Lately, I’m torn on whether to make known my identity.
When I first started this blog, I never had intent to give more information about myself. Only wanting to share my experiences to help others in their journey of faith.
Does sharing identify help or does it change focus to look at me and see me instead of my life story? Because if you were to see a picture of me, you may not see that I have had the life I had or have now.
From this blog, I also maintain an Instagram account. It gives a quick feed to what is happening in your blog or just simple insights. Without intending it to be, it has brought a community I had no idea existed. I receive much encouragement from it, as well as, I learn more about the faith that what I thought could be possible from this social media.
Honestly, revealing does have to do with the issue of confidence for me. Something I’ve struggled with all my life. The rejection, people misconstruing your intentions with pride, the pressure to portray who you truly are. The Instagram account wasn’t meant to fit a mold with other Catholic women, which I think (at times) accounts appears to show. I’m not saying it shouldn’t because I think it does benefit some. For me, the account is to express my faith in many areas of how I practice it.
For now, I think I will leave my account the way it is. I enjoy it and love to share. If it is fit for me to reveal, for a circumstance or situation , I will decide at that time. Until then, I’m thankful for those who follow this blog and Instagram account.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been bugging my husband about returning to Rome for a vacation. However, lately, it’s really been aching me.
Thankfully, we have been to Italy twice – 2006 and 2008. Both experiences helped us to see a little bit more of Italy. Stops in Venice, Orvieto, Assisi, San Gimignano, Pisa, Siena, Chianti, Florence, Castel Gandolfo, and of course, Rome.
Since I was little, I have had a love for all things Italian. My favorite food has always been Italian and to clarify I’m American-Mexican. My family still to this day likes to joke with me on how this makes no sense. I can’t deny what it is I have passion for. How do you fake it?
When we traveled to Rome in 2006 for a pilgrimage, everything catapult to whole new level of love. I felt a strong connection to the culture, food, art, and spirit. Needless to say, my Catholic faith grew because it was visibly all around. Not like back home!
When we went back to Italy in 2008, I went with deeper appreciation, although I was still recovering from CDiff, so I couldn’t fully embrace due to stomach issues.
It’s now been 9 years and lately, I feel like I have some restlessness these days about traveling back.
As we know, the political times are not good. Talks of war between the U.S. and North Korea are heightened everyday. My husband feels now isn’t the time to go and when I share about that with others, some say, is it ever the right time?
It makes me sad. How beautiful and diverse our world is created by our Father God to seek and learn from. To grow with our neighbor, to share in prosperity of brotherhood, and to reap joy in our differences. But yet, North Korea has a different outlook and now all the world waits to see what will happen next. I know I’m not the only one who is praying for this threat to end.
But aside from this, my love for Italy is going a bit bonkers these days. I live in an area where there isn’t much culture. There isn’t much variety. For whatever reason, it just isn’t here. I would love more self owned bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants that serve more than bar food, gelato shops instead of yogurt (please I’m so done with yogurt spots around here), and entertainment spots. I try not to get me down, but when you want your heart to be filled with something, 2nd place doesn’t fill the void.
I always say, “if I ever win the lottery”… I would open up a bakery that provides international treats and best Italian coffee. Name I won’t share. However, I would make sure to hire the appropriate pastry chef who can bake pastries from all over the world.
Question: What do you do when your heart yearns so much for something, but can’t be fulfilled?
I think I need to start praying to our Lord more intently and asking Him to replace this because it’s a bit consuming sometimes.
Until we can get to Rome, I’ll continue listening to my favorite Italian Radio http://studiodelta.radio.it/ , buy cappuccinos pretending they taste like Rome, dine at Italian restaurants who somewhat serve like Italy, view images off of Instagram, and try new recipes.
In this time
I find I
Though numbing as flight in the air
My mind goes
My body foes
God is always near
No drug I took
Just the humdrum of this thing
That comes over me
Stalled like someone who has tripped
‘Til a song breaks through
My dependence is new
The battle of ourselves and understanding Our Father who is in control.
Repeatedly throughout my adult life, I have dealt with self control. I had life experiences that only made me teach myself to depend on my responding emotions.
Mechanisms to guard my heart from hurt, pain, confidence, courage.
As I explained in my blogs of transformation from my lupus diagnosis, is where the self control changed.
However, even after years of growing deeper into my Catholic faith, being attentive and obedient, I find myself cave in at times and throw myself back to the pits of self control.
Mostly, when it comes to family issues that grab me with anxiety or worry. Things I wish I could help, but know I physically have no power.
Why is that?
At times, I want to blame it on the lupus. Stress is a factor of what causes lupus flares. I figure, my body does not have any tolerance for worry so as soon as I respond to it in my body, I shut down.
Then, I think, it's my age. Yes, my age. I'm older so any ounce of worry, I shrivel up. That's got to be it too… right?
What I do know is that when I find myself in worry over something, I do feel the Holy Spirit taking hold of me. I will remember to turn it over to Jesus and ask Him to take it. It may not always be that immediate moment, but it does happen.
