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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? ~ Stanza II ~ Part I

May 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

Come Lord Jesus to repair us,
with Your gift of healing love.
Send Your Spirit to prepare us,
for our home in heaven above.

God is love. I had a taste of the truth of this statement once while in adoration It was just a glimmer, lasting only a fraction of a second. Yet in that moment, I knew that God really is love.

For most of my life I had a hard time accepting the fact that God really created us, each individually, but He did. His involvement in our creation is not just in some indirect biological context, as I used to think, but He wills each and every soul into being. There are no souls, (no babies), who are ‘accidents’. In Matthew 10:30 Jesus tells us, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” This indicates a God who must be very close and attentive; it’s an incredible statement.  During my formation I learned that every word in the Bible is there intentionally and has meaning. In light of this, I am left in awe and wonder, pondering the beauty of God’s love.

In the last post I mentioned that the Church teaches against certain things because they are evil and contrary to nature. Since they are evil they can hurt us; when we choose evil over good we sin, and sin separates us from God.  Often we can’t see or understand that we’ve been harmed, but our soul knows, and if we don’t confess it and repent, it will eventually make itself known, one way or another; for me it was a mid-life crisis.

It was a big help for me to learn early in my formation how active the devil is in our everyday lives. We don’t hear much about the devil anymore…..and I’m sure he would be quite happy if we forgot he was real, because when this happens moral truths become foggy and confused. This is how I came to accept that while I believed that abortion was the taking of an innocent life…..perhaps it wasn’t my place to make that decision for another woman. After all, she will have to live with her decisions, good and bad, like the rest of us.

Morality is not a democracy! (Matthew Kelly)

One of the realizations that came to me through healing was that it’s not just my beliefs or opinions here, but the universal laws of God – and what is morally good for me, is good for my brothers and sisters too. Anything that is not good for me, is not good for my brothers or sisters, either. Abortion hurts! It hurts a lot of people, and yet it is fiercely defended as a right.  As I progressed through my formation program and actually read what the Church teaches about abortion, chastity, using contraceptives, and other issues like these, where we think the big bad Church is trying to take our freedom away from us with all its rules, I discovered that the teachings really made sense. My experience has been that through loving surrender and obedience to the laws God established, I have been set free! This is remarkable because it’s the opposite of what we think is true. We think that following rules is restrictive and limits our freedom, but only because the devil is telling us so. “God’s holding out on you……”

Through God’s healing love I have learned that I need to do my part to share the truth about these evils with others – through discernment and with love – because they’ve been duped too! There are eternal consequences to our choices, and it’s not charitable to watch someone ‘skipping and dancing’ down the road to perdition (indulging in destructive and selfish behaviors), and not do a thing to stop them. With all my heart I want heaven for everyone; even if it costs me in this life!

So, what is it about us that needs repair? When we sin, we lose sanctifying grace and damage our relationship with God. Less serious, or venial sins, do less damage than do serious, or mortal sins, which turn us away from God. Where do we find sanctifying grace? In the sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) defines sanctifying grace as:

The grace which heals our human nature wounded by sin by giving us a share in the divine life of the Trinity. It is a habitual, supernatural gift which continues the work of sanctifying us – of making us “perfect”, holy, and Christlike.” (1999)

The word sacrament comes from sacramentum, which “…emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality…” (CCC 774) God knew we would have trouble with the supernatural part of our faith, and so He gave us the sacraments in visible form to remind us of the hidden reality which they represent. When we receive the sacraments frequently we are strengthened through grace (God’s action) and are better able to live as we should.

When we love someone, truly love them, we would never do anything to harm them or cause them sorrow or disappointment. It’s not in the nature of love to do this. Real love is demanding; real love is sacrificial; just look at a crucifix. God is perfect love, and He wants to share that with us; that’s what the “perfect” in, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48), is all about. The saints weren’t perfect people, but they loved perfectly in many different ways; there are examples for each of us in the lives of the saints, and like the Bible, what they teach us is timeless.

Sadly, many souls have never experienced real love, what with the breakup of families today, and the casual way relationships are entered into and ended on a whim.  If we’ve never experienced the natural love family members should have for one another, how much value can we place in a God that is love? If the only example of love a child ever gets is through an abusive and chaotic home life, how can they possibly see God as good? Yet God can heal even these.

