Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Wound is Real

It seems fitting for me to be upset with my mother today.  Out of anger, hurt, embarrassment and any of the myriad reasons possible, she opened the wound again.  In a cunning tone of voice she so proudly expressed that she can trust my father will not leak her secrets to me, that she's not a child and doesn't need me butting into her life on everything.  The man she despised all my life for being a deadbeat dad is a confidant and I'm the intruder.

My dad has never been a part of my life much.  I try to act like it doesn't hurt and most days I don't even think about it.  My life is typical without him in it.  It's hurtful that she's palling around with him when he hasn't reached out to me in years.  As a mother, shouldn't she stand up for me; take a stand and deem it unacceptable to carry on with him while he wants nothing to do with his daughter?

I talk with my aunt and we agree that he's just a loner and he doesn't really connect with anyone and how everyone just accepts him for who he is.  I hold no ill will against him and have mostly accepted the reality that he'll, aside from a miraculous conversion of heart, always be distant or completely absent.  That still leaves me unsettled, no comfort will come from that realization.  What about justice?

There are so many questions that will go forever unanswered.  Maybe I don't want to hear the answers.  I wonder though, why didn't he want me?  It leaves big wounds when you're not wanted by your parent.  It hurts to think about all the ways, big and small, my life could've been different had I had a father who loved me.

In all my human frailness, I falter every day and see how that hole is raw and deep.  I see it most often in my oversensitivity to small things of personal matters.  I sometimes make a mountain out of a molehill just so I can try to make another, namely my husband and children, see that I am important.  I don't consciously do this, it's more of an, "oops, there I went again on my soap box" moment.  I'm hurt and I want everyone to understand how badly.

It's especially hard with teenagers.  I feel the rejection and pushing away which is completely natural of course, but still painful in the sense that I feel betrayed.  At times, I understand the desire to have a baby out of the need to be loved.  I can get that.  I just want to be someone's everything.  I want to feel the unconditional love of a father.

So, I reach out to you Lord.  I want to understand this love you have for me but I have not even the slightest figment of memory to draw on as an example.  My dad never loved me.  He never hugged me.  He never held my hand.  He never looked at me and said I was his little girl.  He only said that I was a mistake and that he and my mom did a good thing by letting me come into the world.  After that, his job was done, I guess.  Help me, Father.  Help me to know how great your love is.  How eternal and vast your embrace is.  How I can rest my head on you and you will bring comfort in my times of sorrow.  Help me know that I am loved beyond compare.  That I am beautiful in your eyes.  That I am your everything.  Can you help me to believe it?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's a Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day.  I woke up to my toddler having pee’d on the floor, not on accident.  I tried my hardest to keep him from sneaking food, from which he was to abstain, while I cleaned the carpet.  My 6-year-old’s on the toilet with a stomach ache, crying for my help…what am I supposed to do?  I smiled and assured him he’d be alright and the ache would be gone soon.  The toddler comes back for round two.  Thankfully, it was on the kitchen floor.  What is he thinking?  He’s not a dog.  He doesn’t need to mark any territory.  He’s made it clear in numerous ways that EVERYWHERE is his territory.  Meanwhile I clean up pee mess #2 like a good mom.  The toddler swipes a single rice chex from his baby brother.  “AHHH!!!  Spit that out child!  No food!”  

Today was a beautiful day.  It’s time to leave.  The young man in charge is our 15-year-old son.  I lay down the law for the kids who’ll be staying home so me and the peeing toddler can drive downtown for his appointment.  He’s fully prepared since his older brothers have been giving him their sage medically accurate description of the procedure for about three weeks now.  It goes kind of like this.  “Tristan, you’re going to get a tube shoved down your throat so you can get rid of your belly ache!…ha, ha, ha!”  To which Tristan calmly responds, “I don’t have a belly ache anymore.  I don’t have a Celiac disease anymore.”  I’d deny my ailment too if the diagnostic test fit that description.  Boys!  

