Tag Archives: grace

How the great pearl and Lit found me

I just finished ‘Lit’ by Mary Karr.  I had been pin surfing  Pinterest searching for books to read and came across this suggestion.  The summary made me interested.  Two things stood out, addiction and God.

When I choose a book, it depends on timing in my life.  Books centered on food  such as aspiring chefs, chef stories, restaurant owners, and as a bonus most books contain recipes always amuse me.  Of course, I like to read about the faith, but haven’t tapped into one lately where a story is told on how faith became real in their life.  And I underline bold face REAL.  Memoir faith based books I have read are well, too vanilla.

Another book along the lines of ‘Lit’ titled, ‘Drunks and Monks’ by John Carmichael, gave me something some faith books just don’t.  And that’s concrete, hard core (at times) experiences detailed and how each segment of their life shaped them into the strong faith they have now.  Not just information on if you are experiencing a struggle, pray to God or learn these exercises and you’ll find peace.  But down right, gritty stories that make me grab onto the faith in a deeper way. I get  it because in my journey, I can relate.

So, back to ‘Lit’. ‘Lit’ is a memoir written by Mary Karr.   Tells her struggles as an adolescent, her parents who are dealing with their selfishness, her addiction, marriage, birth of son, experiences of becoming a writer, and finding Jesus.  All this in language that engaged me into a rich, twisted, swirl of captivating literature.

As I began writing for this blog, I noticed that many female, Catholic blog writers carry a certain tone.  I know it works for many, but for me, it wasn’t calling my attention.  I don’t know if it has to do with age so much as it has to do with upbringing.

I feel as though there are many Catholic women who are being left out of this sphere of unity/belonging.   Some may feel they need to shy away from their past in order to get on board. It’s not that the messages these certain point blogs cannot be applied in anyone’s life, it’s the content of the person’s life, to me, is what helps to relate to it.  So many different paths go untouched.

Karr shares deep struggles with addiction, not up to par with other students, parents, coworkers. She talks about seeking God and allowing the first step towards prayer which is a few words mentioning God.  All this develops into daily exercises and references her prayer life,  baptism,  and the Catholic Church.

Her writing takes you on a journey of sights, smells, and feelings.  It made me think of my own childhood.  Many points in the book, I would stop and recall a memory which either brought me joy or pain.  There were moments I had forgotten.

What’s even more crazy is the timing of when I finished this book.  On Sunday, July 30th mass reading, the gospel was about:

Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. 
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. 
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 
"Do you understand all these things?" 
They answered, "Yes." 
And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old." 

It’s about truly letting go of one self’s bonds, walls, crutches, addiction, sadness, brokenness, pain, unfulfilled, struggles, unaccomplished.

It’s everywhere I think I am in my life.  It made me realize due to some things going in my life right now, how much I still have not let go from my childhood.  Karr’s book resonated with me in my own life with similar experiences.  Being diagnosed with Lupus gave me the push to learning about my faith, walk with Christ, but over the years til now, it kind of stalled.  Life became what it did and I lost a bit of listening.   When you running the daily rat race, you don’t!   You don’t realize how much more needs to be pulled out of you so that our Lord can rework you.  My upbringing and the loss of nurturing a child needs can still rear up its ugly head as an adult.

By working on this with Our Lord, helps me to open up to the next stage in my life.  Where does He have me going next?

I hope and pray this is the beginning of that to whomever is reading this post. I’m ready to let go!

May our Dear Lord grant you the awareness you need to see what other areas of your life you need to give up for the pearl of great price to buy that life only Christ can give. Keep praying you want Jesus to take areas of you life still holding you down. +++

Poem X

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
Pulling, crawling
Coming to
‘Til a song breaks through
My dependence is new

Ground control to Major Worry

Control.

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

Indelible Mark +

It was in a bible study class from my parish, where I first learned about the indelible mark.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1121 : The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.

The clarity of this mark became known to me in my early 40s.  The whole time before that I had no idea what it meant.

Once I learned of this love that deciphers us from the world, it made my heart grow in a sense that the family, the Church, widen up to a bigger picture.

At times, when I walk around my city, or in the Church pews, or when I’m traveling, I often receive an emotion of peace and a strength because even though I can’t see that others are also marked I know among them they are around me.


For me, it’s a badge of honor, coat of arms,  military colors, a wedding band.  It helps me remember who I am to be.

In my family, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning the significance of this mark and how very important I should keep myself reminded of it.  I can’t fully blame my immediate family because my parents carried their faith into our lives on how they received it.  No one dug deep into the faith.