One of the most beautiful parts of my formation was learning that, through prayer, when the time is right, we can go back to the most painful events in our lives and find Jesus there! Often crying for/with us, He will help us to forgive; He will teach us what we gained through the experience, He will lead us to pray for those responsible, and for those who are currently suffering similar trials.

Love & Prayers,

Becky

This post is part of a series. The introduction and other articles from the series can be found here -link- once they have been published.

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About Becky Ward

Becky is a wife, mother of four (One in heaven), grandmother of five, and a "re-formed Catholic" who, after receiving the gift of a deep conversion in 2006, and working through the Disciples of Jesus and Mary faith formation program, now considers herself to be "fully Catholic" What this means is that she now, at last, understands and appreciates the beauty of the Catholic faith in such a way that she wants to share it with everyone. "I've heard that the Blessed Mother told a visionary, 'If Catholics really lived their faith, the whole world would be Catholic.' I see the truth in this, and it is my deepest hope to be a living example that draws others to Jesus. Given the nickname Rebel-Becca by her mother, Becky strongly identifies with St. John the Baptist and his call to "make straight the path of the Lord", and with his role as "Friend of the Bridegroom". The poem, "Broken?" written through her hand, is a reflection of the journey of the soul, and Becky explains what the Holy Spirit is teaching her as she writes posts for each stanza.

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  • How should we deal with gray areas of morality… I really don’t know what to do when such situations come up. Like if someone attacks us, should we defend ourselves, even if it means using violence against another? Is it alright to say white lies so that we don’t hurt other people’s feelings?

    I know I can be self-righteous and judgmental sometimes, and that these are also sins. But I truly don’t know how to deal with gray areas…
    And I really want to know how. Is this just scrupulosity?

    What should a young adult living with their parents do, if they don’t agree with something their parents do? I understand their good reasons for it, like providing for or protecting others, but I still feel uncomfortable…

    • Becky Ward

      Good questions Maria!!

      Like any other skill, learning to discern takes time and practice. This is why finding good spiritual direction is so important, when dealing with gray areas we usually need an extra set of eyes (trained eyes) to help us find the truth.

      I’ve been right with you in wondering about ‘white lies’ – but that fact is that they are lies……and are a violation of the eight commandment.  A good time/place ask these specific questions is during confession because the circumstances involved can change our culpability. Our confessor can also suggest ways to deal with the specific situations in a better way.

      The Catechism also hold the answers to many of your questions. It will take some time, practice, and prayer to learn to use it, but it’s actually very easy to use once we get started.

      Here’s a link to what the Catechism teaches on the eighth commandment: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/catechism/index.cfm?recnum=6307

      Blessings…

    • LizEst

       I agree with Becky313 that good spiritual direction is so important and recommend you seek such.

      That said, I believe it is good to be tough on ourselves and merciful with others, always speaking the truth in love.

      A young adult cannot tell their parents what to do…save for circumstances of dementia or something like that where you have to do what is best to protect them. State your case and then leave it at that unless safety (physical, moral or spiritual) is involved. If what your parents are doing is illegal, etc, don’t be a party to it. If it is illegal, you could be held legally responsible for it because you have knowledge of it. If it is morally or spiritually wrong, you cannot force your parents to stop just as parents cannot force their adult children to do something like go to church, pray, etc. You can talk to them about it and state your case, which they may or may not agree with. You can always pray.

      These circumstances are not easy. I had a neighbor who tried to get me to take some supplies she had at home which she told me she took from work. She was trying to be generous with her stuff. But, the more she tried to get me to take them, the more I found different ways to say the same thing: No thank you, I’m got some at home. I bought a package of them from the store. I have plenty. I don’t need any more (all of which was true). The point is that I never said–you’re a thief and that’s so wrong. You have to find a way to get your point across and allow people to still have their dignity, give them a graceful way out without becoming a party to the wrong that they are doing. They will get the message.

      The same thing applies to the white lies. Find a way to say something different that isn’t a lie: Change the subject, distract the person, ask a question, ask advice, report on something new or novel, praise them for something wonderful that they’ve done for, comment favorably on their clothing, their career, their kids, remove yourself from the situation. This takes practice but it works. If you’re going into a situation that always provokes this kind of response, you can have some of these things prepared in your mind so that you are not so shocked that you automatically slip into the white lie.

      Hope this helps…and be sure to find a spiritual director if you don’t have one already. God bless you.