It’s a peaceful ride downtown and I offer to pray for Tristan.  He proceeds to scream at me to stop it.  He doesn’t like my saying the rosary today.  I’m going to believe that it touches his heart.  He always gets crabby about things that touch his heart.  I don’t think he knows what to do with that emotion yet.  I pray quietly to myself for one decade.  We observe a number of trucks and the river as we approach the hospital.  

Children’s Hospital in St. Paul has really made some nice improvements since we’d been there three years ago.  Tristan has been to Children’s once before to have a couple minor surgeries.  Today, we’re confirming his Celiac diagnosis with an upper endoscopy for an intestinal biopsy.  A lot of prep goes into this five minute procedure.  Children’s staff is definitely up to the task.  Starting at the security desk, they check photo ID’s and take a snapshot to create a clear name visitor tag.  Then a welcome center worker escorts you to your proper location.  Patience is a must for this young man since Tristan is a little relaxed in his walking speed.  The nurse in the elevator up to the third floor was so friendly and complimented me on my scapular.  I love the opportunity to share my faith.  The Children’s waiting area in the pre/post-op area was filled with toys, books, push cars and buggies.  I felt completely safe allowing Tristan to make the noise he needed to enjoy himself.  The toys were nice, well kept and clean.  That one rice chex delayed the procedure by an hour!  Luckily, they have movies on demand and we were able to watch the LEGO movie for the hundredth time.  I really can’t complain about uninterrupted snuggle time with my buddy, even if it is at the hospital.  Take it when you can get it, right?  

Great things are happening at Children’s.  They reminded me how important, smart, precious, vulnerable and special children are.  As much as I know this, it can get lost in all the havoc that occurs in our everyday life with all the ages we’re experiencing currently.  Nurse Carol treated Tristan with such dignity and respect as did Nurse Tami and Dr. Sundeep.  They were truly joyful in their dealings with him, talking him through everything, and me too.  At Children’s, they understand the child, the parent, the close relationship between the two and honor that bond completely.  I felt truly cared for there.  They are more than medicine and staff there.  They are servants.  The Children’s medical staff cares for the whole person and raises the dignity of children’s medical care to a whole new level.  Keep up the good work!  Thank you, Children’s, for making my day beautiful!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We March On

Thinking of the recent election and the noise that's been created as a result, I am beginning to think it's time to refocus on what's most important.  It's so easy to get caught up in this kind of political world if you allow it.  As if I really know what it's all about, right.  My response to our president's reelection was quite depressing.  I never knew how much of my heart I had invested in the idea of us having a replacement that would put our country on a brighter path.  Apparently, my heart was set.  Now having recovered from a big setback, I feel it's time to get back to matters of faith and family; the things that are lasting.  This president will remain for another four years so we must endure and persevere in prayer and build on the tenets of faith, hope and charity.  First and foremost, charity.  It is a great challenge to apply this  throughout the days of our busy lives.  Small acts are just as good as big.  Offering a smile instead of snapping at the post office clerk is a great start!  Have a great day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Great Act of Obedience

When we come together we are to share in the Eucharist.  Some had left this practice, even in the early church and Paul addresses it in 1 Corinthians 11.  We are to listen to the words of Christ and be obedient to His command that we "do this in memory of me" and eat the flesh and blood of the Lord at every assembly.  Paul understood that the ministry and traditions were to be handed down, unaltered.  To reenact the Last Supper in the mass is a great act of obedience to the Lord.  He did not ask us to do this, he commanded it.  It should be our delight like the psalmist in Psalm 40 who says, 9"To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!" Paul is not unlike the psalmist in that he too 10"announced your deed to a great assembly; I did not restrain my lips; you, Lord, are my witness."  He admonished the early Christians by telling them that skipping this important command was doing more harm than good and was causing division amongst the church.  

