Simply Sunday ~ If you fall

This morning I ran across a petition by a young mom in a neighboring town.  She is asking people to sign a petition to the Archdioceses to keep the only parochial school left in town.  Their newly assigned Priest is said to be closing the school.  I would hasten to guess that is a decision made at the level of the Archdioceses office months ago.  In truth, I do not know the details of the how and why.  I do believe it is a mistake.  The church is known to have money.  Millions are being spent on some park near the city Cathedral. Attendance is dwindling, children are not being raised in the faith.  Part of the solution to this is parochial school.  Mixed up priorities.

When my sons were small, we chose to move to a small town and spend more money on housing than a private school would cost.  Now, I bring my grand-baby to mass every week, talk to him about Jesus, sing and read to him about Jesus.  His daddy isn’t feeling the call to mass right now though he is happy that I am bringing baby.  We have talked about towns to live in, schools and he has said even if I have to live in a town that doesn’t have a good school system – baby can go to parochial school if we can afford it (and often the schools have assisted families with financial difficulties).

The Church is suffering many growing pains, largely in part to the lack of progress and  ability to change.  Things I have written about here before and will write more of in the future.  Life has been very busy this past year but I have plans to have a little more free time to write again.  It matters.

One professional musician that has been on my radar has not made it “big” though she is passionate about her work, her family and our Father.  Over time I will share more of her music.  It is a mix of Christian contemplative and music for little ones.  Both are enjoyed in our home.  She does tour and perform for churches too.

The song I chose to post for Simply Sunday this week is by JJ Heller ~ If you fall.  Lyrics and my feelings about them below the video.


Words and Music by Dave and JJ Heller

You are a house that’s broken down
You are a house that’s burning
And everything in me wants to run
But that’s not love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

I planted seeds down in the ground
Not every one is growing
When I am tempted to give up
I choose love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

Beauty and light will fight for you
Goodness will rise
It shines for you



My interpretation.

I believe many of us see the church as a house that is broken, burning and in need of love and care in order to restore it to the simple ways in which Jesus lived and taught.  .  There are many times over recent years I have felt bruised and beaten down and I realize this is something many Christians have experienced in one way or another.  There were times when I wanted to  “run” / leave, but He called me to be here so here I am. Running/leaving is not love.  Love bears all things. Love – hopes for all things.

I believe God is disappointed in some of the decisions, choices and teachings that have been made in His name.    Millions have been hurt by these such things.  God feels that pain with us.  We join together to fight to overcome the darkness and bring light back to the church and each other.

I am specifically dedicating this posting to our clergy who in truth are wonderful loving human beings charged with the task of living as super humans which they are not.  They are the beautiful loving sons our Father created, who have given their lives to make our world better and all to often we forget all about them when we walk out the door after mass.  I pray the powers that be make the corrective actions necessary to revoke the clerical celibacy rule and allow all men of strong integrity, character and love of God to serve as a Priest in His church, a married clergy as God designed.  We have parishes closing, not enough clergy to cover churches and more and more schools closing.  It is time for change.  It is time to return Gods loving gifts to all men who love Him so very much, enough to serve in His name.  It is time to grow and allow the church and all of its peoples to flourish.

Blessings on this ~ Simply Sunday

Prayer is the light of the soul

This very much a favorite of mine. Though this is a homily, it’s topic is prayer and it fills my heart each time I read it, another who understands – who walked this earth so many years ago.

St John Chrysostom (Hom 6 on Prayer)

A homily of Pseudo-Chrysostom

Prayer is the light of the soul

“The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him. When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time, but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.
Indeed the soul should not only turn to God at times of explicit prayer. Whatever we are engaged in, whether it is care for the poor, or some other duty, or some act of generosity, we should remember God and long for God. The love of God will be as salt is to food, making our actions into a perfect dish to set before the Lord of all things. Then it is right that we should receive the fruits of our labours, overflowing onto us through all eternity, if we have been offering them to him throughout our lives.
Prayer is the light of the soul, true knowledge of God, a mediator between God and men. Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace. The soul seeks the milk of God like a baby crying for the breast. It fulfills its own vows and receives in exchange gifts better than anything that can be seen or imagined.
Prayer is a go-between linking us to God. It gives joy to the soul and calms its emotions. I warn you, though: do not imagine that prayer is simply words. Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says: For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.
If God gives to someone the gift of such prayer, it is a gift of imperishable riches, a heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. Whoever tastes that food catches fire and his soul burns for ever with desire for the Lord.
To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.”

Summer Retreat & Meeting Michael

A few years ago, after being divorced for several years, I filed for an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church.  I wrote about this recently in Where do I belong? Some of you reading may be aware that I moved my original website after purchasing my own domain. Over time I have moved some older articles back, editing and updating as I go.  Also, adding some new articles.  I will republish my article on annulment, but not yet.  I mention this because in part, making that choice has brought me to where I am today.

I saw one fellow socially for almost two years beginning several months to a year after my divorce (funny how those details no longer seem important).  It was someone I knew who moved out-of-state, kept their home here.  I had socialized with his sister and even one of his best friends.  That “romance” fell dead to the ground in a chilling way, when I was informed his out of state (upper crust?) family would not accept me because they are strict Catholics and I was a divorcee with three kids.

Thank you God for saving me from that sort of fellow & family.  God – had other plans.

The short version of this portion is with a bit of a shove from a friend, I filed for an annulment of marriage in the Roman Catholic church.  I was afraid of my ex-husband, for very good reasons that came up even during the process, but there was something inside of me driving me to go through with this.  I am not sure why I felt I needed validation from the church – but I did.  I never felt that my marriage was blessed by God.  I wanted to be in the position to marry in the church in the future, if God would bless me with a loving relationship of this type.  I wanted the option.  I wanted to be free to date – and the ability to feel free to teach & participate more fully in my church again.

Almost two years later my annulment was granted.  I had made a promise that I would teach again if my annulment was granted, because I took that in part as a sign that this was also what God wanted me to do.  Annulment granted, I offered to teach.  I was to begin teaching again when classes resumed that coming fall.  That summer a neighboring Parish offered a summer retreat on Catholicism.  Every other Sunday afternoon from 1-5pm.  Okay, what better way to get re-involved and learn more about my religion?  Grow my faith?

Then something unexpected happened.  I learned things I had not known.  I learned I disagree with and hit me at my core.  Along with watching our weekly DVD’s of Father (now Bishop) Baron, we had a lot of discussion.  The group was led by a fellow who attended Seminary for two years before dropping out and later marrying.  His son, as well as one of his sons friends from St.s Private Catholic High School were assisting.  Both were now 20-21 years old.  Right around the age of my youngest son.

Young Michael we learned was discerning the Priesthood.  By the second class he was comfortable enough to broach the subject with participants all but myself it seemed were employed as directors of religious ed at various parishes in our archdiocese.   Here, I learned there are married men with families who are Roman Catholic Priests, here in my state and across the country.  I was not the only one in the room who was dumbfounded.  If he was looking for support there, he was not finding it with the exception of two elderly Latin ladies.  The rest of us being mothers of young men, and a another father present. 

It is not that we do not support clergy.  It is, generally speaking a married clergy would be widely accepted.  It is what Jesus taught, and the structure of the church – from it’s very foundation.  More on this in upcoming writings.

We learned that men who were clergy in Angelian churches were welcome to convert to Roman Catholicism, become Roman Catholic Priests.  Men who have/had wives and children.  This became allowed supposedly because of the extreme shortage of Roman Catholic Priests. 

Honestly, I never put a lot of thought into the life of  a Priest before this.  It was something I didn’t understand but – it wasn’t my life.  The truth is, it is part of the life of every single Roman Catholic and it is something that needs to be looked at and should be corrected.  In past writings I have discussed how Jesus Christ chose a married clergy for His church.  Men changed that.  Men cannot take away the gifts of our loving Father.  We have a shortage largely because of the inability of the church to make corrections, change and grow.

That fall, I also met a Brother from a neighboring state.  He came for a long weekend, to meet my friend from school whom he met online (playing video games!).  Our conversation including his very honest thoughts and experience with required celibacy.  I assure you it was as negative as we could expect.  Again – it is not how Jesus structured His church.

Another topic that came up at this retreat was the churches standing on same-sex love.  Jesus never spoke on same sex love.  The commandments he gave to us do not speak against same sex love.  We are all children of God.  It makes no sense that God would gift people with loving relationships and expect them not to touch each other.  Love making is an extension of His gifts. 

What the men of the church (at least those in powerful seats) fail to grasp is – each time it is suggested to a mom or dad that their son would make a good priest is they are suggesting that a parent is to teach their child that they are to remain without loving human relationships throughout their life.  No wife, no truly intimate human relationship, no one to grow through life and our Father with, no children, no grandchildren, no one to grow old with.  Why would anyone wish this on anyone?  God is with all of us, our loving Father see’s us all the same.  God did not want this, Jesus did not teach this – he lived and died to bring about a change in faith, God, Love.

Look into the eyes of a mother and tell her that she gave birth to a homosexual “freak” of nature (in essence that is what is being taught), that the child that grew in her womb for nine months, that she lovingly nourished and nurtured is never to have a loving romantic relationship because it is sinful.  How… do you do that?  How do you have the nerve to do that? 


I am sure I may be riling a few feathers, especially of those more fundamental or conservative readers.  Give me time, I will back up everything I say.  It is time for the church to make changes, it needs to grow.  If it does not make a huge shift, it will see more people walking out the doors to worship and celebrate the very loving God who graces us with everything we see, everything we taste, touch, smell and celebrate.  He is good.

Prompt: Loving


Sin ~ What harm is it?

We all do it. No one likes to talk about it. When is the last time you did something and the word sin came to mind? If you are a parent, when is the last time you talked about sin to your children? When is that last time you called a spouse or child on sin? Hmm. This is what family should do, with love.

If you read back through my posts you will see times that I have questioned whether my own behavior was sinful. Not long ago, I found myself questioning whether I had sinned, in not trusting God enough to stay by my side in a place I know He led me. I reacted to a dear one’s obvious frustration, though they did not tell me what I did wrong, I think I figured it out today. There is something to be said for communication skills and it does not matter who you are – use your words.

Though I am a practicing Catholic I am going to try to look at sin today in with a wider, perhaps different view. God, being the loving father has provided us with information to help us be the best people that we can be. That is what a parent does, right?

We reference points in the Bible that have to be considered, and, they should be considered every day, not only during Lent. Make it a habit – it is something I learned growing up and though my childhood was a mix of Christian churches – I knew all about fire & brimstone and if I swore – I was going to go to hell. (Thankfully I learned that isn’t quite the case “but”).

We have the Ten Commandments
Protestant V. Catholic


I know – why can’t we all just get along. Remember, we’re just looking at guidelines right now.

The Greatest Commandments

Right from Jesus!


What about the Seven Deadly Sins?


**Note** These are sins when they are intentional and you have full knowledge of. Being human, we need to understand these sins, why they are sinful – but that being human we all fall to them at times. I don’t think there is a human alive who has not had lustful thoughts (yes, women can be as guilty as men, why do you think we have movies like Magic Mike or 50 Shades of Gray?). Gluttony is not spoken of but there are many of us out there they fall to over eating (or under eating), Greed, Laziness, Wrath or Envy. Pride.

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Practice – Self-control/Chastity.
  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21). Practice – Temperance.
  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). PracticeGenerosity.
  • Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19). PracticeZeal.
  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) Practice Kindness.
  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). PracticeLove & Charity.
  • Pride – quality or state of being proud – inordinate self esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Practice – Humility.

Rather than look at a long laundry list, let’s take a  look at this. As a Christian mother, I will make reference in teaching our children and advising them. Remember, even as adults we should remind them of anything that may put a wedge between themselves and God. Remember though you cannot control your Adult Children, you can pray for them. Don’t “nag” as that will push them away, talk to them lovingly, as you would want to be spoken to.

As Christians we know;

God is always to be first in our lives. Too often people have not been told this, forget this or get slack. In order for Christians to have a solid foundation we need to focus and turn our heart, mind and soul over to our Lord, God. Before anyone else. All of us. It is our responsibility to teach this to our children as well as teaching others when we spread the word of God. It is the responsibility of a man and woman in a relationship to bring each other closer to God in this, they become one with God. Remember to teach this to your children. Remember to honor God, study the Bible, attend Church, grow in your spirituality.

Love your Neighbor as yourself. We can squeeze parents, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, kid at the gas station – all other human beings. Treat everyone with love, respect and a kind ear. Thou Shall Not Murder. Thou Shall not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You” Mathew 7:12. How about “Judge Not Least Ye Be Judged” Mathew 7:1

You shall not commit Adultery • Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors Wife

Greed • Thou Shall Not Covet They Neighbors Goods • Gluttony • Envy • Pride

Laziness – Ignoring or being lazy in your Spiritual life.

Okay, thanks for the reminder – now what?

Well, the truth is this; When we are not cognizant of our actions, we can hurt ourselves and others. Doing this, especially knowingly, puts a distance between ourselves, God and whomever else we may have touched (figuratively or literally). When we knowingly and willingly commit sin and bring others too it – that wedge between self, others we have affected and God is bigger. Our responsibility as Christians is to bring others to God, most especially those we love.

We should remember to ask God, when we pray to help us be mindful of our actions and caution that they are wholesome and good. This sounds great and easy in theory, but, we are human and in our humanness – we sin. In our humanness we get caught up in sin, which is why we need to reflect on this.

A few things to keep in mind and consider is this; Greed can be as “innocent” as taking that last scoop of potato’s before your brother, who is in the bathroom, gets his dinner plate – to not paying your employee a fair wage. Laziness? Stay active in your spiritual life.

In the past I have  discussed both our chosen attire, taking care of our body (healthy) and how our appearance matters because it reflects both our sense of self and – our modesty (or lack thereof). No saint here, I remember wearing sundresses and tops sans a bra when I was a teenager, not good. It’s important to look nice, neat and respectful. While we do want to look attractive, our focus should not be on drawing people to us by looking sexy. Save that for your spouse.

Consider the movies you choose to watch, books you read. If they contain erotica, think twice. We’re really not supposed to be entertaining ourselves or others with things that can lead to sinful thoughts or behavior. This means no 50 Shades of Gray ladies, and men – no surfing for porn (or vise versa). In married relationships the goal is celebrating your love – making love, which as you deal with childbirth, an illness, medical condition or aging may mean learning new techniques or enjoying some warm cuddles and kisses. These loving actions will not be happening if you are off ogling a woman 1/2 the age of your wife, with a flat tummy and double D boobs. Same goes for the women, no Magic Mike – celebrate your love and your bodies in your marriage, you have been given a very special gift.

Life is not about the size of our home, model of our car or bank account. It does not matter what profession you have chosen, single, married, divorced. God loves each and everyone of us. Realize, looking at each other – we have the divine love of the Holy Spirit within us. When we sin, we sin against God. We hurt God, ourselves and others. Celebrate that divine love by spending time in prayer and reflection – and make a conscious effort to take a personal inventory, a written or mental check list of what sins.

In addition to realizing we have or have come close to sin – it is important to examine why we were/are in that place. What is going on with us internally that has brought us to that place. If it is not readily apparent, pray to God and ask for him to reveal to you what brought about this state. Remember to ask him to fill the void you may be feeling in your life, some self confidence on the job, insight into an issue with your spouse, or a human relationship that you long for. If we don’t ask – we don’t receive. Be positive and put your trust in God, while you’re waiting, serve him which includes working hard to be a good person. Be prepared to find an answer that may surprise you – be open to His love. God wants us to feel loved and happy, He is a good Father.

Something I’ll share is I do have a couple of people in my life involved in recovery and being familiar with Twelve Step Programs I realize these steps may help others in reflection of behaviors, admitting sin, asking others for forgiveness when possible or appropriate and remembering to turn our lives over to God.

Catholics are taught the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we are to go confess our sins to a Priest who will forgive (most of) our sins for us. Many find this to be a useful way to find forgiveness and feel at peace with God. Not everyone is Catholic, and even not all Catholics believe in this manner of confessing and asking for forgiveness. If you are Catholic and have not made confession in recent times, please take a few moments to check out the above link and consider speaking to your Priest (not only for confession but for any questions you may have about it).

I do spend time reflecting my thoughts, actions and words. I understand that my choices can and do impact others. I do ask my Father to forgive me from the bottom of my heart the sins I have committed. I also believe it is more important to sincerely apologize to who I may have hurt (aside from myself) and ask their forgiveness when I can, I think that is far more important than sitting in confession doing so and it is actually much harder. Perhaps a mix of both is a good idea. It is a good idea if someone close to you has brought you to a difficult spot, to share that with them so that they can do their best in protecting you from sin. Good communication skills are essential, though there may be times that it may be difficult – do the best you can.


Our responsibility is to live up to being the best human being that we can be. God recognizes that we are human. Too often, bad people forget what sin is. Alternately, often very good people forget that we are all God’s children, children – growing in God. He loves us so very much. After bringing your sin to lay at the cross, receiving forgiveness, be sure you allow that forgiveness from our loving father to flood your soul and allow the light within to burn brightly touching everyone in your reach.satanseesin-godseeson

~~2/24/16 Edit to add:

Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church from the Vatican Website – linked below.

