Dear Potential School Shooter, Bomber or Bully,
I’m sorry that you have been treated badly. You are a child of God and you are worthy of love by your very existence. However, you do not have to see yourself as a perpetual victim of your circumstances and you do not need to create victims to be heard.
You wish others would be kind. Are you kind? You wish others would reach out to you in your loneliness. Do you reach out to others? You long for someone to understand the pain you feel. Have you considered for a moment that everyone is in pain?
That pretty girl that won’t even smile at you… she has an anxiety disorder and could barely get herself to school. The football player who purposely bumped into you as he walked passed… his dad hit him last night. The kid in the corner, wanting to be invisible… maybe you could reach out to him, instead of feeling badly because no one reaches out to you.
These kids are carrying their own pain and struggles. It is not their job to fix yours. You are responsible for you!
If you want to have a friend, be a friend first. Stop expecting everyone else to take your pain away. It doesn’t work that way. People do want to help, but you are responsible for seeking help and then participating in your own recovery. You think you are tough? Overcoming things is tough! Hurting someone else out of your own insecurities, not so much.
Instead of acting out, seek help. Instead of making others pay for your pain, help eliminate someone else’s pain. You want to be famous? Be famous for something great! Most successful people have overcome some huge difficulties to get where they are. Choose life! For yourself, for your classmates. Choose love, be love, give love.
We want to help. Turn to your guidance counselors, go to the hospital and ask for help, or find a church that can support you. We love you. It is not too late. Change your life for the better and then help to change someone else’s life for the better. God loves you and so do I.
I was bullied too
It began rough and got rougher...
It seems like this happens every Lent. The struggle is real, real tough that is. I am working hard to get my catechumens and candidates ready to enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and I fear that puts a bit of a spiritual target on my back. This Lent has been no exception.
A few friends and I have an expression that could be a T-Shirt slogan that most Catholics would totally understand. As the challenges get harder, we sigh and say, "Cuz, Lent!" No other explanation is necessary and we understand in that secret Catholic language way, that while we are treading water in the sea of struggles, it will all be used for good as we join it to Christ's suffering and to the sufferings of all those in the universal Church!
The most recent school shooting happened on a day when we usually celebrate love; Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday. The image of the mom holding her child and crying, with ashes clearly visible on her forehead, is burned in my mind.
Late 2016 I wrote and article for Today's Catholic Teacher, about threats to our classrooms and how to keep them safe. I wish it wasn't necessary to revisit this issue, but it is. Hopefully, the article may empower and protect some along the way.
Our prayers, thoughts and future actions are with the families affected by this tragedy.
Safety article.... http://www.catholicteacher.com/safety-in-our-classrooms-2/
This year, Valentine's Day falls on Ash Wednesday. As someone who has been married for close to thirty years, I find this oddly appropriate. Many times in our marriage, we have been called to sacrifice for each other and for our love. One of the practices we have, is if one of us has to fast for a medical test or procedure, the other fasts as well. This Valentine's Day, we have decided to offer our Ash Wednesday fasts for each other. We can join this tiny suffering of inconvenience to add to the beauty and holiness of our love for each other. The goal and purpose of our marriage is to help each other and our children to get to heaven. This is the way we do it. One little offering at a time.
Lent is quickly approaching and we are challenged to renew our faith, join our sufferings to Christ and grow in holiness. This year, consider doing the Catholic Family Boot Camp, investigating how to begin your new life through The Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know, or focus on joy by Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith and living with a Joy-Filled Broken Heart! Click the Books link above to order. I would love to discuss any of these subjects with my readers. Leave me a comment or email me through the contact link. God bless!
My family has a special devotion to Our Lady under many titles. Fatima, The Apparition that Changed the World, does a beautiful job of exploring one of her most important messages to us as, Our Lady of Fatima, based on the 1917 apparitions in Fatima, Portugal. Jean M. Heimann has done an incredible job of spelling out many of the important components regarding this apparition and the “miracle of the sun” witnessed there in October 1917.
I didn’t have to read far to recognize the unique way this book is laid out. A stunning blend of photographs and information, presented in an easy-to-read format. I loved being able to quickly understand the timeline of the apparitions, how different popes influenced the dissemination of information, and the history surrounding the events and people during and after the Fatima apparitions. Our Lady’s message to us is clear, we do offend the Lord when we ignore Him or choose sinful behavior over things that bring us closer to him. We must repent and return to loving the Lord Jesus with our whole hearts.
I look forward to rereading this book and using it as a resource in catechesis. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an eye for art, history or Catholic teaching.
I wanted to reach out and apologize, because I am not the best Godmother in the world. There are quite a few of you and sometimes I am late with birthday or Christmas gifts, I have even forgotten a birthday or so along the way. I don’t keep in contact as much as I should with phone calls or texts.
However, I wanted you to know that you are never far from my thoughts and absolutely always in my prayers. I do see on social media when you have a new challenge or a new joy. I pray for your success constantly and especially for you to stay close to Christ, His Church and the Sacraments! You are included every day when I attend Mass, in my Rosary and other prayers and I often make small sacrifices and give them to Jesus, through Mary on your behalf.
I love you every day! I’m here if you need me. I try to be a good example to you and I will never stop being proud of you.
Please forgive me shortcomings and know that I love you forever.
If you are Catholic, divorced and in need of help or healing, please consider attending the Journey of Hope Conference this week. There you will find information, inspiration and fellowship.
For more information go to: www.journeyofhopeconference.com.
I will be praying for all of you and for the success of the conference!
Approaching your Ex-Spouse for an Annulment
This is where it gets tricky; you desire an annulment*, but your ex tells you that it's "Catholic divorce," or that your children will be illegitimate! Painful and untrue words.
First, pray! Consider a novena (my favorite is Our Lady Undoer of Knots) to help till the spiritual soil for this conversation.
Examine your own conscience. Do you need to ask for forgiveness from your ex? Explain (charitably) your choices? Own your part in the dissolution of the marriage? Do you need to go to confession before this conversation takes place.
Third, be generous of heart. Although the marriage has ended, both of you should still be pursuing a journey of Faith. Perhaps you still need to parent together?
Divorce tends to be reactive, can you move the relationship to a positive place by being proactive?
Explain what an annulment is NOT!
It does not say that you were never legally married, nor does it make the children illegitimate. It is not a Catholic divorce.
Explain what an annulment is. The annulment process helps you explore the understanding you had of what makes a valid sacramental marriage at the time of your wedding. During the process an investigation of if you had enough information and/or ability to carry out those sacramental promises. It is an opportunity to look at what went wrong, ineffective patterns and it helps you begin to identify areas that need improvement in your relationships. I found it helpful to realize that we were not fully informed about what we needed to do (before marriage) in order to have a healthy, sacramental union. It allowed me to stop blaming myself and my ex and to move forward with new understanding and wisdom. It can be a very healing process.
Give it time. All the changes that go along with a divorce can be overwhelming. Be as gentle as you can in approaching the subject of annulment. Let your ex know that you are not saying that they did not matter or that your marriage wasn't important to you, rather you want both of you to move on in a positive way to a grace-filled future.
*Remember, not all divorced Catholics who apply for an annulment will be granted one. Discuss your specific situation with your priest.