Tag Archive | Church

Easier Than Love

I feel like I need to apologize, because this post has nothing to do with caregiving. Or, maybe it does, in a way. As a parent, I am responsible for raising morally just human beings. And there is a great deal of care and giving that goes into that tough job (that lasts a lifetime).

Raising young kids is sometimes disheartening, in this culture, which worships so-called “reproductive freedom”. I wonder, how much has this so-called “freedom” cost us? We tell ourselves that we are in control, and that we can do whatever we want with our bodies, and that no one owns us. Really? You can say this as your government is requiring you to buy products whose purposes are not to actually save any lives, say like cancer or heart healing drugs, but drugs that destroy and prevent life instead. If that’s not control, than I don’t know what is. This kind of control and influence tells our youth that anything goes and that you never really need to commit to anything, because your choices are reversible and discardable.

Sex has become just a fun past time, a commodity, and a currency…a means to buy and sell tv shows, movies, music, and exciting products. We can trade a future of potential lasting love, meaning, and hope, for the seemingly more important intense needs of the moment. These “choices” prevent us from authentically believing in ourselves and in our capacity for being more fully alive, deeply loved, and understood. When we invest most of our time and money on things and strategies that tear down instead of build up doesn’t there need to be any moral consequences?

Our kids watch “Reality” shows that display woman after woman dating men in an assembly line of pleasure and anticipation, desperately searching for “The One”. There is competition, jealously, back stabbing, and heartbreak all on display for our joyous entertainment. And everyone so-called “wins”, as they get a chance at the painted prize and get to have their 15 minutes of fulfilling fame.And then, they are always wondering why they are unsatisfied and left wanting more.

In this “reality show” age, how much reality are our children really getting? Show after show tells them what they need to do to become thinner, sexier, funnier, and less of who they really are, and more of what others think they should be. Go here, and you’ll lose 100 pounds, and get that dream job and finally be HAPPY! Date this guy, and you’ll see a new world open up for you…you will go to far off exotic places and travel by helicopters and hot air balloons with some super hot guy you barely know (but who you THINK you know after going on 5 dates), and who recently went on 20 or so other dates with 20 or so other women. Just think of how truly “special” you will feel!

Yeah, now that’s some sad reality for you.

Because utlitmiatley; when sex, love, and life cease being sacred, precious, and real…than nothing can be

“Easier Than Love”

Ah La La La La La La,
Ah La La La La La La

Sex is currency
She sells cars,
She sells magazines
Addictive bittersweet, clap your hands,
with the hopeless nicotines

Everyone’s a lost romantic,
Since our love became a kissing show
Everyone’s a Casanova,
Come and pass me the mistletoe

Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone

She is easier than love
Is easier than life
It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe

It’s easier to leave
It’s easier to lie
It’s harder to face ourselves at night
Feeling alone,
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul?

Numb

Sex is industry,
The CEO, of corporate policy
Skin-deep ministry,
Suburban youth, hail your so-called liberty

Every advertising antic,
Our banner waves with a neon glow
War and love become pedantic,
We wage love with a mistletoe

Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone

She is easier than love
Is easier than life
It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe

It’s easier to leave
It’s easier to lie
It’s harder to face ourselves at night
Feeling alone,
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul?

Ah, la, la, la, la,
(Yeah!)
La la la la la la la,

La, la, la, la, oh,
(Yeah!)
La, la, la, la, no!

It’s easier to love,
It’s easier to love

It’s easier to love,
It’s easier to love

She is easier than love,
It’s easier to love

Everyone’s been scared to death of,
Everyone’s been scared to death of,
Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone,
alone

[Sing]
Sex is easier than love,
It’s easier than love,
It’s easier to fake and smile and brag

It’s easier to leave,
It’s easier to lie,
It’s harder to face ourselves at night
Feeling alone,
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul? (Where is my?)
Where is my soul?

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We Shelter Each Other

A church in Mykonos, Greece

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (Constantinople) It was the largest Christian church in the world for nearly 1,000 years (500-1400)

Inside the Hagia Sophia (Church of Divine Wisdom)

 

A Greek Orthodox church in Mykonos, Greece
Ar Scath a Cheile a Mhaireas na Daoine are old Irish words that mean “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Within our faith community, we shelter each other, to care for one another and embody the love, peace, and hope promised by God and found in the Life of Jesus.(Jars of Clay, Shelter Album)   

My Daughter Anna's Baptism in 2008

A community is a unified body of individuals, who share a common bond and connection. Within my  Catholic community, we gather to share our stories; our joys, triumphs, and our sorrows. We gather together in joy and thanksgiving to receive God’s life and grace;  through His Word and his body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. Our church is our shelter and our harbor in times of difficulty, as is stated in Isaiah 4:6.. “It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from storm and rain.” And we are brought together in Christ as stated in Ephesians 1:23…”The church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

I felt a very keen sense of shelter and love within my church community the other week,when I was able to take my mom to Ash Wednesday mass. It was a very momentous occasion for us, because I hadn’t been able to get my mom to mass at a church in four years. This was the first time since her illness begam that mom was well enough to be able to sit through a full mass. I have been able to occasionally take her to catholic services at the chapel in her care center, but it is not the same as attending a full Catholic mass in a church.  I had dreamed of going to mass with her again… especially an all school mass, where my kids attend catholic grade school. So, when I finally got her there, it was a very big deal for me!   

