"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." St. Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, August 12, 2010

When times get tough....remember

Just a quick little tidbit I found inspirational to me.

All of us have those days when we wake up and we just simply do not want to put our feet on the floor.  We are tired, feeling defeated, discouraged and maybe at times wondering, "Is God really there?" 

I have been reading a book entitled, The Lamb's Supper, written by Scott Hahn.  This statement, while it may seem obvious, really struck me, and I have been clinging to it this week--something,that in union with Christ, we can strive to put into action.  Maybe it will encourage you also.

"...we are fighting spiritual forces:  immense, depraved, malevolent forces.  If we had to fight them alone, we'd be trounced.  But here's good news:  there is a way we can hope to overcome.  The solution has to match the problem, spiritual force for spirtual force, immense beauty for immense ugliness, holiness for depravity, love for malevolence..."


Monday, August 2, 2010

Are you what you say you are?

Through out our life most of us make choices to belong to or support different groups or organizations, whether it be civic groups, causes to support, or political groups.  Why do we belong to these different circles?  Most of us would agree it's because we support their cause, believe in the tenants or missions they profess,they bring meaning into our lives and help build up ourselves and others.  Do we ever choose them because we disagree with them? Do we choose an organization we no nothing about?  Most likely, no.  So, why is it that so many people belong to and choose a religious denomination that they don't agree with or even know what it's tenants are?

Because I am Catholic, I am speaking from a Catholic point of view.  So many people profess to be Catholic without even knowing what the church teaches and believes.  I can't imagine belonging to the Music Teachers National Association if I didn't know anything about music and if I didn't like music- or belonging to the MTNA and deciding that I'm only going to learn music notes, but not music theory.  I wouldn't be a very effective member and wouldn't experience all the group has to offer.

I guess this post may come off as a ranting, but I am so frustrated by individuals who profess to be something, such as Catholic, but then proceed to pick apart which teachings they want to follow (usually picking the teachings that don't put a damper on their lifestyle).  Now, granted there are those who come into the faith and are still learning, I understand that faith is a journey.  I am speaking to those that know, but ignore, or those who misinform others what the teachings and beliefs of the faith are--as if there is a choice. 

We are all at different places in our lives.  We all need prayer, we all need guidance.  I challenge you (myself included) to not take your faith, whatever denomination you are, for granted.  Know what your faith teaches, don't be afraid to practice what your faith teaches. Your faith should filter into every aspect of your life-not just for Sunday.  Don't be a cafeteria Catholic or a cafeteria Protestant.  If you belong to something-practice what it teaches, and don't water down your faith to fit your wants.  Many people have suffered and died for their faith, would we be willing to do the same?


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Slow Down

Have you ever had those days when you look up to the heavens and say, "Really, God? This?...more?  That has been me this week.  It's not big things, like my daughter's cancer, or a death in the family, but little things like kids dumping strawberry syrup ALL over the kitchen, the dog throwing up, the air conditioner going out, or my favorite this week finding out my AC joint in my shoulder is shot!  So, I have to admit, I set out on a little pitty party for myself these last couple of days. This morning during my prayer I finally admitted to myself that a pitty party was not making me feel any better and was a waste of  the time God has given me.  So, humbling myself I prayed for forgiveness and asked God to bless me with a better attitude.

As many of you know faith is not just something you get or you have.  Faith is a constant, minute-by-minute struggle between the good God wants for you and the selfishness the devils wants you to act upon.  Faith takes work.  It takes a constant conversation with God, giving of yourself, and unconditional love for all.  Sometimes we look at ourselves and think, "I am just one person, what can I do?"  But I have come to realize in my own life, that it's the daily little things that we do for others, our family and even those we don't know that have such an impact in the lives of those around us.  I always come, back to this theme, but I just know it's so important, that we can keeep in mind and come to understand how our daily actions, prayers and words can have such an impact on those around us.  If we can fully realize our part in the body of Christ, no matter if we are a stay-at-home parent or head of a Fortune 500 company, our life matters.  God created each of us for specific reasons with specific talents.

