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Ink Slingers

Jesus, How I’ve Missed You

My children are always funny when they see blood. Nine times out of ten, they run screaming from the room, whether the blood they see is a legitimate bleed, or a small poke on the skin in which the blood barely makes it to the surface of the skin before coagulating. At the rate they are going, I won’t hold my breath in hopes that one of them enters the medical field one day.

Yet, for all their squeamishness when they see blood, especially on themselves, they certainly have a fascination for blood. Driving to school one morning this past year, my five year old cackled in her maniacal, wicked witch way, “Mom, I want to drink blood!”

Upon further discussion and conversation, she mentioned, “But, Mom, you drink blood. When you go to church, you get Jesus’ Blood!” I immediately sighed relief that my blood-averse daughter wasn’t hoping to become a vampire. Rather, she is hoping to participate more fully and actively in the greatest action of love story of all time, through the Eucharist at Mass.

For over a year and a half now, most lay Catholics have had to forgo the Precious Blood of Christ during the Mass. It’s the reality of our times, and since I know receiving the Precious Host means receiving fully Christ, I haven’t thought much about missing His Precious Blood. I didn’t even think my daughter remembered a time in which others around her would partake of both the Precious Host and Precious Blood. 

And yet, over a year and a half since I last received the Precious Blood, the faith of a little child reminds me that there is something very extraordinary about the Mass – that Christ longs to be longed for.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is quoted as saying, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.” Christ is present there at Mass, simply waiting to shower each of us with His love and His Mercy.

To be Catholic is to embrace Christ – not only the young Christ we meet in the manger at Christmas, but also the Man Whose Precious Body hung on the Cross with blood and water pouring forth. 

Embracing Christ challenges us to not only seek Him, but also find Him, both in the world around us, as well as in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

To be Catholic is to remember the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 1365), “In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he ‘poured out for the forgiveness of sins.’” It is also a call to live as though those words mean something in our lives.

For many, the pandemic has been a period of introspection and reflection. While it seemed forced upon us, the pandemic gave each of us an opportunity to return Christ’s longing for us with our own longing for Him.

When Christ’s Precious Blood poured forth from His side, He was extending Himself to us, in order that through His sacrifice, we would be saved. 

To know this reality of love is life-changing, but only if we are open to being changed.

As the wheels of this world turn again, and knowing some places are just now beginning to open back up, the question to ask isn’t about Christ’s role in our salvation history. 

Rather, it’s whether or not we are prepared to be radically changed so as to play our own role in salvation history?

Are we ready to open ourselves to change, and to leave a lasting impact of faith, hope, and love in the world around us?

When we approach Christ in the Eucharist, are we ready to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity? 

Are we ready to be cleansed by His Precious Blood, even if we are unable to receive it in the chalice?

Like my five year old, yearning for a more active participation at Mass, and not wanting to miss out, I pray that each of us has the courage and desire to yearn for Christ, and to ultimately be transformed by Christ’s actions on the Cross. 

In a few years’ time, I also hope we all look back on this past year and a half and recognize how God’s Love was so strong that it was continuing to guide us through this period.

Christ’s Blood and Water poured forth so that we have the opportunity of everlasting life.

When everything is said and done, and you look back on the time of pandemic, what will be stopping you from being transformed by Christ’s sacrifice in your life?

As the wheels of this world turn again, and knowing some places are just now beginning to open back up, the question to ask isn’t about Christ’s role in our salvation history.
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Tread Softly, Pray Fiercely

Tread Softly Pray Fiercely

The past several months of this year have been exceptionally hard to watch, as friends and family seem to quickly and easily tear each other apart. Assassinations of character, name-calling, ad hominum attacks, and vitriol seem to be spewed with nary a thought of a backward glance. All across social media, the push to speak first, think after seems to be prevalent, and the share buttons seem to promote use of simply sharing what best suits our own narrative, rather than considering the point of view of friends who may not hold that same viewpoint.

We all seem to be in a rush to drown out the other person, without taking the time to not just hear the words of the other person, but to slow down and identify the true intent behind that person’s beliefs. Social media, of late, is simply a tool being used to air grievances, ills, snarkiness, and ugliness.

