Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mk 8:34-9:1 What It Takes

Mk 8:34-9:1 What It Takes

(Click here for readings)

In Genesis 11: 1-9, God-Almighty confused the world with various languages so that the only language the entire world could understand would be that of our actions. The language that speaks louder than words and unites all of God’s children is the language of love. This is the language of Christ.

How many years the Lord wishes to give to each and every one of us may be a mystery. What may happen tomorrow or 5 years from now remains a mystery. Who comes into our lives and who exits our world will always come as a surprise to us. But there is one thing that we can all be sure of, and that is what purpose our lives serve.

Jesus whole existence can be summed up in the words, “Yes, I have come to do your will.” I do not know who said this, I suspect the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, but in one simple sentence this unknown author summarizes brilliantly the rhyme and reason for Christ’s existence, and the Lord also sheds light and helps to clarify the purpose of my life too. After all, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Christ died for us. His death cleansed us of our sins. In fact, his death killed death itself. This is what it means to be a Christian: to believe in this. But to live as a Christian means to undergo a certain kind of death – to surrender your will and lay down your arms of pride, vanity and sensuality to the Lord so that He, and only He, can transform you back into himself.

Saying you’re sorry, admitting your mistakes and acknowledging that you have been going down the wrong path is an essential ingredient to this process of surrender. It is called repentance. It is not easy. It means more than eating your vegetables. It means stripping yourself of years and years of Mr. Rogers: “You’re special.” You are not special. Sorry. You are special only if you begin to switch sides and begin to fight on the right side – the tiny army of repentant sinners: prostitutes, lepers, cripples and thieves. I think that if I could see Mr. Rogers now I would strangle him. But then, that would keep me from moving to the other side! Mr. Rogers is not alone, he and a bunch of others helped coco wash an entire generation of self-conceited and self-absorbed children. And it will only get worse before it begins to get better. The Lord today tells us, you are special when you do something special for others.

The Father will not take me back until I repent. “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” As I mentioned before, I may not know exactly when I will be called to the Kingdom, but it will happen. And I must be prepared for it to happen. The Lord will not take me back until I have willfully submitted myself to this kind of humiliation and kind of death. Will he help me? Of course he will. How? By putting a little of himself in me. We all have remorse. Regardless of where we come from, we can all feel remorse for doing wrong rather than right. The Christian acts on it and falls to his knees and repents. But he is called to go a few steps further. Actually, he is called to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The Christian is called to imitate, extend and multiply the Lord. He becomes another Christ. He dies to himself so that others may live. It does not mean being a doormat. On the contrary, it means being strong enough to carry upon your shoulders and to know the Truth, share the Truth, live the Truth and love the Truth. It means not being “ashamed of the Son of Man” in this “faithless and sinful generation.”

Father, he who knew no sin was made sin for us, to save us and restore us to your friendship. Look upon our contrite heart and afflicted spirit and heal our troubled conscience, so that in the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit we may proclaim your praises and glory before all the nations. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


  1. haha, you don't like Mr.Rogers like I DO NOT like Oprah. She is one who proudly boasts that she has no regrets from her past...and when anyone says that I just laugh. Why do I laugh? because they are stupid for saying that. Of course we all have regrets. But it's the trendy thing to say "no regrets" and also: "If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing" This thing that the crowd tends to say because it sounds trendy and cute, this thing of not changing a thing I say this to that "BOLONY!" I know for one I would most definitely change a few things. For example the times I have hurt people with my words and/or actions and/or nonaction...just one of the few things I would definitely change.

    I guess I don't like Oprah because she is full of vanity. She thinks she is above most of us and she thinks she knows better than God does.She thinks she's perfect...hence, no regrets or no changes. The sad thing is that she influences so many people. Ugh, I wish she would just go away!

    Enjoy this beautiful day, Padrecito.

  2. I would kinda like to wring Mr. Rogers neck myself or at least slap him around and wake him up!!! OK I know this is not a Christian attitude, but I completely agree.