Sad to say I have missed this realization for a good part of my life.  Yes, I have always called myself a Christian, tried to do the right things, but until the last few years, I hadn't taken the time to really engage in that conversation with God, to explore God in EVERY aspect of my life.  He's there when doing the dishes, just as He's there when I'm sitting in the pew Sunday mornings.  Let God be with you wherever you go and in whatever you are doing!  There is great peace there.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Victory in Defeat

I was recently visiting with a very good friend of mine and she made the comment that our family has really been put through the trials this last year.  She commented on how she is amazed at our positive attitude and ability to look for the good.  "Wow," I thought, "If she was only a fly on the wall in our house some days."  It took me back to Christmas eve, when we learned of our daughter's cancer and how we walked around in a daze.  At points it felt like a dream, somebody elses life.  We were the ones usually attending the benefits, cooking food, offering up prayers, but for others. 

I talked yesterday about choosing defeat or choosing to fight.  Looking back on this past year, I can say that many times I would have chosen defeat, were it not for Christ in my life, and the prayers of many faithful people. 

I recently came across a statement in a book I'm reading:  "From a supernatural point of view there is nothing, absolutely nothing, which cannot be turned to God's glory.  Every defeat can become a victory, every humiliation a precious jewel in one's crown, every suffering a glorious mark that makes the sufferer resemble his Savior." (1)  These words have spoken to me in a powerful way-not just from reading them, but as I looked around at different friends that are also going through difficult times, they have been examples of this very statement. 

Many times you will hear people say, "Why is it the good ones who have to suffer?"  No one likes to suffer and some denominations have even gone as far as to say that if you are suffering, you must have some sin in your life.  While when we choose to sin, yes that can bring suffering, but I believe that some suffereings are allowed by God in our lives to bring us closer to Him and to grow in our faith.  We need to be reminded at times of our weakness and helplessness without God's grace(as said by St. Therese of Lisieux). 

None of us are immune from sufferings or trials in life. How we weather them not only impacts us, but also those around us. As I grow in my Christianity, I realize more and more how we each have a role in the spirituality of others-it's not just "me and Jesus," that we are the Body of Christ. 

Benedictine monks pray seven times a day: "Deus in adjutorium meum intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina," translated means: "God, come to my aid; hasten to help me."  We must remember that if we seek Him in prayer that we will always be victorious!  Pray for one another and seek Him in all things. 

(1) "The Privilege of Being a Woman," by Alice von Hildebrand

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Little Ways

As a mom,whether you have one child or several, we can find ourselves rushing here and there-doctor's appointments, sports events, music lessons, while amidst all of this trying to get the laundry done, dishes, cleaning bathrooms and fixing meals.  All of these things are necessary to keep family life afloat.  In the thick of it all we experience joys, sorrows, frustrations, and at times pure exhaustion.

I recently have found myself in the sorrow/frustration/exhaustion category, as in the last two years we have dealt with some life changing events in our family.  Our now 3 year old son was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss (pretty much deaf without hearing aids) and more recently our 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with very advanced thyroid cancer. 

People have choices when faced with less than perfect situations in their life.  1) defeatism or 2)to fight.  What makes a person choose one over the other?  Most of us would say things like faith, family support and friends.  Some may even go as far to say money, societal status, intelligence or even ethnicity (e.g. Germans are more stubborn).  Realistically, at some point in our life one or more of any of these come into play.

As a Christian, I believe that all of these factors are because of the One who created me.  Who are we without Christ? 

As mothers I think we need to remind ourselves that Christ is not only there in the big things, but in the little as well.  He's there when we are cleaning the floors, doing the laundry, wiping runny noses and cleaning poopy bottoms.  He's even there when we are pulling the kitten's paw out of the sticky mouse trap (that happened to me today).   I was reminded in my devotional reading that if we can't glorify, trust and turn to God in the little things, then will we when faced with the big?

St. Therese of Lisieux has a saying, "In my little way, there are only ordinary things."   My devotional has three sections for each day:  THINK, PRAY and ACT.  Today's prayer was to ask the Lord to help me see that my own sanctity lies in embracing the little things that come our way-small sacrifices and tiny crosses.  In the ACT section it challenged me to say only "Yes" to God, to be faithful in every small chore or unpleasant situation that came my way-to answer yes immediatley and with joy.

So, I tried it (failed a few times), but what a difference.  Cleaning floors wasn't just about cleaning floors, but a way to glorify the Lord.  Suddenly, my sorrow/frustration/exhaustion turned to joy, thankfullness and renewed strength. 

I encourage mom's to get the book, "Small Steps for Catholic Moms by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss.