Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mission of Motherhood

Today is my last day of 'family vacation'. I came to NJ earlier this week to join my sister and brother-in-law at their summer rental and my parents were here as well. 

If I haven't mentioned before, my sister has 4 children. A 4 1/2 year old boy, 3 year old twins (one girl, one boy), and an 8 month old girl. Yes, we all know, yikes!

There have been many precious moments between all of us. On the flip side, there has been many insane moments as well. This short week with them has led me to believe that all moms have answered a call to be a missionary. 

Here are my reasons:

1. Nothing is about you. Your agenda, your best intentions, your desires come last, if ever at all in the grand scheme of your life. You willingly lay that down for those you serve. (Ok, so maybe you fight it, kick, and scream, but you do it nonetheless) 

2. You (apparently) speak a different language than everyone else. On a mission, you may try to speak the language of the people you serve. As a mom, you are speaking the right language. When you speak, no one seems to understand. And just as with foreign languages, speaking louder doesn't always mean they understand you better. 

3. Clothe the naked? Give drink to the thirsty? Feed the hungry? Oh yes! Start the lines! Apparently growing children are just as hungry as the poor and needy! 

4. Sacrifice and love are required at all times. I can't think of any person in any of these vocations that does not have an understanding of sacrificial love. It truly is not an option. I am so grateful to have so many witnesses of this in my life. 

5. You can always expect the unexpected. Whether a vehicle breaks down or a child throws up, there always seems to be a wrench thrown into your plans. It's best to not be caught off guard by the wrench and just keep an eye out for it! Sure the wrench may still show up, but at least you won't have a black eye! 

So, mothers, even if you never leave your home state (or town even), you are on a mission. God has called you and you have said yes. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now That's a Mission!

Over the past couple of days, I've been searching for inspiration for a post. I opened my 'Laudate' app on my iPhone and went to the Saint of the Day section.

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Capuchin Priest and Martyr (1577-1622). In a nutshell, he became a priest and desired martyrdom. Yes, desired to die for the Catholic faith. He was sent on a mission. His mission was to correct the heresy of Calvin and he was attacked by Protestants who were trying to convince him to change his views.

His reponse is amazing, "I came to refute your errors, not to embrace them; I will never renounce the Catholic doctrine, which is the truth of all ages, and I fear not death." Then they killed him.
 Reference: Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Wow. I think of all of the wishy washy talk we have today between Catholics and other religions. The notion that "we just have to be good people" is everywhere. Not to mention the quote that's been whizzing around facebook by Ghandi: "We must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty" This quote seems to oversimplify things. Through our fallen human nature, we all have a little dirt. We will all fall to sin, even if we all don't turn into terrorists. A better statement might be, "Although fallen, humanity has a great capacity to do good"

Don't get me wrong, the quote from Ghandi and being a good person sounds nice, doesn't it? Toss in the word tolerance and I'll really make my blog a hit. But, I must focus in on the issues with these ideas. The above quote makes me think of an anology. When you buy a bunch of grapes, sometimes, you pick a few to eat and they are sour. But you try one more, and it tastes fine. In that respect, Ghandi's statement above is true. Just because a few are sour, it didn't mean the whole bunch is a loss.

We are not grapes. We are human beings, so we must rely on what we know from the instructions given to us by Jesus.

I can't recall, and please correct me if I am speaking wrongly, anytime where Jesus said "just be good", or "just make nice". I do recall He said to follow Him, keep His commandments, and that no one could go to the Father except through Him. I also recall the story in which He tells us, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and so on. It is better to be in Heaven and missing one part than for your whole body to be in hell.

I don't recall Him ever sitting at a table of Pharisees, and saying, "Well, I disagree but if you're happy, then that's okay". He taught them, tried to show them a better way, while always loving them. Even with tough love when he threw the tables that one time. Jesus was killed.

St. Fidelis did not say to those ready to kill him, "Wait, don't kill me, I'll go back home, and you can keep on teaching your new found understanding of Scripture". He boldly claimed, "I came to refute your errors...I fear not death."

I pray that I can become more like Christ and St. Fidelis, and boldly claim: I fear not ridicule, persecution, and most of all death, but I must speak the truth of the Catholic faith. May we all be bold witnesses on our daily mission in our lives. Just remember, how can we fear death when we know what Jesus won for us?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Least Mission

Tonight, I went to a prayer group ta my parish. Due to the bombing in Boston on Monday, we had some quiet prayer time for the victims and their families. Toward the end of the night, there was a time to voice prayer intentions. A woman prayed for the "ones who commit these evils, that love will win out in their hearts."

Immediately, my mind jumped back to December. Here in CT, the Newtown shooting took place and I found myself so upset with the media and even those dear to me in how they were speaking of Adam, the shooter. In all of the media reports, even now, they recall the tragic loss of 26 people that day (20 students, 6 teachers). They leave out two other victims from their minds: Adam and his mother who he shot before heading to the elementary school. As I thought of him and the bombers, I thought of one of my favorite scripture passages that, to me, is all about missionary work.

