Sin ~ What harm is it?

We all do it. No one likes to talk about it. When is the last time you did something and the word sin came to mind? If you are a parent, when is the last time you talked about sin to your children? When is that last time you called a spouse or child on sin? Hmm. This is what family should do, with love.

If you read back through my posts you will see times that I have questioned whether my own behavior was sinful. Not long ago, I found myself questioning whether I had sinned, in not trusting God enough to stay by my side in a place I know He led me. I reacted to a dear one’s obvious frustration, though they did not tell me what I did wrong, I think I figured it out today. There is something to be said for communication skills and it does not matter who you are – use your words.

Though I am a practicing Catholic I am going to try to look at sin today in with a wider, perhaps different view. God, being the loving father has provided us with information to help us be the best people that we can be. That is what a parent does, right?

We reference points in the Bible that have to be considered, and, they should be considered every day, not only during Lent. Make it a habit – it is something I learned growing up and though my childhood was a mix of Christian churches – I knew all about fire & brimstone and if I swore – I was going to go to hell. (Thankfully I learned that isn’t quite the case “but”).

We have the Ten Commandments
Protestant V. Catholic

capture-catholicism-catholicisms-ten-commandments-compared-to-gods-word.jpg

I know – why can’t we all just get along. Remember, we’re just looking at guidelines right now.

The Greatest Commandments

Right from Jesus!

greatestcommandment

What about the Seven Deadly Sins?

7-deadly-sins-public-speaking-2

**Note** These are sins when they are intentional and you have full knowledge of. Being human, we need to understand these sins, why they are sinful – but that being human we all fall to them at times. I don’t think there is a human alive who has not had lustful thoughts (yes, women can be as guilty as men, why do you think we have movies like Magic Mike or 50 Shades of Gray?). Gluttony is not spoken of but there are many of us out there they fall to over eating (or under eating), Greed, Laziness, Wrath or Envy. Pride.

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Practice – Self-control/Chastity.
  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21). Practice – Temperance.
  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). PracticeGenerosity.
  • Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19). PracticeZeal.
  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) Practice Kindness.
  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). PracticeLove & Charity.
  • Pride – quality or state of being proud – inordinate self esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Practice – Humility.

Rather than look at a long laundry list, let’s take a  look at this. As a Christian mother, I will make reference in teaching our children and advising them. Remember, even as adults we should remind them of anything that may put a wedge between themselves and God. Remember though you cannot control your Adult Children, you can pray for them. Don’t “nag” as that will push them away, talk to them lovingly, as you would want to be spoken to.

As Christians we know;

God is always to be first in our lives. Too often people have not been told this, forget this or get slack. In order for Christians to have a solid foundation we need to focus and turn our heart, mind and soul over to our Lord, God. Before anyone else. All of us. It is our responsibility to teach this to our children as well as teaching others when we spread the word of God. It is the responsibility of a man and woman in a relationship to bring each other closer to God in this, they become one with God. Remember to teach this to your children. Remember to honor God, study the Bible, attend Church, grow in your spirituality.

Love your Neighbor as yourself. We can squeeze parents, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, kid at the gas station – all other human beings. Treat everyone with love, respect and a kind ear. Thou Shall Not Murder. Thou Shall not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You” Mathew 7:12. How about “Judge Not Least Ye Be Judged” Mathew 7:1

You shall not commit Adultery • Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors Wife

Greed • Thou Shall Not Covet They Neighbors Goods • Gluttony • Envy • Pride

Laziness – Ignoring or being lazy in your Spiritual life.

Okay, thanks for the reminder – now what?

Well, the truth is this; When we are not cognizant of our actions, we can hurt ourselves and others. Doing this, especially knowingly, puts a distance between ourselves, God and whomever else we may have touched (figuratively or literally). When we knowingly and willingly commit sin and bring others too it – that wedge between self, others we have affected and God is bigger. Our responsibility as Christians is to bring others to God, most especially those we love.

We should remember to ask God, when we pray to help us be mindful of our actions and caution that they are wholesome and good. This sounds great and easy in theory, but, we are human and in our humanness – we sin. In our humanness we get caught up in sin, which is why we need to reflect on this.

A few things to keep in mind and consider is this; Greed can be as “innocent” as taking that last scoop of potato’s before your brother, who is in the bathroom, gets his dinner plate – to not paying your employee a fair wage. Laziness? Stay active in your spiritual life.

In the past I have  discussed both our chosen attire, taking care of our body (healthy) and how our appearance matters because it reflects both our sense of self and – our modesty (or lack thereof). No saint here, I remember wearing sundresses and tops sans a bra when I was a teenager, not good. It’s important to look nice, neat and respectful. While we do want to look attractive, our focus should not be on drawing people to us by looking sexy. Save that for your spouse.

Consider the movies you choose to watch, books you read. If they contain erotica, think twice. We’re really not supposed to be entertaining ourselves or others with things that can lead to sinful thoughts or behavior. This means no 50 Shades of Gray ladies, and men – no surfing for porn (or vise versa). In married relationships the goal is celebrating your love – making love, which as you deal with childbirth, an illness, medical condition or aging may mean learning new techniques or enjoying some warm cuddles and kisses. These loving actions will not be happening if you are off ogling a woman 1/2 the age of your wife, with a flat tummy and double D boobs. Same goes for the women, no Magic Mike – celebrate your love and your bodies in your marriage, you have been given a very special gift.

Life is not about the size of our home, model of our car or bank account. It does not matter what profession you have chosen, single, married, divorced. God loves each and everyone of us. Realize, looking at each other – we have the divine love of the Holy Spirit within us. When we sin, we sin against God. We hurt God, ourselves and others. Celebrate that divine love by spending time in prayer and reflection – and make a conscious effort to take a personal inventory, a written or mental check list of what sins.

In addition to realizing we have or have come close to sin – it is important to examine why we were/are in that place. What is going on with us internally that has brought us to that place. If it is not readily apparent, pray to God and ask for him to reveal to you what brought about this state. Remember to ask him to fill the void you may be feeling in your life, some self confidence on the job, insight into an issue with your spouse, or a human relationship that you long for. If we don’t ask – we don’t receive. Be positive and put your trust in God, while you’re waiting, serve him which includes working hard to be a good person. Be prepared to find an answer that may surprise you – be open to His love. God wants us to feel loved and happy, He is a good Father.

Something I’ll share is I do have a couple of people in my life involved in recovery and being familiar with Twelve Step Programs I realize these steps may help others in reflection of behaviors, admitting sin, asking others for forgiveness when possible or appropriate and remembering to turn our lives over to God.

Catholics are taught the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we are to go confess our sins to a Priest who will forgive (most of) our sins for us. Many find this to be a useful way to find forgiveness and feel at peace with God. Not everyone is Catholic, and even not all Catholics believe in this manner of confessing and asking for forgiveness. If you are Catholic and have not made confession in recent times, please take a few moments to check out the above link and consider speaking to your Priest (not only for confession but for any questions you may have about it).

I do spend time reflecting my thoughts, actions and words. I understand that my choices can and do impact others. I do ask my Father to forgive me from the bottom of my heart the sins I have committed. I also believe it is more important to sincerely apologize to who I may have hurt (aside from myself) and ask their forgiveness when I can, I think that is far more important than sitting in confession doing so and it is actually much harder. Perhaps a mix of both is a good idea. It is a good idea if someone close to you has brought you to a difficult spot, to share that with them so that they can do their best in protecting you from sin. Good communication skills are essential, though there may be times that it may be difficult – do the best you can.

love

Our responsibility is to live up to being the best human being that we can be. God recognizes that we are human. Too often, bad people forget what sin is. Alternately, often very good people forget that we are all God’s children, children – growing in God. He loves us so very much. After bringing your sin to lay at the cross, receiving forgiveness, be sure you allow that forgiveness from our loving father to flood your soul and allow the light within to burn brightly touching everyone in your reach.satanseesin-godseeson

~~2/24/16 Edit to add:

Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church from the Vatican Website – linked below.

1466 The confessor (The Priest) …..He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy.”

I don’t remember ever hearing this before. This is Catholic Teaching. Though I grasp the idea of how confession is good for the soul and our relationship with God – I would never put my sin on a Priest and I don’t care if they “willingly” took that on.

There are different schools of thought on Confession and surely many are still going to heaven who do not go to confession (or heaven will be pretty empty – right?).

This is really not what God is about. It is good and very healthy to know ourselves, understand our sins and move forward earnestly endeavoring to do better. Some things we really must work through internally with God, and that is not wrong as long as we are doing it. Confiding in a close friend or family member who you know and trust to keep you on track – is good and can be very healthy.

This also reminds me of more current essay I have written (as I update this one). In two of them I had posted this from a daily bible reading for the Divine Office:


Mid-morning reading

1 Timothy 2:4-6

God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.


I cross post / am still waiting for someone to tell me how this is considered okay when it is not biblical, and the more I look at the history of sacraments, the more apparent it is that these have been changed, added to – manipulated (?) over centuries. Why? Confusing.

We are human, no matter what sacraments we have received, a Priest standing next to me is as human as I am I am responsible for my owns sins and I know for a fact I do penance for them, it is not for me to hand them off to someone else. Goodness Gracious

Where do these idea’s come from?

Not God!

We must be personally accountable!!!


Reflecting on the story of the woman in the book of Luke, I think we have to look at this story and consider how many of us have torn ourselves up inside for sins we have committed in our lives. Often carrying that guilt forward into life today. Jesus said – no, that is not for you to carry. You are forgiven.

I also would suggest that we often look at the “sin” and not the “sinner” – who they are, why they have “committed sin”, where they were at when doing so. What brought them to that place? There are personal reasons I believed God was punishing me in the abusive marriage I lived in – for twenty years. I had guilt that in truth no one but God himself could alleviate me of. No friends, or priest – only God himself. In retrospect, I look back to life growing up, events that happened and I can see why I behaved the way I did. My heart breaks for that young girl.

Our Lord, God does not want anyone to feel so sinful, dirty, unworthy of his love. It is not for us to judge others, but to truly look upon others with love and compassion and an attempt of understanding. Never tearing people apart or making them feel such shame that they become further self destructive.

0fb1a326f3a71e1e776822166d89dde0Originally Published 2016

Reflections -The Power of God’s Promise

Grace, as defined here by St. Peter is the Divine power of God bestowed upon everything that makes for life and devotion, through knowledge of God himself. Our Christian life and ability to live that life to the fullest is through the gift of Grace from God, He shares His divine nature with us.


2Peter 1:2-7

Greeting.

1Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ:

2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.

4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge

6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,7 devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.


 

The more we seek Him, the closer to Him we are, and the further from sins of the world.

He aids us in this by helping us to supplement our faith with virtue (goodness).

With goodness we gain Knowledge (of Fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22-23) “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”

index

This knowledge compels us forward with the desire to learn more.

