Trusting God-Part 2

Continuing from my previous post. Let me share that I am the poster child for the I got thisCatholic statistic that Fr. shared.  I was baptized, went to reconciliation, had first communion, confirmation and then went AWOL for 50 years. My family was not religious and did not encourage me to go or not to go to church or synagogue or anything that was related to God.  I grew up in the 60s and 70s we rebelled against everything traditional. The church is all about tradition so there you go– I was not going to be told what to do by someone in Rome who did nothing but tell us we were going to hell.  Obviously, I had no clue what my faith was about–but by golly I sure did have an opinion based on other opinions and gross ignorance and arrogance. Not one thought was actually mine.

  Fifty years go by and I return to the church.I experience nothing but kindness, warm welcomes. Lots of love.  Spiritual growth starts to take place in leaps and bounds. I know, that I know that I belong here. Even though I struggle with doctrines and customs that go against my Jewish heritage (yeah, I’m Jewish too LOL).  I still struggle with statues, and saints, prayers that are foreign to me and then, of course there is Jesus. I have to take Jesus on sheer faith–because deep down I am not fully surrendered to him and the thought that he is actually God. I have a lot in common with St. Thomas.

So, if this 50 year detour were to happen today, and I would return in the year 2067. Where would I go? Who would be here? How would I find my way back? A scary and sobering thought.

God knows me soooo well. When I become emotional over an issue, if I don’t take action, then the emotion, the sadness will usually go away in a few days and its business as usual.  (I’m being painfully  real).  The following day is Sunday and I go to mass.  The gospel reading is about seeds sown in different types of soil. I’ve heard this a kajillion times.

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold. Whoever has ears ought to hear” (Matt 13:3-9)

The homily is given by Deacon B who is going to be ordained priest in our diocese in 2018 as mentioned in my previous post. He shares his thoughts on the gospel  (Below is a very abbreviated version).

  1. The birds take the seed=people who have chosen a path where they have opted out of redemption. They just don’t see the need for salvation and church and God. They hear the word but don’t relate to it at all and live a lawless life.
  2. Rocky ground= intellectual folks who believe that religion is really a nice tradition that the family should continue. Religion is mostly social obligation.They intellectually understand but they have no roots.  God is easily explained away. Technology and science continue to advance and they see very little need for God. Their arrogance and trust in intellectual and technological things keeps them from God.
  3. Thorns (me in the present moment) You get it. You love and need God. But you allow the distractions of life and our current world to choke you. They are more enticing and fun as opposed to say, being a catechist which is hard work and often times you don’t get to see the harvest. Serving God is something that is done when it fits into my schedule.
  4. Rich soil (where I hope I’m headed) of course is being a part of Gods plans and growing.
  5. And the cherry on the cake is “Whoever has ears out to hear”  Really God?  In boxing that’s called a 1-2 punch.

Deacon B concluded: It doesn’t matter which seed you are. Wherever you are right now, what are you going to do about it?   Today, right now choose where you want to grow.

I realized that all this time. I’ve been observing. Watching everyone and everything. Trying to intellectually understand. Not happy that things aren’t perfect. Not helping mind you. But for sure critiquing. Internally whining and complaining because things aren’t as I think they should be.  Seriously how arrogant?  It’s like I’m interviewing everyone in the church and the church itself for a coveted position in my life.

Time to stop the nonsense and get in the trenches with the rest of my fellow sojourners.  The minute I chose to come back it stopped being about me and it became about God.  The old game plan no longer works.   If I’m sick of my own whining and complaining, then for sure God is too.

Can you imagine where we would be if Peter and James and all of the other apostles responded to Jesus the way I have? Peter: Well, Jesus why should I follow you? Can’t leave my job in peak season. I have a family too–what about them? Do you have a plan? Whats your itinerary? What role am I going to play.? What’s the cost and what’s the return?  Can you just send me the PowerPoint and I’ll review later? Oy vey!!

