Someone sent me a card lately reminding me that I did not post anything for January! Ooops--was that an omen for this year? I hope not. A few people invited me to join Facebook, another web source of cyber relationships. After putting it off for months, I finally signed up with halting steps. I was surprised by the number of folks already there whom I know, or at least, I have met at one time or another. A (great) niece from Tennessee is there, a South Carolina niece, and lots of the Daughters of St. Paul from Great Britain to Singapore, Boston and beyond.
After being cold-free for more than two years, I had was attacked by cold germs this past weekend. I forgot how miserable one can feel. Having a cold now and then should make me more compassionate. My voice immediately goes an octave or two lower, breathing is impaired and sleep clamps me tight as I look with watery eyes at the alarm clock. My Sister Superior who is also our book centre manager invited me to go to bed around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, even though we were our usual Saturday busy. I was happy to comply.
At Sunday Mass I tried to wave off folks who wanted to grasp my hand at the sign of peace. I wanted to keep my germs to myself. I think they got the message. The Mass on Sunday was a bit longer than usual, since a baby was baptized. The priest was gracious in that he explained each step of the baptismal ceremony. It was the first time I had witnessed a baptism in Italian. The 11:00 AM Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church here in Toronto is packed with Italian speaking folks as is the 8:00 AM Italian Mass. I was pleased to see a new generation in attendance. So the myth that all the Italo-Canadians are gray haired and past their prime is not true. I have found that many second generation Italian-Canadians are sending their children to learn Italian. Since I did not grow up in a bi-lingual household, I see how precious a gift this is to this children. That was a long digression on having a February cold.
Last Wednesday we held our monthly Italian Pauline Cooperators meeting. This group is very small, but faithful. When my Italian swerves to the grammatical left, they steer me on the right course! Once in a while I watch Italian news on television so I can keep up-to-date with this language. For Chinese New Year, a number of our patrons who speak Chinese have come in. With them I could at least give them greetings in Cantonese. For Lent, as a positive practice, I started once again to study French, the official second language of this country of Canada. I've only been to Montreal once. However, as soon as one crosses from the Province of Ontario into Quebec, all the signs are French. So it helps to know a thing or two to get around La Belle Province! In our book centre we find it useful to speak Spanish too, since a good number of Hispanic people frequent Pauline Books & Media on Saturdays in Toronto. A trusty employee from Ecuador orders our Spanish materials.
I hope you are all having a great Lent. This year I notice the Sunday readings more than I ever have before. They present a virtual feast for the soul. Last Sunday's story of the Woman at the Well and her blunt dialogue with Jesus has so many layers of meaning. At our baptismal Mass, Father reminded us of the waters of baptism. Years ago I heard a famous American homilist give a whole day's explanation of the fourth chapter of John. He compared the lady at the well to biblical Israel, and also to us.
Next Sunday's gospel is about the man born blind whom Jesus cured. The man who was cured had to testify about his blindness and his cure. Yet, he was not afraid to speak the truth, even though it was politically incorrect.
Have a good end to this leap year February. May the graces of Lent this year bring you to a deeper intimacy with Jesus. Ciao! And, better yet, as the deacon said today at the chapel I attended "Sia lodato Gesu' Cristo!" Praised be Jesus Christ! (The response is: May He always be praised! Or, in Italian, "Sempre sia lodato!")