With our knowledge moderation/self-control so that we can bring order to unhealthy habits (my lack of menu and exercise schedule require self-control) temperance. The term, self-control can tend to scare some people off or make them concerned that make you think you can’t enjoy life. There is a difference between mindless eating or desiring a loving relationship keep your thoughts in check.  With moderation/self-control we gain endurance.

As our knowledge and faith in God grows deeper still, which naturally brings us to be more devout in our faith. Our devotion to God and one another, brings about mutual affection with love,  sometimes a more mutual love as that can be a progression of Gods gifts.

So here we learn how the Grace of God, is truly a blessing in the lives of Christians and how the fruits of the spirit work together in bring us to new a better places but for our asking, and at times His prodding.

With all things religious, we must work to gain knowledge of what is being taught. We may not agree with something today, that tomorrow a new light may be shed upon that will allow us to learn something new, see something new. Alternately – that can work in reverse. Somethings we think we know or understand, we in fact truly need to spend time on our knees and contemplate. It is both part of being human and a gift that we have knowledge and faith in God and he teaches all of us to grow.

Originally Published 2016

Who is God? Faith Formation & 8th grade.

Tell me one thing that you are grateful to God for . . .

I taught my eighth grade faith formation class this evening.  I love the kids – I really do.  They are a sweet bunch, variety of personalities and backgrounds.  Tonight I had four regulars, one extra and was missing one.  One or two I don’t even bother looking for any longer.  As far as  I know they are no shows.  My DRE (Director of Religious Ed) was surprised that one was not showing up.

The topic for this evening was Prayer.  The problem with discussing prayer is these kids really have no clue who God is.  Eighth graders.  They have made it through seven years of CCD or Faith formation to be in my class.  I can’t help but wonder who taught them before me.  What their classes were like.

They don’t know God.

They don’t pray.

They are sweet kids.

The lesson book tells me to have them follow seven steps for prayer – which include saying the “Our Father” in closing.  The side notes tell them a short prayer a Saint said and tells us they should use this in their prayers.

Clueless.  Those are prayers of others that I am being told (through the material provided to me to teach with) to teach them more rote prayers.

No.  Enough already. 

They don’t know God.

We talk about God and prayer every week.  Most of the kids rarely go to Mass.  The local kids don’t pray at home though one in tonight group remember praying with parents at bedtime “many years ago”.  One boy attends my class from out of town.  He prays with his family at night.  I asked him how they pray.  He is Vietnamese.  He smiled then shrugged and said “just a bunch of Vietnamese prayers, then the rosary, then more Vietnamese prayers’.  I asked if they say personal prayers and he said yes they follow a format, though I’m not so sure the way he spoke that they did, and certainly not the private personal prayer we were discussing.  More rote prayers.

Okay, regroup I tell myself.  – Back to the book.  Back to the seven steps.  As I read through them with the kids I realize how absolutely ridiculous this is.  The author has no idea what he is doing.  Much of the book seems okay but when it comes to real life practice – not so much.  I’d need the darn book and have to read steps one through seven just to be sure I covered everything he thought was important.

These kids don’t pray.  Why would I make it harder than it has to be.  Did Jesus tell us we had to pray a certain way?  No, I think to myself – not that I recall.  I love God.  I pray throughout the day.  It’s just part of me at this age.

I smiled at the kids and told them the truth, prayer shouldn’t be a chore.  Prayer is about having a close relationship with God.  Conversations.  Three steps.  Prayer of gratitude and worship, thanks for all He is, all He does and all He is.  Next, prayer for those in our lives and things in the world that need our attention and the attention of our Father, ask Him for guidance in these matters.  Lastly – pray for ourselves.  Ask for guidance and that He show us, guide us in His will.  Help us to be good people, speak to him of special intentions.  Thank him.

I tell them I know there is a five step list I have read from Pope Francis and that I will look it up and bring this with me to next class.

Going through review questions, we didn’t get very far.  The first was “if you make ten minutes a day to pray for the next thirty days how will that change you?”

I was reminded that we already talked about this – only one in the class prayers.  So I steer them toward prayer and share different experiences that I felt were age appropriate to share like the early birth of my grandson and being concerned because he was early (no need to share details with them) but how God has been with him, how well he has grown in two months.  … Of the time I was out of work for a long time and prayed and prayed and just when I needed it – I had a job offer and I knew that was God.  These things caught their attention.  An adult sharing experience.  It also helps know that I respect them enough to share little glimpses of my own life.  I remember being that age.  Not long ago my own sons were.

Last question . . .

Tell me one thing that you are grateful to God for . . .

No answer.

How can they be grateful to God…

When they don’t know Him???

My heart hurt.  These are good kids.  Smart, loving.  Lacking God in their lives. 

I answered. 

I am nothing without God.  He created me.  Psalm 139 tells us that He created us an knows us from before we were born, He formed us, knows us, our thoughts, fears, loves, hopes.  He is with us always.  I am grateful.

I smiled looking each in the face . . .

I am grateful for God, because if it were not for Him we would not be in this room and I never would have met you and I enjoy learning from you – very much.

The sweetest expression on the faces of my eighth graders.  They were not expecting to hear that.  They’re at the age where life becomes a tug o’ war at home, grasping for some freedom that they are too young to have.  Too many don’t have long conversations with their own parents.  Too seldom are they told they are respected for just being themselves.

As we’re gathering books they begin to talk about a paper they have to write on President Trump.  Only one began with how great he thought he is.  I told them we probaly shouldn’t talk politics and the boy who loved him said why?  Lockerroom talk?  {ack}  So we had a very short talk that went like this… “If you are talking about what I think you are, you would not want anyone to speak to your mother like that, your sister – or your daughter”.  It is unkind, ungodly and a real gentleman would stand up to that.

To  my left a student in a choked voice said I am afraid, have you heard what he has said about GLBT?  He said he will use shock treatment on all of them, do you know what that means?  Conversion therapy?    She looked truly frightened.  A young person that I was not surprised at all to hear this from, sometimes you just know.  She said – “you know, my hair is short he may think….”   I looked at her and promised he would not get away with hurting anyone like that, don’t worry – it will be okay.

As I said that I thought of the program my own religion has “Courage” for those with same sex attraction, to help them be celibate.  En-courage for family members to assist them with.  She is worried about the president of the United States wanting to use shock therapy to “fix” GLBT,  as I turn away, sadly I think of the church that will not love and accept people for the way they have been born . . .

What Would Jesus Do?

Love & accept.

At home writing this tonight, I think of my own childhood.  Attending Sunday church services (Protestant) with my grandparents.  Little ones were encouraged to learn and memorize bible verses at home during the week (I was no older than five!), on Sunday we’d be invited up in front of the congregation to recite our verse.  If we got it right (and even if we slipped up a bit) we got a life saver.  A nice way to involve families in their education of little ones.

I read and prayed with my own boys.  Admittedly grace at the table was lacking.  My ex-husband and his family made fun of me when I brought it up one time.  My older two are agnostic (though I keep an open conversation going about God).  My youngest attends an Evangelical church and is quite adamant that he will never attend Catholic Church again.

My grandson is two months old.  I talk to him about God and Jesus.  I’ve mentioned the Holy Spirit.  I sing him lullaby’s and I sing songs from my childhood that we sang in church (adults with the kids) and my grandparents and I would sing on car rides or in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up a meal.  Jesus Loves the Little Children ~ Jesus Loves Me, this I know…

I love the kids I teach.  We only have a few more weeks together.  What I posted last night about my religion, The Carpenters Son? Mary’s Son? ~ The Begotten One. (revised)  is true The church places Catechism, tradition, rules before God.  This is why our young people have no relationship with God, yes, their parents should be teaching them at home, but God must come before religious teachings.  It is useless to push teachings on people who have not yet even learned who God really is and that He is in our lives every single second of our lives.  Isn’t it?

God is about relationship. 

He is Love.

 

 

 

 

Out Upon the Waters

16265542_925510464250748_2242549270219048012_n

How very true this is.  Many times that all I can say is “Jesus.  Sweet Jesus.  Jesus” and I know He hears. 

In time like this evening when I have things weighing on my mind, heart and soul I find the need to pull away and spend some quiet time in thought and prayer.  As I began to end my evening I found myself reading some of tonight’s readings which many nights will bring me to look up more of the readings and learning more.  Which is good. . . . but… this tends to bring me to read and do more research when I should be turning toward evening prayer and sleep.

This evening I found myself listening to some contemporary Christian music.  The is a song I have heard before and recently saved.  The lyrics to this song and melody worship our God and pull me closer to Him.  I can feel the safety of His embrace. 

I find the lyrics resonate with me this evening.  “You call me out upon the waters” which indeed He has done and what was one situation seems to have grown – taken on a life of it’s own.   Though – I know He is in control,   relaxing into this music reminds me of this fact and that I am safe, as are those in my heart.  This brings me closer to Him in prayer, conversation with Him.

Enjoy . . .

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Yeah

Oh Jesus yeah, my God

I will call upon Your Name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

Songwriters: Joel Houston / Matt Crocker / Salomon Ligthelm

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Simply Sunday ~ Forever

This evening I find myself saddened by the current events and choices of those in political power in my country.  Challenges in my personal life too can be overwhelming.  I lean into Him.  I turn my heart, mind and soul to our Father and I find strength.  I’ve chosen the song Forever written by a personal favorite Chris Tomlin, performed soulfully by Kari Jobe.  He came to us to bring us to our Father.  He walks with us today – we are not alone.  “Forever he is risen, he is alive”.
I pray we all come together as one people in this world.  We are all one.  True love and respect must be given to each other – regardless “of” anything.  Treating each other with love and respect is godly behavior and what is asked of us.  The only differences are what we make.  Let us focus on building bridges and not walls – of any sort.  Not one human being is seen to be better, higher or more valuable to our loving Father.
Have a blessed Sunday and peaceful week.
My apologies, you may have to click through to youtube to view this video.

 

 

“Forever”

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon himOne final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged


The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever he is glorified
Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever he is glorified
Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

Forever he is glorified
Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

You have overcome
You have overcome
You have overcome
You have overcome

A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion

117

I really enjoy this portrayal of Jesus. Just a regular guy. A man of flesh and blood. He was born in a time long, long ago to loving parents here on earth, that nurtured and raised Him into the man who Loved God with all of His heart and Soul. Who was chosen by our Lord, God to save literally billions of human beings from themselves.

Jesus at the age of twelve, in Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary for the Passover festival, as an adolescent traveling with a large group was not missed for two or three days, when His parents realized Jesus was missing from the group they returned to Jerusalem. He stayed behind to be found in the temple studying with teachers.