The immediate answer for me is to just commit. Rearrange my life and schedule to accommodate God’s plan for me. And I will say yes to being a catechist.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:  For I know the plans I have for you…  If you want to prosper and have a future it’s YOU who has to get with HIS plan. He wrote the plan for us. It’s not about God endorsing my personal plan of action where there is abundance, wealth, prosperity, no pain, no sacrifice and once in a while I just hang out with him.  That’s not even realistic. We don’t choose to follow God as an insurance policy against pain and suffering.  If that were true, we would all follow God just to be free from hurt. Totally stunted thinking.

If we read chapter 29 of Jeremiah and cross reference it to Ezra 8. You will find that the Lord says this to Jeremiah because the Jews are in Babylonian captivity. The temple is destroyed and the inhabitants have been carried away to Babylon. God is reassuring everyone that it will be OK.

In Ezra chapter 7 & 8: after many delays and obstacles the temple will be rebuilt. The captives will begin to return to Jerusalem.   The word God gave Jeremiah is coming true. Unfortunately, during the 70 years of captivity the Jews have assimilated into the Babylonian customs and culture, they hardly remember the law or their own customs. God is a memory of the old days. Many have intermarried and no longer qualify to serve in the temple as a priest. How the heck is this supposed to work? But here’s the thing,  throughout  the captivity Ezra who is a scribe (we might say another forerunner to the catechist) He was faithful and he knew what to do and how to restore the people as well as the temple.

Ezra 7

10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

Ezra was ready…We need to be ready too.  They will all come back from Babylon.

Would God really allow his church to evaporate?   Is that his plan? I find that hard to believe.   Why would he come to earth and suffer as he did only to have it move into obscurity after 2000 some odd years?  This does not make sense to me.

In the early church when there was no church as we know it today just followers of Jesus. The church grew out of houses and community and teaching and telling about Jesus. The Holy Spirit descended and everyone was on fire for the Lord. It was exciting and dangerous. Persecution everywhere.

The greater the threat of death and persecution the more people believed.  Historically, the greatest church growth has always come after severe persecution.  Now I don’t know if that’s where we are headed. Perhaps Jesus will return before we ever have to figure out the whole answer. I’m not a prophet to know the outcome.

Here’s what I do know. We have to study the word of God, understand our faith, be able to explain and in some cases defend our faith so that the faith may continue. The church may look different in the future. It may not be buildings and programs as we’ve been accustomed to. Who know how God will work out the detail?   Frankly not our business.

My responsibility is to be the gatekeeper. Not to just to pass down a set of rules and customs, but to pass down the knowledge, the experience the relationship that each one of us has with the living God.  To let the next generation of Catholics and all those that wandered and are wanting to come home know that they are welcome and that God loves them. That as humans we are not always successful. We may fail–but God is merciful and overflows with love and grace towards us.  Everything is gonna be OK.

I will trust God for he has a plan. He took care of this issue before time began, That’s his job. Our job is to be ready like Ezra, respond like the disciples and daily show up ready to love and teach all the returnees and seekers.

I agree with Fr. T, if we continue on this same path without changes then we are headed back to the beginning of Christianity. If that how it goes then bring it on. It doesn’t matter.  We need to be ready regardless of whether the church remains as we know it or changes completely into something different.

If anything that I’ve written has touched your heart, then I ask that you pray for the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of the lukewarm, ignite the hearts that are cold and encourage all those who labor for him. Whether you are a priest or a working mom your mission field is all around you.  I don’t think that there are any easy or quick solutions. I do know that God has a plan. He not only said it–he had Jeremiah write it down. The future of our church–His church is in his hands.  We just need to trust  Him, be faithful to Him and keep showing up for duty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trusting That God Can Handle Our Future.

As I continue on my Catholic journey, jeremiah picMy list of questions and what ifs continue to grow.  I always have to know how everything works. What are all the contingency plans if plan A doesn’t work. What is the entire alphabet doesn’t work?

Being solution oriented is one of my greatest strengths. BUT…your greatest strength can also become your greatest weakness when taken to the extreme–as are most things in our lives when we become unbalanced.

