Category Archives: Catholicism

How Loving Mary Helps me Love Jesus #StoriesofEaster

This year, as I journey toward Easter, my eyes are fixed on the ultimate act of love: Jesus giving His life for us. But I also remember to see the whole picture, and so I look to the foot of the cross.

There I see the Mother of God kneeling before her Son, staying with Him, suffering with Him.

As a mother, I can relate to her pain. For me, there is nothing worse than watching my children suffer. I want to kneel beside Mary and comfort her. I want to thank her for raising such an amazing Son. I want to walk each painful step with her. I want to love Mary, for she is my Mother, too.

This Easter, I believe what St. Josemaria Escriva once wrote: “The beginning of the way, at the end of which you will find yourself completely carried away by love for Jesus, is a trusting love for Mary.

READ MORE ON THE CONVERGENT BLOG…plus! Write your OWN Stories of Easter and join us for synchroblog on Good Friday!

Nourishment for your tired soul this weekend #EEGentleLent

I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your Gentle Lent stories with me this past week. I’ve read every post and I’m sitting here all warmed, filled, comforted. Your words, my friends. They HEAL.

Since my Lenten practice includes encouraging others, I wanted to share a little collection of Internet goodness to inspire, refresh and make you laugh this weekend. Enjoy.

1. Nineteen year old Finnish YouTube user speaks gibberish to show how we hear a foreign language. Brilliant! And funny!

2. WWII widow waits 60 years to find out what happened to her husband. What she eventually discovered is just so beautiful. Inspiring.

3. What Legos taught me about Lent: All at once I understood.  This is why we observe Lent.
It’s not about punishment, and it’s not about denial.  It’s about righting our hearts, creating space in our lives for the things that matter.  Most of the time I don’t see that my life is out of balance until it is too late, and I’m spent, exhausted, a heap of remorse on the floor.  Lent is a chance to disconnect from the things that consume us.

4. The Road to Everywhere: why you can’t put off that trip any longer.  I didn’t exactly know what to do with my dad’s Elantra. So I drove. I got in the car and took my first independent road trip. It was the only thing I could do to both honor my dad and escape the overwhelming pain and death at home.

 

A Gentle Lent Linkup #EEGentleLent

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Lent is a penitential season in the Church year wherein we attempt to draw ourselves closer to God through repenting of earthly entanglements and giving ourselves to prayer and service.

This year I’m making a Gentle Lent–read more about WHY a Gentle Lent, HERE and have invited you to join me.

Today, I’ll share a brief reflection about prayer and then open up the conversation to YOUR posts and conversation (LINK-UP WIDGET BELOW!). I’m looking forward to sharing this season with you.

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Prayer is very difficult for me–as I suspect it is for many of us. My ADD makes it difficult to sit still for ANY length of time and my ADD brain makes it difficult for me to focus. For most of my life I’ve felt like a Prayer Failure not a Prayer Warrior. Last week I found this advice about prayer:

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Doesn’t that just make you heave a sigh of relief? No strife. No wracking the brain for something Important and Eloquent to say to God. Just a few words spoken whole-heartedly. Now, THAT I can do. (Feel free to grab the above graphic for your own use!)

In his book, Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales speaks of a very gentle yet devout spiritual practice that uniquely serves our own individual vocations. In other words, I am not a nun. I am a busy mother of five. I can’t spend hours in prayer each day because my vocation is motherhood. But I can pray a “few words with my whole heart.” Thank God it’s OK to be me!

This Lent, I’ll be spending five minutes each day in silent meditation. I’ll speak a FEW words whole-heartedly and keep it simple. I’m giving up R&B music and listening exclusively to classical or worship music. As for service, I’ll be writing notes of encouragement each week. I’ll also continue reading Introduction to the Devout Life.

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How about you? How are you making a Gentle Lent? Feel free to share posts via the link-up or start a conversation in the comment box.

Part of my service this Lent is to speak encouraging words and/or answer your questions so I’d love to converse with you in my comment thread and read your reflections on your own site. Much love. EE.

Here’s how to participate:

    1. Paste a link to your specific “penitential” or “reflective” post in this linkup (not your home page)
    2. Spread the word: tweet using hashtag #EEGentleLent, share on FB, invite others to join
    3. Engage the conversation in this comment box or others.
    4. You can also add THIS BLOG HOP CODE to your OWN blog post: get the InLinkz code

I look forward to reading your posts and comments and sharing a Gentle Lent with YOU.

