When I close my eyes and sing praises to the Lord God my Heavenly Father, I imagine my voice is like an angel - ephemeral and glorious - far from my out of tune one.
My kids like to poke me when I screech, and I love writing about my experiences.
Betrayal comes from the one closest to us. It cuts deep into our core, and creates within us a veil of distrust. I was betrayed by someone I thought was my “bestie”. She was a friend with whom we shared many fun moments. Our families use to spend a lot of time together. However, when my husband and I hit rock bottom and lost our financial standing, all our friends disappeared. I realize afterwards they were predators. There were there for the free ride when the going was good, but when all that was gone, they too left.
What hurt me the most during this challenging time was the person with whom I thought was my “bestie”, was among the list of friends who left us. It hurt me that she wasn’t able to be emotionally supportive.
Disillusionment harden my heart, and it took me a while to trust in people again. It could have lead to many negative and irrational judgements on my part, but the Holy Spirit lead me to forgive. It was a hard lesson into the meaning of friendship and the human soul. I came to understand that true friendship transcends the challenges of life. It is a bond that is a based on – love.
Is the most misconceived word. Do we truly know what it means?
Love is the friend I have in Jesus. No matter how rocky our road can get, experience has taught me that Jesus is faithful. That year, through divine providence, we experienced many miracles. I can’t even grasp how Jesus made it possible, and I can only picture a tapestry of intertwining treads (different life threads). The hand of God was evident in our lives as He pulled cosmic strings to help us. There was the stranger who gave us two bags of groceries and gifts for our children that fateful Christmas. A family member stepped forward to help us out financially. A financial institution helped us reorganize and downsize (we sold all our real estate holdings), and we kept only our house. We also felt the stress lift off our shoulders. My husband who found himself unemployed during this period also found a new job. God’s hand was felt as He taught us a lesson in humility and humbleness. Our children also changed to public schools. My son telling us years latter that his years in private school was like being in “prison”.
We journeyed through this period as a family trusting in God’s hand in our lives.
My God is now my strength. He taught me to forgive and walk forward.
Most of all, God journeyed with us and did not let our hearts fall prey to Satan. God was there holding us up.
Jesus Foretells His Betrayal
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26 Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.John 13:21-33
Let us examine our lives and not become disillusioned. Trust in Jesus, and do not let your heart and soul fall prey to Satan’s lies and guiles. I know – I almost fell prey to my social status when the going was good. Upon reflection, I realize the many “things” I hold dear in life are temporal. They can literally be here today and gone tomorrow.
Betrayal’s bite can hurt. Let Jesus heal us when we are bitten. Let His hand lift us up when we fall. Let Him guide through the thorns and bristles of life.
12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’
Perplexed, worried, concerned, or deeply shocked are some of the emotions that must have played in Mary’s mind and heart upon Gabriel’s message to her from Almighty God. Her response is a normal human one – of confusion along with a medley of amplified feelings of not only humbleness, but uncertainty.
Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
Mary accepts her new fate. Her path from that moment onwards is based explicitly on trusting God to lead her. The very act of stepping out of her “comfort” zone or previous life, and into a new journey based on faith is the true essence of coming to God. All previous notions of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty are stripped away, as she lets God take the lead.
How would I react if God calls me?
How willing am I to let go of my life to follow Him?
A mothers’ quiet thoughts as she observes her children speaks volume about her strength and fortitude. As a mom, one of the most challenging aspect of being a mother is the multifaced roles and characters we have in caring for our children.
We are the caregiver who hide our inward fears when our children are sick. We nurse our children back to health keeping night long vigils by their bedside.
How many times have I held my tongue from making a hurtful retort. I recall the many times I literally bit my tongue to refrain from sounding like a nag. Being a mother is also balancing act, especially when it comes to positive reinforcements. It is also having a firm fortitude, and giving sincere praise when it is due, and not giving it when it is not.
A mother’s silence is her keep watch over her child, and letting them grow as you stand by them. It is guiding them to be the best they can be, and to learn the skills of critical thinking by providing them with the opportunities to hone in life skills.
As a mother, Holy Mary “treasured” all the things she heard, witnessed and learnt from her son, and ponder them she did – she was both a reflective and discerning woman with humble and quiet strength. There is much I can learn from Mary.
Bishop Barron reminds me of a seed pod that’s taken root, germinated and blown by the wind across the land. All seedlings from this one root is scattered across the land sprouting fresh roots that’s vibrant and green. His messages awakens all sleeping Catholics, and inspires them into joining him in sharing the wonderful message of Jesus.
His institute, Word on Fire Institute, is also a wonderful starting point and support for all those like myself who seeks deeper insights into how to evangelize, as well as an understanding of the nature of our society, it’s demographics, and how at the crux of new technological developments to spread the word of God. It also gives those who wants, a deeper theological foundation. The community is wonderfully supportive as well.
