Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, May 24, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Keeping a Sense of Humor

"Humor is a religious remedy by which you can tell yourself: Look how absurd I am. I worry about trifles, I have so many troubles. I am ruining my health. But, in reality, everything is like ashes, like rubbish, and in the end may prove to be worthless."

I am learning to laugh at myself. On my prior road to perfection I would take myself so seriously, especially if I showed signs of weakness and when I fell into sin. I would become frustrated, discouraged and grumpy. Now when I get this way, my spiritual director reminds me to look in the mirror and give a good belly laugh at my reflection to remind myself that I need to get off my ego pedestal and look at my situation through the eyes of faith. Having a sense of humor allows me to see that my everyday occurrences are really nothing compared to the reality of God and the eternal life. My crankiness is due to my pride. For example getting upset over whiffing a golf stroke, being admonished, or losing an argument is absurd when I compare those incidents to the true meaning of life = loving and serving God. I believe if I can truly get it into my heart that God loves me as I am, then I will stop trying to prove myself to others and to myself.

Even though I am a sarcastic person and love to tease others, I don’t find it easy to poke fun at myself. So that is where Bl. Mom comes in…by entrusting myself to her, She can help me see how ridiculous my pride is and how I need to give over my ideas of greatness.  She can defend me against Satan’s attacks as he tries to entice me to be sad or mad over my falls. WE can look in the mirror and laugh together.

Here are some reflection quotes from a great section in the book The Gift of Faith that refers to the virtue of humor:

"The Christian sense of humor will free you from yourself. It will allow you to re-evaluate every value in the light of faith and to acknowledge that everything that happens around you is really absurdly trivial – everything except God."

"If we knew how to react with a sense of humor to various conflicts, arguments, and misunderstandings, and if we allowed ourselves to be laughed at a little, then how much would our humility, faith, and love grow within us. In the light of faith, there is, however, only one important reality that must never be laughed at – God."

"Try to laugh to yourself and at yourself. Try to imitate God who must surely have a unique sense of humor. Just consider that He has chosen you as His partner in the great work that He does. Is this not an expression of His unique sense of humor?"

 All quotes taken from: Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 102,103,105.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Because God Loves Me As I Am = God Loves Others As They Are

There are so many different kinds of people in the world – and really, aren’t we all glad about that?  We are different physically, emotionally, intellectually and have different strengths and weaknesses, different perceptions and beliefs, different desires and aspirations. So when I use the positive self-talk that God Loves Me As I Am - and with His grace, actually believe it – it is only fair that I remind myself that God also loves others as they are.

I desperately need my Blessed Mom to remind me of this.  One of my major weaknesses is a strong desire to be “unique”. Following close on its heels is a sense of superiority. So it is important for me to accept that when Jesus gave His Mother to his disciple John at the foot of the Cross to be John’s mother, Mary then became everyone’s mother – not just mine and not just the mother of the people that choose to believe it is so. She loves, nurtures, and protects me, my whole family, my “difficult neighbors”, and the individuals listed in the police blotter of my local paper.  And if she is carrying me, she’s carrying them.  And if she’s carrying all of us, we have a lot more in common than I tend to realize.

What is the difference between Mom’s love for those who recognize and accept it and for those who don’t?  There is no difference. She loves us all the same. What is the difference between the person who realizes the treasure they have in our Heavenly Mother and the person who doesn’t?  Most likely, it is the difference between someone with hope and someone without hope. Hope versus despair. Hope versus anger. Hope versus confusion. And hope is infectious. If we have hope, it will spread.

So, I am hopeful. I am hopeful today because someone I love very much, who sees and experiences things very differently than I, is in Blessed Mother’s arms.  And as Mother’s Day gifts go, this note from that special someone is an all-time favorite:

... but He [God] looks on me with a tender love and of course wants to embrace me with more than I can imagine. I believe this, I do. And as rough as it is sometimes for I feel I fall so much more often these days...when I get picked up I see that He does not love perfection. He loves me.

Farrah C.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Truly Celebrating Mother's Day

We are nearing our one-year anniversary of starting this blog, and here we are again at Mother’s Day.  How fitting to be reminded of how very much I need Blessed Mama.  I need her reminders that I am loved as I am, and I need her to accept God’s unconditional love for me. 

My seven-year-old daughter made her First Holy Communion last weekend.  Being Control Freak, I worried about whether she was properly prepared, whether we were going to complete the lessons in the instruction booklet, whether she was going to be able to fit in one more visit to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, whether she was going to really understand the significance of the Sacrament.  Most of all, I worried whether I would be truly present to her because of my worries over our out-of-town guests and the reception plans.  I was out of town the weekend before her special day, and I came home to many household tasks, along with unexpected ones like car trouble.  So I found myself truly helpless.  There was only so much I could do, and I barely had energy to do that.  I found myself truly begging in the moment.  Begging for the strength to deal with each little thing.  I discovered how helpless I really am and had been all along.  Because I was so overwhelmed, I saw how very little I am, how incapable I am. 

