Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meeking



St. George: Wikimedia Commons



An old English word used for training a horse is "meeking". I wasn't aware of the word meeking at all until a few years back when, much to my humiliation (and note the word humiliation), a women gifted with discerning the spiritual gifts of others informed me (yes, she actually got a word of knowledge about it) that God was "meeking" me. Lacking meekness, my mind immediately pushed aside the words she had spoken about my spiritual gifts and zoned right in on the "meeking"...lol. Let's just say my face felt hot and flushed and I couldn't wait to get out of there.

But she was right. The next three years were the hardest of my spiritual life as this meeking process
began and continues to this day. Imagine if you can constant correction by both God...and others. Many of you probably CAN imagine it because you've been through it yourselves. The saints warn us about this stuff and we assume they are exaggerating.

Oh yes...God uses others to correct us. It loses its sting after a while but I'm not going to lie and say it's an easy process. It helps to know that this is a stage of the spiritual life that very few are exempt from.

If you fight the correction...it gets worse. I kid you not. If you don't accept the correction humbly it's as if all hell breaks loose and everybody and their brother begins noticing every little (okay...big)
fault and peculiarity you have.

What I didn't understand then was that meeking was a good thing. Meeking isn't meant to strip the power from a horse but rather to harness that power so it can be used in a more purposeful manner. Meeking, as ugly as it sounds, leaves a person with a pliable and teachable spirit and this is something that we want. Without this teachable spirit it's very difficult to make much spiritual progress.

I guess I should have thanked God for the advance warning that He was doing this but I would have been lying through my teeth if I had said I was grateful for it back then. Even today the thank you is forced through slightly gritted teeth.

A great help to me was Archbishop Fenelon's book Let Go. Even the chapter titles spoke to me:

"Sensitivity to Reproof is the Surest Sign We Needed it."

Ouch.

Or how about this:

"Your ego can neither be convinced nor forced into submission by any other means; it is always finding secret lines of supply from your own courage; it is always discovering impenetrable retreats in your own cleverness."

I felt bad for the poor guy just thinking of what he must have gone through to get such a deep understanding of our innate stubbornness.

Oh, and a word to the wise:

Never automatically agree with everyone just to get this spiritual stage over with.

Trust me on this one...it doesn't work.

What do you mean how do I know?

(grin)


Food for Thought - Bullying

My thanks to CSD elementary school for this helpful checklist. I didn't realize it would come in so handy navigating the internet too.

“Warning Signs of a Bully” Checklist
____  1.  Enjoys feeling powerful and in control
____  2.  Seeks to dominate and/or manipulate peers
____  3.  May be popular with other students, who envy his or her power
____  4.  Is physically larger and stronger than his or her peers
____  5.  Is impulsive
____  6.  Loves to win at everything; hates to lose at anything. Is both a poor winner (boastful, arrogant) and a poor loser
____  7.  Seems to derive satisfaction or pleasure from other’s fear, discomfort, or pain
____  8.  Seems overly concerned with others “disrespecting” him or her; equates “respect” with fear
____  9.  Seems to have little or no empathy for others
____ 10. Seems to have little or no compassion for others
____ 11. Seems unable or unwilling to see things from another person’s perspective or “walk in someone else’s shoes”
____ 12. Seems willing to sue and abuse other people to get what he or she wants
____ 13. Defends his or her negative actions by insisting that others “deserved it, asked for it, or provoked” him or her; a conflict is always someone else’s fault
____ 14. Gets excited when conflicts arise between others
____ 15. Stays cool during conflicts in which he or she is directly involved
____ 16. Exhibits little or no emotion (flat affect) when talking about his or her part in a conflict
____ 17. Blames other people for his or her problems
____ 18. Refuses to accept responsibility for his or her negative behaviors
____ 19. Shows little or no remorse for his or her negative behaviors
____ 20. Lies in an attempt to stay out of trouble
____ 21. Expects to be “misunderstood, disrespected, and picked on;” attacks before he or she can be attacked
____ 22. Interprets ambiguous or innocent acts as purposeful and hostile; uses these as excuses to strike out at others verbally or physically
____ 23. “Tests” your authority by committing minor infractions, then waits to see what you’ll do about it
____ 24. Disregards or breaks rules
____ 25. Is generally defiant or oppositional toward adults
____ 26. Seeks/craves attention; seems just as satisfied with negative attention as positive attention
____ 27. Attracts more than the usual amount of negative attention from others; is yelled at or disciplined more often than other student
____ 28. Seems mainly concerned with his or her own pleasure and well-being
____ 29. Has a close network of a few friends (actually “henchmen” or “lieutenants”), who follow along with 
whatever he or she wants to do

