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2nd Commandment Addie Ink Slingers Ten Commandments

OMG!

You hear it everywhere. Yesterday alone, I probably heard “Oh my God” uttered half a dozen times – from ladies in the grocery store, characters on a kids’ TV show, and even from a little boy on my son’s soccer team.  Some ask, how have we gotten to the point where “OMG” is so commonplace a phrase? Others wonder, “What’s the big deal?” Well, IMHO, OMG is a big deal.  

Now please understand, I am not without blame here.  Nearly every time I go to reconciliation, I must confess to breaking the second commandment.  Yet as the Lord draws me closer to himself, my love and respect for his name grows.

The second commandment states, “You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.”  (Exodus 20:7*)

While some claim this commandment refers only to invoking God’s name when taking oaths, it also speaks to a simple lack of reverence for the Lord’s name.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses this aspect of the second commandment in Paragraph 2143: “’The Lord’s name is holy.’ For this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it.”**

“Well, I didn’t mean anything by it.  It’s just an expression; it just slipped out.”  I would ask you to acknowledge the Catechism doesn’t say, “Man must not abuse it…unless he doesn’t really mean to.”  The Catechism explains further, “Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes” (2144).  When we casually use God’s name in an outburst of anger or surprise, does this show respect for the God of the universe – the Savior who shed his blood for you and me?

Jesus said, “From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks…I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:34-36***).  Friends, I don’t know about you, but I am ashamed of the careless words I have spoken. Yet, our Lord is merciful, and quick to forgive! We can go to him in the sacrament of reconciliation, be cleansed of our sins, and begin anew.  

What can we do when we hear the Lord’s name abused?

We don’t have to sit idle, but can use the opportunity to counteract it with prayer.  Try silently (or aloud, if you’re feeling bold) praying, “Blessed be the name of Jesus,” and turn it into an act of worship!  Or use your creativity, like my friend Shaana. When one of her teenagers – or their friends – says “OMG,” she counters, “I can see you’re praying, so let’s bow our heads.”  LOL!

Friends, join me in reconsidering – and redeeming – OMG.  

 

*http://www.usccb.org/bible/exodus/20

**Catechism of the Catholic Church – Part Three, Life in Christ: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a2.htm

***Matthew 12:34-36, NABRE:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/12

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Addie Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth

An Encounter with Christ at Walmart

 

“…so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” Luke 10:29

Today, I grudgingly drove to my least favorite place on earth – my local Walmart. I mean no offense to Walmart employees or fellow patrons, but I try to avoid that place at all costs. It always seems as though everyone in the store (myself included) wants to be somewhere else – anywhere else. I’m constantly dodging carts or shooing my kids out of harm’s way, typically in the form of an old lady on a motorized scooter, bent for her bran flakes.

And really, couldn’t they open up more than three of those eighty-seven checkout lanes?!

In one of those purgatorial lanes, I waited. On another day, I may have occupied my time by checking Facebook or simply staring into space. For some reason, today I noticed the gentleman behind me in line. He was elderly, and was using one of the seated, motorized shopping carts for assistance. He looked tired, and I had a feeling it may be difficult for him to unload his own cart. So I asked if it would be helpful if I unloaded his cart for him. This caught him off guard, but after a moment he said, “That would be great.”

We struck up a conversation about the spring weather and the items we were purchasing; he urged me to try Diet Dr. Pepper, while I sang the praises of my Keurig coffee pods. Somehow, our conversation led to his telling me about the difficult year he had been through. He had open heart surgery, and for months he hadn’t cared whether he lived or died. Now that it was spring, he was happy to be feeling better and grateful to be able to work outside.

When I was finished unloading his cart, he thanked me and told me, “You are just as sweet as you look.” (It should be noted this was quite a stretch, since I was wearing dirty sweats and a baseball cap, but I’ll accept the compliment!) We wished each other well, and parted, each better for having met the other.

I had been feeling sort of down myself that day, preoccupied with worry about my own upcoming surgery and care-worn over one of my boys. It would have been so easy for me to ignore the other soul in the check-out line with me. I am grateful that the Lord drew me out of myself and into relationship with a stranger – my neighbor.

St. Paul tells the Romans, “Let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up” (Romans 15:2). Friends, we need each other – now, more than ever. Today, I encountered Christ in this elderly gentleman. And the Lord allowed me the opportunity to show Christ to him. Thanks be to God.

 

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4th Commandment Allen Faith Formation Parenting Perspective from the Head Vocations

Respect Within the Family

What is respect?

