Category Archives: gospel

Not a time to be lukewarm

During the start of the COVID19 quarantine, I decided to redo a study of Revelation that I had done a while back from my parish.  The study is from Jeff Cavins who created The Great Adventure Bible Study. I’ve taken a few of his studies and can’t express enough how much I learned and refer back to.

I was glad that I purchased the audio tapes since I could listen along with my study in one room , while my husband in the front of our house, so not to disturb him.

With the pandemic still lingering over our heads with an increase of uncertainty, I thought why not add more to my mind and redo Revelation.  Because those that know me, know I take stress very well. I kid. I kid.

Early on, I knew I could only read two chapters a day along with a lesson. And right from the start, the parallels of the readings were relative to the day.  You could not help but be gripped in seeing that!

At the same time on social media, I would see posts about the rapture, end of times, Bill Gates using a vaccine as an indicator of the number of the beast, all news stories proving to be we are at the end of the world. Most of these, I dismissed and still do. Because my faith doesn’t teach me to get wrapped up in the signs, but to invest my relationship with our Lord.  However, that’s not to say, the turmoil and chaos was expressing the same messages from the bible.  Shocking? No, that’s what it’s about.

Most of the days, our attention and focus was on the virus, until May 25th.

On May 25th, a Minneapolis officer and a black man, changed the course of our country’s attention and impacted the world. George Floyd was arrested for trying to use a counterfeit bill at a deli. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html).  This resulted in a homicide.  The officer was charged with third degree murder. There were three other officers involved, but have yet to be charged.  This entire incident was recorded.  It not only showed what the officers and Floyd were doing in the arrest, but you hear pleas for help from Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe!”

For over a week, our nation went from a somewhat relaxed, cautious position coming out of quarantine, to being thrown into bowl of anger, unrest, sadness, and hurt.  For me it’s hard to gauge sometimes where the population stands because obviously, social media can make it appear one way, but we really don’t know.  Those who are protesting this are using social platforms for the most part, but have taken to protests in city streets. By the third day, the protests began to ignite vandalism and destruction, burning down police stations, small businesses, looting, and spray painted.  The scenes of the cities now look like the pages of a futuristic comic book.

President Trump initially gave a strong, sympathetic response to the death of George Floyd.  Days after, when our country needed to hear more, as it only got worse, silence not only from him but our leaders as well.  Police are now armed in riot gear, show up to the city protests everyday and night.  Trump has now called for the National Guard to assist because the States are not doing a good job of combating the problem.  The protest continue and are growing, however the dissenters are infiltrating the protests appearing as protesters and making it worse for the message.  This is causing people to not pay attention to the issue but only look at the destruction.  They can’t see that it isn’t just a Black race issue, it’s a spiritual war.

Back to Revelation, I remember grabbing my study and referring to a passage about the Red Horse rider, chapter 6.

3When he broke open the second seal, I heard the second living creature cry out, “Come forward.”4* b Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take peace away from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And he was given a huge sword.

Jeff Cavins spoke about this passage in the context that it meant civil unrest and international strife.  Now, again, I’m not meaning to just point out signs.  I don’t meant to just refer to each and every sign . But the fact is the enormity of this reality not just here, but in China as well, as Hong Kong is uprising against the government.  I know this passage can definitely mean in a extreme case, and by the grace of God, because our prayer is great, it won’t become that.

There are Catholics, Christians, fighting together and fighting against each other.  One is fighting for conversation, education and unity and the other wants you to see that it’s a liberal campaign.  Those that detract from the message cannot see that Catholic isn’t standing up for one side only, it’s all the human race.  It’s not just the Black man, but the law enforcer too.  It’s the shop owner whose store front was burnt down.  It’s the White faithful who loves their Church.  It’s about the Hispanic community wanting a voice on faith based issues.  It’s about change to open dialogue seeing each other with a deeper lens. It’s not about defense, it’s about aiming for peace and healing.  Not carrying a rigid position that you’re not letting go of your opinions and/or beliefs for no one and nobody.  How is the world going to get to a place of peace, a principle, a virtue from our Lord, if we don’t let go of ourselves to get there?

John 15

The World’s Hatred.*18“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.n19If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.o20Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.p21And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.q22If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.r23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.s24If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.t25But in order that the word written in their law* might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’u

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID19

This post has been transpiring since March 3rd, but only now I sit and write.

The world has been struck a virus.  A deadly virus that was born in China and spread rapidly throughout the world (even though that’s under investigation of its origin). Each country receiving devastating results.  Hospitals past capacity, treating patients in tents outside as well. In the United States, it hit the State of Washington first.  Initially, this virus, called COVID19 (Corona virus), was informed as attacking the elderly and those who are immune suppressed.  As the world was showing, as days passed, the information started changing by the minute.  It now is known as attacking anyone.  No clear rule or definition. People surviving on ventilators.  Becoming very sick, near death without any underlying health issues. At this point, after almost 3 months, the world seems to be calming down from this virus.

