Thanks for the support as I am trying to recover from rotator surgery. I'm trying to learn to use voice recording and I'm trying to humbly accept my current pain and limitations. I will learn a lot and I'll share as I am able. God bless. Offering it all up for your needs too.
My father-in-law was a German officer during World War II. Now before you assume all German soldiers were Nazis, I have a story to tell you.
The Americans were not the only ones to fight a brutal enemy during World War II. The Germans fought on the Russian front and the Russians were a formidable and calculating opponent; not lacking in their own brand of cruelty.
My father-in-law fought on the Russian front. He fought in subzero temperatures, he fought after being shot five times, he witnessed unspeakable cruelty. When he would tell us is wartime stories I could hardly listen to the atrocities that he described.
As Germany fell to the Americans, the Americans found they had a new concern on a new front, the Russian front. The division of territories following World War II, NATO and the Warsaw Pact created a need for the American military to have more information about this Soviet Superpower.
They needed someone who knew the landscape, the people, and the nature of the battle there. My father-in-law became one of the people who could give them that information.
He assisted the American army in providing intelligence invaluable in their understanding of the Russians/Soviet Union.
My father-in-law taught the Americans and they rewarded him with a new home, helping provide safe passage to the United States of America. He was always very proud of the fact that he became an American and reminded his sons to maintain that pride. He held no hate for the Russians either, although he fought them as a group, he showed mercy and kindness in individual situations. He also married a beautiful, young Russian women.
Soldiers in all wars have families and make sacrifices. Sometimes the enemy lines are not as clear-cut as we would like them to be. So today, we honor and remember this German soldier who helped the Americans during World War II. Have a blessed Memorial Day and God bless America!!
My best friend and I were discussing what binds our friendship together. We are similar in many ways, but different in so many others. I love seafood, she hates it. I used to home school, she has always home schooled all her kids. We both have kids on the autism spectrum and large families, but none of these things is the driving force in our friendship. Our Catholic Faith and love of Jesus is what drew us together and keeps us together in all circumstances. We view our relationship through the prism of that love and always encourage each other to grow in faith. She accepts my flaws and forgives the times I disappoint her. We discussed how, in heaven some day, we will be perfect and our friendship will be perfect as well.
I am a coffee drinker, she drinks tea. I promised her a tea party when we reside together in heaven some day. "Blessed Mother and I will bake cookies," I told her. "We will invite St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, because she is probably spending all her time asking Jesus for help with this suffering person and that one. She could probably use a little break, although, she will probably want us to sit down, so she can wait on us."
We chatted on, imagining how we will sit and talk, share prayer requests and sing with the Cherubim and Seraphim shouting out praises to the Lord! We will ask St. Clement to drop some oranges off for the party. My best friend is allergic to orange juice, but in heaven she will join me in big glass of the sweet, aromatic drink. I can hardly wait for our wonderful tea party. Maybe St. Augustine and St. Francis of Assisi will stop by (don't tell the other Saints, but these two are my favorite). Wait, that is the other wonderful thing about friendships in heaven, we will no longer be plagued by the petty jealousies and insecurities of our earthly friendships. It will be absolutely glorious!!
Of course, my BFF quipped, "St. Therese of Lisieux must be invited. She will bring roses for the table."
Why the Tea Analogy for Consent is too Weak
The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy has sparked much debate even among Christians about appropriate sexual behaviors and consent. One of these is the Tea/Consent argument in which the author likens consenting to what they refer to as 'sexytimes' to consenting to a cup of tea. The argument goes something like this. If you are offered tea and want it, the other person can give you tea. If you wanted tea yesterday, but no longer want it, they have to respect that you don't want tea and not force you to drink it. She even jokingly explains that if you are unconscious, you cannot consent to drinking tea, so there is no consent; they cannot pour the tea down your throat. Not so funny as the conversation is really about sexual behavior.
There are major flaws in the Tea/Consent argument. First of all, I want to be in a secure relationship where my husband knows that I don't even like tea. I'm a coffee drinker. He almost never needs to ask me when I want coffee, how I take my coffee or if I'm in the mood for coffee, because he knows me so well. He can tell by my unspoken response to him whether I need a double shot expresso or a latte. I won't feel guilty about having the coffee, because it does not diminish my dignity in anyway and I know, in the morning, he will still be there with a steaming cup-a-joe waiting for me. He loves me enough to anticipate my coffee needs.
Secondly, what happens when someone is scalded with tea that they really didn't consent to? "She wanted tea yesterday," he will say. "She has books and movies about tea all over her social media. My friends and her friends heard us talking about all the different tea we were going to try and experience later." Good luck with arguing that you changed your mind about the tea. It would be her word against his.
Lastly, sex is sacred. It is meant to show love and to bring forth life if the circumstances are right. It is not meant to hurt or diminish dignity of either partner in any way, and this kind of sex talk is definitely NOT my cup of tea! God bless.
How Different Would Life Look?
After receiving the Eucharist I rarely make it out of the parking lot without getting angry about something. Even knowing Christ is in me and receiving the grace from the Sacrament isn't enough to radically change me. I suppose it is because I can't see Jesus or the grace that accompanies Him into my life. I simply forget that Jesus is with me.
It reminds me of dealing with parenting when my kids were little. If I was having an awful day with them, I would take them someplace public like the park or the grocery store, so that I would be forced by public accountability to be a more patient, loving mom. It usually helped me see my little ones differently and had the desired effect of raising me up to public role model standards. What if I could picture Jesus actually with me all day? Would it alter the way I behave?
Putting a large picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in every room helps. His eyes!! They follow me everywhere and he always seems to be smiling that gentle smile at me. Wearing a scapular helps too. I feel the constant scratch as a reminder that Jesus is with me right now and all the time. These are just tools though, reminders which don't do their jobs if I don't try to use them purposefully to feel Christ's presence in my minute-by-minute life.
I feel my children and my husband with me even when they are not physically present and I still hear my mom's voice in my head, so how can I increase my own awareness of God in that way? Read the Scriptures everyday, write down a verse, memorize it and even leave it someplace where I will see it and reflect on it often. Frequent reception of the Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist will also provide me the additional grace I need to recall that Christ is with me always.
How different would my life look if I was always aware of His presence? Would I be kinder, more gentle, slower to anger, patient, full of joy... sounds like the Fruits of the Holy Spirit! Praying the Holy Spirit prayer, "Come Holy Spirit," may also keep me close to God at all moments in my life. It is a circle of love; pray, feel God's presence, behave with God's grace, be moved to deeper conversion and pray... feel God's presence... and so on.
It's too bad I don't have one of those security cameras and tracking bands on my ankle which would give direct reports to God. I suppose even that would eventually become like a part of me and I would drift back into my old habits. So for now, I will make an effort to remember that God is with me, helping me, watching me and wanting me to be accountable to Him. When others look at me I will ask the Holy Spirit to reflect God back to them. I will receive Jesus in the Eucharist and exercise my focus on His presence in every moment of my life. I will read Scripture often, so that the voice I hear in my head will be His. God bless.