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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From Head to Heart

Every time I go to mass I am so inspired by the people receiving the Eucharist.  I am so inspired also when there is a person who walks up the aisle, unable to receive, but goes up anyway just for the blessing from the priest or eucharistic minister.  I always pray for the parishioners that their hearts may be moved by the Spirit and that they may feel that desire to form a relationship with our Lord.  

I seem to forget to include myself in that picture.  As much as I think I have a personal relationship with the Lord, it seems I just have a hard time feeling it.  I desire it, I seek it, I long for that closeness.  I am waiting for that 'aha' moment where I feel the Lord's presence.  When speaking with my evangelical friends, they rave so much about this personal relationship with Jesus.  Jesus is their friend.  

Jesus is my friend too.  I just haven't yet connected in my heart, the truth that I know in that we have such a personal encounter with Christ in the Eucharist that I should never doubt my closeness.  

So as I observed this again tonight at the mass for Ash Wednesday I decided to add myself to the prayers for the people and the desire to seek full relationship with the Lord.  I figured out recently that it is not enough for me to just pray for more convicted Catholics but I have to be included in the prayer too.  

We are the light in darkness.  We need to let that light shine.  It will not happen by knowing more than anyone else in matters of theology or the ability to win an argument.  It comes from letting down the walls of your heart.  Walls are built out of insecurities and those walls prevent us from becoming full of Christ and his love for us.  God doesn't want us to hide from our fears but rather confront them.  

Ask the questions.  Share your doubts and fears with Him.  He knows that we are brave and courageous if we cling to him for strength.  We need bravery and courage to be the light in this world.  As we begin another lenten season, I'm praying for the light in me to shine and that I will let it.  I'm praying for the courage and bravery to be the best me I can be in following the will that God has for me.  I'm praying that the inspiration I receive at mass will bring me to a place of action in that my convictions will get out of my head and into my heart and be light to those around me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So Loved

I couldn't stop the tears from coming.  
forcing their way through the labyrinth in my heart, 
surging through, 
up and over every wall, 
exiting the portal of my soul. 

The eyes don't lie. 
It was unstoppable.  

Freedom and life is what followed 
after the walls opened and released the 
that I had put on myself.  

By our everlasting God.  
Like music to my ears, 
the music rumbled through my veins.

For all the children and adults who don't know their fathers or have little or no contact with their dads.  i am a firm believer that you always have the desire to love and be loved by your father.  Regardless of how little you know about him.  

Let it be known that you are loved.  You have a father.  An almighty God, everlasting, eternal, merciful, loving, forgiving father.  He is your creator.  He is the potter, we are the clay.  We are His masterpiece.  Every hair on our bodies, He loves.  He will never turn his back on you.  For when you call His name he is yours.  

When I finally realized this at 33 years of age.  I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the feeling of belonging to someone.  For the first time in my life I felt wanted.  Not in the romantic or sexual way.  Like a father loves his daughter.  My existence was validated.  I was loved by the Father.  However absent my own biological father had been throughout my life, the sorrow and emptiness was lifted at that moment when I realized that I had a father all along.  This father loved me with his whole heart, despite all my short-comings.  And all he asks is that I love him in return.  

I was reading my parish magazine and noticed a quote from a teenage girl who had discovered this very same truth while on a Steubenville youth retreat.  I was elated that she was given this beautiful gift and the grace to receive it at such a young age.  What a blessing it might have been to have had this revelation earlier in my life.  i've become comfortable with the fact that God's timing is not my time.  He knows what he's doing so I trust that he revealed this gift to me when I was ready to receive it.

We are made for more.  The troubles of this life, the pain, the suffering, the feelings of neglect will never surpass the joy and love the Father has for his children.  We are the apple of his eye:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Left Wanting

"so paralyzed by indecision-zapping my motivation, can't get off the couch or my fingers off the computer.  Media, stealing all my life and I'm letting it.  Encouraging it.  Why do I seek answers in the internet?  Why do I expect a plan that is clearly laid out for me before taking action?"