I feel because of what God has given me, the knowledge I have to this point, the fire/zeal to learn about the faith, makes me responsible for sharing it. We all are called to.

What a precious gift we’ve been given in these sacraments where the ‘mark’ is given.  How even when we do the Sign of the Cross, it’s a pronounced action of what is already transfixed in us.

I recall a bible study that explains when the end of time comes, Our Lord will identify us by this indelible mark.

Revelation 7:4 I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked* from every tribe of the Israel.

The work from those with this mark have much to do.  Until the very end, our lives need to keep proclaiming for God’s will to be done.  Often at times in my life, I feel like I could be doing more.  But I recognize I have allowed fear to halt the work and all I can do is ask God to get me where He wants me to be and remove whatever barrier(s) are preventing me from living out my purpose.

I value more the fact that when I rise in the morning, the first thing I do is the Sign of the Cross.  This is how I begin my day and end it.

Lord God, this day, and everyday, may we live out the indelible mark. +

 

A girl can’t help it!

Stress.

Stress + Lupus = Down time 

These last weeks there has been different levels of stress. Some everyday stress that I can deal with and one big stressful situation that with days gone by, seems to have taken its toll on me. 

That’s the weird thing with Lupus. You don’t know until it hits you how well you’re coping. It also becomes a pride issue because you want to say “I can handle it” but even when your mind may say that the attacks of stress are already hitting your body.

So now I’m there.

It’s our anniversary week and I have the feeling we will need to postpone a trip we made because of how I feel. I know that anymore added stress will just knock me and keep us from fully enjoying our time.

The good thing is that it really has been a long time since I’ve felt like this. It’s also not as bad as past flares but I know enough to know my limits.

The symptoms for this flare are mainly fatigue, wiped out energy, and a bit dizzy. If I have any energy, whatever ounce there is and I use, I’m down again.

Really as long as I’m with my husband to celebrate our 21st anniversary it doesn’t matter where we are.

Thanks be to God for His graces! No matter what, I know I am blessed to be where I am.+++

Mid Life Crisis Awareness Month

Actually, this might just be on my calendar.

Lately,  it seems some of my sisters (not literally, I mean friends) are battling emotional struggles all at the same time.

It feels weighty on my relationship with them and I can see some headed down a damaging road.

With my own life changes, I always try to do my best and stay in touch with my girl friends or my female cousins who I refer all as “Sisters”.  My friendships have not always kept up and I know I am part to blame, but I still care for them and if there was ever a chance to meet up, I would do it.

At times, I don’t know if it’s just my life but I don’t have many gal pals. I think it has to do with not having children, not staying in the workforce, or other entities to cause some to dismantle.  In any case, I haven’t really worried about it but I noticed some relationships appear to be ending.

I feel some around me are going through emotional changes.  Mid life crisis maybe?  I don’t know.  I don’t know why all of a sudden a shift has occurred in our relationships. Am I focusing too much on my life that maybe these individuals were always this way and I’m barely now taking notice?? I truly care about them and do wish our friendship’s would stay strong.

I try to be patient and let them know I’m here for them. I do my best in understanding all factors to a situation.  We don’t always know everything going on in one’s life.

In any case, I realize we all have trials and tribulations. I’ve had times where I’ve felt unaccomplished and know those closest could see it in me. It can be hard to break out of that ‘spell’ of feeling down and depressed.  The evil one can certainly make you start believing things that are untrue about yourself and about those around you.

What I have learned in practicing my faith is to ask myself questions.  Identifiers.  Like whatever it is I’m feeling, is this a thought from God or the evil one?  If the feeling is causing me to be down, then it’s not from God. If it is to cause harm on anyone, then it’s not from God. If it’s something that doesn’t keep me on the side of virtue, then it’s not from God. You know what I mean?

IMG_4916

Is it okay to do something once and a while that is foot loose and fancy free? Sure.  At least I think so. The issue is whether you start believing this is all your life needs.  Ways to give you short term, empty joy.

I’ve seen some who end their marriages because they found “true happiness” in other outlets. They start to believe this is what they need and end up ridding their life of important people. Most of the time, it relates to the idea of feeling young again.  I’ve seen this false sense cause damage and havoc in many lives.

For myself, my guard against these realms need attention.  Don’t take the bait! Combat with prayer! I pray with and over my husband, our home, our life.  Asking Jesus to consecrate our marriage! It’s true!  You spend less time with Jesus, you leave an door open for weakness to come in.

John 4:10-14

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
[The woman] said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”