Tag Archives: Jesus

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. +

 

Sacré-Cœur – Paris, France

My cousin is currently touring Paris and her experiences she’s been sharing, made me think of our time there.

Before going to Paris, I of course, checked off the places I wanted to visit.  My husband only had one desire and that was the Latin District because of their food.  We for sure went there…twice!

On the day we visited Galleries Lafayette, we headed out of this magnificent shopping center to find a place to eat.  We walked, walked, slow walked, fumbled, and began finding ourselves frustrated.  From leaving the Galleries, we thought for sure we would run into a nice bistro, but for some reason we kept making turns into more buildings that didn’t provide any food or drink.  We were lost!!!

So as my husband said “let’s just go down this way and if we don’t find anything, we’ll find a cab and go back to an area we know”.  Fine.  I agreed as I was dizzy and hungry.

So we walked and found some passers-by.  Shops started to appear here and there. Next thing we see, is a cafe.  Meats and cheeses. Breads. Olives. Jams. And of course, wine!!  We had no idea that we were now in Montmarte.

We felt like we died and gone to heaven. Right away, the waiter provides us a table facing outward to the street. Sets us up and gives us full attention. The bites were delicious!!! My husband and I couldn’t believe how delighted and joyful we were at what we stumbled upon.  And while we were almost done, I remember peeking out towards the right and looking up in between some high trees and noticed a steeple.  I couldn’t believe what my eyes were showing me.  So I focused again. Then I asked the waiter, “is that Sacre-Coeur?????”  He said, “Yes!”

I jumped out of my seat and told my husband, we got to go! It’s not that far and we are already so close. We can’t let go of this opportunity.  Good thing the food refueled us. We were now on our way to this historic church that I only read about and had marked down on my planner to see, but due to time and it appearing that it was not going to be in our radius to visit, I had scratched it off and figured, we wouldn’t see it.

We arrived in about 10 minutes.

It was everything I thought it would be.  We stood there at the bottom of the steps and admired it.  My husband was ready to move on and I said…”we have to go inside.”  He said, “the only way in is by these steps.”  I said, “let’s go!”  To reach top, it took 270 steps.  The views were amazing.   There were many visitors around just enjoying this spot.  You could see the city clearly on this late afternoon.

We get to the line where people are forming to go inside the church.  And as we get closer, there’s a big sign stating “NO CAMERAS, NO VIDEO, NO PICTURES PLEASE!”  I wish I could’ve taken pictures inside.  Even now, it’s hard for me to remember what I saw and wished I would’ve written it down.  But I do recall it’s design and thinking it didn’t look like most cathedrals from that time.  The altars made me wonder who had come to pray at them.  The main altar glistened in gold. The candles flickered  in every direction. The respect inside was evident.  You were in a sacred space.  My husband and I prayed and thanked God for bringing us here.

How is it that we ended up in this spot?  All the wrong ways we thought we were taking and yet they were not.  The recognition was fully there that Our Gracious God had led us to Sacre-Coeur.   To experience not only this basilica, but to embrace its name as well.  This basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  What it is, what it stands for, speaks to our visit there more than just taking in its views.  But from what my husband and I experienced in our time of marriage, what I experienced in my 40 years of life (trip was a birthday and anniversary celebration) was hallmarked in this adventure.

How I ask in my prayers that our marriage be consecrated in His Most Sacred Heart.

Thank you Jesus for the glories, the graces, the adventures you have given us to not only experience for travel sake, but for the soul and our relationship to You in them all. +++

 

 

Splinter, Beam, Plank! Ouch!

Why is it people will point out what you did wrong with them, but they never take notice they’ve also did the same thing to you or maybe sinned against you as well?

Matthew 7:3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

Lately, I’ve been noticing much with the finger pointing, but their finger never is twisted to turn back to themselves.

It feels like many are quick to blame or show others one is wrong in life.  For some, it’s been going on for years and still no noticeable self- reflection.

A flood of thoughts come to me on this because so much of the resolve of these mind battles are answered by Jesus.  Instead of letting go of bondage to their thoughts on someone or something, they let it relish in their souls to the point where they become hardened like a chunk of cement added to their hearts.

  • Prayer
  • Self examination of conscience
  • Humility
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation
Picture to me is profound. The outside cactus landscape depicts our sin. Thorns and dry brush. The chapel signifies to me Christ and His shelter.

All of these we are taught in our Catholic faith from our Lord Jesus. In his teaching to the apostles, from their teachings to the faithful and on.

I always try to review myself and see how I’ve fallen short. To begin with, there is no way I’m perfect, so before I start on with anyone else, I should fix me first. Don’t you think that is most of our problems? We don’t see our own sin?

One thing that is clear to me in my faith walk is if I have peace, then I have achieved some spiritual merit to a situation. That’s the ultimate result. If you’ve done the steps above and still have no peace, then there is something greater to be looked at, I believe.

Instead of adding another layer of blame to someone or something, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to let down our barriers to what forgiveness is all about. It’s not just waiting for the other person to come forward, but it also about us moving closer to Christ.

May Christ’s peace and unity rule our hearts! +++

 

Power of Prayer

Yesterday, a horrible tragedy occurred in Manchester, United Kingdom at a Ariana Grande concert.  A person vested in some kind of suicide bomb went off outside the arena killing 19 and injuring 50. That is the latest.

At first it was a bit tougher for me to latch onto the news because of the day I was having which was productive and joyous.  I first saw about this tragedy on Facebook but thought I’ll get to the news in a bit and carried on.  I feel awful to say it but it almost seemed “normal” news.

It wasn’t until a couple hours later did it sink in once I started watching the news and the video of the people running from blast.

I prayed thinking of those that died, their families, and then those suffering possibly some near death.

I thought about it some more in my night time prayer and asked Our Lord to call on His servant St. Michael to protect others from being hurt. But then I stopped for a second and thought …you know…He is. Every minute, every hour.  We are being protected. We just don’t see it in a newscast, but may hear about these good happenings through family and friends.

Like when we are driving on the highway and are protected seconds before an accident.  A doctor check up that caught a diagnosis to treat early and give us a second chance.  And I’m sure grand scale things, we as every day citizens are not aware of.

As we know,  we should always pray for the world in our daily prayers.  No matter if we think they’re working or not or how many times these awful events continue to happen.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-17
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.

 

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.