I can’t find the bottom of this bag

EPH 4:17, 20-24 “…..that you should put away the old self of your former way of life”

I hear this Gospel loud and clear.  As a mom, we come into this vocation with whatever we are bringing from our old life.  Often we bring what is good, helpful. But there are those things that we bring that hold us back.  I am speaking of our own woundedness.

As human beings we all deal with a certain amount of spiritual-emotional baggage.  Some of our bags are quite small.  Some are as magical as Hermione’s traveling bag; it seems to hold everything while looking quite normal.  I journey with moms who are dealing with painful pasts, or deep woundedness, these moms feel as if they are the poisoned tree of their family.  They sit in my little office and weep to God of their pain.  I hear that pain because as a human being I have my own woundedness issues.

The second reading is asking us to let our faith be bigger than our fear.  Not an easy thing to do.  It requires that we let go of fear the blocker of all faith, and really prayerful look at ourselves and what we have brought into our vocation.  We just might learn that we brought in more good than bad.

St. Mary Tchou-Ou-Cheu

One of my goals with this blog is to try and introduce fellow faith-filled moms to women saints.  There are many wonderful women who have heard the call of God in their lives and they can be an inspiration to us.

Many of these brave women are not well known so I am trying to bring them to our attention as a way of honouring their sacrifice and work.

So on Saturday I will be posting about an extraordinary woman saint of the Church.  Today it is St. Mary Tchou-Ou-Cheu.

Not much is known of St. Mary Tchou-Ou-Chen.  She is on of the 120 Catholics who died between 1648 and 1930 as its “Martyr Saints of China”.  The Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church in Toronto, Ontario is named for them.


Amendment and Correction: Women Betrayed by Planned Parenthood

In my post: Women Betrayed by Planned Parenthood I have this statement: “One of the speakers, MaryJo Thayer, said: ‘that women do go to have abortions as something they look forward to, they do it because they feel trapped.’  And that is so true.”

Mary Jo emailed me to let me know that I had misquoted, she did not say that but, “I think Cecilia Tombelli or another speaker might have, but it wasn’t part of the speech I gave.

I apologize for my error.  And if I still do not have the right person for that quote, please let me know.

God bless.

Meet Your Mom

When I was little I thought that God had all the babies in His pocket, and in that pocket there was a hole for all the babies to get a chance to peek at their new families. Garth Brooks’ song: Time to meet your Mom, captures that idea beautifully.

Good Fish, Bad Fish

From the site Bible Sharing Online

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53 49 This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright…

The rejection of evil a powerful thing.  Still, what if that evil hits close to home?  Maybe it’s because of the rally on Tuesday, (Women Betrayed), but I am thinking of all those women who came to me when I was director of Project Rachel.  These women told stories of family member rejection.

I am thinking of the moms I have journeyed with who caught their children in compromising situation with drugs, trouble with the law, or sex.

I am thinking of the women who come to speak with me who tell stories of wounds so deep that they believe God will never forgive them.

Certainly if you sit in a pew at any Mass and your heart is heavy, you will hear condemnation.  That is because that is where your heart is, not how God sees you.

If we have not dealt with those wounded places in our lives; those places that cause us to hide from God as Adam and Eve did when they were naked in the Garden, then we see only our offense.  So, we ask, is this Gospel only about throwing out the wicked and keeping the good?  Does that mean there is no way to change, we are just condemned to be throw out?

No, of course not.

Read further in the Gospel and Jesus says: 51 And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.’

New things for old.  New habits for old.  New perspectives for old.  New ways of communicating and viewing fallen away family members.  New ways of self-speaking with ourselves.

In the Psalms, we read for Lent there is great wisdom on how to create this transformation.

  • First: we recognize our woundedness, our sin, our turning away from all who love us.  This we do out of deep guilt.
  • Second: we recognize that God is merciful. He is slow to anger.  We can also be slow to anger if we acknowledge the emotion but put it aside for a moment to hear the other person out, or to hear ourselves out when we pray and self-talk with ourselves.
  • Third: we have to be truthful with ourselves about what we have done.  We may recognize we are wounded or sinful, but recognizing is different then saying: “Yes this is what I have done!”  Once we understand what we have done, how it has affected us and those around us we can begin to make major changes.  That is what the Psalmist means when he wrote: Ps 51:5 For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.
  • Fourth: God’s Grace and healing. Ps 51:3 Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.  This is what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We speak with our Priest.  God, through him, speaks to us of ways to start to heal, to start to change. Ps 51:8 Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom.

For today, my prayer for all of us is that we bring out of our storerooms the old and new, change the old and rejoice in the new.

It’s all about balance, the dishes can wait.

Gospel  LK 10:38-42  The Gospel reading, the story of the sisters Martha and Mary.

Today is the Memorial of Saint Martha, poor suffering Martha.

I have read this or heard this Gospel all my life and always I had the same thought: “Why does Martha get the raw deal and Mary gets to do what she wants!”  I used to think about how selfish Mary was to not help her sister.  These thoughts came at a time when I was in a perfectionistic frame of mind.  I thought if I didn’t do it it, (whatever that it is), wasn’t going to to get done.

I wonder now if that isn’t where Martha was.  Here is Jesus, her friend, her Lord, her Saviour, and what is she doing: housework.

Today I heard this Gospel and sat straight up in my pew.  It’s all about Balance!

What does Jesus say to Martha?  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.”  At first what Jesus is saying kind sound a little belittling, especially if you feel as if no-one helps you.  It’s as if he isn’t going to command Mary to start working and help Martha.  And you want him to force Mary to help because you want and need help for all you have to do.

