Why New Year’s resolutions may be Un-Christian of you

Leave, Notes, Paper Ball, Office, Paper, Note, PenIf we are living in communion with Jesus, we understand that we are not living on our own, or at least we are not supposed to anyway. I find that sometimes in my haste and attempt to find the easy way out that I set goals. What I want, what I need. I don’t invite God in, I just simply have ideas in my mind and sometimes begin to work towards them. Until I am making phone calls and setting time aside and joining activities only to realize that I never asked God for his opinion…

Even though God is infused in my life, in my being, I still make the mistake of thinking that it’s my road. I may be walking on it, but he is the paver. And sometimes I find myself echoing HELLO! in the desert with no return response. Ever been there? You’re laughing. Of course you haven’t…

I’ve been making a lot of decisions lately. Decisions about my career, my kids, my schedule and what my priorities are. I am not an addict of illegal substances but an addict when it comes to self-help instruments and the many promises they make. I can do it all, be it all. I can make and achieve any goal that I set my mind to.  I can hear the cheerleaders on the pages as I turn them, until I am reminded it is the Lord that sustains my life (Psalm 54:6)

So I sat back down to think about all of the things I am trying to accomplish (cough cough CONTROL) and the fact that Jesus was never invited to the table. I don’t want to be an attorney anymore, heck I never wanted to be an attorney in the first place. But I have never asked God if that’s what he wanted for me.  My overwhelming desire to be a mom with a flexible schedule has overridden my desire to let God in. Why? Well, because I’m afraid of what He might say.

The catechism talks about man seeking to attain his own goal apart from God. This is discussed in the context of the fall. These are the subtle ways the enemy gets us, “Surely you will not die.”  This idea of making goals apart from God, trying to achieve things without asking, moving in a worldly direction without seeking biblical advice. Lucky for me God doesn’t just shut doors, he slams them in my face.

The Holy Spirit is our compass, leading us to where we need to be. The Lord has placed directions there that are illuminated through His son. Prayer brings us step by step to the places we need to be, with fewer detours. Places we should have been in the first place.

I encourage you to take those goals you’ve made and ask the Lord about them. Ask Him to guide you and bless you, and slam doors in your face if necessary. I encourage you to include those goals in your intentions as you pray the rosary. I encourage you to write them down and pray through them, specifically, each one. If He does not answer you one word, you’ll know. 

No one shall appear before me empty handed

Jesus Christ, Rio Janeiro, Christ, StatueWe follow Jesus at a distance- following too close is costly. For everything that we are and everything that we strive to be still has some meaning in the world, as long as we let it. We can tell ourselves that one or two drinks will be o.k. but then we drink ourselves to excess. One night will not lead anywhere. God will rescue me. But if God is the rowboat, we are the oars, and some of us have forgotten how to paddle.

Jesus is not a lot of talk, he is a lot of silence. He does not babble on and on and write you excuses for what it is you want to do. He is a mystery in this world, completely not of it, and therefore not a partaker in its sin. 

We come empty-handed to God expecting magic tricks. If I pray enough, If I read enough scripture things will surely change for me. But the bible is not a wand and our words to heaven are not hocus pocus. Change from within is a slow process and we have to come with something, something to leave behind and sacrifice on His holy altar.

Nobody thinks much about sacrifice, it is counter-cultural. But Jesus is counter-cultural. If Jesus walks left, we should be walking right. The journey is dirty. It is too much to leave what we have and be with Him. We love our addiction more than we love Him. We are addicted to our own selves and the selfishness that it produces.

You don’t have to leave the world to follow Him, well not in a physical sense anyway. But yes you will have to leave the world. That includes your pride, your drugs, your definitions of what is acceptable behavior, your just this one time, your excuses, your holding onto the world. The drink may go down smooth, but Jesus refused it for you. He felt his pain.

The gospel is harsh. It is not a neat package or clean or money raining down from heaven. It is not undefined. There is no confusion about what it says, the world confuses that. It is bright lines. You don’t like it because it’s not easy. You don’t like it because it is speaking directly to you. You don’t like it because it requires you to sacrifice the very thing that you love, and you love it more than you love him, so you follow Him at a distance.

“the whole world  (which) is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle.” (Catechism 409, 1 John 5:19).