These are words from my free-writing in a moment of dark emotion and frustration.  So I got to thinking… this indecision is caused by fear.  Fear of failure, fear of discomfort, fear of disapproval, fear of you-name-it.  This fear that paralyzes us, turning us into zombies, is not of God.  This fear takes us away from God and the beauty that he sees in us.  He wants us to be risk-takers.  Risk it all for Him.  What in this life is more valuable than the will of God?  Nothing!  

First and foremost God wills us to love Him.  God wills us to love His people.  God wills us to love ourselves as he loves us and that means getting rid of that negative self-talk that chains us to our chairs and becoming motivated by the love for us from our maker.  

Everything about us He created.  He calls us to be like Him.  We are made in his image.  We only become more like Him when we build on our character and shed the layers of contempt and self-loathing to reveal the beauty that He's created in us.  

This self-loathing is fed by the surrounding environment of the world we live in.  We're not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough or strong enough.  All of these influences throw us into a deep, dark ravine that is filled with the toils of "I can't do this because of …".  You can fill in with any of the factors above or others I've left out.  

We are led to believe and worship the god of perfectionism.  This is worldly perfectionism that is unattainable since we measure against the standards of the society in which we live and not the standards of Gods love.  The measure in society is always changing and is so dependent on personal emotion and external pleasure.  In this technological sound-byte world we are continually seeking that emotional high.  This is not lasting and will forever leave you wanting.  

We need to seek that which is lasting and true.  God's love is enduring and unchanging.  His infinite mercy cannot be outdone.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting Over Denominationalism

copyright Angela Harvotich

God was revealed to us most intimately through his son Jesus Christ.  He continues to be present with us here on earth through the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit and in the real presence of the Eucharist.  Lately, I've been thinking about all the various denominations in Christianity.  I am really beginning to wonder how anyone can think this makes sense.  Being indifferent in matters of faith just doesn't fit scripturally.  

What I cannot make peace with is the fact that many of these churches claim to be led by the Spirit.  How can the Spirit have so many different view points.  It's like a schizophrenic Christ.  This is crazy!  Christ is not a flip-flopper.  He does not change according to the group of believers.  God is Jesus is the Holy Spirit.  The word is given to us and reveals the truth of God and the great love and hope for his people.  He did not say his teachings were open to personal interpretation.  He said he would give his spirit to the church, His holy church and that church would be guided in truth. He said what he meant and meant what he said.  

I'm so glad that I don't rely solely on my own personal interpretation of the meaning of Christianity and the Word.  There's great humility in knowing I don't have all the answers and also great relief in knowing that I don't have to have all the answers.  I mean, Jesus could mean something different to me every other week, since life is ever changing and my outlook can be influenced by many exterior factors.  We can't confine Jesus to our definition and then change it when we see fit.  He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega.  That's HUGE!  The Bible is not a piece of literary fiction that we can edit and interpret to fit our liking.  "I am who am".  What else can you say to that?  If we believe that the Bible is truly the inspired word of God, how can you believe that it means whatever we want it to mean?  

When we study literature and philosophy we don't analyze it to see what we think it means to us unless we are simply seeking entertainment.  If we want to know the truth behind the words we study to find out what the source was trying to say to us in the work.  It is a reflection of the author and who he/she is.  There is one true meaning in the word of God.  How we apply the truthful meaning to our lives can be different but the truth is there and it doesn't change with the times.  

This kind of division in our faith doesn't serve us or Christ well.  Division spells weakness.  It's time that we start learning more about each other and discover our common ground and use that as a foundation for coming together.  If we can find our similarities and learn the truths of the faith together that will create a united body of Christ.  Now this is a tall order and requires immense grace from the Father.  His plan is greater than ours and even with work on our part, unity will inevitably come on His time.  A great change requires hearts that are willing to grow and change.  Great on paper, not so simple in practice.  Only with a deep seeking of Christ and truth can we even begin to overcome this division.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A House Full of Boys:)

Tonight I was so very blessed to have a 30-minute conversation with my 12-year-old!  It is very rare that I get that kind of block to sit one-on-one with any of my children.  It turned out to be a nice conversation about school, how he likes some classes better than others and is thinking of joining choir next year.  He even asked me a few questions about myself.  I was delighted to share some of my stories and insights with him.  As we enter the teen years, him being my first-born, I am trying to prepare for more serious issues than this.  I'm thankful that it was so light-hearted.  I worry myself, maybe for good reason, maybe out of fear, because I know boys don't always talk about personal things.  I'm glad that when he came up to chat, I took the time.