1466 The confessor (The Priest) …..He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy.”

I don’t remember ever hearing this before. This is Catholic Teaching. Though I grasp the idea of how confession is good for the soul and our relationship with God – I would never put my sin on a Priest and I don’t care if they “willingly” took that on.

There are different schools of thought on Confession and surely many are still going to heaven who do not go to confession (or heaven will be pretty empty – right?).

This is really not what God is about. It is good and very healthy to know ourselves, understand our sins and move forward earnestly endeavoring to do better. Some things we really must work through internally with God, and that is not wrong as long as we are doing it. Confiding in a close friend or family member who you know and trust to keep you on track – is good and can be very healthy.

This also reminds me of more current essay I have written (as I update this one). In two of them I had posted this from a daily bible reading for the Divine Office:

Mid-morning reading

1 Timothy 2:4-6

God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I cross post / am still waiting for someone to tell me how this is considered okay when it is not biblical, and the more I look at the history of sacraments, the more apparent it is that these have been changed, added to – manipulated (?) over centuries. Why? Confusing.

We are human, no matter what sacraments we have received, a Priest standing next to me is as human as I am I am responsible for my owns sins and I know for a fact I do penance for them, it is not for me to hand them off to someone else. Goodness Gracious

Where do these idea’s come from?

Not God!

We must be personally accountable!!!

Reflecting on the story of the woman in the book of Luke, I think we have to look at this story and consider how many of us have torn ourselves up inside for sins we have committed in our lives. Often carrying that guilt forward into life today. Jesus said – no, that is not for you to carry. You are forgiven.

I also would suggest that we often look at the “sin” and not the “sinner” – who they are, why they have “committed sin”, where they were at when doing so. What brought them to that place? There are personal reasons I believed God was punishing me in the abusive marriage I lived in – for twenty years. I had guilt that in truth no one but God himself could alleviate me of. No friends, or priest – only God himself. In retrospect, I look back to life growing up, events that happened and I can see why I behaved the way I did. My heart breaks for that young girl.

Our Lord, God does not want anyone to feel so sinful, dirty, unworthy of his love. It is not for us to judge others, but to truly look upon others with love and compassion and an attempt of understanding. Never tearing people apart or making them feel such shame that they become further self destructive.

0fb1a326f3a71e1e776822166d89dde0Originally Published 2016

Who is God? Faith Formation & 8th grade.

Tell me one thing that you are grateful to God for . . .

I taught my eighth grade faith formation class this evening.  I love the kids – I really do.  They are a sweet bunch, variety of personalities and backgrounds.  Tonight I had four regulars, one extra and was missing one.  One or two I don’t even bother looking for any longer.  As far as  I know they are no shows.  My DRE (Director of Religious Ed) was surprised that one was not showing up.

The topic for this evening was Prayer.  The problem with discussing prayer is these kids really have no clue who God is.  Eighth graders.  They have made it through seven years of CCD or Faith formation to be in my class.  I can’t help but wonder who taught them before me.  What their classes were like.

They don’t know God.

They don’t pray.

They are sweet kids.

The lesson book tells me to have them follow seven steps for prayer – which include saying the “Our Father” in closing.  The side notes tell them a short prayer a Saint said and tells us they should use this in their prayers.

Clueless.  Those are prayers of others that I am being told (through the material provided to me to teach with) to teach them more rote prayers.

No.  Enough already. 

They don’t know God.

We talk about God and prayer every week.  Most of the kids rarely go to Mass.  The local kids don’t pray at home though one in tonight group remember praying with parents at bedtime “many years ago”.  One boy attends my class from out of town.  He prays with his family at night.  I asked him how they pray.  He is Vietnamese.  He smiled then shrugged and said “just a bunch of Vietnamese prayers, then the rosary, then more Vietnamese prayers’.  I asked if they say personal prayers and he said yes they follow a format, though I’m not so sure the way he spoke that they did, and certainly not the private personal prayer we were discussing.  More rote prayers.

Okay, regroup I tell myself.  – Back to the book.  Back to the seven steps.  As I read through them with the kids I realize how absolutely ridiculous this is.  The author has no idea what he is doing.  Much of the book seems okay but when it comes to real life practice – not so much.  I’d need the darn book and have to read steps one through seven just to be sure I covered everything he thought was important.

These kids don’t pray.  Why would I make it harder than it has to be.  Did Jesus tell us we had to pray a certain way?  No, I think to myself – not that I recall.  I love God.  I pray throughout the day.  It’s just part of me at this age.

I smiled at the kids and told them the truth, prayer shouldn’t be a chore.  Prayer is about having a close relationship with God.  Conversations.  Three steps.  Prayer of gratitude and worship, thanks for all He is, all He does and all He is.  Next, prayer for those in our lives and things in the world that need our attention and the attention of our Father, ask Him for guidance in these matters.  Lastly – pray for ourselves.  Ask for guidance and that He show us, guide us in His will.  Help us to be good people, speak to him of special intentions.  Thank him.

I tell them I know there is a five step list I have read from Pope Francis and that I will look it up and bring this with me to next class.

Going through review questions, we didn’t get very far.  The first was “if you make ten minutes a day to pray for the next thirty days how will that change you?”

I was reminded that we already talked about this – only one in the class prayers.  So I steer them toward prayer and share different experiences that I felt were age appropriate to share like the early birth of my grandson and being concerned because he was early (no need to share details with them) but how God has been with him, how well he has grown in two months.  … Of the time I was out of work for a long time and prayed and prayed and just when I needed it – I had a job offer and I knew that was God.  These things caught their attention.  An adult sharing experience.  It also helps know that I respect them enough to share little glimpses of my own life.  I remember being that age.  Not long ago my own sons were.

Last question . . .

Tell me one thing that you are grateful to God for . . .

No answer.

How can they be grateful to God…

When they don’t know Him???

My heart hurt.  These are good kids.  Smart, loving.  Lacking God in their lives. 

I answered. 

I am nothing without God.  He created me.  Psalm 139 tells us that He created us an knows us from before we were born, He formed us, knows us, our thoughts, fears, loves, hopes.  He is with us always.  I am grateful.

I smiled looking each in the face . . .

I am grateful for God, because if it were not for Him we would not be in this room and I never would have met you and I enjoy learning from you – very much.

The sweetest expression on the faces of my eighth graders.  They were not expecting to hear that.  They’re at the age where life becomes a tug o’ war at home, grasping for some freedom that they are too young to have.  Too many don’t have long conversations with their own parents.  Too seldom are they told they are respected for just being themselves.

As we’re gathering books they begin to talk about a paper they have to write on President Trump.  Only one began with how great he thought he is.  I told them we probaly shouldn’t talk politics and the boy who loved him said why?  Lockerroom talk?  {ack}  So we had a very short talk that went like this… “If you are talking about what I think you are, you would not want anyone to speak to your mother like that, your sister – or your daughter”.  It is unkind, ungodly and a real gentleman would stand up to that.

To  my left a student in a choked voice said I am afraid, have you heard what he has said about GLBT?  He said he will use shock treatment on all of them, do you know what that means?  Conversion therapy?    She looked truly frightened.  A young person that I was not surprised at all to hear this from, sometimes you just know.  She said – “you know, my hair is short he may think….”   I looked at her and promised he would not get away with hurting anyone like that, don’t worry – it will be okay.

As I said that I thought of the program my own religion has “Courage” for those with same sex attraction, to help them be celibate.  En-courage for family members to assist them with.  She is worried about the president of the United States wanting to use shock therapy to “fix” GLBT,  as I turn away, sadly I think of the church that will not love and accept people for the way they have been born . . .

What Would Jesus Do?

Love & accept.

At home writing this tonight, I think of my own childhood.  Attending Sunday church services (Protestant) with my grandparents.  Little ones were encouraged to learn and memorize bible verses at home during the week (I was no older than five!), on Sunday we’d be invited up in front of the congregation to recite our verse.  If we got it right (and even if we slipped up a bit) we got a life saver.  A nice way to involve families in their education of little ones.

I read and prayed with my own boys.  Admittedly grace at the table was lacking.  My ex-husband and his family made fun of me when I brought it up one time.  My older two are agnostic (though I keep an open conversation going about God).  My youngest attends an Evangelical church and is quite adamant that he will never attend Catholic Church again.

My grandson is two months old.  I talk to him about God and Jesus.  I’ve mentioned the Holy Spirit.  I sing him lullaby’s and I sing songs from my childhood that we sang in church (adults with the kids) and my grandparents and I would sing on car rides or in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up a meal.  Jesus Loves the Little Children ~ Jesus Loves Me, this I know…

I love the kids I teach.  We only have a few more weeks together.  What I posted last night about my religion, The Carpenters Son? Mary’s Son? ~ The Begotten One. (revised)  is true The church places Catechism, tradition, rules before God.  This is why our young people have no relationship with God, yes, their parents should be teaching them at home, but God must come before religious teachings.  It is useless to push teachings on people who have not yet even learned who God really is and that He is in our lives every single second of our lives.  Isn’t it?

God is about relationship. 

He is Love.





The Carpenters Son? Mary’s Son? ~ The Begotten One. (revised)

This mornings gospel reading from the book of Mark was a reminder to me of the differences in how things are interpreted and how those interpretations affect the lives of so many people following church leaders.

The divine office readings that I follow are from a free source that utilizes the Jerusalem Bible.

Here I read:

Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

In my morning email I receive the daily mass readings from the USCCB – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  It can be really interesting to see the difference between the two readings -but today’s are very clear.  They are almost exactly the same.

Mark 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Here in the book of Mark we learn Jesus was indeed a carpenter (and a Rabbi – husband? “Master” refer to previous writings, I will link back here when I have time). Do you see how  Jesus himself managed a working career (carpenter/craftsman) with being a Rabbi?  Most probably also a husband “Master”? 

Jesus was born a human.  This is referenced in scripture.  i.e. Jerusalem Bible (my divine office reading)  Acts 2:32  God raised this man Jesus to life,  Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law – to meet the conditions of the law, everything I have read indicates Jesus was born human.  We really, really have to look at the fact that that throughout the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we are all children of God.  Jesus was the “begotten” – “chosen” one.  This is one of those believable facts that tie into what I have written toward the end of this article.  These biblical facts are what teach people about Jesus, our Father, the Holy Spirit and salvation.  Pure, Simple.  No embellishments needed.  ~ This is how we bring others to God.

You have to be really open to looking at this and that is not easy for many.  We are raised, taught and indoctrinated with certain beliefs.  The Spirit will guide you to see truths.

St. John 14:15-21 The Advocate.

What does Jesus tell us here?

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth,which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 2Judas, not the Iscariot said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him,Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“will keep my word” > The Gospel

Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him > As Christians – we do!

The divine is within all.  Those of us who believe in and love Jesus will find It’s our job to find it, share it – and help it grow.

Reading the notes on the USCCB website for the New American Bible, Revised Edition version of the bible, we learn that this is the only Gospel that refers to Jesus as a carpenter.  Historically speaking it would make sense, He would have learned the trade from His earthly father Joseph.

“”* [6:3] Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have “the carpenter’s son,” as in Mt 13:55.”” (Footnote Mark 6:3)

If we compare this verse from St. Mark 6:3

“”Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.””

        …  to the same story in St. Mathew 13:55

St. Mathew 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

It seems to me that both verses state Jesus is a carpenter, St. Mark refers to Him as the son of Mary (a possible nod to Him being the son of God…?) but… in St. Mathew it is written as “the carpenter’s son” (Joseph), occupations handed down through generations.

Do we also learn that He had siblings?

Reading the notes on the USCCB website, further on we read;

“” The brother of James…Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v. 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5.   The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.“”

Researching the topic of Mary’s lifelong virginity (not something I grew up hearing as a Protestant, not something most Catholics I have spoken to know of – or believe) this was not a teaching early on but something written about over the years. 

*Note: some may not approve of my terminology i.e. “made love” but I feel it is important to drive home the teachings of marriage, love and family life.  I could say consummate, I could say intercourse – but a married couple?  Blessed by God? Make love.

There are stories written that are not biblical.  I have not put a lot of thought into why anyone felt Mary – a married woman would have to remain a virgin for life.  She was married – making love is a natural part of family life.  A gift from God.  If Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage (legally would have had to – no?) would that not make them more of an attainable role model for families?  He was the step-father of Jesus, why would they not have more children?  Why  would they not partake in marital love making?  Actually, isn’t that required in a sacramental marriage, as well as no contraception – but openness to receiving more children?

Perhaps those Catholics educated in a Catholic school system, indoctrinated (“teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically“) ?  know, and believe in her perpetual virginity.

I can’t say whether they believe it or not.  Considering my limited research on the belief of the Eucharist (now an article) being the body and blood of Jesus,  I am going to hazard a most (American Catholics) don’t believe it.

Why is important? 

Why am I daring discuss this? 

This is part of my view from the bottom up.  It is what I see, what I know and what I feel. 

People walk away from what they do not believe

The church has grown so complex people cannot even follow along.  Like an old fashioned game of “Operator” or “Telephone”.  That is not necessary.  That is very much is not in tune with the teachings of Jesus, is it?

Looking at things like this is important when one considers the decline in the Roman Catholic church and I believe Christianity as a whole. 

In this day and age, as I have previously noted people are able to read more easily, research, study and discern.

When we have the simplicity, the purity of the Holy Gospel and even the readings I have studied so far (a lot more to go) of St. Paul –  there are those that challenge the life of Jesus Christ.  That number multiples now, most especially among young adults and our youth because so much of what the church teaches takes those simple, pure – beautiful teachings and embellishes upon them. 

There was no need to all of the additional stories or sightings or personal visitations.  Why would there be?  We have been taught all we need to know in the bible.  Simple.  Pure.  Believable.

I have brought up in the past that Mother Mary’s parents – Sts Anne and Joaquin are not biblical.  They are not.  They are referred to as “Catholic legend” on the Catholics online website.  References are given to them being brought up in unauthenticated writings. 

There again is not reason to even hear of them but to further add ? credence to Mother Mary’s virtue because Catholic teaching teaches that Mary too was born of immaculate conception – meaning Mary was conceived and born to a virgin St. Anne.  That is the “Immaculate Conception” that was made dogma in the Roman Catholic church in 1854.  1854.  Yes.  Not all that long ago

Most Catholics I have spoken to think the Immaculate Conception was when Jesus was conceived.  Interesting, is it not – that Mary is still held in high esteem, requiring no additional story or background. 

Many Catholics believe Mary made love to her husband Joseph after the birth of Jesus.  His siblings are mentioned in the bible.  It seems many don’t know or believe an immaculate conception was necessary for her to be held in high esteem as the Mother of Jesus.

I was a Catholic for many years before I myself heard these teachings of Mary.  Many people today pray to Mary, though it is clearly written in the bible that Jesus Christ is the only intercessor with our Father.  Doesn’t that put a bit of a wedge between children of God and their father?  Why?  He is always with us – why try to hide that fact?  We do not need anyone to intervene for us.  He is our loving Father and He has time for each and every one of us.  He is Life.

If one steps back and looks at this – is it really that hard to see why people in this millennium walk away, no longer believing the teachings of the church?  To many, these teachings seem far fetched.  Over complicated.

 The teachings of Jesus –  simple, pure gospel of Jesus.

St John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, Whoever loves me will keep my word,

Here too, in this reading (both versions) Jesus is referring to His own house/home.  Something too often contested in the church – but Biblically correct.

Less is more.  Isn’t it? 

I understand it may be easy to look at what I have said and “write it off”.  You can’t.  Not really.  Not when it comes to being a true disciple of Jesus. 

One must seriously examine why people are leaving the church, many going to other Christian churches (maybe they are right?), though we know Christianity as a whole is shrinking.

Many are leaving religion all together. 

How many – are completely walking away from Jesus and our Father?

This isn’t just about good seeds or bad seeds – this is about replanting and fertilizer. 

Looking at things carefully is prudent and looking at ways to approach some of these things, openly has the possibility to retain, and draw children of God – to Him.

Santa Claus is a legend.  It seems even on Catholic websites there are teachings (more than one) that slips into that category.  Is this fixable?  Without saying “it’s a mystery” which is how my children were answered – as millions have been, when questioning teachings.

I don’t believe in a defeatist attitude, that is not godly.  However, many things need to start changing and they need to start changing today in order to save the church – and grow Christianity. This is about God.  Not ego’s, not Catholicism per say.  This is about the teachings of Jesus Christ – the reason we Christians, are Christian.  Standing back and looking at things, I can begin to see why other Christian denominations state – emphatically, that Catholics are not Christian.  We need brave clergy, Bishops to stand up and make changes.  I am not so sure a basically elderly, celibate clergy is going to emotionally and spiritually deal with the changes that need to be made in order to really stabilize and grow the church.  Painful words, with loving intention.  It is asking a tremendous amount from  men who have given up life that God never intended them to give up. It is in life experiences that we experience God.   It requires them to begin to live life in a new way, new eyes, new growing hearts, expanding souls – and living, earning real life experience.  It is asking a lot.

God first.  Always.  Living the Gospel.




One simple word that can evoke a wide range of emotions, for both the “offender” and the “forgiver”.

