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Reveal

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.

 

 

Who am I?

A while back I wrote a post that I very much wanted to get off my chest.  However, because I was rushing and not paying attention, I deleted it by accident.  I still had the subject line “Who am I?” But since then, this post content has changed.

It also has been a while since I’ve written.  Lately, my mind has been busy and I just can’t get myself to settle to write.

Whether it’s making sure home life is right and somewhat in order for my Husband and my Mom or tending to opportunities I want to be a part of.  For example, I want to do this formation or that formation, listen to this podcast, or read this book. But also, because my mind has been overloaded with news.

For whatever reason, I’ve been home alone these past two days to just “think”.  I used to have this quite a bit before my mom moved in with us. I now appreciate it so much more, but I wouldn’t give up taking care of my mom to have it all again.  These opportunities that come from time to time are embraced.

So what is it?  Why do I feel a bit anxious, a bit emotionally weak?  Pretty sure I am not the only one.  Social media has so many thoughts about the current world.  Sometimes you see one breaking down in tears and another is baking a cake.

But, with the  news continually showing what is happening in one country recovering from natural disaster – hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, there is also added threat to this all from a dictator who is pushing his agenda to cause more suffering.

I don’t work, so I don’t have an 8 hour part of my day where I could invest my thoughts into something.  So these last two days, I have been praying while doing whatever needs to be taken care of.  Praying for those who died, who are waiting to be rescued, who are suffering, grieving, worrying, fearing.

It’s so strange the paradox that is going on.  Here in Arizona, these days have been beautiful.  Such ease – being able to drink my morning coffee in comfort. Grocery shop with many options.  Take a shower. Lay comfortably in my bed at night.  Read a book. It feels both guilty and very grateful at the same time.

How are we to keep joy when so much around seems grim?

You know what came to mind?  I think of Saint Paul singing in prison.

ACTS 16:17-25

She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Then it came out at that moment.

When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
Deliverance from Prison. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened…

This passage always blows my mind.  Paul didn’t fear what was about to happen to him.  He continued to stand up for belief in Jesus and even after they tortured him, he still carried on giving thanks and glorifying God.  Making sure all around him witnessed his true example.

Who am I these days? It’s been somewhat challenging with family and friends around me these past weeks, where I suited up the Armor of God to help them in their weaknesses even though I too have felt challenged.  Reminding them to pray, not to lose hope, keep reading the scriptures, get to Church.

Who do you say that I AM?  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Whether time is near for Jesus to return, whether there will be much more suffering ahead, I hope our faith becomes stronger and love pours out from our souls. To know Jesus has conquered the world. To continue living each day directing our lives to Him.

Lord God, I want only for the appearance of my face and the depth of my soul to show your presence in my life.   Make me an instrument of your peace and use me for your will during these trying days and for what’s ahead so that you find us ready. +++

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. +

 

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