Ascending

Mother, mother and child, ocean, light

What does it mean to ascend?  To move upward; to rise through the air; to succeed to (as in ascending a throne).  On the day of this posting, we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension, when Christ ascended into Heaven.  After the Resurrection, he was taken up from the sight of the disciples, he even rose through the air.  And he ascended his heavenly throne.  In celebrating this great Feast Day, I would also like to include two other definitions of the word: to rise up from a lower degree; to go back in time through your family’s genealogical succession.  (Don’t worry, this won’t take long.  Don’t trust me?  Then here’s a quick preview: kindness and mothers.)

Fr. Finnigan shared a bit of a poem during his homily at Mass today – the priest, in his mid-to-late eighties, often reads to us wonderful quotes and clips from theologians, saints, and poets.  This particular one he found in a book by Father Frederick William Faber, who lived in England during the 19th century.  The writer of the poem itself is anonymous, but it fit beautifully with Fr. Faber’s work, in a book called, Kindness.  The poem also fit with Fr. Finnigan’s homily on loving one another – for, isn’t that what kindness is?  The words started my mind thinking about the power of love and how it is so powerful that it can be conveyed through the smallest things… Continue reading

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

velizar-ivanov-502066-unsplash

The Mystery of Suffering

You know you’ve asked this question before.  Many have.  And I am asking it now, but – well… I’d first like to start with a little thought on the wording of this question.  Do “bad things” exist?

To quote GK Chesterton as he paraphrased Saint Thomas Aquinas: “There are no bad things.  There are only bad uses of things.”  That is to say that God doesn’t create things that are bad or evil.  God looked upon all that He created and saw that it was good.  We human beings, however, often use the things that God has created quite poorly.  The very first human beings did this when they consumed something that wasn’t meant for their consumption.  And, yes, because of that freely chosen break from Divine Will, that Original Sin, we have suffered a separation from God and live in a fallen world.  There is evil in the world – but the evil isn’t a thing.  A mutated gene is a thing.  A tumor is a thing.  And, if these are things, and there are no evil or bad “things,” then are mutated genes or cancerous tumors “bad”?  Sacred Scripture tells us, “We know that God makes everything work for good for those who love God….”[1]

If we truly love God, then we trust God.  And if we trust God, then we are able to allow God to make things – even our great difficulties and sorrows – work out for our good.  We might not be able to see what that good is, especially in the midst of our tribulations.  We are, after all, limited, too small to see the big picture that is God’s Masterpiece.  But, loving God and trusting God, we believe in God’s promises.  We hope in what we cannot yet see.

That’s the first thought that I leave you to ponder.  In the pondering, think of how we can make our own natural sufferings worse. Continue reading

Our Sufferings He Endured: a Meditation

(Once, I prayed these words when I received Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament – and my teeth pierced into the Body of Christ…. )

For my salvation, Lord, this is what you will… Mystery of Mysteries…The unfathomable wonder of your love…

Oh, my Lord and my God…

Crown-of-Thorns

The circle of thorns,

the only crown that we deigned to give you in our wickedness,

pierced into your temples – and you hallowed us.

Three_Nails_1

 The iron spikes, with which we nailed you to

the only throne that we deigned to give you in our worldliness,

pierced through and bound your limbs – and you set us free.

pierced-by-lance

The lance,

the only honor that we deigned to give you in our waywardness,

pierced open your heart – and you saved us.

 

Hold us within your Sacred Heart, Christ Jesus!

Pour forth your mercy upon us, O Lord, and help us, by your grace,

to fall upon penitent knees

and humbly lift our begging bowls to you, so that you may fill them…

Fill our hearts to overflowing with yourself-giving love, Lord!

And, in the overflowing,

may we truly love one another as you love us.

Amen.

© 2018 Christina Chase

My First Book! Well, Okay, Not yet…

manuscript, pages, writing

The first draft of my manuscript is complete.  (And, yes, calling it a manuscript does sound weird.  And technically, anyway, is it really a manuscript since I didn’t write it out by hand – manual + script?  But, I digress…)  I’m grateful to have been able to keep the first part of my 2018 Resolution!

Over the last 59 days, a wide spectrum of thoughts about my first book, and the whole process of writing it, have tumbled through my mind, causing me to feel differently about it on different days.  So far, these have been my most frequent opinions/feelings (in no particular order): ridiculous… brilliant… impossible… lame… okay…. Continue reading

Leaving with These Words

Last year,  I had several health challenges that reminded me, yet again, of how fragile and fleeting my life is.  Having been born with a rare disease and living all of my life with severe disability, I have always know that my lifespan would be limited.  But, how limited?  What will be my last year?  When will be my last day?

This is not something to obsess about, but, last year, I did realize that it’s okay to think about one’s death and to plan for it.  This is actually a good and beautiful thing to do.  I even wrote a blog post called Preparing to Die in Five Easy Steps.  One of these steps was to plan my own funeral.

Bible, funeral, Mass, church

I gave a lot of thought to what readings I would like to have read at my Catholic Funeral Mass, but didn’t finalize my choices until nearly the end of the year, when I heard a reading from the book of Wisdom, which I wanted, instantly, as my funeral’s first reading.  Everything else flowed from there.