Christians know we are required by God to forgive, or face God in our inability to extend forgiveness. (continued below)

From the Gospel reading:

Matthew 18:21-35

“Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.”
– Then Jesus told this Parable;

” ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’”

We all have times in which we find it difficult to forgive. What child wants to say “okay, I forgive you for breaking my favorite toy?” Right. Or, how about the husband to the wife “oh, geez, ummm you threw away my favorite sweat-shirt because it had a tear in the hem?” Yup. Those are the easy ones too, aren’t they?

What about the big things? The ones that tear you to your soul, leaving your heart wide open, bleeding? There are so many things that hurt us this way, a drunk driver causing a car accident that paralyzes your mother, backing into the driveway and accidentally running over napping Fido, who is old and deaf.  Spoken words that cut like a knife and wound your soul.

We all have things.

Every one of us.

They leave deep scars.

My own range from having a mother who didn’t want me, who had no trouble telling someone, with me just a few feet away that “I would have aborted her if it was legal”, she was emotionally detached from at least two of her three children. – My ex-husband who abused me emotionally, mentally and physically for many years, leaving scars both literal and figurative. What do you do with that?

Forgive. Jesus tells us to Forgive. My mother, was easiest. I cannot relate to her in any way shape or form. I pity her for the upbringing she had, her inability to bond or grasp what love is. I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, because there are times that it does hurt but – I have forgiven. I also have no contact with her any longer. Sometimes that decision must be made and my choice was very well thought out, including with the help of professionals. I’ve done my work.

My ex-husband? Not so much. Forgive him? What – are you kidding? I couldn’t even stand to realize the hell I had lived in for so long that I allowed myself and my kids to do (oh…. good timing here, forgiveness of self! – we cannot forget that). Well, I did learn to forgive him and it remains the most difficult act of forgiving that I have ever done. I prayed about it for quite a while (I mean months, maybe even a year or two). One day, someone suggested rather than pray how to forgive him, to pray for him. What a concept!

I did. I prayed for him. I wasn’t happy about that idea at all, why should I do something “good” for him anyway? At this point I was still terrified that he would find me one night and kill me, “stab you to death while laughing staring into your eyes, as I watched the life fade from them” (oh yes, he said that and a good deal of other things).

My love for Jesus Christ called me to forgive him, to pray for him, so I forced myself to overlook my self centered dislike, fright – and pray for him. He is the father of my sons and they to date are the biggest gift God has graced me with. I prayed. I cried and I prayed. I prayed – and one day, I smiled because I was able to let go and forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean you say the words to someone. In fact, I doubt I ever would even have to opportunity to do this with my mother or my ex-husband. In my heart and soul though, I forgive them. I feel sorry for them. They were both incapable of loving me as I should have been loved. In the ways most daughters are loved by their mothers and wives are loved and treasured by their husbands, people who love and protect them at all cost.

I never had fear of God’s wrath if I did not forgive these two people because my love for Him knew He understands my heart and how I was treated. In time my heart began to heal, it had to or I would allow those terrible emotions to follow me and into my own relationships for the rest of my life.

One thing I do know about myself. I am an awesome mom. I love my boys to the moon and back. I’ve loved other kids too, that’s what moms like me do. My kids love me very much, they come to me for an ear to listen, advice, love (to give and receive) and … they bring others to me. Always have. Always will. One day, by the grace of God, I may also have that loving relationship in my life, which I could not have, if I had not learned to forgive. My heart would have hardened and become bitter.

If there is someone who is or has been in your life that you need to forgive, pray for them. In time, you will be able to forgive – and – you will heal ♥ By the Grace of God.

Originally published 2016

A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion


I really enjoy this portrayal of Jesus. Just a regular guy. A man of flesh and blood. He was born in a time long, long ago to loving parents here on earth, that nurtured and raised Him into the man who Loved God with all of His heart and Soul. Who was chosen by our Lord, God to save literally billions of human beings from themselves.

Jesus at the age of twelve, in Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary for the Passover festival, as an adolescent traveling with a large group was not missed for two or three days, when His parents realized Jesus was missing from the group they returned to Jerusalem. He stayed behind to be found in the temple studying with teachers.

Luke 2: 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*

Our Lord, God brought Jesus to us.  With Him, a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Jesus – brought our Loving Heavenly Father to us, and through Our Father we are  gifted with  the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you can take a few minutes to visualize what the life of Jesus may have been like, the parts we don’t read about. Regardless of your relationship status, you can relate. A young man? An older gentleman? Woman, teenage girl. Wife, grandparent, husband, single person. We all know children, young men, teenagers – men. Jesus was human. What was His unwritten/unseen life like? These details of His life on earth don’t seem necessary to His overall mission, which is in essence, to bring peace and goodness to the world, to bring others to our Heavenly Father. I think though, it is critical to realize Jesus was a man. His lessons are those we can all live by.

This may sound like an oversimplification, and religiously speaking, it really is, but that is the synopsis or perhaps Spark-note version.

I readily admit, I am reading, studying and learning more about the Holy Bible and Catholic teachings which do conflict (at times). I suppose that’s where the “Cafeteria Catholic” comes in. I read other (Catholic) religious and spiritual writings and I encourage everyone to take some time doing the same. Just as living through life physically is a journey, so must our spiritual self travel to learn and grow.

The following reading is from today’s Divine Office Reading 3/23/16.

Mid-morning reading 1 Timothy 2:4-6
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I do put a lot of thought into what I write. I do practice Lectio Divena. Roman Catholic Priest do act as mediators – which is against God? I had to return to this verse this morning.

His belief in our Lord, God the Father was so strong, He was so deeply filled with the Holy Spirit that He gave His life to bring us to Him. Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: greatestcommandment“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The price he paid for the sin, of billions of humans – was His life. I think, in a way as a mother considering the man child Jesus, the child, teenager, man – Jesus Christ and understanding that He really was just like you or I in human flesh, with wants, needs, desires. He had human relationships, but He was chosen by God; “John 3:1616For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

I will note, this is the first bible verse I memorized as a child. This version “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that he who believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” The background reading I have done on this reading/translation, has deeper meaning and value (to me) today than it did as a child. I have found this translations to mean spiritually more than the Catholic Bible translation, and more than the face value written in this paragraph.

I will reference this link What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son? (not Catholic, but I was researching something from my childhood), which in truth gives a much deeper meaning to the Jesus we all know and hear about. We know He was chosen, but having a better understanding of the original wording/translation puts so much more meaning (and “common sense”) into this phrase. No longer is Jesus, God’s only son, or only a son of God. He is the chosen one, chosen by God, and as we know we are all children of God.

Jesus was God‘s begotten one. His unique human child with Holy Spirit on earth, brought forward for the purpose to bring us to Him. Upon the Crucifixion and resurrection we see the Trinity in full, God the Father, God the Son together in the Holy Spirit.

(4/29/16) In a recent Mass, an elderly Priest was rather upset. He insisted that Jesus WAS God. There are various readings in the bible too that refer to Jesus as human in form on earth prior to the resurrection.

(5/9/17) 1Peter 3:18  “18For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.g”

* [3:18] Suffered: very many ancient manuscripts and versions read “died.” Put to death in the flesh: affirms that Jesus truly died as a human being. Brought to life in the spirit: that is, in the new and transformed existence freed from the limitations and weaknesses of natural human life (cf. 1 Cor 15:45).  NAB (USCCB)

Today (4.29.16) DO Readings include:

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Acts 2:32,36

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.


Does God want us to be happy? On earth?

A portion of a recent daily reading reminded me of some words spoken at Mass this past Sunday. Now I will admit, I don’t remember the exact words – but – they went something like this; “Happiness is not for earth, we are to look to finding our happiness in heaven”. Again, that is not the exact quote, but it is the sentiment that was stated. This is a dangerous statement.  This makes the general population afraid they are bad (sinful) for being happy, wanting to be happy – Catholic Guilt?  Is this being said because it is what our clergy are being taught?

That infamous phrase (this is not only a Catholic issue). Let’s be careful about scaring people away from church and scaring people away from God – and look at some facts

God does want us to be happy human beings right here on earth. When we take the time to read scriptures, we can discern the meaning behind what information St. Paul is passing on to us. This article is based upon scriptures only, not  Catechism teachings.

The below readings are taken from a letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. The Galatians, written to here are said to be recent converts, possibly Celts who had invaded Asia Minor (etc.). They were being woo’d by other missionaries who wanted them to added Jewish laws to (i.e. circumcision) as a means to the salvation of the Cross.

Also, we can reflect upon the words of Jesus here in St. John 14:

The Advocate.

St. John 14: 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

What a gift indeed! The Holy Spirit is generous and gifts us with much.


Mid-morning reading (Terse) Galatians 5:13-14

My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.

Noon reading (Sext) Galatians 5:16-17

Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.

Afternoon reading (None) Galatians 5:22,23,25

What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.


The last verse lists the Fruits of the Spirit. In reading this, in conjunction with above scriptures we can see more clearly how our Father has blessed us!

If we truly believe and keep our overall focus on God – who is goodness and Love, the Holy Spirit within will guide us in His goodness and love. Jesus “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness & Self-control.

Catholic “tradition” lists additional “fruits” that I am not going to list here. The biblical listing above is taken directly from the current version of the (NAB) Bible which the Roman Catholic Church uses here in the United States.

There tends to be a leaning toward denying self of the true gifts given from God, when they become translated in the church. Long after Jesus and St. Paul, and long before today. A balance needs to be found and can be found in honoring the seven fruits of the spirit as listed above.

These gifts are to be used along with honoring the Laws we have been asked to follow;

#1 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength” God First!

#2 “Love your neighbor as yourself” #2 Do not put yourself above anyone.

#3 The Ten Commandants and

#4 The Beatitudes should also be honored.

– In giving of self, we receive.

With this knowledge:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control


Everything listed as a Fruit of the Spirit; emotions, actions, attributes that bring about happiness in our lives right here on earth. Living following the rules and guidelines provided to us as living for in, for and with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – God has provided us with true ways to live to honor He and each other.

You may hear at Sunday service, or from a well meaning person that we’re not to look for happiness here on earth – that happiness is after our earthly life – to be found in the Kingdom of Heaven above. Jesus stated the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Today. We can have both.  What is true that we are told the above gifts will be multiplied in a magnificent way when the time comes that we are called Home to our Lord.

Live ~ Love ~ Laugh With Our Lord

Our loving & Generous Father is pleased when His children are happy living in Him.


published 2016

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

A misstep?

A slippery slope ensues.

So many opinions, theological studies, religious views. Hebrew, Aramaic? I have read Jews at that time understood both languages.

Does it matter?

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?


While I am a person who is often compelled to delve into details, and I would hasten to add I am sure over time this phrase has been interpreted and reinterpreted so many times – who knows the original or exact meaning?

Regardless of your personal standing on the belief of God, I am going to ask you to follow along, view the video, read what I write and perhaps – view the video again. Meditate on it. Consider – Jesus was a man. We too often forget that fact when we speak of Him. Flesh and blood. Human.

Very much a favorite song of mine.

Listening to K-Love Radio on my way to work the other day, I heard a review of a new movie “The Young Messiah” that depicts what the writer feels Jesus may have been like, lived like as a child of seven. While I am in favor of faith based movies, this is not something that interests me.

Biblically, we can read excerpts of the life of Jesus in His birth, age eleven at the temple then nothing again until He is thirty. I believe it is dangerous to put too much mystical credence to His existence in those years we have not heard about. Those years have been untold to us for a reason. I would go so far as to challenge there are probably more documents that have not been, nor ever will be released publicly, on His life. Based on historical / religious facts of that era it is all but certain that Jesus was a married man, a father with children. He was a Rabbi. Truth? These things matter not in the grand scheme of loving our loving God.

Often times, more so in recent months I find myself contemplating Jesus – the man. A man. The Catholic Church celebrates Mary the Mothers parents Sts Joachim and Anne, however there is no historical evidence of them. The church also teaches Mary was born of an Immaculate birth (meaning she was without original sin when she was conceived). This has no bearing on the mission of Jesus Christ.

Most people who hear of the Immaculate Conception think that is Catholic wording for the conception of Jesus Christ. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day with one gal friend and Sunday with another – both Cradle Catholics, both were totally shocked to hear what the Immaculate Conception is. In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. We can agree that as the mother of Jesus, Mary was an important woman – but salvation for Christians is based upon Jesus Christ.

I wonder if Pope Francis has this in mind as he has been pushing the Gospel, encouraging reading the bible, having a tendency to turn focus away from miracles being as they have been presented. I am sure miracles occurred – I have no doubt, but there is a propensity for some Catholics to put focus on visions and pieces of toast that resemble Jesus, perhaps spending more time talking about the toast than the Word. I actually know a married couple who left the church because of that.


The true miracle of Jesus Christ is that his life and death has brought millions / billions of people to God. Jesus Christ is not about “miracles” and “religion” he is about a way of life. Living a good, helpful life of service, with happiness and love. Turning from Sin, because sin is anything that hurts us (or another).

Why does it matter, the words He cried from the cross? Jesus was a man, a human, who was violently beaten and crucified – who died for our sin in order to bring us closer to living a Godly Life, to the arms of our Loving Father.

The true lesson here is the Holy Spirit filled Jesus Christ who returned to our Father. He walks among us today, in our thoughts and actions. If you look, you will see heaven on earth.

As Lent draws to a close, draw yourselves ever near to God. Follow the teachings of Christ, Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Don’t get wrapped up in all the details of when he was conceived, who his parents or grandparents where. Understand this truth – Jesus did not die on the cross for religion. He died to bring us to His (Our) Father. Jesus was a radical in His time, loving all, standing up for those in need. Do you walk in His footsteps? What can you do to be more like Jesus as you walk your path?

It is we, individuals who follow in Christs path to share love of God, service to man (remember the Beatitudes!) that needs to be embraced. Religion is important as it brings us together to worship, live and love and serve God. Our choice of religion should accentuate these beliefs, not detract from the true purpose here – the true purpose being living in one with our Lord, God. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

Consider a world where we can all accept, love and honor each other? Work for the best and good of all? Never intentionally cause harm. Heaven – on Earth.

Love God. God is Love – Love is God.


The Mission of the 12 ~ Spiritual Reflections ~ Luke 9 / Mark 3

Yesterday I updated and republished my article Who thinks they know better than Jesus??? (formerly – Living) I noted the daily Gospel reading of the day day

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Jesus was quoted in the book of Luke 9: The Mission of the Twelve.

“Summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”

Firstly, He said “take nothing for the journey” that doesn’t mean they didn’t leave a home behind. We know the original Apostles of Christ , the men Jesus Christ physically with witness chose, were married men, so they had marriage, marital relationships, children, homes, responsibilities. They were able to manage all – and still go out and spread the Good News.

In fact the Gospel reading for today (1.21) states: Mark 3:20-21 (Jerusalem Bible/DO Universalis)

“Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.”
1Corinthians   St. Paul is clearly stating the original chosen Apostles of Jesus Christ were married. 
9:5 Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

There are many debates on St. Paul’s state of marriage. There are writings aside from the bible that state he was married but left his wife at home so that she would not be in the way of his mission. There are hints that he was widowed, there are statements that due to his religious background, he too must have been married, just not in the portion of life we read about in the bible. He (St. Paul) also spoke of refraining from marriage at a time He thought the return of Christ was imminent. – Additionally, I strongly suggest the phrase St. Paul – very clearly states his statements and ideas are his own and NOT from our Tritarian God. Translations, missing books and – all that…The original 12 – married. There is reasoning behind my discussing this below:

“Is it more important to bring people to church, or to help others find God?” I believe it is the later. Here, in his writings Richard Rohr suggests the same.

He points out what Jesus taught the Apostles going out to spread the word – Christianity is not to be lived in a box – it cannot be. That is not how God designed us! Oh gosh I wish people would hear this. I am not saying this for “all about me”. I am saying this is the truth!

We teach by example as human beings living good lives in God. It is as important to remember the above lesson of not relegating our faith to a church building but to live our faith in life. So many don’t understand why the LDS or Jehovah Witness knock on our doors (I politely turn them away) – they are following teachings. Catholics (and other Christians) hear of wonderful, humble people but – we really don’t know true details to their lives. If we focus on Jesus and the disciples/apostles, do we really need to give credit to hundreds or thousands of others? No. The focus should remain upon the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That means turning our focus on the gospels.

Here, in the Gospels we also learn that Jesus did not always live a nomadic type of life, dependent upon others but he did have his own home, which he taught from. Joseph was a carpenter, the most likely early profession of Jesus.

There are also readings (and common sense) to indicate that Jesus himself had His own house. I believe in keeping Jesus “homeless”, it lends more to him living a single celibate life because no home meant no family. I can’t wrap my head around why it is so imperative for the church to believe his. I have read suggestions that this would lessen His credibility as the Son of God. The truth here is we are all considered to be sons and daughters of God.

In these days and times, accessibility to information we can use the hearts, souls and intelligence God graces us with for further development and that does not mean doing so harms the existence of Jesus, the son of God -as His begotten (chosen) one.

Looking outside of the box can give a wider view of God and His intentions for us. As we are graced with growth, consider how – considering Jesus a little differently might mean even better things for all of Gods children.