There used to be an unspoken social norm that said, whenever engaging in public discourse with someone outside your home, “Never discuss money, politics, sex, or religion.” Yet, in today’s world, it seems as though we have all waded into a hotbed of discussion, with no preparation in understanding the best way forward in a debate is to listen to the opponent’s argument – both spoken, and unspoken.

And, our relationships are suffering because of our inability to listen… to truly hear each other.

Left and right we are witnessing our friends and family on social media tout their message, while lambasting those who do not agree.

This lack of voice has left many feeling downtrodden, depressed, and silenced.

This is precisely where the devil wants us.

Matthew 7:19-20 reminds us, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”

The uncomfortable question to ask ourselves is not where we stand on any given issue; rather, the question to ask is are our actions – spoken and unspoken, in real life or on social media – bearing good fruit?

What are these fruits? The list of bad fruit, or “works of the flesh,” is found in Galatians 5:19-21 and include, “… hatreds… jealously… outbursts of fury… dissensions, factions..” and more.

Yet, the good fruits, or the fruit of the Holy Spirit, are, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

There is a time and a place to correct someone for their sins. After all, we are given the task as Catholics to perform Spiritual Works of Mercy, in addition to the Corporal Works of Mercy, which include admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant.

However, many of us have forgotten the other Catholic Spiritual Works of Mercy: Bear patiently those who wrong us, forgive offences, and comfort the afflicted.

In an effort to prove our way is the best and most correct, we find ourselves speaking over, and forgetting the patience, the forgiveness, and the comfort to which we are called to share.

As faithful Christians, we are reminded blatantly in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.”

Going back to the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the Spiritual Works of Mercy, the guidance in 1 Corinthians is sound, but is also sometimes a hard pill to swallow.

How do we extend love to others, when we are interested in getting our own viewpoint heard, or even convince others of our approach to situations?

Quite simply:

We tread softly, gently and silently.

We assess the situation.

We determine which battle we want to choose to fight and champion.

We remember the adage that God gave us one mouth to speak, and two ears to listen, and we employ that saying as we approach the situation.

We employ the cardinal virtue of prudence, which challenges us to, “discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1806).

We recognize the bad fruit trying to sway our country toward further division, hatred, and violence. Satan operates under darkness, and in secrecy, to create division.

We call out the prince of darkness, not by casting blame at each other and hurling accusations at them, but by recognizing his sleight of hand in the strife.

We call to mind one of the last words of Christ, as He hung on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Finally, we pray… fiercely.

We ask God for prudence, but we also ask Him for the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and for the ability to speak less and listen more.

We ask God for both the willingness to hear the spoken word of our opponent, and the grace to see beyond the spoken word to understand the unspoken, and perhaps even subconscious, motivation behind the words.

We pray, not just for the other person, but for humility to acknowledge when our own viewpoint may be both difficult to hear, and also at times, completely incorrect.

Simply put, as we continue to wade the waters of instant gratification on social media, and swim these waters of division in this world, we tread softly, but pray fiercely.

– AnnAliese Harry

We listen to the words spoken but listen harder to the underlying motivations and experiences of the other person.

We speak firmly, but with patience.

We love each other.

We pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

As we continue to move forward, let each of us visit, and re-visit, the uncomfortable question at hand – are our actions, both in real life and on social media, bearing good fruit?

Are we living with our collective and individual sight set on our eternal home?

Are we ready to squirm a little by taking accountability of our own actions, in an effort to live in a manner which is ultimately pleasing to God?

Are we being agents of love?

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To Whom Shall We Go?

It’s human nature – when we are forced to look in a mirror and confront uncomfortable truths, we are destined to squirm.

The Catholic Church rocked by incendiary and evil sexual abuse scandals? There is nothing but critique for Church leadership in my mind. The victims have been forever scarred, and their families and friends have been left to assist with the fall-out of the impact sexual abuse has on a victim. Church leadership continues to mishandle opportunities to right a horrible wrong that has been committed, erring on remaining silent, rather than acknowledging the pain caused by one of their agents. There is absolutely no way to defend the indefensible, and I can attest that silence does not make things better. Silence reeks of shadows, in which we know the evil one loves to hide.

