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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? ~ Stanza V ~ Part I

September 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

Flesh will tell us to seek comfort.
“We deserve it! We work hard!”
Y
et our spirits truly suffer,
when the ‘self’ gets high regard.

This is a tough section for me to write about! Because we do earn and/or merit some reward in this life through our work, and especially by living as true disciples of Christ where we reap, through the cross, the blessings God provides through grace. Yet this idea of being ‘deserving’ is often a mask for self-indulgence; sometimes extreme self-indulgence. I recently read the following ‘status’ on Facebook:

Two income household + no children = early retirement.

I find this incredibly sad, selfish, and short-sighted. Do these people know they have a soul that will live forever? Do they care? What do they think will happen to them when they are old? Who will watch over the quality of the care they receive? Will they opt to be euthanized when life is no longer fun?

This is just another example of a world that is so focused on me and my life and my plans that people are unable to think through to the consequences of their actions. Not to mention thinking about how their actions will affect others. Nobody comes into this world by themselves; we all have parents. And none of us lives without being affected by the actions of others….and without making an impact – be it good or bad – on others through our actions! Everything we do touches someone else, some way, somehow.

My mind just can’t comprehend this extreme self-centeredness! So I basically have two options in dealing with things like this. The first – and what I have chosen to do in the past – is getting irritated, annoyed, and angry, and then going out and doing the same kind of things myself!! (If you can’t beat them, join them.) This just made things worse. It was a self-perpetuating cycle of frustration and unhappiness. The second option is to turn to God. I can’t take any credit for coming up with this brilliant idea on my own because I was so far down the path of darkness and unhappiness that the Lord had to intervene and show me what was possible on ‘the other side’. May He be forever blessed for the goodness, mercy, and love He pours out on His children in great abundance!

What I find on ‘the other side’ is gratitude. My heart fills to bursting when I think of how very fortunate and blessed I am. I was born in a time of plenty, in a country where life is good. We were poor, but I don’t ever remember going hungry. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs and was made fun of at school for it, but I also never lacked for someone to play with. I lived on a farm with animals and gardens and fruit trees galore. We learned the ways of nature, of life and death, of working hard, playing fair, and counting our blessings, because if you look hard enough, you can always find someone who is in a worse situation than you are. Thanks Mom & Dad!

I also find on ‘the other side’ that friendship, joy, love, concern for others, living in and for Christ, and prayer, are also self-perpetuating. The more you give, the more you find comes back to you. We never run out of love!

Add to this better way of dealing with things, what St. John of the Cross says in his Cautions Against the Flesh, “All those who come into our lives are artisans. They are there to shape, fashion, form, and test us.” We can not only deal with ugly things in a more peaceful and positive manner, but we can also learn from them. If we give ourselves in complete trust and abandonment to God’s Divine Providence, what we learn from these difficulties can lead us to one day be grateful, not only for the experiences, but to/for the person they came through, as well.

Love & Prayers,

Becky

This post is part of a series. The introduction and other articles from the series can be found here 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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  • Bernadette

    “The more you give, the more you find comes back to you. We never run out of love!” Thank you for the preceding comment. That really stood out for me. It’s all about love!

  • I feel like your message applies to me today… I watched a Broadway musical with my friends for my Birthday.
    There was also a Marian house build in honor of Mama Mary for Gawad Kalinga for my social action NGO…but I since doing both would be too much I did not go….
    Some years ago, I went to a build for my and Mama’s Birthday. It was the most fulfilling birthday I ever had. Today was fun! But emptier…definitely emptier…

    • Becky Ward

      Happy Birthday! 🙂

    • LizEst

      Belated Happy Birthday, Mary!

  • rector

    Question for Ralyge: Did you mean to use the word “loose” as in ‘turn me loose” or is this a misspelling of the word “lose” as in you can “lose” you salvation? I think the sentence makes sense if your priest said, ” you can’t earn salvation, but you can lose it”
    Thanks for you reply. Donald

  • njan

    2 incomes + no children + early retirement! That’s a fallacy!
    We married late and could not have children. We both worked and just got by. Retired early because of a poor economy and no work. No pension because I worked for the Church. Now we live on social security and a part time job. When one of us dies it will be the poor house for the survivor!

    People think that because I was a teacher I have a plush pension but our investment went down with the market and we’re too old to re-grow it!

    I resent it when people assume that because we both worked (low paying jobs) and had no children that we are living the high life! Not all boomers have a booming retirement. It’s a struggle.

    • LizEst

      njan – There are others out there in your situation; I’m sorry people have judged you by preconceived ideas and prejudices. Only God truly knows what someone’s circumstances are and what is in their hearts. Thanks for opening the eyes of many and reminding all of us not to judge. God bless you.

  • Marg

    thank you Becky for this profound message today! this life here on earth is so temporary, we have to strive for our eternal life and I fall short when I put self in the front of what God asks of me, It is a daily struggle for me. These reflection opened my mind and heart and I thank you for sharing. God bless you!

  • Ramaniew

    Thank you Becky. This is a great article. God Bless

  • J.

    Maybe these people couldn’t have kids and that’s why they have two incomes and will be retiring early. Unless you know better, I wouldn’t assume that these people don’t have children because of selfishness. I know a lot of infertile couples (including my husband and I) who get judged by fellow Catholics who assume we’re contracepting. It’s very hurtful.

    • Becky Ward

      Dear J,
      Obviously this has struck a tender spot, and I am sorry for any pain this has caused you, and others in similar circumstances.

      The comment in this post is about what I read on Facebook as someone’s “Status”, which, if you aren’t aware of it, is something people are putting out there for others to know ‘what they are all about’, what they are doing, or some of their philosophies. There is a whole mentality out there that kids are bad……a drain on the economy etc…etc. and people are intentionally avoiding having children…..in order to have fun and party their whole life.
      THIS is where my comment was directed.
      I have relatives who have not been able to have children. It is a heavy cross. I will pray for you!

  • Barb

    I dont think because a couple both worked, had no children and then retired early is necessarily deserving of condemnation as in the second paragraph of “Broken”. Another possible perspective is that having no children (not their choice) and retired early, they gave their time to voluntary work and though both worked, no children and retired early, they lived a totally hidden unselfish life.
    Man judges appearances, but the Lord knows the heart” Book of Samuel
    The world in many ways is in a mess, but I think is an indication to look at ourselves closely and ask “Where am I/we failing?”. “You are the salt of the earth, and if the salt looses its taste?”

  • Maria Paz

    This message is just what I needed to ‘hear’ today. Thank you!

  • $1650412

    Yea, and amen! Brilliant-and so accurate! I live in the
    1 income household + thirteen children= a mom who continually has to focus on gratitude, because frankly sometimes the high price of abundant love is daily martyrdom- it is what it is. BUT more importantly- Jesus is Who He is, and in living by faith, whatever that looks like for each individual- whether it is by the ‘extreme sport’ version of mommydom or some other worthy path, you really find Him present when You want Him- really want Him, more than anything else. After all, what else is there?

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