A Not Series

Well dear readers, it seems my ideas about an ongoing series of series is perhaps not panning out. I do intend to do something with the Colors in the Focolare movement, but I need to learn more, ponder more. That being said, I am not without inspiration to continue writing. We are just back to the old “series” – a.k.a. as the Holy Spirit inspires me so shall I write. Which is what I’m bringing you today.

Presently, I am helping to pilot a new VLCFF (Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation) course on Mary in Scripture. Thus far it has been an enjoyable course. In these first weeks we have been studying typology. Typology, or the study of types, analyzes Old Testament persons, events, themes and motifs that can be seen as prefiguring New Testament counterparts. Some examples would be Jesus as the New Adam, Mary as the New Eve, the Eucharist and the Passover, etc. In this course specifically we are focusing on Mary and Marian types.

We spent quite a bit of time looking at the Gospel of John and how he used types to demonstrate Mary’s role within salvation history. The Wedding at Cana featured prominently in our discussions. We are using an excellent resource by Scott Hahn, “Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God,” (I highly recommend if this topic is of interest to you). In it, he goes into great detail going through the types found within the Wedding of Cana scene. Below is part of a comment I shared within our group discussion:

It is enlightening to consider Mary as the New Eve, and how both had a choice to make. Eve, to take the fruit or not. Mary, to try to solve this problem on her own or to hand it to her Son. As a mom, I know how easy it is to “just do it myself.” To let my kids help, each in their own way and according to their abilities, means that often, things aren’t necessarily done exactly to my specifications or perceived correct manner of doing things. Instead of trusting God to reveal knowledge and His plans for the couple, Eve “did it herself.” Mary, on the other hand, turns to her Son and provides Him the space to do and reveal as He wished. 

Ever wonder what it’s like to have the Holy Spirit speak to you through your own words? That was me as I finished writing this. I wonder if I got the smallest taste of what it was like for the Gospel writers or other biblical authors. To have written something not totally of your own inspiration. The words were yours, but somehow, they came from someone else.

These words are ones I’ve needed to hear, and needed to hear, and yes, needed to hear over again. And they are words that, obviously, I haven’t been able to effectively teach myself. I needed them to come from someplace else. A Godly place.

Whenever I hold on too tight, I cannot hold onto anything at all. The more I try to control a situation the harder it becomes to manage the smallest details. A concrete example.

I have tried for many moons now, years actually, to have better control over waking up on time. Yes, we’ve had lots of babies and rocky sleep and teething and nursing and all the things. Yes. But deep down, I’ve known that there were definitely periods of time between the hard that I could have been rising earlier than I was. I wanted to be able to get up before everyone else, to have that morning time with God, to have time to stretch and exercise, to read a book, to listen to the birds, to have a cup of tea, to…..whatever! Just to get up! Of course, I’ll probably never get all those things done in a single morning before everyone else wakes up (I mean if I started at 4am maybe but since I was having trouble with 7am I’m thinking baby steps were a better idea).

Then, I heard a powerful idea. Coming full circle, it’s something Chiara of the Focolare said. It is from the end of a meditation on what Jesus did for each of us in coming to earth and sacrificing Himself so that we might go to Heaven. I will put the meditation in full below. But the short phrase that I have carried with me is, “For you, for you Jesus.” All that I do, I ought to do for love of Jesus. Before opening my mouth to speak, before choosing what work to do next, before disciplining or praising a child, it’s all for Him. This little phrase has radically altered so much of how I act, when I remember to say it frequently. And I can tell when I haven’t been.

How does this relate to getting up in the morning and relinquishing control? I no longer get up and out of bed for me. I get up for Him. When the first words on my mind when the alarm goes off are “For you, for you Jesus!” I’m immediately turning myself outward. I am getting up for Jesus. To be with Him in prayer, to stretch my body so I can serve Him and my family better. Some mornings I am getting up to simply read a book or to knit a few rows of a project. But I am getting up and out of bed most days of the week before any child is awake or at least allowed out of bed. I am not perfect but I feel the habit forming. This wasn’t something I could do on my own, I had to let it go. I had to find a different purpose.

