Monday, January 25, 2010

Twin Pillars of Faith

Women of Faith:

In order for a tree to survive it must have roots. In order for us to survive WE must have roots. Just as there is only ONE God, One Body, there are and should be multiple parts “rooting” that Body, feeding that Body, “holding” the Body together.

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
“Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, “it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, “it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you, …so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
1 Cor 12:12-30

That is why we have faith and works; scripture and tradition; and the sacrament of the Word and the sacrament of the Eucharist. Without each of these “twin pillars” the other cannot survive.

Each of us has our strengths, some of us read more, some of us pray, and some of us serve. But the Twin Pillars, the Eucharist and the Word, must be our strongest roots. Our roots must be balanced and strong so that our branches do not bend and break, so that our entire tree is fed.

Each of us is also affected by other’s beliefs, by the trees around us. Just as if one tree, one person gets sick, others will catch those illnesses or diseases, so too if we spend time around someone whose moral values are not based in God, whose Truths are not based on God’s Truths, we too, will become ill and diseased along with them. The roots of truth and morals are those that will hold up at the end of time (the last tree standing) and are based on Jesus’ life as told in the Bible and as passed on thru the tradition of the Church.

But if we ignore these roots, if we pass laws not based on biblical truths and traditions (like legalizing abortion, same sex marriage, adultery, and living together before marriage), it is like planting ourselves in poor and diseased soil; soil lacking God’s nutrients. Then we will grow weak, we will start to lean, we will become diseased into believing that we can live without water, without nourishment, without Truth. We will have become diseased by society, by other men, by those around us, just as we would if someone had a contagious disease.

A tree with only one root will quickly fall, or bend and break. This is why the Truth in the bible, instructs us to pray for each other and to love each other. If we only love ourselves, if we only pray for ourselves, if we only care for ourselves, if we are selfishly one, then we will not have the benefit of the forest, the benefits of sustaining each other, and protecting each other, of dividing the sorrow and doubling the joy, of being one body in Christ.

Likewise, if we only have faith, but do nothing to serve, if we do nothing to bring others to Christ or help others to see Christ working; or if we have only Scripture, but not the Eucharist, we will also grow weak.

And finally, if we only have scripture without the meal, if we listen only to the Truth, but never receive nourishment, if we have roots that are never fed, or if we attend mass only to receive the Eucharist and don’t listen to the Word or put the Word into practice, the second pillar of our faith, the other roots of our life are weakened and without each other will crumble and fall.

Do I have all of my roots firmly in place? Am I balanced with more than one root? Do I have my bible at home, off the shelf, somewhere so that I regularly read it and don’t just listen to it once a week at church? Do I pray regularly, and for someone other than myself? Do I attend mass so that I get fed by the Eucharist regularly? Do I serve, by bringing others to Christ, and/or by helping those who need my part (my talent) in the one body? Which of my roots is weak and needs strengthened?

Dear God, Help me to be balanced. To seek your twin pillars. To not be like a man who is missing a part of his body. Help me to be firmly planted in your Truth, to read the bible regularly, to be watered; and to attend mass regularly so that I may be fed your life sustaining body and blood. Thank you for giving me strong roots, to not lean with the winds of society, and for knowing your Truth. Amen.

Blessings, Charlotte

Monday, January 18, 2010


Women of Faith:
Every place I’ve turned this week, I kept getting a message—“Use your talents. Share them

with others.”

Father said our purpose is “not to be saved, but to save others.” To save myself would be to be selfish and that is not what God taught us by giving us his son, Jesus. Jesus could have used his talents to “save himself” from the cross, but instead he used himself to save others. He was completely unselfish. He obeyed God completely by saying, “let it be your will.” Our ultimate answer is supposed to be the same, to be like Jesus, to obey God, to do his will.

So my question to myself is this: Am I fulfilling my purpose, am I using my talents so that others will come to know Christ? Am I obeying completely and unselfishly? Am I doing His will?

“Brothers and sisters: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another, the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another, mighty deeds; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of spirits; to another, varieties of tongues; to another, interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. 1 Cor 12:4-11

Each of us has unique talents, gifts given to us by one God, One spirit, individually as He sees fit for our lives. And none of us can live without the other, because God has given himself to us through them.

