“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”

“On the fourth anniversary of Pulse.
In the middle of Pride month.
During a global pandemic.
Donald Trump’s cruelty truly knows no bounds.” ~ Joe Biden

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/12/868073068/transgender-health-protections-reversed-by-trump-administration. Note: this article has a left bias, but it was the clearest description of the bill I could find.

This is a powder keg.

Gonna dive in anyway.

In 5. 4. 3. 2…….

Ummmmm now?

Ok.

Come Holy Spirit.

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”

First of all, I want to note to those in my audience who are not Christian, are LGBTQ, or are already uncomfortable about this topic, this article is FOR you, not to you. Please understand that I am approaching this issue mostly through the Christian lens, though I will at times be addressing to you as an audience for your understanding.

Ok. Now.

Dear Christians, especially Catholics,

Yesterday, Trump created a rule designed specifically for you. He re-defined ‘sex’ as man and woman, removing the purposeful ambiguity created by Obama in the Affordable Care Act. The rule, should it pass, would make it so that hospitals and insurance could deny care to Transgender people. It also, for some reason encompasses abortion, like Obama’s did, which means Trump’s rule would allow Christians to refuse to give abortions, while Obama’s made it incredibly difficult for them to do so.

Here’s the thing. When Obama’s law passed it endangered human rights for Christians. Insurance companies scrambled to start supporting abortion and reassignment surgeries, but Christian companies cannot support abortion and don’t support reassignment surgery in every case. Colleges had to choose whether to go out of business or to go against their beliefs. Famously, Hobby Lobby, the controversial Christian icon, had to file a lawsuit in order to keep from funding abortion. Medical students I knew faced this on a smaller, but scarier, scale of having to decide whether to perform an abortion in order to pass medical school. It was a dark and scary time for Christians. No one wants to be forced to do something they believe is wrong, and that is what was happening to Christians at the time.

However, what many of you, Christians, do not understand is what this law meant for transgender people. This meant safety when they went to the doctor, it meant they could get care even if someone did not believe what they were doing was right. It meant that doctors who were ‘grossed out‘ by them could not fall back on religion as a way out of caring for their bodies. It meant that if they really did need reassignment surgery they could get it, even if their resources were limited. To them, taking their right to medical care without discrimination away, is justifiably terrifying.

An important part of the NPR article I posted above is when Andersen points out that there needs to be a separate bill which promotes the human rights of the LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 but it does need to allow for religious rights. The problem is, Trump didn’t suggest this bill. No, instead, he reversed their protections, without introducing any new resources for them, leaving them in danger of being discriminated against, and unable to defend themselves.

What’s more is he did this on the anniversary of the worst act of violence that has ever been committed against LGBTQ+ people. During a pandemic, when we are already facing a shortage of medical care, for a disease that is extremely dangerous. That means that doctors could deny them care because of who they are, and they could not do anything about it(unless of course they have the money to sue, which you know….no one does.) Trump did all of this in a time when he is not only failing to care for the human rights of Black people, but actively inciting violence against them, and also after abbreviating the secret service as the “SS,” the most iconic racist regime ever to stain our history.

Trump’s catchphrase MAGA, Make America Great Again, fails to mention that what he is built on has nothing to do with what made America great. America was great because it gave us a safe place to practice our religion, live our lives, exist, without one person or group of people being able to dominate over everyone else. We built our government as a democracy so that everyone would have a voice, we preserve freedom of speech, so that even those with whom we disagree will be protected. Trump destroys everyone in his path in the name of ‘Christianity’ but without respect to the personhood of people who are outside of his demographic. This is not Christianity.

Christians believe that every single person has value and is made in God’s image. In Scripture, a woman was caught in adultery, and in her time, that was an offense punishable by death. Jesus stopped them. Jesus protected that woman and sent the men away. Is that what we are doing here? Is leaving transgender people in danger during a pandemic the ‘Christian’ thing to do? I do not believe so. If this were being done in a Christian fashion, we would do everything we could to make sure the rights of both sides would be preserved and we would fight for justice for all of us, not just for our own agenda.

A phrase we throw around all the time is “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but do we really think about what that means. Christian “love,” what we are called to, is a desire for the good of the other person. Often, we use love as a weapon, everything we are doing that hurts the other person is ‘for their own good,’ but that is not what Christ’s love looked like. When he defended the adulteress woman, he could have used that argument to excuse her murder, but instead, He gave her life and He was gentle to her. That is what love looks like and it is what our love should look like in this situation. Please, in any way you are able, protect the LGBTQ+ community, preserve their lives and be gentle. Even if you do not agree with what they are doing or how they live, they are human and they have value. God loves them as much as He loves you.