The unwritten (or unshared?) books of Jesus, the years we do not read of were the years of a teenage Jesus through an adult man, a Rabbi as we read. A Rabbi in that era would have been married for several years with children. In fact, I have read a Rabbi of that era was not allowed to speak in the Temple if he had not taken a wife. So, we can loosely consider that Jesus was married, the rumblings that the church (or Christians in general) like to squelch would be likely Mary Magdalene would have been married to him. She traveled with Him, was at the foot of the cross when He was crucified and was the first He appeared to upon resurrection. The fact that no children are mentioned means nothing as there may have been and they were too young to have been part of His story (or) the couple was infertile. Marriage does not lessen any credibility of His being the Begotten One. I have previously stated this doesn’t matter in the grand plan, however in this regards it does;

It does go to show our very human Jesus as a man who lived life, experienced it first hand and was able to teach with not only love but compassionate empathy (whereas those with little life experience outside of the box are saddled with mostly with cognitive empathy, where they try to relate, find for negotiations or attempting to steer in a direction but lacking in the true ability to emotionally empathize, which living experience offer us, as God gifted). Taken in full context, perhaps you will have a greater understanding of why some believe Jesus was married. It is not to mar Him in any way, shape or form. It is to show an extension of gifts given by God the Father.

People are assisted with true compassionate empathy but those working with cognitive empathy – tend to have that loud gong thing going on. Note: You cannot gain compassionate empathy by reading and discussing with others who practice cognitive empathy. This is why Jesus knew who really understood and who did not. Blessed are . . . you can’t fake it, you have to live through life to really get it. I intend no hurt in saying this ♥ please trust me in both cases! There are reasons I say these things as well as there are reasons God gave us gifts that no man should convince anyone to take away or live without. Again, how do you turn your back on what only God can give???}

St. Mark 2:13-18 The Call of Levi. 13 Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14 As he passed by,* he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

In this reading Jesus we see Jesus meeting Levi/Mathew and inviting him to join him “follow me” and Levi/Mathew followed him. Next we read While at table in his house … the USCCB translate this to be Levi’s house. The book of St. Mathew 9:9-13 states the same. In the book of St. Luke 5:27-32 we read similar words but here it states that Levi 28And leaving everything behind,he got up and followed him. 29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.” – It is in no way a “reach” here to state they went to the home of Jesus Christ. Levi/Mathew (etc) “followed him” home. It is not a reach in anyway to suggest the tax collector handing off many coins for others to go gather food and wine for a feast. Really. I am not reaching it is the way I read it. Pretty simple and why the big deal?

Jesus opened his home to others to share the word of God and help healing begin. There is nothing outrageous or wrong to suggest this. – And so, I stated that Jesus himself suggest we reach people outside of Temple or Church buildings, outside of a dogmatic religious structure to share the good news.

Jesus was a very wise man of simple truths. Over centuries His teachings have been set aside in many cases for the words of others who came long after He. Who should we look to? A saint or the explicit teachings of Jesus Christ, the *Begotten (*chosen) One?

The truth is there is much to be said for a holy life outside of church wallsaccording to Jesus. Gifts of our father – for a reason. This is my view, subject to change as knowledge may show me something new, but for today there is very much how I see things.


In upcoming days I will be writing an article on why I believe in the rebuilding of the church.  Parishes are shrinking, closing and while it is only too easy to say we will build on what we have and enjoy smaller, Parishes – that is not what we are called to do at Christians. That is a defeatist attitude.  Other Christian churches are growing. 

The church needs to grow emotionally, spiritually, and adapt and realize the need for the church to fully  return to the original teachings of Jesus (simple ways), and return to a married clergy.  Optional, perhaps not a “requirement” but the option for marriage at any stage of life – as this is a God given grace and right to celebrate in Him.

I recently have read the words (in more than one article) quoting a person in a powerful position, who found it funny that a woman would ask for a Priest for her Parish rather than (sic?) to have it closed.  The man said “why it is not my job to provide Priests, I am a celibate – that is for you and your husband to do”.  Bad choice of words, not funny, amusing, kind – or correct.  This sort of thought line drives wedges and is the reason people leave.  Like the 120,000 Priests who have left in the past 60 years.  25,000 here in the United States.  Does that not speak volumes?

There is a lot of thought behind  this, it is quite clearly His biblical teaching.  The foundation of the church is found in it’s disciples, teachers, clergy.  This is why I begin in this area. Rapidly dwindling numbers are revealing of both the teaching of God,  and the understanding and respect of lay persons in His gifts.  
Living in Christ is not about being closed off from the life experiences that God gifts and offers all of His children.  God is not selfish, our Father is a loving, giving God.  Accepting those gifts, experiencing life better enables one to serve and celebrate Him.
Please bear with me while I put these thoughts fully to paper.  I will begin with Michael, the young 21 year old who brought this very topic to my attention three years ago. . .

Ancient teachings are relative today

I The Purpose of Parables and those who understand , I wrote about Jesus speaking in Parables. This was His was of weeding out those with a hardened heart with those of purity of heart – who would hear His word.

I am going to bypass the readings from Mass this morning which in part I have covered already in and refer to scripture in No longer concealed in the tomb . I would like to share, the Roman Catholic Church – Pope Francis has elevated July 22nd the Memorial Day of Saint Mary Magdalena to a Feast Day, which is a very special honor. Reading some articles today I am afraid there are many who will still not accept her position in the life of Jesus and the other Apostles. The role of women in general, and perhaps all laity – well, I see points are being missed and I hope they keep the focus on Jesus where it should be and remain – in time they will get it -the wheels of the church move slowly, I think a very long road lay ahead. We are all “one”, the church makes divisions that Jesus did not.



Who thinks they know better than Jesus??? (formerly – Living)

In my faith journey, I am noticing a trend in some followers of Christ that has a tendency to give me pause.  Things that to me, seem so obvious me – apparently aren’t so obvious to everyone.  We’re all human, learn, see, feel and grow at different rates.  In this updated essay I have chosen to cut out some dialog from my first “printing” in an effort to be more direct and to the point.

After reading the Gospel reading this morning (1.20)

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

 Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

I found myself looking through my older posts that i have been slowly editing and re-posting.  This particular article is mentioned in other articles I wrote so I “dug” this one up and am re-posting after adding/editing.

life-is-out-thereLife is out there! Happy. Sad. Work. Fun. Joy.  Joy in Love.  …Joy In Him.

The day I wrote the last version I had read a piece that contained a lot of information that I knew by my own life experience.  I realized as I wrote that the tone of what was written was not so much for me as for those that have not fully experienced or lived life.  I know when I say “this Is not the life God intended for His children” that I am absolutely speaking the truth.  There is no reason to live in a box (or) think God is in a box.

not in box.jpg

Enough of this living in a box already.  Play in the sun and play in the mud!  You cannot really teach life (God) experiences when you stay in a box that forbids you from experiencing life, Jesus does not put us in a box!!!

I have mulled this essay over and rereading it I remember this particular Sunday; at mass a monthly homilist made a blunder that still has me saying “yeah right?!?”  

 “may    they    love”.  ~ Was it a blunder, or was the Holy Spirit stirring up some inspiration???

There is a well-known Franciscan Priest (Richard Rohr) who both clergy (from all denominations) as well as laymen read.  I have heard him referred to as a spiritual master and I believe he is, though my opinion  may not always jive with his, – I realize we are individuals so our experiences and even gender may play into that.  The truth is there is much to learn from him.

On the particular morning that I first wrote this, among my other email subscriptions I found an article by the Franciscan Priest I mention above.  My frustration was because so much of what is said seems so obvious to me.  Maybe it is the spiritual female me that easily grasps what the male, theologian, Roman Catholic finds eluding?  Something perhaps for me to contemplate.  We are wired differently so our thought process as well as life experience do come into play.

Below I am placing a copy / past the entirety with credits given:  I have changed font to blue on portions that stand out to me.  I have written in bold blue, my own comments.

5/15/16 –  Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Initiation                                                                    Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP). CAC archives.

Yours Life Is Not about You

{True, not all get this – but? Parents do, many people do}

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One reason we Christians have misunderstood many of Jesus’ teachings is that we have not seen Jesus’ way of education as that of a spiritual master. He wants to situate us in a larger life, which he calls the “Reign of God.” But instead we make him into a Scholastic philosopher if we are Roman Catholic, into a moralist if we are mainline Protestant, or into a successful and imperialistic American if we are Evangelical. Yet the initiatory thrust of Jesus’ words is hidden in plain sight. {Who made this so complicated?  I have understood who Jesus was. I did not realize it was that difficult to see?}

Study, for example, his instructions to the twelve disciples, when he sent them into society in a very vulnerable way (no shoes or wallet, like sheep among wolves). How did we miss this? Note that it was not an intellectual message as much as it was an “urban plunge,” a high-risk experience where something new and good could happen. It was designed to change the disciples much more than it was meant for them to change others! (See Matthew 10:1-33 or Luke 10:1-24.) Today we call it a reverse mission, where we ourselves are changed and helped by those whom we think we are serving. {Truly – LIVING-  life !!!}

When read in light of classic initiation patterns, Jesus’ intentions are very clear. He wanted his disciples–then and now–to experience the value of vulnerability. Jesus invites us to a life without baggage so we can learn how to accept others and their culture. Instead, we carry along our own country’s assumptions masquerading as “the good news.” He did not teach us to hang up a shingle to get people to attend our services. He taught us exactly the opposite: We should stay (live in our) in their homes and eat their (our) food! This is a very strong anti-institutional model.

Yes, indeed.  Chosen by Jesus Himself, Apostle, Rock – Foundation of the church – right!?!

Peter;  Husband, Child, Son In-law, Parent, Friend and Disciple of Jesus? 

First Pope of the Roman Catholic Church?

 He {Jesus/God} knew what LIVING life was and Jesus chose him}. 

The original 12 Apostles chosen (with witness) by Jesus Christ were all married with families and lives that they were able to maintain.  They succeeded at this along with being (chosen) founding leaders of the church. 

Jesus Christ, God the Father nor the Holy Spirit ever stated one should forgo living and experiencing a full life in order to serve.  Men experienced with living life were chosen. 

How did this ever become so mixed up? 

Who thinks they know better than Jesus???

 He {Jesus} knew what LIVING life was and Jesus chose him}. 

One can only imagine how different history would have been had we provided this initiatory training for our missionaries. We might have borne a message of cosmic sympathy instead of imperialism, providing humble reconciliation instead of religious wars and the murdering of “heretics,” Jews, “pagans,” and native peoples in the name of Jesus. Amen!!!

When we could not make clear dogma, moral code, or a practical war economy out of Jesus’ teaching, we simply abandoned it in any meaningful sense. His training of novices has had little or no effect on church style or membership, by and large. When one throws out initiatory training, the whole latter program and plan of life is left without foundation or containment. Now we seek a prize of later salvation {I believe our heaven can, in the very least, begin this celebration on earth with Jesus when lived properly!!!}instead of the freedom of present simplicity. I am told that the Sermon on the Mount–the essence of Jesus’ teaching–is the least quoted in official Catholic Church documents.

However, there were always people like Francis of Assisi, Simone Weil, Menno Simons, Peter Waldo, George Fox, Catherine of Genoa, Peter Maurin, Mother Teresa, and Dorothy Day who made Jesus’ Gospel their life map. They knew that lifestyle was more important than theories, intellectual belief systems, or abstruse theology. Once you know that your life is not about you, then you can also trust that your life is your message. This gives you an amazing confidence about your own small life--precisely because it is no longer a small life, it is no longer just yours, and it is not all in your head. Henceforth, you do not try to think yourself into a new way of living, but you first live in a new way, from a new vantage point–and your thinking changes by itself.

“I live no longer, not I,” Paul shouted with his one daring life (Galatians 2:20). And this one-man show turned a Jewish sect into a worldwide religion. Paul allowed his small life to be used by the Great Life, and that is finally all that matters. Your life is not about you. It is about God and about allowing Life and Death to “be done unto me,” which is Mary’s prayer at the beginning of her journey and Jesus’ prayer at the end of his.

Gateway to Silence

From death to life

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 62-64, 66.

Jesus taught us how to live.  He taught us, as humans that we make mistakes, we fail but we can overcome failures and thrive.  We can love God with all of our hearts and He taught us all of the gifts our Father has given to us.  Live life thoughtfully, carefully in His name.  Follow His teachings first and foremost.

A very real truth in realizing that life is not;

all about you, then you can also trust that your life is your message.  This gives you and amazing confidence about your own small life – precisely because it is no longer a small life, it is no longer just yours, and it is not all in your head” henceforth, you do not try to think yourself into a new way of living, but you first live in a new way, from a new vantage point – and your thinking changes by itself.” 

This may be understood in living the life that God really did intend for us, that Jesus asks of us.  This  means experiencing and living a full life in a way that serves Our Father but also others here on earth.  There is a very real truth in realizing our “small life” will touch others and help them grow in both their everyday life experiences which too often is overlooked in religious teachings, and – in spiritual growth to our loving Father. 

This is why Jesus never imposed rules and laws upon us that would lessen our lives experience and/or gifts from God the Father.  When we live in them, celebrate our lives we are celebrating and honoring God.  When we celebrate our lives and God, we share His love and way of life with others which makes that “small life” one that is not about ourselves. 

Gods gifts, the crucifixion of Jesus, and His resurrection for the forgiveness of sin and to bring a new way of life – for  living, as we walk through our lives – with our eyes on God the Father.  Spending time with the Holy Spirit you may see these truths, you may celebrate these truths.  Living in this way is not selfish, it is about becoming truly selfless.

Live.  Donate clean socks to a homeless shelter, volunteer at a local food bank, offer to take a single parents kids on a day trip with your family (and cover the expenses – they won’t forget!), brings meals to someone recovering from surgery or who has brought home a new baby, donate extra building materials to Habitat for Humanity (and your time too?), offer to bring someone in recovery to meetings or a methadone clinic (transportation is a huge issue for many in recovery!), hold up traffic and let people out onto a busy road, donate your time and experience in any way that you can. Share God with others.  Invite singles to holidays in your home.  Invite lonely persons to holidays in your home.  Take an elder to lunch or shopping for that new blouse.

But. . .

Remember to  experience & celebrate the other very real life gifts God has given us

 so many neglect to notice or for reasons that Jesus did not teach,

refrain from celebrating. . ..

Play in the puddles,

gaze at your snoring spouse,

laugh at the muddy puppy foot prints,

eat ice cream for breakfast on your birthday,

snuggle a baby after they’ve spit up on you

. . . Kiss in the rain. 

Live Life.

In living, we teach God’s love

Accept – and – thank God for these gifts with love

*Note:  I wrote the original version of this many months ago.  This evening as I was editing, it really struck me that we are as Christians to directly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.Who thinks they know better than Jesus???

God gave us live – to live.


Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Four ~ Waiting For Marriage – Really?

I chose in my last essay, to write about the potential negative issue that come up for many, many people, who have been brought up in a religion that teaches by fire and brimstone. This does not mean that I believe for one minute that we should not be talking about relationships, virginity and purity of heart and soul (new one?) when we are; raising our kids, teaching young people and as adults having conversations.

Christians (Catholics anyway, perhaps because of church rules…) are often afraid to talk about sexual intimacy – yet it is all over the television, movies, novels, and – right in front of our faces, be it friends (or self < not me>) with revolving bedroom doors. . . . So why not talk about it? Right. That is what I am doing.

The article I read written by Catholic clergy (assuming this) for the clergy (for a fact) did bring up strong valid points. I did begin writing this the other day and found actual quotes I had included in part of what I am writing here.

What did bother me about this article was the author stated but suffice it to say that sex is a valuable thing that should not be squandered or used trivially; any more than one should use champagne for cleaning floors.” ~ and this, this is a problem with the Roman Catholic Church. You cannot refer to sex as a thing and somehow, for me at least something gets lost in translation when compared to champagne and moping floors.

Sex is not a “valuable thing“. Making love to your spouse is an aspect of marriage to be treasured. When one begins to speak in such a way, it shows honor to a committed marital relationship and then you have a positive example to compare to a more negative connotation of living in sin, multiple sexual partners, not valuing your body, your heart, mind and soul enough to wait to share with a future spouse.


Despite my own experiences as a young woman, married and divorced, I do hold the idea of respecting my own sexuality. The fact is that this is something I really only want to share with one special person. I don’t want to be leered at, mauled on a date or expected to “put out” because someone buys me dinner. I do believe in having an emotionally and physically healthy sexual relationship with a spouse.


There is really is much to be gained in waiting until marriage to express your love physically. Haven’t we all heard about bonding hormones and how they are released during physical intimacy? I’d rather know I love a man completely for who he is inside and out before I let hormones play tricks on me. I value me. I value another person also. As a mature woman, raped as a young girl, who is divorced with children what do I have to offer (no virginity)?

Through my Faith, Hope & Love with God, I have learned to love myself and have a close relationship with God. The Holy Spirit resides within, I can offer Purity of Heart & Soul, which in truth is oh so very much more valuable than what I lost one night so many years ago. Realizing this helped heal my heart and soul.

We need to be able to teach this in some way, along with the value of virginity to young people.

How are we raising our kids? Well, in honesty I do have my first grandchild on the way and my son is not married to the young lady. This is a really complicated situation that requires both privacy and care for both of them. He knows I did not raise him this way, he knows better. I have trust in God in their particular situation. I see how things played out, now as a mom it’s my job to do the best I can to emotionally support the new young family.

