The Sins of My Mother

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I found this verse spoke to my heart very strongly recently and I’ve been rolling it over in my head for awhile. One of my greatest challenges is trust; trusting God, trusting family, trusting friends, trusting people in general. I live in pretty constant anxiety because I can’t trust. Living one’s life with the fear of someone hurting you or taking advantage of you can have a devastating impact on quality of life. I find myself incapable of sharing my heart fully with anyone, causing me to feel alone, isolated, and misunderstood. And since I have a tough time trusting God, it makes it hard to have hope also.

My mother is the one that taught me not to trust anyone. She watches far too much Law&Order and Lifetime Movie Network. I remember her coming into my room at night when I was young to tell me all the awful things people (mostly men) do to other people (mostly women): mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse. She often told me never to trust a police officer, a fireman, a religious leader, a teacher, a doctor. No one can be trusted. A couple months ago my brother asked her if there was anyone in the world she trusts and she said no. My parents have been together for over 30 years, both my mother’s siblings are nearby, and my grandmother is still alive. But even with all that family and childhood friends, there is no one in the world she trusts.

One of the greatest challenges with this is my mom doesn’t even care. I’ve tried talking to her about it and she says, “I didn’t want you to be afraid, I want you to be aware,” “Well you know you have this problem, you can fix it,” “I managed to get married and live a normal life, if you want it bad enough you’ll figure it out.” But I have found it to be very difficult trying to sort out my feelings of loneliness, alone. I really do want to have friends and relationships, but I’m afraid and insecure.

I often like to finish my posts with a bow of completion, but that’s inauthentic. I haven’t figured out this problem yet and maybe some of you can help me. Do you have any advice or recommendations on how I can move forward in my life, learning to trust and connect with people. Please let me know your ideas. Thanks in advance.

Easter Observations

He is risen! I hope you all had a very blessed Lent and a terrific Easter Sunday.

While at Mass this morning I was inspired to write a post about Chreasters. For those of you who do not know what that is, you are probably one of them. A Chreaster is a person who only goes to church on Christmas and Easter. I go to Mass first thing in the morning most weeks and there are usually about 200 people there. Today, it was more like 2, 000. There were so many people, I had to stand in the back of the church throughout the celebration.

A good Christian would say, “That’s wonderful, I’m so glad so many of our brothers and sisters made it to church to celebrate our Lord. I hope they feel inspired to return each week.” I am not a good Christian, I try to be, but I’m not there yet. My thought was, “I come to church week in, week out; holy day of obligation in, holy day of obligation out; I tithe 10%; I volunteer with the kids in religious education, and I have to stand in the back of the church!” This feeling lasted much longer than it should have. Once we got to the homily, I started to loosen up a bit.

Catholicism isn’t about how many times you receive your sacraments, it isn’t about how much time you spend volunteering, and it certainly is not about how much money you give. Catholicism is about family, it is about connecting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. By the end of Mass, I felt so pleased to see so many young families and young couples celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with me over a shared meal of His body and blood. It is a privilege to be Catholic that so many don’t understand. I am thankful for the opportunity to share in the Divine Life by being united to 2, 000 people in my home church and the 1.2 billion others around the world.

I do want to say one thing to Chreasters, we would like to see you more often. We break this bread at least once per week, more like everyday in most places. Come celebrate and share a meal with us more often! Next week is a fun feast, you should definitely join the party.

Matthew 14:23

Solo prayer! so one of the things I have found with a few of my friends, is they don’t pray alone a lot. Catholics are a communion people (which is awesome). But sometimes, at least with these people, they get too wrapped up in the communion part. Both community group prayer and private introspection prayer are vital to a healthy spiritual life. As always, we need only to look to Jesus to set an example of how we should pray.

The community prayer in Mass, bible study, or dinner are fabulous They connect us to our brothers and sisters in faith, giving us the opportunity to share in one another triumphs and struggles. It reminds us of how we are part of this family in the Church, we have the opportunity to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. Private prayer is different, but of equal importance. We have a personal God, a personal God that wants us to call him Abba, Father. A personal God that hangs on the cross for us saying, “I love you this much, you are a special individual to me. I knew you before I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I know the hairs on your head. You are my child.” It is through personal, quit, internal prayer that we can experience this. When we sit in the silence of our hearts with our Lord, we give him the space in our lives to solve the problems of our past. The moments are necessary because without them, we can’t serve the community. We are each given a particular set of talents, skills, and traits that God intends for us to use in order to help one another and grow His Kingdom. We can’t find these skills if we are too busy to sit quietly with him.

Jesus sets an example for EVERYTHING for us, including the way we should pray. Formal group prayers like the the Our Father are important; especially when it comes to the sacraments. But we also need a heart-to-heart connection with our Lord that can only be found in the quiet places. In this verse, it’s a mountain; for me, it’s a like near my house; for others, it’s their bedroom. Where is yours?

Have a sparkly day!

Jeremiah 31:13

I always think of verses like this during Lent. It is an emotional penitential and anticipatory season. But we should be living our lives with the lessons of Lent; thinking always about how we can prepare our hearts to receive God, to fix our eyes on ways to serve him, to seek reconciliation regularly, and to purge ourselves of the things that lead us away from God. There are many times things in this life are hard, even too hard for us to handle (or so we think). But in our mourning, Christ turns it to joy because of the salvation he offers. Many of us feel heartbreak at the loss of a loved one, but with Jesus, we can pray for the repose of their soul, offer up our sadness for the good of His Holy Church, and unite ourselves to his suffering on the cross and the sufferings of his Blessed Mother. The key to this verse, the key to Lent, the key to our lives, is hope. The hope that only faith in Jesus offers. The kind of hope that stands in the way of despair and is not overwhelmed, the hope that there is more than just this life. Today I pray that we are always able to live a lenten life of penance and anticipation.

Psalm 119:29

Other translations of this verse say “lying” or “deceit” instead of “falsehood.” When I hear these words, I think of the deceitful nature of the evil one who tries to speak to us through worldly temptations. We say it all the time, the ways of the world are destruction and death but God’s laws are life. His laws are a gift, though we don’t always see it that way.

We are in an election year, and things are a little crazy. One of the things I keep seeing pop up online is, “It doesn’t matter who is president, because God is still King.” In one sense, that calms me. It reminds me that things may get pretty crazy but as long as I stay plugged into my Lord, I will be okay. He answers prayers for all of us. On the other hand, I’m reminded about how far our country’s laws are from God’s laws. Specifically same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. When it comes to these things, God’s laws have been unwavering. Our Constitution, on the other hand, is a living document, open to interpretation and additions in a way God’s law isn’t. Our deposit of faith was closed with the death of St. John. but the Constitution is at the whim of Supreme Court Justices that will manipulate and rephrase things to meet their own ideological agenda. We are living in dark and scary times.

Although, my fears for the future of my country are strong and I don’t know what the future holds for the U.S. politically or legally, I have an opportunity each day to live my life in accord with God’s laws. His laws are a favor to me and a delight to my heart amidst the dangers of a world full of falsehood. My hope is in Christ, my faith is in my redeemer, my comfort is in the Lord. Although the country may be going to the dogs, my heart will not grow weary, because it don’ts matter who is president, Jesus is still the King of kings.