The Ferguson crisis, ISIS’ brutality

It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Megan:

I don’t know what is going on in the world.

The Ferguson crisis, ISIS’ brutality. My world in both the microcosm and macrocosm is in a state of disorder. We need to bring back the good and the peace.

The world does seem to be in disarray, and the problems so large that they are overwhelming, but God does not ask us to solve them alone. He asks us to pray for our enemies, work toward creating the Kingdom (fight for a righteous cause), live the greatest commandment: Love God + Love Our Nieghbours + As we love ourselves. There is a key here, an important one: How well do we love; how positive, (Christlike) are we in our thoughts, words and actions.

We should look at our gifts and talents, see what we can do; some are more political and go for the larger problems: think Globally act Locally. Others focus on the community: Teachers come to mind a difficult vocation helping encourage/mold the minds of our youth, and moms who are baptized to be Priest = Nurturer + Prophet = First/Greatest Teacher + Queen = Guide/Partner/Co-“Ruler”

Megan God is in his heaven, and all will be right with the world

God Bless

 


Reblogging: Humanity: Something We All Should Be Concerned About

Did you know that in Tanzania, people who have Albinism, (commonly know as ‘Ablbino’), are segregated, brutalized, sexually assaulted, or even murdered. ~ from HODGEPODGE 4 THE SOUL™   I didn’t either.

As a woman and a mom I am speaking to you fellow mom, fellow believer.  We are all connected one to the other by the simple fact that God wants us to be so: The Greatest Commandment, so, it important for us to learn about the world around, and not just the issues that shout the loudest, but the quiet/silent ones.

It seems that in Tanzania there is a great deal of fear and superstition about the “other.”  In a population where there is little opportunity for education superstition fills in the gaps, and here the idea of those who have Albinism as the “other” is an ancient one.  And by making them the “other” it allows people to treat them as non-human.  Those with Albinism have been raped and killed.  The tradition has it that the skin, body parts of someone with Albinism is very powerful for shamanistic arts.

So, is God calling you to take some action on this cause?


“Get over yourself, God Needs You!”

Sunday was the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Gospel reading was of the Canaanite 397459_191907174296663_142689242_nwoman with an ill daughter.  Now, what was so interesting about this Sunday, was that I was at a church that is far more conservative than I am. I seldom go to this church for Mass because I find that the spiritual conservationism can make me quite upset, and I hate being upset in Mass.

I remember expressing this opinion to my eldest son, and he said something insightful, he said: “Mom, the priest isn’t here to make you happy, he is here to make you think.”  Fair enough. This Sunday what the pastor was saying sounded about as far away from good thinking as anyone can get, it was fire and brimstone which, as far as I am concerned, does not nothing but set up a vicious cycle of spiritual condemnation and worthlessness.

Father equated the “evil one” with the Gospel, for me it was a huge leap, but he forced it to work.  Now here is where I have a problem with what he said.

First off, why are we calling the devil the “evil one“? Why give the devil more power by making the use of his name a talisman.  If we begin to the fear the name we increase the fear and therefore the power of the devil, we give power to the devil.  We have in essence, by increasing our fear, opened ourselves to the devil.  Doesn’t the devil work through fear?

Secondly, isn’t it true that Christ rebuked the devil and therefore gave us the same power? After all in an exorcism this very power is used to rebuke and turn away the devil.  We can not rebuke and turn away Christ, we can reject him but not rebuke him.  If this  is true, who has the greater power: Christ or the devil; Christ of course.

Thirdly, the devil is a rebellious angel, who thrives on crisis of faith, deals in death of soul, mind and spirit,  corrupts positive individualism, (God’s creation of us as individuals with gifts and talents which we use in our mission with Christ-Baptism), distorts free will,  and brings destruction to life, spirituality and emotion.

The devil works through man, is invited by man, creates in man a nature of hate; so why does Father seem to be saying that we have no power over the devil?   Does it make sense that we throw our hands up in the air and say: “Well, we can’t do anything about it the devil is too powerful!”  That can be what you take away from what Father was saying.  Evil in the middle east, Ferguson, Mo, nothing we can do about it all the devil’s fault!  Really, Father, really!