Raising our kids to be moral young people is what we need to be doing, or continue doing. Especially those of us who identify as Christians. Our body is the temple of God. Right?! We need to set good, strong examples for the young people and others in our lives. We need to be able to show others by example that having a sexually responsible, moral (marriage) relationship is a good experience, and that it offers an intimacy that cannot be found outside of marriage, dating through a revolving door. God values us, we need to value ourselves, help others value themselves (and I don’t mean only as a sexual being – build people up, help them have healthy & strong self esteem).

So, how about it? How involved are you really with raising morally -sexual aware kids? Ones that do value waiting until marriage? Are you the dad that bumps elbows and says “way to go bud?” The older sister who says “you need a push up bra and more makeup?”. Are we teaching our kids to both dress, look and act respectful of self and others?


Are we allowing them to have the opinion that their bodies are not a temple of God and they can (and should) be enjoying physical relationships years before they are mentally or emotionally (and in many cases physically) mature enough to settle down and really value what sex is really supposed to be all about, as a gift from God – making love?

Warning/Perhaps skip this paragraph... Is it time to rethink what we’re doing, remember to put our kids first (parents with revolving bedroom doors, we all know them), offering birth control upon first menstruation (I have heard of this) or an adult toy for a thirteen year old (heard of this too). The rating on the video game matters (prostitutes on Grand Theft Auto), movies, music (tons of premarital sex).

Talk to your kids. Talk to the young people in your life. Teach both boys and girls how to dress modestly (it doesn’t mean without style!). Teach them to respect their own bodies and to respect others. Teach them as the church does, sexual relationships outside of marriage is walking a slippery slop, considered sinful and why is that? Because it can cause (emotional!!!) harm to another. We should be having and continuing to have these conversations with kids, and – other singles (not only Christians). Help people have healthy, loving relationships.

  Remember too . . .
Purity of heart and mind belongs IN marriage


Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Three ~ Negative Consequences paid for Misplaced Value


The negative emotional consequences for young women who plan on saving themselves for marriage, and have that taken from them – in my case and others mentioned (or) that very beautiful gift – paraded about all but on a sign – stealing part of her own being away from her, can be devastating.

Purity Ball ~ A formal Father Daughter dance in which the girls promise they will remain virgins until married.

I was raised to be a young lady. I wore dresses straight through most of middle school, was taught that men would open doors, pull out chairs, and drop me off by the door – especially in inclement weather. Because I was a girl. I wasn’t allowed to go to the barns or race track (dad was an owner/trainer/driver of harness horses) because young ladies did not belong there. If we went out to dinner I liked to pay the bill for daddy, if the cash register was out of sight or in the bar – dad was literally right behind me. When I was old enough for “the talk” about “men-stu-a-tion” (does anyone else remember those film strips? Aging myself I know), there was a little talk at home about this being part of the bodies process to make a girl ready to have a baby, but that was for marriage. That was for someone special. No real details from mom. At some point I learned she had her first son when she was fifteen and her wish for me to remain a virgin and pure until I met the love of my life and married. Virginity was a gift from God, God wanted me to wait until I got married and that gift was for my husband. Where I went, who I was with was mostly monitored closely.

I had no intention of having sex before I was married. I wanted to wait to share that mystery with my future husband. I was taught to dress modestly, act like a young lady and respect my body. I shared in my essay on Abortion Perspective of a Pro-Life Mom, that at the age of seventeen (just be high school graduation!) I was raped by the older cousin of my then boyfriend. I also shared that I did not share this with any adults.

My best friend and I were also in a car accident shortly after this happened, bruises that were seen were attributed to that. Because this was so close to graduation I have a photo or two that shows a black eye, it does not show the bruised inner thighs (no shorts for weeks) from my rape. I prized my virginity and – I think that was a good thing “but” after being raped . . . I was devastated. My virginity was such a large part of my identity that I was shattered and broken. I felt shattered and broken. I spiraled down – terribly. Eventually – marrying a man who would abuse me emotionally, spiritually and physically over twenty years.

Talking to one of my best friends, who incidentally is also the gal who also had a mother who told her she wished she had aborted her, also lost her virginity to rape. A co-worker who drove her home after a company party. She too said no, No, NO.

Statistics show varying numbers. Having conversations with woman and young women my sons have dated, sexual violence and rape is happening to a larger number of the population than we will ever know.

Why? Like domestic violence, we are ashamed. Somehow, we think it is our fault. We were not “good enough”.

I remember reading an article last year, when I was still on Facebook I even shared it. It was the story of a young woman who had partaken in a vow of purity with her father. Promising to remain a virgin until marriage.

Setting her up for failure? Stats on sexual abuse and rape mixed with might have set her up to crash. Be sure to use the right words and teach the correct lessons. Don‘t expect a child to take a purity vow to their father. Raise healthy kids.

She shared how this defined her. She was used as a role model. Everyone knew she was a virgin. Her wedding night, after making love with her husband for the first time, losing her virginity – included her spending the following two hours curled in a ball crying inconsolably in the bathroom – instead of snuggled closely to the love of her life. She felt shame. She felt like everyone knew she was a virgin, now she no longer was.

In her mind everyone was going to stare at her when they next saw her because she was no longer a virgin. The truth was, people would now simply look at her as a married woman. What was inside her mind was something else. She suffered terribly for two years before opening up to her husband, who then went into therapy with her.

At the end of the article we learned she was doing well, her marriage that was close to being torn apart over her secret fears and imaginary inadequacies, was closer than they imagine possible and they were enjoying a very healthy physical and emotional relationship.

I have spoken to numerous other women over the years. There have been a number who suffered date rape, molestation, by male family members (one impregnated by her father), adult family friends. I also have knowledge of someone who’s parent prostituted her for a Heroin fix.

Considering the devastation loosing ones’ virginity or having your body violated by a man is, something really has to be considered in these days when we are to have compassion, understanding and love for everyone. We don’t all stand up and wave a flag and say “help me, I was raped, I am broken inside”. Many, many do not.

In my own experience – well, it took decades for me to realize the damage that was done not only to my body -but to my heart, my soul, my spirit that night. The fallout was severe. It is for so many of us. Beware of making judgements on the behavior of young ladies, or young men (as they are raped too).

s-l1000True love waits.  I believe it does.  However, that love may or may not be a virgin.  Remember to honor and respect each other.  Value Purity of Heart.  Jesus did.

Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Two ~ Talking to Eighth Graders about dating

Over the past three years I have been teaching Eighth and Ninth Grade Faith Formation, last year I took off, this year I am back at it teaching one class in each of those two grades. Great kids, great age. What I realized that I was teaching Catechism, but the kids didn’t know Jesus. They didn’t really pray outside of rote prayer, and they did not really think about having a personal relationship with God. You could say I went kind of rogue. The Catechism book I was given to work with was less than adequate. After the second session or so I all but threw it away. Why? Because I was not about to talk to kids about the bible readings in Leviticus “drunken debauchery and orgies”. Talk about keeping ones innocence… Oh dear Lord – whoever put that book together needs to have their head examined. Once again, I digress.

*Note:  This year there is a really good new book to teach from.

Regarding the first book I worked with, I did tell my director I wasn’t dealing with that book (why), and – what is the main point we are to learn this year? Apostles Creed. Fine, no worries. I have this. We worked on the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning line by line. I also bought each child a wooden rosary, because I found the scriptural reference for them. We worked on that each week, learning about the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You could say, I made Mary’s Rosary more about her son, and God the Father than most consider. It worked, they learned.

We also talked each week about various aspects of Mass, prayers, we discussed personal prayer time with God every week – which was really encouraging. We also spoke of other matters in their every day life and how Christians live.

When formal dances came up and discussion on who their dates where, things became interesting. One girl, 13 was dating a very popular boy – age 13. They had been going steady for a full year and they were also allowed to be home alone together. No chaperones. What are their parents thinking? Oh – wait. . . We know they aren’t right? Other kids were saying “nope, no way I don’t wait a boyfriend or girlfriend” and there were a few (both classes) that felt left out because they didn’t have an actual “data” for their formal dinner dance.

I tossed out a question to them, the same I used with my own sons and their friends while they were growing up. “Do you know what the purpose of dating is?” There were more looks of wide eyed wonder than giggles, blushing or downcast glances.

Because everyone does it!

For fun!

To be Popular!!!

Nope! That’s not it. (me)

Well . . . what’s the answer then? (confused looks around the classroom).

Well, we probably shouldn’t want to do anything simply because everyone else is doing it – right? Everyone jumps off a cliff, are you going right behind them? :heads shaking, no:

And… Aren’t there a lot of fun things you can do with your friends, girls with girls, guys with guys – or a group? :heads shaking, yes:

Okay, and while I get the idea that “popular is good”, do we really need to date at this age to be “popular”, don’t you want to be liked for who you are? :thoughtful heads shaking yes”.

~ Okay, okay – but what is dating for then?

Dating or courtship is a time that you spend getting to know a man or woman to discern if they are the type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with – in marriage. When you are old enough to consider marriage, then you spend time learning about what you are looking for in a marriage partner, who you want to spend the rest of your life with. For you kids, when your older – what you should be looking for is another Catholic or Christian who will attend church with you every week. You look for a good person who will celebrate your life together with God, raise your family together – in God.

The kids were actually relieved to hear that dating was something adult. They really didn’t have to worry about a date for an eighth grade dinner dance. We talked some more and reaffirmed their need to enjoy time on their own, growing up, growing in their relationship with God and others and they could wait to worry about dating (and kissing ,because yeah that came up with giggles in the back) until they were older.

I encouraged both classes to speak to their parents about these things, almost every one of them said their parents didn’t have time or wouldn’t bother. I told them to give it a try anyway I was sure their parents would love to speak to them about life events like this.

The truth is, a lot of parents don’t talk. They are either uncomfortable, embarrassed or just too busy to consider the consequences of not spending time helping their children in developing a well rounded moral view of their mind, body and souls.

Added challenges are the loose values in society today, many of which have been loose (but unspoken of) all along. If we want to raise good kids, that means we spend an awful lot of time focused on them. Monitoring what they’re watching on TV (and TV does get worse all the time, really it does). People laugh when they hear I did not allow the oldest two to watch Rugrats before youngest was much older because I didn’t want him to pick up back habits (that Angelica was a rude one). Books, friends, video games. It takes a lot of time and effort.

This also means taking the time to talk to our kids about love, sex and marriage. Of the two classes of eighth graders that I had, only one was from a broken family. What these privileged (to have long Christian marriages) are overlooking is that the peers of their children are not being brought up the same way, they are from broken homes, mom or dad may have a revolving bedroom door ( I was a rarity in not having one, single after my divorce ).

Who is stopping to talk to these kids about virginity or remaining pure for marriage, their special love? ? ?

*Note: Said dinner dance did have strict rules on heel height and modesty in dress, a rarity in public schools today.


Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part One ~ Her name was Maria

In recent days I have come across a variety of writings in regards to sexual abuse of females (abused males should be included in this). A few months back, while reading the “about today” section of the Divine Office, I read part of a very tragic story of a young girl, only eleven who was brutally murdered for “saying no”. There were other writings in this article too, combined with the other writings I have recently come across that have led me to the topic of “sexual morality”. It is an important topic that really is overlooked in so many ways now. This will be the first of … in essays. Lively conversation is appreciated, crude or rude will be deleted.

The story of the little girl (because eleven is still a little girl to me), caused me concern because she is now a saint. Saint Maria Goretti. There is much to be found of her tragic life and death on the internet. Her story was originally used to propagate saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. We know today that is a false view and we do what me must to survive. Our lives are far more important to God (and ourselves!) than our virginity.

In the research I have done over the past few days, it is clear Maria was from an extremely poor farming family. Her father died, she being the oldest girl at eleven was left home to cook, clean and care for siblings (I have read she was also babysitting for a neighbor’s infant the day she so tragically died). I don’t really want to go into all of the details that I have read, as I have suggested spending some time surfing, you will find a lot of information, much contrary.

The most consistent information I found is though she was only eleven, the church for at least a while, referred to her as a young woman. She is said to have shunned the advances of the “landlords” 20 year old son. I have also read things to indicate he had learning issues, etc. Considering a girl of eleven in those days had not yet begun her first menstrual cycle, was too young to be married and he was almost twice her age, it does seem to indicate he had issues. . .

Maria was stabbed over 14 times (number varies with article), in her throat, lungs, heart, abdomen, severely enough that her organs were protruding. The amount of conversation the child, who was found unconscious is said have held in some readings is simply unrealistic. Her surgery was performed with no anesthesia, and at one point she is said to have awoken for a short time. I would assume the loss of so much blood and pain would have her unconscious even without medication. She is said to have forgiven her murderer, after being prompted by a Priest, just before she died.

So much of her tragic life and death seems to have been embellished upon. Maria did not go to school, rarely went to mass, and had items placed in her hands as she died. She was not buried. Her remains lay within a statue that some confuse to be her actual remains, in a glass coffin under an altar. That so bothers me. I understand it to be Catholic tradition but … let the child go. I know. I am a “bad” catholic for saying this I suppose. She was but a child of such tragic circumstance.

At the time she was canonized, as I stated before, propagated saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. The church does not teach this now. My concern is knowing, so many countries hold Saints in a higher esteem than here in the United States. I know it concerns me that young girls in some far off mission are being taught improperly on how valuable their virginity, their purity is to God (and man).

The Catholic church has defined and changed the meaning of Saints from the original intention in the bible.  Saints are God’s Holy people, living humans in the bible.  Follows of Jesus, children of God. 

While we absolutely need good role models, the list of 10,000 plus saints and the background and true life stories of many give one pause.  Often while reading through the saint area of the Divine Office it is noted that not much is even known about this or that saint – or even correct spelling of their name.Focus should perhaps not be on “saints” but on our Tritarian God and all of His children.


Note: I spent some time debating whether to write about Maria’s story. It is because of her story that I am writing this series. I also believe, in some small way this is a way to pay homage to a child who lived a tragic life, death and … after life. My heart tells me this child deserves to be buried somewhere pretty under a tree, with wild flowers growing nearby. A place she never seemed to have a chance to play, sit with a book or pray.

The remaining portion of the article that I read, which I wish I could quote but because I use the free version and unfortunately did not copy/paste the article… I will have to admit I can’t give exact quotes… The author of said article acknowledge that we may not all pay homage to plaster saints, etc., but what about the value of virginity, purity why is there none in today’s world” <<< This comment holds merit however, I do believe perhaps the lifestyle of the author and unfortunately the readers the article is intended for are living at a handicap, and perhaps not able to fully understand the experience, life and God in the world most of us live. For this reason, and knowing there are other every day folks who are missing very good points, please look for the next article in this series.

Christian Reformation


Rumblings have begun.  Throughout various Christian churches people are calling for reformation.  Acceptance among some denominations to allow for female 15823431_1056573637798238_7958033138514324021_nPriests and Deacons that in years past were not allowed.  Acceptance among some denominations for same sex relationships.  Attention paid to the hows and why they Bible was written and what God really hopes we glean from it.  Sifting through facts – and fiction.  Droves of people seeking (Christian) Spiritual Enlightenment.

Below I have posted (with links) the first of this years series of Daily Meditations by Ftr Richard Rorh I am excited to see these current writings (this is past due!) on rebuilding the Christianity from the bottom up.  Here I will admit, I have not yet read volumes of his writings. I haven’t known about him all that long.  I looked him up after hearing his name in a homily.  I realized I knew what he spoke about and hadn’t realized there were other people who thought this way, who understood a Spiritual (vs. Reglious) Path.  Though for sure he is a Franciscan Priest, he is open to and accepting of other Christian denominations as well as other Religions.  We are all one.  Please – be sure to look him up.  If you’re interested in Spiritual growth – he is a Spiritual Master.

The teachings I am familiar with in his writings are spot on and respect persons of the 21st century.  There is a call to return to the very basic teachings of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the reason for Christianity.  Too many well meaning people over the centuries have twisted and turned His very simple teachings.  The church is shrinking. These twists and turns are responsible for this loss of belief.  

I know the Roman Catholic Church must oil their wheels and make shifts far more quickly than they are used in order to properly grow in Christ.  This trend of  closing parishes and “speak” of a smaller but stronger church is not going to please our Father.  It shows a lack of growth from within the walls.  Most of the men of the church are glued to very old fashioned ways, and have confused ways of man that  not are what the direct teachings of Jesus Christ were. Said with love. 

Accepting we must return back to the teachings of Jesus –  His roots.  Simple, Basic Truths.  Love.  God is Love, Love is God.  However, considering the work of Jesus with the many disciples we know his intention was to teach of our loving God, simple commandments and living in love and respect for one another.

The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church hold power.  They know they do. I pray the Holy Spirit touches them deeply within, in ways they have never felt before.  They hold the power of change. They hold the power of growth.  Power has been  known to be dangerous. Blessed, divine power is to be used for the good of all.  As painful as it may be to study, learn  accept and make changes – it must be.  For the good of the people – who are “the church”.

In upcoming articles I will be sharing more thoughts on the shrinking church, outdated rules, laws and traditions and how they affect the current slump in attendance.  Idea’s of how change may really be for the overall good and growth of God’s children and our (my) Christian faith.  – I teach 8th & 9th grade faith formation (part of the Confirmation classes).  Tuesday night three kids showed up – none attend Mass (church).  Last night five kids showed up, two never attend mass, one skips past the question and the other two – on rare occasion, even though mom goes every week.  The future of the church.  Foreboding?  Changes need to be made, WD-40 for the squeaky wheels.  The time has come.

