Mary Magdalene was transformed by God’s love so are we

Mary Magdalene

Mommy Mantra July 22, 2014:  Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20, John 20: 1-2, 11-18

Today we celebrate Mary Magdalene.  Many use this Gospel to point out that this is a story of Mary Magdalene’s growing and transforming faith.  They point out that she went to the tomb in the earliest of morning hours while it was still dark, saying the symbolism of the early darkness is Mary’s unbelief, further saying that her running away from the tomb was her running from her growing faith, only to have that faith pull her back to seeking for Jesus, finding him she grips onto him hard not wanting to let him go.

Now, I don’t see the Gospel in the same way.  Mary Magdalene  traveled with Jesus, she is mentioned by name 12 times, more than many disciples, and she is the one who stands at the cross as Jesus dies.  This is not the action of a shrinking violet of faith.

In the Gospel of Mark 16, Mary goes to the tomb with three others; they find the tomb empty but they do not run away.  They confront an angel in the tomb and ask after Jesus.

Gospel of Matthew 28 also has the women, this time two, coming to find Jesus gone and have an encounter with an angel who comes to them in an earthquake.  Again both women stay to hear what the angel has said and goes to tell the men the good news.

Gospel of Luke 24 has two other women joining Mary on her way to visit the tomb.  They also encounter an angel, receive the good news and tell it to the disciples.  They are perplexed, but no where do they seem to be afraid of the angel or to hear the news.

In two of the Gospels she does not running away, but standing there, perhaps confused, amazed, afraid, but she is till there.  In the one other Gospel where she does run she doesn’t go far and her reaction is because suddenly she is face to face with an angel who comes in an earthquake and is so dazzling that he looks like lightning, I’d run too!

It’s very interesting John’s take.  His Gospel is said to be written from the perspective of an eye witness account, so is his Gospel closer to what really happened and the others interpret the events according to their audience and their understanding, or need to understand, the message of Christ?   I don’t like seeing Mary Magdalene as weak, fearful.  She is the one that Jesus casts out the seven demons. She is usually thought of as the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary, the mother of Jesus.  It is interesting that in Aramaic, “Magdala” means “tower” or “elevated, great, magnificent, because she alone is the first to see Jesus at the Resurrection.

To me her association with Jesus gives her confidence and strength.  She is a woman so transformed by her experience of and association with Jesus that her life is never the same.

Today let’s pray for each others transformation.

What is your true calling?

Spiritual Hero
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You’re a remarkably spiritual soul. The true meaning of your life is defined by your faith and deep connection with God. As you may know already, this road is not a particularly easy one. It’s full of bumps, mountains, and valleys. But you’ve held on long enough, and there’s nothing stopping you from reaching what you’re called to do!

I have taken a few of those many quizzes you find on the web, those quizzes your friends on Facebook have taken and posted their results, or Twitter pals have sent you a link because they thought you might find the quiz fun, and found them interesting.  As someone who had to write surveys in college social work and psychology classes I know that the way they are written helps you, the participate, get the information the survey writer wants, and some insight for you the taker.

This one called “What is your true calling?” had me from the title.  It was purported to help you find your spiritual calling, now I know an internet quiz isn’t the way of going about finding your calling, but I am a sucker for these anyway so I took it. I got “Spiritual Hero“.  I thought it was an interesting type of calling and I began to wonder two things: A. Did it fit me, B. was it compatible with what I know Spiritual Direction to be?

To find out what this all meant I had to  pray for some guidance from the Holy Spirit; something I would recommend to anyone dealing with spiritual/God things. It is always a good idea to put yourself in the positive presence of God because He’s got your back.

Did it fit me?  With these tests you have to take them with a grain of salt, they are just for fun, but still there are some insights.  For me, what struck me was: The true meaning of your life is defined by your faith and deep connection with God. My earliest remembrance of my relationship with God was as a small child.  I would look up at the clouds and imagine God riding them like a great chariot.  And as a young school age child I had always had two sandwiches, one for me, one for my guardian angel.  I loved going to Mass and always felt at home there, loved there, cared for there.  When my dad died, it was my faith that got me through my grief. Faith, especially my Catholic faith, has been a foundation for my life expression.  It is a core value.  So yes this part of the quiz was true to me, but the questions where written so I would get that response, but doesn’t diminish the insight.

Now, how does it fit my thoughts on Spiritual Direction. Well, the title Spiritual Hero makes me a wee bit uncomfortable.  Spiritual Hero is a far too aggressive title for me.  I am not a hero.  I am just a mom trying hard to live my faith, answer my calling, be me, and I am far from prefect which is how I see heroes, right or wrong.  And can I call myself a hero, isn’t that word given to you by others?

But there is something that is part of the quiz that is basic to spiritual direction; that you the director, has been through the peaks and valleys of faith/spirituality, that is what makes a good spiritual director.  It makes you a good director because you have been there, survived it, and can point out the pot holes.

And isn’t that what we want, someone who can guide us from falling into the traps, the holes, down blind alleys, dead ends?