Do I really trust God? The answer is ummm, complicated. The short answer is No, I don’t.  I don’t trust God. I’ve been burned too many times thinking that something is coming from Him and its really me. I’m too insecure. I could go on and on.  Have I said “I” enough times? It’s always about me and my world.  My trust correlates to how much of my environment I can control. What are the probabilities of a positive outcome if I go left or if I turn right?  It’s all about me and my abilities and limitations.  There is no room for God and his input until there is no where else to turn. Nice huh? These are the not so pretty shadowy parts of myself that I’m not proud of.  If I were married to someone like me, I don’t think I could stand it.  But God is God and he just waits until you exhaust yourself and then asks most kindly if you could use some help.

So what does all of this have to do with Jeremiah 29:11?   I have been looking to see where I could be of service in the church and I’ve been looking into Faith Formation.  The needs there are long.  Too few helpers.  “Many are called, but few are chosen”  Few are chosen because few show up– even when they are called repeatedly. The most frequent answer is: “I don’t have time”. But we have time to binge watch, bnge read, socialize and spend countless hours on social media and Pinterest. Our parish has over 4000 families and I’m going to guess that (at my most optimistic estimate) perhaps we have 10% who help in the 30 ministries within the church.  There are quite  a few folks who are in multiple ministries which is why I believe 10% is probably optimistic.

I have been exploring different ministries within the church. Our Formation Coordinator is  strong young women who is smart, creative, dedicated, grossly overworked, yet I’ve never heard her actually complain. She deals with the reality of the situation and doesn’t have time to dwell on her inner thoughts and concerns. I like her. She’s transparent, doesn’t sugar coat; is infinitely patient and in spite of the fact that she’s 20 years my junior, she’s someone I look up to as a role model. I’d like to have some of her qualities when I grow up.

This weekend, I was invited to attend my first catechist training. Very non committal on my part. Just putting my toe in the water.  Fr. T opened up with a prayer followed by the importance of being (not working as- but being) a catechist.  Going back to the the days of the apostles, the disciples were the forerunners of the catechists. Catechists are the guardians of the faith. They serve so that the faith continues from generation to generation. They are teaching, planting seeds with the hope of harvesting priests, deacons, nuns, ministers, faithful families, faithful workers, faithful leaders who will live their faith daily in whatever path they have chosen in life.  Catechists are so important that the church has special laws concerning catechists.  With the approval of a Bishop a catechist can in cases where there is a community of believers but no clergy, administer sacraments.  That totally blew me away. The immense honor, responsibility and commitment. And the reality that this might actually come to pass if we follow the bleak statistics.

Statistically, and I’m quoting Fr.T’s statistics that he heard at the last Catholic educators conference.   The outflow of Catholics is greater than the inflow. In our Diocese this year there was only one priest ordained and in 2018 we will only see one more priest ordained.  This is in the Orlando Diocese. Orlando one of the fastest growing cities  we have an increase of only 2 priests? Children take their first communion and confirmation with small likelihood of returning for the next 20 years–if at all.

So here is the sobering statistic: At the rate that we are going Catholicism as we know it will be non existent by the year 2060.

Whaaaat? How could this be? What are we doing? What, How. No words. Just an overwhelming sadness of pending loss, of compassion for the already overworked clergy and lay people who love God so much that they continue forward knowing that the statistics are working  against them. I went home very disheartened and very ashamed. Because I know that I have been called and I have been dragging my feet. I am part of the problem…

Stay tuned for Part 2:  KEEP CALM–GOD HAS A PLAN. JEREMIAH 29:11

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Deciphering God’s Encrypted Messages.

the-feast-of-the-ascensionToday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension….God talks to me in many different ways. Sometimes its rapid fire. This long weekend is one of those times.  I suspect that he does that because of my age. I’m in my early 60’s and was away from the church from 1965 to 2015.  That’s a really long time to be AWOL.  Now that I am back I’m on the fast track to whatever God’s  plan is for me.  I don’t have another 50 years to tra-la-la through life trying to find God; trying to find my purpose.  I have to make every minute, every day count.  I know that with my head. But my faith life is wobbly. Hit and miss. Inconsistent. Full of whining and complaining because things are hard, I don’t have enough money, time, energy –whatever—just fill in the blank. Meanwhile the clock of my life just keeps on ticking.  Without an action plan. All you have are desires and dreams that never come to fruition.  You are actually lying to yourself. “Someday, I’m going to do great things for the Lord”  Someday is always tomorrow instead of today. God did not ask me for great things–he simply said to follow him faithfully.