    I wish I hadn't bought that whole idea of encasing my daughters in a bubble of self indulgence, self importance and basically believing they were the center of the universe but I know why I did it. It wasn't Mr. Rogers.

    I was trying to do the opposite of what my parents did to me. The physical, mental and emotional abuse caused so much damage that I am still trying to heal the deep wounds 40+ years and thousands of dollars in therapy later.

    So I didn't beat my kids or tear them down and make them feel like crap. I built them up way too much, spoiled them and pretty much let them run the house. But I did take them to therapy every time there was an issue because I didn't have the skills to parent properly. I never learned healthy parenting.

    And thank God, I figured out my mistakes just as my youngest daughter was going into high school, I took her to LifeTeen at St. Ann and got her involved. I know that saved her life and her soul! Along with TONS AND TONS OF PRAYERS, TEARS AND HOURS BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, which actually grew my faith way beyond anything I could have imagined!!! It's interesting how God has ulterior motives too!

    So basically, by doing the opposite of my parents I just screwed my kids up DIFFERENTLY.

    My eldest daughter had a MIRACULOUS conversion in CRHP.

    So what I'm saying is that even if we do the most idiotic things as parents, there is recourse to God Almighty. HE works miracles day and night!!!!!

    And I can't stand Oprah either! She's leading millions to hell in a hand basket, they are following her like a dog in heat! (I hate to use the sheep analogy here)

  3. Dear Fr. Alfonse,

    I get what you are saying about Mr. Rogers and the generation of self-absorbed and conceited children. But I do believe that children need to know that they are special and loved. Scripture tells us that we are precious in His eyes.

    I grew up in a household where I was never told I was loved. As a matter of fact I was told the opposite, that I was hated. My childhood was full of abuse, hatred and lies.

    I know my parents were broken just as I am. But my cross right now is fighting these demons that continue to haunt me with their lies that I am not lovable, that I a worthless and that I will always be this way. I was reminded recently that it takes time to overcome 40 + years of lies.

    I love the Lord and feel that I am obedient to Him. I pray, journal, attend daily Mass, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently, have committed time in Adoration and study Scripture.

    I LOVE doing all of these things and wish I had more time to spend doing them! I don’t do them to try and earn God’s love; I do them because I want to know Him. I want to “know the Truth, share the Truth, live the Truth and love the Truth.”

    How can all of these things feel so right, yet I remain so broken?

    You once told me that God protected a part of me when I was growing up and this part of me is strong. It is this part that professes my love for the Lord; that allows me to love and give of myself without fear.

    Do others feel this way? I know God can heal this broken part of me but does that require me to go back into my past and face these lies and allow God to replace them with Truth?

    It is so painful to do that!

    I have done this before but I guess I need to go back because so many lies remain. Is there another way?

  4. Children need to be told that they are loved. That is different than some stranger telling them that they are "special." Which for a child, would make them think that they are "more" special than the child next door. Respect, love and honesty are what all children need. No child should be told that he is hated by his parents. No child should ever say that they hate their parents, especially those who reinforce virtue and morals.

  5. “How can all of these things feel so right, yet I remain so broken?”

    All these things are absolutely right and the Lord wants to heal you, but he doesn’t perform instantaneous miracles every day or maybe he does, but not where I can see them.

    Your story sounds so much like my story that I could have written your words.

    You are still broken in this way because there is more to do. You do have to go back and replace the lies with truth unless He decides to heal you miraculously. I actually asked for that and He said, “No, not this time”. (I had a miraculous healing before).

    I spent 20 years in therapy, with the wrong therapists, not Christian and definitely not Catholic. Most of it was a waste of money and time, but not all. I did the positive self talk, the affirmations, the retreats, the medicines, hypnosis…..everything but acupuncture and electro shock treatment! I KNOW YOUR PAIN 100%

    “You once told me that God protected a part of me when I was growing up and this part of me is strong.”