You’ll never get anywhere if you can’t touch him; if you are sitting down with the servants to see the outcome. (Matthew 26:58). The gospel is not a show in high-definition. 

“Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome.” Matthew 26:58

I will meet you

20160514_070935The challenges of motherhood are many, but it is who I am. I never asked God to make me famous, rich or powerful. I never asked him for a big house or lots of friends. I grew up with a sense of knowing, what I now know is my vocation, motherhood. There was never anything I wanted more than that. But I had a sense from a young age that would be a struggle. The Holy Spirit was present and alive to me ever before I knew who Jesus Christ was, and even though I was not a believer in Christ, I knew God and saw His hand in my life. So when I struggled to have children I found it a curse, cruel, a God that didn’t hear my shouts for mercy, my Hannah prayers, my desperation.

For those that have not grappled with infertility, I am glad for you. Out of all the things I have contended with in my life, this by far was the greatest fight for my soul. I wanted children like I wanted water, it wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity.

After several opinions, I stumbled across a doctor willing to help me. His name was Dr. Christie, I can’t make this stuff up. I was not a believer in Christ at the time but even I as a Jewish girl recognized the name. It was subtle. God doesn’t bulldoze his way through, He glides gently. It was one of a series of small whispers, God’s call to me. Subtle.

Dr. Christie was my third opinion. I came armed and prepared with my research and data. I had by this time diagnosed myself. I had come from a doctor who told me I’d never have children unless I paid him $25,000. The world of infertility is legalized extortion. I told myself that this time around with this doctor, I would put him to the test.

But he wasn’t like the others. He was quiet, kind… unassuming. At the time he was working in a small infertility office. He had been at the job exactly one week.  The specialist that owned the practice brought him on. That specialist was booked up for six months. But not Dr. Christie- he was available right away.

I hesitated to make the appointment. The words “he’s wide open because he’s new” are not usually a good sign. But something drew me in. I knew it was his name.

I sat down with the good doctor. He was visibly nervous. He had just moved his whole life to Florida and he was a true southern boy, accent and all. But his presence was calming to me. We spoke, and he rattled off his diagnosis- the same one I had come up with. I told him he was hired. He told me he couldn’t guarantee me anything, but that I was a good candidate for an alternative to IVF.  He told me with a smile that he had a good feeling.

We started the process, Shlomi and I. It was a perpetual wave of emotions. We started out with pills, then moved on when I told Dr.Christie that I was ready to go for it, full force. He smiled again. He knew why.

More drugs this time in the form of shots. What an emotional time. Your husband injecting you in the hopes for a baby. He was so gentle. I would cry out of sheer emotional pain. It wasn’t the needle that hurt me, it was the reminder of the needle that hurt me. But Shlomi was there encouraging me, telling me, I was going to be a mother, He was sure of it.  Another subtle reminder. Another subtle reminder of Jesus.

Several months, lots of drugs, emotions high and the blood test that changed my life. A call from Dr. Christie. I was on edge. I had been pregnant twice before and lost those within a couple of weeks. I closed my eyes.

I was pregnant, and he had a suspicion that it was multiples.

I felt the sting of the needle, unsure of God, could He be this cruel? It was my birthday, 2008.

7 weeks in I entered the room. There were three. Shlomi, Dr. Christie and me. Dr. Christie had inadvertently become an inextricable part of my journey. I trusted him. And before I looked up to see the ultrasound, to hope for a baby and not an empty sac or no heartbeat, I looked over at Dr. Christie. He told me he had a good feeling.

And there it was. His good feeling on a screen. His instinct. My pain. The needles. My husband’s confidence in God. And my husband was an atheist at best. Two sacs. Two heartbeats. Two babies in my belly. That is when I knew God had not left me. That is the moment I knew that God had not forgotten me, my destiny, to be a mother. And He didn’t stop there. Three months after I delivered my twins I found out I was pregnant with my third. No drugs or doctors or needles. God filled my belly. Why? The first prayer I ever prayed from my heart that I understood, not in Hebrew.

God I want another baby. Please God give me another baby, and He did. 