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pornchai's Conversion Story

Those of you who follow Fr. Gordon MacRae's story on These Stone Walls might also be interested in reading about his cellmate, Pornchai Moontri, at divinemercy.org. The article, Mercy - Inside Those Stone Walls, speaks about Pornchai's conversion and his entrance into the Catholic Church. It's a beautiful, grace-filled story that I highly recommend to everyone.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BRRRRR.....Now THAT'S Cold



"Overheard" online this morning:

It's so cold outside that...
...the cows are giving ice cream instead of milk
...the politicians in DC have their hands in their own pockets for a change
...my get up and go got up and went south for the winter
...our snowman knocked on the door and asked to come in


Friday, January 18, 2013

The Finger of God


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts become troubled or afraid." John 14:27




I've been meditating on this verse from John for many years now. When God first drew me back to himself I used to beg and plead for his peace daily. God would give it to me but I would lose it again easily as the cares and anxieties of the world set back in.

The Lord's peace... oh, how I craved this. The finger of God upon my heart always.

This is the precious gift I've longed for my entire life...this peace that surpasses all understanding. I reached for it but it kept slipping through my fingers. I could not grasp it, I leaked grace like a broken vessel. Because I was (and am) a broken vessel.

I didn't know that God especially treasures broken things. That He tossed aside his crown and came down to earth to save what was broken.

I didn't understand that He gave his peace to broken men.

 God wants us to have peace during our earthly journey. When Jesus gave his peace to his disciples they were far from perfect so this peace isn't dependent on your "idea of perfection". No, this peace flows from the understanding that God loves us dearly. It's a gift to his beloved sons and daughters. He treasures each and every one of us and knows who we are and who He created us to be. In order to trust in God's picture of us, we first need to throw out all the false pictures that others have painted for us over the years. And the ones we have painted for ourselves.

Toss them out like the garbage they are.

But what if we think that others just may be correct in the way they see us?

They can't be correct because they can only see a tiny piece of who you are.  Without seeing and knowing the deepest part of you they cannot have this kind of understanding of who you are.

You are not who others think you are, no one knows you but God. We become layered with other people's misconceptions of us until we cannot even see ourselves anymore. They form clouds over our hearts blocking out the full light of God's love.

Ask the Lord to reveal your true self. It may be gradual (or not), but God will show you that only His perception of you is the true one. And you are His child. Counterattack your unloving thoughts about yourself with the knowledge that He loves you. He loves you with an infinite love. Believe in this. It is total truth. Let Him love you; you were created to live in this love. This love is the firm foundation of your entire existence. Let your life flow outward from this base of love and things will run much more smoothly. We place in our path so many obstacles to receiving the clear light of the Holy Spirit and this need not be so.

Remember to treat yourself with the same mercy that God treats you with. God is incredibly merciful to us and so, we too, must treat his creation lovingly...which includes ourselves.

May the finger of God be upon you always.
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tools for Healing


God wants to heal us. If there is one thing I've learned over the years it is that God desires to heal us more than we desire it ourselves. Christ came to heal the wounds of sin and this healing begins in time. That may seem pretty obvious to many but you'd be surprised at what I hear at times. One of the oddest is that we aren't healed until we reach Heaven. Yes, I've heard this statement a few times too often. Until that time we are left to our own devices. When I think about it I realize that this type of thinking makes God seem...well...

