the human experience

The last few days I’ve been pondering the fragility of the human experience.

…My husband and I have dealt with a very fussy baby recently. In the learning process, we found that our son falls right asleep quickly when he is placed between his two parents in bed. So precious! Such a simple solution that we stumbled upon in serendipity! He rolls to his left, sees Daddy, rolls to his right, sees Mommy, and drifts off to dream.

In this little moment, I realized just how precious the order of marriage and family is, even to the tiniest and youngest of children.
…I also visited my workplace this last Friday. As I have been on maternity leave, many feelings were evoked upon my return: of my work there, of my overall life mission, of my dear friend co-workers, of my former clients. As a counselor, I work with “the human experience” in the raw, in real time, at its worst and at its best.I realized just how much my coworkers and I truly care for our clients, and moreover, just how much we care for one another as a team, as a family.

…This week, I was also jolted in shock by the report of two newscasters and their interviewee being shot point-blank by their former co-worker. Both the newscaster and the cameraman were killed instantly.  Both were about my age. Both were in similar life situations that I have just gone through myself: finding true love, getting engaged, living passionately in newly started careers.
Perhaps to my regret, I even saw the video of the newscaster’s last moments. That look of terror on her face will forever be etched in my memory.
I realized just how ephemeral, how fleeting life is. Every day, every moment, every opportunity to love and to serve… truly is a gift. We cannot count on tomorrow.
…I’ve also felt so utterly disgusted (and betrayed by the government) regarding the heinous crimes against children, women, and humanity itself by Planned Parenthood. These crimes recently surfaced via undercover work at Planned Parenthood. The main man behind the undercover work is a friend of many of my close friends.
Doctors at Planned Parenthood have been selling baby body parts and intact fetuses. Worse yet, doctors and other employees at Planned Parenthood have been harvesting baby body parts, such as brains, while those babies are still alive.
Who has the gut to stomach this and to say that it is permissible on any level? Why do my tax dollars fund this evil? My human heart is grieving.
I realized just how vulnerable life is, especially life that does not have the strength to defend itself.
I realized just how ugly life can get and just how evil and greedy (if not for money, for pride) we as humans can be. And no, I am not exempt from those temptations.
The only thing my heart can conclude is that at the intersection of all of these realizations is the ultimate reality that this LIFE is not our own and that as humans we are not meant merely to do as we please. Instead, God has given us a plan for love and for life, and we are to live accordingly for our good, the good of others, and the good of LIFE itself.
This beautiful LIFE given to us by our Creator is meant to be cherished, to be treasured, not taken for granted, and worse yet, destroyed.
(And hey, I’m not just writing this post because I want to point fingers. I too take life for granted. I too destroy the LIFE in me and in others when I sin.)

Little ol’ me…. just one in a trillion humans of all of humanity.

But my MISSION remains and I DO have the power to change.

I am called to protect LIFE and to wholeheartedly to live out God’s plan for life and love. Come what may.

They call it the human experience. Yes, at its very finest.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”John 10:10-11

I met Saint GIanna’s daughter, also Gianna! Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was a true testament to someone whose mission was to protect life, to live according to God’s plans for love and life.

Culture of Life vs. Culture of Death

Evening Prayer (“Magnificat” version) this evening included James 1:15: “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”

This reminded me of Blessed John Paul II’s term, “culture of death,” which includes sins of concupiscence / the flesh.

Such sins in particular destroy the human individual, marriages, families, and society at large. Via unchastity, the using and abuse of others, inordinate and excessive emphasis on worldly pleasures, a plethora of addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography, masturbation), self-deprecation and mutilation, hatred, murder… the list goes on… the human soul no longer teems with life, but is blackened by death.

Even when it might “feel good” at first, the soul is slowly… being killed… dying. One day, it’s dead. It’s over.

And like James 1:15 says, it all starts in small, subtle ways. Very lovely-seeming ways. Our inordinate desires can deceive us. Satan uses them to steer us off course from the Giver of LIFE… from a Culture of LIFE.

But you know what is so beautiful?

Jesus Christ has already won the battle! By His Passion and His Resurrection.

Jesus assures us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).

The question is: will I let Him conquer my heart?

O, if I but let the thorns of his crown pierce my hardened heart… it will become flesh again. It will become alive again.

I must think this over and over in Lent! How can I continually let Him give me life as He is wanting? More and more abundantly?

As Jesus said “no” three times to Satan, who was tempting Him in the desert (when He was famished from fasting), I too can say “no” to Satan.

I have nothing to fear! Only my mediocrity, my own lack of courage.

By saying no to my (inordinate) desires this Lent (with which Satan so subtly plays), I can let the Culture of LIFE triumph in this battle in the world of LIFE vs. death.

LIFE will win. Christ Jesus assures me of that!

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“giving up chocolate for Lent” = finding grace in the wilderness?!

“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness…. I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:2,3

Finding grace in the wilderness… now that’s what Lent is about.

What’s that “wilderness”? It’s that emptiness, that wild place that you’re left when you’ve said no to your desires and will and you’ve said yes to that vast unknown called “God’s Will”: what He desires for your life.

How do we find grace in the wilderness? By abandoning ourselves. How can we do this? Well, yes, even by little things such as “giving up chocolate” for Lent. I know everyone beats up on that idea, but there indeed can be deep meaning behind such a simple sacrifice. So, speaking of chocolate…

Last night, my professor passed around Hershey kisses. I grabbed a few, only to realize: Hey, it’s Lent… maybe I should put these down. Then I gave myself an excuse: Well, I’ve already got them here in front of me… it’s too late. I just couldn’t handle the temptation. I then proceeded to enjoy all three chocolate kisses within a couple minutes.

Nope, I didn’t “give up chocolate” for Lent. In fact, I gave up a plethora of other things (and added in some new things I’d like to do, too).  But still…. it was so hard to say no to those three little pieces of chocolate. And after I ate them, I knew that I had missed an opportunity to tell our Lord “I love You.”

Tonight, I face a similar battle. Yes, as I write this post!

The Valentine’s Day cookies that my nephew and I made are beckoning me. However, I realize that my saying no to having a cookie can be a simple “yes” to God.

“Yes, Lord, I love you more than this cookie.”

“Yes, Lord, I love you more than these three Hershey kisses.”

Eventually, with an attitude like this, in which we gladly die to ourselves in the little things, we can find strength say no to the big things– including the big sins.

When we practice saying no to little harmless desires, we will one day find ourselves being able to say no to bigger harmful temptations. It is then that we can say: “Yes, Lord, I love you more than this sin, which I know is not good for my soul, or anyone else’s…. and which I know hurts You.”

As we detach from ourselves this Lent, may we find grace in the wilderness, and attach our hearts to Our Lord!

May we be able to say no to the chocolate, and via such little ways, come to love Him with an everlasting love, just as He loves us!

After all, love works and builds bit by bit… struggle by struggle… kiss by kiss. 😉

kisses