But we were not created for comfort……….

I found it interesting, as I came to write this post, that I tend to write when something is really bothering me.  It’s like I have too many thoughts swirling around in my head, and I can’t just choose one and focus on it for a minute.  Kind of like an out-of-control merry-go-round that’s going so fast you can’t really see what any of the animals look like, much less take it in and look at another.

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Anyway………..

Lots of good and some not-so-good things have happened in our house over the last year.  Talk about learning to praise Him through the storm!  When I look over all of the events, I KNOW without a doubt that it was HIS strength, not mine, that put one foot in front of the other.  My ‘theme verse” last year was 2 Corinthians 12:9:

but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It rang true in ever turn, every event that took place in 2013.  You can imagine how excited I was then when, in November, God gave me Isaiah 61 for 2014 – those are HIS promises to be fulfilled in my life this year.  And there are times that all I can do is cling to them (and thus to Him).  Promises to restore, to reconcile, to repay, to comfort, to build up.  (Go read it if you haven’t for awhile – how encouraging would it be to know that God had that in store for your life this year?)

 

Part of Isaiah 61, though, is about the anointing from God to do great works for His kingdom.  See, not only was I to receive all of those promises, but I’m also to help minister them as well.  Anyone that’s been “all in” for the kingdom knows that God doesn’t, not once, call us to be comfortable – we’re to take up our cross daily and follow Him, or we are not worthy of Him.

 

and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Matthew 10:38

 

God’s calling me to do some difficult things right now for His kingdom.  I wouldn’t be honest (or human) if I said there wasn’t a tiny corner in me that wants to just run the other direction.  But I’m not in this for me.  I’m in this for Him.  I’m in this because He loves me.  I’m in this because I can’t bear to see the sight of Jesus being scourged and think for a second that God wouldn’t call me to hard things if He sent His Son to endure His Passion for me.

 

But we were not created for comfort, but for greatness.”- Pope Saint Benedict XVI

 
photo credit: Leshaines123 via photopin cc

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Reflection on a reflection on a reflection………….

My girl Cristina @ Filling My Prayer Closet posted a TBT blog-style, reflecting on a reflection………..and asked her readers to reflect too!  That’s a lot of reflection!  I decided (especially since I’ve been a horrible blogger and not blogged about all of the awesomeness going on) that I would share my reflections with you, and in turn as you to share back (reflect lol) in the comments, too!

Are you comfortable talking with others about your relationship with God?
+ This is an interesting question for me to reflect upon at this point, since my relationship has drastically changed with Him over the last year. I don’t think I’ve ever been uncomfortable sharing, but I do think that coming home (and all of the journey that has lead up to that) has made me more bold in sharing. That while I need to be sensitive to where someone is at, and how much I should give them (thank you Holy Spirit!) that I can and will endure any persecution that may come back at me.

 

Would you say that you’re a “normal” Catholic using the criteria outlined below? Or are you a “typical” Catholic, fighting that feeling that interest in the faith is only for a few pious eccentrics?

-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be excited Christian activists.
-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable of their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church, and the history of the Church.
-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.
-It is NORMAL for the local parish to function consciously as a house for formation for lay Catholics.

+ Normal! Although while I agree that those things should BE normal, I definitely recognize they aren’t normal. What can we do to change that? I had to chuckle at your mention of “if you’re at a weekday Mass it’s because you WANT to be there” – YES!!! Even if it’s just you and the priest! 😉

 

Do you personally have, within your parish, a group of Catholics you meet with regularly, to discuss the faith, study the faith, and encourage each other to greater virtue?
+ I don’t know if I can say that this is within our parish, although it’s sprung from the parish and is ultimately a result of a parish mission last fall 🙂 But I’m so grateful to have a group of Catholics that I meet with (almost) weekly. We fellowship over a meal, enjoy praise and worship time, share what God has spoken to us through the week through scripture/lectio divina/prayer (amazing how others can help give insight as to what He’s saying if we’re open enough to share!), and minister to each other through the laying on of hands and prayer, and using our gifts given from the Holy Spirit! Can’t imagine my life without having a group like this 🙂

 

At this time, does your parish have in place a working system for actively mentoring those who want to grow in their relationship with God?
+ nope. Very unfortunate. ^^^ we’re working on that! ^^^ I think the work mentoring is key here too – it’s not just about having a lesson, but a relationship! Building each other up! Guiding each other!
Whaddya think?  How would you answer these questions?  How is God calling you to step out, be bold, and foster a need in your parish?   

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

Blogging the Saints, A to Z, letter “J”

A jolly good time to share with you some “J” Saints 🙂

 

St Jane Frances de Chantal, after overcoming some tremendous debt upon marrying her husband, served the poor by offering them soup and bread when they came to her door.  Sometimes the poor would pretend to leave and simply go to the end of the line to get more.  When others questioned why she didn’t turn them away, she replied, “What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?”  BOOM!  St Jane has a tremendous story of forgiveness and more – I do hope you’ll read more about her HERE.

 

St Jeanne Jugan, as most Saints, had a servants heart.  She served God in many ways – teaching catechism to the children of the town, serving the poor, and assisting at a hospital.  Most remarkable to me, though, was giving up her own bed to help a poor elderly woman.  Several women in the house that she lived did so also, and at the age of 87, 2,400 people were involved in their community, which had spread across Europe and across the ocean!