...stingy.

 As if He withholds healing and grace at whim depending on his mood that day.

Yikes!

That sounds more like us, if you ask me.

Many times we are blocking the healing in some way. We may not like to hear that we still have a lot of inner work that needs to be done.

Pride may be a factor.

We are impatient and want God to heal us instantly but very often we need to learn things about ourselves first. What if He gave you an enormous healing but because you have certain patterns of behavior or thinking that aren't healthy you end up right back where you started? Wouldn't that be worst? God wants to heal us...but He wants it to stick.

God's not going to heal an area that you refuse to let Him touch so the first thing to do is to invite Him into the area you are asking Him to heal. A simple prayer like this is fine:

Jesus, I am in deep need of emotional healing and I ask you to begin to bring healing to this area of my life. Today, I place my emotions under your gentle mastery and I  place my trust in your healing love.

Here are some things to consider:

~ Naming your emotions - This is very important for those who have suppressed their emotions for years.
    The first step in naming your emotions isn't so much getting this right as it is becoming aware that you
    have emotions...and very strong ones at that.
~ Feeling these emotions and bringing them  to God in prayer. If I cannot do this during the course of the
   day then I do it at bedtime when I go over my day with the Lord.
~Pay attention to your emotional responses to others. Years ago, the Lord made me aware that I sometimes
   used my emotions to manipulate others instead of speaking clearly and addressing the problem.
~ Many of us were taught that certain emotions were sinful and this is why we suppressed them. Though our
   brain may tell us it's ridiculous, we automatically feel guilt when we become angry. If you look back
    into your earlier years you may find that this is a conditioned response. Anger in itself is not a sin - it's what
    you  do with the anger that becomes the problem (taking it out on others, sitting and stewing in it).
~ Exerting rigid control over your emotions is draining and they'll "leak" out in various ways if you don't
    address them as they come.
~Using religion to cover up the inner work that needs to be done (doing more and more outwardly to mask
   inner conflict/ attempting to change others before changing yourself - excessive religiosity). An example
   would be a person who focuses too much on the outward signs of religion while neglecting the inner
   because their pride won't accept the need for personal change.)
~ Be aware of the connection between suppressed emotions and the Seven Deadly Sins (For example
    "stuffing" your emotions with food. Addictions are common among suppressors because they deal with
    emotions in an unhealthy fashion. If gluttony (over-eating, alcoholism, substance abuse, over-exercising,
    etc..) seems to be a particular problem for you this may be a sign that you need to work on your
    emotions. Sloth, too, has a connection with the emotions. They all do.You may have a better chance of
     overcoming these if you address the area of your emotions first.

Here's a quick list of tools and tips that may be helpful:

~Generational healing/ healing of the family tree
 
    - Intergenerational Healing by Fr. Robert DeGrandis
    -Healing Your Family Tree by Fr. John Hampsch
    - Life Missions, Family Healing by Michael H. Brown
    -Claretian Teaching Ministry (website)
    -Camelot Warfare Library  (website)

~Inner Healing
     - Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
     - Healing Through the Mass by Fr. Robert DeGrandis
     - Catholic Therapists.Com - There are some good articles here
   

~Naming your emotions - don't worry if you are wrong at first, the point is to notice that you actually have
  the entire package of feelings.

~Accepting your emotions - don't immediately push them away without attempting to discover what they
are trying to tell you. While emotions are certainly not the first thing we should rely on, they can still
give us a great deal of information about ourselves. Give them their place but make sure you don't give them
first place. As I wrote in a previous post, you cannot master your emotions if you are unable/unwilling to express them -they will always master you. Whether subtly or overtly, if ignored, they will exert  an influence on you.

 ~Paying attention/going over your day with the Lord.