Respect is defined as “a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important” and also as “a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way.”   While these two definitions may seem to be two ways of saying the same thing, I feel that the first definition keys in on respect being given to those who have earned it by their physical or mental abilities, while the second one focuses more on respect being due to people simply because of their dignity as a human being.respect

Many people find the first definition more palatable and withhold their respect for someone unless they admire them or see something that is good valuable and important in them.  Respect within the family, and indeed within a Christian Culture, should be more closely identified with the second definition in which people are viewed as important and should be treated in an appropriate way. By virtue of each of us being created in the image and likeness of God, we have an inherent dignity and since we are adopted sons and daughters of the Almighty, we have an inherent greatness that is not diminished by what we can or cannot do.  Respect is nothing something that is earned, it is something that should be given out of love for one another.  The child who throws temper-tantrums and the elderly who have lost touch with reality should be shown the same respect as we show to the able minded and physically capable person whom we interact with professionally on a daily basis.  The difference between the two is that when we show respect to the young or the elderly we are being selfless and cannot expect much in return for our kindness.

Within the Context of the Family

There is a lot of talk about respect these days; people demand it, and I would propose that far less give it or perhaps even know what it is.  When you think of respect within your family you probably think about how you desire it from your teenagers.  Respect is an essential ingredient of a holy family, and therefore each family member must seek to understand it, expect it, and give it.  This can only be done by example.  Words like the ones I am writing may help communicate the essence of respect to our children, but will fall on deaf ears if we do not provide a good example of respect.  Showing respect is difficult, especially within our own home, which is where our children will learn the most about what it means to be respectful.  We can be perfectly respectful to our boss (if we work outside the home), to our pastor, the policeman, our co-workers, our friends, but our children will not often see these interactions.  What our children will see is how we treat our spouse, our elderly family members and most importantly how we treat them.

Here are a couple of tips and tricks that may help you as you seek to be a consistent example of respect within your home.  Dr. Ray Guardeni  provides some great advice when he suggests that parents compare the way they speak to their children to the way they speak to their boss at work.  His point is, if you wouldn’t talk to your boss, pastor or someone you hold in high esteem that way, they you shouldn’t talk to your children that way either.  The problem is that often we treat the people that we are closest to with less respect primarily because we know that it would take quite a bit for them to stop loving us.  Often we use that unconditional love as an opportunity for us to take out our frustrations on them and it has to stop.

Another helpful trick is to remember that we, too, have many flaws that we have tried to repair for many years and yet still struggle.  Reflecting on this, we should give our children a little leeway as they struggle with keeping their room clean, doing their homework and chores without being asked, being nice to their siblings and speaking respectfully to their parents. It may take a while for them to get each of these important habits fully formed and they may fall often on their path towards full maturity.  Our children are a great tool that God has given us to help us on our path to holiness.  They will help us be more patient, more forgiving, more humble and more respectful.  Some of us require more work in some of these areas, so don’t be surprised if you pray for patience and have a child that helps you work on that virtue several times a day.  In a word, be humble and hopefully this increase in humility will help us to be a little less harsh and more respectful when helping our children to become mature adults.

Go Forth and Teach Respect

Remember our goal, we are seeking to form a holy family and the foundation of our family is love and mutual respect.  It is not enough to demand respect from our children, we must also give it to them freely.  Our children are born as empty slates and through their experiences in life, they become a fully formed human being, an adult.  During these formative years our children encounter many people from whom they will learn what is right and wrong, how to treat each other and how to love one another.  It was not enough for God to write a book for us to learn these things, He chose to send us His only Son to personally teach us these things, and Jesus chose to continue to teach the world with human beings through his Church.  Holy men and women who have gone before us and some of whom are still alive today continue to inspire us to love and respect one another in a truly profound, godly manner.  In a way that many of us may not fathom, we as parents have the ability to be this profound teacher of our children by our good example, but the opposite also holds true.  Have you ever met a disrespectful child and wondered where he or she learned to be so disrespectful?  Then you met that child’s parents and you knew beyond the shadow of a doubt where it came from.

Escriva_at_Mass_1971With perseverance, respect can be taught within your family and not only will you enjoy respect within your home, but you will also be a light to those who come into contact with members of your family and are treated respectfully.  Our world needs more respect and watching the nightly news and talk shows is not where people will learn it, in fact, they will many times be instructed in how to be disrespectful.  Our world needs examples of respect for all human life, those unborn, those living and those nearing the end of their lives.  The work we do within our families has a profound effect on the world in which we live, St. Josemaria Escriva said, “these world crises are crises of saints“.  St. John Paul II that “The future of the world and the Church passes through the family” Familiaris Consortio #75.  This task of creating an atmosphere of respect within our family will reach further than the walls of our homes, it will go out into our neighborhoods, our Churches, our cities and throughout our country.  The family is mighty and has the ability to change the world.

