At a crossroads

“There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After…I knew there would be no turning back if I designated this moment as my own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured.”
Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

 

Sometimes we have to make very difficult decisions in life…decisions that are for the betterment of the whole.  The word difficult is an understatement as to how one feels when your world is being turned inside out, upside down until you no longer recognize what up is anymore.

We all are faced with such decisions in life whether it be a new job, a sick parent or child, moving….a death……how we handle such adversity is a testament to our own character.  Either we pick ourselves up or fall into the rabbit hole.

Life has a funny way of testing us, our patience, our love, resilience.  We think we know it all but in reality….when you look at life in it’s entirety…we really don’t.  Few of us are lucky enough to skate through this existence with barely a scratch.  But is that good? Hell, who wants to live a life chalk full of problems, deceit, sorrow…..but we have to…we have to because that’s life.

We can’t always hide our head in the sand…..give ourselves in to denial because your job, your marriage…isn’t going as planned.  A part of you wants to run away from the pain, the uncertainty but you keep going…you keep going because there’s no other choice.  Responsibilities towards your family, yourself are paramount to survival.

And during those dark times who do you turn to?  Does God fit into the picture? And if not God then who?  Do you have a safe haven to run to when times are tough.  Someone or something which can ease the pain, the doubt?

“Each day is a new beginning. You can start fresh, anticipating what today will bring. Or you can just settle for yesterday’s doubts, fears, or worries. Which road will you take? Do you take the path to the clear present or the the shadows of the past?”
Eve Evangelista, Create and Move Forward in Life

It’s your life…what do you choose?

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Find your potential

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile. (Earl Nightingale)

Goals give meaning to one’s life.  It inspires us to be better persons…to “think outside the box” to realize that there is GOD so much more to this life than simply existing!

Our goal should be that we’re going to live life to the fullest, pursuing our passions and dreams, and when it comes our time to go, we will have used as much of our potential as possible. (Joel Osteen from “Become a Better You”)

Sometimes staying motivated towards our goals can be harrowing…daunting and quite frankly exhausting.

But once you reach them….once you reach them the sense of pride, self-fulfillment….and accomplish far outweigh the negatives.

Since I was a little girl…since I could remember I envisioned myself on this ladder. Almost like Jacob’s ladder however instead of seeking spiritual enlightenment I was seeking something else….something life changing. (Not to say religion isn’t because it is) but I was also seeking my niche in life.  Wanting a sense of purpose.

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.  ~Thomas Henry Huxley

Develop a tangible focus…start somewhere but the important thing is to start!!

I remember when…

I remember when I went to the confessional with an Army Chaplin and was told if I was truly sorry for my sins and for one of them I was not because I felt it would be hypocritical of me to say yes. The Chaplin said he could not abssolve me from my sins and when deployed my soul would not be in state of grace. Needless to say I may be joining one of many Catholics leaving the faith.

A state of limbo

Have any one of you questioned your faith? 

Wondered why you believe the way you do and if you have doubts do you think about leaving?

I was pretty much born a Roman Catholic. Baptized at around 6 months and went to Mass on a regular schedule. Mom is a devout Latina Catholic and she brought up her children to respect God and the church.

However, through the years I’ll be the first to admit I have questioned the Catholic teachings especially confession. I simply don’t understand how people can go to the confessional and request forgiveness. There are two types of sins:  mortal and venial.

According to A Guide for Confession a mortal sin is:

…a deadly offense against God, so horrible that it destroys the life of grace in the soul. Three simultaneous conditions must be fulfilled for a mortal sin: 1) the act must be something very serious; 2) the person must have sufficient understanding of what is being done; 3) the person must have sufficient freedom of the will.

Now, it makes me wonder how many people are truly sorry for their sins?  Or do they simply go through the motions but in their heart they know that they’ll be committing it again later? Isn’t that hypocrisy….especially when you KNOW it can be prevented.

So what happens to those of us who aren’t hypocrites, we know we will commit the sin again (am not talking about the really vile stuff) but then I guess even that could be relative…..all of this becomes so convoluted you don’t know what to believe in any more!!