    I’m sure God protected that part of you Father is taking about, or you would have given up by now. That is the part you have to draw from. That is the part that is going to keep you going when the pain gets so intense that you want to give it all up and go back to where you are now.

    Yes there is pain in going back and facing the demons of your past. But what is the alternative? Living in the pain you are living in now for the rest of your life? The pain during healing is temporary. Yes you can push it down and pretend it’s not there, but by now, you must know that is only a band-aid treatment. You cannot keep it buried. I’m sure it comes up in different areas of your life. You can’t keep it compartmentalized. It’s too big, too deep and has veins that run through your whole body and especially through your mind.

    If you have kids, what kind of message are you sending them by not doing what it takes to take care of yourself? How will you model self-love to them? You can’t give what you don’t have.

    How much more could you give the Lord, if you were whole?

    I hope my words don’t disappoint or discourage you, but apparently you are strong and you are ready for healing or you wouldn’t have made this comment.

    I can say these things because I’ve been there and I lived in a deep dark hole for years with self-destructive thoughts, suicide attempts in my teens and suicidal thoughts as an adult. Your experience doesn’t have to be dire, to need healing.

    I did the opposite of my parents in an attempt to save my kids from the hell I went through. But as you can see above, that doesn’t work either.

    I am a little ahead of you in the healing. My self hatred went all the way back to the womb, where my birth mother hated me, didn’t want me, blamed me for her miserable life, and couldn’t wait to get rid of me. Thank God abortion was not so easily accessible or I wouldn’t be here.

    I’m absolutely not 100% healed, whatever that means. But I’ve healed that self-hatred that plagued me my entire life. (Sounds like we are about the same age.) I recently spent about three months in serious healing meditation and prayer. I went back to my beginning in meditation and over time, I was able to change the messages I received. I would never have believed it, but it worked. I actually feel self-love for the first time in my life. Each time I meditated, things changed and over time, my feelings began to change with the changing visuals in the meditations. I know it sounds too easy and simplistic and actually it wasn’t THAT painful. I’ve suffered way worse. Nothing is as bad as you imagine it will be especially the longer you’ve been imagining it.

    That plus 500 hours in adoration did it for me! OK, I’m a little obsessive, so you might not need that much time in adoration:)

    Father knows my email/number and can give it to you if you want to visit personally.

    I'll put you on my prayer list

  6. It is nice to see some depth in the comments. I can relate so much to the two of you who seem to have come from the abusive childhoods.

    I too grew up in a household of violence and chaos. My siblings and I never address it head on, we joke about it at times but we never 'really' talk about it.

    My problem is not so much the feeling of worthlessness, but the feeling of loneliness because I can't get close to anyone. And yet deep down I know it's because I push people away, especially when they get too close, I get uncomfortable or they want more than I think I can give. And I don't exactly push people away, I sort of shove them out the door and slam it quickly.

    I don't know what I'm afraid of. Maybe it's being hurt. And it's true, I don't end up with the broken heart, but I end up alone trying to fill the loneliness with activity and shallow relationships.

    I try not to think about it. In fact, I have pretty much tried to hide the pain with humor and denial or it's severity or the way it continues to impact my life and those around me.

    One of you asked if you have to go back and face the lies. That's exactly what I don't want to do. It was painful the first time. Why would I purposely put myself through it again?

    I've been reading these blogs for a while and it seems like Father is saying that we have to forgive those who've hurt us. That that is the most important thing, to forgive and love.

    I must be a failure as a Christian, because I still get angry about what was done to us and under that anger is hurt, lots of hurt that never goes away.

    Sometimes it's hard to keep a lid on the rage that flies out uncontrollably. And when that happens and people get their feelings hurt, I act like it was justified and I NEVER admit I am wrong. Maybe I do that because if I admit I am wrong, it puts me in a position to be hurt, to be one down and that is a place that scares me. I understand that is humility, but true humility is too painful for me.