But look at these words, they are important: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. When we are out of balance, we allow worry and anxiety to come into our lives and blind us to those things, those gifts that are all around us.  Jesus isn’t saying to Martha that she shouldn’t be worried, when appropriate, but she is putting too much into worry and allowing her perfectionism to take over.  Her perfectionism is like a little devil on her shoulder spitting venom into her ear about how Mary never helps, how Mary is always getting out of things. This out of balance view has Martha not being able to see is that the dishes can wait, but those rare moments will fly, and she/you/me will never get them back.  So, if Jesus comes to your house today, stop doing the dishes and sit for a while at his feet; it will do a world of good.

Women Betrayed by Planned Parenthood

rallyThis was my first political rally.  I don’t consider myself to be a political animal.  I hate politicals.  I didn’t go to the rally because of the politics; I went because of the women.

After hearing about Planned Parenthood selling of fetal body parts I was reminded of what Saint Mother Theresa said: “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.
How I wish we were surprised by all manner of killing.

She also has said of abortion that it shows how well a society cares for all of it’s citizens.  We must now realize that abortion is genocide.

I was a past director of Project Rachel. I worked with women who had abortions. One of the speakers, MaryJo Thayer, said: “that women do go to have abortions as something they look forward to, they do it because they feel trapped.”  And that is so true.

If we want abortions to stop we must be willing as a society to give these young women alternatives, help them find the counseling they need, jobs, homes, daycare, education.

We must change the thinking from this will ruin their life to, it may delay goals, but life does get better.  Being a mom isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing.  You will become more powerful, more you than you could ever know.

We need to support not condemn.

It wounds me to the soul when I hear of faith-filled school who have policies of expelling young pregnant students.  Where is the compassion in that!  Those young girls are looking for help! Compassion!

It wounds me to the quick to think of how these moms must feel now that the news is filled with Planned Parenthood’s action.

I stood in there at the capitol thinking of all the women, all the children.  Praying for them. Praying for us.



From girl to the powerful woman called mom: Spiritual Evolution

Children Change Moms Profoundly

Children Change Moms Profoundly

I believe to be a good at any of the listening ministries: psychiatry, psychology, pastoral counseling, and yes, spiritual direction; you have to have had experiences that help to create you as a compassionate person, soulful listener.  In other words you have to be willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

When I was a younger woman: high-school, college age, I was sure I knew what was what.  I was a bit militant in my beliefs that no-one has the right to tell a woman what she should do with her body, and I felt like that for a while; that is until I became pregnant with our first.

At that moment the womb was rented and I was a mom, like or not. I have to tell you I was surprised by that! I was sure that if I was ever to become pregnant I would just go off and have an abortion, but I couldn’t, wouldn’t do that.  It was scary to now be someone’s mom.  I wasn’t finished being me yet and now I have to become someone I don’t even know; mind blown.  Thank God it takes nine months to become a parent, because you need that adjustment period!  You need that time to listen to God’s call in your life.  It’s not just growing up, maturing, no it’s more incomprehensible, perplexing.  It is the reshaping of the soul, spirit, mind: You are co-creating with God in making a new person, wonderfully and marvelously made.

I call this time in my life the time of spiritual evolvement as I went through what I believe some moms go through.  First there is the denial that you are pregnant, must have missed counted, my period will start next week, well, maybe the week after!  Than anger at being pregnant, (if you were not planning to be in the first place), at the thought that God has given you all these gifts and talents that you can no longer use because you are going to be a mom. Then you bargain:  God if I am pregnant you gotta help me out!  Next you go through sorrow at the life you thought you were going to have disappearing as this new imposed life takes root.  But slowly new thoughts prayerfully emerge; thoughts of how your gifts and talents are now going to expand, they were never going to be wasted; you will be using them in greater more profound ways.

It is at that time that you/I became a mom.

But many moms, especially young moms go through this process spiritually blind.  They are so consumed with fear and what society tells them is going to be the worst thing to ever happen to them that they are like drowning women grasping for any life line that is thrown, and sadly that it is a false life line.

When I went off to college I had a roommate who experienced two abortions. What I remember now in highsight was even though I was in my militant you can do anything with your body stage of life I could not give this roommate money for her abortion.  It had nothing to do with it’s cost, at the time abortions where $300.00; it had everything to do with the deep seeded truth that abortion was not the way to go.  Somewhere in my soul I knew this little person did not deserve to die simply because life is messy.  God was putting the situation in front of me to have me look deeply into my own soul to see One: How was I being called to treat someone caught in that situation. How could I be the loving voice, gentle compassionate friend/image of Christ to her?  And two: what should my Christ like response be if she rejects what I have to say and says something like “it’s my body and none of your business what I do!”  She and I never roomed together after that incident and to this day I pray for her and for my own failings at not being insert thought here: _______.

When I was home during breaks working at the jewelry store that was in the same building as an abortion clinic I saw first hand the women who went in and then came out so changed by what had just happened.  Very few seemed to be leaving with a sense of relief and I write more about this experience in my post: The Spirituality of the Window.

Looking back on the journey of my life I can see the paths with their twists and turns, always leading back to those times when God was there as I faced my own worries and concerns at motherhood, was there with friends who dealt with difficulties with motherhood and wept with friends who made decisions that changed their lives beyond understanding.  Motherhood can seen as a role that can swallow you whole if you allow yourself to be.  Or it can become a powerful ministry and witness of Christ, one in which God uses your gifts, talents, hopes and dreams to profoundly change you and the world!  You can become a powerful woman who allows God to take those life experiences that change us and use them to create us into more compassionate and wise women.

Life is messy, and time and time again we are called to be like Christ, and motherhood has a way of helping us to do just that.