Sunday, September 17, 2017

Continuing Education

Taking a course with Notre Dame called, Christian Doctrine for Catechists.  It's a basic course that starts in the beginning of belief, basically and we are in the second week of our studies.   It has been very interesting so far and I am very enlightened  by the other students in the course.  We are from all different places in the US, we are old, young, teachers, speakers, and bloggers in charge of the next generation or bringing in new Catholics each year through RCIA, me...just hanging out to renew my certification as a master catechist.  So, the education and experiences that we are sharing is really great.

One of the students talked about how a priest explained the necessity of scripture when teaching the doctrine of the Catholic Church as a piece of fruit.  Normally one would think the fruit's sole purpose was for nutrition and taste, but actually it is to protect the pit.   Scripture, in the same way, serves to protect the truths that must be "broken open" and discerned.  The fruit is to protect the pit, not to feed or be is to protect the pit for the extension and furthering of the fruit for generations to come.   The scriptures help preserve the doctrines in the same way for future generations to come.

Probably each one of us knows someone who either firmly does not believe in God, or is struggling with it in some way or another.  The one thing we Christians want to do is share in our joy of believing and having faith.  We can plant seeds by being kind, inviting them to a Mass or church function, or just answering questions when asked.  What we cannot do is tease, chide, or coerse a person into believing and accepting what we believe.  We just cannot do never works. There is one thing that gives me hope for these beautiful and struggling souls.   They, like me, have been created by God, so they have God within them, in their very core, God lives and loves them.  God is love and so they have been made by and with love, they too are holy love.

So, it is not for us to judge whether one is redeemed and saved, because if we know that they have God's love in them, then, I feel that God will work in them and they will be loved as we all are.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Restoring Faith takes it!

Restoring faith through life's storms is difficult at best, but restore it we must!  It has been said that the more we pray  with each other the deeper our faith grows and spreads.  If one falls, we all fall, if one stands it makes it easier for others to do as well.  The "If she/he can do it, well, so can I!" mentality.  It is why we go to Mass each Sunday and whenever possible in between, to be together in a mass of believers to encourage each other.  There is power in numbers, remember that?  There is power in the presence of each and every one of us when we gather together.  As Jesus said, where two or more are gathered in my name, I will be there too.

So, when you feel that your faith is weakening, or even shattered by life's events, pull up your bootstraps, grab your bible and head to Mass, or gather a friend or more and have a prayer session.  Don't go it alone, it doesn't work that way.  We must be together in company with each other.  God in creation said that man must not be alone, so he created a woman and together they made more people to gather with.

We are a people of God, the body of Christ, and the buzz word here is "we".  Don't go it alone, reach out.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

I need to stop beating myself up about this, too

Two out of three of my children have left the Catholic Church.   One claims for good, the other is in name only....never attends Mass, but writes it down as his religion.   

Monday, June 26, 2017

My own road to Emmaus

It's been awhile since I wrote on the Pillars on a regular basis. Believe me, I have missed my enthusiasm and fire. During the past 10 years, (wow, it's been that long since I decided to share my thoughts and faith!) I have tried to inspire, teach, and just plain share my Catholic faith through the lens of my family life. Over these years our children have grown, my role as mommy has transitioned, and I have suffered depression like I had never experienced before.  Our youngest, who also suffers with depression, went through a rebellious time and at this time she has settled down, but has not returned to the Church and does not share some of the moral values we taught her.  Our other two children have since married and just recently my husband and I became grandparents for the first time.

During this time my faith has been severely tested, my prayer life: challenged, my very person; defeated, and my parenting; questioned. At one point, as I stood in the middle of our street watching my then 18 year old daughter drive away in a taxi to meet people she shouldn't know and do things she was taught better about, I turned her over to Jesus. My prayer life was spent, exhausted, and strained at best. In my desperation to survive the next unknown several hours I needed backup and who would be the only one that could do ANYTHING to protect her.....Jesus. I walked back up to the front porch to my husband with somewhat of a sense of relief, or at least the load on my shoulders lessened. My faith was hanging on barely by a heavily shredded string.

