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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? ~ Stanza III ~ Part II

July 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

For the earth is not our homeland,
but a testing ground of faith.
Ever onward You implore us,
as You fill us with Your Grace.

Jesus has a very clear message for those of us who are “sitting on the fence”.

“The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this:

I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelations 3:15-16)

These are not words I want to hear directed at me! Especially not coming from the mouth of my Lord and Savior. Just a few sentences later he says:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door , [then] I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

When we say these words during Mass, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”, I see in my mind’s eye, the image of Jesus knocking, even though I know that the words come from Matthew 8:8.

Jesus knocks. The God who made us, becomes one of us, not as a mighty king, already full grown, which He certainly could have chosen to do, but as an infant. He who needs no one – God is perfect and He has no need of anything – makes Himself dependent on His creatures. God asks for Mary’s consent. He asks for ours, too. Never, ever, will God violate our free will. He stands next to us, watching and waiting for us to turn to Him, ready and desiring to give us every grace we need. Even the desire to turn to Him is a grace, but we must take action to activate the grace. We must make the decision to give God our consent, and then do so.

It is NOT enough to simply be good people. I was always stumped as to what to say when people brought this up. There are a lot of people in the world who are good. They work hard, pay their taxes, help their neighbors, etc., but they don’t go to church. This doesn’t prove that God isn’t necessary! It shows that goodness is coded into our DNA, it’s a part of us – God’s law written into our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) – that will guide our choices unless circumstances kill it – like growing up in an abusive or terrorist home might do. I must also mention original sin here because we have all inherited this from our first parents, and sin (pride, vanity, hypocrisy, etc.), resides in “good people”. (Romans 6:12-23)

To achieve any kind of goal, the appropriate type of training and preparation must be made.

Think about this for a minute. How likely would we be to win a decathlon (physical event), if all we did to prepare was to read, study, and watch others who had won the event (mental preparation)? Or, do you think we would get that nice high-paying job in the field of technology (mental work), without ever taking a course or studying the field, but rather spent a lot of time thinking about it as we jogged or worked out (physical preparation)?

The same is true of the spiritual life.  We cannot (normally), attain a supernatural end (heaven), through purely natural means (being a good person).

This is how God set it up. He gives us every grace we need to attain heaven (spiritual home). We need only put those graces to use through prayer and following the guidelines He put in place for our good and protection (spiritual preparation).

Grab that grace!! We can record our successes and other special moments from our spiritual journey in a journal or scrapbook, cherish them, and go back to them when the world, our struggles and burdens threaten to overwhelm us.  This is gathering; it’s a way to remember all the good things the Lord has done for us, and it can be incredibly helpful even years later.

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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  • LizEst

    “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16) Amazing grace! Our part is to cooperate with that grace.

    Thank you, Becky.

  • Vicki

    I started using a spiritual journal because someday I want to be able to remember all the times God has “shown Himself’ in our lives. It has been an invaluable little book that all the kids love to refer to often.

    • LizEst

      A family spiritual journal! That’s a great idea Vicki! Thank you so much for sharing that.

  • AnnieB

    Becky, you always give me so much to consider and ponder. I find it so hard to explain why belonging to the church and actively participating is so necessary. I know it is at a deep level but explaining it is challenging. You have shown me a new approach.
    I have kept a type of spiritual diary for nearly a year now and I find it breathtaking to go back and read what I have written. It has been so helpful to build me up on dark days.

    God bless you.

    • Becky Ward

      Thank you, Annie.

  • Alexandra Campbell

    From the time I came back to the Catholic Church in 2006, I have kept a spiritual diary on and off. I now have about nine volumes full of the wonders that God has done for me in very dark times. The benevolent hand of Providence is so evident in my life that when I tell people about what God has done to me in the last several years, they are interested and curious and amazed! I pray that even though my children are not following the Lord very directly right now, someday, even after I’m gone, that at least one or more of them will want to know me better and will read these journals. I pray that God may use them to capture their souls!

  • After my first conversion, a family friend Cenacle Sister gave me a diary for my birthday. This was when I did not know what a spiritual director was and was struggling with bad thoughts. Without meaning to, it was not only a diary but my spiritual journal as well.
    It’s only these past year that I realized the how present the Holy Spirit was back then. When I look at what I wrote, I’m grateful to God for guiding me when I had no one to turn to. There was no way I could have known what was written there on my own. God was speaking to me! I just did not recognize His voice!

    • Becky Ward

      Cool Huh?

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