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Darcie Faith Formation Ink Slingers Marriage Prayer

Stepping Out of the Boat

Stepping out of the Boat

Four months ago, my husband and I spent an entire weekend finally starting our business. I say finally because this is something we had dreamed of five years ago when we were about to get married. We loved the idea of working together and being our own bosses. Our skill sets, styles of work, and temperaments complimented each other. We planned it out and dreamed big. We were convinced we were meant to do this and disappointed when it didn’t happen. There were too many moving parts and it was clear it wasn’t the right time.

You can understand then, why we were on fire that fall weekend when the inspiration came back. In 48 hours, we had a name, logo, website and had started the legal paperwork. We thought it would be a good starting point to funnel my freelance work through. We planned to slowly build it up until there was enough work for my husband to leave his current job and come on full-time. But that wasn’t God’s plan. On that following Monday afternoon, my husband was unexpectedly let go from his job.

The business went to the back burner and the applying process for my husband took over. Until, we were struck by the seemingly crazy idea that what if, right now, was actually the right time to start our business? Right now when we have two little children, me only working part-time and still saving for a house – right now? We felt like Peter talking to Jesus from the boat, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Mt. 14:28). Was God asking us to step out of the boat?

Of course, it was God’s providence that my husband was leaving for a pilgrimage less than a week later, that we had booked months before. We both prayed during that time, and we asked God what He wanted us to do. The same answer came up for us both: He wanted us to do it. Like Peter, we heard Jesus say, “Come” (Mt. 14:29).

So we stepped out of the boat. We started walking towards Jesus.

The confirmations kept coming. With clients knocking on our door, our business was starting to take shape. That’s not to say that the waves threaten us, but we resolved to keep our focus on Jesus. For we know what happened to Peter when he took his gaze off of Jesus – he started to sink. We know that if we start looking at the strong wind around us that we will get frightened. Our only focus has to be Jesus

This journey is still unfolding. I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far about God’s incredible goodness in this process.

How We Stepped Out

First, just because it isn’t the right time for something now, doesn’t mean there won’t be the right time for it in the future. When our attempt to start a business five years ago failed, I automatically thought God didn’t want it all. I was disappointed that my husband and I wouldn’t work together and that we’d never be our own bosses. I was even mad, why would God put that desire in our hearts and then not let us follow through? How often do we assume a one-time failure is a forever-failure? God wants to remind us that His timing is not our timing. It is precisely because we failed five years ago that we recognized the opportunity to start a business this time. Sometimes our “failures” are just God’s heads up for future plans. Those desires He placed in our hearts are meant to be fulfilled!

Second, we all want to give our control to God, but when the opportunity actually presents itself, we panic. I think it’s because God knows it’s when and how we least expect it. It digs deep and requires trust. Not the kind of surface trust, but that trust without words. That trust in which you literally trust Him with your life and everything in it. Do we trust Him or not? Are we in the boat or walking on the water? How often do we not trust Him because it’s “too crazy,” “too unknown,” or “letting go of too much”? God wants us to trust Him. Yes, we can say, “Jesus, I trust in you,” but He also gives us opportunities to show that we do.

Lastly, we chose the Infant of Prague as the patron for our business. There’s a nine-hour novena that’s very powerful (and short!) I found that praying for the same intention three times in a row for nine consecutive hours (27 times total) helped me figure out exactly what it is I’m asking for. This is the novena for you if you’ve had an intention that’s been feeling “stuck”!

We walk forward aware of Jesus’ words to Peter once he started sinking, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:31). Let us resolve to have faith and not doubt God’s marvelous plans for us.

Jesus, Infant of Prague, intercede for us!

Categories
Charla Mary

The Magnificat– a prayer of trust

magThe Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever. 

(Lk 1:46-55)

At our school mass on the Feast of the Assumption, Deacon Kevin spoke of the words in this prayer. He challenged us to say these words and mean them.  What would the world look like if I do as Mary did and as she continues to do in miracles such as Fatima and Lourdes. Proclaiming God’s greatness is only possible if I truly believe, but more than that, it is only possible if I have true Faith.

Faith is so much more than belief however, because believing is a mere starting point on our journey towards Christ. We can proclaim, but when do we live it out fully?  What does it mean to rejoice in God? The prayer calls Him our “savior,” but what can that mean for us really?  To be saved means we must allow ourselves to be humbled and be rescued.  Nowhere in any of this fits our pride. We must succumb to God as a higher, more ethereal being who is capable of loving us beyond how we enable ourselves to be loved. We also must think more of ourselves in order to accept such love and rescuing. Our lives must maintain a fine balance between pride and humility and hope and despair.