How are we using the gifts of the spirit, given to us by God? God doesn’t tell me to save myself, God calls me to obey him. We heard in Jn 2:1-11 Mary tells the servants at the wedding feast in Cana, “do whatever he tells you.” This is how we are to live our lives—We are to do what God tells us… not what we want, or our friends want, but rather as God wants, completely, wholeheartedly, without compromise, and without picking and choosing the truths that fit our earthly vision for our lives.

So what is my special talent? Is it my occupation, or is my occupation just a means to use another gift that may not be as easily defined as my job title. Does my job put me in a place where God wants the “spirit” in me to work with some talent other than what is in the outward appearance of my occupation.

If I look at all the roles we have as wives and mothers, I see many talents, many gifts, which have nothing to do with our jobs or the occupations we have outside of our homes. As women we have a unique talent to love and care for our spouses and children, to show compassion and give service to our families.

We each have a special gift of knowing what our families need. We might call it an “instinct,” or even “eyes in the back of our heads” when it comes to our children. Maybe those “eyes” are the “spirit” working in us to be ready to “save” that child. I find my inner self smiling with joy when I am serving my family, whether it is in cooking them a special meal or giving them time when I feel like I have none. And I feel much less joy when I decide to do something just for myself, when I become “selfish” and ignore their call in my life.

It’s difficult in this “me” world to be aware of God talking to me; to hear God answer my prayers, telling me both yes and no; to see God working miracles in my life; to realize that God is testing my resolve to always say Yes, to Him and not to myself; and to share the talents that God has given me, not to save myself, but to help and save others.

Dear God: Help me to use the “gifts of the Spirit” to give myself unselfishly to my spouse and my family. Help me to feel fulfilled when I am using my talents to take care of their needs. Thank you for the special gift of love and caring you give me as a woman. Help me to bring others to use their talents and treasures for you as well. Bless those who have so much less, especially the homeless and the starving in the world and this week especially those who need our prayers in Haiti. Help me to use my gifts of time, talent and treasures wisely and unselfishly. Amen.

This is our purpose, to do whatever he tells us. Jesus could have used his talent to “save himself” from the cross, but instead he used himself to save others. He was completely unselfish. He obeyed God completely by saying, “let it be your will.” Our ultimate answer is to be to God, to obey him, to do his will.

Blessings, Charlotte

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Faithfully Fit

Dedicated today to a special group of women who start a “Faithfully Fit” exercise group—a group of faith filled women, working together to make their bodies honor God by being healthy thru exercise. Their title made me think about what I’m doing to make myself spiritually “faithfully fit?” What am I doing to exercise my Christianity in my daily life?

During Christmas we put aside our differences, angers and frustrations and made special efforts to show our families and friends how much they mean to us. It was similar to a honeymoon, where everything is new and fresh, where little “issues” are set aside and special efforts are made to please those around us, where it was “easy” to live God’s love because he was the reason for the season.

After the holidays we feel a “let down” in our spirit. We no longer have the anticipation of a holiday filled with God’s love, a time when we are reminded of “love” through a daily anticipation of family gatherings and joyous music at every turn. It is a more “ordinary” time, a time when we have to work to be faith filled instead of just faithful.

So, how can I keep the spirit of God’s “Christmas love” alive in my life during this “ordinary time?” How can I become more “faithfully fit?”
The book, “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elisabeth George offers some suggestions for being “Faithfully Fit.”

1) “Choose God at every opportunity. Choosing God deepens our devotion.” Commit yourself to actively making decisions the way God would want us to make a decision, not a decision which meets our purpose, but one that meets God’s purpose. Pray for His guidance and for His blessings to choose the path Jesus would have. WWJD! “I may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Eph.3:12)

2) “Commit yourself to God daily.” Pray every day. Make God a part of every moment. Say it out loud, “Lord, today I am yours. Make me an instrument of your peace.”

3) “Cultivate a “hot heart.” Don’t be “lukewarm,” half-hearted. Don’t pick and choose the Truths you want to follow because they fit your lifestyle. If we are going to be “faithfully fit” we must be whole-heartedly faithful, we must seek God’s entire truth, not just the ones that fit. “I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected.” (Phil.1:5)

Let’s make this ordinary time-extraordinary. Let’s recommit ourselves to being “faithfully fit.”