Common prayer and practices unite us in Christ all across his world.  Private prayer is important too but when we come together, the mass joins us together in a great banquet with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ all across this great globe.  I'm not sure why the Eucharistic meal would be downplayed as unnecessary or as just a symbolic ritual.  The healing and grace that comes from that union with our Lord is something I hope to never miss.  There was a couple in church yesterday, later in their years, and the man was escorting his wife to receive communion.  As I watched this with great respect and admiration, he nudged her forward as if he were presenting her to the Lord.  It was so beautiful to see and you could clearly see that they understood what they were doing and the importance.  They were about to receive the great gift of our Lord.  With great humility we approach HIM, with all our brokenness, he becomes one with us.  I saw this and prayed that one day that might be Mike and I.  I prayed that he might never let me miss the Eucharistic meal, even as I near the end.  As we say those words from Luke's gospel, "For I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof", "But say the word and let my servant be healed." Luke 7:6,7, I bask in Christ's love and healing power.  For I am not worthy but He loves me all the same.  Amen

Friday, August 24, 2012

Surprised, but not Really

In a time when we need to be working together, a direct insult comes flying in my face on the tv screen.  An insult to the Catholic faith that I hold so dear.  In the final moments of my Joyce Meyer episode on GEB network last night, she aired a clip from a woman who was giving praise for Meyer and her ministry work and more importantly how moved she felt at the womens conferences put on by Meyer's ministry.  She went on to say that unlike the Catholic church she was raised in, she got to go on to the alter with all her brokenness and be healed.  As a woman in the Catholic church she also felt she couldn't lead people in faith because she wasn't ordained or a priest.  She then proceeded to say that at the women's conference, it wasn't about 'religion' but LOVE and FEELINGS.  

Okay, my beef is not that she feels connected and feels healing from these conferences.  It may be a very great and moving experience.  To have that many women together, making changes, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts is amazing.  God bless these women!  My beef is that she is purely representing what I see as a generation of people who have a deep misunderstanding of the Catholic church.  A misunderstanding that is just running rampant in our society today and supported by our media and promoted in the evangelical world.  

This woman seems to be speaking specifically and only about the offering of the Mass.  Yes, only a priest can preside over mass and Holy Communion.  That's how Jesus designed it.  Now, if a lay Catholic feels called to hold a woman's conference and have alter calls and inspire women with her gift of communication and call to action…she is very much encouraged to do so.  Please do!  Women play such a vital role in the life of the church.  To complain that you cannot offer mass, is just silly.  There are so many ways that you can offer your gifts to the community and most of them are the same as the priest.  

If you seek understanding in the faith you will find out that the reason Catholics don't ordain women is because when Jesus laid the groundwork of the church, he picked men, his apostles, as his leaders when he certainly could've picked women.  There were plenty of women disciples who were part of the early church.  They didn't hold the role of priests but their role was equally important and vital to the passing on of the faith.  We believe that God does things on purpose.  We may not understand but we are not inn the position to change what God has put in place.
As far as altar calls, we Catholics do an altar call.  If that's what you want, it's called receiving communion.  Every week, daily if you wish, you are invited to the altar, in all your brokenness to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist.  You can't get much more personal than that.  Every time you receive this you are giving a giant "Yes" to Jesus himself and are uniting your weaknesses to him in the holy sacrifice.  

If you're looking for a spiritual high with all the ladies and seeking that only, as proof that you're forgiven and loved by God then you are seeking the Lord in a way that resembles the early part of a relationship, with all the butterflies and warm fuzzies.  In reality, that fades.  We know that.  Love and faith is about commitment, less about feelings and more about a firm foundation in the body of Christ.  

The meaning of religion is so distorted these days.  It's as if denomination and religion are interchangeable.  She knocked 'religion' as if having a belief system is bad.  Christ gave us his word in the bible.  His word is filled with direction and a philosophy that guides us home to Him.  To believe in this is to have religion.  Everything that we "second" rate christians do, or you may call us Catholics; everything we do can be found in the bible and the early fathers of the church could easily walk into Sunday mass and understand what's going on.  Jesus himself would get it.  We don't believe that we have a better way of doing things and so we haven't changed it in 2000 years because if this is what the apostles were moved by the Spirit to do, well then that's what we should do.  Jesus did say, "do this in memory of me".  What he was telling us to do had everything to do with sharing the gospel and receiving his flesh and blood.  He didn't say, "do this if you feel like it" or "go ahead, change it up if you want, whatever makes you feel good".  