Throughout my life voices have driven me, guided me, and taught me lessons for the next phase of my life. Recently that voice was none other than my own husband's. He is not a Catholic, but has supported me while raising our children all these 24+ years.  For the past 16 years, he has accompanied us to Mass every Sunday, even ushered when needed and loves being part of the hand-bell choir....crazy! One Sunday morning while we were in the throes of our child's rogue period, I sat at the side of the bathtub in our bathroom debating whether is was even worth going to Mass.  I was exhausted from worrying, waiting, and praying for this child to apparently deaf ears, I thought.

My husband walked in to see that I was getting ready for Mass and finding me in a slump by the tub. He said, "You need to be getting ready for Church." I said, "I'm not going." He said, "You HAVE to go!" "No, I don't, why? No one is listening to me, No one cares about my, why bother?" His eyes grew huge at that point and he said, "You HAVE to go to Mass, you just have to!" I said, "NO, I don't and I'm not." He then promptly walked away saying, "Well, I'm going to Mass!" "What??? Why are YOU going to Mass, you're not even Catholic!" I said. "Well, SOMEBODY has to go to Mass, and I'm going." he said as he walked into his closet to get dressed.

I walked away grumbling, but ended up going to Mass with him. Sitting next to him during Mass, I saw something that I had never seen in him before, his fidelity and conviction towards MY faith. Later, he told me that I had scared him and that I'd lost my faith. At that moment, I knew what I had to do......I had to grow my faith back and give God my trust and faithfulness again.

My husband kept telling me that prayer doesn't work the way I wanted and needed it to, I fought him on this. He would tell me, You can't just pray and expect things to happen the way you want them to." "But why not! These prayers are for the good of our daughter and our's not like I am praying for a million dollars or something!!" He would just keep telling me that God doesn't work that way.  Since that time, about a year and a half, I have purposefully worked on my faith, I consecrated myself to Our Holy Mother, prayed the rosary nearly every day, and the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 when I remember to. I attend Mass regularly as usual along side my husband and I am a bit smarter for it all.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lent 2017

Each year Lent comes, often we are unprepared to face this time of reflection and re-evaluation.  Unlike the sun,  moon, planets, and stars which follow a set rhythm of existence, the human soul has the freedom of a will.  Each and every morning the sun rises the same way, in the same direction and even though the colors may differ, still there is a certain rhyme and rhythm.  Each night the moon is where it is supposed to be; full, waxing or does what it's the rhythm dictates.  There is no wrong, nothing to think about, only the right and perfect way for these God-made things to act.  Now for the human nature, this is very different since life choices are purely a human freedom.  Lent is a time for re-evaluation.

Man has a higher priority set before him/her that does not match anything else God created.  It is in this existence that responsibility and Love play key roles.  No other element or entity has the gift of free will that causes life or death to the soul. No other element or entity has a soul. So there you have it, the need for love and responsibility.  Like no other entity in God's creation, man has the freedom of living or dying in sin.  By making choices according to God's laws, the natural law of creation built with the main ingredient of love, man chooses to go his way, or God's way.  This is a responsibility that is not really free, making good choices, following rules and laws, making sacrifices makes life challenging at times.

There is no better time to reflect on our choices than during Lent.  This is a time made for us to sit back and take a look at his/her life and the choices made.  These choices reflect the desire whether to be good or not.  Whether God is important or self more important; whether life is the goal or self satisfaction existence the goal, or whether love and responsibility is primary rather than selfishness. A clear-cut inventory of these choices and their outcome help see where changes need to be made.
Lent is also the time when prayer life can be revisited too.   Prayer and the relationship with God is so imperative to making good choices.  Through prayer, which simply put, is reaching out and communicating with God, true belief and love grows.  Love and prayer grow stronger and the relationship with God strengthens.  Strengthening the relationship with God enables one to make good choices.

It is never too late to re-evaluate the life choices that are being made.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Multi wife...