    I actually think I'm a hypocrite because I seem to be a good Christian on the outside, but I lack the key ingredients of humility, forgiveness or the kind of love that trusts.

    It sounds like I am in the same age range as you are. But I have never tried to heal this, not seriously. And maybe it's too late to start now.

    My life looks pretty good on the outside. Maybe it's too much trouble and too much pain to start bringing it out into the open and looking at it and feeling it. I don't see how that will really do anything more than re-open old wounds.

    I wish I had the courage to face the lies and do battle with them until they are all obliterated. Then maybe I would be able to be an honest Christian instead of hiding behind the lies and smiles that mask the pain in the deep recesses of my heart.

    What do you think? Should I just try to forget about it and pretend it doesn't still cause problems in my life and forgive them without taking the time to try to heal it? Or is that possible? Maybe if it was, I would have already done it.

    I don't know, I just want to put it behind me and go forward without looking back.

  7. They say that if you pretend something, it, the pretend person you are pretending to be will become you. I say, yes, pretend to be happy, pretend to be free of the past, pretend to be "light", not heavy with sorrow, pretend, pretend, pretend, and then do things to go along with the pretend, don't just feel the pretend, act it. For example, love more, forgive more, simplify more, be truthful more, and you know, it just happens,you will eventually become that. Of course, first though, you do have to forgive those that hurt you. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to allow them into your life. I actually think you have to say goodbye to them also. Why would you want them involved in your current bliss? no, just forgive and pray for them and separate yourself from them. If you look at them with compassion and truth and love, they begin to lose their power over you. They become tiny, they become one that you feel sorry for, they become, well, powerless and helpless. Once in a while, go back into your memories (only go far enough where you don't have to experience awful pain - I say why put yourself through that? There is nothing to analyse and pick apart. It's simple, you were a victim, they were the cruel people, you were helpless and innocent, they were troubled and powerful over you - and that's it - why go back and try to figure it out? It' wasn't you. It was them.) Anyway, most importantly go into your heart and hug that little girl or boy that was you, that helpless, defenseless God's creature that was such a target for such meanness and hurt by that other person or people. Connect with that you of long ago, and tell that you that things will be alright. Then remember that you are no longer that helpless little person. Now you are safe, you are here, happy, a loveable person, at peace, and no longer that piteous person's target. Remember, you are safe now.

    No, I am not a therapist, I am not a counselor, I am not a 'professional' of that sort. I am no 'expert' in this field...but I am very observant and truthful. Those 2 words I would use to describe myself mostly besides mother and wife. I'm pretty sure the regular anonymous commentator here will have something negative to say about my comment/advise...He/she will analyze what I am saying and prove me wrong... that's ok. I'm just telling you what I have witnessed to work in my little simple insignificant life of 51 years.

  8. I am the author of the comment that starts with Dear Fr. Alfonse. Thanks for all the feedback.

    I knew there would be others out there that would understand. I reflected on it some more during my morning meditation.

    I realized that the part of me that God protected has grown strong. It is the part of me that is faithful, loving, joyful, compassionate, humble, and so much more! I don’t have to pretend, it is all genuine!

    But what I have done with the hurt is walled it off. I thought if I kept that wall strong then I wouldn’t ever have to deal with it. The problem is that this ugliness seeps through that wall into the “healthy” me and makes me sick.

    But God wants me to be whole. He is the one who wants me to deal with this. He wants me to trust that He will help me through the pain, even if that means carrying me through. His love is strong enough to slay these demons. I just have to surrender to Him instead of trying to keep him away from this part of me because I am fearful.

    I have forgiven those that have hurt me, and they remain a part of my life and that is a good thing. It may not work for others but for me it works.

    If I had walked away from them I would never have allowed God the opportunity to heal my relationship with my mother. I would never have been blessed with the gift of caring for her on her death bed and hearing for the first time that she loved me.