I know that I am weak. Each night I resolve to do better tomorrow. PATHETIC.

Who am I fooling?  So my beautiful Lord and Savior talks to me rapid fire, allowing me to connect the dots between events to decipher the message he is writing just for me.   It’s best to decode the message quickly on my own because I have learned that:

  • God does not give up.  He just gets louder and louder. Sometimes he’s like Cher in Moonstruck and he simply says’ “Snap out of it” Other times when I’m particularly stubborn or rebel by moving slowly and continuously whining, he gets out his 2×4 to get my attention. Trust me, you want to get the message on your own and become the object of the lesson. It’s never pleasant, but for sure you’ll be paying attention.
  • If you think that might be a tad mean. It’s not. His love for us will not allow us to just do whatever we want like a spoiled toddler throwing a tantrum. After all, I’m the one that came back to him on his terms. I surrendered to him. He didn’t surrender to me. He doesn’t need anything from me.

So here are the facts or clues if you will:  It’s memorial day weekend. It’s the feast of the Ascension. My favorite priest is leaving and we are having a good-bye luncheon with many bittersweet moments.   Saturday  I attended the ordination of the deacon who will now take my beloved Fr. C’s place. I watched the biography of St. John Paul II.  It’s God code and I have to decipher it. The quote from St. Joan of Arc “I was sent by God, the King of Heaven”  was printed on beautiful bookmarks given to everyone in honor of Fr. C.

Let’s start with the Ascension.   Where is Jesus? Seriously where is he?  He’s not in the tomb and we  read he’s not on earth because he is taken up by a cloud. Here’s where he can be found:

  • He’s in heaven, (too high and far away)
  • He’s in the Eucharist (this  limits me to seeking him only through communion. (It would take a lot of communion to fix my issues).
  • He’s in the sanctuary (still,  I have to go to the sanctuary to talk to him–kinda hard when you work all week).

BUT because he sent the Holy Spirit, he is able to reside in my heart always. He is never not there. He’s knows everything that is going on with me -he is available 24/7.  “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age”  More importantly, whether you believe in Jesus or not, he’s never not with you either. His sacrifice is for everyone. It’s a gift. It’s there whether you accept it or not.

Well if he’s in my heart then that  shoots all my excuses down  as to why I don’t have a consistent prayer life, or offer myself in service because of… (insert excuse) . He knows I’m slacking. Slacking is a slippery slope. It can lead to sloth or acedia (google it–you google everything else)  and  they are considered one of the seven deadly sins.  NOT GOOD for me or for you.

Now, that we got that important clue. Let’s move on to St. John Paul II, Fr. C, newly ordained Fr. J and Joan of Arc.  What message do they bring for me to decode?

  • All accepted the call of the Lord and lived a life of obedience and discipline
  • All cultivate a serious prayer life and spend time with God daily
  • All are human and faced the same challenges and limitations that most humans experience.
  • All gave of themselves completely, unconditionally out of love for God and for us.

Each one received  and accepted a calling to be a part of God’s Army.  ( I was sent by God, the King of Heaven).  Each one executes their mission with love, humility, dedication, whether they good or not’ whether they are tired or not; whether its convenient or not; whether they agree or not–regardless of their lack of courage or the daunting task– simply because they love God enough to say yes,  I will do what you ask Lord.

Are you connecting the dots with me? Deciphering the code? It’s like a puzzle coming together.

