Good News

As I was heading out of church, I knew.

I am healed.

Stained-glass window, Holy Spirit, churchIt didn’t come like a bolt out of the blue or a disembodied voice, or like some televangelist with his palm on my forehead saying the words.  I just knew.  After Mass and some friendly conversations, somewhere between my mental genuflection before the Tabernacle and crossing the threshold out into the world, my worries and prayers concerning whether or not I have cancer had an answer – I am healed.

And I was filled with a light, clear brightness like a many colored stained-glass window radiant with sunlight.  I don’t want to say that this was merely a pleasant feeling, for it was more of a deep-down knowledge.  Later, as I prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary at home, I again experienced the awareness and was brought to tears of joy.

Even when I thought about how healing has different meanings, that this knowledge of mine might not mean that my uterine fibroids are benign, I still had a sense of peace.  I knew that I was healed and that meant something.  Maybe it meant that I was healed of my fears and my wariness of hope.  Maybe it meant that I would have a peaceful, joyful, and impactful transition into the next life.  I didn’t know for certain.  I just knew that I was healed. Continue reading

Unknowing Worship

You have heard scientists extol the wonders of the cosmos, passionate about the laws of physics and discovered workings of bodies and the universe.  You have seen artists, brilliant in color, line, and texture, draw out the beauty of the natural world and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  You have watched dancers, and athletes, too, move in rhythm, strength, and agility with the fine mastery of muscle and nerve in the poetry of motion.

And, perhaps, none of these people ever speak about God.

But… don’t they?

They may be atheists, agnostics, or secular humanists, but their passion, brilliance, athleticism, and artistry are rooted in the Divine.  God is the Divine Maker, Shaper, and Mover… do they not participate in the divine life whenever they discover, express, and leap?

The Gospel, the Good News of God’s personal love and merciful gift, is written in words.  But, it is received, love, and lived in and through the heart.  Sometimes, the heart knows what the mind does not.

cross, night sky, wonder

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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

After US Election 2016

My hope for my country, now that the 2016 election in the United States is over, is really quite simple: conversation.

I am addressing everyone with this plea – Democrats, Republicans, every third party member, every person involved in a movement, and every independent.  We need to stop shutting conversations down with insults and labels.  Examples: by being pro-life, someone is not against women; by wanting tighter gun restrictions, someone is not mambi pambi.  Being human, and, therefore, limited, we seem to find living life easier when we put people in little boxes.  But, that’s not freedom.  We can’t box up people to make our lives easier.  We need to find a way to understand where each of us is coming from and how we can move forward, peacefully, together.

Did I call my hope simple?  Well, it is.  But, also complex and profound.

What a National Conversation Means

After all of the competition, conflict, and insults in this campaign, we need healing.  As President Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  If we are going to remain the United States of America, then people who disagree must be able to enter into open, honest conversation with one another, truly trying to listen to what each other understands as true.  We must speak the truth that we understand from our hearts – and then truly listen as people on the other side of the discussion speak from their hearts.  True respect of others doesn’t denigrate or dismiss – it sees other human beings for what they are: human beings.  We are all vulnerable and we are all fallible.  With this humility, we can have honest and even loving conversations.  Discovering the hopes and fears of others and, in this discovery, establishing common ground, we can find ways to work peacefully together for the common good.

Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin with Me

We cannot let our passions get the better of us.  This is true in each of our own personal lives, when we are daily deciding what we should do, what direction we should take.  “If it feels good, do it” is not a recipe for lasting joy and full-life satisfaction, but, rather, for the bottomless pit of self-indulgence.  Selflessness, generosity, virtue, real love – these are the things that make us good people and make our lives good, as well.  Controlling our passions and desires for self-indulgence is also central to honest conversation.

Insults and name-calling hurt – plain and simple.  We know this.  Being overrun with emotions and anger can cause us to silence people’s opposition to our beliefs by calling them names, thus shutting down conversation.  Without an environment where people feel free to speak from their hearts, we can’t have understanding.  And please hear this: having an understanding of opposing opinions does not mean concluding that those who hold those opinions are less educated, less patriotic, or less loving then we are.  Without a sense of compassion for those who disagree with us, we will forget that we are all human – the key to understanding – and we will never be a truly peaceful, secure, and happy people.

This is important to note: compassion does not mean self-righteous pity, a kind of looking down our noses at those whom we deem ignorant or immoral.  Compassion means “suffering with” – we are all in this life together.  My daily life is different than your daily life.  I don’t know many of the things that you know and you don’t know some of the things that I know.  But, our differences don’t make us any less human or any less deserving to be heard and understood.

Confession:

I am not always a person who speaks reasonably and compassionately.  (My loved ones are not shocked by this confession.)  With my closest family members, especially those who agree with me, I have a tendency to be cynical and make cracking remarks about “the other side” of an issue that’s important to me/us.  And, for a moment, the anger gives me a kind of pleasure or adrenaline rush, and I feel very pleased by my wit.  But, it doesn’t last, because I know that I will never be able to bring about the change that I desire by being crass, cutting, and uncompassionate.  I want to live my life for the good.  Wisdom means something.  Forgiveness and forbearance cannot be forgotten.  Reasoning must be reached through loving.

Later, look for a post about a specific subjects dividing our nation – ones which I will write about from my heart.  Until then, thank you, as always, for reflecting with me.

© 2016 Christina Chase

Self-Evident Truth

In the United States, we will soon be celebrating Independence Day. Sometimes, we, moderns, think that the United States was formed without any thought of God. Americans, we believe, are self-made Men who will not submit to the authority of any other country – or any god. If that’s what you believe, then you don’t understand the very foundation of the United States of America at all.

