Scripture Quotes from the Heart

I’ve been trying to find a biblical quote to put on the wall of my bedroom.  In researching passages (focusing on the heart) I decided to share a few here with some reflections.  (This idea is inspired, in part, by my friend’s “Scription” at DonnaMaria.org.)

Heart, windowpane, cross

From Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

 

What do you treasure?

Would do you hold most dear?

For me, my treasure is my family.  According to this Scripture quote, therefore, I think that means that my heart, the core of who I am, is with my family.  My identity and my very being is intertwined with loving them and being loved by them in our interactions, our relationships.  If what I treasured was wealth or fame, then I would be caught up in money, possessions, and other people’s opinions, linking up my identity with them.  And I can see how that wouldn’t be good.  Either way, however… I see that I would be treasuring finite things. Continue reading

The Newlyweds

Every story has a beginning.  This is a picture of mine:

parents on their way

Just Married, © 2017 DivineIncarnate.com, All Rights Reserved

My parents, just married, about to head off for their honeymoon and the rest of their lives…

My mother, young, and stylish as always, sits herself in the car, looking up at my father, her sad eyes lit with joy and a sparkling kind of expectation.  My father, looking like a younger, milder Clark Gable, holds the door for her, taking a last gaze at friends in the distance, standing relaxed, proud, and self-assured.  The picture is almost perfect –  except for the dark clouds ahead of them.

This is a picture of my beginning: a relationship of love and hope, full of plans, heading off into what is really the unknown.  Neither of them knew that they were carriers of a debilitating disease, that their future life would consist of taking care of their youngest child as a child for over 40 years.  Inclement weather ahead.

The dark clouds are there, no doubt – but, so is the love and commitment.  The vows that they made that day before God created a marriage, and, through that marriage, I came to be.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, the promises they made to each other have carried them through many storms – carrying me with them.

Mother’s Day is around the corner and Father’s Day won’t be far behind.  Next week, my parents will be celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary.  And, so, it is with much respect, appreciation, and gratitude that I look upon this snapshot of my beginning.  For, I was created in a bond of love and joy, that no dark clouds can overcome.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!

© 2017 Christina Chase

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

Expire

Now, breathe out…

 

“His body is letting him down.”

We say this about a person who is getting old or becoming sick with an incurable disease.  Why?  Isn’t the end of life death?  Are we not all born to die?  We know that death is inevitable – so why do we treat it like it’s not?  Why do we act like our bodies are supposed to remain young and healthy forever – and then, when they begin to age or weaken through illness, why do we act as though we have been betrayed?  Betrayed by whom?

Nobody is promised endless youth and health.  Nobody is promised a life that won’t end with physical death.  Nobody.

It’s like we’re all delusional, in a way.  Some say that religious people suffer from wishful thinking – but, it seems to me that almost everyone in mainstream culture is suffering from that.  In my experience, religious people know that suffering happens.  Death is coming.  Catholics are certainly reminded of this quite often, invited every day to contemplate the suffering and death of Christ, uniting our sufferings with his, gazing upon the crucifix.  And every year, when the Lenten season begins, we (and other Christians) have ashes put on our foreheads and are told “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  Suffering happens.  Death will come.  Not even God Incarnate lived a human life without it.  Continue reading

Gratitude

If you are not a grateful person, then you will never be great.

If you do not appreciate the people in your life, then you cannot receive their amazing value – only their cost.

If you do not say “Thank you” when you didn’t get what you wanted, but, rather, what you needed, then you won’t know true joy if you do get what you want.

Giving thanks is easy when you are surrounded by a delicious feast and a happy family.  But, how easy is it to be thankful if you are sadly without home, without family, or without feasting?  The awesome, powerful thanksgiving that transcends the 4th Thursday of November is experienced by those who do not lack gratitude even when life is hard.  For these are the people who recognize life itself as an eternal gift.crucifix-2-flash

The life of your soul is not a gift that was thoughtlessly or cheaply purchased.

It is given by the Giver with pure love…

Live your Thank You by loving – and let your unconditional loving be your joy.  May God help me as I strive to fully live with gratitude…

 

For more of my posts on Thanksgiving and giving thanks, please click and read

One Year of Blogging – and Still Thankful

Giving Thanks (While Gazing upon the Crucifix)

Giving Thanks – Eucharist

© 2016 Christina Chase

Morning Prayer

I’m not alone in believing that we need prayer now, more than ever. Why? Perhaps, because ordinary people aren’t praying as much. People like you. And me.