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Allison Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Spiritual Growth

Want Reverence? Be Reverent.

“I thought all the way home on what to do about church,” my husband said late one night last week when we finally had some quiet time together, “And we are going to stay put.” Our disappointment with irreverence at Mass, simmering for years, had come to a full boil over the summer (meaning that he had become increasingly grumpy on Sundays and I had become increasingly whiny). It was time for a Decision.

prayingMass reverence is a charged topic, pew to altar. Google it and see, but be prepared to practice your Bradley breathing techniques for blood pressure management. There are as many opinions on reverence versus irreverence as there are millennia of cultures and subcultures. Organ? Band? Hymns? Choruses? Kneeling? Bowing? Hand-holding? Dancing? Reverence is defined as feelings or gestures of honor and respect. Gestures vary throughout time and geography, but should stem from and manifest feelings of honor and respect to our loving Lord. All rites of our Holy Mother Church have their theological and historical roots in Judaism, our elder brothers in the faith, even as exclusive traditions evolved. Christianity is a child of Judaism, and is a faith that embraces the whole person, body and soul. As our bodies are engaged with gestures, artwork, incense, music, prayers, responses, scripture readings, and (glory of glories) the Eucharist, our souls are enlivened with Grace. This is Mass. This is worshiping God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), by the Spirit of truth (John 14:26), and within the pillar and foundation of truth (the Church ~ I Timothy 3:15). It is where we belong, body and soul.

Rather than curse the darkness of fluff and dissidence, my husband has called our family to a reminder of the honor and respect due to Jesus, present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, at every Mass. “We are going to practice more reverence,” he said with his characteristic quiet resolve, “Because Jesus is still there.” Driving an hour away (how far we’d need to go for something different) is not an option, as he commutes over an hour on weekdays; this is our focus for now. We made list of practical, reverential particulars:

holy water font• Sunday-best outfits
• On time
• Holy water blessing and genuflecting slowly upon entering the sanctuary
• Kneeling in reflective prayer beforehand
• Purchase Magnifikids for the middle children
• No sarcasm or complaining in the van on the way home (If damage control is necessary, it will be thoughtful and planned)
• Read through a children’s catechism for morning prayers
• Purchase, fill, and use home holy water fonts for blessings at least before bedtime

padre pioSaint Padre Pio, whose feast day is today, also had some choice words about reverence in Mass.

In order to avoid irreverence and imperfections in the house of God, in church – which the divine Master calls the house of prayer – I exhort you in the Lord to practice the following:
Enter the church in silence and with great respect, considering yourself unworthy to appear before the Lord’s Majesty. Amongst other pious considerations, remember that our soul is the temple of God and, as such, we must keep it pure and spotless before God and His angels…
Then take holy water and make the sign of the cross carefully and slowly.
As soon as you are before God in the Blessed Sacrament, devoutly genuflect. Once you have found your place, kneel down and render the tribute of your presence and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Confide all your needs to Him along with those of others. Speak to Him with filial abandonment, give free rein to your heart and give him complete freedom to work in you as He thinks best.

And so our plan for the foreseeable future is to “do everything without grumbling or complaining that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15). We do not want to honor God with our lips alone, but have our hearts far from Him (Isaiah 29:13). We want our hearts to be close to Him because we honor and respect Him. We want reverence so we will be reverent.

Saint Padre Pio, please pray for us.

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Confessions of The Original Online Junkie Ink Slingers Martina Series

Confessions of The Original Online Junkie: How to Avoid Internet Road Rage II

Last time, I went over a few key steps in improving communication online. As I started writing and thoughts poured out for the first installment on How to Avoid Internet Road Rage, it quickly became evident that the topic was much more broad than I had anticipated. Let’s continue where I left off last time, shall we?