So now, I find myself trying to order my day around this phrase. For you Jesus, I will cheerfully go about my chores, knowing that when I work cheerfully the work is done more efficiently. For you Jesus, I will chase Nathan around swim lessons because the skills the confidence his siblings are gaining in the water are worth his pterodactyl screeches. For you Jesus I will help Ben cook tofu nuggets (yes, really. They were my idea but Ben made them…and everyone ate them!) because it is good for our family to continue broadening our palate and appreciation for all kinds of food. For you Jesus, I am typing this blog post instead of knitting the shawl that’s sitting on the floor at my feet waiting to be loved, but I felt the Spirit’s promptings and instead of ignoring them, I am full of peace.


Here is Chiara’s reflection in full. I do not have the reference for where and when she wrote this, unfortunately. I found it in a collection of meditations titled, “Heaven on Earth: Meditations and Reflections.”

Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes, “…and he gave his life for me” (Rom 5:8). Each of us can repeat those words of the apostle: for me.

My Jesus, you have died for me, how can I doubt your mercy? And if I can believe that mercy with a faith that teaches me that God has died for me, how can I not risk everything to return such love?

For me…Words wipe away the solitude of the most lonely and give divine value to every person despised by the world. Words that fill every heart and make it overflow upon this who either do not know or do not remember the Good News.

For me…For me, Jesus, all those sufferings? For me that cry on the cross?

Surely, you would never give up on us. You will do everything imaginable to save us if only because we have cost you so much.

You gave me divine life just as my mother gave me human life. In every moment you think of me alone, as you do of each and every person. This – more than anything in the world – give us the course to live as Christians.

For me. Yes, for me.

And so, Lord, for the years that remain, allow me also to say:

For you.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Feature in National Catholic Register

Exciting news! I was featured in a National Catholic Register article in their Faith and Cooking section this week. It was a surprise to be asked and so much fun to participate in.

If you would like to check out the article, follow the link below. At the end is the meatloaf recipe I happen to be cooking tonight!

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/kate-taliaferro-profile

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

A Place to Commune – The Dining Room

In the kitchen we prepare the food. We sometimes, if we are lucky, get a little taste test. But the full meal isn’t experienced until we transition to the dining room, or primary eating area. I know not all homes have an official “dining room.” For the sake of this reflection, hold in your mind your main eating area, that table where your family typically eats its meals.

Eating together is an ancient practice. Every culture has its own traditions, rituals and procedures for shared eating. Eating, especially eating with others, serves multiple purposes. First, the obvious, you’re eating to stay alive. The human body can impressively go about 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. We need both food and drink to live full, healthy lives.

Eating together has other purposes as well. Eating together places everyone at the same level – you are at a common table. In many cultures and throughout much of history, you were eating out of shared vessels as well. We are sharing the fruits of our labor, our harvest (or our grocery trip). We have conversations with one another. We find out about our day, our plans, our hurts and our joys. While the ideal family meal of everyone smiling, sharing appropriately, using their utensils with competency and napkins on every lap might sound out of reach for your family, no matter how messy the meal memories are being made. We are teaching our children, and reminding ourselves, that we are on a journey together through life. We come together at table to share with one another.

There is, of course, another table which we come around as a community. We come to the altar, the table of the Lord. We gather here to be fed in a supernatural way. When we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, we believe that we are receiving true food and drink which will sustain us, body and soul. Jesus’ gift of Himself remains unchanged. As Catholics, we believe the the Eucharist is the True Presence of Christ. Each time we receive Jesus, we open our lives to Him, to be transformed by Him, from the inside out. As a community we come to become one in the Body of Christ.

This week, take a look at your eating space. Ask yourself, “What kind of eating experience have we been having lately? I am I happy with it? How can we model our gathering at table to be more reminiscent of the Eucharistic table?”

Consider spending extra time and effort this week in your eating area by tackling any of the following projects:

  • Washing table and chairs
  • Laundering cushions
  • Oiling any hardwood areas
  • Moving table and cleaning rug/moping whole area, not just around the table
  • Dusting and cleaning any wall hangings or pictures
  • Using china or fancy dishes for one meal, not to celebrate a special occasion, but to celebrate your family
  • Cook as a family and then eat as a family – no one is left out from the preparation
  • See if you can identify one or two meals as unique to your family, what are your favorites? What do your children think they will cook when they are adults?

Thinking about your spiritual “eating area,” consider the following:

Next week, we will move into our main living spaces. We have been fed at table, now we go to engage more deeply in the relationships that were strengthened there.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com