And, now, I want to share my chosen passages of Scripture with you, dear reader.

As this is being posted, I am supposed to be busily working on my first book.  I prescheduled this post and one for every week of February in order to free me from distractions while I write.  The blog post for February 1 will feature the first reading for my funeral.  February 8 will feature the Psalm of my choice, February 15 will contain my selected epistle (Second Reading) and February 22 will reveal my chosen Gospel passage.  Taken together, these readings from Sacred Scripture tell a little of my personal story, my follies and my faith, my love and my hope, as well as give prompting and encouragement to all who will hear them to seek beauty and truth, finding God.

Seek and find the One who is Beauty, the One who is Truth.  Find and be found by God, who intimately and infinitely loves each and every one of us – and in loving Him, be fulfilled as the wonderful, blessed human being that you are uniquely created to be.

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

Beauty Hunger

I have always been drawn to beauty, as bees are called to nectar and deserts thirst for rain.  When I was an atheist, I found delight in the beauty of the natural world – which I would never have called God’s Creation, but only Earth or universe.  As a believing Christian, I now experience the beauty of the created world in a more personal and exquisitely intimate way, with true joy, as profound gift and Mystery.

life of pix,, tulips

 

Our Creator does not create with rigid rationing, but, rather, with generosity and full exuberance: 1000 seeds to bear one fruit tree, 1 million spermatozoa to bear one human being, 1 billion rocky planets to bear one earth…

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Brave

I feel very brave posting this.  Three and a half years of blogging here and I have been careful not to show pictures of myself straight on.  In fact, you’ll only find two.  Yet, here I am sharing a video of myself.

Why?  Right now, I’m really not sure!  A video of me reciting one of my poems with no makeup and no video touchup software?  (That would have to be some pretty awesome touchup software…)

But… there is something to be said about showing your wounds…

Being a Christian isn’t about standing on a soapbox yelling out quotes from Scripture or pointing at people “in sin” and warning them that they better change their ways.  Christianity is about Christ – and Christ is about love.  Christ is love incarnate.  So, if I want to share Christ with others, then I must not only love them in my heart and my actions, but also share with them my love – which includes my suffering.

When St. Thomas doubted the Resurrection, Christ came before him and showed him his wounds, let him put his fingers right into them.  We all have wounds.  We all have sufferings.  And we shouldn’t be afraid of them or even ashamed of them.  I am not proud of my defective gene (you won’t see me in any kind of SMA pride parade or whatever) but I am not ashamed to have a defective gene – or to even call part of me defective.  For that is the truth.

By sharing the truth of who I am – all of me – I hope that you may come to better know my love and, through that love, to know Christ.  God doesn’t make junk.  Everybody is sacred – every body is sacred.  And, sometimes, it is through our wounds that the glory of who we are is made known.

Now, remember mercy…

© 2017 Christina Chase

Preparing to Die in 5 Easy Steps

Last week, I wrote about my reasons for wanting to prepare for death in a way that honors life, because death is an essential part of life as we know it.  This week, I present my personal preparation in five easy steps.  (I’m being a bit facetious with the word “easy”, needless to say.)

Things to Do before Dying

1.) Be Reconciled.

To some, this may mean a paying off of debts.  But, to whom do we owe more than to the One who has given us everything?  All that I have and all that I am is impossible without God.  My very life is a divine gift.  Have I been grateful?  Having been created in love, have I been as loving as I was created to be?  Do I take the time to be mindful of God’s presence, and of God’s presents, seeing how I deserve nothing and, yet, how God mercifully forgives and blesses?

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Redemptive Suffering

The womb that cannot bear new life

is, instead, bearing pain.

Seemingly meaningless and devoid of promise,

for the hard grip – twisted deformed rocks –

makes it unrecognized as gift…

The fruit of love conceived

in union with the Pierced Heart

shedding blood, suffering,

giving of oneself for the other…

The womb that cannot carry

feels the weight of souls.

© 2017 Christina Chase

quote on suffering Saint Faustina

Trust in You

Trust is not something that I’m very good at.  I like to be in control, feeling that I can manage the outcome to my liking.  But, of course, I can’t always do that.  Some things are out of my hands – almost everything is out of my hands.

When I first became a Christian, I was actually glad that I didn’t control everything.  It was a relief to know that I wasn’t responsible for everything that happened in my life and the lives of my loved ones.  I can’t say that it was a relief to know that everything is in God’s hands – that actually scared me quite a bit.  But, if anyone is going to be in control, it should surely be the Creator and Master of the Universe – the One who knows best.

During my recent health odyssey, my problem with trust was made clear again.  I prayed for recovery, for the end of new illnesses – but I also worried every time a new illness appeared.  Legitimate concern is not a bad thing at all, for I do need to think about my body and make good decisions on taking care of it.  But, worry – well, there is no room (and really no need) for worry in the life of a person of faith.  And I worried a lot.

Sometimes, a song, poem, book, movie, or TV show can challenge our faith and inspire us to a better and closer relationship with God.  I discovered the song below during my health odyssey (which is not quite over yet) and it cut to my heart.  It is a challenge for me in my struggles – and a good inspiration to trust…

“Jesus, I Trust in You…”

© 2017 Christina Chase