 

You can read more on Saints whose names begin with the letter “J” HERE 

 

Join me Saturday for a taste of “K” Saints 🙂

 

 

Blogging the Saints, A to Z, letter “I”

Are you interested in what I have for the letter “I”?  I sure hope so!

 

St Isidora the Simple (also called St Isidora the Fool for Christ) was almost like Cinderella.  She veiled her head with a simple rag, went about with the dirtiest of tasks, and was ridiculed and taunted by her fellow nuns.  That is until a hermit visited the convent.  He had received a word from God to go visit, and that “There you shall find an elect vessel full of the grace of God, and you shall know her by the crown that shines above her head.”  Upon arriving he asked to see all of the nuns, but it wasn’t until St Isidora entered into the room that he saw the crown shining above her head.  He quickly dropped to his knees, at which time she asked for his blessing.  From that point the other sisters repented of their behavior and honored her as a saint in their midst.

St Ia (how would you pronounce that?!?) was so successful at converting a Persian woman that she was arrested and tortured for several months before she was flogged to death and then beheaded.

 

You can read more on Saints whose names begin with the letter “I” HERE 

 

See y’all tomorrow for the “J” Saints 🙂

 

 

Blogging the Saints, A to Z, letter “H”

I’m honored that you’ve returned to see what Saints I have for you today!

 

St Helen of Skovde is first up today.  She was born of a noble family, married well, but after her husband’s death, she gave away all of their possessions to the poor and made a pilgrimage to Rome.  When she returned home, she discovered that she was being accused of being involved in the death of her son-in-law.  About a year after her execution, it was discovered that she was innocent, and that he had actually been killed by some servants that he had mistreated (apparently they didn’t believe in “innocent until proven guilty” – yikes!).  Many miracles are said to have happened at her tomb.

 

St Hyacinth

St Hyacinth was quite the rebel in her day.  She was placed in monastic life because of her troublesome nature.  She was so scandalous that she was forced to become religious, but even there she rebelled for 24 years before finally becoming a model tertiary.  Silly girl!

 

You can read more on Saints whose names begin with the letter “H” HERE 

 

Come back Thursday to see what “I” Saints we have to learn from!

 

 

Blogging the Saints, A to Z, letter “G”

Good day all!  Thanks for joining me this gorgeous Tuesday for some great Saints!!!

 

St Gemma Galgani (double “G” points!) developed a love for prayer at a very young age.  Gemma had a challenging childhood – dealing with illness that drew her away from school, and the death of her parents which left her to raise her 7 brothers and sisters.  But she was granted many mystical experiences and special graces.  One of those graces was the stigmata – “She had pain in her hands, feet and heart and blood was coming from the places where she had pain. Each Thursday evening, Gemma would fall into rapture and the marks would appear. The stigmata remained until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning when the bleeding would stop, the wounds would close, and only white marks would remain in place of the deep gashes. ” (catholic.com) St Gemma experienced other ecstasies during her life, too – can you imagine?

 

St Germana Cousin, patron of abandoned people, abuse victims, against poverty, disabled people, girls from rural areas, illness, impoverishment, loss of parents, shepherdesses, sick people, and unattractive people, seemed destined for a life of suffering.  She was born with a deformed hand and experienced disease right away, in addition, her mother died while she was still an infant.  Her step-mother was abusive, and with the excuse of not wanting to affect the rest of the household with her disease, she was sent to be employed as a shepherdess from her earliest day.  When she returned home at night, she found her “bed”  in the stable or made with a pile of grapevine branches.  Through her neglect and abandonment, she developed a keen sense of God’s presence and of spiritual things.  She had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and helped daily at the Holy Sacrifice – upon hearing the bells ring, she planted her sheep hook in the ground and ran off to hear Mass – not once was her flock injured.

 

You can read more on Saints whose names begin with the letter “G” HERE 

 

Join me Wednesday to check out some “H” Saints!

 

 

Blogging the Saints, A to Z, letter “F”

We’re Finally to the letter F!  Ok, that was very un-creative…….sorry 😉 Check out these awesome ladies!

St Felicity with St Perpetua

St Felicity was the slave of St Perpetua, who evangelized Felicity and 3 men to become Christians.  They were arrested for their beliefs, and lived in torment in prison.  Felicity was 8 months pregnant and fretted about her baby – Felicity had been set to be executed.  Interestingly enough, in those times, it was against the law to execute a pregnant woman, to kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. What a concept right? *sigh*  Felicity gave birth to a baby girl 2 days before her execution date and she was adopted and raised by a Christian woman.  St Felicity and St Paula were killed to start “the games”, first facing a rabid heifer, then their throats were cut.

St Flora

St Flora was secretly raised as a Christian by her mother (her father had been Muslim).  Her brother had accepted the Muslim religion, and tortured and battered Flora for her Christian beliefs.  St Flora met St Mary, the sister of a martyred deacon.  They surrendered to the Muslims and were placed in a brothel.  They were both beheaded when they continued to claim the Christian faith.

 

You can read more on Saints whose names begin with the letter “F” HERE 

Do please go read about St Faustina if you’re not familiar with her – I love her dearly!  Her diary is very inspiring!!!

 

See y’all Tuesday for a few “G” Saints 🙂