Although my third was not the result of any intervention, I only trusted Dr. Christie. With my condition, I knew there was a high chance I’d lose this one too. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t lose this one. And he happily agreed to monitor me for Meadow’s first 12 weeks of life. He was there when I heard her heartbeat too. I knew it was a miracle. Only God could do that…

I believe I was destined for the cross, destined for Christ. I believe God chose me before I ever chose Him. I believe God picked my vocation and filled my belly with three babies. I believe in divine providence and its many and numerous gifts. I believe He dresses me in sacred vestments. I believe His altar is wherever He meets you.

Exodus 30:6, “This altar you are to place in front of the veil that hangs before the ark of the covenant where I will meet you.”

I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can

(Listen while you read)

I am an outcast. I am not like anyone else. I am not accepted in so many places.

I am different and misunderstood and at times challenged.

I have gone against the grain, I have traveled, I have journeyed, I have cried.

I have lost the person I loved the most.

I have lost many, many friends along the way.

I have walked down long winding pathways and through valleys and up and down the tallest of mountains.

I have followed a God I cannot see.

I have continued to follow Him, giving up everything for Him, understood or not.

And the longer I walk, I run, I climb, I pant, I chase after this God I cannot see.

But the longer I chase, the clearer I see, the more I need Him, the more I understand why I was even born.

And I’d walk it all again, get spat at again, lose every friend I ever had just to be in His loving arms.

In the depth of my soul He is more real than any tangible item I have ever touched, His peace the blanket of my soul.

And I can get to him anyway, anytime, anywhere. Eyes closed, open, tearful, mad, cursing Him, loving Him, He’ll never leave.

He is the King of my people, the human race. And I’ll love you and forgive you and show you mercy because it feels good, it feels right to extend the same hand that was extended to me.

And I am ok with all of it. I accept all of it. I take all of it. And so does He.

And my greatest hope is that I’ll get a chance to say I’m sorry to you, to love you the way God loves you, to always have an open hand, an open heart, and to pour out His mercy all over you.

God, the Lord of the Universe, the great I AM. I will follow you on this earth until you call me home, whenever that glorious day is. And I’m scared to die. But I am more scared to know any life without you.

Let my feet keep walking, let my arms stay open, let my tears flow. And let me keep walking in your great and mighty name, in your power and in the hope of the resurrection.

I’m still walking…

Mary

Climb the mountain: How to pray “Your Will be done” and mean it

And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:46

His tombstone reads, “Pauper, servis a humilis” (a poor and humble servant) Saint Andre Bessette

servant

When we are too close up, we can see nothing. Our nose presses up against the glass window, and all we can see is, us. A reflection of our own eyes and mouth looking back at us. I demand this! I want that! I pray your will be done, but I am looking back at me… I don’t mean it. This ministry you planted in my heart God, why won’t you move me? Stomping, exasperated, shaking a door that won’t come unhinged. And all the while He sits by and lets us trip over ourselves, fall, fail, get back up. He’ll let us do it as many times as we need, until our face comes away from the glass in front of it. We are so myopic in our view of God. It’s our corner of the universe, our family, our denomination, our church. This is the God of the Universe, not 7th Street. He didn’t give you the job you wanted? This is a grain in the essence of time compared to His vastness. Get your face off the glass and start walking backwards. No really walking. Keep going until you are at least a couple of feet away. You can’t see yourself so well can you? Now let’s start climbing.

As you back away from the glass window, it’s time to climb. You can only see laterally. You can only see what’s right in front of you. It’s time to get some perspective. Off in the distance you see the peak of a mountain. Suddenly, without thought, you see it right beneath your feet. Look up. It’s time to climb. God, He is up there.

So you leave your purse or wallet or bag behind. Maybe you have some other baggage. Leave that behind to, God’s calling. You start to edge up the mountain. Only a couple of feet up, you look down. Everything appears smaller. You’re not carrying anything with you. You are far from seeing your own face. You are far from seeing anyone at all.

You are now climbing with purpose. You’ve left the world behind you. You are just focused on getting to the top. You look down again and now all you can see are clouds and sky. You feel yourself breathing for the first time in a long time. Your spirit is lifted. You’ve forgotten about whatever it was you were asking God for. Your face is far from the glass window that is now a distant memory. You can’t even remember why you are climbing in the first place or how you got there, all you know is that you are free. Before you know it, you’ve made it to the top. You realized you’ve enjoyed the journey, without even knowing it.

