Take up your cross and follow me

This weekend at Mass our pastor spoke about suffering. Jesus Christ said that in order to follow him we must take up our cross. We have to lose our life to gain it. Our priest said in so many words “What is the point of suffering?” Why would we have to suffer? What is worse than suffering?

It may me ponder, how am I suffering in my life? I don’t think I do much suffering because I am so blessed to be a mom of four children and a wife of my soul mate. Then I thought about the things that take my time away from those callings in my life; my job as a teacher, my education (I am earning a Master’s Degree in Religious Education), and my writing. Each of those time consuming things are also callings in my life. My career as a teacher does take much more than 40 hours a week, but I am teaching my students how to find their faith. My writing is more like a part time job, but I am spreading my faith to thousands of people a week. My education takes about 10-15 hours a week, but I am learning about the Word of God, the Church and strengthening my faith so that I can share it with others.

Our priest said “What is worse than suffering? NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO SUFFER FOR!” He is so right. If I am suffering to become closer to God and to spread my faith to others then I am suffering for God. Nothing can be more important than that.

So, my question for you today is “how are you suffering? What or who are you suffering for?” Think about your life. Are you suffering through a job you don’t like to put food on the table for your children? Are you suffering by having less so that you can put your children through a Catholic Education? Have you taken up your cross to follow Christ through your suffering? Because the only thing worse than suffering is to not have anything to suffer for.

Wringing our hands

Even when God feels distance…

Even when you doubt your faith…

Even when you have decided to give up and say forget the whole thing…

Even when you are over it…

God is not over you and is closer than your breath. God never gives up on you. God never lets go of you. God never stops loving you.

Even when…

I went to Catholic Schools from 1st grade through 12th grade. My Catholic School Education is invaluable to me. My husband was blessed with the same past. We both realized how important a Catholic education would be for our children. We have sacrificed over the years and will sacrifice even more in the years to come so that our children will be able to continue their catholic education in high school. Next year when my oldest son will be a junior, my daughter will be a freshmen and my two younger boys will still be in grade school the total cost of their education for ONE year will be $30,000! Yep, you read that correctly. But to us it is worth every penny. Continue reading

 

American Dream

The house, the car, the money, the luxuries, the challenging job, the power trip, the pleasure in every thing bought; all of these are within a pleasure driven life. This lifestyle is seen as the American Dream through a warped lens. I believe originally the “American Dream” was to have freedom in a country where you would be able to work hard enough to buy a house, get married to someone you choose to marry, have children with them and support them by making a decent fair wage. It has turned into having it all – pleasure at all times without thinking twice about who you step on to climb that ladder; “it’s only business”, as if we can leave our morals at the door of our workplace. It has turned into having the most money so we can buy our happiness and have what we want whenever we want it. Continue reading

“Being a mother enables one to influence the future” – Jane Sellman

This is my second year of teaching at a school in the role of Theology Teacher. This is my 16th year in the role of mother. Everyone talks about how teachers have so much influence on their students and I agree. Especially in my position as a teacher who truly leads students to discover their faith, my methods and compassion should definitely influence their futures. However, the most influence I will ever have on the future is through my children. Continue reading

Word became flesh

This summer I took a course on the Jewish Roots of the Christian faith. It was SO enlightening. I can’t tell you how much I learned. I am sharing bits and pieces with my students daily. This week I am discussing the Incarnation with my students. I asked them why flesh? Why did God take on a human form and come to this earth as Jesus Christ?

They know the overall reason was for our salvation. I have been discussing what the Old Testament was all about. It was about people wanting to believe but having trouble staying focused on one God. They would worship Yahweh and then walk away and worship other gods, then they would find themselves separated from God which caused disorder, destruction and suffering. So, they would cry out to God for help. God would send a prophet and they would start to listen and go down the right path until their eyes and thoughts would start to wander once again. It was a terrible pattern.

Then God in all his infinite wisdom sent Jesus Christ flesh of our flesh but spirit of God to lead us. Jesus was not the Messiah that the Jewish people longed for in their culture. They expected a king, a military hero, a person of stature, wealth and knowledge. They did not expect the son of a carpenter. But that son was able to flip the culture of the time. God became man to lead by example, to cry the same tears, to be angry, to feel human emotion and to show us how to love his father. Jesus Christ showed us complete and undying love and forgiveness. He challenged the culture to flip the societal norms and still calls to us today to challenge our cultural norms.

The Incarnation is the reason the entire universe was created. All of creation pointed towards Jesus Christ. It still points towards Jesus Christ. It’s just difficult to see that because we lose focus constantly. We are beyond blessed that God cared so much that He sent his only son and allowed him to be brutally murdered for our sins, that we may one day join him in paradise.

A cupcake one of my student’s made

Have you thanked God today for your life, your thoughts, your ability to read this message, your ability to have the internet, your family, your friends, your blessings and everything in your life? Well, do it now and while your thanking God for the big things thank him for the sweet treats that you think are trivial but truly make you smile.