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Broken? – Stanza XIII – Part I

August 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

Note from Dan: Dear friends, this post and combox comments reference a book, “Healing of Families” by Fr. Josef Ssemakula. It has come to our attention that the Fathers of Mercy and others have completed an in-depth theological review and have found numerous serious problems with the text. As well, it is clear and unfortunate that Fr. Ssemakula published the text even though his diocese would not issue an Imprimatur. It is thereby important to note that we do not recommend this book to anyone. It should be avoided until such time as the errors are corrected.

“Take up your cross” You tell us still,
in this is our salvation won.
Not by strength or mighty actions,
but little things, done with great love.

pieta4Just what does Jesus mean when He tells us to take up our cross? After what I have learned about abuse, trauma, neglect, and spiritual warfare in the past couple years, I would suggest to you that what Jesus means by this, is often not what we understand it to mean.

In his book The Healing of Families, Fr. Joseph Ssemakula tells us that it is our misconceptions about God that allow us to believe that He sends various diseases, illnesses, disorders, natural disasters, and the like into our lives as part of our ‘cross’. Trusting mightily in Jesus’ words from John 10:10, “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (and lie); I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”,  Fr. Joseph proposes that anything that does not give life, is not from God. This includes illness, disease, and natural disasters. On the other hand, anything that steals, kills, or destroys, is from the thief (Satan), who does have power in the physical realm. This is a revolutionary principle to reflect on in regard to the things that bring suffering into our lives!

If you’re anything like me, you may have thought that diseases were part of our cross, or the punishment for something we’ve done. And natural disasters, well, I humbly confess that I often attributed them to God’s will….and by this I understood that God had intentionally sent them.  I now see that I was operating under a huge misunderstanding of how God works, and of both His active, and His passive will.

This concept is so simple, that we are tempted to reject it. Does it give life? Then it must be from God. Does it steal, kill, or destroy, or is it a lie? Then it cannot be the result of God’s active will….which is something that He sends directly to us. However, the passive will of God allows certain things to happen, in order that He may bring a greater good from it.

Referring to the evil that is allowed by Divine Providence, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 311 states: “…He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

For almighty God… , because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.”

It’s through our free will that we bring evil upon ourselves. We also suffer from the consequences of the sins of our ancestors.  And this is a secret that the devil does not want us to know! Just as we all share the consequences of the ‘original sin’ of Adam and Eve, we also share in the consequences of the sin of family members who came before us. Examples of this are hereditary diseases and disorders that ‘run in the family’. These things do not give life. Diabetes does not give life. Depression and schizophrenia do not give life. Cancer does not give life. We could go on and on, but I think you get the point. God, the almighty creator, who wills each and every soul into being, would not spend nine months “knitting us” in our mothers’ wombs (Ps. 139:13), only to inflict illness and disease on us. This is not the work of God.

If this is true, then it must be the “Father of lies, a murder from the beginning” (John 8:44), who is responsible for the misery in our lives. This makes perfect sense when we think and pray about it. Satan seduced Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, by planting doubt and fear in her mind, and sin entered our lives.

Can you imagine not knowing about evil?? What BLISS that would be…..only knowing good. That’s how God designed us in the beginning, and while we cannot help knowing about evil now, we can, and must do our part to eliminate evil, both within ourselves, and in the world.

What is our part? Accepting the Gospel of Jesus, turning our lives over to God, and living in a relationship of love with Him that slowly transforms us from the inside out. This is what happens through the sacraments when we are in a state of grace. If we put no obstacles in His way, God is free to work in our souls strengthening us in virtue and helping us to eliminate sinful habits. This is what Jesus was talking about when He said,

“Whoever loves Me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (John 14:23)

The spiritual reality of what God does in a soul that loves Him, according these words of Jesus, is so far beyond our ability to comprehend it, that we are inclined to not believe it, rather than asking God to show us what is possible. Another scenario is that we believe the words, but in a vague and general manner, and not at all in the intimately personal way Jesus means them. This is why God has always sent prophets and saints into the midst of His people…….to speak the Truth and to be living examples that guide us back onto the narrow path.

Love & Prayers,

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.

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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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