Please also pray for them and the horrible fear and sadness they are feeling right now.

With prayers to the archangels, who have no gender(seriously look it up in Church teachings in angels).

Love,

Julia

Dear Lifesitenews,

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/archbishop-viganos-powerful-letter-to-president-trump-eternal-struggle-between-good-and-evil-playing-out-right-now?utm_content=buffer3c007

Dear Lifesitenews,

I am at a loss for words after reading this letter. I opened this letter because I do believe there is a battle between good and evil, and I was intrigued to see how an archbishop would help the president to understand that. The evil of racism that has been present in our country for so long is palpable, and I was eager to hear an Archbishop counsel our leader who is currently inciting violence to a response of justice and love. Instead, I am reeling at the one-sided ignorance and hatred I just witnessed.

The Archbishop blames everything on this “deep state” that Trump is always talking about. COVID and the riots, everything going on right now is this massive underground conspiracy to undermine Trump. All of those who are fighting against racism are just running around with evil intentions. Basically he says, Trump, you are doing everything right, you are so holy and amazing, we love you and are praying for you.

This is insane.

To minimize that those who are protesting a man’s unjust death by saying that we are evil is not just plain ridiculous, because who would imagine that defending people from injustice would be the work of the devil? It is more than ridiculous though, this is sinister. To dismiss the claims that black people deserve to be treated justly is a grievous crime against humanity, and therefore God. Just a couple of days ago we had the Gospel passage saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I doubt that the Archbishop and the people at lifesitenews would want to be loved as George Floyd was for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Even if the Archbishop is correct and there is some deep state conspiracy against Trump, he could at least have had the decency to point out that spraying tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors is wrong, that goading people into more violence is a sin of counsel, and how desperately our country needs the words of peace and God’s love that our former presidents and Trump’s opponent in the next election have been kind enough to give us since he won’t. Instead, he stroked the president’s ego telling him everything he is doing is right, while the blood of innocent people is being spilt. Medics who are there for nothing but to treat people leave the scene missing an eye, blood streams from the heads of the peaceful, children’s eyes burn with the poison of pepper spray and tear gas. Yet the Archbishop says that Trump is doing everything right and fighting the good fight against evil. If this carnage is not evil, then what is?

Lifesitenews, you say that you are a pro-life website. It is the responsibility for the pro-life to value life at EVERY stage, even the “I was born black” stage. This article is wildly offensive, dangerous, and evil for suggesting that those people who are interested in keeping lives safe have no morals. I have lost respect for your site a million times, but I am calling you out, this is wrong. It is wrong to publish this letter, it is wrong to further this archbishop’s voice and it is evil to allow him to use your platform to condemn those in pursuit of justice.

Our God loves every person He has created. He wants them to be treated with dignity and love. The black community has suffered a gross injustice and they deserve to be heard not to be told that they have no regard for the good. They have even suffered more from abortion than any other community has, which should make them a target of your ministry. Instead, you condemn them? What is wrong with you? These people need you. You are called to greater than this.

For those of you who are reading who are not Lifesitenews, please understand that what they did by sharing this letter was grievously wrong, dangerous, and harmful. Please know that a TRUE pro-life person values life even if it is not white. Please know that a TRUE pro-life person would never accuse those fighting for justice of not caring about morals. Please know that there are many of us who are here for you, love you, and care deeply about you. You have inestimable value, no matter what color you are, and anyone who says or implies otherwise does not have the truth in them.

In the Name of Jesus, who was also tortured and killed,

Julia O’Donnell

The Man in the Moon

What if God is the man in the moon?

What if He loved us so much that His Son’s

Presence was not enough of a present.

What if He wanted to send His own face,

To watch over us, mourning our grief from above.

Lie:The Problem with what John Cooper(of Skillet) said against Joshua Harris

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2019/august/we-need-to-value-truth-over-feeling-skillets-john-cooper-reacts-to-christian-leaders-renouncing-faith

I grew up in the shadow of Joshua Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” The parents all around us were ecstatic and excited about this reverent and holy new way of dating, while I gazed on in horror and watched the future of my dating life crumble in the flames. You might think that sounds melodramatic, and, to be fair, this was my teen self, so it may have been, but if you knew the nights that my mom and I spent crying and screaming at each other, and how much time I spent crying into my pillow in confusion about sexuality and chastity, you would understand that it isn’t dramatic, if anything, it’s an understatement. I still deal with repercussions of the confusing anti-sex but pro-marriage theology put forth by those who adored Josh Harris and others like him.

