Tag Archives: religion
6 Sep

My mom had a heart attack yesterday.

She’s stable and in the hospital now…but what a hellish day.

I ended up in the arms of my sponsor’s mother. I lived with her this summer and she became a sort of extra mom figure for me.

She reminded me of the beginning of Scott Hahn’s book Hail, Holy Queen. When he talks about the bond between mother and child. There is something about that bond that is unbreakable, indescribable, incomprehensible.

She’s my mom.

She carried me in her womb and then in her arms when I was a child.

She fed me, changed me, clothed me, provided for me.

She taught me to love Jesus with all my heart.

She bought me books and taught me how to love reading and learning.

And even though she wounded me with her words and actions when I became Catholic…that’s okay. It doesn’t take away from who she is or everything else she’s done for me.

A few hours later I ended up crying on the shoulder of my friend with the new baby. Who just happened to be feeding her baby when I walked in. Somehow she managed to hold me and keep feeding little E at the same time.

Somehow my friend who used to be silly and flighty and irresponsible and care-free has turned into a mom. Watching her care for her little girl has helped me appreciate my mom for the care she has given to me. For the things that my mom gave up for me.

Everyone tells you that being a mom is a joyful thing and it’s just the best thing in the world, but no one tells you that it’s a sacrifice. That it’s heartbreaking at times. That you give up friends and hobbies and late nights out because all of a sudden you have a tiny person or persons that need you.

I was going to tie this in with Our Lady somehow, but now I’m crying and I’ve rambled so much that I can’t quite sort it out.

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The Un-Perfected Art of Not Holding a Grudge

2 Sep

Grudges are hard for me. When someone wrongs me I chew on what they did for a really long time. Then when I’m done chewing I take it out of my mouth and I put on my bookshelf so that I can look at it whenever I feel the need (or when the wrong-er asks me to do something for him or her…in this case it’s a her).

I would try and explain how hard I try to let go of things…but the truth is, I don’t really try that hard at all.

Somewhere along the way I picked up this idea that if I were to forgive someone, then that would be opening myself up for that person to hurt me again. Or that if I were to do something nice for someone who had hurt me then that person wouldn’t learn his or her lesson and would just go and do the same wrong thing again to me or to someone else. And of course I have more little justifications for why it’s okay for me to cling to my grudges.

And then I remember the words of Christ…

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either” (Luke 6:27-29).

I learned these words when I was 6. I can still hear Mrs. R reciting them with us over and over.

These words were easy then. Because they were just words – words that I could mindlessly speak as a child but that I now find haunting me as an adult.

It’s really hard when you know exactly what it is that Jesus wants you to do and it’s exactly the opposite of what you want to do. Such a Jonah day…

Healing

14 May

Father, Spirit, Jesus – heal me.

Take my broken heart, my tears, my long lonely nights of insomnia, my hours of holding my tongue as my mother speaks daggers into my life.

Take them – they’re Yours.

And in return give me a heart of strength, eyes full of joy, nights of rest, and days of uplifting words.

But if you can’t do that right now, help me to accept more of this cup of bitterness. Hold my head and my hand as I taste more of the things I do not want.

Help my parents. You and I both know that this isn’t just about me becoming Catholic – I’m growing up and that scares my parents. They need to feel needed. And I don’t need them the way that they want anymore. Give them opportunities to feel – and be – needed.

I trust You.

I asked for a place to live and You gave it to me two hours after I asked.

I asked for another job and You gave it to me two weeks after I asked.

You have provided and I trust You to give me the things that You know I need. I also trust You to withhold the things You know I don’t need – or to give me the things I need in Your own timing.

So whether it takes two months, two years, two decades, or two centuries – please heal my family. Heal my mother’s anger and my father’s disappointment.

Heal me. Love me. Take me. Mold me.

 

Struggles

20 Apr

The dailiness has set in…the shine of being Catholic has worn off a little bit for me. It’s still as beautiful of a part of my life as ever, but it’s not new anymore. I knew deep down that this day was coming, but I really wanted to pretend that I would be permanently excited about my faith.

