Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Entrustment to Mary = GOD IS IN CHARGE!

Recently, I have found myself stressing due to the upcoming presidential election. The lies and deception played out on the debates and TV ads have made me feel very uncomfortable. But I find if I remind myself that GOD IS IN CHARGE - my anxiety is reduced. Following the spirituality of Communion with Christ through the Blessed Mother has helped me put eternal and temporal matters into perspective. What better teacher do I have than the Blessed Mother to show me how to keep my sights on God not on “man”. In her life She did not cease her fiat even when the world turned on her Son - unjustly accusing him and putting him to death.
                                                                                                  Remembering God as the supreme ruler helps me to relax and look at the world and my life in a more positive way. Repeating “GOD IS IN CHARGE!” can become a soothing mantra to combat the world’s overpowering influence:

When I see gas prices rising = “GOD IS IN CHARGE!”
When I see an administration lying to the American people = “GOD IS IN CHARGE!”
When I see Planned Parenthood being funded with my tax dollars = “GOD IS IN CHARGE!”
When I see my relatives supporting same sex marriage = “GOD IS IN CHARGE!”
When I see slander and sacrilege against my Catholic faith = “GOD IS IN CHARGE!”
When I lose patience with my slow computer = "GOD IS IN CHARGE!"

I suggest to readers to try this mantra out - putting in whatever it is that may have you anxious or stressed. Knowing that God is definitely in charge of this world releases my worries that develop when listening to the world’s temporal spin. There is comfort for this “Scaredy Cat” in Blessed Mom’s arms being assured God rules over all, and loves us all.

"The theology of spiritual life says that only the abandonment of oneself to God begets internal peace within a person. As long as you do not abandon yourself to the Lord, you will be uneasy, and your heart, filled with unrest, concerns, and problems, will flutter like a moth against a light bulb. There is no other way to peace than to abandon yourself completely to His will, to His love."
Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 41
“God wants everything to become for you a 'capital' of good. He even tries to draw good out of evil. Evil cannot be a grace, but God, in his almighty and infinite mercy, can even draw good from it.  The consequences of evil can give fruit in the form of a great opportunity to be converted.”  Ibid, 6.

CCC #324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Entrustment to Mary = Letting Go of Attachments

After years of discernment, my husband and I recently moved our family out of our home of 12 years.  The delay was due, in most part, to my attachment to our Dominican parish and school, a source of grace, joy, and community for all of us.  We were close to our priests, parishioners, fellow parents at the school, teachers, students…etc.  But God worked out the details and we felt called to move to a safer neighborhood and one closer to my husband’s new job. 

I tried to remain optimistic about our new parish and the fact that we could no longer afford Catholic school.  After a few months, we returned to our old parish’s harvest festival and while I enjoyed seeing old friends, the pain was greater after we left than ever before.  I felt like I was truly grieving.  I mourned the loss of our previous community.  My heart physically ached.  I knew that there was no turning back, but I felt very critical towards our new parish.  Even though in my mind I knew that the Eucharist Itself alone suffices, I still compared the priests, the décor, the preaching…etc. 

At my old parish I was able to drop my older kids off at the Catholic school and cross the parking lot to attend daily Mass with my two youngest children.  We were able to sit in the cry room (remember this is Control Freak who becomes very tense by her children’s disturbances during Mass!) and celebrate the Eucharist with our fellow daily Mass regulars.  I tried attending daily Mass at my new parish, but there is no cry room and my youngest son was all over the place (age one and just discovered how to walk!).  I would become quickly worn out chasing him and quieting him, and of course worrying about the (negative, in my mind) impression we were making on the other parishioners. I started skipping days, rationalizing in my mind why we couldn’t make it.  I soon was only going on Sundays.  Although skipping daily Mass is of course not sinful, I feel that I have been graced to have learned just how significant the Mass truly is.  My soul was missing it.  It became evident in my feelings and behavior.  I started to think of St. Faustina’s quote about fearing her own self on days she did not receive Holy Communion![1] Then one morning I chose to go because of how much I desperately needed it. In my loneliness I knew that only the Eucharist could comfort me. 

“In these moments of utter helplessness, He attracts me by grace because He wants me to discover His pouring out of Eucharistic love.  In every Mass You seek me out.  It is You who are, not I.  You are always the first to make the move.  When I am lost, worrying that everything has already gone and I can’t get back, You find me and say:  ‘Look, I am here on the altar.’”[2]

Since that Mass, I have been comforted with where God has placed my family and me.  Blessed Mother helps rescue me from my negative thinking and reminds me to trust in God’s loving presence, regardless of where I am.  I am so grateful that the pain is diminishing, and also so very grateful for Blessed Mama’s arms when I am tempted to cling to the past.

[1] Saint Faustina, Diary 1037.
[2] Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer, Amazing Nearness:  Meditations on the Eucharist,  (Brewster, MA:  Paraclete Press, 2012), 5. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Entrustment to Mary = Growing in Contrition

When I was 14 I had a birthday party with all my girl classmates. We were playing one of those steal-the-gift games and it was timed, so that when the timer would go off we got to keep whatever gift we had at the moment. There were lots of things to choose from, but a battle was waged over a pack of cool stickers. There were 3 of us fighting over it. I had a chance to steal the stickers, and then in utter greed and coveting, I secretly took the timer and pushed it forward so that it buzzed while I was holding the prized possession.

