Summer Retreat & Meeting Michael

A few years ago, after being divorced for several years, I filed for an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church.  I wrote about this recently in Where do I belong? Some of you reading may be aware that I moved my original website after purchasing my own domain. Over time I have moved some older articles back, editing and updating as I go.  Also, adding some new articles.  I will republish my article on annulment, but not yet.  I mention this because in part, making that choice has brought me to where I am today.

I saw one fellow socially for almost two years beginning several months to a year after my divorce (funny how those details no longer seem important).  It was someone I knew who moved out-of-state, kept their home here.  I had socialized with his sister and even one of his best friends.  That “romance” fell dead to the ground in a chilling way, when I was informed his out of state (upper crust?) family would not accept me because they are strict Catholics and I was a divorcee with three kids.

Thank you God for saving me from that sort of fellow & family.  God – had other plans.

The short version of this portion is with a bit of a shove from a friend, I filed for an annulment of marriage in the Roman Catholic church.  I was afraid of my ex-husband, for very good reasons that came up even during the process, but there was something inside of me driving me to go through with this.  I am not sure why I felt I needed validation from the church – but I did.  I never felt that my marriage was blessed by God.  I wanted to be in the position to marry in the church in the future, if God would bless me with a loving relationship of this type.  I wanted the option.  I wanted to be free to date – and the ability to feel free to teach & participate more fully in my church again.

Almost two years later my annulment was granted.  I had made a promise that I would teach again if my annulment was granted, because I took that in part as a sign that this was also what God wanted me to do.  Annulment granted, I offered to teach.  I was to begin teaching again when classes resumed that coming fall.  That summer a neighboring Parish offered a summer retreat on Catholicism.  Every other Sunday afternoon from 1-5pm.  Okay, what better way to get re-involved and learn more about my religion?  Grow my faith?

Then something unexpected happened.  I learned things I had not known.  I learned I disagree with and hit me at my core.  Along with watching our weekly DVD’s of Father (now Bishop) Baron, we had a lot of discussion.  The group was led by a fellow who attended Seminary for two years before dropping out and later marrying.  His son, as well as one of his sons friends from St.s Private Catholic High School were assisting.  Both were now 20-21 years old.  Right around the age of my youngest son.

Young Michael we learned was discerning the Priesthood.  By the second class he was comfortable enough to broach the subject with participants all but myself it seemed were employed as directors of religious ed at various parishes in our archdiocese.   Here, I learned there are married men with families who are Roman Catholic Priests, here in my state and across the country.  I was not the only one in the room who was dumbfounded.  If he was looking for support there, he was not finding it with the exception of two elderly Latin ladies.  The rest of us being mothers of young men, and a another father present. 

It is not that we do not support clergy.  It is, generally speaking a married clergy would be widely accepted.  It is what Jesus taught, and the structure of the church – from it’s very foundation.  More on this in upcoming writings.

We learned that men who were clergy in Angelian churches were welcome to convert to Roman Catholicism, become Roman Catholic Priests.  Men who have/had wives and children.  This became allowed supposedly because of the extreme shortage of Roman Catholic Priests. 

Honestly, I never put a lot of thought into the life of  a Priest before this.  It was something I didn’t understand but – it wasn’t my life.  The truth is, it is part of the life of every single Roman Catholic and it is something that needs to be looked at and should be corrected.  In past writings I have discussed how Jesus Christ chose a married clergy for His church.  Men changed that.  Men cannot take away the gifts of our loving Father.  We have a shortage largely because of the inability of the church to make corrections, change and grow.

That fall, I also met a Brother from a neighboring state.  He came for a long weekend, to meet my friend from school whom he met online (playing video games!).  Our conversation including his very honest thoughts and experience with required celibacy.  I assure you it was as negative as we could expect.  Again – it is not how Jesus structured His church.

Another topic that came up at this retreat was the churches standing on same-sex love.  Jesus never spoke on same sex love.  The commandments he gave to us do not speak against same sex love.  We are all children of God.  It makes no sense that God would gift people with loving relationships and expect them not to touch each other.  Love making is an extension of His gifts. 

