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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These worn pewbacks

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It really struck me the other day how worn the tops of the pewbacks were.  It prompted me to consider the parishioners before me…….

          How many people had rested their weary forearms there to plea to the Lord to touch their lives.

          How many children hung on with little hands in awe and wonder, learning how to come to Jesus.

          How many moms had leaned their elbows there, hands clasped and resting at their lips, praying for                 the salvation of their children.

          How many men had placed their head in their hands there, tears streaming down,                                           asking for direction.

          How many families had rubbed that wood while they said their penance.

 

The depth and history of our Catholic faith just amazes me.

 

What about………? {a series}

 

Many who aren’t in the Catholic church (and many who are, even) see the Church as nothing but a rule-imposing, overbearing, government of sorts.  But I’d like to take a moment to put a different perspective on this.

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As Catholics, we don’t worship the Church.  When Christ created the Church, He set it up to be a “household” of faith (2 Timothy 3:15 …..God’s household, which is the church of the living God…..).  You have parents that you love and honor, but do you worship them?  I hope not! 😉  The Church, in a sense (more on this analogy later) acts as a parent.  Just as parents we are to guide, educate, and direct our children to God, so does the Church for it’s parishioners. 

 

 As parents we have to set rules, boundaries, and routines in the home, and so does the Church in the Catechism.  If we let our children roam free, no guidance, no boundaries, no rules then they end up a mess – they don’t know right from wrong, they are sometimes fatally insecure, and they often feel no true love.  Not to mention the chaos that would ensue as a household!  The Catechism takes scripture and applies it to our modern-day lives, answering the question of “How do I apply the instruction that God has given us in the Bible to my life 2000+ years later?”.  The Catechism is here to give us boundaries, security, and to guide us.

 

The Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Marriage, Anointing of the sick, Reconciliation, Holy orders) are put in place to further our relationship with God, to aid our weak, human, simple, and sinful minds to relate to and experience Him fully, to help fill us with the richness of His love for us!

 

I know that these were some of the misconceptions I had prior to hearing the call to convert  that I have grown to greatly appreciate!  What are some subjects of the Catholic Church that you don’t understand?  I’d love to share my knowledge and address some misunderstandings!

 

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”  – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 

 

I choose you – you are Mine!

The class of 2014 in our parish celebrated the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election  just over a week ago.  I should have carried tissues.  The hymn at both events was “You Are Mine”.  Here are a few lines from it:
I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

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“Do you think you are here because of any choice you made?  Because you chose the Church?  NO!  You are here because Christ chose YOU!”

That’s what our Bishop said in his homily at the Rite of Election.  He could’ve not said another word and I would have been left in awe.

Christ chose me.

It still leaves me speechless, and humbled, and with more thanksgiving than I could ever express!

I recently went through some inner healing, to allow Christ to heal and rebuke lies that I’ve believed about myself since I was a wee one.  It has blocked me from receiving His love all this time and I had no idea.

God doesn’t want us to go through life not knowing how much He loves us!

Our Father sent His ONLY Son, who was without ANY sin, never did wrong, to suffer for us – to receive ridicule, condemnation, persecution, lash after lash from whips, chains, blades, thorns pressed into His head, nails penetrating each of His hands, and His feet, and a spear piercing His side – unimaginable pain.  For us.  FOR ME.  Even then, He chose to suffer for me.  While He bore the weight of my sin on His back, His blood poured out FOR ME.  For the first time in my life I can accept that love – yes, with humility, but it was for me.

During these 3 Sundays in which we, as elect, celebrate the scrutinies, I invite each of you to embrace what they mean.  This isn’t a time for you to scrutinize and judge yourself or others, but a time to open up and let God scrutinize you.  Let Him seek those dark corners of your heart.  Let Him shine His glorious light on them and heal them so that you can receive His love, so that you can melt as it pours into and over your heart.

He chose YOU!  He loves YOU!  You are HIS!

    I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1