Can One Ever Have Too Much Grace
Perhaps I speak too much about grace.
Every subject, problem, or prayer brings me back to this same place. The amazing grace of God.
I'll never forget the first time I contemplated the meaning of this word - grace. I was standing before 25 or so women. It was my very first time leading a group in faith sharing/bible study. The PANIC I felt in my heart when I realized I HAD absolutely NO words to express what grace meant to me. Stumped, I threw the question back to the crowd - like I planned it all along to have. The wonderful teaching technique Jesus perfected - returning questions with a question. Let me look like I meant for them discover the meaning of grace through discussion; but really was just deflecting.
Grace and Wisdom
One of the more wise woman among the group shared that grace to her was, "God breathing within her spirit. It was how he communicated to her heart - and guided her way." That explanation is simply ... Beautiful.
What is Grace
A few additional elements about the grace of God revealed over the years; which I have add to that initial incredibly insightful and inspiring definition of grace:
My holiness panela (*Portuguese for pan) will soon be overflowing with the great many ingredients we've been highlighting in this #Recipe4Holiness series, as taught to us by Pope Francis. Just recently someone reported to me a YouTube video they discovered that taught "the path to sainthood". It instructed watchers to pray the Rosary 3 x a day; that once a day was for children. Whoa. Then guess what, I am taking the little kid way to Heaven. As even with my best intentions to pray the rosary daily; there are many days that it does to make it into my 'to do' list. Prayer always does; but not always the formulaic prayers of the faith that I cherish but can not always attend to. Dishes, work and well sleep, sometimes get in my way!
Yet grace ... abounds. Gratefully, God is beyond our formulas. I imagine He is more than happy to shower me in grace, even when I am having one of those days when I can utter only a barely audible:
"Abba, Father, I could use a little help down here."
God's Healing Waters
Do you ever feel like you are just waiting for someone to lift you into God’s healing waters? What if once cleansed of your ailment, you could return again and again for further assurance of healing, a spiritual refresher?
In this Gospel reading from John, we read about a man crippled for over 38 years. He has long been waiting to experience the healing power of God. This Gospel not only challenged me to consider the remarkable healing power of Christ but also His compassion and mercy. The Gospel of John, Chapter 5 begins: One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?’” The sick man answered him,“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Dependence On What
After reflecting on this conversation between the man and Jesus, it occurred to me that there are aspects of my finances dependent on my employer, my health reliant on my doctor and my spiritual well-being conditional on my priest; ultimately the most important dependency is on Jesus. It is not that my faith in Jesus negates the need for the others: each is an integral part in attaining that particular well-being I desire. With Jesus, as John’s Gospel illustrates, so much more is possible, including the miraculous:Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk. Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
There is Always More with Jesus
At first, today’s Gospel appears to be all about the physical. However, as so often happens when we encounter Christ, there is always more. We see Jesus’ desire for a deeper connection with us. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more,so that nothing worse may happen to you.” We see this same occurrence with the man lowered by his friends through the roof to be healed by Jesus. We see again and again how in healing physical maladies, Jesus demonstrates the authority given to him by God. It is this same power that allows him to forgive sins.
A Personal Analogy
For the last year, I have been battling Atopic Dermatitis aka eczema on my hands. Eczema is an incurable and chronic ailment. I feel so defeated with those words – incurable and chronic. There are days when the itch or pain is almost more than I can bear. In those moments, I am reminded of the long suffering people seeking Jesus’ healing in the Gospels. Jesus uses their suffering and healing to teach those healed as well as those witnessing the healing, I prayed for an insight into my current condition. It was no coincidence that I would have today’s readings to ponder.
Comparing Reconciliation and Chronic Illness
There are remarkable similarities between the eczema on my hands and the sin on my soul. Both need healing. For my hands there are remedies such as medicines and creams; for the soul there is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I saw other connections:
I often feel embarrassed and ashamed of my hands and want to hide them, much like being caught in the shame or guilt of sin and wanting to hide from God. Covering up (either my illness or my sins) does no good in bringing about healing. My external healing means exposing the skin to the healing properties of the sun, transforms them from broken and useless to whole again. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, through the healing grace of the Son, radically transforms my soul, healing my spiritual brokenness, making me whole again.
Broken Skin, Broken Relationships
The hardest part of losing full use of my hands has been communicating with my daughter. She is profoundly deaf and our family uses American Sign Language to communicate. Since my hands started to bother me last June, I have sometimes felt as if I trying to talk with laryngitis. I am acutely aware that I don’t speak to my daughter as often as I should or as thoroughly due to this.
