how foolish are you?

Since 2009, I have been volunteering to teach Confirmation class to Catholic-raised teenagers. It’s a weekly class that meets for about 1.5 hours.

Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Catholic Church; Baptism and First Communion are the other two. If you are Catholic teenager, Confirmation seals your infant Baptism in the Trinity, and at that time, your parents and godparents take oaths to raise you in the Catholic Faith. At your Confirmation, you take an oath to take on those Baptismal vows as your own.

Every year, I get this extreme bout of anxiety and doubt about whether or not I am called to teach the teens again. They’re so full of life, questions, and oh so many emotions and thoughts… every class feels like a marathon!

Do I still have it in me? I ask myself once fall rolls around yet again.

But when I take it to prayer, I find the Holy Spirit rekindling Himself within me, and telling me this:

Rosanna, I called you not because you are wise, not because you are a great teacher, not because you are morally upright… none of that.

I call you because you are WILLING to be a FOOL for me, and for the Faith!

Come, follow Me!

So after I get over the panic, self scrutiny, pride, laziness, etc., and I throw it at the foot of the Cross, Jesus gives me the energy and the passion to do what I’ve done every year before!

Christ gives me the energy and the passion to yet again start on the journey alongside the teens, going forward all the while I am interior-ly on my knees, so to speak, hoping that the teens’ eyes are opened to the one fact that WE ALL NEED CHRIST (especially their teacher) because WE ARE ALL FOOLS.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing to rely on– the undisputed fact that you are an idiot, a fool– but that in the eyes of God, stupidity is all that it takes? Your foolishness is ALL that God needs.

Jesus simply needs you, stupidity, foolishness, and all. This is where humility meets mercy. Yes, you in your shame, your brokenness, your sin– Jesus needs you with all of these things– so that he can give you His glory, His wholeness, and His righteousness in its place.

In Him you are healed! And only in Him you are wiser than you ever could be.

Today, these awesome words of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 floated into my heart:

Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something,so that no human being might boast* before God.It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,so that, as it is written, ‘Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.'”

 

 

 

 

on feeling silenced

I never thought my voice would fade.
The vigor, the passion.
I let someone
silence me.

Slowly.
You’re too this-
Can’t you see
that?
Insert judgement
(here.)

I’m tired of
Withdrawing
Denying.

Letting go of who
I am.

So here,
here I am, world.
Here I am, yet again.

Hello!

(c) rosannanoelle

Being a disciple of Christ can be one of the loneliest feelings. Simply put, you feel quite ostracized by society. Particularly in this day and age, and in meeting so many wonderful people, mentioning that you’re Christian feels almost taboo. It’s not that I don’t connect with non-Christians; it’s just that I feel that it’s a large part of my life that seems like a turn-off to many that I meet. So I either consciously or unconsciously keep my faith at bay, even when the Holy Spirit feels like it’s burning within me. Don’t wanna char anyone!

Religion is seen as archaic, and , well, the opiate of the masses. (I suppose this is what lead me to meet my spouse on a faith-based dating website– ha, ha! Well, that and Divine Providence.) But in all seriousness, it felt nearly impossible to find a guy my age practicing his faith with equal fervor. At least for who I am as a person, it was so important to share that deepest part of me with the love of my life.

It’s hard to feel deeply lonely among your peers and most especially among your own family at times. The latter can really grate at your soul, and pierce you, because your family is who you love the most. I used to so fervently blog on my site “Catholic Twenty Something.” However, as the years passed, I noticed my vigor for writing about my faith taper down– sadly, almost to a trickle.

And after years of introspection and prayer, it finally dawned on me what had actually happened. I succumbed to bullying. I let a few angry, judgmental voices of individuals near and dear to me really erode my heart. Perhaps they did not know they were hurting me so. But in so many instances, it truly felt like they knew, and they simply wanted to have their word with me. By the grace of God, and truly not my own strength or willpower, I have forgiven them and moved on.

For NO matter the faith walk of those that I love, I love them because they are who they are– not because they do nor do not support my faith walk. Loving someone just because they make you feel a certain way or approve of all of the things you do and say– well, that’s probably a utilitarian relationship, at best. I want to love like Christ loved. And he especially loves those who hate him.

But it’s true that those who you love the most can hurt you the most. And their words can break you. And my heart, well, it sank, and sank, and sank listening to such voices. Deeper and deeper into an abyss, into the darkness. Yet my eyes were always pointed to the light.

It just felt as if I had let my voice… drown. Under those who are so much more confident than I am, so much more approved by everyone else I know. But this post is not meant to be a sob story!!! Being a disciple of Christ is, for the most part, a life of JOY, at least in my own journey. And in this bullying, I found the deepest peace I had ever met, in the pierced heart of Christ Himself. 

In these last few years of feeling like my zeal to evangelize was dampened, God actually did something amazing: He stirred that thirst for Him even more vigorously within, in a contemplative, meditative way. And He brought truth to my situation: that the pain from this kind of bullying was stopping me from being the beautiful person that He made me to be. That His love and approval is worth gold, and that the love and approval of the world is rubbish.

During these years, God has never ceased to send people to walk alongside me in my faith walk, with open ears and open hearts. I have so many strengthened relationships, and a much stronger marriage, because of this internal struggle. And step by step, in many ways– and this blog being one of them!– I hope that I can reclaim my voice that began to fade a few years ago.

Have you ever been in such a situation? I encourage you to take it to contemplation, meditation, and prayer. No voice deserves to be silenced.