    I would never have heard my father ask for forgiveness for abusing me. I am not foolish, I know that abusers often can never be trusted and I have to protect myself and my children. But God has brought our relationship to this place and I am willing to see where He will lead us.

    I think if God has been so good to me when I give most of myself to him, how much more will I be blessed and be able to serve him if I give all of me to him!!

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  9. It hurts to be open and honest, to share your heart, and then be criticized for it. But I'll just offer it up. More grace for me:)

  10. Teri
    I'm sure you mean well. But what you are suggesting is one of the major causes of physical and mental illness.

  11. Teri,
    I'm sure you just haven't thought this through, but where is the truth in pretending?

  12. Teri,

    My comment wasn't meant as a criticism. I was just sharing what works for me. Everyone is different. What works for you or for me may not work for someone else.

    I have had many people tell me that I should have walked away from my family. And that I cannot trust my dad. But in my situation this is not the case.

    My decision was made after much prayer, and spiritual guidance from Fr. Alfonse and others.

    He told me that my dad would never be able to apologize for what he did if I was unwilling to be alone with him. I was terrified at first but I prayed for peace and it was granted to me.

    Thank you for sharing. I think the dialogue that this blog allows is wonderful. Blessings to you!

  13. Anonymouses,

    Your honesty has inspired me to suck it up and face the reality of my past, present and future.

    I don't want to continue on this current path. It has been leading me down dark alleyways. I don't have one intimate friend. I believe that every single person that I currently know would not be able to recognize me by the truth that is me because I have never trusted enough to show it.

    I have been pretending for over 40 years and where has that gotten me? I've been a fraud all these years. Pretending that I am okay and lying to everyone. I have not given them the real me, broken as it is, it is who I am. If I ever want to have an authentic relationship I have to take off the mask and show my true self, at least to those who I can trust and maybe eventually to the world.

    I can see that I have shallow relationships because what I am willing to share of myself is shallow. A sincere person that opens their heart to me scares me and I back away. I'm sure I hurt their feelings because sometimes I'm not very good at being loving about the way I run away. I always leave with my pride in tact, though.

    It is exhausting to keep up pretenses and as Di commented, it has definitely effected me mentally and physically. I have some serious stomach issues, an ulcer and other stuff that is a result of bottling it all up and trying to keep the truth from being revealed. And depression is normal for me, but most would never know it because I am so good at masking it.

    I am going to pray about all of this this weekend and look for professional help because I have no idea where to start. I have never considered this path before. Where do I find help?

  14. I think it is beautiful how this blog is more than I ever imagined it could be. God bless you all and please keep helping each other with your prayers, your thoughts and most importantly your love.

  15. Dear Fr. Alfonse-

    Thank you for creating this blog and this online community.


    Jan Nathan

  16. My comment was meant specifically for anonymous 4, and no I didn't mean that one should suppress the bad past or to lie. I meant that you know what happened, and you don't lie about it to whom you wish to share with and you don't lie to yourself. Again, you know it happened and it was real, that part doesn't change. I just think that dwelling in it and keeping it 'alive' keeps the perpetrator powerful over you and your life. I'm just saying to also, simultaneously, pretend you are ok and will be free one day, and to remember that you are not that little innocent person at the mercy of the bad person anymore. You are safe now and have all the power now. It takes time, but eventually, the power that person still holds over you will be no longer. Take that power away from them, and take it for yourself. It's not easy. I know. and time is on our side.

    Again I don't claim to be a professional or a therapist. We are simply conversing here and sharing. This worked for me, and I have heard from others whom it worked for also. Anonymous 4, you asked a specific question, and I answered. If you think what I say does not make sense or is wrong, then simply throw it away. Again, we are just conversing here. That's all.

    Thomas, yes I have thought it through. The truth is in the proactivity.

    It's nice to know that at least one of the readers among us here is a professional counselor/therapist, Di, with your sure knowledge of what I suggest to be damaging to mental and physical health. I guess there's always exceptions.