I contend that we only fully live out our faith when we understand and redeem ourselves from the sin of Eve, just as the Blessed Mother did. Eve’s sin was only partially the sin of disobedience, though that is often the understanding we have of the Fall of Man. We understood God to be transcendent and lofty who, through His love, dictated what Adam and Eve were to do and how they were to conduct themselves. That always sounded reasonable to me. However, the more I thought, and the more I read, and the more I prayed, the more I discovered that Eve truly sinned when she failed to TRUST in the Lord. 

faithHow can our souls show the Lord in all His glory if we don’t trust him to love and care for us? I must have complete confidence in God and His ways so I can celebrate Him and his works, one of the “works” being ME. I NEED God like my body needs air. I have to trust that He is all around me though I cannot see him. This is why belief, faith, and trust are all interconnected. My trust lies also in knowing that no matter how desperate the world feels or how much we or others are suffering, we are capable of achieving Hid grace if we only place our confidence in Him and his claim that we are in a temporary state and that our real lives are of all eternity with Him.

Categories
Adrienne Faith Formation Ink Slingers Motherhood Parenting Spiritual Growth

“Mom, I don’t believe” Update

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This is an update on my article a year ago about my then nine year old son struggling with believing in God (linked here).  The article stirred up some emotions and thoughts in several commenters both in the combox and in other discussion groups.  A portion of the commenters related to my position and were thankful for some kind of perspective, some found it insightful for guiding their own children, some felt I should have responded in a different way but granted that perhaps I didn’t share all of my response to my son in the article, some applauded my son for taking steps away from the faith they themselves found to be a myth, and one implied that I was creating a “family group where everyone is expected to be Catholic for some therapeutic reason.”  Unlike most things I have written for CS, this one struck a nerve.

It has been a year since my son bravely told me “I don’t really believe in it … God and the Bible and stuff like that”.  In that year he turned 10 and kept the theological questions coming.  He is a smart and logical boy.  I grew up a cradle Catholic and never bothered to study the faith beyond what I failed to absorb in CCD classes.  By the time he was born, I didn’t even know what Baptism was for, just that it was something to be done, which is such a shame!  However, challenged by a few family members to question and leave my Catholic faith for another Christian faith tradition, I chose to study and learn the Catholic faith first before ignorantly and blindly following those persons on their own paths.  Being ignorant of the purpose baptism is already a shame, but what a greater shame it would have been for me to leave the Catholic faith before I even knew what it taught!  Ten years later, I am genuinely thankful for these family members’ challenges because I know the Catholic faith so thoroughly I can answer most any question completely, with evidence to back up the explanation.  This skill has proven most valuable in my discussions with my son.

This week alone the boy and I had a 30 minute discussion about purgatory and indulgences (while I was exercising, no less), predicated on his desire to know if saints are sinless before they die.  Purgatory and indulgences are two of the most misunderstood Catholic doctrines both by Catholics and most especially by non-Catholics, however it is revolutionary in understanding our souls (as man is a composite of a soul and a body), our will (an attribute of our souls) and God given free-will (our ability to make choices, something that He never overrides).  Yesterday at dinner my son was adamant to know, “who started church?!”  My answer of “Jesus”, while perfectly true, wasn’t enough.  He wanted to know how the Apostles “did church” after Jesus’s ascension.  So we had a long discussion about how Jesus told us specifically how to worship Him in the future when He instituted the Eucharist, so when the Apostles gathered together, they always celebrated the Eucharist, which is exactly what we do today when we go to church.  We also talked about the Roman persecutions of Christians under the emperor Diocletian and how Christians had to “do church” in their houses as they weren’t free to build places of worship until the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity.

As my son asks more questions, and especially as his sense of logic develops, he is understanding the whole picture of Christian teaching, and this seems to be helping his faith develop.  It’s hard to believe in something nebulous, especially when the secular world offers so many answers.  However, Christianity is only nebulous when a teacher doesn’t have answers.  Christianity offers a comprehensive paradigm of truth that spans from our souls, Heavens and Hell, to our bodies and our earthly world and earthly existence.  Thus it is imperative to either be ready with the answers to our children’s questions or be ready to find out, knowing the sources or persons to seek out, as the answers exist.

"Jesus, I trust in you."
“Jesus, I trust in you.”

Just like my kids, I too, am still learning the faith, and always will be.  Just this morning at Mass we walked the church walls, looking at the stained glass windows.  There were a few Old Testament stories I didn’t recognize from the window pictures and also a few saints I need to read up on.  My son is looking forward to us learning these together.

Lastly, we have been attending daily Mass every day of the week.  The grace we receive sitting in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord (and most especially partaking of Him) is as healthy for our souls as the Vitamin D our bodies absorb from the sun.  Also, we have been reading avidly upon the lives of the saints.  Compared to these holy men and women, my example of Christian living for God pales in the shining light of their stories.  My son has been most impressed with stories of saints who led less than holy lives before converting to Christ.  He relates less (as do I) with stories of saints who were graced by God to be holy from their youth, though their stories are still amazing.

Our experience on Earth is a pilgrimage with ups and downs.  I expect that my son and other children will have doubts again.  It is my duty to them to teach them the faith as thoroughly as possible, and to guide them in keeping their souls as healthy as possible.  While under my care, I need to ensure that my children’s wills, which are perfectly free, have the ability to freely move toward God without the impediments of ignorance or lack of grace.