When Harris came forward and renounced what he taught, admitting it’s flaws and being honest about the struggles and defeat it caused in his own life, I was devastated to hear the pain he is going through, but it healed my heart to hear him renounce it. I had lived by it because that’s what my parents and faith community believed was God’s word on dating, but I could see the damage it was doing while it was happening and I felt so helpless and confused by it. Harris humility in coming forward healed a part of me that had felt so ashamed of my own anger and confusion.

Much to my dismay, soon afterwards a singer I admire for his authenticity and raw honesty came out against Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson(the lead singer of Hillsong United who also admitted his struggles of faith.)

He said:

“Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once ‘faces’ of the faith are falling away. And at the same time, they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?)as they announce that they are leaving the faith.”

I was so disappointed in this. First of all, because I really like Skillet and I felt personally misunderstood because this was such a deep part of my experience. More importantly though, this is very dangerous thing for a Christian to say.

Here John Cooper is showing a profound misunderstanding of what Joshua Harris is experiencing, and giving way to some ways of thinking that could be very damaging to Christianity.

Something I find very powerful and admirable about what Joshua Harris did is that once he believed he had done something wrong, he did not repent and slink into darkness. Instead, he did everything he could do to right what he believed was wrong. John Cooper’s mockery of his ‘announcement’ completely takes for granted the pain that must have come along Joshua Harris’ experience. As someone who experienced a great deal of suffering because of him, it meant so much to me to hear him admit the problems in his work. What he gave everyone who had ever been hurt by him permission to do is to stop battling the fear that he was right, because he wasn’t so they can rest. That is so incredibly valuable and Cooper is devaluing it.

Cooper’s words about how people who ‘abandon’ their faith shouldn’t go talking about it is similarly insensitive and actually dangerous. On a human level, it is cruel to suggest that if you lose your faith after being an evangelist you should then be sentenced to a life of silence like some sort of permanent punishment for not believing.

More importantly, though, saying something like that calls into question the integrity of those who are teaching Christianity. Genuine testimony comes from the heart, from a real experience of God, especially in Protestant circles which is something I love about them. Cooper seems to be saying that those who are in ministry should only be public about certain experiences. That immediately makes me want to ask, is he being honest? If he believes he can’t speak out if he disagrees, can I trust when he says he does agree?

Now, I know on some level this isn’t really what he is trying to say. However, it does give an impression of cultivated truth that has been a struggle for me in the Church. Painting over Christian lives to make them look perfect and free of any doubt ever hurts ministry because people who are not of faith or who are struggling with faith can see this lack of authenticity. They may not know what it is or why, but they can feel it. I can feel it. When people push a Catholic to only write the positive things about godliness, or when people edited saints biographies to make them look perfect, or when authority figures tell teachers not to tell the truth, this all adds up to create a narrative of Christianity as full of unreliable narrators.

I would rather praise Joshua Harris for being genuine and authentic and pray that he keeps seeking truth than to condemn him for coming to a different truth than me. I believe God is truth and He will bring good out of our authenticity. On another level, part of the beauty of the Christian life is in conversion, and if one is not allowed to admit the feelings of doubt, or the suffering one is feeling in relation to the faith, it negates the possibility of sharing that story with others.bAfter my own miscarriage and some other trials, I was very honest about my trials with faith for a long, long time. These people also knew when I was fighting to get closer and when I felt like giving up. When I share my stories now, the know the blood, sweat, and tears that went into my conversion, and they understand that I am different than I was when I first believed. I had my phase of “la la la God is good,” Christianity, and a phase of “FEAR God” Christianity, and I am always journeying through deeper and newer understandings of faith and lacks of faith, but I could not share that story if I believed I could only share it when I was right. In fact, and a little ironically, for a long time I couldn’t write this post for that very reason.