Luke 2: 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*

Our Lord, God brought Jesus to us.  With Him, a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Jesus – brought our Loving Heavenly Father to us, and through Our Father we are  gifted with  the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you can take a few minutes to visualize what the life of Jesus may have been like, the parts we don’t read about. Regardless of your relationship status, you can relate. A young man? An older gentleman? Woman, teenage girl. Wife, grandparent, husband, single person. We all know children, young men, teenagers – men. Jesus was human. What was His unwritten/unseen life like? These details of His life on earth don’t seem necessary to His overall mission, which is in essence, to bring peace and goodness to the world, to bring others to our Heavenly Father. I think though, it is critical to realize Jesus was a man. His lessons are those we can all live by.

This may sound like an oversimplification, and religiously speaking, it really is, but that is the synopsis or perhaps Spark-note version.

I readily admit, I am reading, studying and learning more about the Holy Bible and Catholic teachings which do conflict (at times). I suppose that’s where the “Cafeteria Catholic” comes in. I read other (Catholic) religious and spiritual writings and I encourage everyone to take some time doing the same. Just as living through life physically is a journey, so must our spiritual self travel to learn and grow.

The following reading is from today’s Divine Office Reading 3/23/16.

Mid-morning reading 1 Timothy 2:4-6
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I do put a lot of thought into what I write. I do practice Lectio Divena. Roman Catholic Priest do act as mediators – which is against God? I had to return to this verse this morning.

His belief in our Lord, God the Father was so strong, He was so deeply filled with the Holy Spirit that He gave His life to bring us to Him. Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: greatestcommandment“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The price he paid for the sin, of billions of humans – was His life. I think, in a way as a mother considering the man child Jesus, the child, teenager, man – Jesus Christ and understanding that He really was just like you or I in human flesh, with wants, needs, desires. He had human relationships, but He was chosen by God; “John 3:1616For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

I will note, this is the first bible verse I memorized as a child. This version “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that he who believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” The background reading I have done on this reading/translation, has deeper meaning and value (to me) today than it did as a child. I have found this translations to mean spiritually more than the Catholic Bible translation, and more than the face value written in this paragraph.

I will reference this link What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son? (not Catholic, but I was researching something from my childhood), which in truth gives a much deeper meaning to the Jesus we all know and hear about. We know He was chosen, but having a better understanding of the original wording/translation puts so much more meaning (and “common sense”) into this phrase. No longer is Jesus, God’s only son, or only a son of God. He is the chosen one, chosen by God, and as we know we are all children of God.

Jesus was God‘s begotten one. His unique human child with Holy Spirit on earth, brought forward for the purpose to bring us to Him. Upon the Crucifixion and resurrection we see the Trinity in full, God the Father, God the Son together in the Holy Spirit.

(4/29/16) In a recent Mass, an elderly Priest was rather upset. He insisted that Jesus WAS God. There are various readings in the bible too that refer to Jesus as human in form on earth prior to the resurrection.

(5/9/17) 1Peter 3:18  “18For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.g”

* [3:18] Suffered: very many ancient manuscripts and versions read “died.” Put to death in the flesh: affirms that Jesus truly died as a human being. Brought to life in the spirit: that is, in the new and transformed existence freed from the limitations and weaknesses of natural human life (cf. 1 Cor 15:45).  NAB (USCCB)

Today (4.29.16) DO Readings include:


Mid-morning reading (Terce)Acts 2:32,36

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.

e078ea639b94f808aa93a520ccc4d75e.jpg

Does God want us to be happy? On earth?

A portion of a recent daily reading reminded me of some words spoken at Mass this past Sunday. Now I will admit, I don’t remember the exact words – but – they went something like this; “Happiness is not for earth, we are to look to finding our happiness in heaven”. Again, that is not the exact quote, but it is the sentiment that was stated. This is a dangerous statement.  This makes the general population afraid they are bad (sinful) for being happy, wanting to be happy – Catholic Guilt?  Is this being said because it is what our clergy are being taught?

That infamous phrase (this is not only a Catholic issue). Let’s be careful about scaring people away from church and scaring people away from God – and look at some facts

God does want us to be happy human beings right here on earth. When we take the time to read scriptures, we can discern the meaning behind what information St. Paul is passing on to us. This article is based upon scriptures only, not  Catechism teachings.

The below readings are taken from a letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. The Galatians, written to here are said to be recent converts, possibly Celts who had invaded Asia Minor (etc.). They were being woo’d by other missionaries who wanted them to added Jewish laws to (i.e. circumcision) as a means to the salvation of the Cross.

Also, we can reflect upon the words of Jesus here in St. John 14:

The Advocate.

St. John 14: 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

What a gift indeed! The Holy Spirit is generous and gifts us with much.

~

Mid-morning reading (Terse) Galatians 5:13-14

My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.

Noon reading (Sext) Galatians 5:16-17

Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.

Afternoon reading (None) Galatians 5:22,23,25

What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.

~

The last verse lists the Fruits of the Spirit. In reading this, in conjunction with above scriptures we can see more clearly how our Father has blessed us!

If we truly believe and keep our overall focus on God – who is goodness and Love, the Holy Spirit within will guide us in His goodness and love. Jesus “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness & Self-control.

Catholic “tradition” lists additional “fruits” that I am not going to list here. The biblical listing above is taken directly from the current version of the (NAB) Bible which the Roman Catholic Church uses here in the United States.

There tends to be a leaning toward denying self of the true gifts given from God, when they become translated in the church. Long after Jesus and St. Paul, and long before today. A balance needs to be found and can be found in honoring the seven fruits of the spirit as listed above.

These gifts are to be used along with honoring the Laws we have been asked to follow;

#1 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength” God First!

#2 “Love your neighbor as yourself” #2 Do not put yourself above anyone.

#3 The Ten Commandants and

#4 The Beatitudes should also be honored.

– In giving of self, we receive.

With this knowledge:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

1aa4d481cc0f4d1ded8b91e52e419c8e.jpg

Everything listed as a Fruit of the Spirit; emotions, actions, attributes that bring about happiness in our lives right here on earth. Living following the rules and guidelines provided to us as living for in, for and with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – God has provided us with true ways to live to honor He and each other.

You may hear at Sunday service, or from a well meaning person that we’re not to look for happiness here on earth – that happiness is after our earthly life – to be found in the Kingdom of Heaven above. Jesus stated the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Today. We can have both.  What is true that we are told the above gifts will be multiplied in a magnificent way when the time comes that we are called Home to our Lord.

Live ~ Love ~ Laugh With Our Lord

Our loving & Generous Father is pleased when His children are happy living in Him.

 

published 2016

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

A misstep?

A slippery slope ensues.

So many opinions, theological studies, religious views. Hebrew, Aramaic? I have read Jews at that time understood both languages.

Does it matter?

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

 

While I am a person who is often compelled to delve into details, and I would hasten to add I am sure over time this phrase has been interpreted and reinterpreted so many times – who knows the original or exact meaning?

Regardless of your personal standing on the belief of God, I am going to ask you to follow along, view the video, read what I write and perhaps – view the video again. Meditate on it. Consider – Jesus was a man. We too often forget that fact when we speak of Him. Flesh and blood. Human.

Very much a favorite song of mine.

Listening to K-Love Radio on my way to work the other day, I heard a review of a new movie “The Young Messiah” that depicts what the writer feels Jesus may have been like, lived like as a child of seven. While I am in favor of faith based movies, this is not something that interests me.

Biblically, we can read excerpts of the life of Jesus in His birth, age eleven at the temple then nothing again until He is thirty. I believe it is dangerous to put too much mystical credence to His existence in those years we have not heard about. Those years have been untold to us for a reason. I would go so far as to challenge there are probably more documents that have not been, nor ever will be released publicly, on His life. Based on historical / religious facts of that era it is all but certain that Jesus was a married man, a father with children. He was a Rabbi. Truth? These things matter not in the grand scheme of loving our loving God.

Often times, more so in recent months I find myself contemplating Jesus – the man. A man. The Catholic Church celebrates Mary the Mothers parents Sts Joachim and Anne, however there is no historical evidence of them. The church also teaches Mary was born of an Immaculate birth (meaning she was without original sin when she was conceived). This has no bearing on the mission of Jesus Christ.

Most people who hear of the Immaculate Conception think that is Catholic wording for the conception of Jesus Christ. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day with one gal friend and Sunday with another – both Cradle Catholics, both were totally shocked to hear what the Immaculate Conception is. In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. We can agree that as the mother of Jesus, Mary was an important woman – but salvation for Christians is based upon Jesus Christ.

I wonder if Pope Francis has this in mind as he has been pushing the Gospel, encouraging reading the bible, having a tendency to turn focus away from miracles being as they have been presented. I am sure miracles occurred – I have no doubt, but there is a propensity for some Catholics to put focus on visions and pieces of toast that resemble Jesus, perhaps spending more time talking about the toast than the Word. I actually know a married couple who left the church because of that.

hqdefault.jpg

The true miracle of Jesus Christ is that his life and death has brought millions / billions of people to God. Jesus Christ is not about “miracles” and “religion” he is about a way of life. Living a good, helpful life of service, with happiness and love. Turning from Sin, because sin is anything that hurts us (or another).

Why does it matter, the words He cried from the cross? Jesus was a man, a human, who was violently beaten and crucified – who died for our sin in order to bring us closer to living a Godly Life, to the arms of our Loving Father.

The true lesson here is the Holy Spirit filled Jesus Christ who returned to our Father. He walks among us today, in our thoughts and actions. If you look, you will see heaven on earth.

As Lent draws to a close, draw yourselves ever near to God. Follow the teachings of Christ, Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Don’t get wrapped up in all the details of when he was conceived, who his parents or grandparents where. Understand this truth – Jesus did not die on the cross for religion. He died to bring us to His (Our) Father. Jesus was a radical in His time, loving all, standing up for those in need. Do you walk in His footsteps? What can you do to be more like Jesus as you walk your path?

It is we, individuals who follow in Christs path to share love of God, service to man (remember the Beatitudes!) that needs to be embraced. Religion is important as it brings us together to worship, live and love and serve God. Our choice of religion should accentuate these beliefs, not detract from the true purpose here – the true purpose being living in one with our Lord, God. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

Consider a world where we can all accept, love and honor each other? Work for the best and good of all? Never intentionally cause harm. Heaven – on Earth.

Love God. God is Love – Love is God.

 

The Mission of the 12 ~ Spiritual Reflections ~ Luke 9 / Mark 3

Yesterday I updated and republished my article Who thinks they know better than Jesus??? (formerly – Living) I noted the daily Gospel reading of the day day

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Jesus was quoted in the book of Luke 9: The Mission of the Twelve.

“Summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”

Firstly, He said “take nothing for the journey” that doesn’t mean they didn’t leave a home behind. We know the original Apostles of Christ , the men Jesus Christ physically with witness chose, were married men, so they had marriage, marital relationships, children, homes, responsibilities. They were able to manage all – and still go out and spread the Good News.