  • judeen

    the answers mary are in the bible… yes it talks about parents doing wronge.. treat them like their crazy and take care of them any way… love,, unconditional… remember no one is perfect in this world.. we all do dumb things all of us… do not judge so we are not judged…   white lies.. dad use to talk about… it leads to a bigger lie, than a bigger 1 .. everyone knows your lieing except your self.. truth hurts but is much kinder than the lie… maybe the other person could tell you why, or thats not what they meant, or even change so others do not talk about them…
    this subject about broken needed to be talked about , thanks.. we all think we come from disfunctial families.. no.. their normal.. growing up is just hard to do in this sinful world… and some never grow up… we dont always understand why we do good things.. but later we find out we are much happier… that iswhy the rule is there..

  • Joan

    Becky,

    You have a great gift to articulate your faith and God’s love. Thank you for sharing this treasure.
    pax et bonum
    Joan from Florida

    • Becky Ward

      Thank you! It is truly my pleasure…..a gift I cannot keep to myself, and I find myself grinning ear-to-ear as I realize how much fun I am having. At every turn it seems the Lord has a new and delightful surprise waiting…..including the support of the readers……in this way He helps me to overcome my fears, and stay the course.

  • judeen

    abortion is a side sin from the real problem… bible talks about how men have their babies killed.. in several different places… babies are gifts , scripture also talks about this…
              impurity, faulse Gods, selfishness.. lazyness… sin of all kinds…. read about the men who did kill their babies… in scripture… the answer lys there… men giving over their authority to women … in 1 bible I have it tells of exacly this… and then they have their babies. killed.. men are our spiritual leaders… leaders of our families… so on.. when they want to be taken care of , forgot to grow up, protect,, do what is right…. so on… so great sins are commited

  • Alexandra Campbell

    Beautiful insights

  • judeen

    be not afraid , I go before you always , come follow me… … if the wick man hates you all because of me…   listen  listen to me……. be not afraid…. I go before you always… come follow me………

  • judeen

    there is a broken alot of the times people do not see,, it is the broken spirit… scripture talks about be careful parents… disapline your kid but do not brake their spirit… to have a good child who makes you proud dis apline you kids, but if you brake their spirit,, they will not be able to accoumplish nothing.. can not finish nothing… some thing like that… they lose all intrest, or want to do anything.. we have alot of people in the world with broken spirits…. I am 1 , it is so hard to do anything…

  • Becky, thank you for this illuminating Article.  
    It is a joy to learn from you, my Dear. God has truly opened doors for you and we benefit so much from your Posts……sorry I am coming in here a bit late…… the Eucharistic Apostolate of Divine Mercy takes us out of Town in to Rural Parishes to spread the Message of Mercy…….This comment of yours, did catch my attention : 

    “This is how I came to accept that while I believed that abortion was the taking of an innocent life…..perhaps it wasn’t my place to make that decision for another woman. After all, she will have to live with her decisions, good and bad, like the rest of us.”

    We need to remember that Mother Church teaches us to practice Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  These we are called to carry out in Christ’s Charity.  The First, Second and Third Spiritual Works of Mercy apply in this case:  “1) Admonish sinners; 2) Instruct the Uninformed; 3) Counsel the Doubtful”.

    In the case of a friend who is contemplating procuring an abortion, Mother Church requires us to counsel her, offer alternative ways of dealing with the oncoming onerous responsibility of bringing up a child in difficult circumstances, and finally, offer consoling and emphasizing support to our friend. We need also to stay with them during the difficult period offering them whatever moral, spiritual and emotional support they need to accept to have the child instead of killing him/her.  Where we are able, we are also called upon to offer material help.

  • BeckitaMaria

    This is a powerful reflection, Becky. Especially poignant to me: “With all my heart I want heaven for everyone; even if it costs me in this life.” Amen!

    Your closing paragraph has been my experience as well as I journeyed through inner healing. I was taught that I can offer my suffering, even from the past, for the sake of the souls for whom Jesus thirsts.  

    It was my honor to be with my alcoholic father in his last hours, to sincerely ask God to allow me to carry my dad’s purgatory and to pray a rosary with him. How beautiful it was to see his demeanor change from fearful to faith-filled while I wiped the tears from his eyes at each Our Father… “…Forgive us our trespasses…” God is so merciful. 

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