Like I said, I was delighted to share some of my own personal experience with my son.  The reason being, I am one woman in a house full of boys.  Often the desires of the lady of the house are overlooked and even ignored at times.  Not intentional of course but purely because they are young boys and are not that interested in long conversations with mom and my artsy interests.  My husband really does good, but he's a man too and surely cannot relate well to things of the female type.  I was raised an only child to a single mother.  All I knew was girl stuff.  I find it quite ironic that I now am surrounded by boys.  Talk about complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  Not to mention, my mother was a hair dresser so I spent much of my life in a beauty salon.  

Going from a quiet girly house to a wild crazy sports filled house is something that I still have to adjust to from time to time.  I just can't believe how much energy boys have.  I swear it's all different too, depending on the stage they're at in development.  They express it in many different ways.  I've found that around the third/fourth grade years it comes out in pointless noise and sounds from the mouth.  As a person who sings, I think there are many pleasant sounds that can come from the mouth but I can't help but be a little annoyed by all the random sounds these boys come up with as they're doing everything around the house.  It could always be worse and so I just try to tune it out.  Again, I'm hard wired for quiet.  I think of it as a growth experience for me in accepting the quirks and silly antics of others.  Growth is always good!  

In a couple weeks we will have the opportunity to find out the sex of our new baby and I have to be honest, I'm hoping for a girl.  I love my boys so much and will still be totally in love with another little boy if that's what we've been given.  While talking to a good friend today and listening to her talk about dance class and dresses, I do believe my desire for a little girl increased.  She would be such a little princess and we need another girl in the house so the boys can see that it's not just mom who talks a lot.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reason to Write

Oh how important writing is.  Writing is a kind of catharsis for me.  It is a way to release and purge, to purify the mind.  What comes out onto the page or screen is not always beautiful but it helps to sort ideas and place them appropriately.  We may also stumble onto things about ourselves that we never knew.  Sometimes I think, "where on earth did that idea come from?"  

Some may say, "I'm not a good writer".  That's why practice of writing is so important.  Creating a habit is difficult but once the work of establishing habit is complete, your creative ability has more freedom to flow.  How interesting is it that routine and structure allows freedom.  It's a conundrum of freedom in fixation.  

On the other hand, if you have a talent for words but don't know where to start. here's a morsel of guidance.  In recent years I heard something about 'growing where your planted'.  It's most beneficial to you and others if you can find a way to grow right where you are in life.  Some may think this is restrictive, but it is very rare for a person to be gifted in a way that they can simply write well about anything.  Write about what you know.  I also see the planted part as the gifts we've been given by our creator.  We did not choose these gifts nor can we change them.  We can be unaware or neglecting of them.  Our job is to discover the gifts we have and develop them.  Development comes from routine, discipline, drive, courage and learning.  

Very few writers are born ready to write best-selling novels.  The skill level comes from a discipline that creates boundaries that in turn provides focus.  Skimming the top of lots of ideas will lead to mediocrity.  Digging deep into what you're good at is where you will grow leaps and bounds.  If your good at something you don't remain good at it unless you work at it.  Improvement involves pushing your limits.  

Even writing for pleasure takes discipline to see the benefit.  Committing to a daily journal can be the hardest thing in the world.  Often we sit down, look at the page, and think that there is nothing worth recording.  Just start writing.  Once you get started the thoughts and emotions will break through that wall of self-critique.  No one has to agree with what you say or like your style of writing.  It is purely for release and mental stimulation.  Writing a letter to a person that you'll never send can be very healing.  Getting your ideas for a new business out on the paper can bring you a more clear outlook.  Free writing may bring you to an idea for a short story or article if you are looking for more in-depth writing tasks.  Finding an emotion that was difficult to deal with in the day and confronting it on paper may lead to a solution.  If you work out a conflict on paper before conquering it in real life you'll have greater success and if it involves another person, you may save face by having already organized your thoughts instead of just spewing out of emotional reaction.