Because of the rapid spread, the world was on quarantine, which happen to begin when Lent was still in effect.  Quarantine, by the way, is a Latin word meaning forty days of isolation.  Countries began to follow suit and forbid people to go out, only if medical attention or to buy food. The phrase “shelter in place” or “stay home” commonly used so that people understood staying home meant less spread of the virus.  This only drew up fear in some that the shopping frenzies began. People stormed to the grocery stores, big box stores, and bought out all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.  For weeks, people would crowd and stockpile items that didn’t have to be taken since the quarantine never meant you couldn’t go out to buy things when needed.

During the initial weeks, my husband and I were home, while Mom whom we care for, was with my sister.

The daily news fed stories on hospital workers, grocery workers, Amazon (on-line store) workers, “essential workers”, that were working around the clock trying to keep up with the demand. Everyday around three o’clock, the President would give a press conference with some medical professionals and scientists on what is being monitored, done to help, and future impact.

My husband who works for healthcare, was non stop busy from March 3 for a month.  There would be days that he didn’t leave the face of his computer. He was working around the clock along with his staff and the entire hospital.  All that they were working on came to a screeching halt because the focus turned to COVID19 and how the hospitals were responding. Extra facilities were being opened up to house the not so critical patients so that the hospital could deal with the high number of COVID19 patients.  Weeks of intense issues popping up everyday.  There was a moment in the late evening, husband still on a conference call, where I heard him say “hold on, my head is spinning.”  I felt helpless.

All I did while my husband worked away was prepare him meals and pray.  I prayed and prayed.  Along with all my family and friends. The world.  Out of our control.  And from my experiences due to my health, that was somewhat normal.

Then, we received news that we could no longer attend Church.  That due to the virus spread, we couldn’t by law be in a congregation setting.  Rules starting to dictate no more than 10 can be together. Keep six feet apart.  Wear a mask.  The virus was airborne and so everything that brought people together, could no longer. Sports, concerts, movie theaters, etc.

Initially, Ruben did all the shopping.  Due to my immune and not having a supply of masks, he would go and buy us what we need.  We bought food that we felt could last us some weeks.  Good in that, we don’t normally eat much on our own.

In the beginning of the quarantine, it felt like okay, this is what we have to do.  We’ll handle it!  So did our neighborhood and community.  We all felt like we will be at peace and have patience.  Tons of neighbors walking about.  For the most part, people were working from home too so you would see them out all hours of the day.

Then more orders from the government came.  Adding more weeks to the quarantine because states like New York and California were hitting devastating numbers of patients and deaths.

In the midst of monitoring the United States and the our impact, I was also seeing China and Italy.  They too had devastating cases, but then you saw that the virus had touched the whole world except for Antarctica.  India was and is still being hit harshly and it appears their government is only making it worse.

The month of March happened in a second.

April started to feel less strained and with holy week approaching, it felt like no other holy week. Again, none could attend Church and out of all weeks of the year, this is the week most attend. Not even explaining the loss of the Eucharist and how odd on so many levels it was, still is, not to receive.

Pope Francis called for prayer many times throughout.  The impact of his prayer and focus for all to watch on TV or live stream, I know for me, meant so much. There was a moment during a special prayer, where he upheld the monstrance outside of St Peter’s in a way that through the TV, struck my soul.  Tears abound.

Throughout April until now, our family dealt with trials in the midst of the pandemic.  Thanks to God not due to financial needs, but physical and mental health.  I felt like the need and call for prayer has intensified each week.  I’m sure we are not the only ones feeling this.

Easter brought hope!  Renewed faith.  The extra weeks of quarantine were coming to an end.  Stores were now showing a normal supply of stock.  Some exhale was beginning.

May 15th,  the date the State of Arizona ended quarantine. Restaurants, salons, shopping centers, all were allowed to open up but only with strict rules.  Wear a mask at some and others, your choice.  Stay 6 feet apart. Only so many allowed in a store at a time. Enter in one way, exit another. But hey, it’s better than nothing.

Then there became talk about wearing a mask.  Mask shows weakness.  Liberal agenda insisting on wearing a mask.  The most hilarious conversation on the use of a mask.  Yes, I wear my mask.  I still do. Did before and do now. Lupus will teach you that!

Three weeks out now, but now our world is addressing another virus. On May 26th, a police officer made a decision that has affected our focus once again. Look up George Floyd.  I will use another blog to address this event because it has caused me to unpack so many thoughts and feelings.