I saw throughout the weekend how God was providing for me, with grandparents and godmothers stepping in to give my children individual attention.  I saw His love through close friends who provided outdoor tables and chairs without even being asked.  I saw His love through my husband who arose early to arrange a beautiful backyard reception setting.  I saw even the gift in last-minute cancellations from guests, which allowed my stress levels to decrease and enable me to enjoy the close-knit friends and family in attendance.

But what stands out right now is the moment after my daughter received the sweetness of Jesus Christ on her tongue for the very first time.  She turned to me and hugged me with joy!  She didn’t quietly return to her seat and prayerfully reflect, although she did do that later with the loving guidance of her dad.  She turned to her mother to share her joy.  She turned to her mother to share her experience with Jesus.  And I see now how that moment reminds me that I am gifted with the presence of my Mother, who helps me discover the joy of her Son.  I see the gift that She is, in awaiting with me at the Eucharist.  I see the gift that She is, helping me pray and beg for the grace of the moment.  I see the gift that She is, mothering and loving my children with me.  I see the mercy and generosity and rescue of the Father in gifting me with Mary.  I see more and more how very much I need Her to accept God’s unconditional love for me, so that I can look at my loved ones through eyes of mercy and love, too.  God knew, of course, how much I need Her and will continue to need Her.  How very, very blessed I am to have a Creator Who knows so intimately what I need in order to better know His love. 

This past year of blogging has forced me to stop and notice the ways in which our Blessed Mother is present and available, loving and patient, gentle and encouraging. 
Happy Mother’s Day, Blessed Mama, and thank you, God, for allowing me to see the truth about my weaknesses, and how that calls upon the abyss of Your merciful love.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Entrustment To Mary = Standing In The Truth

On your path to God, do not be surprised that you discover your own misery and nothingness more clearly. You should receive these revelations with joy. For, if you were perfect, then you would not need God. S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Door to Christ, (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005), 42

St. Therese of the Child Jesus teaches us ‘to recognize our nothingness, to [await] everything from God as a little child [awaits] everything from its father.’ An expression of this awaiting can be the gesture in which you trustfully stretch out your hands like a beggar toward God.  Ibid 47.

The spirituality of Communion of Life with Christ through Mary explains the way of becoming poor in spirit as admitting to God my nothingness and awaiting everything from Him. That I cannot come to God with my hands full of my deeds, but I am to show Him my empty hands.

 This was a new concept for me. I had spent most of my life “earning” my way to heaven. I had not understood that God gives me everything, and the only thing I can give in return is my sinfulness. I had not realized that to “stand in the truth” meant for me to admit my unfaithfulness and my sinfulness. This was going to be too hard for me and my inner self wanted to rebel at the thought. But God showed me this “way” by slowly stripping me of my spiritual “strengths” as seen by my following experiences:

 ·       I used to be able to pray a rosary every day, which included a long list of intentions to cover all those family members, friends, and others who needed prayers. I felt pretty good at the end of every rosary, giving myself a pat on my spiritual back. Yet, soon my rosaries started to fall apart with chains breaking and losing beads. Then family life became a big distraction, and schedules interfered. Quickly enough I stopped praying the Rosary every day – and was lucky to get one in once a week, if at all.

 ·       I went through a period when I made spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church a priority, and visited Jesus every day. [I am privileged to have keys to get into the Church.]  Again I felt myself climbing my spiritual ladder as I internally acknowledged how “special” I was to be doing this daily prayer with my Lord. Soon I was beset with distractions during the prayer time by my own thoughts, and then by the Pastor, and finally by the cold temps inside the Church. I saw how easily I gave up this practice when I didn’t “feel” good emotionally about the prayer time, or when I became uncomfortable in the setting.

 ·       This Lent I thought I would pray the Litany of Humility every morning to start my day off right. Well, half way into Lent I realized I did not want to pray the litany and did not mean the words when praying as I was afraid those items in the litany may actually occur in my life.

 God has allowed me to see that when I try to do spiritual exercises on my own I fail and my intentions are not pure. But He also has led me to this spirituality so I may learn how to stand in the truth with the Blessed Mother. It is too hard for me to admit my nothingness on my own, but with her - WE can. The Blessed Mother lived a life of humility and hiddenness, and never tried to “earn” God’s love. Her deeds were done out of humble love and she gave God the credit for the graces for all the things she accomplished.

 It has been a struggle to get over my belief that I can earn heaven, but it has also been freeing. Knowing I am entrusted to the Blessed Mother gives me the courage to stand in the truth with her, and knowing God loves me as I am, helps US to admit my nothingness to Him. Also, with the Blessed Mother WE can persevere in spiritual exercises - doing them out of love instead of desire to earn merits.

When you discover your own spiritual misery, try to call upon Mary for help as often as possible saying: I do not want to admit that I am like a beggar who has nothing on my own. I constantly attribute God’s gifts to myself. I want to be rich before the Lord. I beg you, Mother of mercy, humble servant of the Lord, to stand before God as a beggar. Please ask Him for mercy for me. You yourself open the door of my soul, my life, to Him.  Ibid 51-52.