On February 13th, my husband and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage. During these 24 years, he has been married to probably 3 different people.....maybe 4. Let me explain:

The first woman he married was young, beautiful, and excited about life. The prospect of new adventures and the children she will have with her new husband were invigorating to her.  She had been a strong single woman for years and met the man of her dreams who swept her off her feet.  The world and her life was all ahead of her. 
The second woman my husband married was a new mother, with babies, a stay-at-home mom, changing diapers, chasing toddlers, and living day-to-day in the throes of the building and keeping the home happy, comfortable, and welcoming.  She was in love with her husband, children and the life she was living.
The third woman my husband married was the mother of teenagers and young adults achieving their goals, making friends, high school, grades, sports, music lessons and growing in their spiritual lives. With the oldest marrying and leaving the nest, the others struggling with their inner growth, boyfriends, heartbreaks, graduation and college, the children began to need her less and her arms began to feel lighter and less began to feel different.

The fourth woman my husband married is the present one who is in the throes of a transition.  My children are scattering, busy, and days can go by without hearing from them or seeing them.  The house seems empty, large, and painfully quiet. At this point in my life, I am realizing that I had made NO plans for what remained for me as my own person.  For the past few years, I have worked a job where I walked Walmarts, grocery stores, and target stores checking on mayonnaise, hair care products, and ice cream....most of these products I don't even use, much less care about.   It basically sucked the life out of me.....I cried every Monday gloomy Sunday evenings, dragged around at night after a long day on my feet and never worked on any of my hobbies. 

Hobbies are good to have and hold on to despite how busy one is.  The creative outlet that these jewels provide are life enhancing, inspiring, soul-recovering, and a source of joy.  Whether it is gardening, sewing, cooking, or bird-watching, whatever it is, don't let it go...don't forget it, and by all means, don't let it gather dust.  Family and hobbies are the best for getting through this life and especially a joyless, drudge job.

Our Family at our middle child's wedding.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Will of God....Good and bad?

The things that happen to us throughout our lives are known by our Heavenly Father way before we were even born.   He knows what we say, think, do, He knows us inside and out without a word spoken.  Amazing to think of this as a mom, I know my kids forwards and backwards, but no, I really don't, not to this extent anyway.

God's Will
The things that happen to us throughout our lives are known by our Heavenly Father way before our birth.   He knows what we say, think, do, He knows us inside and out without a word spoken.  It is humbling to think of this as a mom, I do not know my children to this extent.

Everything that happens to us and around us...God allows.  There is a reason for the good and the bad things that happen to us. It is hard to rationalize, however, why God would let bad things happen to those little ones that he loves.  I find it tremendously hard not to try to save my children from harm or a hard life  bad.  A friend told me once, "I've warned my children that there is no limit to my craziness when it comes to them."  I have to agree wholeheartedly on this for me, as well, when it comes to my family. But there again a lesson learned the hard way is most often committed to memory...forever.  The serenity prayer comes in handy during these times.  It is probably the best prayer for raising children.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things
that I can change and the
wisdom to know the difference.

Can we, or are we able to trust our Heavenly Father?  Trusting God's will is having blind faith, courage to face the unknown, or the known that is not too comforting perhaps.  Mary's "Yes" is one example of trusting in both God's will and facing the scary known: the penalty of being discovered pregnant and not by the man she was betrothed to.  Trust she did and God took care of  her and the baby in the outcome.  Throughout the bible the ancients' stories consist of times when God or His messengers brought orders, curious directions, or prophetic advice that made them follow and trust in His will.  Now, however, it doesn't seem that we get the same luxury.  But it was quiet then.

Oh the noise, noise, noise!  In these times of smartphones, computers, and instant messaging it seems as though we trust in something other than ourselves much less our God.  Listening to hear the voice of wisdom has been reduced to Google, WikiLeaks, and Facebook rather than religious, parents, and the Bible.   Getting anyone to put down the device and go face to face instead of Face Time is nearly impossible without resistance.  Looking for silence in a noisy world, to stop the interactions and social time with strangers and distant audiences in search of conviction and legitimacy screams in the face of true logic and self-authenticity, truth, and spiritual direction.

Amidst this craziness of modern times, God's will is still there...waiting for our trust and courage.  It will come good or bad, and it will be at the hands of God for a reason.  What reason is unknown, but one thing that I do know, it will be for a good.   He wants to prepare us, or strengthen us, or perhaps show us a new direction to proceed in life.  Good or bad, it will be for the best and it will come whether we are on our smartphone, face timing with a friend, or reading this blog post.

The key is being open and trusting in our Heavenly Father that what he does is always for a good.  There is nothing from our God that is evil or without love....nothing.