Belonging to a universal church… a universal organization… whose leadership continues to jaw-droppingly bungle every opportunity to get it right can seem counter-productive and absurd, to some many.

I get that.

St. Peter is one of my favorites, and I have often shared this with my husband when he has (lovingly) asked what keeps me going to Mass through the entire scandal, “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:68-69).

If I did not truly believe, deep in my heart, that the One Who is raised up over the heads of us all at church was the True Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ at every single Mass, I would have left the Church two years ago as the Pennsylvania sex abuse scandals broke.

Yet, if I leave the Church – the physical Body of Christ left on earth – to whom shall I go?

There have been half a dozen studies released in the past couple years which point to an amazingly low number of Catholics who either know, or believe, in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Often, it appears the generation of the respondent seems to drive their understanding of Church teachings, and most likely fuels their subsequent answers.

The Church teaches that, when the priest says the words of consecration (“this is my Body…” and “this is my Blood…”), something amazing happens. At the moment of (big word alert) “Transubstantiation,” the physical appearance of bread and wine remain the same, but that “mere” bread and wine undergo a spiritual conversion into Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Christ becomes present, tangible, and a living witness in our lives at every single Mass. In fact, the Catholic Church just universally celebrated this amazing belief in the Feast of Corpus Christi on the 14th of June!

I don’t have a major conversion story, and I honestly can’t tell a soul a single instance in which I felt Jesus truly come to me in a big way. Yet, He reveals Himself to me in the little ways… and He comes to me at every Mass. This I know… this I profess.

But, to let you in on a little secret…

This, I have sometimes doubted.

In my course as a Catholic social media influencer and blogger, I have to confess that I, too, have sometimes doubted if the Church teachings are true… are just… and, are sound.

The Bible, itself, appears to be a timeless story. The stories (and lessons) were applicable as the books were written, as they were when the Bible was officially put together, as they remain today. There’s infinite love, there’s loss, there’s the antagonist, there’s the Savior. It’s all there, and the lessons and stories span the centuries.

Just as the Mass spans the centuries, so, too do the teachings of the Church, found in the Bible and Tradition.

Yet, sometimes, doubt lingers.

As some of the words of the translated Tantum Ergo point out, “Faith will tell us Christ is present, when our human senses fail…” and sometimes, our human senses fail to an irreconcilable level, and our faith crumbles entirely.

And, when a person in a position of authority within the Church begins to doubt, to whom shall they go?

I have been guilty of “faking it until I make it,” at times in my life. Either sitting out of the communion line, or going to communion with a simple prayer on my heart, “Lord, make my belief as strong as Peter’s,” I readily acknowledge I have been guilty of going through the motions at times.

As Dr. Brant Pitre asserts in his book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Peter acknowledged in the aforementioned Bible quote (John 6:68-69) he didn’t quite understand everything Jesus said, but he placed his trust in the One Who spoke the words. And, at times, the simple prayer to give me faith like Peter’s has been what has held me together spiritually.

However, it’s uncomfortable to sit and look in the mirror, knowing you publicly profess one thing, and privately struggle with that teaching.

Whether it’s one certain teaching that one struggles to understand, or whether it’s a central teaching that shakes a person to their core, it’s uncomfortable to acknowledge that there remains a doubt.

And, well-meaning (or otherwise) individuals in our Church don’t often make it feel safe to express our doubts and discomfort.

St. John of the Cross explores the concept of the, “dark night of the soul,” when he wrote his same-titled book. I once was told by a priest in a confessional that there was no way I could be experiencing a dark night of the soul, “because you are a wife and mom with a little kid. Dark night of the soul only occurs to really holy people.” The absurdity of that young friar’s statement sticks with me four years later.

But, if I weren’t prepared to seek other counsel when faced with that response, to whom would I go?

Little girl running with abandon with the question "To Whom Shall We Go" as the feature title. #catholicsistas #recentevents #beautifulcamouflage

Jesus, present in the Eucharist, is on a mission to change hearts and minds. When we approach Him with an open heart, we receive the Graces He bestows on us, even in the midst of our doubt.