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Do All The Things! All at Once! {How NOT to do Lent—from someone who’s learned the hard way, aka: fiery crash-n-burn}

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Remember last year when I tried to go whole-hog-100%-all-sold-out-for-Paleo? Yeah, that lasted a whole seven days at which point I crash landed into a jar of Cookie Butter. 

I do the same thing with exercise. Someone mentions they’ve started doing yoga and I get all inspired, rush off to the store to buy All The Yoga Outfits, mats, blocks, stretch bands and DVDs because apparently I’m planning on becoming a yogi. Overnight.

I do the same thing with spirituality. I rush in, dive-headfirst, make Big Promises to God and then ICHABOD! the glory departs and I find myself weeping and wailing and gnashing mine teeths.

I’ve burned out so many times that I’m finally ready to do something different. 

In his precious little book, Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales gently cautions against Doing All The Things. In fact, after providing a few suggestions for placing oneself in the presence of God, he concludes by saying:

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One at a time. Briefly and simply.

What a relief to know I don’t have to make my spiritual practice some huge, complicated thing. I can keep my devotion brief and simple. I can do just one thing at a time.

This week? I’m going to go see the doctor because I can’t shake this fatigue after being sick for two weeks. It’s time for me to take care of myself. ARRRRGH! *plugs ears, la-la-la* *wants to pretend there is nothing wrong* #denial

But, I’m going to do this ONE thing. Please ask me about it by Tuesday, k? Accountability! WOOT!

Also, are you thinking about your own Gentle Lent? Don’t forget to join us on Ash Wednesday for a linkup and conversation. Feel free to share the graphic invitation above and invite your friends. All welcome. xo. EE.

 

Join me for a Gentle Lent?

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I wake to the sound of rain on my rooftop. The house is quiet. And so is my soul–finally, at long last.

In the wet, pre-dawn darkness I dress for Mass and then tip-toe downstairs to brew coffee.

I have come to love these quiet Thursday mornings, beginning the day in prayer. There aren’t many people who attend Mass at 6:30am; mostly elderly, some with canes, one with a wheelchair, a few day laborers, immigrant mothers with worried faces. But every Thursday morning they arrive silently, limping and hobbling into the pews, heads bowed. And I read Scripture for them.

I am the lector for Thursday 6:30am Mass in my parish. Being a lector means I read aloud that day’s Scripture: a reading from the old testament, a Psalm and a reading from the New Testament–one of the letters or epistles.

“Mom, you have such a gentle voice when you read Scripture,” one of my children remarked after hearing me read during a Sunday Mass.

I guess I do. At least, I try. My faith practice is very gentle these days.

I consciously slow myself down when I enter church, dip my fingers in holy water and make the sign of the cross over myself. I genuflect before I enter the pew, dipping one knee down while I bow forward and cross myself again. These gestures–the bowing, genuflecting, crossing myself, kneeling, standing, lifting my hands during the “Our Father”–somehow these bodily movements slow me down, like speedbumps to my ever-worried-frantic-soul.

I find myself sinking into the soothing ritual of Mass like sinking into a soft, feather bed.

All is gentle. All is rest.

This is how I want to approach Lent. Not frantically, not busily. Remembering that only one thing is needful: drawing nearer to Jesus.

I intend to make a gentle Lent.

If you’re like me, you probably need less doing this Lent and more being. Lent always seems to sneak up on me. I muddle through January cleaning up Christmas, sluggish after so much wining and dining and celebrating—seem to find my stride in February and just when I catch my breath–oh! It’s Ash Wednesday.

My tendency in years past has been to overdo Lent. To fast from So Many Things. To overcommit to So Many Hours of daily prayer. To pledge alms and then, forget to actually give it.

This Lent, I’m too burned out and exhausted to do ANYTHING big or busy.

This year, I’m being gentle.

For me, being gentle with myself and others is penitential–it helps me turn away from my busy doings that often lead to mistakes, distractions and worry and turn towards the merciful love of Christ.

Would you like to join me this year for a Gentle Lenten practice? Here’s what we’ll do: I’ll share a few ideas for making a Gentle Lent. Think about your own Gentle Lenten practice and next week, on Ash Wednesday, I’ll host a link-up where we can all share our thoughts and reflections.

Ideas For A Gentle Lent:

Stillness: set a timer for five minutes and just be still. Breathe. This Lent, my goal is to sit still and meditate silently for five minutes each day.