In fact the Gospel reading for today (1.21) states: Mark 3:20-21 (Jerusalem Bible/DO Universalis)

“Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.”
1Corinthians   St. Paul is clearly stating the original chosen Apostles of Jesus Christ were married. 
9:5 Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

There are many debates on St. Paul’s state of marriage. There are writings aside from the bible that state he was married but left his wife at home so that she would not be in the way of his mission. There are hints that he was widowed, there are statements that due to his religious background, he too must have been married, just not in the portion of life we read about in the bible. He (St. Paul) also spoke of refraining from marriage at a time He thought the return of Christ was imminent. – Additionally, I strongly suggest the phrase St. Paul – very clearly states his statements and ideas are his own and NOT from our Tritarian God. Translations, missing books and – all that…The original 12 – married. There is reasoning behind my discussing this below:

“Is it more important to bring people to church, or to help others find God?” I believe it is the later. Here, in his writings Richard Rohr suggests the same.

He points out what Jesus taught the Apostles going out to spread the word – Christianity is not to be lived in a box – it cannot be. That is not how God designed us! Oh gosh I wish people would hear this. I am not saying this for “all about me”. I am saying this is the truth!

We teach by example as human beings living good lives in God. It is as important to remember the above lesson of not relegating our faith to a church building but to live our faith in life. So many don’t understand why the LDS or Jehovah Witness knock on our doors (I politely turn them away) – they are following teachings. Catholics (and other Christians) hear of wonderful, humble people but – we really don’t know true details to their lives. If we focus on Jesus and the disciples/apostles, do we really need to give credit to hundreds or thousands of others? No. The focus should remain upon the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That means turning our focus on the gospels.

Here, in the Gospels we also learn that Jesus did not always live a nomadic type of life, dependent upon others but he did have his own home, which he taught from. Joseph was a carpenter, the most likely early profession of Jesus.

There are also readings (and common sense) to indicate that Jesus himself had His own house. I believe in keeping Jesus “homeless”, it lends more to him living a single celibate life because no home meant no family. I can’t wrap my head around why it is so imperative for the church to believe his. I have read suggestions that this would lessen His credibility as the Son of God. The truth here is we are all considered to be sons and daughters of God.

In these days and times, accessibility to information we can use the hearts, souls and intelligence God graces us with for further development and that does not mean doing so harms the existence of Jesus, the son of God -as His begotten (chosen) one.

Looking outside of the box can give a wider view of God and His intentions for us. As we are graced with growth, consider how – considering Jesus a little differently might mean even better things for all of Gods children.

The unwritten (or unshared?) books of Jesus, the years we do not read of were the years of a teenage Jesus through an adult man, a Rabbi as we read. A Rabbi in that era would have been married for several years with children. In fact, I have read a Rabbi of that era was not allowed to speak in the Temple if he had not taken a wife. So, we can loosely consider that Jesus was married, the rumblings that the church (or Christians in general) like to squelch would be likely Mary Magdalene would have been married to him. She traveled with Him, was at the foot of the cross when He was crucified and was the first He appeared to upon resurrection. The fact that no children are mentioned means nothing as there may have been and they were too young to have been part of His story (or) the couple was infertile. Marriage does not lessen any credibility of His being the Begotten One. I have previously stated this doesn’t matter in the grand plan, however in this regards it does;

It does go to show our very human Jesus as a man who lived life, experienced it first hand and was able to teach with not only love but compassionate empathy (whereas those with little life experience outside of the box are saddled with mostly with cognitive empathy, where they try to relate, find for negotiations or attempting to steer in a direction but lacking in the true ability to emotionally empathize, which living experience offer us, as God gifted). Taken in full context, perhaps you will have a greater understanding of why some believe Jesus was married. It is not to mar Him in any way, shape or form. It is to show an extension of gifts given by God the Father.

People are assisted with true compassionate empathy but those working with cognitive empathy – tend to have that loud gong thing going on. Note: You cannot gain compassionate empathy by reading and discussing with others who practice cognitive empathy. This is why Jesus knew who really understood and who did not. Blessed are . . . you can’t fake it, you have to live through life to really get it. I intend no hurt in saying this ♥ please trust me in both cases! There are reasons I say these things as well as there are reasons God gave us gifts that no man should convince anyone to take away or live without. Again, how do you turn your back on what only God can give???}

St. Mark 2:13-18 The Call of Levi. 13 Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14 As he passed by,* he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

In this reading Jesus we see Jesus meeting Levi/Mathew and inviting him to join him “follow me” and Levi/Mathew followed him. Next we read While at table in his house … the USCCB translate this to be Levi’s house. The book of St. Mathew 9:9-13 states the same. In the book of St. Luke 5:27-32 we read similar words but here it states that Levi 28And leaving everything behind,he got up and followed him. 29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.” – It is in no way a “reach” here to state they went to the home of Jesus Christ. Levi/Mathew (etc) “followed him” home. It is not a reach in anyway to suggest the tax collector handing off many coins for others to go gather food and wine for a feast. Really. I am not reaching it is the way I read it. Pretty simple and why the big deal?

Jesus opened his home to others to share the word of God and help healing begin. There is nothing outrageous or wrong to suggest this. – And so, I stated that Jesus himself suggest we reach people outside of Temple or Church buildings, outside of a dogmatic religious structure to share the good news.

Jesus was a very wise man of simple truths. Over centuries His teachings have been set aside in many cases for the words of others who came long after He. Who should we look to? A saint or the explicit teachings of Jesus Christ, the *Begotten (*chosen) One?

The truth is there is much to be said for a holy life outside of church wallsaccording to Jesus. Gifts of our father – for a reason. This is my view, subject to change as knowledge may show me something new, but for today there is very much how I see things.

harvest-laborers-matt-9

In upcoming days I will be writing an article on why I believe in the rebuilding of the church.  Parishes are shrinking, closing and while it is only too easy to say we will build on what we have and enjoy smaller, Parishes – that is not what we are called to do at Christians. That is a defeatist attitude.  Other Christian churches are growing. 

The church needs to grow emotionally, spiritually, and adapt and realize the need for the church to fully  return to the original teachings of Jesus (simple ways), and return to a married clergy.  Optional, perhaps not a “requirement” but the option for marriage at any stage of life – as this is a God given grace and right to celebrate in Him.

I recently have read the words (in more than one article) quoting a person in a powerful position, who found it funny that a woman would ask for a Priest for her Parish rather than (sic?) to have it closed.  The man said “why it is not my job to provide Priests, I am a celibate – that is for you and your husband to do”.  Bad choice of words, not funny, amusing, kind – or correct.  This sort of thought line drives wedges and is the reason people leave.  Like the 120,000 Priests who have left in the past 60 years.  25,000 here in the United States.  Does that not speak volumes?

There is a lot of thought behind  this, it is quite clearly His biblical teaching.  The foundation of the church is found in it’s disciples, teachers, clergy.  This is why I begin in this area. Rapidly dwindling numbers are revealing of both the teaching of God,  and the understanding and respect of lay persons in His gifts.  
Living in Christ is not about being closed off from the life experiences that God gifts and offers all of His children.  God is not selfish, our Father is a loving, giving God.  Accepting those gifts, experiencing life better enables one to serve and celebrate Him.
Please bear with me while I put these thoughts fully to paper.  I will begin with Michael, the young 21 year old who brought this very topic to my attention three years ago. . .

Ancient teachings are relative today

I The Purpose of Parables and those who understand , I wrote about Jesus speaking in Parables. This was His was of weeding out those with a hardened heart with those of purity of heart – who would hear His word.

I am going to bypass the readings from Mass this morning which in part I have covered already in and refer to scripture in No longer concealed in the tomb . I would like to share, the Roman Catholic Church – Pope Francis has elevated July 22nd the Memorial Day of Saint Mary Magdalena to a Feast Day, which is a very special honor. Reading some articles today I am afraid there are many who will still not accept her position in the life of Jesus and the other Apostles. The role of women in general, and perhaps all laity – well, I see points are being missed and I hope they keep the focus on Jesus where it should be and remain – in time they will get it -the wheels of the church move slowly, I think a very long road lay ahead. We are all “one”, the church makes divisions that Jesus did not.

~

jn14-26

No longer concealed in the tomb

life09pix

Easter Sunday, the resurrection brought Jesus Christ back to the world. There are different versions of this event. In this DO reading, offer the version the girl in me holds most dear. I know there are other women who feel the same way. Many I have “met” on the pages of Catholic periodical’s online.

Gospel  John 20:11-18

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognize him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.”

This particular reading shows us a side of Jesus and Mary M. in a context many choose to overlook, not acknowledge. The human Jesus that I hold as dear to my heart as the resurrected Christ. Mary M. ran to the disciples to tell that Jesus was gone, they investigated, saw he was gone – and walked away, back home they went.

Mary M. who had traveled with Jesus, followed him, was at the cross when He was nailed to it, remaining at the foot of the cross as His body died away. How can you not read these verses and not picture Mary, laying in heap, mourning the loss of Jesus? Further heartbroken by His missing body. He chose to appear to dear Mary first. A faithful woman, she remained where she last saw Him. Imagine her shock and surprise when he appeared?

Her vision blurred by her tears, not recognizing Him. “Rabbuni” she called out. The translations of this vary; Rabbi, Knowledgeable Rabbi, My Master” according to the US Bishops website (a term also used for husband repeatedly in the Bible). I know, I know. So many dislike thinking Jesus so human but He was, He lived and walked the earth. We don’t know and will likely never know the truth according to scriptures, because there are so many missing years. For myself, the importance of Jesus appearing first to Mary M. shows His respect and love for her. Respect and love I know women often do not feel in the church. The Apostles went off on their own way. Mary M. loved him so that she stayed and wept.  He came – to her. Before completing His earthly mission and ascending to be with God, the Father.

On a personal note, when I began researching “Rabboni” and seeing Master and Lord were also terms for husbands, I came across scriptures where wives are to submit to husbands.  That led me to write Wives Submit to your husbands…

Who thinks they know better than Jesus??? (formerly – Living)

In my faith journey, I am noticing a trend in some followers of Christ that has a tendency to give me pause.  Things that to me, seem so obvious me – apparently aren’t so obvious to everyone.  We’re all human, learn, see, feel and grow at different rates.  In this updated essay I have chosen to cut out some dialog from my first “printing” in an effort to be more direct and to the point.

After reading the Gospel reading this morning (1.20)

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

 Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

I found myself looking through my older posts that i have been slowly editing and re-posting.  This particular article is mentioned in other articles I wrote so I “dug” this one up and am re-posting after adding/editing.

life-is-out-thereLife is out there! Happy. Sad. Work. Fun. Joy.  Joy in Love.  …Joy In Him.

The day I wrote the last version I had read a piece that contained a lot of information that I knew by my own life experience.  I realized as I wrote that the tone of what was written was not so much for me as for those that have not fully experienced or lived life.  I know when I say “this Is not the life God intended for His children” that I am absolutely speaking the truth.  There is no reason to live in a box (or) think God is in a box.

not in box.jpg

Enough of this living in a box already.  Play in the sun and play in the mud!  You cannot really teach life (God) experiences when you stay in a box that forbids you from experiencing life, Jesus does not put us in a box!!!