The passage is from Matthew's gospel, chapter 25, verses 34-36,40):
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visitied Me; I was in prison and you came to Me...Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.'
It's easy to read the passage above and volunteer our time serving the needy, bringing food to a food pantry, donating clothes to Goodwill. Helping those less fortunate is not that difficult for us to do. These things are greatly  important, but is something missing? I am reminded of a talk I heard Scott Hahn give in which he made it clear that Jesus spoke very specifically. (He was talking about in John's Gospel, the Bread of Life discourse). If Jesus wanted to be speaking figuratively about the Eucharist, he would have said so, but he didn't. And here,  in this passage, He does not speak ambiguosly about who we need to serve. "Even the least" is the direction. While there are easy ways to support the people who are in the category of "less than us," it's important to remember the least. It is difficult to pray for them, let alone outright help them, but we can. And we are commanded to. If we miss the mark on this, Jesus speaks very clearly about what will happen later in that same passage (Matthew 25:41-43,45-46):
Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sin, and in prison, and you did not visit Me...Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
There are so many people that are unseen, that are worse off than the poor, hungry, naked, and thirsty. Those who are on the verge of losing their souls to hell need us to see them. We need to be misisomnaries for them. Our prayers can have the power to introduce some inkling of loe into their lost hearts. God's mercy is endless, so must our prayers be for these, truly the least of our brothers and sisters on this earth. The ones who's hatred, misunderstanding, rage, confusion can cause them to commit such horrors.

*Bible passages are from the New American Standard translation, taken from Bible Gateway

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mary's Mission

Tonight, as I was trying to sleep, I began to pray a rosary. (Admittedly, I only started praying with hopes that I'd fall asleep before the first decade was over) While I was praying, I was contemplating the reading I had just done from my consecration preparation book, 33 Days to Morning Glory. (Consecration Info Here)

The reading for the past 2 days have been about the importance and logical reason to give everything to Mary by means of consecration. The main focus is giving her everything right down to the merits of our prayers to use as she pleases. The author, Fr. Michael Gaitley, presents our human issues with this idea. He surmises that we would be hesitant because normally we'd like to tell God, Jesus, and even Mary how to spend the merits of our prayers. For example, if we say a rosary, we want to dictate who that rosary should benefit. Through consecration to Mary, we give up that 'control' and we place our trust in Mary's generosity, according to Fr. Gaitley. 

While praying, I started to think of the people I wanted to offer up my rosary for. Then I thought of the people Mary might know of that needed my rosary. One group is definitely larger. Then it hit me. How many souls can be reached through the grace and merits of one person's prayers if we let Mary have control?

The answer is: an unfathomable number of souls. 

The idea is that together with Mary, through this consecration of our heart to hers, we can accomplish this mission for souls without ever leaving home. Through this offering of our total self, including the merits of our prayer or sacrifice, we can be great missionaries. The excitement of this thought might be why I got out of bed just to type this all up, rather than fall asleep. I hope it excites you too! If you made a consecration before but have lost site of it, like I did, renew with a new preparation. If you have never done one, check it out! The next start date (that finishes with consecration on the feast of the Visitation) is April 28th. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fishing and Shepherding

If you have attended Catholic Mass this weekend, you heard the Gospel reading from John 21:1-19 (or 1-14 if they did the shorter version). 

During the homily, I caught this one thing the priest said that I felt needed to be reflected on further. He said, "Today's gospel reading is mostly fishing and shepherding."

The first half of this passage, we see the disciples were at sea fishing, having no luck. Jesus was on the shore and instructed where to cast for fish. They followed his instruction and were successful. 

The second half of this passage, we see Jesus speaking to Simon Peter:
"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."
It may seem strange that these two things are chosen to be read together in one Sunday. Looking at the surface level only, what does fishing and shepherding even have to do with each other? When we look deeper, we see not only the importance of them together, but even the reason for their order. 

Think earlier in the story of Jesus, when he is gathering the disciples, he tells them at one point "I will make you fishers of men". Here, in the most simplest understanding, Jesus reminds them of this original call and that when they follow His direction, there will be triumph in the task. Put yourself in their shoes, life was good. They knew Jesus to be the Savior, then he died and appeared to them twice before this encounter. I am certain they must have been confused, processing all that had happened, trying to figure out exactly what they needed to do. He came to them this third time, "cast your nets to the right". As if to say, "don't you remember? Your task is simple, fish for men where I lead you". 

After reminding them of their mission, Jesus confirms the love Peter has for him and makes certain he is clear that his mission to lead the charge. Peter confessed his love for Jesus and was entrusted to feed and care for the lambs and sheep that belonged to God. 

Today, what does that mean for us? Maybe it means we should stand ready to here the voice of Jesus telling us where to 'cast our nets'. Maybe it means listening and obeying the ones who have confessed their love for Christ in a special way who have been entrusted with leading the charge in Peter's footsteps. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Renew the Mission

Hi everyone,

It's been a long time, but I've realized I need to get back to blogging. Today, I saw a link to an article on my news feed and I just had to read it. It was about Pope Francis and reform in the Church. (Check out the article!)