Don’t know if we will ever get back to normalcy. These last weeks all feel like one month.  My husband and I haven’t visited our families.  We miss them.  We miss doing ordinary things, but know we have a purpose and call to prayer to get us through. All that is happening is requiring us not to just think of ourselves, our country, but the world.  How much we are in need of each other.   It doesn’t end.  The reminders in various ways.  And throughout it all, the deep rooted biblical messages.  That too, I would like to dive into in another blog.

The chant in the beginning of the pandemic, “We’re all in this together!” I hope so.

 

Primal Loss Book Review

There was a book circulating on Instagram from those I follow that caught my attention, “Primal Loss, The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak” by Leila Miller.

It didn’t take me long to realize this would be a tough one to read.

Leila Miller, a Catholic author/writer, compiled questions and answers from participants from all walks of life.  The book, “gives voice to the adult children of divorce. Their stories are not pretty. ..breaks through layers and layers of pro-divorce propaganda.” Answers are given numbers to keep the participant anonymous.  Much of the responses I could relate to, to the point of highlighting, noting a page, and writing in my answers.

Chapter one, “The Effect of the Divorce”, the first question, ‘What effect has your parents’ divorce had on you?’  The answers are  raw and some sound as if they are still struggling.  Response noted: “Stunted my ability to properly form my own emotions” and “parental presence, instruction, and stability were often missing in my childhood.”

The second chapter, “Feelings as Child vs. Feelings as Adult, what is the difference between how you felt about divorce as a child and how you feel about it as an adult?” There was a response I highlighted from a woman who spoke about her brokenness and how she carried it into her marriage. That early on, she wrestled with the behaviors, but thanks to God, her husband, “never gave up…even when I gave him reason to walk away…through their marriage, I have come to learn what love means, what truth means.”

Third chapter, “View of Marriage, has our parents’ divorce affected your own marriage or your view of marriage?” A reply noted: “I struggle with trusting my husband. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, which I am sure must be related to the feeling of abandonment by my family of origin.”

Fourth chapter, “Are children resilient? What do you want to say to people who say that ‘children are resilient’ and ‘kids are happy when their parents are happy’ and ‘kids of divorce will be just fine and will go on to live successful lives?”  Responses marked: “What divorce does is shatter that universe in a drastic and traumatic way, and there’s no coming back from that. It even changes the way you perceive reality, you become anxious, nothing ever feels safe or predictable, and you’re always waiting for the piano to fall” and “I was never happy with the way things were. I simply accepted that I had no control over any of it.”

Chapter five, “Speak to your parents, then and now, what would you say directly to your parents…how it affected you, would you advise them to do it differently?”  Response noted:  “I would have told them that God must be at the center of their marriage, that they were losing focus on the family, and that they were pursuing too much of their own self interest” and “I didn’t even know my pain was buried, but every now and then something would trigger this little girl inside of me.”

Chapter six, “What society should know, what do you most want adults in our society to know about how divorce affects the children?” Response noted:  “I’d want them to know that divorce is likely affecting their kids in way that they, the adults, can’t see or understand” and kids “often don’t gain the vocabulary and perspective to even begin to articulate all they are experiencing and questioning until well into adulthood.”

Chapter seven, “The role of faith in healing, what role has your faith played in your healing?” Response noted: “My faith taught me that marriage is a vocation that leads me to unification to God. It isn’t “romantic” love or superficial happiness; true love is an act of will.”

Chapter eight, “To those facing divorce, what would you want to say to children facing their parents’ divorce today?” Response noted: “You will confuse them and make them feel abandoned in the process” and “all the positive things you modeled for your children will be eclipsed by the disordered things you modeled when divorce is the punchline” and “even though they are children, they have a voice and should say, loud and clear, what they are feeling.”

Now my response.

I begin by admitting, the book took me a while to finish.  For whatever reason, I would become anxious before and while reading.  There were emotions, thoughts, that I felt I was clear of, but then memories surfaced that I had forgotten.  I would stop and think, text my sister, ask for her recount. Sometimes, I would ask my Mom questions throughout the day, to see if she could recall situations. And for those who don’t know me or my blog, my Dad is no longer alive.  He passed away in 2006 from sarcoma cancer.  However, before my Dad died, we did talk and reconcile (thanks be to God).

Before I go any further, I wanted to share when I found out my parents were divorcing. It was a weekday morning.  I was leaving to go to school in 7th grade.  That’s when I was given the news.  I clearly remember it was in the winter, clear morning, and my world began to close in.  My sister, who is eight years older than me, was already married with her new little family.  My Dad was quickly out of the house which left just Mom and me.  Mom worked a full time job and soon began to search in her ways of attention and self seeking joy.  In 7th grade, I tried marijuana and alcohol and continued using through my Sophmore year of high school.  Time at home on the weekends was on my own or, thanks to my sister, spent with her on the weekends.  My Mom and Dad led selfish lives fulfilling their own needs and not looking towards mine.   I was fed and clothed, but the impact of my parents non-emotional non-spiritual care was heavily felt.