From the Bottom Up: Introduction

Making Christianity Relevant Again
Sunday, January 1, 2017

“Our religion is not working well. Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by many and 15740804_1760626520615983_1025981791997870865_noften as part of the problem more than any kind of solution. . . . It would seem Jesus’ teaching about the reign of God has had little impact, except among people who surrendered to great love and great suffering. It’s time to rediscover the Gospel and rebuild from the bottom up.” —Richard Rohr  

From the bottom up: Introduction {Richard Rorh}

“What will make a difference to the future is awakening to a faith that fully communicates God’s love—a love that transforms how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world. —Diana Butler Bass [1]

Our religion is not working well. Another year has ended—a new year begins—in which suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught. And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people.

The majority of Christians are not highly transformed people, but tend to reflect their own culture more than they operate as any kind of leaven within it. I speak especially of American Christians, because I am one. But if you are from another country, look at the Christians where you live and see if the same is true there.

Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name. Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by many and often as part of the problem more than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds. Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be. The church seems hostile toward most science (the objective outer world) and thus unable to talk about its inner dimensions with any authority. As we saw in the recent U.S. election, Christians overall showed little prophetic or compassionate presence.

Most Christians have not been taught how to plug into the “mind of Christ;” thus they often reflect the common mind of power, greed, and war instead. The dualistic mind reads reality in simple binaries—good and bad, right and wrong—and thinks itself smart because it chooses one side. This is getting us nowhere.

Throughout the history of Christianity, it would seem Jesus’ teaching has had little impact, except among people who surrendered to great love and great suffering. Could this be the real core of the Gospel? Such people experience God rather than merely having disconnected ideas about God. We need the mind of mystics now to offer any kind of alternative—contemplative or nondual—consciousness. We need practice-based religion that teaches us how to connect with the Infinite in ways that actually change us from our finite perspectives.

We must rediscover what St. Francis called the “marrow of the Gospel.” It’s time to rebuild from the bottom up. If the foundation is not solid and sure, everything we try to build on top of it is weak and ineffective. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again. This will be our new Daily Meditation theme: rebuilding from the bottom up. Auspiciously, this year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s important attempts at reform.

In the year 1205, Jesus spoke to Francis through the San Damiano cross: “Francis, rebuild my church, for you see it is falling into ruin.” If Jesus himself says the church is falling into ruin, I guess we can admit it also without being accused of being negative or unbelieving. Maybe we have to admit it for anything new and good to happen.

Through these daily reflections I will delve into the meaning of Christianity’s powerful “first principles,” or essential elements, in this order: God as Trinity, the Cosmic Christ, the life and teaching of Jesus, and other teachings of Incarnational and Mystical Christianity. Even if you aren’t Christian, I hope you will find universal principles here that you can apply to your own spiritual journey.” R. Rorh

His gifts (lessons from Jesus)

The gifts (lessons) Jesus brought to us, are often told in parables.  In my essay Discipleship I shared verse from the book of Mark, which is where Jesus explains He taught with parables.

Jesus did not teach in literal terms in order to help the peoples of that time learn, He taught in a manner that all listening could understand, despite where they fall upon a learning curve.  It is so important to understand the written word, is taught by Jesus, in parables.

Recent mornings reading of the Gospel:

Gospel of St. John 6:52-59

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said.

Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live forever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

Reading the footnotes on these readings on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, they tell us “Spirit flesh: probably not a reference to the Eucharistic body of Jesus but to the supernatural and the natural, as in.   Spirit and life: all Jesus said about the bread of life is the revelation of the Spirit.”

There is actually quite a bit to be found on the history and celebration of the Eucharist – in the Roman Catholic Church.  There was a day when it was a very simple (but deep) reminder of the love of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. 

The Church has changed teachings on this as well as other sacraments over the years.   I have enjoyed reading some of the things various Saints have said about the Holy Eucharist and do plan on reading more about this sacrament. 

Transubstantiation was not taught until the Council of Trent in 1551 and so it has been taught for the past 500 years or so.  Other things have evolved with the Eucharist that when reading does show the doctrine has been changed over the years, more recently to allow for Eucharistic ministers, bread without wine, I was taught not to chew the host, now people do, etc. 

There are obvious reasons for people questioning teachings, from what I read and hear.

There really is a lot of history in this sacrament, teaching show clearly there was a day when there was universal church that taught “do this in memory of me”, no transubstantiation taking place, formalities in the simplest of sense – per St. Paul:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26   “For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, So to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another”. (Universalis)

St. Mathew 26:26   The Lord’s Supper. 26  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28l for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. 29* I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” 30 Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (usccb)

What this all points back to is our lord, Jesus Christ.  He is to be a true focal point in our lives, as part of the Holy Trinity.  What is He telling us in this reading today?

Jesus was sent by our Lord, God the Father to bring us to Him.  We are not reading about literally drinking His blood or eating of his body in this text.    He is teaching us;  -cling to my words and my actions and I will lead you to Our Father-Our Lord God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, in Him we shall live forever.  Jesus perhaps refers to coming down from Heaven because we look up to our Lord, God.

Jesus was God’s gift to us, to teach us how to live lives of love and peace with one another through God our Father who gifts us with all.  We are all, each and every one of us part of this – together.  Our lives are not about dying in body, but dying in spirit to be reborn to a new way of life, living, giving, sharing – loving. In God.

I will encourage you once again to read your bible thoughtfully, prayerfully.  Listen.  There is much to be learned about life and love within those pages.  There is much to be learned about life and love through our prayer life too.

What can you do today, that will bring heaven into your midst?  Love.  Love as Jesus has taught us, love with heart mind and soul.  Everyone.



Let’s take a look at discipleship.  Some say we are all called to be disciples – are we?

First, let’s look at what Jesus said;

The Holy Bible, Gospel of Mark Chapter 8, verses 34 – 38

The Conditions of Discipleship.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Again, from the United States Bishops website, refer to the bottom of the page – we find a translation of His quote: “This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it…will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.”

Looking at this in simple, realistic terms, with a bit of Cafeteria Catholic thrown in, Jesus tells us that we must first believe in Him, who is God on earth.  Our Trinitarian God (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) are to be first in our lives – always.  Before yourself, your spouse, your children, your job etc. etc.   Without God, we are nothing, we have nothing.

After putting our Lord, God first – we are to bring others to know Him.  We are to do this at risk of personal loss, including those Christians who are persecuted and executed for their love of God.  This teaching has to be balanced out with some common sense.  We are being asked to live good, godly lives. 

Following the Commandments as he taught us: Mark 12:30-31 30You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. This doesn’t mean we are to – or have to live the life of martyrs.  God did give us life – to live.  This is one of those readings that tend to scare people… being human and having selfish tendencies.  It is important to explain this fully.

In the book of Mark  Chapter 1 Verse 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  My thoughts on this is Jesus is saying here that not all will come, not all will follow.  I will teach you how to “fish” for those who will become followers of our Lord, God.

In the book of Mark Chapter 4 Verse 2-8

And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them,  “Hear this! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.  And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.  Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain.  And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

 If you continue reading down the page you will see His explanation to the 12 Disciples

 Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word.These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Jesus taught, He walked among men, women – children.  Crowds would gather and He would speak.  He taught using  parables.  Here He explains that though you work to reach many the seeds will fall and not all will take root.  All knowledge and instruction is not going to reach each individual in the same manner.  God created and designed each and every one of us.

In the Book of John Chapter 15 Verse 1-11

The Vine and the Branches. I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

While the bottom of the same web link does offer the Roman Catholic churches take on this parable, I offer my own – which is actually what I remember being taught in my childhood as a Protestant;  Here, Jesus is saying that as His followers we have already been pruned to become  fruitful, in His name.

Our love and devotion does not come without cost.  Being His disciple means being selfless and putting God and others before ourselves.  Thankful we are that our God is a loving and forgiving God, because in our  humanness,  try as we must, we are not perfect.  What a gift to know He has said  “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”   Remember ~ Mark 12:30-31 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor *as* yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 Part 2 – How do we go about discipleship…

The beauty of Gods gifts allow us to grow in all things we do.  Bringing others to God doesn’t happen in a church service (per say).  To use a common phrase of Christians; What Would Jesus Do? Where did Jesus Christ go?  Among the people

What do I mean?  For people to truly know God they must experience Him in their heart and soul.  We can sit at Mass, or in a church service and listen but how often does one experience something in a church service that really reach into the souls of people?  It is rare indeed.

Don’t these people, already in a church have a relationship with God?

I believe active disciples are people have a fire (light) that burns within. That draws them deeper to God.  I believe that pull comes first from a calling of the Holy Spirit, and it requires an acceptance to turn oneself fully over to God.

What was Jesus asking us to do?  He sent forth his disciples in sets of two, to go out and teach His word.  To spread the Good News, the Gospel.  How do I think we do this?  First, trying to live as Christlike as possible while acknowledging and accepting as He does, we are His human children.  In this we also are given many gifts from Him, gifts that include Faith, Hope and Love.  Our life example, our story – our testimony, which at times means allowing our soft spots, our most vulnerable selves to be seen in order to help others heal and when we can, bring them closer to Christ.  I know myself, all that I am and all that I will be are due to Him

I believe in personal relationships such as marriage or parenting, it is a responsibility to draw your loved ones ever closer to God with you.   We are all taught – God first, then spouse, before self and this builds a solid, sacred bond.   Married couples who have this foundation and work together with God are able to set a solid example of a committed loving relationship. 

I believe it is important to work together in service to bring others to God.  Both in family life, service / volunteering.  I have read one of the best type of “dates” is to serve where God is needed (which is – everywhere, so be it a homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter group home, a school, a prison,visit a nursing home or pack up and move to Appalachia or a southern border overflowing with poor migrants). How about a “food drive” for an animal shelter (God loves animals too).  In all of these types of outreach we are able to spend some time with people who need to be loved.  People who need to feel God’s love and when we have a testimony or story to share, it brings people together – and closer to God.  There are so many place and opportunities to spread the word.

Where there is God there is Love.  Where there Love there is God.  So there is to an extent discipleship that does happen within our intimate relationships.

Some ways I share Christs love for me is by sharing my every day life with people.  It does have an affect and it is beautiful to be a part of.  In another essay I mentioned a couple of things.  One was – when being asked for a donation at a cashier and being asked for what name I wanted to put down.  “God” was the first name out of my mouth.  It wasn’t “my” dollar, it didn’t feel like it.  The kids loved my reply (a spot I also “pay it forward and pay for an order behind me on occasion at the drive up).

As part of my job, I meet and work directly with executives in lieu of the owners.  We were assigned a new gal recently, when she called to introduce and set up an appointment to meet with me, she asked when was a good time.  I said we open at 8:30 – but I go to Mass in the morning before work and usually get in later than that. (I have permission – it is a “perk”).   She remembered our conversation and when she came in to sit with me in my office it was an opportunity to share a bit of my love of God and how He has worked in my life.  I literally had a bank Vice President sitting across from me with tears trailing down her face.  God works through me.  It’s not forced, it is not fake, it just happens.  Well… perhaps not “just”  Every morning I turn myself over to God in prayer and ask Him to use me in the ways that serve Him.

Today. . .  I had sent a woman at a company that we do some work for an email, requesting needed information.  Three or four emails, no reply.  Hmmm, this is odd.  I let it go for a few more days.  Yesterday, I received the information in snail mail,  today I received an email from my contact.  We exchanged several (friendly) emails back and forth.  She shared first that she had been out due to a family emergency and apologized for not getting back to me sooner.  I responded :sic: not a problem at all, I knew something was off – I hope all is well now. – A longer response from her,  sharing with me that her 88 year old father was ill, had two surgeries and had to go back in for another.  My response?  “Oh God Bless!  I will offer a prayer, I hope that is okay. – I no longer have my parents, I do however take a lovely 88 year old woman out to brunch after mass every Sunday.  It is amazing how resilient our elders are!  Be well, XXXX”.

I know at least some reading this are saying – you did this with a business contact???  Yeah, I did and yes – it can be risky in the secular field – but I walk with Jesus ♥.  Her response?  “How nice of you!  I was having breakfast with my dad after mass each week.  I miss that time with him but I am blessed to have him all of these years.  Thank you for the prayers.”   – More emails flew back and forth.  A simple way to share God’s love with others.  Be patient, kind and loving – even with business associates.

Oh – and my Sunday brunch date?  She and I have on occasion had the opportunity to witness to others while dinning out.  Never in a “door knocking witness” sort of way.  We literally had two young women with a baby stop by our table a few months back to talk about church, (they overheard our conversation) raising kids in Christ, etc.  Be open to opportunities to share God with others.

Teaching our children to be disciples of Christ comes by their witnessing us in action (honestly – is that not how many learn?).  My sons have the biggest hearts.

One child of mine has helped three other young people with addiction problems in the past six or seven months.  It is a gift – seeing this one in action – bringing others to Christ too is amazing.  He too has no fear of posting bible quotes or inspirational works to his Facebook wall (along with all of the crazy motorcycle and otherwise crazy young man things). He brings others to church with him too.

One of the days he was over to visit me last week, we were talking about Bibles and I ended up giving him a chronological bible I had recently purchased for a study group that I lost time to participate in.  Between going to mass most mornings, (reading those bible readings ahead of mass) and recently adding several of the Divine Office readings (and other readings as I have done for these essays on discipleship) I am reading a lot (far more than the bible study class).  I wish I could say my other two sons have followed this path, to date they have not but youngest and I still have hope.

It is my hope that at least one of these suggestions will work for you should you choose to step out in discipleship.  I hope that sharing some of my experiences shows that with time

Sharing my love and knowledge of God flows naturally and freely.

I know there are others on this blog website who also share their love, hope, knowledge and experience with God.  I have some (real life) friends on Facebook who enjoy bible and spiritual posts – one openly shares that she does this as a service to God.  Facebook too – is a great way to spread the word, just remember we must walk what we talk leastwise we are hypocrites and dishonor our Lord, God.  No human is perfect, we endeavor to do our best.  God knows our hearts.

Thu, 28 Jan 2016

Being Christian is not “Merry Christmas”

I read an old article today about a fellow who was removed from a flight last year because he became so upset they felt he was a threat to remain on board.

It was not an attack on Christianity per say.  In fact the “quoted” words this fellow had for the gate agent was this“You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas,” the man retorted.Further into the short article I read:

“Well, what should I say then?” the gate agent asked.

“Don’t say, ‘Merry Christmas!’” the man replied.

Once he got on the flight, the man finally lost his patience when a fellow passenger wished him the same greeting. The man reportedly went on a rampage over the use of the phrase and started lecturing the flight attendants and pilots about what was appropriate to say.”


The comments under this article ran the gamut from “Merry Christmas”, to words that would further provoke (with) glee!, one person wrote they felt sorry for the fellow.  A post that stopped me dead in my tracks was as quoted below:

The man being offended must be a atheist or a Muslim & being in a Christian nation is the one to hold his tongue & his reaction until he got to his non Christian home or home country. Political Correctness has been tossed! We are taking back our country & making America Great Again!!!

Wait.  What?  Oh no.  Seriously?  – and there were likes! 


I did reply to that comment.  I didn’t expect much in response based upon her original post above, so – I was not disappointed with what followed really, as I had no expectations of wisdom.

I find myself mystified to live in a country where my fellow countrymen could have this mind-set.  At some point in my brief “conversation” with this woman she decided I must have attended some fancy liberal university :sic:.  Which both amused and saddened me.  Yes, it is possible to have those feeling simultaneously.

For those loving human beings who are being unfairly attacked my heart goes out to you.  I will stand up for you and by you because in God we are one.  We’re all one.  As I type this I have to say I am still appalled by such narrow-minded responses that this woman and others had.  Hers were by far the worst.

Reading the story above, I thought about the man.  What had his day been like?  Had he just left court after a divorce?  Lost a job?  Buried a parent?  Never been taught about God?  I tried to explain to this woman,  this man now had been given a very negative view of Christians who showed neither compassion or love to him.  I thought about Sheldon (character on the spectrum on the “Big Bang Theory”) and how he most likely would have said those very same literal words “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas,”.

These words cover all Peoples

I shudder at the thought that anyone would read such an article and automatically verbally attack Muslim or Atheists.  I tried to explain that presenting like this built walls not bridges – and that was when she decided I attended a big university and was a liberal. 

I shudder to see the bigotry in my country.  “All one nation under God”.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to enter and warm cold hearts.

I own my faith.  I love God with all my heart and soul.  Happy Holidays is generic and works well in many circumstances.  I work to walk as a disciple of Jesus every day, I wear crosses on my neck to symbolize my belief.  I say  Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and family.  They are bonding words of love and joy.  Good Friday and Easter Sunday are my favorite Christian holidays, Gods gift to all human kind, a chance for eternal life in Him.

How I choose to live and love every day of my life is “Being Christian”

If you are a Christian, remember what being a diciple of Christ is all about.  If you are a non-Christian who has been mistreated due to your religious choice I extend my hand in friendship.  God would expect no less of me.


Compassion, Respect, Love

Daily Post Prompt: Protest

Spiritual Seeds

Recent readings from a morning  Mass are good reading and for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth.  Spirituality can mean different things to different people.  For myself, this is my relationship with our Triune God. 