It’s not like I believe that we get whatever we pray for – far from it. (And don’t I know it.) Sometimes, the greatest blessings come from “unanswered” prayers. (So, if you don’t get Continue reading

Favorite Things: Quotes from Saint Therese

It’s a human inclination to want to be famous, wealthy, or influential in some grand way. I want to be a successful author, with big dreams of making bestseller lists and overcoming my severe disability to support myself and my family. It may happen, God only knows.  But, it won’t start there.  The purpose for which God created me begins here and now, in this moment, as tiny and seemingly insignificant as this moment may be.

Our lives are made up of small moments. What we do in those small moments and how we do them determines how we live – how we live here and now, and how we live forever. Joy is in the loving of each moment of each day – not in amassing.

quote Saint Therese little things with love

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said it best. Because she lived it. She had big dreams Continue reading

Heroic Dads

 

Last night, I was sick. Pain, throwing up… miserable. I won’t go into the details. What I will say is that being sick is even more difficult when you can’t move. So you’re lying on your back and you need to vomit… Yuck, I know. But, what would you do? You would Continue reading

Thoughts on Latest Terrorist Attacks

Two different terrorist groups “claimed responsibility” this week for two different attacks that killed nearly 100 people and wounded 400 more. IS “claimed responsibility” for the bombings at an airport and metro station in Belgium and the Taliban “claimed responsibility” for the attack at a park and playground in Pakistan. But, neither should claim responsibility at all.

If these terrorists were truly responsible, then they would care for the wounded, bury the dead, and repair the damages brought about by their attacks. But, of course, they won’t do that. Because they are irresponsible. They are brutal, destructive, irresponsible thugs who want murder and mayhem and as much pain as they can inflict on others. They reveal the darkest, most vicious, careless, and broken parts of humanity, reminding us of what we are capable and of how closely evil thoughts and actions live to our hearts. Terrorists show us what we should never be, what we should fight with all of our might from ever becoming.

family in ambulance

 

I want to always remember that I am, first and foremost, a physical and spiritual creature who has been loved into being by God. This is what every human being is and should be treated as such. The other things like my race, ethnic background, culture, and nationality are always less important. I believe that all human beings are my neighbors whom God wants me to love as my own self, no matter whether they are like me or not.

Being deformed and wheelchair-bound, I know what it’s like to be singled out as different in a negative way. Perhaps, that’s why prejudice and hate for “others” has always bothered me so deeply. Each of us is unique and different from each other in some regard. But, we are all the same in the singular most important regard, which we must never forget and always hold as profoundly precious: we are all equally loved by God and precious to God. And, so, not only am I saddened by the brutal deaths and sympathetically grieve for the people who were killed by terrorists – but I am also saddened and grieving for my fellow human beings who gave in to darkness and allowed themselves to commit such evil.

Yes, I know, it’s difficult to feel anything but disgust for the terrorists. These people chose to become irresponsible thugs who viciously killed men, women, and children – the families in Lahore were celebrating Easter Sunday in harmony and joy. It’s hard to think of anything more despicable. Yes, these terrorists have made themselves our enemies –

But, I believe, as Christ taught, that we are to pray for our enemies – and even to love them.

Yup. It’s clearly in the Bible.[1]

And, yet, many people who profess to be Christians are becoming filled with hateful suspicion for all Muslims. We cannot let hate consume us. We cannot forget Christian mercy and Christian love. With people of faith, all Faiths, we are more alike than unlike, and the vast majority of Muslims are grieving for their hijacked religion and deeply saddened, as we are, by so many deaths. Let’s join our prayers with these good people for peace. Let’s not give into our brokenness – which would divide us from our fellow human beings and, thereby, cause the darkness to win.

As Christians, we will defend the innocent and diligently strive to protect our fellow human beings from the evil acts and intentions of those who would harm them. That is right and just. And, as true Christians, we will also pray for those who seek to harm them – pray for our fellow human beings who have turned to violence and destruction, who have chosen to inflict pain and death, praying that God will forgive them, heal them, and restore them to their true selves.

So, united with people of faith everywhere, let us prayerfully lift up the suffering and pain of our brothers and sisters in Belgium and Pakistan and ask God to heal them, comfort them, and renew them in the fullness of life. And as Christians in particular, in order to live true Easter joy, let us not forget to pray for the irresponsible and the despicable, too:

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us…”

*

As an aside… I’ve noticed that, here in the United States, there has been much more news coverage of the attacks in Brussels than of the attacks in Lahore. Why, when more people were wounded and killed in Pakistan? I don’t know whether or not I should be ashamed of myself for the answer that came immediately to my mind: it’s because the people killed in Brussels were European and the people killed in the other attack were Pakistani. This does speak to me of a racial bias, which saddens, angers, and frustrates me. Perhaps I am wrong. I hope I am. But… let us really take a good look at ourselves and be aware of our own bias and prejudice. There is brokenness in our hearts, too, that needs to be healed if we are ever to have peace.