I have mulled this essay over and rereading it I remember this particular Sunday; at mass a monthly homilist made a blunder that still has me saying “yeah right?!?”  

 “may    they    love”.  ~ Was it a blunder, or was the Holy Spirit stirring up some inspiration???

There is a well-known Franciscan Priest (Richard Rohr) who both clergy (from all denominations) as well as laymen read.  I have heard him referred to as a spiritual master and I believe he is, though my opinion  may not always jive with his, – I realize we are individuals so our experiences and even gender may play into that.  The truth is there is much to learn from him.

On the particular morning that I first wrote this, among my other email subscriptions I found an article by the Franciscan Priest I mention above.  My frustration was because so much of what is said seems so obvious to me.  Maybe it is the spiritual female me that easily grasps what the male, theologian, Roman Catholic finds eluding?  Something perhaps for me to contemplate.  We are wired differently so our thought process as well as life experience do come into play.

Below I am placing a copy / past the entirety with credits given:  I have changed font to blue on portions that stand out to me.  I have written in bold blue, my own comments.


5/15/16 –  Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Initiation                                                                    Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP). CAC archives.

Yours Life Is Not about You

{True, not all get this – but? Parents do, many people do}

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One reason we Christians have misunderstood many of Jesus’ teachings is that we have not seen Jesus’ way of education as that of a spiritual master. He wants to situate us in a larger life, which he calls the “Reign of God.” But instead we make him into a Scholastic philosopher if we are Roman Catholic, into a moralist if we are mainline Protestant, or into a successful and imperialistic American if we are Evangelical. Yet the initiatory thrust of Jesus’ words is hidden in plain sight. {Who made this so complicated?  I have understood who Jesus was. I did not realize it was that difficult to see?}

Study, for example, his instructions to the twelve disciples, when he sent them into society in a very vulnerable way (no shoes or wallet, like sheep among wolves). How did we miss this? Note that it was not an intellectual message as much as it was an “urban plunge,” a high-risk experience where something new and good could happen. It was designed to change the disciples much more than it was meant for them to change others! (See Matthew 10:1-33 or Luke 10:1-24.) Today we call it a reverse mission, where we ourselves are changed and helped by those whom we think we are serving. {Truly – LIVING-  life !!!}

When read in light of classic initiation patterns, Jesus’ intentions are very clear. He wanted his disciples–then and now–to experience the value of vulnerability. Jesus invites us to a life without baggage so we can learn how to accept others and their culture. Instead, we carry along our own country’s assumptions masquerading as “the good news.” He did not teach us to hang up a shingle to get people to attend our services. He taught us exactly the opposite: We should stay (live in our) in their homes and eat their (our) food! This is a very strong anti-institutional model.


Yes, indeed.  Chosen by Jesus Himself, Apostle, Rock – Foundation of the church – right!?!

Peter;  Husband, Child, Son In-law, Parent, Friend and Disciple of Jesus? 

First Pope of the Roman Catholic Church?

 He {Jesus/God} knew what LIVING life was and Jesus chose him}. 

The original 12 Apostles chosen (with witness) by Jesus Christ were all married with families and lives that they were able to maintain.  They succeeded at this along with being (chosen) founding leaders of the church. 

Jesus Christ, God the Father nor the Holy Spirit ever stated one should forgo living and experiencing a full life in order to serve.  Men experienced with living life were chosen. 

How did this ever become so mixed up? 

Who thinks they know better than Jesus???

 He {Jesus} knew what LIVING life was and Jesus chose him}. 


One can only imagine how different history would have been had we provided this initiatory training for our missionaries. We might have borne a message of cosmic sympathy instead of imperialism, providing humble reconciliation instead of religious wars and the murdering of “heretics,” Jews, “pagans,” and native peoples in the name of Jesus. Amen!!!

When we could not make clear dogma, moral code, or a practical war economy out of Jesus’ teaching, we simply abandoned it in any meaningful sense. His training of novices has had little or no effect on church style or membership, by and large. When one throws out initiatory training, the whole latter program and plan of life is left without foundation or containment. Now we seek a prize of later salvation {I believe our heaven can, in the very least, begin this celebration on earth with Jesus when lived properly!!!}instead of the freedom of present simplicity. I am told that the Sermon on the Mount–the essence of Jesus’ teaching–is the least quoted in official Catholic Church documents.

However, there were always people like Francis of Assisi, Simone Weil, Menno Simons, Peter Waldo, George Fox, Catherine of Genoa, Peter Maurin, Mother Teresa, and Dorothy Day who made Jesus’ Gospel their life map. They knew that lifestyle was more important than theories, intellectual belief systems, or abstruse theology. Once you know that your life is not about you, then you can also trust that your life is your message. This gives you an amazing confidence about your own small life--precisely because it is no longer a small life, it is no longer just yours, and it is not all in your head. Henceforth, you do not try to think yourself into a new way of living, but you first live in a new way, from a new vantage point–and your thinking changes by itself.

“I live no longer, not I,” Paul shouted with his one daring life (Galatians 2:20). And this one-man show turned a Jewish sect into a worldwide religion. Paul allowed his small life to be used by the Great Life, and that is finally all that matters. Your life is not about you. It is about God and about allowing Life and Death to “be done unto me,” which is Mary’s prayer at the beginning of her journey and Jesus’ prayer at the end of his.

Gateway to Silence

From death to life

References:
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 62-64, 66.


Jesus taught us how to live.  He taught us, as humans that we make mistakes, we fail but we can overcome failures and thrive.  We can love God with all of our hearts and He taught us all of the gifts our Father has given to us.  Live life thoughtfully, carefully in His name.  Follow His teachings first and foremost.

A very real truth in realizing that life is not;

all about you, then you can also trust that your life is your message.  This gives you and amazing confidence about your own small life – precisely because it is no longer a small life, it is no longer just yours, and it is not all in your head” henceforth, you do not try to think yourself into a new way of living, but you first live in a new way, from a new vantage point – and your thinking changes by itself.” 

This may be understood in living the life that God really did intend for us, that Jesus asks of us.  This  means experiencing and living a full life in a way that serves Our Father but also others here on earth.  There is a very real truth in realizing our “small life” will touch others and help them grow in both their everyday life experiences which too often is overlooked in religious teachings, and – in spiritual growth to our loving Father. 

This is why Jesus never imposed rules and laws upon us that would lessen our lives experience and/or gifts from God the Father.  When we live in them, celebrate our lives we are celebrating and honoring God.  When we celebrate our lives and God, we share His love and way of life with others which makes that “small life” one that is not about ourselves. 

Gods gifts, the crucifixion of Jesus, and His resurrection for the forgiveness of sin and to bring a new way of life – for  living, as we walk through our lives – with our eyes on God the Father.  Spending time with the Holy Spirit you may see these truths, you may celebrate these truths.  Living in this way is not selfish, it is about becoming truly selfless.

Live.  Donate clean socks to a homeless shelter, volunteer at a local food bank, offer to take a single parents kids on a day trip with your family (and cover the expenses – they won’t forget!), brings meals to someone recovering from surgery or who has brought home a new baby, donate extra building materials to Habitat for Humanity (and your time too?), offer to bring someone in recovery to meetings or a methadone clinic (transportation is a huge issue for many in recovery!), hold up traffic and let people out onto a busy road, donate your time and experience in any way that you can. Share God with others.  Invite singles to holidays in your home.  Invite lonely persons to holidays in your home.  Take an elder to lunch or shopping for that new blouse.

But. . .

Remember to  experience & celebrate the other very real life gifts God has given us

 so many neglect to notice or for reasons that Jesus did not teach,

refrain from celebrating. . ..

Play in the puddles,

gaze at your snoring spouse,

laugh at the muddy puppy foot prints,

eat ice cream for breakfast on your birthday,

snuggle a baby after they’ve spit up on you

. . . Kiss in the rain. 

Live Life.

In living, we teach God’s love

Accept – and – thank God for these gifts with love

*Note:  I wrote the original version of this many months ago.  This evening as I was editing, it really struck me that we are as Christians to directly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.Who thinks they know better than Jesus???

God gave us live – to live.

 

The Purpose of Parables

In  Gospel reading  of St. Mathew 13:10-17  the disciples question Jesus on why he teaches crowds in parables, and the privilege of discipleship. I think considering today’s environment these teachings remain the same today. If only more could come to understand the word of God, live and love each other, tear down barriers – work together for the greater good of all. This is not something for a select few, it is for all of us.

St. Mathew 13:10-17

The Purpose of Parables.

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’

14Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. 15 Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’

In this reading Jesus explains that many of those listening “hear” and “see” but they do not believe he is the begotten son of God. He teaches in parables, using simple examples of daily life to teach important and deep spiritual lessons.

“For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me.”

Jesus knew many would not want to hear the loving teachings of God, those with a good heart would understand His teachings, those with hardened hearts would not – because it meant they would have to correct their ways of living.  Disciples place God and others first, live simple lives not in palaces with gold and glitter. Live to love all and serve God, those in their lives – and strangers.

The Privilege of Discipleship.

“16But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 17 Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Because the disciples were pure of heart, they understood He was the Begotten one, they understood He spoke for God and the better way of life.

Walking in His path is a lifelong commitment to God. To learn, continue learning, opening of mind, heart and soul. Some may seem more committed to growth than others, but that is not what God looks for. He looks for an honest and sincere heart. He knows us as he formed us. We have different learning and teaching styles. The most important things to remember is God first and all else will fall into place.

 

 

 

He knelt and wrote in dust

One of my favorite events written about in the Bible, is when Jesus stood strong against the scribes and Pharisees who brought a women before Him, caught in adultery. I remember this from my childhood, though I know I had no idea what adultery was then. I just knew a lady was being accused of sin by a group of men and Jesus stood up to them saying “who among you is without sin, cast the first stone” and they left.

As an adult, I fully understand what adultery is and I realize the writings are telling us the story of men who, trying to set Jesus up to fail, brought before Him a woman accused of a great sin. Adultery. They brought a woman before Him, scared and alone, in the center of the group. Jesus knelt to the ground and in His handwriting, began to write with His finger. There is speculation about what he was drawing or writing. One source I came across, but have not had time to look further into, is that when people were accused of a crime their names and the crime would have been written in dust while tried (as writing in dust or sand was temporary not “written in stone”. This theory sounds the most likely to be. The truth is – we will never know.

What we do know is this – rather than condemn this woman to death by stoning, Jesus stood and said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” Interesting thought here – Jesus did not cast a stone either. . . I will have to ponder this thought, my human Jesus ♥ he was a good man – He never said He was perfect, which makes Him all the move approachable, no? He stood up to teach and say “Let he who among us, who is sinless, cast the first stone”. As they walked away, He told her – “go, your accusers have left. Go and sin no more”. {Footnotes on this at the USCCB website indicate this portion was added to original writings of the bible, style seems more in line with book of Luke authors, though is accepted Canonically}.