Father Mike is one of my favorite evangelist. His upbeat message, humor and sarcasm, grabs the attention of the most lackadaisical teen (my two children follow daily his Bible in 365 days) and “Nones.
I hope both Bishop Barron and Father Mike helped answer some of your questions.
On a personal note, and as I have talked about in previous postings, after my first steps towards Holy Mary in praying the Rosary, I now run to Mother Mary like a little child, seeking within her embrace -comfort. In my most desperate hour, Holy Mary is there for me and calms my heart so that I can see more clearly my beloved Jesus.
Many years ago, Mathieu was 5 years old, my husband and I took him to Indigo – a bookstore located in the heart of Montreal. I recall leaving him with my husband with specific instructions to keep an eye on him. They were browsing through magazines, and I thought that little Mathieu would have enough to occupy himself with.
I went to browse, and 30 minutes later, “Where is Mathieu?” Upon which my husband looked around hazily and responded, “I though he was with you!”
Oh boy did I bellow out, “Mathieu!”
The whole book store went silent for about 30 seconds – I swear you could have heard a pin drop (sorry for the pun here, but truly that’s how it felt like at the time). “How does he look like?” “How old is he?” Just as quickly after shouting out, “Five, Asian child….”, I heard the someone call out, “FOUND HIM!” “He is in the Children’s Book Department!” I recall my prayer of thankfulness for Mathieu’s safety.
I can almost understand the panic Mary and Joseph must have felt when they discovered Jesus was not among them, and rushed back to the city to find him – 3 days later. The anxiety that wells up in a mother’s heart upon discovering her child is missing is the fear and angst of all mothers. I can imagine the panic Mary must have felt.
A mother’s mission
Through prayer and in my journey towards the Catholic Faith, I feel a song in my heart. I also feel being moved to tell others of my love for Jesus. There is a desire for me to share this light and let it shine out – God’s Divine Mercy and love. I have felt this calling in the past but was not ready to listen to Jesus. Through prayer and mediating on His word, I have asked how he wants me to do this. During praying the Rosary (about 4 weeks ago), I saw an image during prayer of our Holy Mother. The vision was short, but in my vision, she was sad, as if she was telling me that her sadness stems from many in our world who do not know or venerate her. I wasn’t sure what to do with this vision, and I have been asking for the Holy Spirit to guide me.
I am not a theologian, but I can share and give some insights into who Holy Mary is in my life. This is how I can contribute.
A mother’s help
This morning was one of those morning when I am awaken from a dream I can’t recall, but feeling alone and seriously down. It is one of those moments in my life when I wrestle with inner demons. I woke up washed with a tsunami of tears amidst a wall of insecurities – weighted down by the sins of my past. It is a flood gate of self doubt, and I am reminded of the torturous darkness of my soul. How can God love or even want someone like me to serve Him.
My usual tactics to get rid of Satan’s infiltration did not work this morning, and continued to mar my mind with an array of self deification. “You are wasting your time!” “Remember how peaceful your life use to be?” “You are wasting your time blogging.” “You are wasting your time writing” An endless steam of Satan’s bombardment attacked me all morning. Even praying became a battle ground, where Satan used my emotions to prevent me from praying. When I tried to pray, I was strangled with silence as a voice inside me echoed, “Why bother?” “What makes you think God is listening to you?”
“God, how have I displeased you?”
“Mother Mary, Father Joseph help me!” “St Michael, defend me!”
Yes, Satan is real, and he loves nothing more than to create and stir doubt within me. I had to ground myself in prayer, and believe me, that itself was hard today. Praying all of a sudden became a struggle between me and Satan. I felt the struggle. I turned on my Rosary apps from Divine Mercy, and couldn’t even utter the first few parts of the prayer…my tears fell, and I could not utter a word. I listened as I battled my inner demon, and only by the 3rd decade of the Rosary could I start to pray, “Hail Mary Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee…”
A mother’s comfort
As fast as I was attacked by Satan’s lies and guiles, Mother Mary, along with Father Joseph, St. Michael and all the saints came to my aid – Satan ceased his attacks.
I am just as overwhelmed now as I write this. “Is this the kind of things one writes in a blog?” “Is this the kind of things I can talk about?” Why am I sharing this?
Our journey with God is not always a smooth path, at least not for me. I can say with a sincerity of heart – Satan will use every means to attack. Battle readiness is a must! I am thankful for our Holy Mother’s intervention, and St. Joseph’s help – he is after all the terror of demons. Just as St. Joseph saved the Holy family by taking them out to Egypt, he helps me battle the guiles of Satan.
My comfort is that I can call to Mother Mary (and St. Joseph, St. Michael and all the Saints) to intercede for me. It is not because Jesus does not hear my cries for help, He needs me to trust Him. He also needs me to be in total submission to His will. Just as He had to battle Satan for 40 days and night, I had to by faith accept HIs divine grace and mercy, and know that through His death on the cross for my sin, I am saved.