Our foundation is the Created Order, which is truth, to which we are subject. We don’t just do what we do because we feel like doing it. The rational mind understands cause and effect, in the truth of order. And the rational mind also understands that faith is not without reason.

Sharing here two quotes. Let’s start with a famous one that we will credit to Thomas Jefferson. And then go on to a quote that I was surprised to learn came from jovial Benjamin Franklin. I invite you to reflect upon them as you will, this Independence Day. But, try not to stray from the truth of the quotes themselves. Following each are some of my own reflections…

declaration-of-independence-quote

And the next part is important to remember, Continue reading

The Sacred Heart in Scripture and Strawberries

strawberries

June is the month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Catholic Church. You may ask, what is meant by the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Well, the Sacred Heart is Jesus. And devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion to the love of Jesus, devoting oneself to loving   Him entirely.  The heart is a symbol of love, of course, but also an ancient symbol for the core of one’s being, the sacred abode in which God dwells with the person… and more. I wrote more about the heart HERE, HERE, and HERE. For an article on the more scholarly particulars of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, please click HERE.

What does any of this have to do with strawberries? The answer to that is at the end, after a bit of reflective exploration…

Why Does Anything Exist?

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5 Steps to Letting God Love You

Apparently, it’s common blogging knowledge that people like lists. Who knew? Bloggers are suggested to write posts like “Top 10 Famous…” or “5 Easy Ways to…”. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of a step-by-step approach to spirituality – but I can’t help but like the convenience of a how-to checklist. So, here’s mine, a kind of companion to last week’s post:

5 Steps to Letting God Love You

1.) Be open and honest. This may seem like two steps, but it’s really only one. If you really want to let God love you, so that you may become the person that you were created to be, then you must look up from the closed in darkness of your little life to honestly assess all around you. And within you. Being truthful is the most important step to letting God fully into your life, because God is Truth. Know the truth is that you are not in this life alone. There are people all around you in a great big world created by the Infinite/Eternal One. Be brave enough to open your little eyes and your little ears to truly see and hear.

2.) Be not afraid of your limitations. You are small, weak, and imperfect. This is a true fact that your open honesty should be able to perceive. There are some things that you simply cannot do. For example, I cannot walk. And there are some things in your life that you simply cannot change, like the mistakes of your past, the wrongs that have been done to you, etc.. Too many self-help guides to happiness want you to live “without limitations”. But there are some limits that are truly and inexorably LIMITS. There is no shame in this. Every person has limitations! Just being human comes with its own set. So, know yourself, and accept the fact that there are some things that you simply can’t change. It’s okay. This is part of humility. When you bravely acknowledge your littleness, you open yourself up to the greatness of God.

3.) Desire forgiveness. Since you can’t go back in time and undo the mistakes of your past, you need to accept them and forgive. Mistakes that others have made that impacted you also need to be accepted and those in error forgiven. Sins, too, must be honestly acknowledged. Be not afraid! Rather, repent of all of those times that you chose to be unloving, that you chose to close yourself off from God’s love, and ask God to forgive you. Desiring His forgiveness, you will certainly receive – then, forgive yourself. Knowing that God desires to forgive all, forgive those who have sinned against you. Without this step, there will be no love in your heart.

4.) Trust. Each step that you take requires bravery – know that God is right beside you, holding on to you. Trust that God’s love is the answer to every problem, the healing balm for every wound, the inspiration for, and safeguard of, every practical action that you need to take in order to become a fulfilled human being. Trust that the difficult, unchangeable things that come into your life can never, ever take you away from the goodness and joy of God’s love – unless you let them. Don’t let them. Instead, let go of your desire for control and let God take over. Let God love… forgive… heal… lead… through you. You are never alone!

5.) Be generous. Receiving God’s forgiveness, receiving God’s love, you must share it with others! True love can never be bottled up and kept to yourself, or it will become stagnant and poisonous. Rather, true love must flow. God is infinitely pouring His Divine love into you. When you are honestly and mercifully open enough to receive that love, then you will naturally and joyfully overflow with it, giving God’s love to all that you meet. This doesn’t simply mean that you will tell other people “God loves you.” Being generous requires much more than words. Give your whole self away and do not be afraid! You can never run out of true love. So, choose to generously love your fellow human beings – family and friends, neighbors and strangers, even the people that you don’t like very much. Be truthful and know that every person that you encounter is beloved by God, intimately and infinitely. Treat every person that way. Honor every person’s sanctity and eternal beauty – eternal beauty that is seen clearly by God if not by you.
clipart angry-smiley-01

Putting It into Practice

Let God love that irritating person through you. How, you may ask? Following the steps, like this:

+ Accept the truth that this person is sacred and eternally loved by God.

+ Note, not only the person’s shortcomings, but also, most importantly, your own.

+ Forgive that person for not understanding, for being angry, slow, lazy, ignorant, mean, impatient – for you know perfectly well that there will be many times when you will need someone to forgive you.

+ Now, trust that this situation is completely seen and known by God and that it is good for you, that it is a moment full of God’s flowing love – if you are open to it.

+ Smile and be generous with the love and wisdom that God has given to you, accepting, empathizing, forgiving, and believing in the goodness of the irritating person, being generous with your time, talents, efforts, goodness, and your unshakable joy from God….
clipart relieved-face

When this works out the way you want it to, be grateful. When this doesn’t work out the way you want it to, be grateful. God’s love is in this situation, no matter what. And you know that this is true because God made it happen – and, by the grace of God, you let it happen. You chose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit – you chose to let God love.

There. Now for me to live it …

© 2016 Christina Chase


You may also like:

 Who God Loves More  (last week’s post)

Mercy Is Joy or It Is Nothing

 Righteous Not Riotous

The Heavy Laden One

 Obedience Is Nothing without Love