😦

Absolution

(source:  AmericanCatholic.org)

Having been raised Roman Catholic pretty much from the womb all I have known through my young adult life were the beautiful rituals which were geared towards the seven sacraments which lead us towards a state of grace:

  • Baptism
  • Eucharist
  • Reconciliation
  • Confirmation
  • Marriage
  • Holy Orders
  • Anointing of the Sick

I have been through all but Holy Orders and Marriage.  When I suffered through a bout of pancreatitis I was given the anointment of the sick due to the gravity of my situation.  Mom was there and it was a solemn moment.  I remembered when I survived that ordeal (for I was in the hospital a month and was hooked up to IV’s and a PIC line) my health was touch-n-go, I was so grateful to be alive and I thanked God for getting me through this ordeal.

My faith is basic, no fancy trimmings. I believe in God, I believe Jesus died for our sins and that is that.  I don’t try to make myself into something I am not. I don’t go out preaching the gospel because it’s not my thing. And if that’s something that you do then good for you. Myself, I just try to live the best I can, be kind and generous to others and live my life as uncomplicated as possible.

So, it was a shock to me that I was not granted absolution regarding a situation I have found myself in and wondered to myself would God be so unjust as to not forgive me when there is so much more going on in this world deserving of His attention?

From what I understand, and will put into basic terms here, Catholics believe sin holds equal weight…doesn’t matter what “type” of sin it is…a sin is a sin and you have to be truly sorry in order to be absolved.

So, for the life of me I will never understand seeing the throngs of people who receive communion and I KNOW that they have to be repeating the same sins over and over. So are THEY truly sorry?

I don’t go to communion because I know I will repeat the same sin.  I try not to judge but in all my years of being Catholic this is the first time my sins were not forgiven and makes me pause to wonder if being a Catholic is where I was meant to be…….

Judge not lest ye be judged

Matt 7:2-5 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged [if we judge with an evil heart or dark intent, His judgment of us will reflect it; if we judge nobly with honesty and justice, His judgment of us will reflect that, too], and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [if we use extremes or exaggerations or other ignoble means, His judgment of us will reflect it and judging with fairness and compassion will garner likewise in His judgment of us]. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye [point out his sins, “minor” in Jesus’ example here] and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye [our own sins, even and especially those we will not admit, magnified by our selective blindness]? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ [tell him of his “minor” sins] when all the time there is a plank in your own eye [that there are greater or the same sins in our own lives which we do nothing about or think we are above]? You hypocrite* [pointing out the sins of others while by pretense thinking of ourselves as above sin], first take the plank out of your own eye [sincerely ask the Lord for forgiveness and learn and live the Truth and Light by His Word], and then you will see clearly [be in a righteous position] to remove the speck from your brother’s eye [to judge and to help him out of his bondage to sin].” At Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan, Jesus was talking to the multitudes gathered there after hearing of His message and of His healings to beseech them to not become like the pharisees and hypocrites who think they are above sin.

 

 Who here can honestly say they are free from sin to the point that they can freely judge someone else? I have seen it all around me and at times am guilty of this myself.

What I try to press upon myself is that *I* cannot judge anyone, certainly not a sinner like myself….what I can do is control my own reactions to how I react (and yes…at times hard to NOT do this)….if something displeases me so and it’s in my best interest to leave the situation then that’s what I should do.  Sure we can counsel someone if their actions hurt us but if the person doesn’t change will you continue to sit there in silent judgement?

Doesn’t make sense.

I honestly don’t think anyone here is free from sin, free enough to point fingers at another person and condemn their actions.  No Saints here….

However, we also cannot allow individuals to simple act out in such a manner it creates societal discord.  (That’s why laws are in place to control our behavior). I digress but it galls me to see people condemn others when their own actions betray their impure hearts.

If you judge…you will be judged by that measure. 

Living in a state of grace

Attended Catholic service today at drill.  Had a nice long talk with the Army Chaplin. He’s been deployed a few times and discussed how he hopes soldiers try to live in a state of grace when deployed especially considering the dangerous conditions some may find themselves in. He stated we all should try our best to live our lives with pure hearts and minds but at times I find this most difficult.

So what is living in a state of grace? When I think about it…I feel that it’s when you find true inner peace…that your beliefs systems are equal to what God has intended for us and we try our best to live each day with a sense of higher purpose.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”. ~ Howard Thurman

I also think living in this state means letting go of earthly pleasures and love…to find that divine love which (at times) seems so difficult to grasp.