    Hopefully see you tomorrow at Mass, Padrecito.

  17. Is it possible to love everyone so much that your heart hurts? Haha because I feel like that. It's the most beautiful thing I have ever felt <3 I kind of owe that to you Father. Every homily you tell us to love, love and love. Well, I tried it, and it's incredible. I started by praying every morning to God to give me strength to not say anything mean about anyone for the day, and to think about their good qualities. It has been 23 days!!! I never thought this could be possible. Once I focused on everyone's good qualities, I started to love them more and more. And since I prayed to God and Mary to give me strength every morning, night, and every time someone made fun of me in any way, I started loving God even more, because prayer kept me close <3 I shared my experience with a girl in my class. She was so inspired, she decided to try it too. I could not be happier. So, I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling me how important love is. Thank you for loving God so much, that through you, we can make us love him even more. I love you so much. Like, you have no idea. Haha. Have a great day Father! (:

  18. "I just think that dwelling in it and keeping it 'alive' keeps the perpetrator powerful over you and your life.


    I'm glad that pretending has healed your wounds.

    I don't think anyone suggested that someone dwell or keep alive the pain from the past. I believe we're talking about healing the pain once and for all. For most people, that kind of mental, emotional and spiritual abuse, which accompanies physical abuse is most often healed when it is revisited for that purpose.

    The healing that I recently received came from going back, in meditation, to the time when the abuse occurred and basically replaying the memories with Jesus in the 'picture', usually protecting me, loving me, comforting me, or shielding me from the abuse. These meditations took place over several months and each time I would go back to the same place, it changed and slowly evolved into a memory that no longer hurt, but actually one that was nurturing and loving and the memory was healed and my life long self hatred was too.

    I kept journals. I had to go all the way back to the womb and it took 27 meditations over a three month period. Along with this there were lots of prayers and hours before the Blessed Sacrament. This was very painful at first, but as it progressed, the pain lessened as the healing took place. I'm sharing this because anyone can do it on their own and it works. I did all of it before the Blessed Sacrament.

    I'm not saying I'm all fixed, but that self hatred that went back to before I was even born, the self hatred that tainted the rest of my life, was replaced with self love. I spent all of my adult life searching for that core issue and as painful as it was I know exactly when, where and who pointed it out to me.

    So basically I'm saying that going back into the pain is not about wallowing or dwelling in it. It's more like going into a battle zone to rescue a fallen comrade or an injured friend and carrying them out into safety. The danger is temporary but it is life saving.

    My next 'project' is trying to accept and manage a mood disorder that I just found out (this week) has been controlling my thoughts and even actions for almost a year now. Meditation is not going to work on this. It is going to take God and hopefully not more drugs. But one thing is for sure, I will do whatever it takes or die trying! A bonus to obsessiveness is that you don't give up. And a reduced need for sleep is another positive symptom!

  19. I love the analogy of the battle zone, rescuing an injured friend and carrying them out to safety. I would certainly do this for a friend.

    I now have to do this for myself. I will cloak myself in Christ and not allow my fear to keep me from probably one of the toughest battles I will face.

  20. Dear Bloggers,

    I just wanted to thank you all for your insights! I have been following them with much interest. I am still young (in my early 20's) and have much to learn.

    My father is a heroine addict. Though I was never abused in the same way most of you are discussing, there definitely have been periods of what seemed like a living hell.

    I have attended Al-Anon meetings (which were very helpful at the time), sought the counsel of therapists and friends, and attempted to mentally 'run away' from everything. But the thing that has changed my life, actually better said; the thing that has made me realize why my life is worth living, is PRAYER. The experience and knowledge of God's LOVE has been the single most amazing and transformative thing in my life. I do not intend to imply that counseling and Al-Anon groups are not helpful or sometimes necessary; only that, for me, prayer (a Relationship with my creator) has been the MOST helpful.