Thank goodness for my sponsor and her family – I would be really discouraged right now if I didn’t have them. I also found out that a guy in one of my classes is Catholic. The joy in his eyes as he asked me about my Confirmation and First Communion revived my spirits a bit. I also got the chance to talk to S’s mom about joining the Church – she’s really happy for me and had tons of questions. Actually she acted exactly the way I wish my own mother had…

I found a beautiful version of The Litany of the Saints and a couple of songs by Libera and those have been pretty encouraging. I’m trying to get through my reading list, but I haven’t picked up anything but a textbook this past week. My sponsor and I have also started doing this Bible Study by Scott Hahn.

But I’m struggling.

I am finding more and more things about being Catholic that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. And the people who’ve pointed these things about to me haven’t been particularly gentle. I’m balking. I’m resentful. I’m confused. I have no problem obeying God and the Church, and but I’m struggling with some of Her followers who’ve taken it upon themselves to tell me that I need to buy a veil, set up an elaborate altar in my (very small four-person) apartment, and buy certain medals and other religious objects.

Those things are all really nice, and maybe at some point they’re things the Lord would ask me to do, but for right now I think He’s okay that I don’t wear a veil to Mass, especially since I always make sure that I’m dressed modestly enough not to distract anyone. And I think He understands that the little cubby in my desk that contains my Confirmation candle, crucifix, and a couple prayer books are the best I can do for an altar right now. And I definitely think He knows that I don’t have the money or the space for religious objects that I’d just end up having to get rid of when I move after graduation anyways.

I love being Catholic – but I feel like all of a sudden people are bombarding me with extra rules and traditions. And while I can see the value of those things, I just need some breathing room. This is a lot to take in. And quite honestly all the extra stuff is a bit of a stumbling block for me at this point. I’m struggling because I feel like I’m not Catholic enough, like I’m just not good enough or smart enough or patient enough to handle what everyone else seems to be able to manage like second nature.

10 Apr

The world does not consist of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so.

– C. S. Lewis

Should I use contraception? Part 2

4 Apr

Back in the swing of daily life! I need to do normal stuff or I’ll just keep moping.

A few weeks ago I posted this.

Chances are, if you’re here you’ve probably already read and responded to it.

I’ve been thinking a lot, a lot, a lot about the responses I got.

The most recent comment I got included this: “As you know, the Church teaches that use of contraception is a mortal sin. Think about that! Would you want to discuss the pros and cons of stealing, committing adultery, purposely skipping Mass on Sunday, etc? No, because the cons are pretty dire.”

And it was as I read this that I realized the heart of the issue:

I’ve spent my whole life being told not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to miss church.

And I’ve spent my whole life being told that if I wasn’t ready to have a child, even as a married woman, then it wasn’t fair to that child for me to conceive him or her. Or that it would be wrong of me to have too many kids because kids need a lot of one-on-one time with mom. And I’ve always been told that contraception is the way to safely ensure that.

I don’t know if those statements are right or wrong anymore…I do see some truth to them, but I also see some selfishness. But most of all those statements are a part of me. They are built into my conscience and they resonate as strongly as my beliefs that it’s wrong to steal or murder. They are a part of my morality that I am trying to cut out of my heart.

No one ever told me that using contraception could be on the same “level” as those sins…for twenty (give or take!)  years I just assumed I would have 4 kids, because that was what I wanted. And then I met S and our desires matched up so it felt perfect. So do I go against my conscience and have more than that? Or do I go against my conscience and “plan” my family? I feel guilty just thinking about choosing either way.

I know that for my Cradle Catholic friends, and for my friends from big families, this seems like something that shouldn’t be as difficult for me as it is. But what if one day you found out that something you’d never thought was that wrong is really a sin? What if that thing or behavior you had to cut out was going to have the potential to completely alter your life?

This is going to take time and a lot of the Holy Spirit whispering words of wisdom and strength to me.

Quote 4 Apr

We ought to be as the prophets who said ‘Speak Lord, I’m listening,’ not ‘Shut up God, I’m talking.’

-Father Larry Richards