The Priority of Faith

“It was revealed this week that, for the first time in its history, Harvard University, which had been founded for religious purposes … has admitted a freshman class in which atheists and agnostics outnumber professed Christians and Jews.”

Be Brace

Did that make you pause and read it again? Did it make you sad, mad or upset? I had all those emotions when I read it for the first time.

This statement has been heavily weighing on my heart since I read it on Thursday, September 18th in an article by Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary of Los Angeles. Incoming freshman, not graduating seniors from college. Incoming freshman, those sons and daughter that are leaving our homes for the first time to spread their wings as young adults. Incoming freshman, fresh from our homes where they should have received a foundation of faith.

I’m sure the rest of Bishop’s article was also informative and enlightening, but I still can’t get past the first sentence. Every day since September 18th, when I read those words, I ask myself, what can I do better. I have worked in Faith Formation for 14 years, these atheists and agnostics could have been in homes of families I ministered too. This is not a Catholic thing, it’s a faith thing…or a lack of faith thing.

I have to be part of the solution. I have to help parents provide the tools to foster faith. No matter how I plan and execute faith formation, the 30 hours a year I see the children is not enough to form their faith. As parents we have to model and mentor. We have to set rituals and traditions. We work hard to form our children’s social and moral characteristics. We, together, need to mold their souls. Those souls are yearning for God, where they belong!

Our days of forming our children pass quickly. They grow, it seems, over night. We blink and they are moving out and leaving us, which causes parents to think of what did we not pass on to them.

Faith…at least basic understanding of the Golden Rule, “do unto others they way you want them to do unto you” if practiced daily shows children the Golden Rule in action. We need to bring God into our homes and into our daily lives. No…let me correct that. God is already in our homes and daily lives. We need to open our hearts and recognize His work in our lives. He wants us to know Him and He wants to be in relationship with us.

How do we change that statistic?
How do we take responsibility for making the world a more peaceful place?
How do we instill in our children that God, Allah, I Am, Yahweh, whatever your tradition calls Him, freely give us LOVE?

First we can pray!
I have seen the power of prayer in my own life and in my work. Prayer makes a difference! Any type of prayer and any time for prayer works…just pray.

We can live as examples. Living our lives with our brothers and sisters in peace, compassion, and mercy shows our youth how they should live.

Have a missionary heart. As we encounter people on the streets, in restaurants, at work and in our own neighborhood, share the joy of faith with them. Reach out to those in need and give of your time, give of your talents, and give of your treasure, you will never regret a moment you spent helping others.

Love. Love is the foundation for everything. Share Love. Speak of Love. Show Love. Be Love. priority

I created ways to spread the Love of Christ and promote faith online. Check out my social avenues:
https://www.facebook.com/sjcyc
https://twitter.com/youthsjc

“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

I see God’s grace and mission for me…to help others, especially the families I minister to, to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

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It’s but a flesh wound…

Do you remember the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail?

The knight cuts off the enemy’s arm, but he keeps fighting… “I’ve cut off your arm”…”it’s but a flesh wound”
Sometimes that’s how I feel.  Even though I am laughing at the sight of my arm. Physical Therapy…and I keep fighting. Sometimes I wonder if I would have made different choices if they had told me in April everything a breast cancer patient goes through. I think there is a reason the medical professionals want you to take it one step at a time, instead of seeing the mountain all at once. But as a good friend told me when I started on this journey, “remember not to tell God how big your mountain is, but tell your mountain how big your GOD is!” Love it!

So now about Physical therapy…

Physical therapy has been working on releasing the fluid in my arm since mid-August and working on my range of motion of the shoulder which is still limited from my May surgery. Although I was nervous about starting therapy in August, it has been a wonderful experience. I heard horror story about how hard they pushed and how painful physical therapy is for some recovering from injuries. I am happy to report that physical therapy for breast cancer surgery consists of a lot of massages for the lymph node stimulation and massages for the scar tissue breakdown and more massaging to loosen the muscles for range movement. My therapist is wonderful, so kind and understanding. She explains everything, which is great, because I usually have a lot of questions. And the exercises are really helping.

I guess I never thought that I would have to bandage my arm and what the bandaging would look or feel like. The first day Cathy, my OT, bandaged me was a Monday. That evening I had a presentation to about 200 parents. As she was wrapping me, I asked “how long does this need to stay on?” Boy was I surprised when she said “all the time, just take it off for showers”! It’s not an easy thing to hide, but it was effective in keeping fluid from hanging around in the arm. Another advantage is the way it keeps at least that arm warm 🙂 

My dear husband, Kevin, quickly took on the role of wrapper, after giggling a little as he watched me try to accomplish it effectively on my own. I can wrap it, but could not get it around snug enough to stay up all day. So began our routine… He reminded me of all the experience he had from wrapping hands and feet…the prep of a high school football player…but the Lord taught him well all those years ago. Even my OT was impressed with how well wrapped I was the next visit.

Just the right pressure, not too tight, not too loose…just another amazing reason why I’m glad I married this man!

Although at times it has felt like it would have been easier to just cut off the arm, like in the Monty Python movie, I’m so glad I persevered. The swelling is down substantially and I now am rock’n a fashion forward compression sleeve and gauntlet that is much easier to work and function in. Although Kevin still has to wrap the bandages at night when the sleeve comes off, it is so much more comfortable during the day.

As Cathy and I share stories during our session, we discovered I know her sister, Julie. Julie was a volunteer for me several years ago, during a period that she lost her husband. It was such a joy to learn how Julie was doing and how her son is growing. I truly believe we are all interconnected. If we spend time with others we can see how we are connected to one another. My OT in LaGrange, who lives in Orland Park, sister lives in Tinley Park, but use to live in Frankfort, where I live. A God moment! As my arm heals I also find comfort in conversations about family and faith with Cathy. God is good!

So I continue with Physical Therapy, strengthening myself physically, knowing that the Lord wants me to grow in grace and love each day through the people He places in my path and the experiences He leads me through.

“your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Grace embraced through the Lord placing Cathy as my therapist to guide me through the rehabilitation and strengthening of my arm and my spirit