Fast from something simple: Lent is a time to examine the people, places or things we’ve become too attached to; things that are hindering us from living a fully free life. This Lent, I’m detaching from my inordinate affection for R&B music. :) During Lent, I’ll listen to classical or meditative music.

Almsgiving: can you give either time or talent to someone else? This Lent I’ll be writing one encouraging note a week and mailing it. I’ll also be providing service to my parish through volunteer work.

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Even if you’ve never practiced Lent before, please join me!
Even if you’re not religious or attend church, this Gentle Lenten practice is open to ALL.
Maybe you have questions about Lent? Write about it!
Perhaps you’d like to reflect on Lent from years past? BLOG IT.
Maybe this year you’re feeling angry with God or in a spiritual wilderness? POUR IT OUT!
Then come back next week and share with us.

If nothing else,
maybe you’ve been waiting for a good time to rid yourself of that Diet Coke habit! :)
Don’t go it alone! Let’s do this Gentle Lent together!

photo sources linked in images

I’m a bad Catholic and The Catholic Church is Right About All The Things. No, seriously.

Yes, I cover my head in Mass. Because 1 Corinthians 11.

Yes, I cover my head in Mass. Because 1 Corinthians 11.

I’ve heard it said that conversion is a journey and if that’s the case, I clearly need more converting. I’m obsessive about brutal self-honesty–it’s why I journal every day of my life–and the truth I’ve discovered is that I’m a rebellious Catholic. This is not me being cute. This is not me being hip. This is me admitting that I’ve been full of spiritual pride.

Ever since I became Catholic in 2009, I’ve tried to bend Catholicism to meet my Own Ideas About What Catholicism Should Be. Let me be brief: this journey has ended in disaster.

For one thing, it’s exhausting. For another thing, it was atheistic. At least, behaviorally.

Meaning: *I* was deciding what was true or not true. *I* was deciding–based on some personal, arbitrary standard of Me-ness–to decide whether the Church Fathers were right about All The Things. I didn’t need any Thomas Aquinas giving me the what-for on doctrine. Who did he think he was, anyway? Pffft. He was “just a human being” like me. He was FLAWED. And don’t get me started on the Pope and all that infallibility nonsense! AS IF A HUMAN BEING CAN BE INFALLIBLE BA HA HA HA, am I right?

Because. Obviously. It was MY relationship with Christianity! It was MY relationship with God! It was all about meeeeeeeeee.

And therein lies the pride of my Protestant heritage: protesting as a way of life. Protesting as a practice of faith. Picking and choosing and white-washing my rebellion as just “being a good Berean.”

Oh, the many-splendored manifestations of my pride!

Can I just admit something, here? Being The Arbiter of All Truth is exhausting. I should know, I’ve given it a good run. And, as I said: it’s ended in disaster.

Picking and choosing has made me a liar and a hypocrite. I’ve tried to please everyone except God. I’ve ignored and/or watered-down my adherence to certain, difficult Catholic doctrines because, well, THEY ARE UNPOPULAR. And, apparently, I’m all about being popular.

But I’m gonna go ahead and resign from being the Pope. Yeah, I’ve been playing Pope. You know, like: “Well, I believe THIS about the Church but I don’t like THAT so I’m declaring what’s true and not true.” Even if I didn’t say it in so many words, I said it through what I practiced.

Thing is, I’ve been proven wrong so many times (about the Eucharist, about Mary, about the communion of Saints) that it’s actually SMARTER for me to assume The Catholic Church Is Right About All the Things. I mean, there’s one Pope and I ain’t him.

I know! I know! WHO AM I BECOMING???? (Feel free to unsubscribe now)

OK, now to be fair to myself, here is what I was protesting. I was protesting being a Mean Catholic. I despise Mean, Know-it-All People and the Internet is especially full of them. In other words, I felt that being a Faithful Catholic meant I needed to be like Certain Internet Catholics who use words like “militant” and “Catholics born for combat” as their claim to fame–NO, I WILL NOT MENTION NAMES OR LINK TO SITES.

Point is, I thought that being a Faithful Catholic=Being a Mean Catholic and BEEN THERE DONE THAT. Thank you, fundamentalist childhood.

So, I didn’t want to become a Mean Catholic. But I never realized I could just become a Sweet, Kind and Faithful Catholic. Basically, I was spending too much time around Internet Catholics and not enough time with Real Life Catholics.