© 2016 Christina Chase


[1] Matthew 5:43-48

Luke 6:27-36

Luke 23:34

Who God Loves More

Because of my physical disability and suffering, some have strongly suggested to me that God loves me more than other people.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

I’m a sinner just like you.

And even though there was a time when I rolled my eyes at anyone who said “God loves you”, this post is precisely about God’s love – for me, for you, for everybody. It is a re-presentation of the gift that was given to me (through inspiration) a couple of years ago during Lent. I had wondered for years how God could love everyone and, yet, not everyone would be saved. Did Christianity actually teach that there were some people that God loved more than others? Short answer: no. Long answer… well, read on…

Why God Loves Anyone At All

We may think that God loves us because we have professed belief in His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ and/or because we do good things that are kind to others. But, that’s not why God loves us. God doesn’t love me because I smile despite being physically disabled and in a wheelchair. God doesn’t love you because you praise His Holy Name from a pulpit or in a blog. God doesn’t love them because they are poor and simple or them because they are successful and generous. Nope.

God loves each and every human being because God loves each and every human being. God loves because that’s what God does, because that is exactly who God is.

We have done nothing, and can do nothing, to deserve or merit God’s love – because God has already done it for us. We are lovable precisely because God independently chooses to bring us into being through His Own Creative Love. God loved us enough to take on our humanity and die for us through Christ our Lord. It is for this reason that no human being is worthless. For this sacred reason – and for this sacred reason alone – every human being is valuable, is precious.

We should never think of ourselves as any greater than this. And we should never think of ourselves as any less than this, not even when we sin.

Loved by God Is Who We Are

You know that person who really hurt you and doesn’t even seem to realize how badly, even though you tried to explain it to her? God loves that person intimately and infinitely. You know that person who is always so arrogant and says such cruel things about other people? God loves that person intimately and infinitely. God takes no joy in their sins – God takes no joy in our sins – but He eternally loves sinners. That means that God eternally loves us, each and every human being no matter what we do – no matter how badly we screw up His Commandments or how well we keep them.

Why, then, do we believe that some people go straight to heaven and others do not? What makes the difference of whether or not we will be holy lies in how we answer one question. It is a question we must each ask of ourselves:

Will I allow God to love me?

Maybe you thought that I was going to write that the question is whether or not we will choose to love God. I thought about it. But, then I wordlessly remembered in my heart (or the wordless memory was pushed forward for me) that we love because God first loved us[1]. The only reason that we can love anyone or anything at all is because God loves us. So, even if I want to love God, I must first let God love me.

Letting God Love

What does that mean?

It means that I have to acknowledge and accept who I am – who I truly, honestly, and eternally am: made with and for Love, loved intimately and infinitely by God. Then I can let God forgive me, heal me of my wounds, comfort me in my sufferings, and guide me in my decisions – knowing that God will always lead me to the best place.

Letting God love means that I must acknowledge and accept that every human being is also intimately and infinitely loved by God. And I must ask myself if I love others as God loves them. Do I treat my fellow human beings as sacred and beloved? Do I open up my heart and allow God to love my fellow human beings through me, through my words and actions?

Love cannot be bottled up and kept to myself or it will becomes stagnant. Love must flow.

Countless times I have allowed my annoyances, fears, anger, habits, and self-centered desires to lead me to say “No” to God’s Love. In so doing, I turned away from my own identity. I put up a barrier. I refused to give myself to the flow of love… to forgive, to heal, to strengthen, to comfort, to honor. I miss the mark, I sin.

That is why life can be ultimately dissatisfying. That is why, during the 40 days of the Lenten season, we, who acknowledge our unlove, are mournfully repentant, longing for forgiveness and newness of life. Forgiveness and Newness of Life are precisely what God wants to give to us through His Love – precisely what Christ brings to us through his Passion and Resurrection.

God wants us to be restored to our true selves. The Holy Days of Lent and Easter are a gift from God to help us remember, anew, that we are all divinely loved.

So, let us each ask ourselves:

Will I let God love?

I am only human, and, as such, I can only do so much. But, God can do everything. Will I let Him? Because the thing is… God loves me enough never to force me.

© 2016 Christina Chase


[1] 1 John 4:19