I lament that my disease has, at times, robbed me of the close relationship my daughter and I are privileged to enjoy. To be fully healed like the man waiting to be lifted into the healing waters, I must be willing to accept the love and mercy of Christ. When I avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my communication with him is strained, like trying to sign with crippled hands or speak with no voice. This great authority given to the Son of God is the same bestowed upon our priests through Jesus. We don’t have to wait to receive this healing. While our desire may be physical health, Christ desires so much more for us.
Christ is asking you right now, “Do you want to be well?”
Available Free Oct 10 - 14th
Holistic Approach to A Women's Health
Moms, by their very nature, usually put the needs of their family before themselves. Moms typically eat lukewarm meals (on a good day), never consider taking a sick day, and rarely get the recommended hours of sleep each night. Traditionally Moms have embraced this lifestyle like a champ. What burden does this lifestyle place on our mind, body, and soul? Catholic Conference for Moms founder, Tami Kiser, sits down with renown Catholic doctor, Michael Parker, to help us answer that question.
Our health is something us moms take for granted until faced with illness. A year ago, my hands began to itch. Soon the itch turned into swelling, pain, and peeling. The condition continued for over year. My husband, in attempts to lighten the situation, often teases that I should announce, "unclean, unclean" as I traversed our hallway. You do not realize how often you use your hands until you are unable to use your hands. This puzzling case of Atopic Dermatitis provides ample opportunities of grace along with the frustration.
It is my year-long battle with the chronic illness that led me to choose Dr. Michael Parker's session to review. The Holy Spirit's generosity overwhelms me some days. Dr. Parker's advice confirmed much of what I've been reading as I search for a cure. His words brought me hope for healing. His interview blesses moms not only with sound advice on how to improve our physical well-being but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Presentation Keys and Highlights:
How Does This Work...
First, you sign-up to be part of the conference.
Next, during the week of the conference,
Oct. 10-14, you'll receive a daily email
with a link to the featured presentations for that day.
Then, Just Click, Watch, Enjoy, and Learn!
In Awe ... and more to come
Set Your DVR ... now, seriously. OR better yet order yourself a copy!
Queen of Heaven: Mary's Battle for You (both the 4-Disc Set and Hardcover Book) are so phenomenally done! I thought I would watch one a night for a week preparing for the review. TRY ONE AFTER THE OTHER! Once I started the series, I just could not stop. I devoured the whole informative, magnetizing series in one binge -- kind of how I approach a box of really yummy chocolates.
I've been so moved that I am going to offer a 5-part blog series on Queen of Heaven beginning next Monday. Until then here are some of the highlights:
Perhaps my affinity for Queen of Heaven was born out of the overwhelming PEACE that overtook my heart with every story, word, and promise brought down to us from Heaven through Mary. We are not made for this world, we are made for Heaven. Who better to lead us there than the Queen of that awaiting Kingdom.
Available: A (Gift Quality) Hardcover Book too...
More About QUEEN OF HEAVEN:
Queen of Heaven is an approximately 4 hour documentary-style program on Mary hosted by acclaimed Catholic actor Leonardo Defilippis and filmed in multiple locations and Marian shrines including the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the World Apostolate of Fatima Shrine, and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
It includes contributions from 15 theological experts including Tim Staples, Fr. Dominic Legge, Dr. Carrie Gress, Dr. Paul Thigpen, Fr. Chris Alar, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby and more. *I MAY have gone into #fangirl mode a few times #CatholicDork
In Queen of Heaven, viewers will accompany Mary from her Immaculate Conception through her Assumption and beyond. They’ll join her as she defends Christendom at Lepanto, frees a captive people at Guadalupe and heals a broken nation at Lourdes. Listen to her at Fatima as she predicts the rise of Communism—and watch as she defeats it through her beloved Pope.
Above all, viewers will discover why, though the battle continues, victory is assured to all who turn to the Queen of Heaven.
EWTN AIR SCHEDULE:
The Battle Begins: The Woman and the Serpent
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 6 at 6:30 PM
The Annunciation: The Day Creation Held Its Breath
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 7 at 6:30 PM
Mother of the Church: All Generations Will Call Me Blessed
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 9 at 6:30 PM Eastern
Guadalupe: Mother of the Americas
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 10 at 6:30 PM Eastern
Lourdes: I Am the Immaculate Conception
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 11 at 6:30 PM Eastern
Fatima: The Lady of the Rosary
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 12 at 6:30 PM Eastern
The Consecration: My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph
Airs on EWTN: Oct. 13 at 6:30 PM Eastern
The series can be viewed on EWTN (check your local listings for the channel)
or via Live Streaming on the EWTN website.
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