Yet, the previously mentioned statistics beg the uncomfortable “reflection” moment destined to make us squirm. The rhetorical question for each of us to ask ourselves as we stare in the mirror is: are each of us truly receiving Christ with an open mind and heart?

After we have received Jesus, do we go back to our daily lives and continue to live unchanged from mere moments before?

Do we leave Mass without a care or thought of the One Whom we are called to know, love, and serve with all our heart, mind, soul, and body?

Do we invite Christ into our lives on a daily basis, and ask Him to actively help us in being more loving toward our family, toward our neighbors, toward the stranger on the street, or toward those in our Church – lay and ordained alike?

Are we giving Christ room to change our minds, hearts, and ultimately, our actions?

When those in a position of leadership within their church begin to doubt, is the atmosphere welcoming to discussion of those doubts? Or, are they shut down with the trite, “You need to pray harder, study Scripture more, get involved more…”?

Do they find a safe space to voice their normal and natural doubts? Or, are they being told that it makes them a lesser Christian and a worse Catholic because they dare to voice their doubts?

Do they have support in unpacking a lot of the anger, confusion, frustration, pain, and doubt? Or, are they told they are not worthy to express any of those normal emotions?

When we don’t have the support within our community to explore these emotions and doubt, we can become increasingly isolated…

we become lonely…

we become discouraged…

we become weary…

we begin to give in to our doubts…

When we try to muddle through the doubt on our own, we open ourselves up to succumbing to the lure that maybe Christ, His teachings, and that of the Church are not all true.

In light of recent events, perhaps each of us need to take a moment to reflect on where we are on our own faith journey, and dig a little deeper for the compassion to recognize that not everyone is on the same journey, nor on the same part of the path.

Perhaps each of us need to squirm a little to recognize those actions we have done, and the ones we have failed to do, which led to another person experiencing doubt, or wading alone in their doubt.

Finally, perhaps we, as a collective Catholic group, need to get better at meeting all of our members – lay and religious, outspoken and reserved, well-known and inconspicuous – where they are at, recognizing them, and embracing where they are on their journey.

There comes a time in everyone’s spiritual journey where we can’t go it alone – we need the compassion, the empathy, the guidance, and the love of others to continue to grow spiritually. When we don’t find that around us, and when the Truths of the Church are hard to comprehend, we need to be able to rely on the strength of others to support us.

If we can’t find that strength or support in the midst of the doubt, when we can’t find Christ at work in our lives, and have trouble seeing Him working around us, to whom shall we go?

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Biblical Friendship

My family moves on average every other summer. Usually, we are heading into parts unknown, with little connections already established. Certain faith-based ministries allow me to connect and network with other women, so usually I am not starting over completely blind. But, sometimes, there is the random new city we move to in which I know not a single soul.

Being a transient family, I have had to get adept with making friends quickly. I have learned to go in, get my family established, and then create a system of support which will provide me with assistance if there is ever a true need. Sometimes, though, that process takes a lot longer that I would like. Such has been the case my family in central Florida. We will be moving again in the next five months, and recently I have had an opportunity to reflect on some of the rewards of having Catholic friends surrounding an individual who strives to live close to the Church.

Chapter Six of the Book of Sirach gives perhaps my favorite advice regarding friendship. Within the short chapter, there are warnings against trusting others too hastily, and embedded in the middle of the chapter are perhaps some of my favorite lines in the Bible,

“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter…

Faithful friends are beyond price…

Faithful friends are life-saving medicine…

Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright, for as they are, so are their neighbors also…”

Sirach 6:14-17

I have been burnt with trusting some acquaintances too quickly and too easily. Yet, to experience a truly biblical friendship reaps immense rewards.

Biblical friendships challenge us. Saint Teresa of Calcutta is credited with saying, “Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your friend to become a perfect person. That is true friendship.” True friendships require us to strive to become better people. Just like a vocation to marriage calls us to assist our spouse on the path toward Heaven, so, too, do friendships. Sometimes, that requires friends to be honest with each other, recognizing that honesty doesn’t mean there is judgment; rather, it is intended to help each other on the path toward perfection.

