#WeAreN

Mommy Mantra July 25, 2014: 2 COR 4:7-15, MT 20:20-28

We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

Have you seen this symbol lately, maybe on Twitter or Facebook used to replace your friends profile picture, and do you know what it means?

‘N’, or ن in Arabic, is the symbol used by the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) to identify who is a Nazarene – a Christian. It has been drawn on doorways and in front of houses in captured Iraqi cities, allowing militants to quickly assert where the loyalties of the inhabitants lie.  ~Christian Today

If ever there was a time when Scriptures speak to us, for me the reading of today is that time.  On Sunday our Pastor spoke of the war brewing in the Middle East, the war between Israel and Palestine.  But at the same time extremist Sunni Muslim factions drove Christians out of the historic city of Mosul, where members of the faith have lived for the past 2,000 years. They were told to either flee the city, convert to Islam, or pay a tax for the right to be a Christian. Those who refused now risk death “by the sword”. From

Several years ago we had a young man come speak at our Church, selling Christmas ornaments, Advent Wreathes, all made from wood from that area, and women in the village; all in a hope of collecting donations for their Church.   This young man related the trouble they were having with the Sunni in the area, but as Americans, I think we all sat in our pews thinking well it will blow over, don’t worry; wish we had taken this young man more seriously.  Now there are no more Christians in the area, no more Catholics to celebrate the Life of Jesus in the very area where Christ walked.

Jesus asks the mother of the sons of Zebedee who approached him, did him homage, wishing to ask him for something: that her sons be given the seats on Jesus’ right and left.  But Jesus says he can not give them that honour, and asks them instead if  they “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”

The former citizens of Mosul are surely drinking of the cup.

Let us pray for all those who are drinking the Cup Jesus offers.

 

Vatican Radio: The voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the World

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

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

Soul Weary

Thinking more on the Gospel of today I was wondering if the people in the towns of Galilee could have been just a little soul weary?

OMG do I know how Jesus must have felt

Mommy Mantra July 15, 2014 MT 11:20-24
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Jesus is rebuking the towns of Galilee where he preached and did great deeds and those towns did the so what shrug.
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I am sharing what a friend has posted about her experiences of today and I wonder if Jesus wasn’t thinking exactly the same thing when he confront the people of Galilee:

I am so annoyed with everything today. Stupid government websites and error codes; stupid people doing yard work with the most noisy machines possible while (my child) is napping; irritating statements being made by numerous individuals. Can I have a reset button please?

Was Jesus standing in the road pulling his hair out muttering to himself: “Why don’t they get it!”

How many times have we done that?  Stood in our kitchens so frustrated at what is going on in our lives that we want to push the rest button.

But maybe that is what Jesus is asking us to do, push the reset button.

Let’s take the day and look at all the blessings we have gotten. All the answered prayers. All the situations changed, and stay with that for a moment. It will help us all feel better.

It will also awake us to what Jesus has done for us and how much more work there is yet to do to help Jesus in his mission.

The Lie Cross: Sometimes crosses can be forced on you

Watch TV in the last few years and there have been campaign after campaign featuring “real” women.

“Always” has a commercial showing how young women’s views of themselves change from confident preteens who have not bought the hype to young women who did.  It was a Righteous Cause Post of June 30, 2014.

Just a few days ago I read of this: Stop The Beauty Madness As they describe themselves and their campaign:

There is a great groundswell and the numbers are rising daily. We are a new tribe, and we know it is time to take back the streets-OUR streets. We know that begins with lifting our self-esteem, our self-imposed standards of worth, and honoring our deepest truths about what it means to be “enough.”

We are not only working towards this change. We are witnessing this change. We women KNOW we are done with competing, done with comparing, and done with playing the ugly/beauty game. We are waking up from the crazy beauty hypnoses we have been under.

“Dove” did this very evocative video of how we “see” ourselves and how others see us.

What does all this mean?

It means that we as women have forgotten a great truth:  We are Daughters of the Great King.  And we have allowed society to tell us differently.  It’s as if society draped across our shoulders a huge cross as if it were a stole of royalty:  Here you go a cross made just for you; your ugly, worthless, insignificant!  You’re welcome!

It is a cross we as women have allowed ourselves to have placed on our shoulders. It is not a cross we pick up such as illness, or work difficulty, or wondering how to answer our calling; no this is a cross society has said we must have so they can sell us our own beauty back.