What the men of the church (at least those in powerful seats) fail to grasp is – each time it is suggested to a mom or dad that their son would make a good priest is they are suggesting that a parent is to teach their child that they are to remain without loving human relationships throughout their life.  No wife, no truly intimate human relationship, no one to grow through life and our Father with, no children, no grandchildren, no one to grow old with.  Why would anyone wish this on anyone?  God is with all of us, our loving Father see’s us all the same.  God did not want this, Jesus did not teach this – he lived and died to bring about a change in faith, God, Love.

Look into the eyes of a mother and tell her that she gave birth to a homosexual “freak” of nature (in essence that is what is being taught), that the child that grew in her womb for nine months, that she lovingly nourished and nurtured is never to have a loving romantic relationship because it is sinful.  How… do you do that?  How do you have the nerve to do that? 

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I am sure I may be riling a few feathers, especially of those more fundamental or conservative readers.  Give me time, I will back up everything I say.  It is time for the church to make changes, it needs to grow.  If it does not make a huge shift, it will see more people walking out the doors to worship and celebrate the very loving God who graces us with everything we see, everything we taste, touch, smell and celebrate.  He is good.

Prompt: Loving

 

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.

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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

We’re Raising Agnostic Kids

Two years ago, I took on two 8th grade classes for Faith Formation. Last year I took off.  I volunteered to take on two classes this year.  One 8th and one 9th grade.  After teaching the first class I had second thoughts, and for multiple personal reasons, I said I couldn’t do it this year.

It has been heavily on my mind.  I have a knack for getting along well with kids this age.  I manage to get them comfortable enough to share, participate, have them teach what they know, and open their minds to God.

 I like to spend time  –  chit chatting during the  first class.  This allows us to get to know each other a bit.  More importantly, this gives me as their instructor an opportunity to learn what they know, what they don’t – and where I need to focus class time on.

Questions I asked the kids this year (as I did last time I taught two 8th grade classes) to me are simple – and a really good indicator of what they know.

  1. Did you pray today?
  2. Who is God?
  3. Do you have a relationship with God?
  4. Why do you go to Mass?
  5. What is the Eucharist?
  6. What is the Trinity?
  7. What is the Immaculate Conception?

Both two years ago and two weeks ago the answers I recieved were,

  1.  No
  2. Embarrassed silence
  3. No (you cannot have a relationship with God if you have no clue on who God is)
  4. Because parents bring me
  5. … A wafer?  Two years ago I did have female alter servers in once class so they knew right off the bat.  One in another class, he knew (the other kids did not).  This year – after circling back to this question one girl did guess “body”.  One girl.
  6. I don’t know
  7. When Jesus was …  Mary saw the angel.

I voiced my concern (again) to my director, mentioned it to the Pastor who asked what the director said – he said “It’s a good thing they have you for a teacher because you really care what the kids learn”.

Blame on the parents is often made, but I speak up to that also. My sons learned so much in their own (weekly) religious ed classes (years ago).  Now we only meet twice a month – only once in April!

I do have many issues with the religion that I participate in.  I know others do too. There have been times I have considered walking out the door and never returning.  One dear ones loyalty to the church is what has kept me there to date. Obedience to our Father too, which has become more personal  and challenging as days go by.

Today I made the decision to teach again.  Because of my love of our Triune God.  I will teach the kids out of the book, but I will also teach them about our Triune God, witness some of my own experiences.

I will also explain teachings on the Eucharist.  I have already explained what the Immaculate Conception is though I doubt they grasped it.  It’s one of *those teachings….  I did my duty.

Church is God’s “house”  my  focus is helping these kids find God, bringing Him into their lives, prayer and that church teaching is the Eucharist is the reason for Mass (I still stay it’s the homily :) because that is *learning* about Faith, clergy disagree but – they are clergy for the purpose of Eucharist…).

So tomorrow, I will call my director, apologize for waffling on him and return to the classroom. Teaching through April.  I am looking forward to it.