In the article is this beautiful quote from the Holy Father: 

"The layperson is a layperson and has to live as a layperson with the power of baptism, which enables him to be a leaven of the love of God in society itself, to create and sow hope, to proclaim the faith, not from a pulpit but from his everyday life. And like all of us, the layperson is called to carry his daily cross — the cross of the layperson, not of the priest." 
I was set on fire by this statement. The power of baptism...a leaven of love of God in society...proclaim the faith...from his everyday life. Immediately, those words led me to the very name of this blog. The Stationary Mission. 

After months of sitting idly by in this life, the realization comes in an instance to remind me what our purpose is in this life. While I struggled with the lack of desire to get more involved inside the Church, our Pope is encouraging us to get involved outside the Church. 

While many of us are "stationary" in the sense that we frequent the same places most of our days (work, home, Church, local restaurants/stores, etc.), we are, in fact, missionaries. Why? Did we "feel the call" to missionary work? Did we receive some form of enlightenment or unique gift to serve in this way? 

Not exactly. We are baptized. We are baptized into family with God as priest, prophet, and king. We must bring grace to the people outside of the Church who so greatly need it. We must preach with loving words and humble example to those we meet everyday. Men who have answered the call to ordained ministry in the Church have their duties to attend to, and they need our prayers. We lay people have our duties, our mission, to attend to. I am certain we have their prayers as well.

Where are you lay people? Are you awake? Are you ready? Get going!

Friday, January 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes - Healthy Living

Hi Everyone!!

Here are this week's quick takes with an overall theme of healthy living. Please check out Jen @ Conversion Diary where 7 Quick Takes is hosted!!

NFP/NaproTechnology. Back in October, I started learning more about the Creighton Model System of Natural Family Planning. What? I'm not married, I'm not even engaged, right? The earlier the better, especially if you are unsure of your body and have some issues you are concerned about. The Creighton Model focuses on observing signs given by your body throughout a woman's cycle to detect any issues, plan/avoid pregnancy and when followed strictly as directed, is 99% effective for pregnancy planning. My teacher recommended that I see a NaproTechnology doctor. I said, "well I just have a bunch of PMS, it's not a big deal". And she said, "There is treatment for that".

I went in and had no fears because I knew this doctor was not only Catholic, but pro-life and would never tell me to go on "the pill". That made me feel immediately at ease. So, I'm taking vitamins and once I get some bloodwork done, will start taking some hormones to balance out what I'm lacking in to help my body function normally. I'm so excited to get this figured out way before I need to worry about it within marriage. Trust me ladies, if you can learn this now, get a handle on it! Once the engagement/marriage happens, it will be a lot to learn on top of everything else!

Seeing this new doctor led me to see that it is time to change my eating habits. The main reason is that I need to lose weight. I've never been okay to admit that before, but I know it is solely because my body needs to be in better shape. I am confident now more than ever in my own skin as far as self esteem goes. Now it is time to treat my body for what it is: a temple of the Holy Spirit made in God's image and likeness to do His will. I can't do that if I'm constantly stuffing it with fast food/take out. In my search, through an old high school teacher, I have found this awesome website called Local Harvest which will help you find local farms to purchase fresh produce, meats, etc. My favorite part is I found 2 farms in my state that sell grass fed beef. One that offers online ordering/shipping! I haven't had time yet to search for good produce places yet, but I'll keep on searching! What an exciting journey!

Since I've started taking my vitamins (Vit D3 and Magnesium), and only slightly changed things about sleep, I've noticed I've felt more refreshed than I have in a long time once I'm awake for the day. The best part about that is having the energy to work out. Gasp! Did Kristina just say WORK OUT? Yes, yes I did. I'm only 2 days into it and day one was a hot mess. I am on this train. I dug out my Turbo Jam DVDs by Chalene Johnson that I had gotten from Beach Body 2 years ago and won't put them away!

You can find something just for you on that site, I promise! They also have a "live gym" where you can log/schedule workouts, invite work out buddies, find groups for people using Beach Body programs in your area. I've got a friend who is a beach body coach, and she's always offering free samples of Shakeology which is a yummy meal replacement shake. I'm going to try it out when their new Tropical Strawberry flavor comes out soon. Best part is, I believe they are gluten and soy free! (That's hard to find in meal replacement shakes, trust me!)

I've also considered going Gluten Free over the past 6 months, but never am in a place where I feel like I could tackle it. Just today, on facebook, a friend mentioned she was considering it too. One of her friends suggested Jerusalem Artichoke Pasta (found here) and another friend suggested a Cook Book! for inexpensive gluten free recipes! Can't wait to check these out!

If you are on the healthy train, and someone brings up homeopathic remedies, how can you even try to refuse? A store very near my house sells the remedies so I'm currently taking one for acne to see how it works. I'm day 2 of 3 of taking it and will definitely try to remember to post results! I also got one for lower back pain to try during PMS. The great part is I'm not adding any unnatural drugs into my system and even if the remedies don't work, it's not hurting my body!

I'm also trying to stay happy. It helps that I'm about to  leave for the 2nd weekend in a row to see my niece and nephews! They always make me happy! A happy Auntie and is a healthy Auntie. 

I leave you with a video of my favorite song:

Have a great weekend everybody!