Don't stop before you even get started.  Shut up and write!  In journaling you're creating a history book in a sense, about yourself, for your family members to read and share for years to come.  What a learning experience that could be for a child or spouse.  To sensor or not to sensor, that's a personal choice but highly discouraged.  In a journal you can reveal your true self and all the intricacies of your soul.  How beautiful!  Maybe it's not always picture perfect but who is?  

I've always loved writing.  It's been a great way to reminisce and record special events in my life.  It's been a way for me to vent and express things that maybe I would rather not share with anyone but can't hold in.  It's not about becoming a professional writer.  You don't have to want to write for a living to write for pleasure.  One thing that's really fun to start with is writing a letter to a friend and mailing it.  Remember how exciting it was to get a letter from a friend when we were little?  It's still exciting when we're older!  I can remember reading and re-reading the letters my friend would send to when I was a little girl.  I could be connected with her at any time through her words in the letters.  

Writing is important.  I highly recommend it in this age of snapshot news and video clips.  It takes thought and effort.  Writing allows deep, free expression of ideas and promotes growth in mind and spirit.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On My Fridge

Oh how we can complicate things in life.  There is such simplicity if we just allow it.  How often I contemplate a topic or idea and I just make it so impossible to undertake because I simply over think, over analyze, over plan and by that point I forgot about the simple truth that got the whole ball rolling.  In which case results in a failure to start.

I've learned that it is best to just put one foot in front of the other.  That in itself is a success.  'Just keep going' has been my mantra for quite some time now.  Especially after 12 years in the restaurant business.   Small victories keep us going and help us stay focused.  For someone like me who sees the big picture and wants it all now, this is very difficult, but necessary for any kind of fulfillment.  It takes daily reminding and this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson puts life in perspective for me.  I keep it on my fridge so I don't miss it.
To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded! -Emerson
We all seek greatness.  Some seek it on big ways, others in the little ways.  Either way success can be attained.  On Emerson, to win "the affection of children".  Isn't that the truth.  Children are smart and if you have a child who wants to give you a hug or snuggle with you, that's a true blessing.  So often we get busy and these endearments are brushed aside or just taken on-the-run.  With each child, I'm learning to slow down a little and really enjoy the snuggle time when it's available because it ends quick.

I love critics!  I often encounter critics in the arena of faith and family.  I may not feel the love in the heat of a debate but in the end I am so thankful for the opportunity to grow in conviction and also for the opportunity to learn.  The critics I've been graced with seem to be pretty honest and I don't think they hate me.  Appreciate, now that's questionable.

I have three healthy children and a garden patch.  One question.  Do I have to accomplish all of the the things on the list before I'm a success or is it an any/all type of deal?  There I go complicating things again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Workers in the Vineyard

This morning I was brought to tears while reading about the life of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  At an early age of nine, I was inspired by her  profound faith and willingness to live out God's will for her.  In doing so, she was taken on quite of journey of servitude.  She lived to teach others the faith and love of Christ.  She brought people to the faith through Catholic education and eventually started a religious community of teaching sisters.  She managed to accomplish all this while being a widowed mother of five!  This moment of quiet reading provided great affirmation of my vocation of wife, mother, and lay ministry.      

I think about the call to marriage and motherhood.  As I journey through my fourth pregnancy I often get caught up in the idea that I won't be able to do anything that makes a difference for a while, especially in the area of career success.  Often I overlook the meaningful and important duties of being a wife and mother.  Our duties as a homemaker are more important than we know.  Every time we tie a shoe, wash dishes, fold clothes, wipe a face, feed our family, we are caring for one of God's children.  What a high honor.  We are doing the Lord's work even when we feel like our brains are dead and boring.  At this point in my life I am learning to see this more and more.  It's sometimes hard to grasp the beauty of motherhood when there's barely time to comb my hair, at least not until everyone is in bed and by that point it seems more appealing to collapse and forget it until morning.  Who's going to see me anyway?  