~Reading the Psalms. David was a very passionate man and the Psalms express many different emotions. He
never hid them from God, but rather, expressed them freely in prayer. This is a good model for us to use.



The glory of God is a human being fully alive.
                                       St. Irenaeus




Friday, January 11, 2013

A Firm Foundation for Healing

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a crooked little house.
                           A Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme

I always loved this nursery rhyme. Even as an adult I can relate to this "crooked man who walked a crooked mile". Every part of his life was crooked and I wonder if he was even aware how crooked everything in his life was? Or, did everything look straight from his crooked perspective?

Sometimes we are not even aware of just how crooked and skewed our perspective on life is and things look straight to us when they are really off kilter. We have a difficult time discerning the truth about things. For example, look at what's going on around the earth right now.

It hasn't escaped my notice that even the earth rotates on a tilted axis. I sometimes kid around with the Lord and ask if He did it on purpose to make up for our skewed vision. "I'll just tilt them a bit to the right since they tend to list to the left by nature."

 I know, that is sooo...not funny ;) Plus, it doesn't really tilt to the right - it all depends on how we look
  at it.

But the point I'm making is that we often don't even see  our own "crookedness". We are bent but since everyone around is bent too it's not as obvious as it should be.

Or it wasn't...until someone who was not bent at all stepped into the picture. He came and taught us how we should live. He laughed and He cried. He grieved and felt fear. He got angry. He was not afraid to show his emotions.

In my last post I spoke about the difficulties we face when we stifle or bury our emotions. We may lack peace and joy in our lives or feel as if something is missing. We feel far from complete. I think the first thing  some of us may need to understand is that all people have the same basic emotions as we do. God didn't parcel out joy to one, sadness to another, fear to the third - it just doesn't work this way. Yes, each person is unique and some emotions may take precedence over others depending on the person's individual personality but God doesn't withhold joy on a whim. Temperaments are different but we all carry the full package of emotions.

So where do those who need emotional healing start?

As I wrote in a previous post a good place to begin may be with the way you see yourself. I say this  because it's much more difficult to accept the healing that the Lord longs to do if you don't love yourself. I'm not talking about the negative kind of self-love that is selfish and self-serving - I'm talking about the kind of love that stems from the knowledge that God loves you totally and completely. The bad kind of self-love stems from loving the false you - the one you created (with the help of others), not the real you that God created in his image and likeness. The reason why I published the post on self-image first is because we have to be able to accept gifts freely. How can God heal someone who pushes away the gift He offers? (I don't deserve this gift, etc...) God's grace is not about deserving, it's not performance related. We have to cut loose wrong thinking such as:

If I try hard enough to please Him maybe God will heal me. Many of us realize that this type of faulty thinking doesn't come from God but usually stems from an upbringing that was based on conditional love... and there may have been many, many, conditions to receiving this love. These messages may have been spoken or they may have been silent messages - love withheld for performance reasons that leave a child in a place of trying to earn love all the time. The problem with this is that we take these spoken or unspoken messages into adulthood with us and continue with that "people pleasing" mentality. And it never, ever works. Just take a look at the performance based society we live in and then take a look at the fruit it has borne. Abortion is another fruit of this type of thinking.

God works things the other way around. First you are loved and all else that you do proceeds (or should) from this love. Mother Teresa knew God's love and her great works proceeded from this love.

Man, if you only knew how hard God has had to pound this into my head. "You are loved not for what you do but for who you are - my child."  I was a people pleasing, performance based thinker through and through. I still battle with this at times. No wonder the Scripture, "And Pilot, wanting to please the crowd, released to them Barabbas" always bothered me so much. This people pleasing thing had to go. The work wasn't the problem, the thinking was. (Remember when I mentioned the "double yoke" syndrome in a previous post? Here's another reason for it.)