I enjoyed helping the kids grow in faith and God in the past.  I look forward to doing it again.  Two years ago I purchased the Rosaries I used in my feature image. Not because I am a “good Catholic” but because I was able to utilize the prayers One page Rosary Instructions – multiple languages as a way of teaching the children the life of Jesus Christ.  Actually, maybe it is because I am a good Catholic, no one else even offered to teach these classes. 

While I love my rosary (and provide them to others to give out), for me it is more of a tangible connection at times when I have felt alone.  I practice Contemplative Prayer, the Rosary is not something I get anything out of – but I teach it.  If you take a look at the link above you will see the scriptural readings that match decades.  I suppose you could say I used this as an interactive lesson.  These kids just don’t know the life of Jesus.  There has been a failure in their early years of not learning about our faith – the first 12-14 years of life.  So yes, this does also lay in the laps of parents.

I ordered more and had them blessed yesterday.  I guess part of me knew I would follow through teaching this year, I can do this for the next six months.  I am open to life changes, including becoming a Noni soon that may prevent me from teaching next year.

The Roman Catholic Church really, really needs to return to it’s basic beginnings – the teachings of Jesus.  Without sincere teaching of our Triune God – there is no reason to go to church.  Many current teachings are no longer believable to societies that receive a better education than decades ago.  The church teaches “our loving God” yet forgets how loving He really is   For the next six months – I will do my best to bring our Father to His children.  I only wish their parents had done this – long before.

How much time do you spend talking about God, your faith and your religion to your own children and family members?

 

Waiting on Him

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Waiting on the Lord.  This is something worth waiting for.  When we make the choice to surrender our lives to God we are fully entrusting Him with helping us grow through life.  We make thousands of decisions every day, most are so minor we don’t even consider it a decision.  Will I get up the first time my alarm clock rings?  Hit doze?  Wait for the next buzz?  Pick out todays clothes before or after a shower, do I have time to wash and dry my hair?  What will I do, Did I decide what I wanted to wear last night?  Hair – up, down.  Makeup – eyeliner today?  Earrings?  Which shoes?  Which socks?  Do I need socks?  Can I get away with flip-flops in October, it is 75 today!?  Get the drift?

The more important decisions we make in our lives, to move to a new home, buy a different car, how to deal with a business issue, the way to talk to a child about a phone call from their teacher explaining they really believe your child should stay back this year.  Dating, Marriage, Love, A choice to change your career.  What does God want for us to do?  I have found the more I turn my life over to God the easier it can be most of the time to discern what my next step should be.  Other times. . . not so much.  This is where trusting in Him and waiting for His direction comes into play.

While it is important to complete all the steps you can on your own – research cars, new/used/mileage/cost/insurance rates (or) Is it time for me to move to a job that I will find more emotionally satisfying that serves Him and others?  These are big decisions that we can do our own leg work on – then turn it prayerfully over to our Lord and ask the Spirit to Guide us, give us strength, wisdom and direction. 

One time I was offered a position, the closest to what I think I could choose while earning enough pay to survive – and serve.  It was for a non-profit start-up.  They needed an Office Manager/Bookkeeper who was also available to work with special needs clients, teaching them financial skills, banking, balancing a checkbook, how to shop wisely etc.  Unfortunately as a start up they offered no health insurance and that was a sign for me that this just was not the job I needed or could afford to take at that time.

By the grace of God where I am today.  I was able provide and to get my youngest son through high school  in the small town environment he was born into.  I am also able to attend mass before work (slipping into the office a few minutes late – but approved), blare my K-Love all day long and chat with people about God off and on throughout the day.  Pretty cool for a secular job, that’s where diciples are called to be.  I used to toy with thoughts of working in Appalachia or the Southwest at border crossing locations.  Who knows, maybe one day that’s where God will bring me.

Meanwhile, the other major areas in my life I have to trust in Him.  He leads and I follow.  I leaped and though I haven’t sprouted wings, I seem to be bouncing up and down on that safety net from below.  He is there, He will provide

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do note rely; In all ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Blessings~

The Daily Post: Waiting