You look down from the top. It is just wind and open sky. You can practically touch God’s roof. He shows you how big the universe is, and it is all His. You don’t even remember your own life down there. You see God’s infinity. You want to stay there. He says you can. That mountain, it is in you.

You’re still in front of the glass window. You open your eyes. You’ve just prayed “your will be done.” Now you know how. 

Invite someone else on the trip up the mountain…

Come climb the mountain with me at There’s Something about Mary

A house is not a home…when you’re not there

“During the time when Israel was deprived of land and Temple, God- according to the traditional criteria-could not compete with other gods, for a god who had no land and could not be worshiped was not a god at all.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, p.347

 

Pause thought. There’s another half to that thought that Pope Benedict XVI had, but not      just       quite      yet. When God wakes you up to finish a book, you do it. And this book has been difficult for me to finish. Not because it’s not fantastic, because oh it is. But because it’s savory, and I eat books, fast, some would say (some being my husband) I eat them with my hands like an animal at a table without the use of fork and knife. But no, not this one. I think I’m ready to do a dissertation on it I took so many notes, so many pauses. It didn’t hit me like the light on Paul’s Damascus Road, it came in a long Elijah- like subtle whisper, begging me to read more, begging me to stay.

So 5 am, in the closet, on the floor, tired eyes, ok Lord, hair messy no coffee, I snuck away there like I was about to rob the place. I have been desperate, searching, slap me God do something. I’ll only run to Him. He is my source and my destiny and He likes when I am crazy over Him. And I am crazy over Him.

So when He invited me away with Him I jumped and smiled and I didn’t have to get ready or look my best. He took me, the mess that I was from being awake from my youngest.

“Don’t go back to sleep, don’t go,” it was deep within my soul. I was so ready for a stolen moment, an adventure, even in my closet.

“Finish the book,” He says.

I did. I finished the book. But read every page this time like He was there. And I found treasure, and romance and Him. And it led off with the thought I started with above.

“During the time when Israel was deprived of land and Temple, God- according to the traditional criteria-could not compete with other gods, for a god who had no land and could not be worshiped was not a god at all.”

Oh, I was in it. Drawn in. I felt His pull. My pulls are a knee-jerk let’s go! His;   his are subtle, small, gentle, gliding. Hold my hand and take me. Like a little girl. I was inside that sentence. He was showing me how to be a child, how to be inside what he was showing me. I listened… calm, peaceful. I was with Him yesterday before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. It was still penetrating my being.

Inside, God was not there. No temple, no land, no place to rest his head. A wanderer, a sojourner. Nothing to look at. Open space and movement. But He, he was still living and breathing. In this closet. Far from Jerusalem. Far from my church. I realized it then. Even in my longing to pray daily in His church, He’s made a space for me, a place for me. I live in God’s house or rather, He’s made His house inside of me.

“It was during this period that the people learned to understand fully what was different and new about Israel’s God, the god of one people and one land, but quite simply God, the God of the universe, to whom all lands, all heaven and earth belong, The God who is master of all…Once again: Israel came to realize that its God was simply “God” without qualification.” (Pope Benedict XVI pp.347-348).

Inside that closet was me and Him and silent worship. It was time away with Him. I had no shrine or offerings but myself. Like St. Peter exclaimed during the transfiguration, I was so overcome and had nothing to say but, “It is so good that we are here.” Sounded more in my mind like a nervous uttering on a first date, but it was all I had. I was in open territory, free, free at 5 am with an invitation from God to read and sit with him. And I could care less if the rest of the world doesn’t understand me.

Are you deprived of land and temple? Space or place? Nowhere to go? Roaming in physicality or even in spirit? In wide open spaces that are just too big? The God of the universe had no place to rest his head, so you are in excellent company! And I’m there with you saying, Yes! Yes! Me too! I am shouting Yes! I have nowhere to go than to Him. Always searching, always traveling, continuously finding my way back to Him. This lover will never leave me, never let me go. We are two hippy purveyors of land, He’s there, He’s always there. Still in love with me.

