Welcome to my blog! Grab a glass of iced tea or cup of coffee, and find a comfy place to sit and read. I want to talk about pearls and missiles today.
I know, they have absolutely nothing in common, right? Actually, probably only in my own mind, lol. At mass one morning, the Gospel was the story of the Pearl of Great Price. Are you familiar with how pearls are formed? A beautiful pearl is actually a shining response to an irritation. A grain of sand or something gets lodged into the oyster, which begins to secrete the substance that coats the irritating speck. Layer after layer of this coating combine to form the beautiful pearl.
This is much like our life! In a sense, we are oysters responding to irritations – or crosses, if you will – we can choose how we respond to those irritations. I know someone who is often critical and negative. It sometimes seems like nothing is ever done correctly, nothing is ever good enough, good things don’t come fast enough, even God doesn’t do things to suit them. While I love them dearly, I have to work hard some days to keep my attitude Christlike. This person causes me to develop the attitude and character of Jesus, to speak love, to exercise patience, to pray for others, to meet what is sometimes outright hostility with the gentleness and hope of Christ. If you recognize yourself here, know that I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow. Don’t try to change yourself to make me ‘like you better’. I already love you!
Have you ever known someone who just glows with the character of Christ? Have you ever been able to hear their story – the hardships, the crosses large and small that they’ve carried in their lifetime? The American Pearl website describes the pearl, but it could also describe a Christian: “a shimmering iridescence, lustre and soft inner glow…” as microscopic crystals line up perfectly to diffuse and reflect light. In the same way, the Lord can use even microscopic acts of patience, gentleness, love and surrender, to create this beautiful lustre in us and to diffuse and reflect His light. Another interesting thing: sometimes the irritant is purposely inserted into the oyster to force the formation of a pearl. I wonder how often the Lord has had to ‘force’ me to grow when I was indifferent, lazy or worse?
So, now how in the world do ‘missiles’ fit into this scenario? It’s just a play on words. The real word is ‘missal’. Driving home from church that morning, I visualized a cartoon picture in my mind of a little child asking his granddad what the ‘missiles’ were for in church and why couldn’t he see any? Of course, granddad explained that they weren’t rocket missiles at all. I think the missal does, however, help us wage war- against the world, the flesh and the devil- by helping us pray better. As a newbie, the missal is quite a help to let me actually pray the mass because I can follow along, and I can study the weekend mass readings at home. When my heart is in the right place, I can just see the next frame of the cartoon – all sorts of explosions in the devil’s kingdom. Explosions as I repent of unforgiveness or lack of love toward my neighbor. Explosions of love for someone who is sick and needs prayer. Explosions of purity and righteousness as I bring my own sins to Jesus to be healed and forgiven. Explosions of new light that come through the Sacred Scriptures. Explosions against indifference and apathy as I choose to consciously reverence and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As an aside, Missals are readily available, and can be quite inexpensive. The little paperback ‘disposable’ one I have was under $2.00 on Amazon. Also included, besides the order of the Mass, are all of the readings for each Sunday. At the back there is a section of wonderful prayers, some hymns, the stations of the cross and the mysteries of the rosary. There’s even a section to guide one through the sacrament of reconciliation, as well as a good form to prepare for it. That’s a lot of good stuff tucked into such a handy and compact little volume. Pretty good book of war strategies, I think.
To put it succinctly: as I use my ‘missile’, I’m actually helping to create a ‘pearl’. Only God could connect such diverse things!