Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why sweat it?

I haven't been in an art making frame of mind lately.
Lent this year was powerful for me and I've spent most of my free time praying. I'm determined to discipline myself to pray and as each day passes, I feel my soul soaking up the energy praying provides.
How I understand it, is like this; conversion comes in stages. Like kindergarten through high school. I was held back a couple times because I wasn't paying attention, I'd rather play than pray. Being in charge, making my own rules and banking on getting by with the skin of my teeth, after all I know I'm going to Heaven, so why sweat it so? That was my mind in playtime, or a perpetual recess if you will.
Here's why you want to sweat it TONS and pray, pray, pray and make gigantic efforts to get as close to God as possible: because a soul estranged from God hurts Him, and your life becomes dark. You lose your way and before you know it, it feels (I repeat: feels) like all hope has vanished from your heart.
And if the evil one gets his way, you'll believe all hope is lost.
Okay so, you are sitting in the back of the room facing the wall wearing the dunce cap and feel like crap. Now what?
Ask for help. If you can't ask for help in detail, just say Jesus. Keep saying His Name.
After I had fallen away and had to wear the dunce cap, I went to confession. The priest asked me what was it I wanted from the Church? I just broke down, sobbed and could barely answer "I want to come home".
The priest said, "if you can't meet God 1/2 way, He'll come the rest of the way".
Confession is the best way to get rid of a dunce hat. How so? After you've made your heartfelt confession you realize that you are a child of God. You realize God never left you and went on vacation to leave you fend for yourself. A child of God doesn't need to go about as a cone head.
But, ya gotta ask.
Which, takes humility.
Anyway, so now how to do I feel? Grateful. I'm no longer drenched in fear and it's a lot easier to smile.
I think I may feel these things I'm saying so deeply because God became real to me when my son died. But, after a few years went by, I decide I didn't like the pain of my son's absence, so I needed to distract myself from all that pain. You see, it doesn't take much to mess up because we all lack love in our hearts, and I just fell hook line and sinker into complacency and sloth (to name a few). I was being a brat. I didn't think I mattered all that much.
(No wonder God tells us to be on guard!)
But you see, from the beginning of my conversion in 1987 Our Lady worked and worked to lead me to Jesus. And now I am in the class where you learn to live that Jesus Christ is THE Savior. And it just so happens He is the Teacher of this class. Works out great.
Do you know, those words turn people off? "Jesus Christ is my Savior" Tell a stranger this and they'll most likely roll their eyes at you and try very hard to avoid you. Hey, it doesn't need to be a stranger, it could be your friends or family just as well.
Tough, too bad! it's my truth, my life and I'm not holding back to be politically correct. This is serious business folks! I'm spending the rest of my life thinking about what pleases God, not phony progressiveness or whatever one identifies as up to date in accordance with today's thinking.
I don't think being able to please everybody will help you love them. You just end up depleted.
Ever cry in gratitude that you made everyone happy?
Speaking of tears, I try not to cry in mass, sometimes I manage, sometimes not. But when I think of how awful it is to "feel" lost, and knowing I am in the folds of Our Lady's mantel, that I'm getting ready to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament.....that I am THERE in mass.... I become overwhelmed with gratitude. Simply overwhelmed. And it fills my heart with love. I don't ever want to be a dunce again!!!!
Today at mass, I started thinking how not too long ago I was afraid to go outdoors and get my mail, let alone drive all the way to the church.
Fear is useless! And that's putting it mildly!
Picture this; Our Lady got me by the ear, sat me down and said: PRAY.
Oh, what a beautiful Mother we all have. Even if you are a Baptist, She is your Mother. (And I can say that because I was Baptist at the time my son died and Our Lady helped me.)
I'll end with the message of Our Lady Of Medjugore dated 3/25/09:
"Dear children! In this time of spring, when everything is awakening from the winter sleep, you also awaken your souls with prayer so that they may be ready to receive the light of the risen Jesus. Little children, may He draw you closer to His Heart so that you may become open to eternal life. I pray for you and intercede before the Most High for your sincere conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call"
Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Powerful Art in the Home

This picture of Jesus was on my parents bedroom dresser for as long as I can remember. Now, it's on my mantel. I always tell people to think carefully about what sort of art they place in their homes, as it lives on in children's minds for a very long time. My mom made sure there were images of Jesus in our home. When I became a mom, I understood why! We need all of Heaven's help to get our children safely into Our Lord's arms. Even if they stray, it is promised that they will find their way back. That happened to me. I strayed,... several times. Mostly to escape my emotional pain and consequently made my life and those around me even worse. I've finally learned how to learn from my mistakes. Whenever I see this verse, I remember when I was that smoldering wick. Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench... Have a blessed Easter!