 

Looking at the past to see the future, present

Mommy Mantra: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8 Matthew 12: 38-42
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What do both of these readings have in common? Look into your past to find your future.
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Both Micah and Jesus evoke memories of past events to show the power of God in the present. They were not asking for the people to dwell on past wrongs but to remember the triumphs.
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These readings talk about God’s guidance: Sheba coming to Solomon seeking counsel.
Jonah in the belly of the whale being transformed, Jesus resurrection.
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So. It begs the question: Looking at events of your past where do you see God leading you?
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Let’s pray in support of each other’s calling

Answer Number 2: Jeannie’s Question When Did Jesus Know

Jeannie asks:

Saint Thomas Aquinas

I’ve always been confused about this passage:  “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…..” Luke 9: 23. Did He, (Jesus), know he would be crucified and predict it exactly or did Luke paraphrase His words after the fact?

This is a great question for you to try a Saint Ignatius mediation technique: praying over a scripture/theological question, like the one you ask.

To help you begin let’s look at each of the Gospel writers individually:

  • Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written by a second-generation Christian and Mark’s material was dictated to him by St. Peter, who later compiled it into his, (Mark’s), gospel.  He seems to not be from the area, because much of the geography was wrong, but that does not take away from the importance of the message.
  • The Gospel of Matthew was written by an witness: Matthew himself.  His Gospel was written for Jewish Christians by a Jewish Christian.
  • The Gospel of Luke written by Luke who was an associate of St. Paul but not an eye witness.  Luke was a Christian writing for Christian.
  • As for the Gospel of John is very interesting.  Many scholars believe that the “beloved disciple” is a person who heard and followed Jesus, and the gospel of John is based heavily on the witness of this “beloved disciple.”
Gospel Traditional author and apostolic connection
Gospel of Matthew Saint Matthew, a former tax-collector, one of the Twelve Apostles.
Gospel of Mark Saint Mark, a disciple of Simon Peter, one of the Twelve
Gospel of Luke Saint Luke, a companion of Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles
Gospel of John Saint John, one of the Twelve, referred to in the text as the beloved disciple

If we read the passages before verse 23 we read: “And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must  suffer many things and  be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9: 21-23

Did Luke paraphrase? I don’t think that paraphrase is the right word here.  As Catholics we believe that the writers of the Gospels were guided by the Holy Spirit, had the resources of the oral tradition of the knowledge of those disciples who were in a directed relationship with Jesus and had gone on before them, as well as the teaching of the early church.  Seeing that each writer had a specific audience the wording difference, or paraphrasing, is the choice of the writer to make Jesus’ message clearer, not as an attempt to change the meaning.

Now for the technique. Before you begin take the time to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Imagine yourself in the scene of Luke where he telling his disciples that he will die.  Imagine yourself there.  Imagine you asking a disciple what they think, ask Jesus himself.  Take time to pray over what you experienced.  Then let me know what you come up with, write me a comment, I think many would be interested by what you experience.

References:

Catholic Culture

Catholic Stand

Christian Courier 

Don’t Worry Be Happy

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was written by Adams, Bryan / Hedges, Ray / Bracegirdle, Nick / Brannigan, Martin.

Read more: Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Ain’t got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don’t worry, be happy
The landlord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don’t worry, be happy
Look at me, I’m happy

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Give you my phone number
When you worry, call me, I make you happy

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style
Ain’t got no girl to make you smile
But don’t worry, be happy
‘Cause when you worry, your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Now there, is this song I wrote
I hope you learned it note for note
Like good little children
Don’t worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy, be happy now

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Be happy
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Don’t worry, be happy

Today let’s get unstuck

Get your act together

Mommy Mantra July 18, 2014: IS 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8, MT 12:1-8
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In the reading this morning King Hezekiah is told to get his house in order before he dies, and the Gospel sees Jesus challenging the Pharisees about the letter of the Law.
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These seem so disconnected but I see a thread. We have King Hezekiah, who when faced with death pleads for more life. God hears and answers the pray but warns Hezekiah not to waste the opportunity given; get some things that have gummed up your spiritual-emotional life out of your life. He doesn’t do that. Like many of us he sees the chance and acts like the school boy given more recess only if he hit erasers, he hits them for a second but if off to the playground.
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In the Gospel just yesterday Jesus says for us to pick up his yoke, don’t worry be happy, and follow him. Now he adds that we shouldn’t be worried about the letter of the law, but our actions.
I bet we all know people who have said yeah (!) that’s what needs to be done, but are still stuck in law. I bet WE have done that.
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Like Hezekiah we think for a while about the gift we have been given, even do some things to forward that gift but…..
We hear Jesus tell us over and over again how much more spiritually-emotionally unburden we would be if we just let go of some of the things that are holding us back. We do some unburdening but……
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Today let’s get unstuck.

First FYI Wednesday Answers: Marisa’s children and prayer question.