This event is important, regardless of when it was written, what Jesus really wrote on the ground, whether the woman had really committed adultery – those things don’t matter. What does matter is Jesus stood up for what was right. Don’t bring me the woman accused of a crime without the man or men she is accused of sinning with, as they have sinned too. This is a sin that hurts hearts and souls, such sin is not a sin of one, and in fact she is a victim too. We need to look into our hearts and souls and feel and love with compassion and empathy – to heal hearts and souls. Not condemn, beat, maim. Jesus has taught us that God is Loving. When we love we are acting with God. Love is the proper response.

Holy Bible, Book of John 8:1-11 For the full readings please refer to the United States Catholics Bishops Conference website – which also provides foot notes.

A Woman Caught in Adultery.7:53 Then each went to his own house, 1while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.* a 2But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.* So what do you say?”b 6They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.* 7* But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them,c “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.9And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”d 11She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”

 

 

Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Two ~ Talking to Eighth Graders about dating

Over the past three years I have been teaching Eighth and Ninth Grade Faith Formation, last year I took off, this year I am back at it teaching one class in each of those two grades. Great kids, great age. What I realized that I was teaching Catechism, but the kids didn’t know Jesus. They didn’t really pray outside of rote prayer, and they did not really think about having a personal relationship with God. You could say I went kind of rogue. The Catechism book I was given to work with was less than adequate. After the second session or so I all but threw it away. Why? Because I was not about to talk to kids about the bible readings in Leviticus “drunken debauchery and orgies”. Talk about keeping ones innocence… Oh dear Lord – whoever put that book together needs to have their head examined. Once again, I digress.

*Note:  This year there is a really good new book to teach from.

Regarding the first book I worked with, I did tell my director I wasn’t dealing with that book (why), and – what is the main point we are to learn this year? Apostles Creed. Fine, no worries. I have this. We worked on the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning line by line. I also bought each child a wooden rosary, because I found the scriptural reference for them. We worked on that each week, learning about the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You could say, I made Mary’s Rosary more about her son, and God the Father than most consider. It worked, they learned.

We also talked each week about various aspects of Mass, prayers, we discussed personal prayer time with God every week – which was really encouraging. We also spoke of other matters in their every day life and how Christians live.

When formal dances came up and discussion on who their dates where, things became interesting. One girl, 13 was dating a very popular boy – age 13. They had been going steady for a full year and they were also allowed to be home alone together. No chaperones. What are their parents thinking? Oh – wait. . . We know they aren’t right? Other kids were saying “nope, no way I don’t wait a boyfriend or girlfriend” and there were a few (both classes) that felt left out because they didn’t have an actual “data” for their formal dinner dance.

I tossed out a question to them, the same I used with my own sons and their friends while they were growing up. “Do you know what the purpose of dating is?” There were more looks of wide eyed wonder than giggles, blushing or downcast glances.

Because everyone does it!

For fun!

To be Popular!!!

Nope! That’s not it. (me)

Well . . . what’s the answer then? (confused looks around the classroom).

Well, we probably shouldn’t want to do anything simply because everyone else is doing it – right? Everyone jumps off a cliff, are you going right behind them? :heads shaking, no:

And… Aren’t there a lot of fun things you can do with your friends, girls with girls, guys with guys – or a group? :heads shaking, yes:

Okay, and while I get the idea that “popular is good”, do we really need to date at this age to be “popular”, don’t you want to be liked for who you are? :thoughtful heads shaking yes”.

~ Okay, okay – but what is dating for then?

Dating or courtship is a time that you spend getting to know a man or woman to discern if they are the type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with – in marriage. When you are old enough to consider marriage, then you spend time learning about what you are looking for in a marriage partner, who you want to spend the rest of your life with. For you kids, when your older – what you should be looking for is another Catholic or Christian who will attend church with you every week. You look for a good person who will celebrate your life together with God, raise your family together – in God.

The kids were actually relieved to hear that dating was something adult. They really didn’t have to worry about a date for an eighth grade dinner dance. We talked some more and reaffirmed their need to enjoy time on their own, growing up, growing in their relationship with God and others and they could wait to worry about dating (and kissing ,because yeah that came up with giggles in the back) until they were older.

I encouraged both classes to speak to their parents about these things, almost every one of them said their parents didn’t have time or wouldn’t bother. I told them to give it a try anyway I was sure their parents would love to speak to them about life events like this.

The truth is, a lot of parents don’t talk. They are either uncomfortable, embarrassed or just too busy to consider the consequences of not spending time helping their children in developing a well rounded moral view of their mind, body and souls.

Added challenges are the loose values in society today, many of which have been loose (but unspoken of) all along. If we want to raise good kids, that means we spend an awful lot of time focused on them. Monitoring what they’re watching on TV (and TV does get worse all the time, really it does). People laugh when they hear I did not allow the oldest two to watch Rugrats before youngest was much older because I didn’t want him to pick up back habits (that Angelica was a rude one). Books, friends, video games. It takes a lot of time and effort.

This also means taking the time to talk to our kids about love, sex and marriage. Of the two classes of eighth graders that I had, only one was from a broken family. What these privileged (to have long Christian marriages) are overlooking is that the peers of their children are not being brought up the same way, they are from broken homes, mom or dad may have a revolving bedroom door ( I was a rarity in not having one, single after my divorce ).

Who is stopping to talk to these kids about virginity or remaining pure for marriage, their special love? ? ?

*Note: Said dinner dance did have strict rules on heel height and modesty in dress, a rarity in public schools today.

 

Unfit for the Kingdom of God???   ~   Reflections of St. Luke 9:51-62

Jesus taught in parables. His manner of teaching is taught as fact, and then ignored – or perhaps only understood by a few ? can be distracting at times. I sat listening to a talk in which this reading was explained in the literal sense. I found my lips moving (thankful the voice box was off!) saying “oh, no – that is not what Jesus said”.

What is Jesus talking about in these readings? It sounds scary (what is it about some readings that cause people to tense, become fearful and say… um no???”). Presentation. So, lets take a look at  our master teacher Jesus, and His parables.

Gospel Lk 9:51-62

“When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,

he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,

and he sent messengers ahead of him.

On the way they entered a Samaritan village

to prepare for his reception there,

but they would not welcome him

because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,

“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven

to consume them?”

Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village”.

If we look back to Luke 9:2-5 which I have discussed in my post The Mission of the Twelve we read; 2and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” So, it would be natural for Jesus not to be surprised that they were turned away from any location and to chastise His disciples – their reaction was out of line with His teachings.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus answered him,

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Parable? Right. Traveling along on this mission, it’s clear they were turned away from lodgings. We already know He did have a Home as did the rest of the Disciples. In this case – they were traveling.

And to another he said, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”

But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.

But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,

but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow

and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Here, Jesus in His normal teaching style is saying “Follow me”, I can almost picture Him standing among a group of people or sitting on a boulder, getting off His feet for a bit and having a refreshment. Right? Casual discussion, important lessons. We know He is the fisher of men. He knows not all will follow. Here, we see a frank exchange, a discussion. “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” Christs reply? “Let the dead bury the dead”. Another states “let me first say farewell to my family at home” Christs reply? “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom.”

Say … what? Jesus is pulling in His net, let’s see which fish He has caught. “Let the dead bury the dead” is stated in translations as let the spiritually dead bury the dead. Now while that is quite possible, I tend to see this more as a case of “don’t use your aging father as an excuse to not spread the “word”. We really are not give a lot to work with here so it is purely speculation. However, when we consider the next sentence “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom.” It is clear, Jesus is saying “Look here folks, if you really are going to follow me to our Father then stay on task (on the path), you’ve put your hand to the plough – don’t back down now. Carry forward. You are called to be a disciple”

We are not being told we have to give up our families. We are not being told we are to give up our friends or home. In fact, what we are being told – clearly is; If you say you will follow me you will spread the word of God. In those times (as even today) it can be dangerous to travel to certain area’s to spread the word but we can do so and we can go with our families too.

Jesus – did not leave His human family and friends until He physically died.   Why would He expect a human being to live life on earth without intimate lifelong loving relationships???  Nonsensical – mixed up by humans unable to see the difference of parable – and *living the blessed life God gifted each and everyone of us with*. 

In truth, we really do not know that Jesus the human was not married.  There are indications that He may have been.  Mary M. was the first person He appeared to upon resurrection.  She was financially self sufficient if indications that she financially supported Him and the ministry – she did not need to be taken  in when He passed.  Being without sin certainly does not indicate He was not married . . .  His mission is what we learn of, His lesson.  He had loving relationships that very well may have included a wife and children (remember – Rabbi’s were married).  We could go back and forth on this but in the end it is not worth a real argument.  It ends with “we do not know the truth in this”.  We do know – God made us for Love as human beings, designed for human relationships, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  We do know for a fact Jesus both lived at home and traveled with – and died in view of those people who were His loving human family, friends and beloved.

In the Church of Latter Day Saints, young adults “How long is a mission for a Mormon? Many missionaries learn a new language at a missionary training center as part of their assignment. Missions typically last two years for males, 18 months for females, and 6 to 18 months for older couples. The LDS Church strongly encourages, but does not require, missionary service for young men.” I remember reading about this when I was younger, and it came to mind again when I came across an article on Elizabeth Smart and that she and her husband met abroad, on “mission”. – My Christian (Protestant) grandparents used to offer financial and emotional support to missionaries. They assisted several couples over the years (some whom I had met).

It is I think a sad thing, that the simple words of Jesus, taught in parables are too often taken literally. In reality, our loving Father did not create His children only to directly serve Him. Love (God) created love. He who created us, did so in a manner that we would be drawn to loving and helping each other, in peaceful and loving relationships. Yes, that parable of Adam and Eve does explain free will (which is not all bad) but we also have the Holy Spirit within to guide us and help us grow through life with each other, in God, toward our Heavenly Father.

In what ways do you serve as a Disciple of Christ?

Simply Sunday ~ Guilty

Jesus was not about about a religion, He was about teaching us the ways of our Father, God.   Our Tritarian God.  Inclusion, acceptance, forgiveness and love.  We are called to walk this life with Him.  Christians, as disciples of Jesus are to walk with Him, learn from Him and share He and His teachings with others.  The closer we walk in His ways, the further we may step from the secular life.  Care must be taken to actually live in His Kingdom here, that is done by living His gifts and sharing His love.  We may turn from excessive material goods (more than we need) but we still are called to participate in a full life, as we experience life (His gifts & love) we learn from others, as they learn from us. 

I haven’t posted a Simply Sunday song in quite a while.  Life pulled me away.  I had to search for the writers names as they were not listed on Youtube.  There seems to be some gossip and politics behind the work perhaps that is why.  However, the message of the lyrics is how I feel.  I am nothing without Him.

~ Have a blessed and peaceful Simply Sunday.  Have a good  week, it  will fly by before we know it.