What I want to attain, is that I don't cause 'me' to happen at any situation in life. I desire my soul to respond by His holy will and just issue a sense of peace to whatever comes my way. I mean, I imagine that's what Pope Francis does and our religious priests and nuns…right? They always look so at peace.
Is this anxious/worry thing a Cross? I wonder, but don't put too much thinking into it since I'm convicted to not focus on it.
In my family, there are many plagued by worry. To the point where it transforms into high blood pressure. Thankfully, I do not have that. But I know my family is prayerful. And whenever something strikes us, I am the one to say to pray. We all do to each other at times. Thanks be to God!!
At this stage in my life, I'm thankful Our Lord helps me to recognize it. I'm thankful my prayer is always asking God to help and take the issue/situation. That I know I'm not stranded in the desert.
And that's just it!
That we live this life continually knowing we are not god. Life will always give us stress. I am not perfect. Will I ever be? That's not my concern either. But that I get stronger in what I know Jesus wants from me.
"Be thou my Wisdom" +++
"I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” – John 16:33
I have been blessed to see St. Peter’s twice. I wish I had taken better pictures or knew how to work my camera, but I think you can still receive what I captured. I like to take pictures of areas of the church that are not typically photographed. Well, at least what I’ve come across.
They said on the tour, the lettering that is in the gold trim is about 7 feet in height.
We were told the altar weighs 9 tons. All in bronze.
Altar of the Holy Spirit made out of alabaster
Inside St. Peter’s there are “mini” altars where Mass is given on each side leading to the main altar.
Pieta. Protected by thick glass due to someone who tried to destroy it. This was the closest I could get to it.
Outside the basilica walls…
My reaction to St. Peter’s was I can’t get enough. There is so much to take in and I know even though I have seen it twice, I know I missed so much. Really, St. Peter’s is what you would expect to represent our faith. Grandeur, peace (even among thousands squirming around you), profundity, and such thoughts that make you think of all the years the Church has had. How many people/pilgrims have visited this holy place??? I hope to see it again!
Please check the ‘Church Beauty’ tab for other parishes visited.
Two songs right now in the Christian music hemisphere that get to me. Honestly speaking, I don’t listen to popular Christian music much. I tend to listen to traditional hymns when I want to “go there”. But these two songs really move me. Take a listen!
Audrey Assad – This song and video relates to me so much!!
As I was learning more about my faith, I heard many share with me who they chose as their patron saint. I kept thinking how does one choose that? I vaguely remember at confirmation it being a requirement to choose a Saint but if I did, I don’t remember who I chose.
Once I started to read more books and learn about my faith, there was always a Saint that would flutter my heart. St. Catherine of Siena was the Saint for me. My interest in her started about the same time the Catholic Church was being exposed for the awful sexual abuses. I remember our parish had a sense of divide. Some left since they could not separate the men who did harm from the Church, then there were those that followed the excommunicated priest to their own made up church, and others like me who stayed put.
The books I read about St. Catherine of Siena came at the right time. Her history is based on recognizing what the Church is and what it is not. Her determination to set things right and to share the intensity of following Christ. She was a Dominican and is a Doctor of the Church. Her main caveat was her effort and success in reforming the papacy during the 14th century when she convinced Pope Gregory XI to move back to Rome from Avignon.
My husband and I were blessed in 2006 to go on a Catholic pilgrimage to Italy. We really went into it blind not knowing what to expect. As a gift for our travels, a close friend of mine gave me a card she had wrote with a quote from St. Catherine. I thought…wow…it’s a sign. There’s a reason why I keep connecting to this Saint.
On our trip, we made a stop in Siena. What a gorgeous place! Picturesque walkways that would lead to the piazza/main square. Restaurants, bakeries, shops all set in medieval architecture. The end of our day, our hosts guided us to visit the Chapel of Saint Catherine, Basilica of San Domenico. Here only her incorruptible head entombed is shown. At first I was a bit freaked. Why was it that we only had her head and why was it shown? On the tour, our great host priests clarified that back in the day, many towns all over the world where the Saints walked had bits or pieces of their bodies for reverence purposes like bone fragments, clothing, “relics”. Also, many had miracles tied to them so the thought was spread them around for the chance of increased faith to grow.
This trip gave me a boost! A boost in love of faith. I felt like a warrior ready to get back home and go deeper! To get a grip and better understanding of the Church with guidance from St. Catherine. It’s amazing how much we can take for granted on what the Saints did for the Church, for us. If we took the time out and read up on a Saint, we would see how relevant their examples are to our day today. Most of the popular TV evangelists are not saying anything new. And the Saints that did speak about similar life issues, most likely did it with their life in the balance.
Another inspiring tidbit about St. Catherine…she’s the Patron Saint of Italy!!!! Of course!! Of course she would be. I have loved Italy for so long starting with pizza as a child, which led to Italian food, and then developed into it’s beauty, food, art, lifestyle. Of course she would include that for me too.
Hopefully, this will get you to thinking who would you like to read about? Google it! I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed.
Thank God for the Saints and thank you St. Catherine for always punching those words into my heart and set fire!+++