All Christians have the authority to bind evil spirits in Christ’s name (Mk, 16:17)

I for one  believe in Christ and put on the full armor of Christ!  There is a great article by Maximilian “Catholic Tools” Kolbe on the very subject of binding spirits/the devil.  Here is an excerpt:

This may sound outlandish or even like you might not have any authority to say these words.  But these simple words are extremely powerful.

For example how many times have you received communion and never felt like anything happened.  If we truly knew what we are receiving than how much greater would we prepare for Mass and how much more would that Mass effect our life.  In the same sense just because these words might not elicit a big theatrical scene, they still wage war against the Devil.

All Christians have the authority to bind evil spirits in Christ’s name (Mk, 16:17).  Binding an evil spirit is using the Authority of Jesus Christ and His power to make the evil spirit stop what ever it is doing and not to make any further progress.  It is silencing the spirit.  Rebuking is taking authority over the evil spirit and stopping it, too.

When you command in the name of Jesus Christ you are telling the spirit to be disposed of by Jesus.  One is not doing any of this with their own power, but the power of Jesus Christ. More of the article here 

So, now we come to evil in the world. If you have the attitude of oh well can’t do anything the devil is in the world; than what’s going to stop you from giving up spiritually?  Don’t/aren’t we seeing that everyday when people say things like: “Oh it’s too big a problem for me.”  “The world is going to hell in a hand-basket.” “What can I do, I’m only one person!”

As our pastor always tells us when we think the same things, he reminds us of what his spiritual director tells him: “Get over yourself, God Needs You!”

What can you do? Pray.  Work toward a righteous cause.  Educate yourself on the problem.  Write your congress person.  We want change right now, ain’t  gonna happen.  We have to work for change and when the change comes work to keep it.

It’s too big for you, maybe but how ’bout a group of you?

Hand-basket and hell, only if we give up.

So, here’s the question: You going to give up?

 

 




The Spirituality Of The Verse

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,
“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be? ~Lines of dialogue from the movie Dead Poets Society

St. Ignatius of Loyola, dressed as a knight

St. Ignatius of Loyola, dressed as a knight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Saint Ignatius had been an actor I think he would have played the character John Keating, the unorthodox teacher, in the movie Dead Poets Society, who brings his students to a greater understanding of themselves and their world through his teaching of poetry.

There are two lines from the quote about that sounds so Ignatian, the first is this line: And the human race is filled with passion.  Ignatius certainly thought that passion was needed to live life: Passion for Christ, passion for our fellow man, passion in general in that order.  Without passion we can not show our love for God, our neighbour and ourselves.  For Ignatius when he came to understand how much God loved him and as such with how much passion God’s love was, Saint Ignatius knew that it was with the same passion, giving up of yourself to others, that he HAD to live his life.  He would argue that God’s giving us talent and keenness for our vocation of life should be lived with great passion..”And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life“, had to be done with as much passion as God’s love for us.

For to live without passion a life is not worth living.

And the second Ignatian line is: “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”  I can see Ignatius saying just that very line to his students.  What line; what good in the world will you contribute. The play, of course, is life, and it is wonderful to think of life that way.  We are “writing” our story, our poem, with all the colours in the box.  Sometimes our choice of colour is a little dark, but when it is placed next to the brighter colours, the darkness makes the bright, brighter. God gives us these colours and as we live we learn how to use those colours effectively.

Ignatius created the spiritual exercises and examen as ways to help us learn how God is calling us to use our colours, write our story.  We go deeply into our lives looking at all of it: good, bad and ugly; not to shame us but to show us where God was during every time of our lives.  It also shows us where we were in relations to God.  Where we close to him or did we move further away?  We can see patterns in our lives, patterns of strength and patterns of shortcomings.  God wants us to see our strengths as our go to and our shortcomings as things that will teach us lessons and provide us with tools that will become strengths.

For Ignatius God was not punitive, but compassionate, forgiving and greatly in love with us.

 

 


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So What Do I Say To You

smile to hideHere is a chart from Health on ten things to say to someone with depression. They said it far better than I but the last column is my addition to the conversation. There is rarely an explanation for why things don’t work, so I thought it would be helpful to understand that things said in what is thought to be kindness can sometimes be hurtful.