There is no "Joe Catholic", it is the church Christ founded and handed on to his Apostles whom have passed it down to their successors through the centuries.  It wasn't a bunch of misguided religious zealots.  For 1500 years this is what Christianity was.  Until Luther came along and redid the bible according to his inspired ways and changed a few words to support his cause and now we've got some 38,000 protestant faiths, not counting all the non-denominationals, that think they've got the way to Christ.  If the Spirit is moving all these churches how come the spirit is confusing them so much with all kinds of different beliefs.

I am disappointed to have seen this on my uplifting late night program.  I know evangelicals don't like the Catholic church and I accept that.  I firmly believe that I'm not the only Catholic mom watching this at night.  Christians should be having a dialogue on faith in a hope for unity but promoting this division is not helping at all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Firm Foundation

Today's scripture reading is from Ephesians 2.  In verses 19-22 we hear about the building of Christ's church.

"So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.  Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord, in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." 
(Eph 2:19-22 NAB)
Verse 20 had a special ring and made total sense in relation to Catholicism and it's enduring strength over the centuries since Christ's death and resurrection.  The sacred tradition of the Church adheres to this very passage.  We have continued to stand strong on our firmly placed foundation of Christ as the cornerstone and the remaining foundation of the early church of the apostles.  It is in this that the Spirit has continued to live and guide Christ's people. Despite all the events over time that have threatened our faith, we remain standing 2000 years later.
I know that it truly will take an act of God to unite peoples of faith but I gained a little insight from Joyce Meyer the other night.  She may not even realize that she summed up the root of division in the Christian faith and it boils down to this, "we have an authority problem".  In our modern society, it is deemed a great threat to our individuality and self expression to submit to someone's authoritative voice.  In the Christian realm, protestants have suffered greatly from this refusal to see the pope as an authoritative figure.  Having left this out of their doctrine, they have welcomed a vast array of conflicting theological interpretations and cannot even find reconciliation in the foundation of the church because they have abandoned sacred tradition in exchange for free thought.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Firm in Faith

In light of a recent article I read, regarding the Dutch Roman Catholic Church, I decided to make a few comments in response.  The article was in regards to castration of boys who were homosexual back in the 1950's.  This is a horrific story of faith practice gone wrong.

Why stay Catholic in a time when there seems to be so many strikes against the Catholic Church?  As a Catholic, I understand the priest is not immune to sin.  In situations where this occurs we are to pray for them that they may see the error in their ways while also seeking justice.  Good thing we worship God and pray for His people, lay and ordained.  We pray with the followers for the community as a whole.  My favorite quote is "the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints."

There are many scars on the body of Christ.  We do not deny that they exist but in our humanness, we often try to paint over the ugliness, putting on a facade, a happy face, hoping that the scar will not show and ultimately defame the good that comes from faith.  Unfortunately, the paint starts to crack and the old crud underneath is revealed and we are forced to face the ugliness again.

I choose to stand through the trials, I choose to stay the course.  There are trials and treachery in all of life.  We will encounter great betrayal from friends, family and yes, even our church.  The Lord knows that the ship he's steering will not always be a shiny prism of light as where there is great goodness, there can also be grave tragedy.  Just as the day turns to night.

So as a mathematician sees the truth in the equation, I see the truth in the Church and the teachings.  So as a crooked businessman may use his truth in numbers to swindle his clients out of money or to cover up a mistake of a collegue, so may a priest or other religious use true biblical teachings for personal gain or for reason to inflict harm on another person.  The action of a person does not disprove the truth at the root of it all.

We all have equal responsibility to take the truth and use it for good but some choose to breach their responsibility and for that they are wrong, no doubt. I feel terrible for the victims of this exercise that took place in the name of right teaching.  However, it doesn't make me want to renounce my faith in Christ's church, it makes me want to understand my faith more in that I may help lead others in the right direction and help guide those who may be misguided.