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was a woman who was on fire for her faith.  She wanted people to receive the sanctifying grace of the Lord and to learn the way to eternal salvation.  I am an eternal learner and hope only to share the truth that I attain through my search for answers in a way that encourages thought on God and his plan for us.  I pray that others will seek truth in all things and desire truth in their faith, uncomfortable or not.  Faith isn't meant to be easy.  

This holy woman struggled through great loss of her husband at the early age of 30 and was widowed with five children to care for.  I am willing to bet that this was not the vision she had for her life but she let God take the reigns and she went along to see the greatness that would come out of this less than desirable place she now resided.  She was not an ordained religious but she had great hope for the lay faithful.  As Christians we have such an important role in the nurturing of souls for Christ's Kingdom.  What we do in our daily life for others is God's work in us.  

We need not be teachers in the professional sense but we can be teachers by our lives.  I am a firm believer of leading by example.  Our lives, lived well can be the greatest inspiration for another and we need not do more than simply live the laws of love.  We can all be saints.  The Gospel of love is meant to be shared and lived.  We are His disciples in the holy priesthood.  Be it the mother working in the rearing of her children, listening to a friend in need, feeding the poor, or attending Sunday service.  No role is insignificant if done with great love.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

copyright Angela Harvotich

I love people!  Those who know me would agree without hesitation.  I don't mean in the happy flappy superficial way.  I'm talking about the way of love between brother or sister.  The love that's anything but blissful and dreamy.  This is a love that wants to guide and advise in matters of truth and life.  Call a spade a spade and a strike a strike.  Let's be real.  The focus is on real love.  The kind that hurts at times.  I do believe it's out there.  I truly believe there is lasting love that grows and matures, like the loves of generations past.  

I want to encourage a new fortitude in love.  A new fortitude in life even when it's tough beyond your wildest dreams.  Life matters.  Love matters most.  Love is multi-faceted, and involves reaching into the depths of one's soul not just at an emotional and sexual level.  Love is sacrifice, pain, joy, endurance, hope, a journey, contagious, character building.  I believe in love!  We can have love in this life.  Not some cookie cut out of someone else's but our own unique genuine love.  

Transformation in relationship often calls for confronting difficult issues and fixing things that aren't working.  This is not to say that we should find joy in pointing out our loved ones short-comings.  We are to be very forgiving, almost to a fault, but not condoning.  We are to nurture growth and reveal to each other what we may not see for ourselves.  All done out of love and a spirit of service.  In marriage, we should actively strive toward sainthood for ourselves and our spouse.  We want to see one another on the other side.  The only way we can do that is to work for each others best interests on this side of eternity.  

Let not fear hold back development of the soul. Let your spirit bloom and become filled with the Lord for he provides food for the journey.  All the things of the world are passing.  We need to set our sights higher.  We are made for transcendence.  When we stop seeking the higher life, the life of love in the spirit, we dwindle down into a pit of selfishness and stagnancy.  Further learning and risk-taking, it's crucial.  Take the opportunities that enable you to sacrifice your needs for another's.  These things bring us hope and light.  They bring us joy of the eternal kind.  Seek not self-gratification but gratitude.  An attitude of gratitude, that's the way of the saints, the stars of the spiritual life.  This life we have been given is short but not meaningless.  We are to use this time to create community and leadership for the next generation.  Leading people to love.  The lasting kind.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello my lovelies!  I am not feeling lovely right now.  How is it that we try so hard to be different than our parents and no matter what we do we still wind up doing things we hated?  It's even worse when you then see that same attitude or action showing in your own kids.  Talk about the circle of life.  We can learn so much about ourselves from our children!  It's sad when you realize you're mad at your child for behaving in a way that you behave yourself.  Ugh, frustrating!  Well, it happens to the best of us parents.  The only thing I think that's good in the whole situation is that hopefully it's an eye opener for us to work on some of our character flaws.  Yes, I have character flaws.  More than I'd like to admit.  It's really hard to find them sometimes when I'm trying to be the perfect parent and all.  Then I get smacked in the face and I realize, wow, am I blind.  