Overall, I think something that Christians need to understand is that there is a profound value to allowing someone their own real life experience. God has given us free will for a reason and we all pursue truth in different ways and from different angles. There is something beautiful and perfect in that even when it scares us. I am not saying that everyone is right about everything, but we can’t just force everyone to share our opinions, instead we should encounter them where they are at, and try to help them through their experience. What if John Cooper were to put down his high horse, and write to Joshua Harris and say, “Hey man, I cannot imagine the pain you must be going through. More than a lot of other people I can understand what it feels like to be held up on a pedestal for my faith. Can I be here for you through this?” Maybe they could actually learn from each other and experience a profound community instead of Cooper seeming to shove Harris into forced isolation for struggling with faith the way that every Christian does at some point in their faith life.

Note: This post is not about John Cooper, I don’t know him he could be perfectly non-judgemental in real life. However, this particular incident is an example of the kind of things I have heard Christians say a million times and it is a great example to explain why this attitude is damaging. Please do not hate on John Cooper if you read this. If you are in a position to Joshua Harris some comfort and love though, be my guest. 🖤

PEACEWEAVER intro

This lent, I had another identity crisis. I know, I know, every lent this happens right? Well, I ended up signing my life away that I would no longer do yoga and instead teach an alternative. Ironically, everytime I tried to send the papers, something went wrong. Every. Single. Time. Finally I sent them. You know what happened? Two weeks later I found the page with my signature in my scanner. 🤦🏽‍♀️ Also ironically, I had over and over again seen the Bible passage “let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.” I saw it again Holy Saturday and I realized. I hated this alternative. I was trying to force myself into it because I was afraid I was wrong about everything, but I hated it so much! What I believe God was calling me to, and I want to share how, is being authentic to myself and what I believe about yoga, the Church, and ministry.

The truth is I love yoga. I sincerely believe in what yoga can do and can teach. I believe in a deep and profound beauty about the Sanskrit language and the way they developed it, and the way that the yogic postures emerged from that. I believe in the cultivation of peace and acceptance that I have found in my yoga circles. Though it is controversial to believe this, I sincerely believe that there are ways that those who practice yoga are genuinely reaching towards the same God that Christians are.

One thing I did learn, though, is that I got a little carried away with yogic spirituality. There are things the Christians need to be careful about in yoga. Our God is a jealous God, not the negative jealousy that might come up in your head when you say it, but if we believe in a God that loves us 100% and with the amount of passion and intimacy that I believe He does, then it only makes sense that He would desire us to love Him back. If you were in a beautiful marriage with someone(for those who believe in polyamory, please understand the point I am making, I am not trying to exclude you, just making an example) showering them with gifts all the time, spending quiet time with them every chance you got, wouldn’t it hurt if they started doing the same things with someone else? Especially someone who hates you? That’s a huge simplification, and we will get into it more, but, although I was not actually praising other gods, things got a little murky for me, and it’s easy to get a little lost in yoga’s philosophy or in the spirituality of those who practice it.

This brings me to the most important thing I want to say. Many Catholics talk about how so many people who do yoga fall away from the Church. They argue that this is a sign that that yoga truly is evil and the devil has a hold on the people practicing it. This makes me so angry, and not because I am so devoted to yoga that it’s more important to me than God. It makes me angry because the argument shows a gross misunderstanding of why yoga leads people away from the Church, and what we can do about it.

I really turned to yoga at a time when I was suffering from a kind of loss that I had never experienced before. The kind that rips you up from the inside out. I had tried turning to the Church over and over and I had been shamed, ridiculed, and accidentally made to feel like I was less valuable of a person because of what I was experiencing(it was not because of a sin). My yoga studio was the one place in the world where I was accepted. When I went to Cambio, I was not a broken person who needed to fix x, y, z. I was just a person who needed to exist.

Some Catholics take issue with that, because they say we should always be pursuing more, and yes we should always be pursuing holiness, but Jesus did not demand this constant new and more intense to chase holiness everyday. Jesus wanted a relationship with people, and He wanted us to experience happiness, and rest. Yes, He wanted his apostles to minister to others, and He said there would be suffering, but He also made wine at Cana, and fed 5000 people so much food that they couldn’t eat any more. This is not a good who wants us to beat ourselves to death with efforts to love Him.

What yoga did for me, is exactly what the name claims to do. “Yoga” means union, or “yoked” or something similar depending on your translation. The intention behind it, is to unite body, mind, and spirit, and yes a part of that intention is to connect to what most of them call ‘the divine.’ For me, it did all of those things, including connecting me with my understanding of who is ‘Divine.’ I learned ways that God was reaching out to early yogis long before any Christians could have come to them. I learned to accept my own body again after feeling betrayed by its weakness. I learned to rest again in a way I had not done in a long time, and with that rest I was able to pray again and sort through the pain I was so overwhelmed by.