The performance based life makes you feel like a puppet, the love based life frees you. This base matters very much. It's far easier to do things from a position of love. Think of the word "performing"-
doesn't it make you think of acting or pretending? God doesn't like "performing" either - we are people, not trained monkeys. (Please note : I am not speaking about the theological issue of justification here but rather our having a firm foundation of love to stand on.)

A big plus of working from a love base versus a performance base is that the first allows grace free reign while the second stifles it.

 So, the question is:

  Are we living out our lives from the solid base of God's love? From our true selves? Or does the way we live proceed from the very shaky foundation of trying to please others (performing/ego boosting).

I stress this love base so much because in order for us to receive the emotional healing we need we have to trust God and feel safe in His Presence because that's exactly where we want to place ourselves to receive this healing. If we don't have this confidence we will more than likely get up and walk away the minute our "avalanche of suppressed emotion" really starts dislodging. Especially if you were taught that certain emotions were sinful. But here's a comforting thought: God already knows everything that is within you  (the good, the bad, and the ugly and some of it is very ugly) and has loved you up until now so it's safe to let this stuff out because you aren't hiding anything from Him anyway.

Emotional healing often comes through prayer. If we don't recognize that God is doing this interior work in us we may mistake it for harassment during prayer. I was afraid at first when "emotional junk" started coming up during my prayer sessions years ago. There were times when my entire prayer session strictly consisted of this kind of upheaval. I used to battle it until I figured out what was going on. Over time, I began to notice how much better I felt within a day or two after these sessions. As if huge burdens were lifted off of me.

We can ask God specifically for this type of healing too. He certainly knows we all need it to some degree or another.

Another thing that has helped me tremendously is praying for intergenerational healing and healing of the family tree. This had an enormous effect on my life. I noticed some immediate changes after going through these series of prayers. If there is a lot of "yuck" in your family history this may be a good area to hit. I had a grandfather who was a 32nd degree Mason and I will go so far as to say it's crucial to do this if any of your ancestors were involved with freemasonry or any other type of occult activity.
We had other issues in our family line but none as detrimental as this. It was worst than everything else all  put together. Freemasonry and Christianity can never be mixed.

In my next post I'll share some other tools and resources that have been helpful to me. God gives us so many avenues of healing that it is a shame if we don't reach out and grasp them. When one person in a family is healed the whole clan reaps the spiritual benefits of it.

Especially the children.



Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
                                    Mother Teresa












Thursday, January 10, 2013

Emotional Healing

I'm going to be very honest and admit upfront that dealing with my emotions has been one of the more difficult aspects of my spiritual life. As a matter of fact, maybe the most difficult thus far. Those who were raised in dysfunctional households as children may be able to relate to this post more so than those whose emotions are well integrated into their "personhood".

I spent years living as an emotional "train wreck". Of course, I wasn't aware I was an emotional "train wreck", I barely acknowledged my emotions at all. This left me feeling very fake - almost as if I was a robot in some ways. I don't know how many times in my life I've plastered fake smiles on my face for others so that all would look well on the surface. This is what I was trained to do, to keep up appearances at all costs. This is not my parents' fault - they were taught to do the same. Plus, society also sends us the message that only certain emotions are "acceptable" and the less acceptable ones should be shut down before they cause trouble for ourselves or others.

Do you suffer from a lack of peace? Do you sometimes feel as if the joy that's supposed to anchor a Christian's life passed you by? As in:

 God, I think you might just have forgotten to put the joy gene in me.

I believed this for a good portion of my life.

It's a lie.

If we suppress our emotions our entire lives the joy that lies beneath them gets buried under the avalanche of this emotional junk.

And I had a heavy-duty avalanche on top of me that left me feeling crushed and excessively burdened.
I had trouble believing Jesus' words,  "For my yoke is easy and my burden light."

Every time I'd read this I'd think, "Oh no, your yoke weighs a ton, Lord."

Then I realized that it wasn't the Lord's yoke I was carrying (which I'll speak of further in another post).

