Friday, August 16, 2013

My idol

 I admire a great many people.  I rank getting to know people as probably my favorite hobby.  When we go the library, I am immediately drawn to the biography section as each life present in the pages I read opens up the door to yet another human being that God created for a reason to lead people to heaven.  To me, that is why each person matters so much.  My mother taught us to say, "What can I learn from you?"

My spiritual life pretty much can be summed up by introducing you to the one person I admire almost more than any other human I've ever met.  I will call her Stacy.  I grew up knowing Stacy in my rural hometown in Kansas.  She was always quick to call out my name when she drove her motorized cart past our home eagerly anticipating my mother being outside as she knew my mother always had time to listen to her stories she told over and over.  Upon glancing at Stacy, you cannot help but be drawn back in disgust.  She slobbers, drools, her hands are in braces which flail about, she smells, her past meals are always present on her mouth or her clothes, and she sweats profusely.  She is visibly Christ crucified.

As a result of a tramatic birth and lack of oxygen, Stacy suffered severe brain damage.  Due to her disabled state, her parents abandoned her and she was given to the state to take care of.  She was passed from home to home in her youth.  She was raped by several of the workers in one facility that left her with an STD that she still suffers from.  So, let's back up a moment. She was abandoned by her parents due to circumstances outside of her control.  She has never learned to walk and has been wheelchair bound her WHOLE life.  I believe she is in her forties now.  On top of that, she was raped.  The sufferings she endures daily due to that incident leave me often without words.  She lives alone in an apartment about a block from my childhood home.  Once in the winter, her wheelchair had tipped over just outside her apartment and had to wait hours for somebody to come help her.  She called my mother often for assistance as she depends upon everybody for everything.  She has normal menstrual cycles, gets the flu and throws up, and suffers numerous other womanly issues just like everybody else except the fact she can't take care of any of it.  When I was home this past summer, my mother informed me that Stacy was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy.

To me, we all have to earn heaven.  To me, Stacy has set the bar so high and the athlete that I am following.  We all have to run the same race.  God loves us all the same and wants us all to be with HIM.  You see, she is doing her sufferings on this side of heaven.  I have known nothing but love my whole life.  God blessed me with great parents, a happy and holy home, and great siblings.  I grew up in their love only to meet John and continue to know God's love so strongly through him and our children.  She has had none of that.  Even though her body is "deformed", most of her mind is perfect.  She mentions to my mother often about wanting to find somebody to spend her life with.  She has never known the love of anybody especially as a woman, the love of a man.  EVER.

So for me, if she has already suffered so much, I say to myself, "Lindsay, you better get going."  You better start picking the hard road now if she is already on lap 2,000,000,000 and you are only on lap 50.  The saints understood this concept perfectly.  They knew that the road of suffering was the ONLY way to go while on earth.  They would look at Stacy and know that she was the one truly blessed not us "normal" people who have life "easy."  We really need a return to the old phrase of "Offer it up." I recently finished Fr. Emil Kapaun's story.  I was love sick for a week about the heroism of this man.  He understood this concept perfectly.  When the guards were taking him off to die and the fellow prisoners were crying, he told them

"You're sorry for me?  I am going to be with Jesus Christ.  And that is what I have worked  for all my life.  And you say you're sorry for me?  You should be happy for me.  I'm going where I've always wanted to go."

I came across three quotes this week that have stuck with me.

"What we suffer should be our own secret, this silence is pleasing to the Heart of Jesus."-Ven. Mother Barat

"All that We Do without Offering it to God is Wasted."  St. John Vianney

and the words right before we receive Our Lord in Communion, the priest says quietly,

"May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life."
"May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.

I loved especially these last words as what more shall we want here, but to be kept safe for eternal life.  I do know that sufferings keep us safe as Christ has shown us by His own example.  I do not understand the cross, but I do know that is the road we are to desire.

Please help me to get it right.  Stacy has it right not the world that blasts me to seek perfection in the opposite direction.  Help me to desire to be like HER.  I am mindful of her a lot and because of her fine example and the grace of God, I am often motivated to pick the hard road.  If she can endure a lifetime of that intensity of suffering, I can certainly strive to endure what God has so simply chosen for me today.

As always, I continue to encourage all to choose the hard road.  Do not be afraid of the interior resistance you find.  Our fallen nature is draw back and scorn the hard life.  Our souls long for it and need it.  Unlike Stacy, most of us are at least afforded a companion while suffering.  That is why Stacy is all the more heroic to me.  God asked the additional gift of her to be alone while carrying her heavenly cross.