You are loved

“Guilty”

Published on Sep 28, 2015

(Juan Otero / Pete Stewart)

Official music video for the newsboys new single “Guilty,” featured in the  film “God’s Not Dead 2” released April 1st 2016.

 

When did it become breaking a rule

To say your name out loud in school

When your name’s the only one that sets us free?

When did it become incorrect

To speak the truth about life and death

When your life gave us all eternity?

Even if it gets me convicted

I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted

If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying “I believe” is out of line

If I’m judged ’cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me

Then I wanna be guilty

I’ll rise up and honor you

I’ll testify to the good you do

‘Cause your grace and your mercy have overtaken me

So even if it gets me convicted

I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted

If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying “I believe” is out of line

If I’m judged ’cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me

Then I wanna be guilty by association

Guilty of being a voice proclaiming

Your ways, your truth, your life

I’ll pay the price to be your light

If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying “I believe” is out of line

If I’m judged ’cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me

Then I wanna be guilty by association

Guilty of being a voice proclaiming

Your ways, your truth, your life

I’ll pay the price to be your light

Oh, I wanna be guilty

True Love ~ 1 Corinthians

Love as Found in;  1 Corinthians 12:13-13

The chapter title reads “The Supremacy of Charity”.

“Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.”

As pointed out during the homily, several of these verses are often requested to be used in a marriage ceremony. Reading and listening to it at Mass, spending time with my Bible – and reading in full context it is all right there for me to see.

What stands out to me most is this:   Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known. Stay with me here, I will backtrack to the beginning shortly.

The truth of Love is right in this passage. Today I see in my reflection but a dim light of you, my Lord, God. I know I have so much to learn and that you will guide me. I know, one day I shall fully be in you as you are in me today.

This entire reading is about understanding the gifts that God graces us with. The first two sentences above: “Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them. these, are the final two sentences in the previous chapter, which discusses Spiritual gifts and what is being taught next rises far above any of those gifts. If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

There are people, and we all know someone that is charismatic, simply knew how to turn the charm – and off at a moments notice. I am not referring to someone who has a bad day or an event that has thrown them for a “loop”. Maybe that fair weather friend who extends a hand, only to show their true colors are not about friendship and love. You realize their motives were based on selfishness. Those are actions feigning love, but empty. The words and actions fall in a loud crash to the floor.

Or Prophecy – an intuitive knowledge, vision – even with having “faith in all its fullness” means nothing without love, A prophet must have a deep loving relationship with God in order to serve Him. True prophecy is a serious responsibility, which may be able to “move mountains” but without that bond of love with God, may veer off course of what He is asking or directing. Proper discernment is needed.

If I give away all that I possess and even let them take me and kill me in the name of God, but I do not truly Love God, I am nothing. I know a man who once gave all of his belongings away and kept only a minimal amount of clothing, looked like a beggar and claimed to do this for God, he was without love. Lost, lonely unable to love or receive love – closed off.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

God is Love. Love is God. He is in me, the Holy Spirit resides within my body His temple. I walk with Jesus, I pray/speak to God. God is patient and kind, God is never jealous, boastful or conceited. He is never rude or selfish and does not take offense, he is not resentful. God takes no pleasure in our human sin – but delights upon our truths. He will always excuse, trust, offer hope and He endures all that comes our way with us. He is our Loving Father.

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear.

Love does not come to an end because God is infinite.  He is the Alpha and the Omega. Gifts of Prophecy will fail (to err is human). How many times has it been said the world would end? The gift of languages will not continue forever (languages are dying off). knowledge is ever changing, as more things are learned and taught. Even in cases of religions – right? Only God is perfect, when He comes at the end all imperfect things fall away and only Love – only God is left.

Because our Father is so loving, He graces us with these gifts and it is for us to practice, improve on- celebrate with each other. Love is an action word that we practice & celebrate with others, God is living – our love must be living.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

(Our) Love does not come to an end, because our hope, when we die is to have our eternal rest with God, as God lives forever- so will the love we carry in our hearts. Our love for our spouse, children, family, friends – everyone.

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is… love.

Originally published: 02 Feb 2016

 

A new coat

This mornings first reading is one often spoken or referred to.  I think it is one of the most beautiful readings, one that when lived, brings us both closer to God, and He further into our midst.  Humility.  Empathy, Love. Serving each other.

First reading
Philippians 2:1-4
 

“If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.”

However, it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between serving others, giving of yourself and being true to the person God wants me to be.  Huh?  I know, Right – what did I throw in there?

I have been giving some serious thought to this of late.  I’ve had some conversations with my Father and I am beginning to see that while I give great advice (ahem), I have to step back once in a while and say “Is this right for me?”,  “How do I really feel about this?”,  “Is this what God wants?”, “Spirit – where are you leading me?”.

There have been several times in the past few days that have given me pause.  In truth I feel gratitude for having different experiences.  My formative years were spent in a more formal environment than many of my peers (it seems).  I remember dinning with my fathers business partners and being served a finger bowl and finger tip towel. 

I’ve had the occasion to dine out with a younger mother who, though picked restaurants herself had no idea of the menu prices or etiquette at “finer” establishments. Because of my experience growing up,  I felt confidant.  I totally enjoyed her company and was able to keep her comfortable despite any  faux paus.  At the end of our meal I suggested a pizza place near her home for our next adventure out. 

It was fun to share these new experiences with her – just as much as I will enjoy sharing a pizza at our next monthly moms out.  I was also happy to learn after chatting with her over time (she is the housekeeper for my office) that after our last dinner out, she chose to take the big step and register her son for faith formation.  It’s my understanding he has not been to church since he was baptized so it is a huge step for them in a new direction

I have written bits and pieces here and there about Moma Little, at this point I am trying to write as little as possible.  Being winter time, knowing she had no winter coat (and lost her state assistance until after the baby is born because she did not go to her job training, bus travel paid for…).  I told her to pick out a winter coat and I bought it for her.  Charged it more like.  I’ll be paying bills off until I die at this rate – but she needed a coat so a coat, hat and gloves I bought.  She is twenty one years old and I’ve been told she has never had a new coat of her own.  My grandparents bought us a new winter coat every year!

I remember last year she talked about wishing for a wool pea coat and that’s what she now will own.  If it’s really her first brand new coat, I am not sure but I tend to think it may be.  If not it is the only new one she is old enough to realize she is getting.  Growing up all of her clothes were hand me downs.  During my early teen years mine were too, then I began working.  She has yet to have had a job but that is another story. 

I also have two gently worn, freshly dry cleaned wool coats in my closet.  I am going to pass on  to someone else who can use them.  They no longer fit and were not a size for Miss Little. 

What I am sharing is not anything great or good about me.  It is realizing not everyone has the same advantages in life that others do.  I know, at least I think I know many people in real life don’t know details of my life.  Even the kids I grew up with.  Though I have had challenges in life, I feel very blessed to be able to reflect on experiences that I had growing up. They have helped me grow into the woman that I am.  Life is a journey for sure.  My happiest times have been in giving to others.

I am in the midst of challenges and changes on  two emotional fronts both very deep in my heart.  While I am in this place I see past experience has brought me through to today, today I remember words a gal I used to work with would adamantly state “Laurie, God is preparing us for the right man”.  I smile as I type that (this was ten years ago!) but the lesson in that is – “God is preparing me”.  He is molding me.  I look back and know my own life story and He has blessed me.  I trust he will continue to bless me and know anything is possible in Him.

~ When is the last time you went through your closet?  Did you donate items you can no longer use to someone less fortunate?  How about other things you no longer need? 

~ Love is a gift too   ~ to give, to receive.

Lessons from a tiny seed

St. Luke 13: 18-19
The Parable of the Mustard Seed.

mustard-seed118 Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? 

dv031678_xs19  It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’”

In this Parable, Jesus explains that while the Kingdom of God, right here on earth –  begins as tiny as a mustard seed, when the seed of faith if planted it grows and spreads across vast space.

christian-life-coaching-faith

A portion of this mornings reading was from the book of Luke.

In the reading of

St. Luke 17:6

Saying of Faith. 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”  6 The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

There are several references to the small size of the mustard seed and what it can do for us when we plant ourselves in faith.  With God all things are possible, it if it His will.  We remember when we pray, if we are compelled to ask for something that we do this in a way that honors God.  “God if it is your will I ask that . . .”.

Do you place your hope in your faith?  Do you trust God’s love to help you through your growth in life, in Him?  It is an ongoing process.

Trusting in Him.

~ Blessings

Where do I belong?

As a child, I was raised as a Christian by my loving grandparents.  My own parents lacked a desire to instruct their offspring in any formal religious instruction.  My grandparents followed a very simple Christian lifestyle which in all honesty and truth seems to me, to be the closest of how I know Christ himself lived and taught.  Simple,  selfless, compassionate – love.  Completely with love.

I remember attending church with my grandparents as a very small child – and loving it!  The “Gospel Hall”  come one, come all.  “Take your coat off and stay awhile” – yes, really.  A habit I still keep when I attend Mass, even when I am chilly.  I’m in God’s house and settling in for a visit.  No tithing was required (though donations were accepted for overhead).  As long ago as that was, I have a memory of  rather than a basket being passed for “collections” they had a pretty burgundy colored velvet bag with a wooden circle on the top.  You could drop your donation in and no one could see the amount because it dropped to the bottom of the bag, out of view.  No judgement there for the poor or wealthy.  Pot luck suppers and church picnics held in state parks.

When I was seven, I spent the summer with my grandparents out-of-state.  At this point, the church they attended offered Baptism by full immersion.  I remember wanting so badly to go up one night to be Baptized.  I knew then that I loved Jesus Christ with all my heart and I wanted to be baptized in His name.  Sadly, my grandparents did not/could not allow that as my parents did not want us baptized as children.  That choice, my parents stated, was for adults only.

My parents did not attend church with us though I do have a vague recollection of attending a Dutch Reform Church in NY when I was small.  My parents had moved us to upstate New York, away from my grandparents.  I believe they promised my grandparents that they would take us to church. That did not last more than one or two times.   I remember being upset that we were not going to church.  As a very young child I spent a lot of time in the hospital for medical care, weeks/months at a time.  That’s how it was in the 1960’s.  Thankfully, I already knew Jesus at that time and that he loved me.

There were times when visiting overnight Girl Scout camp, or staying with friends that I would attend their church.  Growing up, many of my friends were Roman Catholic.  At such a young age, I had no idea what being Catholic meant (I did know they would not let me have communion and that I felt badly that I could not).  I had watched old black and white movies about St. Bernadette, Our Lady of Fatima.  I have vague memories of a movie about a Nun helping orphans.  At thirteen or so my best friends two Aunts were visiting from Boston.  They were both Nuns.  We visited a local Abbey.