 

  1. Respond, don’t react. Someone said something that struck you the wrong way. Take a deep breath, pray…maybe walk away for a few minutes, but always try to respond to a conversation and avoid reacting. It’s easy to resort to knee-jerk reactions when we’re angry or over emotional. Not that us gals are easily angered or emotional. Puh-shaw! Never! Yeah, anyway. Avoid angry impulse writing, mmkay?
  2. DON’T BE “LE WILD CAPS LOCK” PERSON!! IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING AT PEOPLE. Ooops! ::adjusting own caps lock:: Ah, better. So, yeah. If you want people to read what you’re writing, use capitals the way they’re meant…and sparingly for effect. In my experience, people tend to gloss over all caps comments. If you really have a love affair with caps lock, be sure to remember October 22, or Caps Lock Day, and then go wild, friend. GO NUTS WITH THE CAPS LOCK!
  3. Apologize when necessary. Ack! You said something you didn’t mean to and now it’s biting you in the butt. That’s where apologizing comes in. Rarely, RARELY is there any conversation where one person is completely in the wrong and the other is completely in the right. It takes a bit of humble pie to put aside the notion that we were completely right by admitting our contribution to the derailing of the discussion. While it’s a nice thought to apologize publicly, it’s not necessary and a private message can go far. The other person may not be willing to accept your apology or continue to blast you, even privately. Still, offer your apology and toss up a prayer for them, that God will calm the anger in their heart – then move on and let the issue slide off your back like water off a duck. ::note: letting it roll off is not as easy for us gals – guys, this should not affect you any longer than oh…a nanosecond?::
  4. Start by prefacing. Though it’s not always possible to avoid offending people – in fact, there will always be someone who chooses to be offended when there is nothing offensive to extract – do your best to preface your words to diffuse potential conflict. Keeping in mind from the previous post, assume charity in others and expect others to do the same for you and you have a recipe for a fruitful conversation.
  5. Don’t lay out the Costco-sized bag of troll kibble. Also known as feeding the drama llama. If you know what I mean, then you know what I’m getting at. Trolls. Ah, good old internet trolls. Who doesn’t love them? Also known as pot stirrers, troublemakers, people who…probably just need a hobby, but mostly they are there to derail your conversation and have zero interest in contributing to the topic at hand. They look to get everyone’s dander up and then sit back, exit silently, and watch the fur fly. The best way to avoid these personalities is to disengage and ignore. Starve their drama llama.
  6. Use “pet names” sparingly. very. sparingly.  You probably mean well, but this doesn’t translate well online. I grew up in East Texas and while I can literally hear the word sug the way it’s intended – short for sugar, sounds like “shoog” and comes with its own glass of sweet tea – it usually comes across online as condescension. I love to use these words, but I generally only reserve them for friends who know me for REALZ and would not take it as anything other than my being endearing.
  7. Talk privately. Sometimes a conversation can continue, but it would be more fruitful if it’s private. Public discussions can get long, windy, and people lose their place. If you connect with someone who wants to have a genuine conversation, private message them away from the chaos of the public wall so that the focus of the conversation remains and doesn’t get derailed by the drama llama.
  8. Learn to agree to disagree. It’s ok to disagree with someone. Honest. It may not feel that way in the moment and you may want to right fight to the bitter end, but sometimes {almost always} it’s better to preserve the friendship {which is way more fun and nurturing in the first place} than to beat people over the head with the right stick.
  9. Learn. Just learn. Commit to learning. Even when you disagree with someone, ask yourself What can I learn from this situation? How could I have handled myself better? He mentioned a great book he read when learning about x, y, and z…I should pick that up! Adopting an attitude that commits you to challenge yourself to grow with each conversation can help you look at your communication style differently.
  10. Be true to yourself. In other words, don’t be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Keep in mind that when having a conversation with someone in person vs. online your presence on both should be relatively similar. Of course not accounting for the occasional fluctuation of off days here and there, most people who know you should confidently be able to say you are the same in real life {IRL} as you are online. Why is this important? Well, it ties into the idea that if you wouldn’t be brash and in someone’s face to their actual face, then it stands to reason that we would want to strive to come across in the same way online.

 

So, there you have it! You are ready to tackle the comboxes with renewed enthusiasm and you will never make any mistakes, right? 😉 I know these days, I am rarely that invested in a topic anymore – many, many, MANY minutes/hours/days wasted on what usually amounted to fruitless arguments led to the ability to detach myself from pointless emotions. In fact, one glance up from my computer to look at all the crayons strewn about, Mt. Washmore staring me down and hungry kids pecking on the floor for scraps of food snap me back to what is more important. Cleaning! No, the kids. Wait. Kids who clean?

In my next installment, I will venture into no-man’s land by talking about parenting ::DUN DUN DUN!!!!:: teenagers online {said in loud ominous voice – start your prayers now, folks!}. Recognizing that I was also a teen at the time of the birth of the public internet, this should make for an interesting topic. Until next time, friends!