Saturday, November 3, 2007

Shaking my fist at God

Have you ever been overcome by the amount of suffering, pain and grief you are surrounded with? I have been told many times that I share too deeply the pain of those around me. How can I not share in the pain of the loss of a sister by my friend? How can my heart not break when I learn that a friend is dying of cancer? How can I not shake my fist at God and question why a friend’s husband drowned in a freak boating accident? How can I not fall to my knees when I hear that a friend’s 16 year old son was killed in their driveway by his own truck? How can I not share in the pain and helplessness that a friend feels as he is forced to watch him Mother slip into the grips of old age? How can I not worry about a friend’s unwed pregnant daughter? How can I not shed tears for a Mother that has to watch her daughter die a little more each day and wonder when the pain will end? What can I offer a daughter that should be enjoying her life but is dealing with her mom losing her job and being evicted? Seeing a Aunt that has been the final care giver for too many family members as they make their journey from this life to the next, pressed into service once agin. Knowing that a friend is worried that her son-in-law is now unemployed. The list goes on.
I cry for and with them, I pray for and with them. I carry them and their pain in my heart as I go through the day. Often times people say “there is nothing I can do” – but we can always pray. Sometimes we feel that is not enough but it is the greatest give that we can give someone that is suffering.
Yes, sometimes I shake my fist at God and ask WHY! Often I get a strange reaction when I tell people that I am mad at God and I told Him so. To my way of thinking, God knows what is in my heart before I speak it so if I am upset the best thing for me to do is talk to Him about it. I have been known to walk around the yard in a heated discussion with God, telling Him just how upset I am. Why, why, why? That is a constant theme in my talks with God from time to time.
I know all things happen for the glory of God and He would never do anything to intentionally to hurt His children. I also believe that God did not cause any of these things to happen. Yes, He allowed them but He did not visit this pain on anyone of these people. I do not believe that the devil did it, yes the devil has power in our life but only if we allow him to.
Then why do I get upset with God you ask. If I believe that He did not do any of this then why am I suddenly blaming it all on Him? I am not blaming Him, questioning why He allows certain things to happen yes. But, most of all I go to God with my fist in the air because it is through Him that I will find comfort and strength to face the pain. After my rants I will listen for that small still voice that will give me the knowing that will allow me to lower my fist. I will receive a special portion of His grace so that I can give comfort and strength to those in need.
I am so blessed now can I not feel the pain of those around me?
I know that when I look at the pain and suffering in my life it is like looking at the back of a tapestry – all I can see is a mass of threads and knots it is not a pretty picture. The red ones that were pain, the yellow ones that were joy, the gold ones that were the times that God carried me, the green ones that was God showing Himself to me in nature –at death I will be allowed to see the front of the tapestry and see what a beautiful picture these threads and knots made that was my life.

RCIA - The journey begins

Recently we started a new RCIA class. I love the RCIA process! Tom and I have been teaching for 10 years now and every year I am like a kid before Christmas. I am so excited to see who God will send our way and every year I am not disappointed. As Catholic’s we do not go out and recruit “new members” we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead folks to” Inquire” about our faith. I can honestly say there is nothing I love more than sharing my faith.
People show up for so many different reasons. Some because they are getting married, some because they are just curious about what being a Catholic is all about, others come because their children are attending Catholic school. This year we have a young guy and when I ask him what had brought him to Inquiry he told me “My Mom made me come”, hey at least he was honest. What I have noticed is that no matter why they began coming to class by the time they finish the journey it has become personal. God has blessed me many times when I have witnessed the moment when the reason a person came changes and they begin their personal journey to a deeper relationship with God.
We spend the first few classes answering what I call the 10 Catholic Questions – you know the ones I mean: Why do you worship Mary? Why do you HAVE to confess your sins to a priest? Why does Priest not marry? Why do you pray to Saints? And so on. I never cease to be amazed at how much misinformation there is floating around out there. Their reaction is priceless when I tell them that as Catholic’s we in no way worship Mary and that any relationship we have with Mary is intended to lead us closer to her son Jesus, it takes them awhile to get their mind around that one.
I have no idea who will come into the Church this Easter Vigil. I am certain that I will have been blessed by being allowed to be a small part of their journey.
Share your Catholic faith, the more you share the more you have!