As I healed, I was met with so much scorn by the Catholics I know. I cannot even count how many dirty looks or awkward mentions of evil happened around me. I earnestly tried to help those around me to understand, but it felt like they believed I was the spawn of Satan. I cried to a priest one day in confession, “I just feel like maybe I can never belong, but I want to.” His answer, “Why don’t you just leave?”(We weren’t even talking about yoga, this was about an election, but yoga was a huge part of my struggle.)

My point in bringing this up isn’t to say that all priests are awful, or everyone Catholic is judgemental. That is not true at all. However, there is a very vocal part of Catholicism that is not always kind, and frequently even when they are kind they can be really hurtful. The problem with a lot of these people is that they do not really understand the topic they are talking about. They have no experience of the other side, and sometimes they don’t really understand Church teaching on the topic either. There are parts of Catholic theology that get interpreted and thought of in a certain way when there is no real reason for them to be interpreted that way in the first place. It’s problematic because some of these teachings are so intense that they can really hurt people.

That brings me back to my purpose for writing this in the first place. This is a little sneak peek into a little something I am starting work on today. It is called PEACEWEAVER, and it is my story of what I have been through with yoga, but more importantly I hope to help both sides to understand each other. I’ll dive deep into what Catholic teaching says about yoga, but also what the history of yoga is. I will also talk about the ways the Church is not reaching people who love yoga, and most importantly, how they can find new ways to do so. I am passionate about helping people who love yoga to find peace with God, but also to help people who are concerned about yoga to understand what they should and should not be concerned about, and how they can grow closer to their loved ones who do love yoga.

Note: I hope to share excerpts here occasionally as I move through, but if I share too much, you’d have no reason to get the book, so, I won’t share everything. If you disagree with me, I would ask that you please send me your resources, tell me your story, help me to understand your side, and then maybe give me a chance to tell you mine too. I believe that we all are trying to do our best here, and I care about the truth.

Also, please let me know what you would like to see in a book on this topic. Whatever your point of view. ♥️

Disclaimer: This work is not meant to be an endorsement of yoga for Catholics or the opposite. All of us must discern what is right for ourselves. I want to share my story, and my understanding of both sides of the story to encourage understanding on both sides of the issue.

In the Name of Unity: A Seder Meal

Many, many years ago today, the tribe of Israel, living in Egypt, hid in their homes, the blood of the lamb on the door, as a plague passed over them. Many, but less, years ago, Jesus, the Lamb, hid in an upper room, so that He could feed us before He shed His blood. Many years later, faithful people everywhere still commemorate this day. This year is different. This year, we are living this day. We are hidden in our homes, as the Hebrews were, and as the disciples were at first. This year we have an opportunity to be united as God’s faithful people in a very special way.

The tribe of Israel was chosen to be God’s people from the very beginning of time, according to Scripture. However, in the New Testament, we see Jesus welcoming new people, the Gentiles, into His tribe. The descendants of Israel must have been so angry. “You chose us, and now you abandon us, for them?” They had judged the Gentiles harshly and now they were the Messiah’s favorite? It’s no wonder, on a human level, that they did not accept Him.

What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that theologically, Catholics still believe Israel is the chosen people. Fulton Sheen talks about this in detail in The World’s First Love, but to summarize, Jesus said He came to fulfill the law not to abolish it, so what Catholics believe is that Jesus did not change who God’s tribe was, He welcomed more people into God’s tribe. We are His adopted children, because Israel turned from Him. However, Fulton Sheen says, we are still to believe that the Jews have a special place in God’s heart, and he even talks about the prophecy that before the end of time, the Jews will convert and we will all be united. All of this is why it is still so important that we pray and study the Old Testament. 

This year, I believe God has given us an opportunity to feel this unity in a more powerful way than we ever have. This year, we are hidden in our homes praying for a plague to pass us by. Some have even suggested putting red on the door posts somehow,( I have yet to figure out how I want to do this, painting the whole doorpost feels a little rash, and we don’t own the house, and I don’t have red ribbon.) What I would like to suggest is that we take time to live what we have in common. Today, on Passover, let us commemorate with the Jews as they remember waiting for the plague to pass over them, and let us all pray for this plague to pass over us. If it helps you to visualize it, maybe you could put something red on your doors. 

