to heart what our director said during rehearsal. They fully understood that their performance was to give glory to God. Their honesty and openness made quite an impact on our audience of about 50 people, ranging in age from octogenarians to newborn babies.

After the performance, many people wanted to thank my son for his role as Jesus. He is very humble and graciously accepted their kind words. On the drive home, I asked him how he thought he did, since I was mostly backstage and didn’t see the performance. In his usual low-key manner, he said, “Well, I think I had a lot of help.” I asked, “From the Holy Spirit?” He said, “Yes, definitely.”

You wouldn’t know it from seeing him on stage or from talking with him afterwards, but my son’s role as Jesus Christ deeply impacted him. He told me this was a very difficult role for him for a variety of reasons. Knowing my son, I didn’t ask for those details just yet. He will slowly reveal them as he sees fit. I am so proud of him for taking on this enormous role. After the play, I saw a transformation in my son. I don’t think I can put into words what I saw. It was in his eyes. I think some of my photos captured it. I don’t know, but I think I saw the eyes of Jesus.

Changing Creative Ideas into Physical Reality

Tomorrow night is the big performance: The Passion of Christ. As we ran through the lights and sound this evening before our final dress rehearsal tomorrow morning, our director was commenting how much she enjoys this time of a production. All the creative thoughts and ideas finally becoming a concrete, physical reality. I agreed with her as I pricked my finger because I wanted just one more safety-pin to hold up the backdrop.

The backstage is something to behold. Giant crosses are resting against the walls. A mannequin’s head holds the Crown of Thorns, which stands next to the purple robe and burial cloth. Costumes hang in rows on coat racks, ranging from browns to greys to shimmering pink. Our backdrop is a rolling cube which allows us to easily change between 4 different backgrounds for the scenery. All of it is very simple but effective.

We have no idea who will show up for this production. Last semester, we set chairs for an audience of 50, and ended up adding another 30 chairs to accommodate the crowd. But that was a Friday night, and we had to go with Thursday evening this semester. We are all wondering if families will skip soccer practice or forget about it being a school night and turn their hearts to the story of the Passion? I’ll let you know how it goes, but for now, I guess I will rely on the Holy Spirit to fill our room. All for Jesus, Mary & Joseph!

Minivan Evangelization?

Have I mentioned we are doing a Passion Play and that my son has the part of Jesus? I also have children playing the parts of St. Peter, St. John, one of the Weeping Women of Jerusalem and the Narrator.  I am the Stage Manager, which basically means no one else wanted the job, especially since it entails hauling wooden crosses, backdrops, props and costumes. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with my minivan!

Speaking of my minivan, today I evangelized to a couple thousand people in about 2 hours. How? Well, all you have to do is strap some huge crosses onto the top of your minivan and drive down a highway around rush hour. Then, you discover that the bridge is closed because of a “crane” accident, and you take an hour-long detour with all your fellow commuters. Finally, when you have made it across the river on a different bridge, you find yourself on a detour of a detour! Yes, the route I selected detoured me again because of another street closing. Basically, God allowed me to ride around our city for a solid two hours with people looking at us, and pointing, and some even honking. Because I am optimistic, I think those honks were in support of Jesus.

Meanwhile, my son who will be on the Cross next week during our Passion Play, had to carry the base of his cross because it would not fit anywhere else in the car. At one point, he had nails digging into his skin. He became very uncomfortable. I really felt his pain and tried to help the best I could while navigating stop-and-go traffic. But the base is very heavy, and we didn’t know there were nails in the bottom, plus there wasn’t much I could do to help except be in his pain with him, like the Blessed Mother was with Jesus.

I have to say that seeing your son dying on a Cross is a very emotional moment. I am curious how his father/my husband will do when he sits in the audience and sees this for the very first time on the evening of our live performance. I hope he has a hanky with him!