On Anna's Baptism day at the hospital

I can’t explain how emotional it was for me to sit next to her while listening to and singing “On Eagles Wings”, which has always been a favorite church song for both of us. It brought back memories of when I would play the song  on my flute as a young girl in our porch, with my mom standing in the kitchen listening (and probably secretly hoping I would get bored with it , as  I would get a little “obsessed” with my playing when I found a song that I loved to play !) Every so often during the mass, I would look over at her, and she would flash me a beaming smile…obviously thrilled to be sharing mass with me and my daughter Lauren. I choked up a few times when I heard her trying to sing, as she garbled out some of the verses of the song. It was a very healing experience for all of us, and a memory I will always hold dear.

Recently I heard a speaker at our parish faith formation night tell us, “We don’t “have” to go to church, we “get” to go to church!”  Sometimes I hear people talk of how they don’t “get” anything out of a particular church service. Ultimately, the real purpose of going to church should be to praise God and to show Him our great love and immense gratitude for all of the many blessings that he has given us! 

 I think of people in war torn or communist countries where there is no religious freedom.There are people in this world who don’t go to church, because they are not ALLOWED to go.  It is against the LAW to go and celebrate their faith with their community in public.   I can not even imagine what it must feel like to live in such an oppressive place.  I have heard of a group who lead a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Christian retreat in China, who had to memorize the whole entire curriculum, as they had to destroy any evidence of holding any sort of Christian event.  They needed to hold the weekend retreats while hidden out in the jungles, or in remote areas, where they could not be easily tracked. Talk about having dedication and a deep passion for spreading the Good News!

I think of how important it is to belong to a supportive and loving church community, especially during very difficult times in our lives, like when a loved one dies or is very ill.  Our church friends hold  us up, keep us afloat, and help carry us to shore when we feel so consumed and adrift with our intense pain and loss. I was very much reminded of this during the 6 funeral services that I attended during the last 10 months this past year. 

One of the funerals was for my dad’s best friend who had passed away after a long courageous battle with cancer. My father gave his friend’s eulogy, which was such an honor for him, as he was his friend  for nearly 40 years. I sat there feeling so very emotional and proud of my dad. I knew that it was very difficult for him, as his friend was not only his friend, but he had also become a father figure for my dad.  My dad’s friend was 15 years older than him, and as a result he became sort of a mentor for my dad throughout the years.  This was especially true since my dad lost his own father suddenly when my dad was only 19 years old. I was very inspired by the high level of deep respect, love, and admiration  my father shared with his friend.  I was so inspired by the deep faith of his friend, and the very loving support from his family and friends.  At no other type of service is it more apparent just how essential it is to have that kind of love and support in a faith community!                                  

I myself have been lifted up time and time again by the rosary prayer group that I am involved in at my parish church of St Odilia in Shoreview, Minnesota.We are a group of young moms, who usually gather once a week  to share our joys and struggles, and to  pray together. We pray for God’s grace and love to heal, protect, and strengthen others that we know who are hurting in our community and our world . We pray for each other and the various hurts that we ourselves battle through. We pray for the safety and well being of our families and our children. We then pray the holy rosary together, which involves contemplating on the sorrowful and joyful events of the lives of Our Lord and his Mother Mary. The rosary allows one to get a very personal sense for what Jesus went through for us…and it allows you to focus on and pray for specific virtues during each meditation throughout the prayer. It has been a very powerful prayer method for me and my group of friends!        

The home of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Turkey (it was later turned into a chapel)

I want to end this blog post with a passage from Max Lucado’s book “Fearless”. It is about the importance of  being a part of a loving Christian  church community!

Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many.  When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries…When we mix, mingle, confess, and pray, Christ speaks.” (reminds me of Romans 12:4-8 🙂 )                       

“The adhesiveness of the disciples instructs us. They stuck together. Even with ransacke hopes, they clustered in conversant community.They kept “going over all these things that had happened.”(Luke 24;14)                                                                                                                                  

Isn’t this a picture of the church–sharing notes, exchanging ideas, mulling over possibilities, lifting spirits? And as they did, Jesus showed up to teach them, proving “when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” (Matthew 18:20)               

“And when He speaks, He shares his story.God’s go-to therapy for doubters is his own Word. “Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to (Romans 10:17).   So listen to it!”  

The rock on which St. Paul preached to the pagan Athenians in Athens, Greece

 The following is a beautiful song called “Shelter” by Jars of Clay (just click the Youtube icon at the bottom):