I am here for you Table Cell What to say: 
You’re not alone in this.
What NOT to say: 
There’s always someone worse off than you are.
Why Not: Makes us feel even more worthless.
You matter Table Cell What to say: 
You are important to me.
What NOT to say: 
No one ever said that life was fair.
Why Not: Accusatory, we know life isn’t; that’s not the point.
Let me help Table Cell What to say: 
Do you want a hug?
What NOT to say: 
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Why Not: Accusatory, we aren’t feeling sorry, something is truly wrong
Depression is real Table Cell What to say: 
You are not going crazy.
What NOT to say:
So you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?
Why Not: Passive/aggressive anger displayed on your part
There is hope Table Cell What to say:
We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
What NOT to say:
Try not to be so depressed.
Why Not: You may think it is helpful, but it is like saying to someone with cancer; stop having cancer.
You can survive this Table Cell What to say:
When all this is over, I’ll still be here and so will you.
What NOT to say: 
It’s your own fault.
Why Not: Think about it, how is a disease our fault?
I’ll do my best to understand Table Cell What to say:
I can’t really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.
What NOT to say: 
Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
Why Not: Do you really? IF so, than say something from the heart about your experience.
You won’t drive me away Table Cell What to say:
I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.
What NOT to say: 
I think your depression is a way of punishing us.
Why Not: It is one of our greatest fears that we are punishing not only ourselves but everyone around us.  Be supportive not pandering.
I care about you Table Cell What to say: 
I love you. (Say this only if you mean it.)
What NOT to say:
Haven’t you grown tired of all this “me, me, me” stuff yet?
Why Not: Because we already feel unlovable, worthless; we need support that we are OK
We’ll get through this together Table Cell What to say:
I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.
What NOT to say: 
Have you tried chamomile tea?
Why Not: No thank you, not right now.  We need support, therapy and meds, if appropriate, and time to work on our issues and heal.

More articles on this blog about spirituality and depression:


FYI Wednesday: Dull Shades Of Gray

It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Everyone:

“What can/should you say to someone with depression, and what shouldn’t you say.”

My father-in-law, God rest his soul, was a lovely man and hated seeing me depressed. Whenever he saw me looking down he would smile and tell me: “Smile”.  I know he was only trying to help, but to me, and millions who suffer along with me, saying that almost sounds like a command, or condemnation. It sounds to us like: “Why aren’t you smiling, there’s nothing wrong!” Or: “You should be smiling, you are ruining it for everybody else!” Both of those driving us deeper into our depression with thoughts of, “great one thing more I do WRONG!”  It also drives us into isolating ourselves from those who love us.  We feel a burden already so we want like anything to not disappoint, or sadden, or anger anyone; so we hid under masks of humour, smiles, just so you, our loved one, won’t be upset in anyway.  That is how depression is, it makes us people pleasers so we don’t rock your emotional boat.  This makes “lairs” of both you and us.  Lairs because we feel trapped telling the truth and so we tell you liars to feel safe, safe as in you not hurting us, and you so you see us as “all right” so you don’t worry, this is especially true of children/teens/young adults.

It can also drive us to lash out when we just feel as if we can’t hid anymore.  We lash out because we feel we can’t be truly who we are, even through being truly who we are is an ever changing thing.  Many of us are dealing with emotional issues from abuse of all kinds.  With those of us who have been abused the lashing out stems from a time when our voice was not heard or if it was it was ignored.  When our truth was mocked, or silenced.  We have learned that what we feel and how we feel it is of NO importance.   It is the anger turned in on ourselves.  We beat ourselves up because we can not beat up the one/ones who hurt us.  And this leads to another personality trait: lack of communication, ineffectual communication.  We were never taught, show, or allowed to communicate in a healthy way so we have a hard time with it.  We can learn but it takes a partnership:  you willing to let us know how you would like to communicate and us describing how we need to and learn to communicate.

Lastly, know we aren’t being depressed because we want to punish you, because it’s something we “do”, or for women especially, it’s our time of the month.  Depression isn’t fun.  It’s not something we do just cause, it feels as if we are so overwhelmed by darkness that it covers us like a black wet heavy blanket.  It is suffocating us emotionally, making it hard for us to think, feel, sleep and eat.  It is as if we are looking out the window and where you see butterflies and colour, we see dull shades of gray.