Note

NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lead Us Not Into Temptation



Life is full of challenges -- one of the biggest being temptation. Being a recovering alcoholic, I appreciate the strength it takes to avoid it. Although eighteen years sober, I still experience days when all I want to do is grab the car keys and head to the nearest liquor store.

I have come to realize temptation gets stronger when we are on the right spiritual path.  Satan grows angry, doing all in his power to set up detours to lead us astray ... and he's a crafty one.  He knows our weaknesses and will use them against us ... pushing us to succumb to them and act accordingly.  Even if we don't act on them, he will take advantage of the fact we "almost" did and use that guilt to once again become entangled in his wicked web.  

Being mere humans, there are times we may lose a few battles with temptation. But, rest assured, as long as we believe that through asking for and receiving God's mercy, we will not lose the war. We'll grow in our faith and be better prepared for future skirmishes.  

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Just my thoughts for today.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Self-Confidence - A Slippery Slope



To be successful in life's endeavors, we need to have self-confidence; however, it's a slippery slope. If not kept in check, that self-confidence can grow to monstrous proportions resulting in feelings of superiority. Once we reach that point, it's like a drug … we need more. We do all we can to maintain that “high,” even if it's at the expense of others...and our souls.


I've been there, and looking back brings a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was so full of myself I failed to acknowledge those who helped and encouraged me ... but most importantly, failed to acknowledge God. I may have reached the top but I was alone … absent friends and bereft of spirit.


It's an important lesson in humility and calls to mind something I saw long ago:


 



So as we celebrate our many successes, let us always remember Philippians 2:1-10: 



“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”


 HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Accepting Change

Everyone makes mistakes, but it is what we do with them that's important.  We learn, make amends, and move forward in a positive direction.  Through the grace of God, we change and demonstrate that change daily in our words and actions.  There are those, unfortunately, that will insist on reliving and reminding us of our past transgressions. When this happens, it’s time to let go … not with malice, but with love and a prayer that God will bless them with all that is good and that someday they will be able to open their eyes and heart.

Dr. Steve Mariboli said, “We would do ourselves a tremendous favor by letting go of the people who poison our spirit.”  I wholeheartedly agree.   We should not let anyone define us by the past.  I can say with certainty and thanksgiving, we are not defined by our mistakes but by the love and mercy of God.



"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.  But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.  This saying is trustworthy."
Titus 3:5-8

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Leaving a Legacy




One of the most difficult things to do after a loved one passes is to take care of their financial affairs.  My father was meticulous in record-keeping and planning which alleviated some of the stress – all files were clearly marked along with contacts in the event of his death.  Although grateful for his organization, going through each file felt like an invasion of privacy.


All but one account was handled by telephone and I was able to keep my emotions in check … then I walked into his bank.  I sat down with one of the account representatives and when I handed him my father’s death certificate he sighed heavily and said, “Harold was one of our favorite customers.”  He left his desk to retrieve some paperwork and the manager walked in with a coin and mismarked dollar bill.  “Your father gave me this a few months ago, and I have it displayed on my desk.  He was always bringing in tokens of appreciation including boxes of Aplets and Cotlets.  He made our day every time he came in, he will be missed.”  I lost it.  The tears flowed as I pictured him grinning while handing out his treasures.  In the background, I heard the tellers moaning, “Oh, no,” and the tears continued. 


Many others shared the same sentiments, from doctor offices, the donut shop, his pedicure place – even people in our neighborhood he met while on his daily walks…people I had never met came to our door offering their condolences and said how much they enjoyed visiting with him, hearing about his life adventures and appreciated the candy he always brought along to share. 


Shannon Alder once said, “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.  A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they tell about you.”  What a wonderful legacy my dad left…one of selflessness, kindness and love. 


I’m sure when he entered Heaven, God smiled and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Issue of Life - On My Soapbox Again




I might offend some of my readers with this post, but as I read and hear more comments during the primaries, debates, etc., I cannot in good conscience acknowledge the rhetoric without sharing my views. 