    The greatest discovery in my life (as of late) is that I CAN enjoy life! I should not feel guilty for being happy with my life, even though there are many trials for my family right now. I, and I alone, can and must choose to accept the peace and joy Christ offers me. The thoughts and ideas everyone have presented here, have not fallen on deaf ears. I truly appreciate them. :)

    I also wanted to thank the young girl who gave her testimony of love a few comments ago. You are a great witness!! And a source of hope!! Fight with everything you are to keep your heart so full of love.

    - Jessica

  21. To my Dear Sister"Grace Abounds" aka anonymous at 3:27pm on Friday-

    Despite my general opinion that the abused need not stay in contact with their abusive family, it appears that this was exactly the right thing for you to do.

    The difference is that you went in as a Servant of the Lord to minister the Mercy of God to those who had hurt you. And you did so in a way that no one else could do.

    You also spent much time seeking the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, listened for His direction, and did all that He asked you to do.Thus were you protected.

    My suggestion to you is not to worry too much about digging up the past, as is the way of worldly psychology, but rather continue to entrust yourself to the Lord on a daily basis. If there is something that you need to deal with, He will bring it to mind, and with it, the solution and the healing.

    God did not allow you to endure all of this pain for nothing. He has called you to a powerful ministry to others in similar pain. Nothing is wasted. He will use everything for His Honor and Glory.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Jan Nathan

  22. To Jessica,
    You are in my prayers and how wonderful that you have found comfort and strength through the power of prayer and a relationship with our Lord while still so young.

    To Jan,
    Thanks for your kind words. I am trying to do His will and hope that in doing so I can instill hope in others.

    with love,

  23. This has been an eye opening exchange. It looks like there is much brokenness that needs healing. And there is much healing that needs to be utilized.

    Why does God allow so much pain and suffering?" I'm sure there are many answers including our disobedience.

    Something that has struck me after reading all the comments is something from my Bible study this past week. (Romans 11:32) "For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all."

    It doesn't make complete sense to me. But it seems to fit this situation quite nicely. Even though I was broken from the beginning a lived decades in the dark without even asking for His help. Trying to do it my way, the secular world's way, anything but His Way. And it often left me more messed up than before. Not until I turned to Him, did I start to get REAL healing. And even then I had to use the resources and tools He has given all of us. He's given us Himself of course, the Church, Holy Scripture and Tradition but He's also given us each other, counselors, psychiatrists, spiritual guides and directors, medications, natural resources like eating, exercise, sleeping, vitamins as well as our own intellects to use for our good. We have to discern what will be the most beneficial for ourselves.

    I can look back and see how much the pain and suffering has strengthened me spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It's given me the ability to help others (charity) and it's given me the opportunity to ask for help from others (humility). It has brought me to my knees before the Lord, (more humility). It has given me the opportunity to forgive and to be forgiven. It has allowed me to learn to rely solely on the Lord because there have been many times when He was the only thing holding me up. It has strengthened my faith in His promises and Hope for the future. It's made me more compassionate and giving toward others. And that doesn't include the eternal value of offering my suffering for His good purpose and being on the cross next to Him.

    Or maybe it's so He can heal us. I don't know.
    (Romans 11:32) "For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all."

    Honestly, I have a friend who's suffered little more than a hang nail but I'm not envious. I'm banking on some of this as “time served”, if you know what I mean!

  24. These comments have been going on for days and I've received much insight from them.

    This reminds me of just how much our spiritual and emotional selves are tied together.

    My spiritual director told me that my issues were just emotional and when I discussed it with my counselor, she explained that they are intertwined. When we heal the emotional we are also healing the spiritual. I have found that to be true. As I look back I can see how a spiritual director cannot work with emotional issues, they are not trained for that. But when you have a great orthodox Catholic counselor that incorporates both, you are able to work on them together.

    Now how to find a great orthodox Catholic counselor. That's like a needle in a haystack! But there are a few. I'm sure Father knows one or two.


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