I write most of my pieces while listening to music. The Holy Spirit leads me to songs that ignite me. I want to share this with you today as you will often see music associated with my pieces. Today, the music is crucial to understanding my piece. It is intended to be listened to while you read through it. I hope you see as deep and wide as I do today. Love you all-

M

 

TheressomethingaboutMary

A Change in Perspective

“What if there was no light

Nothing wrong, nothing right”

Coldplay

This morning I woke up thinking about the crucifixion. Not about the blood or the torment or the suffering of Jesus, but of His mother. I read a devotion which prompted me to think about her anguish at the cross. Our minds tend to focus on the obvious, unless we go deeper into ourselves, unfamiliar territory within us, uncomfortable places where we are unwilling to go.

There is much debate about the crucifixion of Jesus, even more about whether those of us who are believers look up at a pulpit or altar or center area and see a crucifix or an empty cross. As a Catholic, I stare at the crucifix every Sunday, debate it, contemplate it, try and some way get my head around it. 

But as for the many hours I have sat there with tears or joy or whatever I am feeling, staring up at the crucified body of Jesus has never had me think of Mary, until today. Until my mind was stirred with images of her at the foot of the cross, her son hanging there. I imagine she did not understand what was happening. I am sure she was confused and unsure. I am pretty positive she felt completely alone. But whether we contemplate the physicality of the corpus or the empty cross, we cannot gently skip over Mary at the cross.

I imagine her looking up and saying, “Why God why? Why me? Why now? Maybe she pleaded with God. I know she felt tortured and was in  pain and yearning to understand God’s plan. In the universality of it all, Mary at the cross becomes us, take us over and sets the stage for us at the foot of the cross, pleading with God to end the pain, and the suffering and the torture of the moment. We are there with her, pleading with God, begging God, unable to break through to the other side.

Sometimes it is through imagery that we are drawn into the supernatural. When God can place us in the book, not outside the book. When we can enter His words rather than just read them. When we take them with us down to the ground on our knees rather than zip them up. Sometimes we just need to be there, like Mary, in those moments, succumbing when we don’t understand, but nevertheless being there and not letting go of Him until we make it to the other side.

Sometimes words on a page are not enough for me, as I am sure they weren’t enough for her. I could look up and feel her. It was as if God had me down on the ground, in the dirt, looking up from her perspective. I wanted to kneel next to her and tell her it was going to be o.k. But in that moment, I knew just to kneel, to feel, to look up from her perspective, not my own. He was not my son…

When I left for mass this morning, I could not get that image out of my head. When I kneeled for silent prayer, I couldn’t look at the crucifix the same. I imagined I was her, looking up at Him. I imagined how that would feel. It gave me a new and completely different perspective, one I could not have imagined or seen before. And then I thought of all the people hurting like Mary was hurting, looking at God. Maybe instead of shoving words in their face that are bound to fall on deaf ears it was time to just kneel with them, to see the cross from their perspective instead of my own. It was what God wanted. Let go of myself, the world is hurting.

One slight change in perspective can change things for us. When we are seeking so outside of our own selves, when we will stop at nothing to find him.

“And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.”

You can read more from Mary at There’s Something about Mary

Christmas Sucks

“But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.”

The Gospel according to John

I got half a mind to scream out loud, I got have half a mind to die-

David Gray

I’ve read the Christmas posts, seen the reindeer pajamas, laughed at myself, then cried. I have always struggled with Christmas, especially as a Jewish person finding her way as a Christian in the world of reds and greens, happy Santas and nativity sets. I have struggled to understand why Christmas lights make Christians so mad, or why they are so upset about Santa. I have never understood in all the years I’ve been a Christian why I don’t feel the Christmas joy at all…

I have struggled with my expectations of Christmas, as I am sure many of you have. Some of us have lost loved ones and traditions are just not the same without them. Or maybe you’re working. Or maybe like me you’re some sort of convert (aren’t we all though?) fumbling their way through the Christmas festivities.

I decorated, bought the gifts, lit advent candles, went to mass as per our usual routine. I tried to anticipate, to see what everyone else was “seeing.” I read the posts about cancelling Christmas for kids who are bad, the posts that talk about Christmas as a pagan holiday, or Christmas trees that are just from the devil. I have read about the uproar of plain red Starbucks cups and C&E Christians and from people who are not Christians at all. For all that I’ve read and all that I’ve seen, (including the perfect family Christmas pictures replete with elves and bells and matching pajamas) I have to say I am completely unimpressed. I’m not the grinch, I’m just a girl who’s looking for the real Christmas.

