Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates
SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? – Stanza XI – Part II

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

Broken? ~ Stanza XI ~ Part II

You never said it would be easy,
following Your footsteps here.
In fact You promised pain and sorrow;
much suffering for those who persevere.

pieta4It is not easy to truly follow Jesus. As I write this I am reminded of an expression I learned as a child. “Nothing that’s easy is worth having.” It sheds a great deal of light onto the phenomenon of a generation of people who seem to have very little respect or appreciation for things. With both parents working, many children have never known ‘want’; they often receive things before they have either the desire for them, or the aptitude to use them properly. When one is given everything and does not have to put forth any effort, or work, for their possessions, the possessions have little or no value to them. The soul is denied the benefit of working to obtain something they desire, and the pleasure of finally possessing what one has worked for.

I am guilty of having sometimes given my kids the newest toys, and other things they wanted as children, sooner than they were ready for them. As I learn more about my own abuse and what being “emotionally stunted” actually looks like in my life, I see that this is responsible for many things I did as a parent without knowing it. For instance, I wanted my children to have their own bedrooms because I never did. I am a very private person, I like being alone, and I really wanted my own bedroom, especially when I was a teenager. I felt I never had any privacy, and that I was constantly ‘exposed’. Because my emotions were stunted by trauma and abuse, I didn’t learn to submit my desires to my will and reason, and I made sure my kids had their own rooms…in part by limiting the number of children I had. What I didn’t realize until it was too late is that there are a lot of benefits for kids who share a bedroom.

  • They learn to share.
  • They learn to work out their differences.
  • They develop more consideration for others.
  • They have someone with them as they fall asleep.
  • More oversight – Less opportunity to get involved with bad things without someone knowing about it.
  • They learn to part of a family unit more fully.

Because of my stunted emotions I could not see the long-range advantages of having our children share a room, and of having a large family. I was ‘stuck’ with my unfulfilled, selfish, childish desire and I projected that onto my children, thinking that obviously all children want their own room. The truth is that kids don’t know the difference unless someone tells them about it! More importantly, they do not know what is best for them; that’s why God gave them parents.

As I have grown in my relationship with the Lord I have learned that persecution often comes from within (like thinking I was a bad mother if my kids had to share a room.), and from those we are the closest to – our families. In hindsight I must say to myself, “Duh!” Jesus wasn’t accepted or welcomed by many of those in His family or community, as He states so well in this scripture passage:

“Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” Mark 6:4

I wasn’t expecting this, and it does hurt very much. I come from a large family, and we were always very close. My conversion has shown me that although I thought I was living a good ‘Catholic’ life, I wasn’t! Since I have changed, and no longer do certain things, other family members must examine their own behaviors (although they probably do not realize that they are doing so.), and the devil is only too willing to supply them with faulty reasoning that puts the ‘blame’ on me.  I understand this because I used to do the same thing, “It’s not ME that needs to change!”  It’s funny in a way, because the more time that goes by, and the closer I get to the Lord, the more clearly I see how needy I am. I need Christ’s mercy, love, strength, and protection just to get through each day, and I am grateful that He never fails to provide the grace I need to do just that.

A particular grace that we all need is the grace of final perseverance. The Catholic dictionary defines perseverance as:

“Remaining in the state of grace until the end of life. The Church teaches that it is impossible, without the special help of God, to persevere in the state of grace to the end.”

It is not possible for us to know for sure that we will be admitted to heaven unless we receive a special gift of this knowledge from God. Until we have taken our last breath it is possible for us to lose our faith, and the devil will do everything he can to make this happen. He has lost the gift of being united with the Lord for eternity and he doesn’t want us to have it either! So when he sees us making progress in the spiritual life he multiplies the attacks against us, even using our family and friends to distract us. Because of this it is important to establish and maintain a good relationship with the Lord, which begins with prayer, sooner, rather than later. Practice makes perfect….and I hope that my practicing now will enable me to be faithful in trusting God through the very last moments of my life. If we ask, God will help us.

While we will receive much suffering and persecution on the path of holiness, as Jesus promised, we also receive, in abundance, all the grace and blessings we need to persevere. And the joy of having Jesus as one’s friend and confidant more than makes up for the suffering we endure in the short span of time we dwell on the earth.

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. They can also be found at Tending The Vineyard.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • Jeanette

    “A particular grace that we all need is the grace of final perseverance. The Catholic dictionary defines perseverance as:

    “Remaining in the state of grace until the end of life. The Church teaches that it is impossible, without the special help of God, to persevere in the state of grace to the end.””

    I’m in the midst of trying to gather information to provide a little talk about grace for our prayer group and you have inspired me to end it with the gist of the above statement. All of your posts are so inspiring. Thank you Becky!

    • Becky Ward

      Thank you, Jeanette. You’re like a little beam of sunshine on the site!
      Catholic Culture has a great online Catholic dictionary where you can find more about particular types of grace.

      http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/

      • Jeanette

        Thank you and God bless you!

Skip to toolbar