The three readings are helpful for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth.  Spirituality can mean different things to different people.  For myself, this is my relationship with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.1

The first reading this morning was from the book of Jeremiah which I am not going to quote in the entirety, realizing this was written at a time when the nations were at war. Here we have another reminder in the Bible that God created each and every one of us and he did so with a purpose in mind Jeremiah is told his purpose is to be a prophet to the nations, to tear down – and build up.  This I am going to look at in the spiritual sense.


As we go through life in order to grow spiritually strong, we will go through many challenges.  If we look at events as challenges – not obstacles in our growth, they become more of an ally – a friend, than a fear or foe.  dYes, it’s putting the positive spin on situations, finding whatever good we can in them in order to push through and out the other side to be able to grow in our spiritual strength.  When we are spiritually strong, we are better able to serve God and others.  Far easier to type or read than it is to go through, it is hard work at times.  As we grow through life experiences there is a tearing away of who we were and a then the building or planting of the new, wiser, stronger self – who is able to offer more to others, which is pleasing to God. 


The next reading at Mass are excerpts from Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17


Here praise is given to our Lord for all that He is and has done for us, from the moment of conception. 3

In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.


Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.


For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.


My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

                                                   I will sing of your salvation.


A very important aspect of a prayerful life is to remember to honor and share our gratitude with God for all He is and all He has given.  5This too is a way of growing spiritually, as we sit before our Lord – to put Him first, before our cares and worries (which He already knows about).  Just like seeing a friend “Hello, how are you?  So good to spend time with you, thank you dear God, thank you for . . .”  God before self.




Lastly, the third reading, the Gospel of St. Mathew 13:1-9




In this story Jesus explains very clearly how we may begin our faith journey with the intention of following Him to God.  Some start off on a path, trampled into hard ground by those walking to and for.  The ground has not been worked or fertilized, the seeds fall and roll – a bird comes by and finds some dinner.  The seed never taking hold.6

Next, we have some seeds that fall on rocky soil.  They take root but there are not many plants hardy enough to survive in the shallow soil, where rocks block the ability for roots to take a deep hold.  With strong sunlight, the leaves burn and the plants die – having no roots deep in the soil to provide moisture for sustenance and growth.

 Walking off the beaten path, we lose some seeds from our pocket – they fall among weeds and having so many so close together they choke out the little seedlings trying to grow, offering little crop.

Lastly, we plant our seeds in loose, fertile soil – full of nutrients, few stones or pebbles to block the way of the roots ability to grow deep allowing the plants themselves to flourish and produce a large number of strong plants.

In our humanness, there will be those that start off in their faith journey like our first seeds, snatched away by the birds.  We have people that struggle to grow among the rocks in their surroundings, not able or ready to move on to more fertile land, some survive their journey but are not able to grow strong roots. 

Those folks who are surrounded by the weeds, or perhaps more easily explained as others who do not believe, will may be smothered by the sinfulness around them and here we will find few able to flourish and grow to a great depth. 

The final planting is in fertile ground, people who are nurtured and cared for who will be able to grow and continue to grow their roots of faith and spirituality deep in the love of God.

I heard an interesting scenario, which can serve as a good reminder.  If care isn’t taken the good soil may wash away to less fertile ground, or a rocky path.  I found this interesting for a couple of reasons.  First – it is a great reminder to stay focused on God in our faith journey.  The example given interested me because it mentioned change in person’s demeanor that could lead: sic: to less fertile ground.  This is true, however one must also carefully consider the full context of a given scenario.  What is really a danger to the soil or – a new fertilizer that will enable the plants to grow and flourish, care must be given in that consideration.  Also, those birds may have dropped some of those seeds from that first part of our story, on fertile ground where in time they took root and grew to be strong and solid.  This too happens with humans.

Serious care must be given to all of God’s children – embrace the final words of Jesus in this story “Whoever has ears ought to hear”.  Just as we must take care to remain in fertile ground, stay close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – any one of us, may begin our lives in a thorny patch of weeds –  and find ourselves transplanted with life changes to strong and fertile soil with our roots growing to a great depth with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.


Is Jesus all we need? ? ?

There is a continuing trend by some Christians to strongly state  “Jesus is all you need” (or) “God is all I need”.  

There is a problem with making such a statement.  This is one of the things I believe St. Paul refers to 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.a

I was recently reminded  of this.  Yesterday, I found myself reflecting on the times I have heard these words spoken in the past.  I found a  very real need to address this. I do this in hopes of others finding perhaps a new understanding of what negative impact such statements may have.  There are those who have yet to find Our Father, new to faith, those who love God (but follow these words rote) and know they are to believe those words but that simple sentence/statement holds  no real depth or meaning, therefore they find themselves struggling for the meaning behind the words.

There is a misconception when one states “Jesus is all we need”.        
As stated this may confuse (upset) and cause others to lose faith – or not find it!     

This phrase is often said, as a stand alone comment by long-term, well-meaning Christians in an attempt to bring people to God, uplift a person who is in crisis.  It falls flat when there is no attempt to look below the surface and discuss the true gifts we are blessed with by our Father, and how they play into our lives.  How difficult, challenging and even times of sadness and mourning can be brought to see His light.  If evangelizing, if you don’t dig below the surface you short change the person with whom you are speaking – and God the Father.

Jesus brings us to God the Father, God the Father gifts us with Holy Spirit. God the Father is truly who we need, and must remain “in”, in order to receive all three as a oneness. In saying this, we also must acknowledge that God is within us.

The truth is we do need loving human relationships and God does gift us with this love.  It is a matter of truly opening our hearts to understand and feel this. Sadly, there are those that block this out for a variety of reasons, hurts from their past, fear – and religions that say this is something that God requires.  God does not and has never asked us to block any type of love from our heart, soul – being.

God is love, love is God.
We are called to remain open to loving relationships, by the design of God. 
We are called to remain open to the possibility of Love  because God is Love.
God created us with full intention of living our human lives, to experience for ourselves the vast array of experiences and emotions in our lives. 

Our Father, sent Jesus to bring about a new way of life, the Holy Spirit to bring about a new way of thinking, feeling, loving – and hearing Him.

Someone recently stated to me “Jesus is all we need–I am enjoying my “graying” years for the deepening growth and intimacy of my relationship with Him. Like you, I had some “hard knocks”, and the invisible scars are still in the process of healing; I am happily single and solitary–it makes life simpler for me.”

This person states they are happily single and solitary.  While it is not for me to say that is wrong for her – it is wrong for me and most humans.

Happy and simple is not really the life God calls us to, is it? 
Sit in a corner, read and not experience?  No

He called us to Liveand Love and be open to Love.

Our entire lives should be spent in deepening growth and intimacy of our relationships with Him. 

We care called to this very factIt is a fallacy to believe anyone can only be committed to this belief, this growth if they choose singledomGod tells us this! 

Spouses are called to bring each other to God, Parents are called to bring their children to God, Friends are called to bring Friends to God, All of faith are called to bring non-believers or “un-knowers” to GodTo suggest a total focus is on God is not a truth, but a yarn that is spun. 

God never called anyone to forgo the life he gave as an offering to Him. 
Relationships, true Godly, human relationships require true selflessness
as we know we are to see God in each other. 

In having these healthy relationships, we offer witness to the love that God has provided to us.  There are lessons we can only learn in committed, loving human relationships – which is why the bible contains such relationships from the first chapter throughout. 

God’s gifts to His children.  Do we turn our back on His gifts?

The other thought I had in regards to what someone shared is this… single and solitary is not what God asks of us. He challenges us to continue to grow. God designed us to be loving, giving human beings. There may be something within our own being that we are by His design, to impartto share with another.

In healthy, loving relationships there is a continual self-emptying of self. God has designed us this way (biblical) … while it may be easiest to stay single/alone – we really need to discern if that is what God wants of us and/or how to fulfill what His desire for us is. There are *many gray-haired loves and marriages in the bible. From Genesis throughout the new testament, to the Apostles & St. Peter.  Intimate, loving relationships are throughout the bible. 

There are some who know they have had their great human love and experienced Gods gifts and lessons

Though they may no longer be (passed away), that love remains forever in their hearts and they look to the day they are called home to our Father to be once again by their side.  My grandparents had this love, it was beautiful to witness. They grew in God together here on earth and I am sure are happily reunited now. 

This is the true gift of God.
 He is all we need –
God is love, Love is God – God is within Us. 
When we truly share this selfless Love with another, we experience the Love of God.

Dear gray haired lady,

Thank you for reminding me of a very important topic and prompting me to write today. 

Gods gifts are many, Jesus came to bring us to God and in order for us to live abundantly in His gifts, one of those gifts being the Holy Spirit who will guide us in ways to live, here on earth that life of abundance, if so blessed – with another.

Wives Submit to your husbands…

The first time I heard this. . . I winced.  “Say what?”  I was young and thought that meant giving up freedom of self, being controlled, no longer being “Laurie”, which – oddly enough is exactly what happened in my marriage to the father of my boys.  This is not what the bible is teaching us, not at all.

Marriage is about a union of two human beings who make the promise to love each other for the rest of their lives.   Recommitting daily.  From this mornings (10/25/16) first reading (this was also the first reading back in June) copied and pasted as in my usccb bible reading email.slide_13

“Reading 1 Eph 5:21-33

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the Church,
he himself the savior of the Body.
As the Church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.”


There are different explanations for “Falling in love”.  I read just today (for the hundredth time) that “love is not an emotion”.  I read a response to that statement that I thought was spot on.  For those that are lucky enough to first find themselves with that strong feeling of attraction and – love, we begin to give of self.  When that love is returned it does become an emotional joining of hearts and souls “but” it will not stay that way without work. Together we grow in love.

I think the level of work depends very much on the personalities of both people.  Some have a chemistry that just seems to work smoothly – most of the time.  Others?  You look at them and wonder (observing) why they became a couple to begin with.  Some have skills that help them more easily navigate the waters than others.  All – will find challenges they have to work through together. 

Unexpected things will pop up.  Great Aunt Hilda may hate (strong word, I know) your new wife which makes family get together really challenging.  Having babies and raising children will bring on challenges, as will who is going to keep an eye on grand baby 3 when grandpa volunteered, then wants to go play chess with an old friend.  You get the idea.  Little things come up, how you react to them and your ability to navigate through – together will make your marriage a happier loving union – or one that has more struggles to muddle through.  Together is what matters.  Keeping the commitment to each other, God and yourselves.

 I came across this chart tonight and appreciate the examples given.  Very, very important in marriage.  Marriage is a Covenant  is a relationship initiated by our loving God.19_chambers_chart_jn-1

Looking at this chart, meant for both husband and wife you see no “submission’ per say.  Marriage is not 50/50 – it is 100%/100% from both partners, then those times or days when one cannot put forth their full effort you work to stand strong for both.

Working together to ensure a continued religious and spiritual growth throughout your marriage that must come first. Raising a family, living in service to spouse, family and others, committing your love and support to each other every day, even those days you may not be happy with your spouse – and things you strive for, fall under the umbrella of God first.  Keeping your marriage “in God,  together” will help all other issues flow in an easier manner.  We are commanded to keep God first.

Now, a bit more on the above bible reading.  I think putting it simply,  a “successful” Christian marriage is learning the fine art of humbling yourself to the other.  Neither is “above” the other, both are God’s children.  A wife submits to her husband as to the Lord, the husband submits to the wife as Christ did to the church.  A loving husband in a Christian marriage knows his wife, discerning – keeping in prayer any serious matter he will consider his wife’s needs before his own as he knows she trusts him.  A wife will honor her husband as the lord in the same way.  A move our of state?  One person may really have to make that call if it depends on a job opportunity, if a woman has carefully discerned her relationship, engagement and marriage she needs to trust her husband will make the correct decision, with love.


There is no room for abuse in a true marriage covenant.  Love between man and woman is a gift from God.  Marriage is an intimate union between equal partners.  Both man and woman have different gifts to offer in this union. Catholic teaching is that couples are open to children in their marriage, if unable to bear children or past child bearing age couples are still to find ways to nurture younger generations together.

I would like to share one more thing before closing this article.  Many of us may have read a saying at some point in our lives “a family that prays together, stays together”.  I have seen truths in this.  I have also come across websites for both  wives and husbands that offer Christian support in marriages.  Though feeling a bit on the outside, being a divorced woman (annulled), I follow a couple of Christian women’s pages on Facebook that I enjoy.  Not all things are directly marriage related but many are.  Including reminders to pray for your love, pray for spouse, pray yourself to be a good supportive partner, etc.  These are great idea’s and offer a helpful foundation of support to couples in their marriages.

As a survivor of domestic violence, having noted how many reads the original posting of this essay had – I would like to add the following to reiterate that a true Christian marriage is about mutual submission, true caring and love – never intentionally abusive.


Reflections, Called to Service

Over my somewhat short blogging experience I have written, edited and deleted some different  essays.  I am rebuilding my website now at a slower pace.  Today I found there had been two searches of the above that brought someone(s) to my page.  When I looked this up myself on Bing I found hints of an article I had written several months ago on discernment and exactly how much trust did I think I was really giving to God at that time.  I had second guessed what I felt He called me to, actually struggled with it for a long time though as time has played out I am sure I have followed along and am headed in the way He wants, though – I’m still not sure what that means completely.  Today – I continue to turn my trust to Him, heart, mind and soul.  Personally, I am staying in prayer and listening for direction.  A somewhat  intense time in my life.  That’s as much as I am going to divulge. 

Early on in this journey I came across what I have been told (and read) is the Prayer of Discernment by Thomas Merton.  In truth, I cannot remember how I came across this, I believe it was at a summer retreat that I participated in at a neighboring Parish.  The retreat was held every other Sunday afternoon over the summer.  It was at this retreat I came face to face with some issues that I really had not paid as much attention to up to that point.  Rather than veer off point and continue on with those issues, I am going to continue on and return to those topics in other writings at some point.


The above .gif is something I installed as the background on my cell phone for several months as I tried to come to discern what God was asking me.  This prayer is one of many that are used for some discerning Holy Orders, though that was not my purpose for this prayer.  Others use this prayer apparently to help them through difficult and challenging times in their lives.

The mid-morning, noon and mid-afternoon verses included in the Divine Office readings today are from  1 Corinthians as noted below.  I am going to inject verses 7-11 that were not included in the readings for the sake of this discussion.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 Corinthians 12:4-6

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them.

7. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.  8 To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;  9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; 10 to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Noon reading (Sext)1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Afternoon reading (None)1 Corinthians 12:24,25-26

God has arranged the body and that there may not be disagreements inside the body, but that each part may be equally concerned for all the others. If one part is hurt, all parts are hurt with it. If one part is given special honor, all parts enjoy it.
The above teachings of St. Paul were written as a lesson to the Corinthians on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to us.  He further goes on to teach that these gifts can help assist all of us in our calling to serve God.
One thing that struck me yesterday about these readings, while reading a post by a friend over on FacePlace was one of those  lists of what a mom does.  I have thought of this in relation to these readings before but never found myself sitting down and writing about it.  There is a reason I am going to used quotes on “mom”.  Please note, I sincerely believe the same can be said for many dads too! 
Please pardon any repetition


I personally don’t know anyone who has written such a list, it seems kind of  ? self serving.  These things are just what we do.  Moms, Dads and others who help us out – right?  In addition to all of the above “jobs” many of us are blessed with a marriage or other adult relationship . . .



ee1ff7351f626e7ce4252695ee48e78aThat relationship usually comes before children in hopes of providing a really solid family foundation.  This type of relationship requires work and gift of self too!

In addition to these relationships and endless list of responsibilities comes our career.  What we do outside of the house to bring income “in” as a means of being able to provide for ourselves, those we love and others who also need a hand up.

For myself – God is before all of these human relationships.  When I put Him first, I am able to serve Him and others as He asks us to do.  Worship our Triune God – and Serve.

What does all of this have to do with the words of St. Paul?  We all have many gifts.  We are not limited to any one special gift of the spirt, though some may have more of one gift than another, some may really only have one or two, some may have several – and they may flex or change over time.

St. Paul’s words as taught in the church limit the abilities of everyone, whereas looking at the broader scope, maybe with the female mind – we can see how all things in our life are all interchangeable, possible, and though they may not always be as simple as a list of words on a page, they are our lives.  Our relationships.  Our loves.  All gifts from God – who never has limited His children in any way, shape or form.  All things are possible in Him.

“We thought depriving ourselves or doing something contrary to nature, will, or body would somehow please God, whereas it only made us feel “strong” and significant. Jesus never advocates either asceticism or heroism. In fact, Jesus says, “John the Baptist came along fasting and living an ascetic life and you were upset with him. Now I come along eating and drinking and you don’t like me either” (see Matthew 11:18-19). Jesus is neither a rigorist nor a legalist. He is scandalously free from these ego games”  R. Rohr

We are all called by Him to serve.  He does not limit our lives, He gave and gives Life.  Live.  His Love and the Gifts He gives us are in abundance, Unlimited but for our own minds.  Faith, Hope & Love, the greatest of these is Love.  Serve with Love ~ but, Live.