Now, obviously I’m not called into the priesthood or to lead an army or become Pope. We can and should aspire to become saints.

I am called to pray, to use the weapons of the sacraments and the rosary to further his kingdom. To let the light of Christ shine through me. To love others because Jesus is dwelling in their hearts too. To report to duty in service to him. To sacrifice.

I am called to do these things (all within my reach). C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-T-L-Y.  Not when I’m in trouble or when my busy schedule allows.  The tasks may vary for each of us but  what’s required of us is the same. Doesn’t matter if you are a Pope, Saint or Priest. The degree of sacrifice may vary but they all require the same level of commitment.

Final Message and Action Plan

I got the message Lord. First I ask your forgiveness. Second, I will pray to the Holy Spirit, my helper to show me how to order my day every day.  I will begin by spending more time with you. Less internet, TV, all the distractions that enemy cleverly sends my way that fritters away my time which is finite. Thank you for loving me enough to send me the message.

I saved the best for last

At Father C’s luncheon today I formally met the formation director.  I’ve tried meeting her on three separate occasions and was unsuccessful.  I want to teach RCIA classes although I am hardly qualified.   She asked if I was interested in helping her with kindergartener and first graders.  I told her that I never had children of my own and don’t relate to them well.  But even if I did, I just recently returned to the church and there are huge gaps of knowledge in catechism.  She suggested that I attend RCIA classes as a refresher starting August 13 (God does not waste time) and when I’m done or feel ready, then perhaps I can work with children or the adults.  It’s through formation that we secure future workers, seminarians, and sisters.

Today when we asked Fr. C if there was anything he could do to stay. He lovingly told us that this was not an option. He took a vow of obedience and he submits to the authority of the church and goes and does what’s asked of him.

I hear you Lord–loud and clear. Thank you for all the beautiful messengers you sent. How much you must love me to send two saints, 2 priest’s and one formation director on this long holiday weekend where we honor those that gave up their very lives so that I may have freedom to worship and serve without fear.

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But do you know God?

I have studied several faith paths.  I can talk about Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, New Age, Charismatic, Pentecostal and yes Catholic. I have a lot of head knowledge. I love this stuff  God has also given me the ability to connect dots. It’s awesome.  I know a lot about faith practices, belief systems. I know a lot about God.   BUT at one point in my journey, I had to ask the inevitable –Did I really know God?  I have to say NO. I don’t. I know about Him. I know a little bit about how he operates in our lives.  I know his attributes. I know what he said through scripture.  But I definitely don’t know him. Not with my heart.  Not with full and pure faith.

Genesis Lech Lecha12:1–17:27 is  a reading that we do in they synagogue (did I mention I am Jewish?  More on that later)  The reading is called Lech Lecha. its my most favorite reading in the Bible.  God tells Abraham to “go out –for you” is the literal translation. He tells Abraham to leave everything. Family, home, business and go…where? To a place that I will show you>  That’s it–that’s all the information that Abraham receives.  Can you imagine explaining that to Sarah?  But–He said YES.  You can’t say yes to a crazy directive like that unless your truly know and trust the God who is giving you that directive.  I for sure know that I would not have “Lech Lecha” unless there was a stream of miracles and signs wonders and prophets who fully confirmed what I heard God say.  Abraham KNEW God with his heart.  He didn’t have book knowledge about Him. No scriptures or webinars to tell him who God is. He came from along line of very prosperous idol worshipers. Actually the family business was crafting idols.

Somewhere along the line Abraham believed that there had to be but one God. One creator. Not all these little gods each with his own specialty.  God showed up and Abraham not only became the father of our faith, but he was called the friend of God.

THAT IS WHAT I WANT.  And I know that God prefers that over head knowledge any day.

So in my journey, that became my prayer. Jesus I truly want to know you. If I know you, then I know the father too.  Open the eyes of my heart and let me see you.  And so I had to Lech Lecha.   We all do –I can’t think of an exception.  All of life is a series of Lech Lecha. We go out from childhood to adulthood. Our fist job, marriage, parenthood.  Each time you must go out for yourself.  You can’t go where people think you should  go. You must listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who is always guiding you –if your heart is open to His messages. You will not have peace if you don’t go out for yourself–if you just follow the crowd.