Two years later, I was going through my sticker book and found the evidence. I was horrified by my actions – how could I have been such a thief? I remember shedding tears of what I thought was contrition. I wanted to make amends, so I got an envelope and put all the stickers remaining, plus a few of my prized favorite stickers, and anonymously mailed them to the person who had them before me at the birthday party. I think I went to confession too…although, to be honest, I can’t remember if I did.

Now, let’s fast forward 15 years. By then I had found the spirituality of communion of life with Mary and was being formed in it by mentors. One day I was sharing my story of contrition with someone who was deep in the spirituality. I think I was somewhat proud of how I had “made amends” when I was a teenager. The mentor, loving me as a fellow Christian, and looking at it all through the eyes of faith, was able to help me see that when I thought I was “making amends,” I was really just scrubbing the outside of my whitewashed tomb[1]. I was trying to cover up my pride. I wasn’t really contrite at all back then – I wasn’t sad that I offended Christ; I shed tears because my ego was wounded.

What an eye opener that was! My Christian friend didn’t stop at helping me see this deeper truth, he made sure I was also aware that this is who God loves! He loved the little girl who was selfish, and prideful! Blessed Mother, through my mentor, wanted to convince me first and foremost of God’s love and his mercy. It became a joyful time to go to confession soon after to have my Lord wash a portion of the inside of my tomb!

Reflecting on this story today – another 10 years has gone by – I am left in awe that the LORD planted that story in my heart to bring up to the right person, who could help me see the real truth. I see now how Jesus had to wait until I was aware of Blessed Mother’s arms before revealing it to me because only then could I hear it without despairing, or running away from him.[2] So, now, I am filled with gratitude, that Blessed Mother is sharing her faith with me, her acceptance of God’s mercy with me, her desire for my communion of life with Christ with me.  This is amazing!

I am very excited that the Holy Father has proclaimed the Year of Faith. I have learned over the years that there is always something more to know about my faith. What new things does God have in store for me during this special time in the Church? WE, Blessed Mama and I, await the graces together!!

[1] Cf. Mt 23:7
[2] “In [Mary’s] arms…you may experience peacefulness and even happiness when God reveals the contents of your whitewashed tomb to you in a fuller light.” (S.C. Biela, BeholdI Stand at the Door and Knock [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005],29)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Entrustment to Mary = Not A Magic Potion

Having written 6 blog posts now and shared how my entrustment to Mary has helped with my sugar addiction, doing chores, surviving the empty nest, having no expectations, seeing God’s unconditional love, and being not afraid, I felt like it was time to come clean. I feel like I need to clarify the fact that my entrustment to Mary has not been a magical potion that has cured me from all of my physical, spiritual, and emotional ills. BUT - that is not Mary’s fault, nor the fault of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. It is my skewed ego, pride, and
conceit that has me continuously returning to living as if all of the Heavenly beings did not exist, with me trying to live on my own without surrendering to God’s grace.

Before coming to know the spirituality of living in Communion with Christ through the Blessed Mother, I was striving to be PERFECT, and believed once I reached perfection, I would then earn God’s love and the right to be in Heaven - my skewed ego. I have a hard time standing in the truth of “who” I am - a sinner - who will never get over all my weaknesses - my pride. I can’t believe I can be loved without being perfect in thought, mind, and deed – my conceit. But in reality, GOD LOVES ME AS I AM and has given me His Mother, and She carries me in her arms and that is all I need. Although, in my twisted mind I always seem to think I need to be in control of this beautiful truth.

“St. Thérèse of Lisieux briefly said that one has to be like a child and not worry about anything. This one statement contains the whole program of our life: to abandon ourselves to the Lord, that is, not to care about anything because he loves us and takes care of everything. Only then will true peace begin to penetrate our souls and our hearts.” [1]

Surrendering is hard for me. Writing the prior blog posts has helped me see the different areas of my life that I do not want to totally surrender to God and to Blessed Mom. Yet holding on to my addictions, fears, and weaknesses only brings me stress, disappointment, and sadness. I have seen how God’s love can free me. I have felt God’s grace that brings peace and happiness. But why won’t I give up the helm and acknowledge: GOD IS IN CHARGE - I DO NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT TO BE LOVED – JESUS I TRUST IN YOU?

The book The Gift of Faith offers an answer for this, “It can be said that you sin because you are “old,” since being old in spirit closes you off from grace and ties God’s hands. God is young and wants to conjure up the moon for you. Was it not the moon for St. Thérèse of Lisieux when he gave her snow on the day she took her veil? God loves this kind of attitude, the kind that does not see limits, and this is the attitude of a child. He sees no limits on possibilities; he is persevering to the point of folly; he is open to that which is new a child is able to believe.” [2]

So I need to become a child. Yet, I can only do so by standing in the truth and admitting that I cannot become a child on my own. Then I must beg for Blessed Mom to carry me to her Son who can bestow on me the grace to be open to surrendering my “old” self to Him.

Maybe becoming a child will open up my eyes of faith to realizing that my entrustment to Mary is "magical" for without it I would remain in the spirit of the old man which could ultimately lead to my eternal loss of Heaven.

           "The spirit of the old man - contrary to that of the evangelical child - wants to solve 
            problems by itself. And so it exposes itself to the temptations of Satan, it immerses 
            itself in the evil of this world and commits sin." [3]

[1]Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 42-43.
[2]Ibid, 66-67.
[3]  S.C. Biela, In The Arms of Mary, 2nd. ed, rev. (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005), 172