All I have to say is that Real Life Catholics have been more than generous with me. They let me into their Church, they welcomed me to the Table and they prayed for my further conversion. I mean, they probably stopped reading my blog because well, UNFAITHFUL TO THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH. But they didn’t punish me or sic The Inquisition on me.

Instead they were patient. And kind. Which, shockingly, is kind of like God.

So, this is me saying I’m tired of trying to bend Catholicism to ME and instead, I’m committing to bend MYSELF toward it. Because I believe in God. And God brought me to Catholicism. And then God brought my husband in. And now my children. SO CLEARLY THERE IS A PLAN, HERE.

It’s time for me to repent and start ACTING like I believe God is God. Which is just another way of saying: freeeeeedom!

Why the Immaculate Conception makes Protestants squirm {and why it doesn’t have to!}

Virgin of the Immaculate Conception by Pierre Puget

Virgin of the Immaculate Conception by Pierre Puget

When I was a Protestant and heard Catholics talking about the “Immaculate Conception,” I assumed they were referring to how Jesus was conceived–you know, without the act of sex. Because I guess Sex is Dirty? And NOT immaculate? So, since Mary got pregnant with Jesus WITHOUT HAVING SEX it was therefore: ta-da! The Immaculate Conception.

Well, I was wrong on all counts.

SCREEEECH! STOP! BEGIN DISCLAIMER!

[Before I try to explain this whole shebang, please remember that I'm Totes Fallible. That's a real thing. I'm just a Catholic who likes to read stuff and then translate it for Ma Blog. If thou art a Catholic who hath more time to spend studying this stuff feel free to correct me where I'm wrong. BUT BE NICE. Thank you. Le Management.]

END DISCLAIMER!

First of all, the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s conception and secondly, it isn’t referring to the act of sex at all.

The Immaculate Conception refers to the sanctification of Mary’s soul at the moment of its creation, at the moment she was conceived.

In other words, Catholics believe that as preparation for the special role Mary would play in bearing the Son of God in her very womb, God granted her a unique grace by preserving her from the stain of Original Sin before it had a chance to blemish her soul. To understand why this was necessary, it’s important to understand what Catholics believe about Original Sin. When Catholics talk about Original Sin they’re either referring to the sin that Adam & Eve committed in the garden of Eden OR the hereditary stain of sin passed down to us.

When Catholics celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception we are celebrating the extraordinary abundance of grace that God gave Mary at the moment of her conception, preserving her soul from the hereditary stain of Original Sin.

Perhaps an easier way to understand this is that while you and I are redeemed after we are born, Mary was redeemed before she was born. Like us, she needed a Savior. God simply chose to save her at an earlier point in her life than the rest of us. This pre-birth redemption of Mary, so to speak, is what we call The Immaculate Conception.

La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción by Murillo

La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción by Murillo

To be honest, when I was a Protestant, all these Marian doctrines confused me. And even after I became Catholic I struggled for a long time with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Why was it so important that Mary be preserved from the stain of Original Sin? Why did Catholics make such a fuss about a woman who was “just” Jesus’ Mother? To me, it always seemed that venerating Mary somehow detracted from the centrality of Christ.

It has taken me awhile to understand that Mary always brings us to Jesus. I’m not supposed to try and understand her apart from Him. In the end, all the Marian doctrines are really ALL ABOUT JESUS.

In fact, I realized it was a mistake to get all caught up in literalistic questions about Mary, demanding exact chapter and verse in the Bible. The thing is? The earliest church fathers were writing about Mary’s purity before the Bible was even compiled like whoa.

As St. Hippolytus (170-235 AD) wrote: Mary was a “tabernacle exempt from defilement and corruption.

St. Proclus (died circa 447 AD): “She was formed without any stain.

St. Ambrose (340-397): “A virgin immune through grace from every stain of sin.”

St. Augustine (354-430): all the just have known of sin “except the Holy Virgin Mary, of whom, for the honour of the Lord, I will have no question whatever where sin is concerned.

Stunner: Catholics have been writing about Mary’s purity from the earliest years of Christianity. In fact, when I was in RCIA, one of our teachers told us about an ancient church, circa 200 AD that he’d visited with a mosaic in the ceiling acclaiming Mary Immaculate.

So, if the earliest Christians believed this–even if it wasn’t dogmatically defined until much later–why was I so hasty to discount it? Did I really believe that the best and most faithful witnesses to Christianity only appeared on the scene right around the time of Billy Graham? Or maybe, if we were reeeally reaching back, the Puritans?

