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Alison W Discipleship Faith Formation Ink Slingers Single Parents

Cool Things Happen When We Let the Holy Spirit Lead

As the Body of Christ, we are called to actually be the hands and feet of Christ. I’ve watched this work in my life. It was a season of being a broke and tired single mom. I really thought I didn’t have much to offer. As it turns out, Jesus only wants our “yes.” A yes to be willing to participate and let the Holy Spirit lead.

My parish started offering Holy Hours, so I signed up for an hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament each month. I loved that time, but I quickly learned I wasn’t showing my whole self to Jesus. (When you sit for an hour in His quiet company, you realize things like this.) My soul really started to open during this period and I witnessed how giving my raw self to Jesus let Him use me to bring more love to others. 

For example, I started asking on social media if anyone had prayer requests. Several came in and I began to pray for people regularly. Interestingly enough, many of these prayer requests were a surprise because they came from people very close to me. About the same time, I was approached by someone in my parish about distributing prayer blankets to people. 

The first stack I received was given to me by a lovely woman at my parish. One blanket was brown, a second was made in dark rainbow colors, and a third was a small pink lap blanket. I would later receive and give out many more prayer blankets, but these three were my first lesson in all the good Jesus can accomplish through us if we just say yes. 

A good friend at work had lost a dear friend, and was grieving the loss. I gave her the brown blanket, which was just perfect to her. She loved the color, and was so appreciative of it.

Another friend asked me to pray for her friend with cancer. She was struggling as she watched her friend go through so much pain. I showed her the dark rainbow blanket. She was so excited because it was just the perfect colors and design for her friend’s personality. 

Finally, I found a home for the little pink blanket–in the lap of a sweet, wheelchair-bound woman. She loved the color and it was the perfect size to use with a wheelchair. 

I know those blankets were meant to go to those specific receivers. And I know the Holy Spirit let me help to make it so.

I know those blankets meant a lot to the people receiving them. I also know it meant a lot to me at that time in my life. Cooperating with God doesn’t require knowledge or perfect holiness; it just requires a yes. It’s a simple willingness to let the Holy Spirit do His thing. Because cool things happen when we let the Holy Spirit lead. 

 

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Allison Faith Formation Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth

The Church is Our Blanket

Blankets are an essential part of our family life. We spread them out on the floor for tea parties, arranging snacks into the middle and circling the edges with our hungry selves. We use half a dozen of them for rainy day (or 20 below zero day) forts, each child clamoring for their own space within the quilted walls. Almost daily, we curl up underneath a cloth for book reading. Although none of my children has a “blankie” and any one will do for the task at hand, there exists some unwritten rule that requires every child to be, if not actually embraced by The Blanket, touching it somewhere. A recent read-aloud morning found us thus: Mom and two toddlers in a chair and under The Blanket, a blue and cream fleece; three older children sitting at our feet on top of the fluff that flowed onto the floor (This rendered those of us in the chair captive, since any shifting pulled down The Blanket, which according to some other unwritten rule, is to be avoided at all costs.). The cool teenager, not to be lumped with the younger children, was nonchalantly leaning against the side of the chair, his arm resting on The Blanket. So we remained pleasantly entangled as I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

It is comforting to reflect upon The Blanket as a picture of the Church. We connect with Her in varying ways throughout the years, as seasons of life turn, as our circumstances alter, and as emotions ebb and flow. Often we need to be completely hidden within the Church for illuminated peace, healing quiet, and heartbreaking tears. Perhaps we are content to be casually wrapped and happily chatting with enfolded others. Maybe we are purposefully reaching outward, retaining the all-important connection to a corner.

I have occasionally considered atheism because sometimes, suffering children is just too much and I entertain wonderings. Sometimes I don’t want heaven; I want healing. Now. I don’t want “to complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body” (Colossians 1:24). I cannot rejoice. What pulls my faith back is facts ~ cold, hard facts of history and theology that are blessedly as true and consoling as a family blanket. The Church is indeed our:

Mother (Galatians 4:26),
Bride (John 3:29),
Teacher (John 16:13),
Guide (Acts 15:28-9),
Truth (I Timothy 3:15),
Family (1 Peter 2:9-10).

We can pull The Blanket around us and be comforted with the peace of Jesus (John 14:26-7), handed to us by His Church in the sacraments, especially the source and summit found in the Eucharist. May we live always touching The Blanket, our Holy Mother Church.