Vicky (19) relating her first remembrance of God, about age three:

I remember thinking that He would keep all the babies in a pocket next to his heart and he would hand pick the parent of each child. I believed that he would sit on his throne in heaven looking down on everyone and that you had to ask him to be able to get a gift or to do something, in sense believed him to be my father. I remember not being scared of him because I know he loved(s) and cared(s) for me. Also not being as curious of him as I was when I was a  young teenager. He made the world make sense for me.

I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such questions about motherhood and spirituality, children’s  spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; I have received four: Thank you so much, a great start.

From Marisa, she asks: How do you encourage children to pray when they don’t believe it works? Thank you!

Thank you, Marisa.  Since I am no sure the ages of the children it might be helpful to review their spiritual development.

The “global” stage – Infant to seven zzzzzz
  • Does not differences between religious faiths
  • Can appreciate religious symbols and rituals but,
  • Don’t connect to God
The “concrete” stage – Eight to 12 zzzzzz
  • Still very grounded in the concrete thought
  • Beginning to develop a greater sense of spiritual identity based on:
    • personal experience
    • religious practice
  • Rituals effective in helping children understand religious themes.
The “personal connection” stage – 13 -18 zzzzzz
  • A feeling of personal closeness to God
  • Budding actual relationship
  • God becomes a confidante

Reference: David Elkind, Ph.D., professor of child study at Tufts University

Now how can moms help their children develop a relationship with God?

Parents with children ages birth to 5
  • Participate as a family in rituals and practices that engage the five senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
  • Adapt your religious and spiritual practices to match your child’s developmental abilities. Children this age may only be able to sit 10-15 minutes (or less) at one time. Offer a quiet activity or book to keep your child engaged.
  • Encourage your child to talk about her interpretations of spiritual or religious concepts, asking questions to clarify comments, rather than judging what she says.
Parents with children ages 6 to 9
  • Together, read stories and enjoy music and other creative arts that have religious or spiritual themes.
  • Make conversations about spiritual matters a part of your family life.
  • Spend time regularly with other parents and families who share your spiritual beliefs, practices, and priorities.
Parents with children ages 10 to 15
  • Encourage your child to take part in positive peer groups that reinforce and nurture his spiritual commitments.
  • Talk with other parents (including parents of older teens) about your family’s experiences with religious and spiritual commitments.
  • Keep talking with and listening to your child, even if she says things about religion or spirituality that worry or disappoint you.
Parents with children ages 16 to 18
  • Model spiritual beliefs and practices that are important to you. At this point in parenting, actions often speak louder than words.
  • It’s okay for your teen to seek out adult mentors with deep spiritual commitments or practices, even if those practices differ from your own. Exposure to different cultures and belief systems can help him evaluate and define his own

Note for moms of teens: Be open to following your teenager’s lead if she/he introduces you to spiritual passions and commitments that are important to her/him, but are different from yours. If she/he moves in directions that cause you concern, share your perspective and listen to what she/he has to say.

Now I would ask what has happened, a divorce or death of a significant person in the children’s life; because this can break the bond of trust that is developing.  It is important to talk with the children to help them process what has happen.  Children will by nature think that they have somehow created the situation, helping them process out what happen and how they were not responsible can help rebuild a relationship with God.

You might want to get the Prove It book series by Amy Welborn.  Amy Welborn is an American Roman Catholic writer and activist, as well as a public speaker. Formerly, she was a theology teacher at a Catholic high school in Lakeland Florida and served as a parish Director of Religious Education; here is her website

Marisa, I hope this helps.

Reference: Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence at spiritualdevelopmentcenter.org.

 

Next answer to question 2:  When did Jesus knew.

Let Nothing Trouble You

Mommy Mantra July 17, 2014: Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my478230_461454107223096_1494209975_o yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

 

We ask how can God allow suffering to happen. He doesn’t. That is our work.

Mommy Mantra July 16, 2014: “The Lord will not abandon his people.” Psalm 94:14 (Responsorial Psalm)
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“The Lord will not abandon his people.” That is a promise! But we get so caught up in the everyday, we get buried by our own worries and concerns, we take on the news about celebrities as if it were mother’s milk, we hear about events of the world and we feel so overwhelmed by it all that God being in his universe and all is right with the world seems like a cruel joke.
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We ask how can God allow suffering to happen. He doesn’t. That is our work.
Why does he seem to give more to others and less to some. Again that is on us. Why didn’t/doesn’t he answer prayer. How do we know he hasn’t?
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It is said that all it would take to relieve hunger is 30 billion dollars while we spend 780 billion on war. It is not God that does this.
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Yet God loves and provides for us everyday.
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We pray and think God does not answer our prayer but how many of us look back over the months that have past and suddenly see God’s hand all over the situation? When we are in the midst of it we can not see the whole.
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It does a heart good to detach from the news which feeds us facts along with hyperbole and spend time with God: praying, reading Scripture, absorbing the beauty that surrounds us. God’s good give balance to the evil of the world.
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Today let’s pray for balance