I started to think about the lives of saints. They knew God.  Really knew God.  They couldn’t become saints and martyrs if Jesus was not real.  This was very important to me because when you are Jewish–Jesus is not someone that we move towards. We are not even able to mention his name.  It took a long time for me to believe.   And truth be told sometimes I still struggle.   But he never lets me down. He shows up in ways that I know can only be Him and he makes my heart melt.   I can only liken it to courtship.

Do I know God? Well, I don’t think anyone can really know God–he’s just so infinite. I know him more and more each day. God is real. Jesus is real.  I hope to  know him as Abraham did.  Maybe he’ll call me his friend. Its all a matter of the heart.

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So what comes after yes God?

It’s been a month since I said yest to God.  A very important month that’s only intensified by the 40 days of Lent and of course Easter. I mostly travel alone in this journey.  There is no support at home or a gaggle of Catholic girlfriends where we can shop, drink coffee and transform together.  But God provided me with 4 friends from Weight Watchers–we have never met–yet they are supportive in growing in our faith as well as in our challenges.  I have a tendency to be more honest with people I don’t know.  I’m praying that maybe someday we can all meet.  He also provided two very good friends at work.  Two beautiful souls from a beautiful family that listen to my endless questions and talking about God.  It’s so easy to talk with them because they love their faith and mote importantly they love God.  Very rare to see in younger folks nowadays . I count them as part of my many blessings along with my WW friends.   If you don’t have a family God will create one for you.   Psalm 68:6 God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

During this month, I read a lent focused devotional by Fr. Richard Rohr (highly recommended), dug deeper into my faith by connecting with online studies with De. Marshall Taylor of the New St. Thomas Aquinas institute, Brandon Vogt of Caritas and of course through my local parish.

So what comes after yes? HARD WORK! This is a lifetime commitment and to be exact its a living breathing relationship. I am now part of Jesus’ family, his mom, his dad, saints, the Holy Spirit and of course God, our father.  You can’t say yes at the altar and then just go home to business as usual. What if that happened during a marriage ceremony?  What kind of relationship would that be?  Now God’s part is easy because he’s already perfect. I’m the one that needs to work on my formation, my road of perfecting myself.  To a non catholic that might sound strange, but really its not. We reconcile ourselves to God so that we can become more and more like him.  Less of me, more of Him.  That’s the original game plan. That’s why Jesus came.  He modeled it for us.  He showed that it could be done.  We could become more like God in his attributes while we are human. Not easy mind you and it is much deeper than what I am writing about today.

If you observe couples who have been married for a while, you’ll notice that they know whether the other person is going to like something or not. They sense the other persons mood. Sometimes they can read each others non verbal cues and communicate without speaking.  They tend to not sweat the small stuff like recapping the tooth paste. But they know beyond imagination that they truly have become one and yet they still remain individuals each with their own personality, triumphs and challenges.

I believe that our relationship with God is along the same lines as marriage.  We marry into the family those in heaven as I mentioned in the beginning  and those on earth–family friends, Catholic community.

Part of this process is that the not so pretty parts of you will surface.  If you don’t face them on your own. God being awesome, will show them to you. Sometimes its a gentle nudge, sometimes its similar to when your mom squeezed your cheeks together and said “I want you to look at me–because I’m talking to you”.

So, during lent I discovered many things that needed work–and being human I’m thinking “great, I’m working on stuff”.    Ahhh, but God doesn’t allow mediocre.  He pointed to two major areas and said “What are you going to do about this and that?

My current areas of struggle are discipline, overeating (lifetime challenge) and finances. Of course all three are linked.  So, how did I respond? by eating 2 pints of ice cream and more jelly beans than anyone should ever consume in one sitting and then I went out and spent $200 bucks. How’s that for a “yes God?”.