Perhaps true state of grace comes when we are baptized..when the Original Sin is forgiven but I have always had a problem with unbaptized babies being sent to Purgatory.

Some ask why I don’t take Communion and I simply state that my soul is not free from sin. I don’t live in a state of grace and I find it highly hypocritical of those individuals who attend Mass and in droves receive this holy sacrament all the while knowing that their soul is not in a true state of grace–free from mortal sin….and I realize at the same time that I am not their judge…only God…and so I rely upon myself not to demean the Eucharist by taking on something I have no right to at the present moment….

“You were born into a state of grace. It is impossible for you to leave it. You will die in a state of grace whether or not special words are spoken for you, or water or oil is poured upon your head. You share this blessing with the animals and all other living things. You cannot fall out of grace, nor can it be taken from you. You can ignore it. You can hold beliefs that blind you to its existence. You will still be graced but unable to perceive you own uniqueness and integrity, and blind also to other attributes with which you are automatically gifted.”
Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality: Specific, Practical Techniques for Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know

 

IS there a god?

I always believed.  Since a child it’s like I could feel His presence and this knowledge gave me sweet comfort…that’s what happens when you view the world through the eyes of an innocent.
 
And as we grow older and are faced with life’s troubles we question His existence. Experiencing the woes of life such as death, divorce, sickness, even self-doubt, it can be quite heart wrenching at times.
 
A friend of mine relayed a story about a 12-year-old boy in Tell City, Indiana who suffers from liver cancer.  His cancer has now spread to his lungs and other parts of the body.  The boy, as from what I have heard, has kept a positive attitude throughout the surgeries and chemo. His only wish was to live to see 13. Currently his prognosis is very grim. 
 
Situations like this make me wonder how a loving God can allow such a thing to happen?
 
Can’t he simply cure this little boy? Something so miraculous to save him and his family from such suffering? Many thoughts run through my mind when I envision the agony his parents must feel and this boy knowing he won’t live to reach manhood, graduate from high school, fall in love and get married.
 
So, how do people keep going? What is it within then to keep believing?
 
When times are difficult, I try to think positive, to realize there is a loving God and everything happens to us for a reason. That the miracle of life is a testament to God’s love.  I see the wonderous acts of man who DO occur even in strife….I try keeping the faith alive in me even when there are times I simply want to give up.
 

A marital contract

In Islam a marital contract can be drawn up so that the woman retains some semblance of rights within the marriage in case it goes sour. The Wiki states:

An Islamic marriage contract (Arabic Katb el-Kitab, Hebrew Ketubah, Urdu Nikah-Nama) is an Islamic prenuptial agreement. It is a formal, binding contract considered an integral part of an Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride or other parties involved in marriage proceedings.

I used to disagree in having a prenuptial agreement because it sounded so unromantic to me and seemed to set up the potential marriage straight to divorce.

Bust as I got older and heard divorce horror stories I have come to realize that having a prenup makes sense.

According the the Wiki, a prenuptial agreement is:

is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery; further conditions of guardianship may be included as well.

In addition to what is typically stipulated in these types of contracts I strongly feel there should be a contingency that if a spouse cheats or abuses the other then the prenup is null and void because these two actions are simply unforgiveable.

With a struggling economy and jobs hard to come by, having such a contract can protect both parties (depends on what you put in them.)

Thoughts on prenups?

Reason for being…

“If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.”
-Voltaire

On English Sabla there is an on-going discussion about Stephen Hawking’s comment that Heaven does not exist. And it is interesting to learn about the Muslim point of view.

I can understand in part why Mr. Hawking believes this. We are sentient beings and we need to have a sense of purpose as to why we are here…that this existence isn’t all there is when we pass.

Then I look at the various religions and feel every culture has its own interpretation of what Heaven/God must be like because this viewpoint meshes with the way we all are raised and gives meaning to our lives.

I wonder about the Big Bang and what caused it to happen…was it merely a systemic chemical reaction of matter or was there something miraculously greater than any of us…God…who decided His existence was also a lonely one and began to create a universe to stave off an eternity of solitude?