My kids, they have been fighting for days. Mass, it was filled with standing room only (no strike that, no room at all). I have no family that celebrates Christmas, not one. I sat alone with my husband last night, two Jews eating a Christmas ham and casserole, kids crying upstairs on Christmas Eve, sans Christmas music.

I cried because I tried to plan the perfect Christmas. I tried to decorate the only way a little Jewish girl knows how. I bought the gifts, not many, but ones I knew the kids would enjoy. I filled the house with candles, an advent wreath and sugar cookies in the refrigerator. I got them each those ridiculous looking Christmas pajamas, as I do every year, threw reindeer bells in the backyard. They still fought and hated each other. I was still sitting in my dress from mass, no shoes, tired eyes. 

I imagine many people feel the same way as me in some way, shape or fashion. It’s cliche to comeback and say Christmas is about Jesus so get rid of everything else and send your kids to go do a service project in Africa. My kids are little. I have three of them. I gave up all of my possessions, sold them all, and followed God’s leading to a small house away from where we were. Then I got rid of more extras.

I give money away when I feel prompted; the way I see it it’s just paper with a bunch of dead presidents. I visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every Wednesday. I pray constantly, and then some more. I make my kids go to mass, AND listen (or at least try). I wear a veil because God called me to. My kids still fight and hate each other, and then love each other and then punch each other in the face. They still believe in Santa Claus. They still can’t quite understand why the rest of the world doesn’t believe in Jesus.

It took me awhile after crying, stuffing my face with the kosherest of hams, having a screamd-filled dinner, an overpacked mass, ungrateful kids (because that’s just kids), more screaming, sitting here while my kids are each in their rooms having their own little Christmas, that life doesn’t stop for our expectations. That Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. That although we celebrate his birth, I celebrate it everyday. That today is special yes, but not more special than the day he found me, then the moment I knew my husband found him, when He saved our marriage, or the moment I realized His calling me home to the Catholic church was the moment I had been waiting for but just didn’t know it. I thought of all those moments, and more, and realized for me I can’t glorify this day above all days, expecting that the day will be filled with perfect Jesus moments and kids who just can’t understand quite yet that the reason their family is together is because of that little baby.

He is an innocent baby, a youth, a rabbi, a  grown man, a mystery. And He exists everyday for me, just as important as the next. On the days I don’t have perfect expectations for myself or my kids, it seems to work out, I just have to let Him in.

So I’ve decided that today is like every other day. The kids will be fighting, ungrateful and well, just being kids. My husband and I will try for the millionth time to understand why every holiday sucks. We’ll threaten to take away presents and try to “cancel” Christmas. The kids will spend some time in their rooms. I’ll read the scripture of the day and pray and thank God that in all my chaos my family is together. And I’ll let my expectations float away with my grief over my unperfect day.

And I hope you will too…

You can read more about Mary at There’s Something about Mary

 

I’m over Christianity

It’s Sunday morning and I’m here debating whether or not to shut down this blog. It was originally intended as an online way to journey, to share my life real and honest with others. I did the same with my secular blog except that it was clothed in anonymity and prose. And although people flocked to it, it was mired in pain and sin and God wiped it clean when I came out of the water, when I was free.

As my blog journey has continued, it has taken me so many unexpected places. It has brought people back into my life who I hadn’t spoken to in many years, it has allowed others to reach out to me who have been sexually abused and asked me for prayer. It brought me to the Catholic church and allowed me to free myself from some of the bondage I still suffered from, namely people pleasing. There has been so much refinement and blessing. Honesty will do that- allow God to mold and shape you into who He wants you to be.

But lately as I journey on, I see a sad trend in Christian writers who feel bashing Catholics, posting derogatory articles about Catholics, or making seemingly “harmless” arguments masquerading in “doctrine” about Catholics on the rise. Many of the blogs I used to read, I cannot read anymore. And you might say, well say something! Yes I could do that. But then I would have to quit my job and my family to have the adequate amount of time to lovingly tell people to cease and desist hating Jesus.

