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.

 

 

 

 

because giving makes you rich…

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“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

This Lent, I want to give myself to God without abandon so that I can grow rich in His mystery. I know that the more I give myself to Our Lord, the more I will find myself in His mystery. Suffering is joy? Death is life? Solitude is Divine communion? Yes, yes, and yes.

Lent is a time to detach from everyone else in the world and even to detach from my own thoughts about who I think am. Christ will show me who I am as His beloved daughter… in ways I cannot fathom now.

I really hope that this Lent, I can attach more to Christ on the cross, feel more with His heart of flesh, and drink more of His Living Water. Not through my own humanly power, but only via the grace of God.

Psalm 92:5 reads: “O Lord, how great are thy works! thy thoughts are exceeding deep.”

I hope that my various Lenten sacrifices (such as fasting) and holy additions (such as attendance at daily Mass, rain or shine) will lead me more into the Mystery of the Cross. Or rather, that God will use them to Himself lead me more into that Mystery at Calvary. Maybe the young woman I meet at the end of this 40-day journey will be someone completely transformed.

I’m ready, Lord. Send me… into the desert!

from death unto LIFE: the Alpha and the Omega, MY Beginning and MY End

Last Friday, I saw my supervisor for the last time. When I said goodbye to her that evening, little did I know that would be the last time that I would see her with God’s breath within her earthly body.

Tonight I have chosen to meditate upon a Psalm that has me thinking about my human finitude on earth and God’s infinitude in all Creation, Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”

Have you ever felt liked God was renewing you, refreshing your soul with His love, His joy, His mercy, His sweet sweet kindness, His downright romance?

There are so many points in our lives, day by day, not big turning points, but  tiny unseen ones, in which God turns us back to Him: our Ultimate Reality and Purpose!

I also often think of this Psalm before and after I go to Confession. For God offers me grace to re-turn my direction towards Him. I am either going towards Him or away from him; there is no standing still in this race of life. As St. Paul says, we are to “fight the good fight, finish the race, and [keep] the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Even in the darkest of hours, the driest of times, spiritually, I can still ardently say, “I am waiting, O Lord!” when none of my emotions feel that He, in fact, is going towards me. But oh, how He is always pursuing my heart! Like a Lover, attracted to me so sweetly and yet so fiercely at the same time (“Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree…”).

Sometimes, His cutting off that emotional love and making it purely “decisional” on our end is simply what makes for a more passionate re-uniting with Our Lord in the end. He makes the greatest of saints-in-the-making suffer the hardest.

Throughout our lives, we have endings and beginnings of various chapters. Our beginnings? Re-awakenings to God in the new chapters of our life. As I ponder on Psalm 51:10, I realize that I have my beginning in my Creator, and I have my end in Him as well. I have a beginning and I have an end: the Alpha and the Omega: my Lord and my God!

God creates and sends every individual to renew and to refresh the face of the earth with His grace in some unique way! And then… it is His ardent desire to be able to call every individual back to Heaven to be with Him, where He has a room for him or her with which he or she may dwell with Him forever. God desires this, but ultimately it is our choice to claim His as the Lord of our lives for all eternity. He does not condemn us to Hell; we do that to ourselves. How he so ardently longs for us!

God was my supervisor’s beginning; He is her end as well. Not only is He the Alpha and the Omega. He is HER Alpha and HER Omega. He is MY Alpha and MY Omega. And He should be YOUR Alpha and YOUR Omega, too. What are you waiting for?!

Jesus tells us: “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

Linda’s steadfast spirit truly inspired me to be ALIVE, to follow God’s Will without abandon, to make Him my beginning and my end. May Linda not only rest in peace in the room reserved for her by Our Lord, but also dance merrily, sing songs of praise, and be our fierce and active prayer warrior as she intercedes for us in Heaven!

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Stanford University has a non-denominational church and I saw this wallpaper in its foyer. I liked the Alpha and Omega symbols, as well as the keys of Saint Peter. (The church is secretly Catholic, it just doesn’t know. Ha!)

“You’re my Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End. You’re my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, and Friend. You’re my Prince of Peace. And I will live my life for You!”