I know I will be jealous of her on the other side.



11 comments :

  1. Wow. Thank you so much for posting this. What an amazing reminder of what we're called to. God bless your friend Julie.

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  2. Your Mother is an inspiration, her example taught you so much and now look, through your blog you are reaching others and Julie is the example - I see God so abundantly in this and have really been encouraged by your sharing about Julie. Thank you, thank you.

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  3. This is so beautiful. Glad to have found your blog so that I could read these touching words. God bless.

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  4. Thank you so much for keeping this blog. I know that you are motivated to keep it mostly as a documentation of your life with your children, but it truly blesses me. I love reading stories about your family and reading your inspirational words, like this blog post. Thank you!

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  5. So true and far from what the world is trying to convince us is the pathway to happiness. We are so uncomfortable with suffering and always look for suffering that we should choose... instead of the cross that God has seen fit to send us. I am terribly jealous of your upbringing, because as an adult convert it is such a struggle to "have faith". I guess this is the cross that God saw fit to send me. Thank you for writing. God Bless your family.

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  6. I really enjoy reading your blog! You always remind me that this time when our children are little is but a moment and to enjoy the time with them. , I have read a couple of times where you have stated that "we must earn heaven." As a Christian, I don't quite understand that and hopefully you could shed some light on this for me :) I believe that we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God and that it is only by his grace (unmerited favor) that we are saved ("For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16). Of course, this doesn't mean that we just go through life doing whatever pleases us. We should want to be more like Him and bear good fruit. But, I don't think we can earn our way into heaven. We just need to have faith. Lastly, I just wanted to say what wonderful words your mom tells you. I really wish my mom would be that encouraging to me :) She will watch my nephews for a few hours a week, but she only sees it as "babysitting" and not raising up the next generation. I'm just always surprised that she can't see the bigger picture in this. Thank you Lindsay's mom :)

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    1. Hi, Bridget! Not to speak for Lindsay, but as I'm sure she is busy and I have some time on my hands, I'm going to presume to try to shed a bit of light on the perspective of a Catholic Christian here :-)

      1) Catholics do believe precisely what you assert: salvation is by grace, through faith, and is a free and unmerited gift from God. I would venture to say that Lindsay did not mean "earn Heaven" in the sense of "save oneself without any assistance from God" (this goes directly against Catholic teaching) but rather in the sense that only he who "does the will of my Father" will enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 7:21) and remembering Christ's exhortation that "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13)
      *SIDE NOTE* When a Catholic talks about good works, merit, etc, it is all with the presumed understanding that any and all good that we do is only through the grace of Christ working in us - including the grace of faith itself. "The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God." (CCC2011)

      2) To a Catholic, faith is not only something you have, it is something you do - something you live. And we believe a living faith is "faith working through love" (Gal 5:6). To quote from the Catechism, faith "encompasses the call and the OBLIGATION TO RESPOND with sincere love to divine charity" (CCC2093, my emphasis). Lukewarmness ("hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love") is therefore a very serious sin, which is why the Bible warns us against it so vehemently. So to say to a Catholic "all you need in order to be saved is faith" translates as "you better be working hard in every thought and every act of every day in order to attempt to respond accordingly to the unfathomable love of God".

      I hope this makes some amount of sense to you! It's hard boiling down as complex an issue as the Catholic understanding of the economy of salvation to a few paragraphs. If this is too woefully insufficient for your curiosity, the Catechism is online and searchable at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm - go crazy! :-)

      Also, it's true: Lindsay's mom is awesome!

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  7. Well, if i just read this blog post every morning I will be on track!Thank you for sharing with all of us. You are such an encouragement to families with a lot of kids. God bless

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  8. This is my first time reading your blog, I am a friend of Katie Sciba. We just made month 3 of having four born children... and I realize that I neither want to suffer on this side of Heaven, nor do I want a long time in Purgatory. But the quote about silent suffering spoke to me this morning. Thank you.

    -Kate Dawson
    daytodaydawsons.blogspot.com

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  9. Hi there. I always enjoy reading your blog and this woman's story is indeed moving, but I wonder if it's fair to use her full name. Did you ask her permission to use her name when sharing her story?

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    1. I'm assuming stacy isn't the woman's real name because it says in the beginning, "I will call her Stacy."

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