“Dear God, Let your presence in my life make a difference to those lives around me. Help me to be faith full. Let me speak of the great things you have done for us. Help me to choose you at every opportunity and to commit myself to you daily. Help me to seek your entire truth and to make the difficult choices that follow you on the path of trust and faith. Amen.”

Blessings as you Exercise to Become Faithfully Fit, in Mind and Body! Charlotte

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Epiphany, Manifestation in the New Year

This is the “Sunday of Light,” the celebration of Epiphany. Epiphany is a manifestation, a giving of a sign or expression (of faith), an appearance.

The story of the “three kings” is a familiar one. Mt 2:1-12 The magi’s followed the star (the light) to take gifts to the Son of God. They listened to their hearts, hearts that were not “Christian” by the times, but with more faith and wisdom than that of many Christians. The magi’s with complete faith follow the light and also listen to the dreams warning them about Herod’s intent to kill Jesus. The magi’s FELT in their heart that Jesus was the Son of God, the one Judge, the one Truth, and the one source of Light. And they were sorrowfully aware of the terrible price Jesus would have to pay for justice and our salvation and peace.

In the stable that night, we are shown different faith “lights.” Mary, has the gift of “true, unblemished, light.” She was given the gift of complete love, complete faith. She is able to know without doubt what God’s plan was for Jesus, and she was able to see not only the “joy” but the sorrows that Jesus would endure. She accepted her role in faith, not only as Jesus’ mother, but as the mother of His church (and therefore us, as the churches children).

Joseph is given the “light” within his dreams. He too follows God’s “calling.” He listens to God’s words in his dreams so that he will know his role in Christ’s life. Joseph’s manifestation of faith is in his “common” work as a carpenter and in his trust in God by allowing Mary to become his wife, even though he knew he was not Jesus’ “true” father.

The shepards and the animals in the stable are the poor, the faithful, and the hopeful. They represent us when we search for the light, follow our hearts, seek God, and are given “glimpses” of light in our lives.

And finally there are the magi’s, non Christians, who follow their hearts, on the simplest faith, and are able to “see the light” simply because they trusted. They were the first teachers showing us that we must follow Christ’s light by faith, and that we must be willing to share our “glimpses” of Light with those who are searching for salvation.

We, like the shepards, animals and magi’s are the “poor believers,” called to manifest our faith, to share the light of Christ in our lives. If, we are in fact, “Christians,” than our role is greater than to “just be.” It is not enough to just have faith, to say we are saved, to be baptized. Our role, instead, must be active, to pray, to share the light, to spread our faith with whomever we meet. We need to listen to our hearts, like the magi did, and we need to go out and spread the good news, like the shepards did.

We need to actively search and have an awareness of the people around us who are searching for God’s light and salvation. We must not be “silent” Christians but rather initiate conversations about Christianity. We must remember to bring God into our “talk” with reverence, to give God credit for our blessings, and to be ready to help others find Christ in their lives. We also need to be aware of the “Herod’s” in our lives, the devils, whose goal it is to kill Christ’s messages. Sometimes we must return by a different route.

“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” Is 60:1-6

Do our New Years “resolutions” reflect Christ’s light in our lives? Do they include sharing our faith with our family, our friends, our coworkers or with someone who is feeling alone or is in darkness? What “active” manifestations of our faith can we share today? Do we grumble and complain about “little” irritations, or do we praise God for all the blessings in our lives? Do we remember to appreciate what others do for us, especially our spouses? Are these special people in our lives remembered in our daily prayers? Are our words to them ones of love, or filled with constant unrealistic expectations? Are there any “Herods” in our lives that we should avoid because they are “killing” our love for the Truth, for seeking and appreciating God’s blessings? (These Herod’s may be people, but they may also be our vices, like greed, addictions etc…)

Could are New Years’ Resolutions include these: To pray daily, to read a bible verse daily, to attend church regularly—maybe even daily, to tell our spouse we love them and to never go to bed angry with them or with a child.

O Princely Child, make us all wise men, courageous women, obedient children who will follow wherever You lead us. That means being faithful to prayer, to diligent study of our faith, sharing what we learn with others. This is the way for us to be light-bearers, lighting up the darkness and confusion in the world in which we live. Amen.