Categories
Charla Sacraments

Do You Believe in Magic?

magic
Magic is defined by inexplicability and the seeming impossible is possible. Mystery is the unknowable. One of the aspects of Catholicism that enthralls me the most is the inexplicability and the inability to know aspects of the basic tenets of our faith. I am a figurative thinker, concrete concepts are dull to me; they offer no challenge, no thought, and no trust. I like not being able to wrap my mind around the mysteries of what I believe. I love to try to decipher and ponder and wonder. My Catholic faith requires this of me, and for this I am grateful and, more than anything else, I am fulfilled.
We all have immortal souls; there is a part of our being that cannot be seen, cannot be touched, and will live forever. As Catholics, we believe that when our physical bodies no longer function in what we understand as life, a life beyond that measure is impending. We also believe in beings that exist without bodies, and God has placed them in our midst. We believe there are angels who watch over us and help us through a battle of unseen, yet seen, good versus evil. angel
We believe in a God who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. We have an innate desire to revere and worship this higher being as our creator, hence our father. A father who loves us and who can control all aspects of our lives if He wanted, however, He chooses to let us have free will.
Many religions share these particularities, but the Sacraments are what set us apart. The Sacraments are the epitome of mystery and magic. We believe that physical water can cleanse a soul of the stain of Original Sin. We revere the body and blood of Christ in the guise of physical bread and wine. I find myself staring at the monstrance during Adoration and my eyes see what is not really there physically. Oil begets graces within our souls as we are Confirmed in the Faith. We believe in the forever romance of matrimony; two people are joined in God’s eyes forever, and Holy Orders bestows further graces. Anointing of the Sick has amazing results; I have watched my grandmother recover from her death bed three times after receiving this Sacrament. The Sacraments are powerful and proof of the magic within the Catholic faith. eucharistic-miracle-vilakkannoor-5
Most of all, we believe that God sent his only son to earth to save us and suffer for our sins. This man performed miracles and was raised from the dead and ascended into a realm we call Heaven, a place we believe to be perfect peace. To be Catholic means believing without seeing. There are mysteries galore in what we believe. There is no way to prove any of it tangibly, and I appreciate that aspect. The true magic of Catholicism is that we have faith and we never need to prove any of it. “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.” Saint Augustine

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Adrienne Domestic Church Faith Formation Ink Slingers Parenting Prayer

“Mom, I don’t believe.”

Earlier this week, for the first time ever, my nine year old son confessed to me that he doesn’t really believe in “it”. I asked what. He said, “God and the Bible and stuff like that.”  In my mind, “My heart broke! I wept inside and wondered where I went wrong!” is perhaps what I should have been thinking, but instead I marveled at the demonstration that he was really considering and weighing the things my husband and I have been teaching him about God – and to me, this is a really good thing.

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Yesterday, I read an article that was drawing awareness to the possibility your child is just borrowing your faith. The author said she believes the best way to decipher whether your child has a faith of his own, or is simply borrowing yours, is whether or not he is asking questions. A child who is borrowing your faith will leave the home and eventually leave faith too, because it was never really his own, she says.

I told my son that I can’t make him believe in God and the teachings of Christianity, but it is my job to teach him about Christianity. I asked if he could see germs on his hands, and explained that even though he can’t see the germs on his body those germs can still hurt him.  As his parent, it is my job to teach him proper hygiene. It’s also my job as his parent to teach him how to eat healthy. Eating healthy or unhealthy has an impact on his body even if he doesn’t believe it so.

Similarly, it’s my job to also teach him how to take care of his soul. I have to teach him between right and wrong, like the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods. I have to teach him that not everything invisible is non-existent. While he is under my care as a child it’s my job to make sure he has proper hygiene and eating habits to keep his body healthy. And while he’s under my care as a child it’s also my job to make sure he learns how to choose right from wrong and seek God in order to keep his soul healthy. When he leaves my home as an adult, it’s up to him to take care of his own body and soul.

I can’t make my kids Catholic. God had only two children in the Garden, and both Adam and Eve betrayed Him. Jesus had twelve apostles, and yet one of those betrayed Him so terribly it lead to His crucifixion and another denied Him three times. God is our example of perfect parenting, and yet even perfect parenting doesn’t always result in perfectly obedient children because God allowed for free will AND He respects it so much that He won’t interfere with it. Why? I imagine it’s because only in complete freedom to choose can one offer his or her purest love to God, and nothing short of one’s purest love for God can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

While I continue to pray for my children, and educate them about God and about their souls, I know that I can’t force true love for Christ upon my children. Pure love for Christ is something that they need to cultivate in cooperation with God’s Grace dwelling in their souls. I told my son to pray daily, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mk 9:24)

As for the status of my son’s faith, two weeks ago he was telling me he needed to begin altar server training so that he could become a priest, and the day after he told me he didn’t believe in God he nearly started crying at daily Mass because the priest skipped over him at Communion and just offered him a blessing. It’s a rollercoaster, this parenting thing, but thankfully the teachings of Christianity make it easier to understand along the way.

 

 

lenten photo journey