Ultimately it came down to an issue of trust: could I trust that the Holy Spirit had led the early church? Wouldn’t it be more prudent of me to rest on the hard work and prayer of those saints who had gone before instead of saddling myself with the Herculean task of figuring it all out for myself?

I finally rested in believing that it’s enough for me to agree with what the Church teaches–agreeing that the flesh from which the spotless Son of God was formed should be immaculate, too.

And so, like the Angel Gabriel I hail her as “FULL of grace” and answer “YES” to God just like she did.

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With deep gratitude for saints’ quotes and doctrinal explanation from NewAdvent.org and to Devin Rose whose book “If Protestantism is True” helped me better understand Marian doctrines from a former Protestant’s perspective. Also, to Mark Shea and his book: “Mary, Mother of the Son: modern myths and ancient truth”. Lastly, my deepest gratitude to Scott & Kimberly Hahn whose book “Rome Sweet Home” was the first book I read that helped me in my journey home to Catholicism.

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Other articles I’ve written about Mary:

How Mary Brought Me Back to Jesus Part 1 and Part 2

Putting Mary Away

Jesus Sent His Mother to Comfort Me

So, a Catholic walks into a LifeWay store…

Recently, a new LifeWay store opened in my neighborhood. I’d never been in a LifeWay store before but knew they advertised themselves on Twitter as “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services.” Well, this week I needed some supplies for my 2nd grade faith formation class, so I decided to check it out. I mean, Catholics are Christians too, right?

I walked into the store and saw aisles of KJV Bibles, devotional study Bibles, picture story Bibles for kids, Bibles for teenagers, Bibles For Divorced Men Who Drive Chevy Trucks. OK, I’m kidding about that last one. But you get the point: there were Bibles for every kind of Christian demographic except….Catholics.

And while there wasn’t one Crucifix or Rosary or prayer book or baptism candle to be found in the entire store, there WAS a huge section dedicated to Duck Dynasty. Huh?? 

When I asked a very friendly employee where I might find a Catholic Bible (for lack of a better word) he told me: “We don’t keep those in stock.”

“You don’t keep them in stock?” I repeated, puzzled.

“Well, we can order it for you!” he offered, with a huge smile.

“Um. OK, well. I was hoping to have it by this Sunday for my catechism class,” I said.

His brow furrowed. “Hmm. Not sure we can get it to you by then.”

Disappointed, I browsed the kids’ section for some Bible storybooks while my twins watched a Veggie Tales movie that was playing.

“Mommy, what’s this?” Jasiel asked, holding up a stuffed, red tomato.

“Bob the Tomato,” I answered.

Who?”

I couldn’t help but burst into laughter. The absurdity of it all, you know? A vegetable named Bob. A cucumber named Larry. Indeed, an entire RACK of vegetable-themed Bible story movies. But not ONE kid’s book about The Lord’s Prayer.

I did end up purchasing two Bible story books and one discount-priced kids’ praise music CD. I also signed up for the store emails and coupons.

But just as I was ready to pay, the cashier asked if I’d like to donate to their “Thomas Project”–a mission effort to provide Bibles to people in South Asia. “These people don’t have Scripture in their own language,” she explained.

I stared, the irony of it rendering me just totally speechless.

LifeWay cares about accessibility to Scripture so much that they’ll provide Bibles to people living in South Asia…but not to Catholics living right in their own hometown.

It honestly felt humiliating. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of my fellow Catholics have felt so slighted and dismissed when shopping at LifeWay. But then I remembered how, as a fundamentalist, I often said Catholics weren’t Christians. Standing there in front of the cashier, I could feel myself beginning to blush. I had done to Catholics what LifeWay was now doing to me.

Tears came to my eyes. All I felt now was sorrow. Sorrow for all the division, sorrow for all the misunderstanding, sorrow for all the unnecessary fighting between brothers and sisters in Christ.

The twins were clamoring for my attention so I quickly paid and turned away.

As I was leaving the store, another customer held the door for me and then–in a lowered voice–said: “If you’re looking for a Catholic Bible, I know of a store about 20 minutes away from here.”

Her lowered voice, her clandestine gestures–it was like we were underground Catholics afraid of being exposed to the Big, Bad Protestants. She shrugged, sorta sheepish: “I overheard your conversation at the cash register,” she said.

I looked at her. Smiled. And then we both laughed.

Because whoa. Christians are weird, man. No wonder “the world” thinks we’re nuts.