A large portion of my "double" yoke (lol) was from the weight of years of emotional turmoil that had not been dealt with. It was so darn heavy that I felt like I was trudging through water most of the time!

 And it still does sometimes... but it's getting better. It's funny, but I thought my load would get heavier as I grew in Christ but the opposite seems to be happening. Though I deal with similar circumstances, its impact is lessening.

So how do we know if we are under an excessive emotional burden? (You all know how I love lists so here comes another one...lol.) While this may not be true for everyone here are certain "signs" that may point to it (you may have a number of these symptoms or just a few):

~ You sometimes feel like you are wearing a mask. You feel a bit "unreal" or "fake".
~ There's a lack of steady peace and joy in your life
~ You feel numb ( Your body may even go numb, as in panic attacks, because your body is giving you
  clues as to your emotional state.)
~ You are confused or spacey
~ You lack energy (because suppressing emotion uses up A LOT of energy, so does pretending)
~ You get sick often ( The body expresses what you cannot. There has to be an outlet. We are body,
    soul, spirit and one reflects on the other. When they are in conflict with each other there are always
    symptoms of some sort whether it be illness or other bodily manifestations of the turmoil within
    you.)
 ~ You were taught that certain emotions were unacceptable.
~ You have a lot of "triggers". Someone will accidentally touch one of these hot spots and you over-
    react.
~ You have difficulty naming your emotions for what they are. Grief, sadness, anger, etc.. - you aren't
    quite sure which one you are experiencing. (For me, I've often found that when I dig beneath my
     anger I find grief. This surprised me at first.)
~ A troubled thought life. (Things bubble up as the avalanche of "stuff" dislodges. This is not a bad
   thing if handled in the right way. Once you get over the shock of what comes up, that is. Some of
   the stuff is unpleasant so our first reaction is to deny it access but this just further exasperates the
   problem.)
~ You have difficulty making choices (Those leftover emotions are exerting their influence even when
   you are unaware of that influence so you become confused at which choice is best.)

I am in no way suggesting that we should give in to our emotions and let them fly all over the place. What I am suggesting is this:

Your cannot master your emotions if you are unable/unwilling to express them -they will always master you. Whether subtly or overtly, if ignored, they will exert  an influence on you. In other words:

You will be a slave to them. A prison is a prison regardless of whether the prisoner is behind the walls of a pretty mansion or an iron fortress.

 There is no such thing as a part-time slave.





 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Unholy Mirror




When I write about healing in my posts I am usually talking about spiritual healing. Physical healing is wonderful but many times it's simply the byproduct of a much deeper inner healing. Sometimes we block God's healing - in my own life one of the greatest stumbling blocks to healing was and is myself. As this stumbling block is moved out of the way the spiritual healing my soul needs has sped up.

One of the more common stumbling blocks to healing is self-hatred. The wrong kind of self-hatred. We aren't talking about the self-hatred the saints speak about here that's aimed at the false self. We're talking about a very real hatred/dislike of oneself. And it comes about through looking at yourself in an unholy mirror.

What is this unholy mirror?

It's all the false things you've told yourself and others have told you since you were very small that warp the way you see yourself and the way you see others. Add to that the wounds others have inflicted upon you and the wounds you inflicted upon yourself by your own sins and you begin to see how a distortion in the way you see yourself can become a big obstacle. For those who were raised in dysfunctional households - think of all the negative pictures others have painted of you with their words and/or actions (this also includes those things NOT done or said that should have been), especially when you were young and impressionable, and you can see how this might be a big problem. Children have no reason to believe an adult wouldn't be telling them the truth so they begin to believe that something is innately wrong with them.

God wants to shatter this mirror. Or at least break it away piece by piece. He wants you to see yourself  through HIS eyes. He wants you to see your potential in Him. He wants us to know we are loved and cherished by Him.

In my case, the Lord chipped away at this false mirror gradually. No doubt had He removed it all at once I wouldn't have been able to accept it. Plus, its gradual removal has taught (and is teaching) me a lot.