Over the years there are various times I visited a particular location on the Abbey grounds.  Not drawn to a religious life as the nuns, more the peace and quiet and a specific spot there in which I liked to sit and pray.  I visited that spot a year or so ago and wondered in amazement what it was I found there – whatever it was no longer remained.  Perhaps because my faith and relationship with God has changed and evolved over time.  Perhaps because I often find peace and connection with God both sitting in my parish church, alone by the shore, or in prayer at home.  Interestingly, I have recently reconnected with my gal friend of those years.  She is no longer Catholic (Lutheran now), one of her aunts (one of the Nuns) has also left the church after many years . . .

Thankfully, my grandparents had taught me about Jesus Christ and how much He loved me.  I knew God was always with me.  A year or so my parents’ marriage faltered (their failing marriage was the reason we were sent to Tennessee for the summer)  my brother four years older than I, our mother and I were relocated to a small town in Connecticut to be near my mother’s family. 

This time, my grandparents (paternal) were in the state and though “retired”, my grandfather took a position as an estate manager in order to live nearby.  Back to church and loving overnights. My grandparents did not only take us to church.  I was taught to love and and service.  To visit the home bound, write letters, shop thrift, donate, share God.

There were times my brother and I were sent off to church either on our own (walking down the street to the local Congregational Church which when alive, my maternal great grandmother attended.) or with the families of friends, when my grandparents were away, needed a break from taking two kids with two very different personalities and finally, when they retired to Nova Scotia. 

I stayed many Saturday nights with my grandparents who at this time lived out-of-town, so that I could attend church with them on Sunday.  At home I remember around the time of eighth grade being sent to a Baptist church with my brother and the family of his friend.  I didn’t really like it.  I liked going to church not Sunday school (my grandparents church had Sunday school only for little ones).  After a certain age you attended Bible Study before worship on Sunday morning.  Home for a light Sunday lunch, early dinner, then back to church in the evening for more bible study.  We also attended bible study at church one night during the week.

When I was fifteen my grandparents retired to my grandfather’s hometown in Nova Scotia.  Being in my mid-teens it was not long before I was working all weekend (as well as school nights) and my religious life fell by the wayside.  I know God was always with me and kept in prayer in an undisciplined manner for years.

My conversion . . .

When I met my former husband, and he proposed I knew I wanted a church wedding.  I married for all of the wrong reasons, one bit of the fairy tale I believe was that he being from a “good Catholic” family would ensure the future of the family we would have together.  That too – was not to be.  We discussed where our marriage would take place, he visited the Pastor at the Catholic church he attended with his mother and siblings growing up (his father attended another parish).  I remember him coming home fuming and spouting some rather vulgar language and insisting we would never be married in a Catholic church.  Okay then. . . I had not attended my childhood church for many years but I will call, we will marry there. After being told that was okay, I was then informed –  No, that was not to be either. 

I learned that my former father in-law would not (could not) attend a marriage in a Protestant church because it would not be valid (I had no idea what that meant).  At last this mean a Justice of the Peace, and so – no church wedding.  We were to be the first marriage the Justice of the Peace officiated.  He grudgingly agreed that we could have some bible readings incorporated into the ceremony at my request.  We were married by the Justice of the Peace in an dingy VFW Hall in 1986.

Move ahead to 1988.  I was pregnant with our first child.  I was sure I would be able to bring my children to a Protestant church. My then husband was so adamant about not getting married in a Catholic church.  It wasn’t long before I was informed that was not going to happen either.  He insisted (after pressure from his parents) that the baby would be Baptized and raised Roman Catholic – “or we would attend – no church at all“.

I felt like I had no choice and being Christian was all that mattered. I had to bring my babies up loving Jesus as I did.  Then I learned I had to be Baptized or the baby could not be.  Oh.  Okay, that wasn’t so bad – right?  I had wanted to be Baptized from the time I was seven years old, sitting in that pew in a little church on a hot summer night so long ago, in Tennessee.  So – yes.  “I will be Baptized Catholic “and my babies will have that (I was young and naive) good “Catholic family” that I always dreamed of.

The church was contacted and an appointment with the Pastor was made.  We met with him briefly and were introduced to a deacon who was to instruct me in Catechism.  Sometime around the middle of February we began attending one hour classes for six weeks.  I was then Baptized, received my First Communion, Confirmed and our marriage was con-validated in a senior center on church property (but not in “the church”).  Still – no church wedding.  In retrospect, perhaps that is was a foreshadowing.

A dear one, once commented on my being upset with that Pastor “who did me wrong”.  He did not.  He did his job, I never felt that he was wrong.  I felt the church was wrong in forcing me through an annulment process in which I felt unsafe – knowing I was not married “in” the church.  Physical structure.  I do feel that the six weeks of instruction was nowhere near enough time for someone who was clueless about the Catholic religion to be given so many sacraments.  Given the Sacraments the way I was – it was not until many years later that I received the Sacrament of Confession.

My first confession, I still remember that day.  It was during Lent, the church had three or four Priests available at various areas of the church and you could go up in front of everyone (quietly) and whisper your confession.  My big confession was that it was my first confession.  Epic fail – I know.  Interestingly enough, the older Priest told me he was very happy for me (sincerely) that I had such a close relationship to God, that I felt I could ask our Father directly for his forgiveness.

Over the years all three of my boys were Baptized and raised (by me) as Roman Catholic.  All but the youngest was confirmed in the church.  The older two now say they did so grudgingly.  I remember their dad insisting upon it.  I divorced when my youngest should have gone through the confirmation program.  His father refused to bring him to Mass on his visitation weekends.  He had the boys more Sundays than I did.  For my son it became a real issue when the catechism program had a change in format.  My older boys were taught by Seminarians (not popular with parents, assuming that is why it changed – though I don’t know).  My older two boys did enjoy having them as their teachers.

When my youngest attended, the kids selected “classes” similar to high school, youngest son picked “Why be a Catholic?” first and oddly enough, at thirteen, the director of religious education could not relate to him why he should be a Catholic.  She promised me she’d have the Pastor speak to him, in time I learned that never happened.  So, he stopped going to CCD.

I had been teaching Catechism the year I filed for divorce and though I was encouraged to continue teaching, I felt that it was not the time – fearing a stigma of divorced woman in church (which does exist though it not often acknowledged).  I too ended up taking a long break from church.

A growing faith. . .

A few short years ago an online friend encouraged me to go back to church, to file for an annulment and feel free to begin a new life.   The annulment process was long and difficult.  I almost gave up on more than one occasion.  I had been legally married for twenty years when I petitioned, due to a complicated family background I was lacking in familial witnesses.  I prayed.  I prayed a lot.  My faith in God grew stronger with each day.  I knew, in my heart and soul –  the marriage that I had could not possibly have been blessed by God.  God would never have blessed the hell that had been.  I wanted the annulment to feel that blessing, that I knew in my heart but needed my church to know.  I so wanted to feel understood and hoped to one day have a real, true loving relationship and marriage.  A marriage God could bless.   In my church that meant an annulment.  Finally, approximately eighteen months (and several hundred hard-earned dollars) later – I received the news.  My request had been granted.

Remembering a promise, I had made a few years prior, that I would teach again if the marriage was annulled I stepped forward to take on teaching middle school students Faith Formation the next fall.

In a Sunday church bulletin, I read about an upcoming summer retreat to be held at a local parish.  From 1-5pm every other Sunday the group would meet to view videos on Catholicism, work together as a group and discuss the videos.  Great!  I signed up.  What better way to prepare for taking on a class of middle school kids?  I felt good about this.   I was going to learn more about my religion and grow deeper in my faith.  I did learn.  I watched, read, listened, heard and learned things that in retrospect. . . while I am glad my eyes opened, I often find myself wishing I was still naive and ignorant.  That was not God’s plan, it was not the path He chose for me.

The questions began . . .

It was during this summer retreat that I became a “Cafeteria Catholic”.  As much as I learned about my church and religion – I know that I lost an innocence that I cannot easily relay.  A church that I actively attended for years, volunteered with – summer bible school (when large groups of children attended!), teaching CCD, I even was the first (or so I was told) to bring the Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei Cub Scout emblem programs to my parish.

It was during this retreat that two issues, that as a mother of young men cut me to the quick and honestly, in a very deep way – broke my heart.  The church stance on same sex love came to the forefront one summer day, when a member of the group shared a family story and discussion ensued.

At this retreat, I met a young man a year or two older than my youngest son, he was discerning he had questions on celibacy and the conversations that ensued (more than one Sunday afternoon). The church requires most (but not all) Roman Catholic men seeking to become a Priestly brother of Christ (hoping I worded that properly) – to take a vow, if they are of a religious order.  To become a Diocesan Priest a promise of celibacy is required to be made to their Bishop

There are married Roman Catholic Priests in the United States, they have “converted” to Catholicism.  These men have wives, families – and work side by side with Priests who are required to take a vow or make a promise of Celibacy.  Disconnect.  Particularly when we know that St. Peter, chosen by Jesus Christ as the “rock of the church”, the first Pope – was married.  In fact, all of the original twelve apostles were married.  Love and marriage are God given gifts.   The church should not ask it’s religious to choose between marriage and life in service as Priest.

In future writings I will discuss my thoughts on these topics and more.  I have spent hours researching, discussing, speaking with and listening to….  There is an underlying sadness in my heart and soul now that I have not been able to reconcile. 

Why would our Lord, God – who is love itself, gift His children with Love and then expect them to turn their backs on it?  This is something I have difficulty wrapping my head around.  God is Love.  Love is God.  Love is love – right?


2/1/17  There is a very serious shortage of Catholic Clergy.  This is a disconnect between the church and the children of God.   God did not ask this.  It is a man made rule and does not agree with the Gospel teachings of Jesus or St. Paul.  All clergy should be allowed married as that is the foundation of the church.

Reading through articles posted and upcoming articles, I have – and will tie all of this together.


Some have told me I don’t belong in the church.  Some have wondered why I am still practicing this religion.  I read an article by a Pastor on Cafeteria Catholics, read articles linked off that article and have remained close to God, in prayer and actions. 

“Where do I belong?”  To God. 

Today, this means the Catholic Church.  I am where God asked me to be today, of that I am confidant.

where-do-i-belong


2/1/17  This is an extended portion of my “About me” post.  I know I have certain readers that may find this helpful.  It’s still a “cliff notes” version of me, but explains a bit more about my religious background.  I realize how much I have grown spiritually over the past few years, if not religiously.  The Catholic church is shrinking.  I see reasons why this is happening – a disconnected clergy, particularly at the upper levels is largely the reason.  You cannot live in a box and expect to grow.  I have said recently and will repeat here, I have much respect for our clergy, I say nothing with any intention of causing hurt or pain though I am aware some things I say may cause that.  It is not without great efforts, prayer that I share what I do.  I am where I am supposed to be right now, the reason really is not clear to me.  I hold in my heart the original reason this blog began and that still is.  The additional writings here. . . seem to be something additional.  I know others will relate and understand this comes from my heart and soul.  I will move this back in date to be the original post in a day or two, as that is where it began.