Modesty doesn’t live in a multi-million dollar mansion

My three older kids are working through their second year of faith formation in our Catholic parish. Last week, they came home with a packet about physical, symbolic and internal boundaries. As I flipped through the worksheets, I saw the word MODESTY and my heart froze. I could feel those old purity culture ideas rearing their shame-y, blame-y heads. But then I read the definition. And I got all happy because here, read it for yourselves:

Modesty: The virtue that respects, honors and protects privacy:
the quality of avoiding 
extremes of emotion, action, dress and language.
Modesty respects my boundaries 
and the boundaries of others.

What a well-rounded, WHOLE-PERSON approach to understanding the virtue of modesty! This is a perfect example of why I love Catholicism–the theology isn’t compartmentalized; meaning, modesty isn’t exclusively about manner of dress but about the WHOLE WAY we live our lives.

The Catholic understanding of modesty is that it encompasses ALL we do.

In purity culture, modesty was exclusively about sexuality; more specifically, female sexuality.

But the true modesty goes far, far beyond that. It’s about how we speak, how we act and it’s about avoiding extremes. Modesty is about moderation, respect for my boundaries and the boundaries of others. It’s about avoiding excess.

Couldn’t we say, then, that all Christians are called to live modestly? I mean, if modesty is a virtue, it’s not just for women. But how often do you ever hear Christians speaking about men being modest?

How often do we speak about modesty in regards to how we eat, how we spend our money, the kind of car we drive, the kind of house we live in?

Oooooh, Elizabeth. Oh, no no no.

Oh, yes. I’m going there. I’m asking the question:

Is it modest for a Christian pastor to own a multi-million dollar home?

As far as I can tell, Pastor Steven Furtick doesn’t answer to any higher authority structure than…himself. This is often the case in independent mega-churches where the senior pastor is The Final Word on everything. But even if Furtick is building his mansion only using earnings from his bestselling books, the question remains: is it modest or is it excessive for a pastor to live in such an expensive home? After all, he is–first and foremost–a pastor.

And to be fair, my own church–The Catholic Church–has this problem, too. Despite the fact that priests are required to take a Vow of Poverty, a German bishop was suspended for overspending on his residence. Then again, that’s my point. The Catholic bishop SHOULD have been suspended and he was! I’m curious to whom Pastor Furtick is accountable?

Furthermore, why don’t we speak more often about the virtue of modesty as it pertains to finances? What do you think?

Scrupulosity and could we please just give ourselves a break? {#31Days of “The Little Way”}

photoWhen I was a little girl, I went through feverish bouts of compulsive repentance.

This wasn’t your garden-variety “oops, I feel bad because I made a mistake.” This was: “I am a vile, wicked sinner and I deserve harsh punishment.”

If no-one was around to punish me, well, I spanked myself. Because VILE WICKED SINNER.

My bedtime prayers were lengthy litanies of my sins. I confessed everything. And then I confessed anything I might have done that I didn’t know was a sin. Lastly, could God please, please, please forgive me for anyone I’ve ever hurt or anything I’ve ever done or said or thought that was displeasing to Him? In Jesus’ name, amen.

Confession was exhausting. This was only made worse by the fact that my view of God was as a punishing abuser. It meant I stayed in a perpetual state of terror for most of my life. Newsflash: this does bad things to your brain.

If only I’d been comforted, like St. Thérèse, by a benevolent, merciful understanding of God.

Like me, St. Thérèse went through her own bouts of scruples–obsessively confessing and worrying about the tiniest sins. But her older sisters comforted her with the words that God was infinitely merciful, gracious and abounding in lovingkindness.

To be honest, I’m still rather neurotic about confession. I shame myself. I beat myself up. Almost all my difficulties in life come from this deep-seated belief that I’m not lovable. Therefore, I don’t LET God–or even my friends–love me. I always SAY I want love, but then when anyone gets close, I push them away because I’m terrified.

I am slowly relaxing enough (THANK YOU ANTI-ANXIETY MEDS) to begin believing I am inherently, irrefutably, undeniably loved and lovable. I am learning that I don’t have to over-work. I don’t have to stay constantly busy. I don’t even have to get all hard-core and overwork my recovery because that just leads to another type of neuroses. I am learning it is OK for me to rest in God’s love.

Today’s Little Way Challenge:

Today I will believe God loves me with an infinite, unchanging, everlasting love.
Nothing I do or don’t do will ever change God’s love for me.