Even after reconciling with my mom a couple of years ago, this book pushed out things I still had trapped in my heart I didn’t know I had. Thankfully, when we spoke she listened to me when I vented the pain it caused me.  Mom is 77 years now.  So even though, there are more things I would like to clear up, she can’t recall nor does she have capacity to help me resolve.  In a way, once I realized that, it saddened me because I know I will need to deal with it with God and on my own.

This book was a challenge, but I know I had to read it not just for me, but also for my nephews and niece who are also victims of divorce.  I can see much of their own behaviors in the book that match.  They are adults now. This book gives me knowledge that I could help them in ways I didn’t notice before.

But I think the biggest thing I took away from this book, is my progress made by faith as a now adult child of divorce.

There was a moment in the book when I jumped up, put the book down, and ran over to my husband and cried to him.  I literally saw God’s hand paint over my life from the time of the family destruction to where I am now.  Holding my husband’s hand, I cried and said, “Thank you! Thank you for staying with me in the beginning when our first years of marriage were rough. For not retaliating and leaving me. For understanding I had a rough past and still with some issues to this day.” His answer, “we broke the cycle.”  How much Our Lord Jesus knows our pains and struggles.  How much He heard my cries as a teenager, saying randomly, how I never want to be like my parents or have a marriage like them. The times when I was left alone to grieve the loss of family from junior high through high school, keeping it inside, moving like a zombie pretending to be normal and happy. Through the time after high school, living a double life of seeking attention and finding myself in the pew with my sister’s family on Sunday’s because I felt I was holding onto something good.

In many ways, I know that’s why this blog started.  It was healing and still is healing. I know the way God needed to reach me and stop the pain and focus I was starting to show in my marriage, despite putting in front of me a husband, stability, love, was to diagnose me with Lupus. I know for sure, that put me to change, have recourse in my life that I’m forever grateful.  It allowed me to see truth.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  1621

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the desert

It’s summer in Arizona and what that means is from June to September, you can count on it being 105 or higher. This is the reverse of those who live in the Midwest or East when snow keeps you inside. Well, at least for me it does. I’ve gotten better over the years, as far as, not limiting my time if I’m out doing errands. But somehow, this last few days, I’m feeling a bit depressed.

I’ve always done good about not paying attention to it. Like keeping busy whatever that might mean. Either with things I have to do or not. I don’t work, so much of my time is either caring for my mom or doing something productive when she’s with my sister.

But I’m yearning for more.

In the past month, my husband and I were able to take two trips to beach cities. It was a great getaway! The weather and beach, as many of my family and friends know, gives me such energy. But I also feel like I’m connected to people more too. And I think that’s part of what I’m sensing.

Where we live it takes a car to get somewhere. We don’t live in the city center or near it. Because of the heat, I can’t just walk to a grocery store. There are no common parks or beautified parks at all except in central Phoenix. Can’t just hop onto a metro link and get to another town. And don’t get me wrong, if it’s fall/winter/spring everything is rosy for those eight months. I’m outside taking it all in! These thoughts don’t run in my mind of abandoning the desert during these luscious months.

So it was interesting to me that a conversation was brought up between my husband and I about where our future residence would be. Where would we retire?

I asked my husband if we would ever live anywhere else? Would we ever do that experience of living somewhere far from family? We do not have children that would keep us from taking on a big transition like this. My husband has a super career now. What if he was asked to move? The thought of moving to Newport Beach, CA, or Denver, CO, or Connecticut sounds tempting.

A part of me sees that I would be involved in more things if we lived in cities or places that are closer knit. Doing more exercise, church activities, volunteering, education, and art events.

I often feel like I’m meant to be somewhere else, but I know it’s not something that is going to happen. And I thankfully say that because in no way am I not grateful for the huge blessings my husband and I have, which now comes to the Catholic tie into these thoughts.

In my thoughts or actions that come in a away that does not bring joy, is a time to always self examine.  Well, not just for me, but for anyone. Because we know when joy is present, Christ is present.

In my restlessness of this, I know my call is to go to God with it. I cannot change our environment.  We cannot get up and move somewhere.  In fact, it may never happen.

Prayer becomes very important during these “down times”.  If I don’t include or pay attention to prayer in my day to day, I can very well let go of myself and turn the negative emotions into negative actions towards my husband, family, friends, etc.  When you pray, Our Lord gives you clarity, direction on what He wants you to focus on, which in most cases, is completely not your thoughts.

The challenge outside of prayer is to be active in things where you come second. Paying attention to helping someone in need. Putting others first. Soon you’ll realize more purpose.

Who knows what God’s plan for us will be in the next ten years. But in the meantime, my life, our life, our happiness, our home, is here today in this desert landscape.


John 15:10-11

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.