After the ice cream, jelly bean, shopping spree binge which left me feeling like crap,  I realized that I truly had a problem and that it had a spiritual solution. Not another diet book or the psychology of why we overeat. This needs a God solution.

I went to reconciliation today.  Fr. C told me (based on the details I provided) that yes, I was in sin. Anything that takes the place of God and separates us from Him is sin. He said we sin cause sin always feels good. Doesn’t matter what the sin is-food, gambling, sex, alcohol.  It releases dopamine in our brain which floods us with relief and good feelings.  The problem is that we constantly have to go back to that well.  We make frequent trips and the quantity we need to make us feel good gets bigger and bigger. Typical addiction.  Now, not all overeating is sin. Sometimes we just over indulge.  But when it becomes a lifestyle, and there is no medical reason for it its sin.

After we overeat, then we are flooded with guilt, shame and a sense of failure. Which causes us to…you guessed it…medicate with food once again.  Then we are like Adam and Eve after the fall. Trying to deny, blame and avoid God.

His recommendation was the following. Invite God into your sin. Stop trying to conquer this on your own.  As soon as you are tempted call on God ask for his grace and mercy.  You may still sin–because this is deeply embedded behavior. But you’ll find that you will consume less even when you are over eating and the times will become less and less. Ask God to show you what moderation feels like, What does it look like. When have you hit moderation and are about to go over the line.  If you ask Him He will tell show you.

My Penance:  Soooo powerful.  He said that this Sunday’s reading is about St. Thomas and how he didn’t believe until he could touch Jesus’ wounds.  Read the scripture reading for Sunday (about St. Thomas) and just like St. Thomas touch Jesus’ wounds and believe that you victorious because Jesus went before and purchased your victory through his wounds.  Believe that you can because He is victorious and has overcome the world.  Do this as penance and every-time you feel tempted.

I cried because I did not honor God with my body and food has become an idol. I cried because I was so relieved. I feel free. I feel light. Mass tomorrow will be awesome.  There is no faith that I have encountered in my travels that is this compassionate and this transformational.

There is no place like home…

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She said yes, I too say yes.

How appropriate that my first blog would be today–the Annunciation.  Arch Angel Gabriel comes to Mary and gives her her earthly and spiritual mission.  This young girl who never knew a man is not freaked out. What will her family say? What will Joseph say? Will she be stoned to death?  She is so sure of God that she simply pushes past all the questions she may have had and simple says yes.

After 50 plus years of chasing after God. Looking in every nook and cranny. Sometimes just not looking at all. I found God. He was right whe
re I left him. Every so patiently waiting for me in the Roman Catholic Church.  The very place I avoided because “they were wrong on just about every level”.  Yet while he was patiently waiting, he was with me on every step of my journey. He’s God after all, he can multi task like nobody’s business.  We embrace and rejoice. He asks are you ready? Ready to fully commit, fully love, fully serve, fully experience?

Well, maybe…I have so many doubts and questions. Definitely not like Maflowr staircase to heavenry who says yes right away.  Your church is a little tarnished. Your church  throughout history has done some not so nice things especially to Jews like me..

Yes, I don’t disagree but  you need to look beyond that. Beyond the government piece of the church. Look to the people and to their faithfulness, to their hearts. You are too are tarnished and in your history you’ve done some not so nice things. Forgive the church as I have forgiven you–neither of you are perfect.  Both of you have also done much good and you both have a heart that beats with mine.  So, it is I your God who is standing at the door of your heart and I’m asking. Will you commit, will you give me your whole heart?  We’ll work out the bumps together.

“Yes”.   I can’t believe I just said yes. What if I fail, what if I can’t do it?  Oh my goodness. I just said yes.

Familiar words from scripture come to me.“Jesus said to him: No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.
“And his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt”.

Yikes! looking back is not a good thing.

God just smiles at me. Apparently I’m amusing.

NOW your journey begins! We journey forward together!

You know my son had doubts and questions too once.  But,
He said yes, just like his mother and just like you. We travel in good company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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