Biblical friendships encourage us on our faith journey. I recently spent time reflecting on a question posed by a young Confirmation student – would she have to give up her non-Christian friends upon Confirmation? As I considered her question, I began thinking of my own truly biblical friendships. These friendships are the ones alluded to in Sirach 6:17, the ones who “direct their friendship aright.” Some of my childhood friends have drifted from me as I became more religious; and, perhaps, more importantly, the friends I hold dear today encourage me along my faith journey. Had I met some of my friends today, when I was in my late teens, early twenties, we would have had nothing in common. Back then, I was more focused on the “here and now,” rather than turning my thoughts toward eternity.

Biblical friendships bolster us. When we are making a transition from a secular, worldly-focused lifestyle to a more eternal-focused lifestyle, we can get pretty lonely. We want to speak with others about the newfound relationship with Christ, the latest Bible study, the remarkable homily we heard, or the parenting technique which falls in line with our personal preferences, and yet, we face the difficulty of not having someone around who “gets it.” This creates a lonely chasm, in which most of us will rely heavily on Christ to sustain us. Yet, St. Maximilian Kolbe offers us words of insight and wisdom, “God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal.”

Biblical friendships look past the superficial. We all have friendships which are surface-deep. Those are the friendships that don’t go further than possibly exchanging Christmas cards every year. But, biblical friendships? Those dig deep. Those are the friendships that find a person not just asking “how” their friend is doing, but dissatisfied with a one-word answer, will try to get to the root of their friendship’s response. They are the friends who open their homes at any time of the day or night, who come over to make a meal or do the laundry, or simply hold a sobbing friend as they consider uncharted waters and unplanned challenges in life.

Biblical friendships are rooted in love. Faith-based friendships base themselves off the example of the Ultimate Friend. Yet, even before Christ’s first coming, we see the example of biblical friendship strongly displayed in the relationship of Ruth and Naomi, and again in Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth. Instead of focusing on whether or not someone parents like us, or has a marriage similar to us, or even whether or not the other woman shares many common interests with us – those similarities pale in comparison with the underlying belief, which is hope in our future with Christ.

How then, are we to acquire these “biblical friendships”? 

One need to “simply” ask God for a friend who will help them grow closer to Him. Let Him place her in your pathway, whether it be in the waiting room of the after hours animal emergency care, or a bathroom at church, or simply in the same pew as you day after day; your biblical friends are around. Ask Him, and then listen for His gentle nudge. 

There are women waiting to be a true friend to you, and there are also women longing for true friendship.

St. Thomas Aquinas understood the power and beauty of biblical friendship when he penned, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” Friendships help us grow, help us learn, and help us transition.

So, today, I encourage you to reach out to one of your biblical friends. Thank them for the impact they have had in your life. And, be sure to share with her the great qualities that she possesses that make her qualify as a “biblical friend.” 

Finally, join me in contemplating your own contribution to your friendships.

Would you consider yourself a biblical friend?

How can you truly grow to be a sturdy shelter, life-saving medicine, or a friend who “directs [your] friendship aright”?

How can you be that biblical friend to another woman?

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Physical or Spiritual Imperfections: Which Ones are We Embracing?

Physical or Spiritual Imperfections: Which Ones are We Embracing?

Our culture is saturated with messages that we, as women, are “not enough.” Everywhere we look, there are billboards or commercials advocating weight loss, looking more “youthful,” or even something as simple as, “being more refreshed,” or having our teeth whitened. Eventually, those subtle, and more often than not, blatantly apparent images begin to toy with our psyche, and the focus shifts from a healthy outlook to one that focuses on our imperfections. The messages begin to take root in our souls, and we find ourselves on a slippery slope of chasing untenable perfection, while offering justification for the focus on outward appearance.

St. Teresa of Avila is credited with saying, “Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.” And, when it comes to chasing the outward perfection, how frequently are we stern with ourselves? One can argue we truly are our greatest critic. When we look in the mirror, it is apparent how quick we are to be stern with ourselves. We give ourselves little compassion when we judge our weight, the size of clothes we can no longer fit into (or, the length we will go to stay the exact same size we were in high school), the crow’s feet developing around our eyes, or the gray hairs lining our head. We are quick to reassure our friends how youthful, how slender, how beautiful they look, while in the next breath, bemoaning (whether verbally or not) our own imperfections.