This hatred of oneself  may not be obvious to those who suffer from it because to them it's normal - they've lived with it all their lives and have never seen themselves in any other way. In other cases it's very obvious because it manifests all the time in their thought life. It's extremely prevalent in those who come from dysfunctional homes - children of alcoholics or drug addicts, those who are abused verbally/physically/sexually, those who are raised in homes where one or both parents are mentally ill, children of divorce, etc..

That covers a lot of homes.

I should have known I had a problem with this because it was quite obvious even as a child. I often felt defeated before I even began something. The world seemed overwhelming to me. If someone said something nice about me I would automatically correct their "mistake". I knew something was terribly wrong but I just didn't know what that terrible something was.

 When I was in my twenties I read a lot of self-help books and tried to speak more positively about myself but it didn't really sink in - the only thing I was positive about was that I had a big problem. Saying positive things about yourself doesn't correct the underlying issues. It doesn't heal the wounds. Plus, I always felt like I was lying. Saying something is true doesn't necessarily make it so.

 We need to throw away the false pictures of ourselves (the way we see ourselves/the way others see us) and ask God how HE sees us.

His is the true picture. And His is the one that really matters.

Prayer: courtesy of Mary's Rosary Chain









Saturday, January 5, 2013

Satan's Terrible Blows

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how God heals us.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from the grocery store and decided to listen to some Christmas music. I turned on the stereo and heard a woman ask:

 "Who were you before Satan rained down his blows upon you?"

To my complete and utter shock, tears immediately welled up in my eyes. My husband had reset my car stereo recently and had added a Christian station that he thought I'd enjoy listening to but I had forgotten about it. Until that question boomed through my speakers.

Who knew that one sentence could evoke such a powerful emotional response from me? I couldn't
get those words out of my head. Who WAS I before Satan rained down his blows upon me?

 I didn't even know the answer. Raised in a dysfunctional household and an even more dysfunctional world the blows came hard and heavy at a very young age. By the time I reached my teen years I barely recognized myself.

And things only spiraled downwards from there.

Oh, I can easily answer this question from my head. I can reel off a  "pat" answer about  how I am a child of God, created in His likeness and image. I can rattle off to you just what God has done for me and how much He loves me. My mind knew who I was.

But my heart doesn't always know.

"Who were you before Satan rained down his blows upon you?"

I think that one of the reasons this question troubled (and continues to trouble) me so much is because I often ask God who He created me to be. The answer "yourself" is not one that makes a whole lot of sense to me. Sometimes it feels as if I've spent half my life just trying to understand exactly who I am. Or to put it more precisely: who I am in Him.

 And who God is, for that matter.

Here is something that I do know about myself:

God sees me far differently than I see myself. I am already healed in eternity. How do I know this? Because I've seen it a number of times. A perfect picture of me - healthy, whole, and smiling at God. Full of peace and joy. I can see it shining through my eyes in this future vision. I see this picture often, especially when I go before The Blessed Sacrament during Adoration. As much as I like seeing myself in this way...I can't really relate.

At least, not here in time. Oh no, here in time I am not at all like the picture of me in eternity. I am a caricature of my true self. As a matter of fact, it boggles my mind when I see the other picture.

The reason I am writing about this is because I believe that most of us are in great need of spiritual healing and I think, to start, it would be good to ask these questions:

"Who was I before Satan rained down his blows upon me?"

                                         and

"Heavenly Father? How do you see me in Christ?"




There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
                                                                                       C.S. Lewis












Fait Accompli

Did you ever notice that Isaiah 53:5 reads "by his stripes we were healed". Not "are healed" but "were healed".

As in:

Done

Finished

Imagine that.

We were healed in Christ before we even knew we needed healing.

                                                 "It is finished."     Jn 19:30

Oh, the grace of it. The pure, unmerited grace of it.