The typical arguments I receive are:

“Oh well you’ve only been saved for a little over two years”  (Not sure where Jesus stated a requirement for how long one needs to be saved before talking about Him, help me out here people…)

“You didn’t go to seminary so you don’t know your doctrine” (Ummm, ok well the same bible you’re reading tells me that I actually don’t have to go to seminary to do that. But oh that’s right, Jesus went to your alma mater, forgive me!).

“Look at the sexual abuse that’s occurred in the Catholic Church and you want to go there?” (Oh yeah that’s right, only priests sexually abuse children, duh!)

“Catholics believe in tradition and don’t read the bible like we do.” (Oh yes that’s right. Let’s completely forget the first Christians were Jews who came out of synagogue with ummmm traditions and reading of scripture out loud before the whole congregation. Shhh let’s just flush that and start again our way, the right way!).

There are so many more that if I wrote all of them down this post would become a novel. Suffice it to say I’m over it, way over it. So over it that I am embarrassed for the non-believers out there including militant atheists who read some of this stuff. I am not quite sure in a hurt and dying world why people would feel it is their “job” to proselytize (or their version of it, I call it bashing, but tomato, tomatoe, right?) Catholics. And don’t get me started on about one billion other topics that Christians write about out here which wouldn’t even lead my dog to the Lord.

So as I mull over my decision to leave this blog, I’d say to all of you Christian bloggers who are using your space to hate on Catholics, please in the name of Jesus take that stuff down. Hello, we have work to do out here! And just so you know rather than it “converting” me into another non-Catholic denomination it’s hurting me and making me run the other way, all the way into possibly shutting down this blog. Maybe some other Catholics won’t tell you how they feel, but I will. Because I was one of you before becoming one of them. And what you’re doing is not love, it’s not love at all. And some of you have completely missed what the gospel message is all about.

Honesty is something, huh?

(Thanks my friend for the song. Hard to listen to but, I did, and I needed it. And you know, others do to.)

Why am I here?

I read a post this morning (fantastic by the way) about how to garner more comments out here on WordPress, meet and greets and the like. It got me to wonder that age old question, why am I here?

What started out as a recovery breakthrough and call from God has taken on a life of its own that led me all the way to the Catholic church. I’ve met people out here in blog-land who’ve accepted me throughout the entirety of this journey, and some who have not. I read and re-read so many theology based posts I sometimes become nauseous with the verbose and stale translations that make Jesus dead. I’ve been asked to be myself but most times I’ve been asked not to be myself. At times I don’t even know what to call myself. 

The mass, it is my saving grace.  Receiving Jesus weekly in the Eucharist has taken me to places I never thought I’d be spiritually. The celebration of Him, the focus on His sacrifice and the participation at His table is at times overwhelming for me. I could float off in the distance in my little Catholic life, and maybe God will let me do that. I pray God will let me do that. But it’s times like this I find and know my writing and working out my salvation is as much for you as it is for me. And I am not concerned about comments, online cocktail hours or whether you like me or not. No, the truth is so much more than that. 

We try and make people conform to the way we think they should be. We say that being a Christian makes us free, but I was in bondage over people pleasing so much more than I was in the world. Even now, it is hard at times to write what God has for me, knowing it will draw your ire. But be myself I must, I know who I am, and God does too.

I wish more people would write about their struggles and realities rather than cloak themselves in bibles. I wish more people would be honest with themselves about who they are. I can’t imagine that most Christians don’t use the word moron in their everyday vernacular or get angry or feel hurt or sad. I can’t imagine why we can’t and won’t accept people right where they are, and why we need to shove the gospel down their throat like bad medicine. If I cannot be myself in Christ, where else can I go to do that? Certainly not back to the world which has nothing to offer except certain death…

We have to allow ourselves to feel, to grow, to move inside and outside of ourselves, to be healthy, to get healthy and to take others with us. We can’t exist inside a shell of who we are. We can’t be perfect. We have to reach out in the language that the person our hand is extended to understands.

So why am I here? I don’t know. I ask myself that question a lot these days. So I’ll ask you the same, why are you here, what are the intentions in your heart? Is your space self-serving, do you tear down others with your words, do you judge, do you hide behind pretty things, do you get angry and let the writer know, do you let people be free to be themselves and give them the words you know they need? What are you doing here? Well?