A long while back, I wrote about loving ourselves as Christ loved us. As He hung on the Cross for our sins, He was loving each and every part of us! He despised the sins we would commit, but when it came to our appearance, He lovingly embraced all the warts, all the bumps, all the bruises, all the moles, and all our seeming imperfections. And, the challenge from that particular article, and the series after that, was to encourage each of us to embrace our imperfections, and the ones in others. What we see as a flaw, Christ sees as radiant beauty.

Taking the sternness with ourselves a further step, too often we, as women, have a tendency to fall into thinking our personality is flawed. We are too meek and too mild, or we are too brash and too bold. We critique how we interact with others, we have a tendency to ruminate on conversations long after they have passed, and we are quick to find fault. Usually, that begins to manifest by putting ourselves down – belittling what may, possibly, be some of the greatest gifts we have been given by our Creator. We begin to shrink back from allowing those gifts to fully develop and grow, too hesitant to see how the gifts will manifest in the society around us. We become too concerned with others’ impressions, and in the words of wise St. John Vianney, we forget that God, the angels, and the saints are our public audience. Or, they should be our public.

This past month, I stumbled on a quote by St. Therese of Lisieux. It reads, “It is enough to humble ourselves, to bear patiently our imperfections. There lies true sanctity for us.” That quote embodies the essence of this particular piece.

Christ loved us as we are today while He hung on the Cross for our sins. He loves us as we are today, while He offers us His companionship on the journey of life. Christ loves us as we are today, while He invites each of us gently into a tender relationship with Him, in which only love is tolerated.

God is love. God created each of us, without reservation, out of love. He invites us into a relationship of love and challenges us to extend that love toward others. Perhaps the greatest challenge, though, is remembering to have love toward ourselves.

When we fall into society’s trap of self-love, we begin to lose sight of the unconditional love God offers to each of us. We begin to forget that we are called to love others unconditionally. 

When we are in a healthy romantic relationship with another person, we often want to better ourselves so that we, as a couple, are the best version of “us.”

Yet, how often do we apply that same principle to our relationship with God?

We focus on putting ourselves down, on tackling our physical imperfections, on making our outward appearance look better. Yet, are we truly focusing on the issues of eternity?

Do we recognize the imperfections that we bring to the spiritual table?

The tendency toward greediness;

The tendency toward lust;

The propensity to have pride in ourselves, or the contribution we bring to those around us;

The quickness with which we turn to someone with wrath in our hearts;

The ease with which we enter into envy of neighbors or even family members;

The comfortability of sliding into sloth.

 

And, when we recognize those, what do we do about them?

Are we quick to run to one of our Sacraments of Healing? Do we humble ourselves and turn to Christ in Confession? Do we accept that we are struggling, and truly focus on ways in which we can be stern with ourselves in order to work on these spiritual imperfections?

Or, do we embrace those spiritual imperfections, and instead focus on the physical, outward imperfections that we try so desperately to change for the sake of the peers around us?  Do we become complacent in seeking eternity with God, and allow our interior imperfections to be overshadowed by the exterior flaws so loved by our Creator?

Only perfection can enter Heaven. Yet, contrary to what our society tells us on a daily basis, it’s not physical perfection which will enter Heaven. Instead, it is spiritual perfection.

Those sins that we would rather avoid discussing, facing, or recognizing? Those sins will keep up from God. Yet, as uncomfortable as it may be, when we accept that we are sinners, and we accept the ways in which we sin on a daily basis, we can find motivation for change. We see the true wisdom behind St. Therese of Lisieux’s words, “…humble ourselves, to bear patiently our imperfections…” because when we take account of those spiritual imperfections, we begin to tackle them.

We begin to root them out.

We begin to orient ourselves toward the public that really matters – God, the angels, and the saints.

So, if it’s been a while since you last sat with your spiritual imperfections, I encourage you to join me in sitting with the Ode to Feminine Genius: the Proverbs 31 Catholic Women Introduction, and truly praying through that embedded examination of conscience.

Squirm a little. Humble yourself a little.

Meet Christ confidently in the Confessional. Humble yourself a lot.

And join me in working toward spiritual, rather than physical, perfection.