It’s a cross I know too well.  I am going to tell you a truth about myself: I hate my growing older self.  There are a lot of reasons that I will blog about, but mostly I feel that being a mom has robbed me of some things and now that my children are growing out of the house as well as gone from the house, I see it as time to try and regain my beauty.

But that is the problem with these types of crosses, they are lies we tell ourselves.

The lie I tell myself is that somehow I am not pretty enough, good enough, woman enough.  I know stunning older women so it’s not age that robs you, it’s you that robs you.  What I mean is we forget, or no longer care about ourselves.  I have allowed the lies in my head about how I see myself to become truths.  I grew heavy because I believed the lie that no-one cared who I was, I was just a mom.  I stopped caring for myself in other ways: How I looked, what I did, my attitude.  All because of the lie: you are just a mom, invisible, “personless”.

The, what I will call the “lie cross”, wants you to believe the lies; because in believing the lies you have to forget to fight for the greater truth, that God has made each one of us beautiful, in his own image.  And that motherhood is a calling of greatness.

Stages of spirituality: Matthew 13:1-23

“The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.  The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.  But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
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When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.  The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

I believe that the Scripture speaks to us, teaches us those truths we need; today is one of those times for me.

Listening to the Gospel and homily I heard what everyone heard the four different person’s and their spiritual response to the word of God.  Still there was something more; maybe because of where I am in my mothering experience I see more of the path than someone starting out so, while some aspects of mothering are still new: Granmothering and the like, the history of my own mothering gives me a perspective and helps me see deeper into both God and my calling, today was no exception.

I listened to the homily, but also thought how each one of those “persons”  could just as easily be stages in spirituality.

    • 1.  Seed sown on the path.

Just beginning to understand God, but not yet knowing God.

    • 2. Seed sown on rocky path

Joyful to know God but is just beginning to know God and create a faith life so faith is not yet strong

    • 3.  Seed sown among thorns

Faith life and relationship with God is affected by concerns and worries which makes God seem far away, but there is a desire to keep going

    • 4. Seed sown on rich soil

Life experience has shown God even in the most difficult times, “stays with it” and just seems to know it will get better

A Fresh Start, A New Beginning, A Do Over

Mommy Mantra July 11, 2014: Responsorial Psalm ps 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17
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The Responsorial Psalm really spoke to me today. Have you ever felt that way: like what you are hearing at Mass or reading at home is being said directly to you? That is the amazing thing about the Scriptures.
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The words wash, cleanse, clean, create, are the most common words in today’s Psalm. A renewed heart create in me o, Lord. This is a theme for today’s Psalm and it is a recurring theme in Scripture. In fact our Catholic/Christian faith revolves around renewal: Reconciliation, Easter, the Eucharist, the season of Lent.
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Create in me a clean heart o, Lord, a fresh start, a new beginning, a do over. We are never told to dwell in the past once we have asked for that clean heart. No where in today’s Psalm does it say anything about staying focused on all our missed deeds, cruel words, thoughtless actions, because God knows if we do that we can’t stand.
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So today let’s pray for all those moms who are praying for clean hearts, new beginnings. I always keep you all in my thoughts and prayers, please remember me in yours. ~Wilson

We can’t fall into the pain.

Mommy Mantra July 10, 2014: Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9
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“Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.” After listening to the readings at Mass this morning I couldn’t stop thinking how much God sounds like every hurting parent.
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No family is untouched by problems, troubles. No mother hasn’t had heartache. It is an experience we all will share and it doesn’t matter how slight or significant; pain is pain.
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We can’t fall into the pain. We must know that when we mourn God mourns. There will be times when our children will do something to turn away from the lives we tried to create, the values we tried to convey, the future we had hoped for them. Even in this pain we should try to continue to trust in a God who is control and to trust in our power of prayer.
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This is not easy. When in pain we can draw away from God, from friends because of a shame, please don’t, fight the urge and try to continue to pray. We can assume too much responsibility from the troubles and problems, but we are not the only influence on our children. They have their own thoughts and beliefs which may be very different from ours. Maturity plays a huge part and we, while still dealing with our situation, should still try to pray for guidance when to step in and teach or to step out.
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As God did not destroy Ephraim we can’t stop trusting and working toward healing of our hearts and theirs. No matter what is happening we must trust that God is in his heaven and all will become right in our world.
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Today let’s pray for each other.