It is difficult to understand how anyone can claim to be a Christian yet ignore the humanity of the preborn and support their destruction or support a candidate that does. Aren't Christians supposed to strive to honor God in all aspects of their lives? How can anyone honor Him by supporting, promoting or encouraging the killing and dismemberment of those most vulnerable?  

I was not aware there was a Christianity Cafeteria where you could choose what to put on your tray and what to pass by. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Proverbs 24 11-12

Did you fail to rescue those who were being dragged off to death, those tottering, those near death,  because you said, “We didn’t know about it”?  Surely, the Searcher of hearts knows
and will repay all according to their deeds

Psalm 139:13-16

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.   My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be.

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born
I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

1 John 3:17-18

If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him
compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in
word or speech but in deed and truth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In Matthew 15:8, Jesus’ words describe the religious of His day and it still applies:  “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  


We all stray from time to time, no one is perfect....be it from a variety of circumstances (being misinformed, misled, vulnerable, fearful, etc.) but because we have a loving and merciful God, we have the opportunity to make things right through repentance and change. 








Saturday, March 12, 2016

LETTING IT GO



My mind has been going at break-neck speed of late (more than usual) and it's driving me nuts.  I've been attempting to work through a myriad of issues by having chats with God ... bouncing my thoughts towards Heaven, then trying to remain silent to hear His answer.  No dice.  

It's time like this I get discouraged and yes, angry, that He is either ignoring me or worse....laughing (He does have a sense of humor - I'm living proof).  Last night it hit me.  Not only is my mind full of stuff I already turned over to Him and took back, but new stuff is squeezing in. No wonder I'm a mess!  


It's time to get out pencil and paper, write everything down, put the paper in a frying pan and light a match ... an exercise that reminds me once I turn something over to God, it's out of my hands forever ... He's in control.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Anniversary in Heaven



     Today marks my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary … and the first time celebrating together in Heaven.  My heart is heavy, missing them, but I am comforted knowing they are back in each other's arms.  I wear both of their wedding bands on a necklace and when grasping them I fondly remember (here come the tears) …
     Every night, they joined hands and prayed the Lord’s prayer.  When my mom was too weak and nearing death, dad prayed it twice … once for him and once for her and continued to do so each night after her passing until his own two weeks ago.
     The love they share is immortal as is the love I have for them. 


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.  I love and miss you more than words can express.




Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Veiling The Face of our Savior


One of the many things I love about Mass is walking in and seeing the beautiful crucifix at the altar; however, it is currently veiled until Good Friday.  

Covering the crucifix has profound impact on the faithful by creating a strong yearning to once again see the beautiful face of our Savior.  It leads us to focus more on His great sacrifice for our salvation, and the importance of cleansing our souls through reconciliation and penance.


For me, it's a visual reminder of how much I need Christ in my life and how empty it was when I rejected Him...I was adrift in a world void of purpose and filled with hopelessness.  It was through His love and mercy I was able to finally find my way home.  Praise God!


For 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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.   (John 3:16-17)


...for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.  For the scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame."  (Romans 10: 9-11).

Monday, March 7, 2016

Making Peace: A Lost Opportunity

It has been almost two weeks since my dad’s passing.  I have written about an estranged family member in prior posts and the need to avoid the toxicity of that relationship.  Upon my father’s illness, I felt it was important to reestablish contact – to allow that person to make peace with him.  Sadly, my pleas were ignored due to an unwillingness to set aside pride for the sake of another thus pouring salt on the open wound of grief.

It may be difficult to forgive, but through God’s grace, not impossible.  I know if I carry anger or hatred in my heart, I will not only be just as at fault, but also deny myself the joy of celebrating the love and life of my dad.   

In order to heal, I need to close the door of reconciliation ... for now.  The love is still there and my heart breaks knowing a loved one will be facing unbearable guilt and regret for passing on the opportunity to make peace.  I pray someday that heart softens and becomes willing to accept forgiveness and that all suffering will cease through God’s mercy and compassion.