We’re Raising Agnostic Kids

Two years ago, I took on two 8th grade classes for Faith Formation. Last year I took off.  I volunteered to take on two classes this year.  One 8th and one 9th grade.  After teaching the first class I had second thoughts, and for multiple personal reasons, I said I couldn’t do it this year.

It has been heavily on my mind.  I have a knack for getting along well with kids this age.  I manage to get them comfortable enough to share, participate, have them teach what they know, and open their minds to God.

 I like to spend time  –  chit chatting during the  first class.  This allows us to get to know each other a bit.  More importantly, this gives me as their instructor an opportunity to learn what they know, what they don’t – and where I need to focus class time on.

Questions I asked the kids this year (as I did last time I taught two 8th grade classes) to me are simple – and a really good indicator of what they know.

  1. Did you pray today?
  2. Who is God?
  3. Do you have a relationship with God?
  4. Why do you go to Mass?
  5. What is the Eucharist?
  6. What is the Trinity?
  7. What is the Immaculate Conception?

Both two years ago and two weeks ago the answers I recieved were,

  1.  No
  2. Embarrassed silence
  3. No (you cannot have a relationship with God if you have no clue on who God is)
  4. Because parents bring me
  5. … A wafer?  Two years ago I did have female alter servers in once class so they knew right off the bat.  One in another class, he knew (the other kids did not).  This year – after circling back to this question one girl did guess “body”.  One girl.
  6. I don’t know
  7. When Jesus was …  Mary saw the angel.

I voiced my concern (again) to my director, mentioned it to the Pastor who asked what the director said – he said “It’s a good thing they have you for a teacher because you really care what the kids learn”.

Blame on the parents is often made, but I speak up to that also. My sons learned so much in their own (weekly) religious ed classes (years ago).  Now we only meet twice a month – only once in April!

I do have many issues with the religion that I participate in.  I know others do too. There have been times I have considered walking out the door and never returning.  One dear ones loyalty to the church is what has kept me there to date. Obedience to our Father too, which has become more personal  and challenging as days go by.

Today I made the decision to teach again.  Because of my love of our Triune God.  I will teach the kids out of the book, but I will also teach them about our Triune God, witness some of my own experiences.

I will also explain teachings on the Eucharist.  I have already explained what the Immaculate Conception is though I doubt they grasped it.  It’s one of *those teachings….  I did my duty.

Church is God’s “house”  my  focus is helping these kids find God, bringing Him into their lives, prayer and that church teaching is the Eucharist is the reason for Mass (I still stay it’s the homily :) because that is *learning* about Faith, clergy disagree but – they are clergy for the purpose of Eucharist…).

So tomorrow, I will call my director, apologize for waffling on him and return to the classroom. Teaching through April.  I am looking forward to it.

I enjoyed helping the kids grow in faith and God in the past.  I look forward to doing it again.  Two years ago I purchased the Rosaries I used in my feature image. Not because I am a “good Catholic” but because I was able to utilize the prayers One page Rosary Instructions – multiple languages as a way of teaching the children the life of Jesus Christ.  Actually, maybe it is because I am a good Catholic, no one else even offered to teach these classes. 

While I love my rosary (and provide them to others to give out), for me it is more of a tangible connection at times when I have felt alone.  I practice Contemplative Prayer, the Rosary is not something I get anything out of – but I teach it.  If you take a look at the link above you will see the scriptural readings that match decades.  I suppose you could say I used this as an interactive lesson.  These kids just don’t know the life of Jesus.  There has been a failure in their early years of not learning about our faith – the first 12-14 years of life.  So yes, this does also lay in the laps of parents.

I ordered more and had them blessed yesterday.  I guess part of me knew I would follow through teaching this year, I can do this for the next six months.  I am open to life changes, including becoming a Noni soon that may prevent me from teaching next year.

The Roman Catholic Church really, really needs to return to it’s basic beginnings – the teachings of Jesus.  Without sincere teaching of our Triune God – there is no reason to go to church.  Many current teachings are no longer believable to societies that receive a better education than decades ago.  The church teaches “our loving God” yet forgets how loving He really is   For the next six months – I will do my best to bring our Father to His children.  I only wish their parents had done this – long before.

How much time do you spend talking about God, your faith and your religion to your own children and family members?


Where do I belong?

As a child, I was raised as a Christian by my loving grandparents.  My own parents lacked a desire to instruct their offspring in any formal religious instruction.  My grandparents followed a very simple Christian lifestyle which in all honesty and truth seems to me, to be the closest of how I know Christ himself lived and taught.  Simple,  selfless, compassionate – love.  Completely with love.

I remember attending church with my grandparents as a very small child – and loving it!  The “Gospel Hall”  come one, come all.  “Take your coat off and stay awhile” – yes, really.  A habit I still keep when I attend Mass, even when I am chilly.  I’m in God’s house and settling in for a visit.  No tithing was required (though donations were accepted for overhead).  As long ago as that was, I have a memory of  rather than a basket being passed for “collections” they had a pretty burgundy colored velvet bag with a wooden circle on the top.  You could drop your donation in and no one could see the amount because it dropped to the bottom of the bag, out of view.  No judgement there for the poor or wealthy.  Pot luck suppers and church picnics held in state parks.

When I was seven, I spent the summer with my grandparents out-of-state.  At this point, the church they attended offered Baptism by full immersion.  I remember wanting so badly to go up one night to be Baptized.  I knew then that I loved Jesus Christ with all my heart and I wanted to be baptized in His name.  Sadly, my grandparents did not/could not allow that as my parents did not want us baptized as children.  That choice, my parents stated, was for adults only.

My parents did not attend church with us though I do have a vague recollection of attending a Dutch Reform Church in NY when I was small.  My parents had moved us to upstate New York, away from my grandparents.  I believe they promised my grandparents that they would take us to church. That did not last more than one or two times.   I remember being upset that we were not going to church.  As a very young child I spent a lot of time in the hospital for medical care, weeks/months at a time.  That’s how it was in the 1960’s.  Thankfully, I already knew Jesus at that time and that he loved me.

There were times when visiting overnight Girl Scout camp, or staying with friends that I would attend their church.  Growing up, many of my friends were Roman Catholic.  At such a young age, I had no idea what being Catholic meant (I did know they would not let me have communion and that I felt badly that I could not).  I had watched old black and white movies about St. Bernadette, Our Lady of Fatima.  I have vague memories of a movie about a Nun helping orphans.  At thirteen or so my best friends two Aunts were visiting from Boston.  They were both Nuns.  We visited a local Abbey.

Over the years there are various times I visited a particular location on the Abbey grounds.  Not drawn to a religious life as the nuns, more the peace and quiet and a specific spot there in which I liked to sit and pray.  I visited that spot a year or so ago and wondered in amazement what it was I found there – whatever it was no longer remained.  Perhaps because my faith and relationship with God has changed and evolved over time.  Perhaps because I often find peace and connection with God both sitting in my parish church, alone by the shore, or in prayer at home.  Interestingly, I have recently reconnected with my gal friend of those years.  She is no longer Catholic (Lutheran now), one of her aunts (one of the Nuns) has also left the church after many years . . .

Thankfully, my grandparents had taught me about Jesus Christ and how much He loved me.  I knew God was always with me.  A year or so my parents’ marriage faltered (their failing marriage was the reason we were sent to Tennessee for the summer)  my brother four years older than I, our mother and I were relocated to a small town in Connecticut to be near my mother’s family. 

This time, my grandparents (paternal) were in the state and though “retired”, my grandfather took a position as an estate manager in order to live nearby.  Back to church and loving overnights. My grandparents did not only take us to church.  I was taught to love and and service.  To visit the home bound, write letters, shop thrift, donate, share God.

There were times my brother and I were sent off to church either on our own (walking down the street to the local Congregational Church which when alive, my maternal great grandmother attended.) or with the families of friends, when my grandparents were away, needed a break from taking two kids with two very different personalities and finally, when they retired to Nova Scotia. 

I stayed many Saturday nights with my grandparents who at this time lived out-of-town, so that I could attend church with them on Sunday.  At home I remember around the time of eighth grade being sent to a Baptist church with my brother and the family of his friend.  I didn’t really like it.  I liked going to church not Sunday school (my grandparents church had Sunday school only for little ones).  After a certain age you attended Bible Study before worship on Sunday morning.  Home for a light Sunday lunch, early dinner, then back to church in the evening for more bible study.  We also attended bible study at church one night during the week.

When I was fifteen my grandparents retired to my grandfather’s hometown in Nova Scotia.  Being in my mid-teens it was not long before I was working all weekend (as well as school nights) and my religious life fell by the wayside.  I know God was always with me and kept in prayer in an undisciplined manner for years.

My conversion . . .

When I met my former husband, and he proposed I knew I wanted a church wedding.  I married for all of the wrong reasons, one bit of the fairy tale I believe was that he being from a “good Catholic” family would ensure the future of the family we would have together.  That too – was not to be.  We discussed where our marriage would take place, he visited the Pastor at the Catholic church he attended with his mother and siblings growing up (his father attended another parish).  I remember him coming home fuming and spouting some rather vulgar language and insisting we would never be married in a Catholic church.  Okay then. . . I had not attended my childhood church for many years but I will call, we will marry there. After being told that was okay, I was then informed –  No, that was not to be either. 

I learned that my former father in-law would not (could not) attend a marriage in a Protestant church because it would not be valid (I had no idea what that meant).  At last this mean a Justice of the Peace, and so – no church wedding.  We were to be the first marriage the Justice of the Peace officiated.  He grudgingly agreed that we could have some bible readings incorporated into the ceremony at my request.  We were married by the Justice of the Peace in an dingy VFW Hall in 1986.

Move ahead to 1988.  I was pregnant with our first child.  I was sure I would be able to bring my children to a Protestant church. My then husband was so adamant about not getting married in a Catholic church.  It wasn’t long before I was informed that was not going to happen either.  He insisted (after pressure from his parents) that the baby would be Baptized and raised Roman Catholic – “or we would attend – no church at all“.

I felt like I had no choice and being Christian was all that mattered. I had to bring my babies up loving Jesus as I did.  Then I learned I had to be Baptized or the baby could not be.  Oh.  Okay, that wasn’t so bad – right?  I had wanted to be Baptized from the time I was seven years old, sitting in that pew in a little church on a hot summer night so long ago, in Tennessee.  So – yes.  “I will be Baptized Catholic “and my babies will have that (I was young and naive) good “Catholic family” that I always dreamed of.

The church was contacted and an appointment with the Pastor was made.  We met with him briefly and were introduced to a deacon who was to instruct me in Catechism.  Sometime around the middle of February we began attending one hour classes for six weeks.  I was then Baptized, received my First Communion, Confirmed and our marriage was con-validated in a senior center on church property (but not in “the church”).  Still – no church wedding.  In retrospect, perhaps that is was a foreshadowing.

A dear one, once commented on my being upset with that Pastor “who did me wrong”.  He did not.  He did his job, I never felt that he was wrong.  I felt the church was wrong in forcing me through an annulment process in which I felt unsafe – knowing I was not married “in” the church.  Physical structure.  I do feel that the six weeks of instruction was nowhere near enough time for someone who was clueless about the Catholic religion to be given so many sacraments.  Given the Sacraments the way I was – it was not until many years later that I received the Sacrament of Confession.

My first confession, I still remember that day.  It was during Lent, the church had three or four Priests available at various areas of the church and you could go up in front of everyone (quietly) and whisper your confession.  My big confession was that it was my first confession.  Epic fail – I know.  Interestingly enough, the older Priest told me he was very happy for me (sincerely) that I had such a close relationship to God, that I felt I could ask our Father directly for his forgiveness.

Over the years all three of my boys were Baptized and raised (by me) as Roman Catholic.  All but the youngest was confirmed in the church.  The older two now say they did so grudgingly.  I remember their dad insisting upon it.  I divorced when my youngest should have gone through the confirmation program.  His father refused to bring him to Mass on his visitation weekends.  He had the boys more Sundays than I did.  For my son it became a real issue when the catechism program had a change in format.  My older boys were taught by Seminarians (not popular with parents, assuming that is why it changed – though I don’t know).  My older two boys did enjoy having them as their teachers.

When my youngest attended, the kids selected “classes” similar to high school, youngest son picked “Why be a Catholic?” first and oddly enough, at thirteen, the director of religious education could not relate to him why he should be a Catholic.  She promised me she’d have the Pastor speak to him, in time I learned that never happened.  So, he stopped going to CCD.

I had been teaching Catechism the year I filed for divorce and though I was encouraged to continue teaching, I felt that it was not the time – fearing a stigma of divorced woman in church (which does exist though it not often acknowledged).  I too ended up taking a long break from church.

A growing faith. . .

A few short years ago an online friend encouraged me to go back to church, to file for an annulment and feel free to begin a new life.   The annulment process was long and difficult.  I almost gave up on more than one occasion.  I had been legally married for twenty years when I petitioned, due to a complicated family background I was lacking in familial witnesses.  I prayed.  I prayed a lot.  My faith in God grew stronger with each day.  I knew, in my heart and soul –  the marriage that I had could not possibly have been blessed by God.  God would never have blessed the hell that had been.  I wanted the annulment to feel that blessing, that I knew in my heart but needed my church to know.  I so wanted to feel understood and hoped to one day have a real, true loving relationship and marriage.  A marriage God could bless.   In my church that meant an annulment.  Finally, approximately eighteen months (and several hundred hard-earned dollars) later – I received the news.  My request had been granted.

Remembering a promise, I had made a few years prior, that I would teach again if the marriage was annulled I stepped forward to take on teaching middle school students Faith Formation the next fall.

In a Sunday church bulletin, I read about an upcoming summer retreat to be held at a local parish.  From 1-5pm every other Sunday the group would meet to view videos on Catholicism, work together as a group and discuss the videos.  Great!  I signed up.  What better way to prepare for taking on a class of middle school kids?  I felt good about this.   I was going to learn more about my religion and grow deeper in my faith.  I did learn.  I watched, read, listened, heard and learned things that in retrospect. . . while I am glad my eyes opened, I often find myself wishing I was still naive and ignorant.  That was not God’s plan, it was not the path He chose for me.

The questions began . . .

It was during this summer retreat that I became a “Cafeteria Catholic”.  As much as I learned about my church and religion – I know that I lost an innocence that I cannot easily relay.  A church that I actively attended for years, volunteered with – summer bible school (when large groups of children attended!), teaching CCD, I even was the first (or so I was told) to bring the Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei Cub Scout emblem programs to my parish.

It was during this retreat that two issues, that as a mother of young men cut me to the quick and honestly, in a very deep way – broke my heart.  The church stance on same sex love came to the forefront one summer day, when a member of the group shared a family story and discussion ensued.

At this retreat, I met a young man a year or two older than my youngest son, he was discerning he had questions on celibacy and the conversations that ensued (more than one Sunday afternoon). The church requires most (but not all) Roman Catholic men seeking to become a Priestly brother of Christ (hoping I worded that properly) – to take a vow, if they are of a religious order.  To become a Diocesan Priest a promise of celibacy is required to be made to their Bishop

There are married Roman Catholic Priests in the United States, they have “converted” to Catholicism.  These men have wives, families – and work side by side with Priests who are required to take a vow or make a promise of Celibacy.  Disconnect.  Particularly when we know that St. Peter, chosen by Jesus Christ as the “rock of the church”, the first Pope – was married.  In fact, all of the original twelve apostles were married.  Love and marriage are God given gifts.   The church should not ask it’s religious to choose between marriage and life in service as Priest.

In future writings I will discuss my thoughts on these topics and more.  I have spent hours researching, discussing, speaking with and listening to….  There is an underlying sadness in my heart and soul now that I have not been able to reconcile. 

Why would our Lord, God – who is love itself, gift His children with Love and then expect them to turn their backs on it?  This is something I have difficulty wrapping my head around.  God is Love.  Love is God.  Love is love – right?

2/1/17  There is a very serious shortage of Catholic Clergy.  This is a disconnect between the church and the children of God.   God did not ask this.  It is a man made rule and does not agree with the Gospel teachings of Jesus or St. Paul.  All clergy should be allowed married as that is the foundation of the church.

Reading through articles posted and upcoming articles, I have – and will tie all of this together.

Some have told me I don’t belong in the church.  Some have wondered why I am still practicing this religion.  I read an article by a Pastor on Cafeteria Catholics, read articles linked off that article and have remained close to God, in prayer and actions. 

“Where do I belong?”  To God. 

Today, this means the Catholic Church.  I am where God asked me to be today, of that I am confidant.


2/1/17  This is an extended portion of my “About me” post.  I know I have certain readers that may find this helpful.  It’s still a “cliff notes” version of me, but explains a bit more about my religious background.  I realize how much I have grown spiritually over the past few years, if not religiously.  The Catholic church is shrinking.  I see reasons why this is happening – a disconnected clergy, particularly at the upper levels is largely the reason.  You cannot live in a box and expect to grow.  I have said recently and will repeat here, I have much respect for our clergy, I say nothing with any intention of causing hurt or pain though I am aware some things I say may cause that.  It is not without great efforts, prayer that I share what I do.  I am where I am supposed to be right now, the reason really is not clear to me.  I hold in my heart the original reason this blog began and that still is.  The additional writings here. . . seem to be something additional.  I know others will relate and understand this comes from my heart and soul.  I will move this back in date to be the original post in a day or two, as that is where it began.