I just found out that my son wants to be a professional hockey player but hasn't grasped that we're not born that way and that you have to put in a lot of work to become a pro.  Huh, funny.  I am that same way.  Ideas don't make success.  I found that out the hard way over a very long period of time and I still struggle with it.  When you work in your head it is hard to put the ideas in action.  I see the whole project from planning to execution and it all works in my head but the problem is actually doing it in real time.  Being a dreamer is fabulous because there is a new idea every day that is filled with hope and promise but then reality kicks in and, boom, flatlined.  

Being a mother of three, soon to be four children makes it difficult for the simple fact that energy is an element that is often lacking.  That's my one excuse.  I could find many others but they don't really hold water.  This one has some validity.  Most mothers would agree with me.  Except those type A moms who just seem to have it all together.  Coffee isn't cutting it and I don't do drugs or energy pills so I'm at a loss.  Not a lot of time to exercise and I'm out of shape in the way that working out still feels like work.  I'll get to the gym again but not anytime soon.  

Having children is such an enlightening part of life.  Never did I believe I could I feel so much love and pain, success and failure, gain and loss all lumped together in one experience.  It's making me a better person every day.  Thank you God!  I've been given four little ones who constantly keep me in check and remind me that no, in fact, I am not perfect.  No, I do not know everything.  However, it is very beneficial to pretend now and then.  To stop improving and learning is to die.  These little people force me to live.  

lovely |ˈləvlē|

adjective ( -lier , -liest )

exquisitely beautiful : you have lovely eyes | lovely views.

informal very pleasant or enjoyable; delightful : we've had a lovely day | she's a lovely person.

noun ( pl. -lies) informal

a glamorous woman or girl : a bevy of rock lovelies.


lovelily |-ləlē| adverb

loveliness noun

ORIGIN Old English luflic (see love , -ly 1 ).



1 a lovely young woman: beautiful, pretty, attractive, good-looking, appealing, handsome, adorable, exquisite, sweet, personable, charming; enchanting, engaging, winsome, seductive, sexy, gorgeous, alluring, ravishing, glamorous; informal tasty, knockout, stunning, drop-dead gorgeous; killer, cute, foxy, hot; formal beauteous; archaiccomely, fair. ANTONYMS ugly, hideous.

2 a lovely view: scenic, picturesque, pleasing, easy on the eye; magnificent, stunning, splendid.

3 informal we had a lovely day: delightful, very pleasant, very nice, very agreeable, marvelous, wonderful, sublime, superb, magical; informal terrific, fabulous, heavenly, divine, amazing, glorious. ANTONYMS horrible.

idealism |īˈdē(ə)ˌlizəm|


1 the practice of forming or pursuing ideals, esp. unrealistically : the idealism of youth.Compare with realism .

(in art or literature) the representation of things in ideal or idealized form. Often contrasted with realism (sense 2).

2 Philosophy any of various systems of thought in which the objects of knowledge are held to be in some way dependent on the activity of mind. Often contrasted withrealism (sense 3).


idealist noun

idealistic |īˌdē(ə)ˈlistik| adjective

idealistically |īˌdē(ə)ˈlistik(ə)lē| adverb

ORIGIN late 18th cent. (sense 2) : from French idéalisme or German Idealismus, from late Latin idealis (see ideal ).



the title character is a liberal idealist set up to lose a senatorial election: Utopian, visionary, wishful thinker, pipe-dreamer, fantasist, romantic, dreamer, daydreamer, stargazer; Walter Mitty, Don Quixote; rare fantast.

Copyright Angela Harvotich

Dear Jesus, may I not fail today in the things that I do.

But if I fail may I learn something from my failure.

Cause my failures to make me stronger and more determined to live for You.

You are my Lord. Amen