The most important and beautiful thing we have in common tonight, though, is the meal. Tonight, the Jews hold “seder meal” a special meal in commemoration of the Passover. Christians too, all Christians-not just Catholics, also have a special meal to commemorate tonight. Tonight, Jesus instituted the Eucharist, whether you theologically believe it is a symbol, or actual presence, or in remembrance, all Christians believe that this bread and wine is significant. Jesus did not institute this meal on the Passover on accident. On the feast of unleavened bread, He offered the unleavened bread(that’s why our hosts for Communion are made the way they are) up as His body, so that we would not miss the analogy He was making. The Jews used to sacrifice a lamb, He offers His body and His blood so that we will not miss that He is the new lamb. We don’t do animal sacrifice because Jesus came to replace the lamb. 

Tonight, then, what if we all in unity offered the seder meal. For tonight, we could meditate on what we have in common and share the tradition of unleavened bread and wine. Jews, Catholics and Christians alike believe in the importance of the bread, so maybe we all can eat some kind of bread in commemoration of this night. If you don’t have bread or wine, maybe just take some today to meditate on the meaning of this day, and live today in a different way than any other. 

For those who are not Catholic or Christian or Jewish, I know you are a little left out of this post, please know that I see you, and I want unity with you too. There are many divisions in this world, and one of the reasons I write is to help people see common ground. We have common ground with you too, I just have to shed light into one spot at a time. 💚

Ask God For the Miracle

Dear God, Abba, Daddy,

Help us. We have screwed up as a people in so many ways. We have been lost, we have been confused, and we have been selfish. We are afraid.

God. Help us.

We have turned from those who needed our help. We have not seen who needed us. We have been harder on ourselves than we should be. We have pushed ourselves and our families to the breaking point. We have neglected those in need.

God help us.

We have lost the art of resting in you. We have left your arms and protection. We have acted as if we have the strength to brave this world without you.

God help us.

In our confusion and fear, we have turned from you. Maybe without knowing it, maybe knowing it deep down, maybe knowing it with no doubt. We have turned from you. We turn back to you now. Jesus, take us by the hand to the Father.

Abba, Daddy, help us.

We have been wounded, we have been afraid, we have been angry, we have been lost. We have been lonely. God, we need you.

Abba, Daddy, help us.

We have felt betrayed because of those who follow you, you know that pain.

We have felt your wrath because all we have seen is wrath, you heard our cries.

We have cowered in fear of you, because we were afraid of you, you came to show us not to be afraid.

God, we are full of fear this lent, it is dark, and scary. We turn to you, like a baby runs to their father and mother and we beg for you to keep us safe. Hold us in your arms, comfort us, soothe our fears and keep us safe. Protect us from what is scary in the world, and dry our tears.

God, you ask penance for what we have done, and we are trying, we are willing, but please have mercy on us. Please accept our small sacrifices and little offering of our struggles and make the most of them. Mary offer our struggles, joys, and daily efforts to God for us every moment of everyday.

Please help us, God, don’t turn your face from us. We love you, please hold us in your arms. Protect us Lord, heal the world you created for your Love. We rest the world at your feet and ask for your will, May your kingdom come.

We believe that you want the good for us, and you need only say the word.

By the power of the precious blood of Jesus, by Mother Mary’s love for her children, by St. Joseph’s sweet tenderness, God forgive us our sins, and heal us from the damage that mankind’s sin has done.

Amen.

Original Sin

When I gave birth the third time,

Everyone told me what a perfect birth it was.

They marveled at how calm and “unafraid” I was,

How I “roared” my baby earthside.

I’ve ached in that lie for a while now,

Lost in their awe and my own despair.

What they didn’t know is that

While they were calling me calm and unafraid,

I was facing the endless exile of humanity

With trepidation, anger, and despair.

While they were resting and calm,

My head bowed over the water’s edge

And realized nothing will save me.

This is an effect of original sin.

My husband leaves every morning for hours,

Like so many other husbands.

He’s far away, but not as far as many others;

I’m not blind to my own privilege.

He feels so far away to me though,

A piece of my heart leaves with him,

And the hole aches inside of me.

But, “the man shall work…

and the woman will long for her man.”

They tell me, “it could be so much worse,”

My own voices, and others sometimes,

And I know they are right.

I am lucky to be alive, lucky for my family,

Blessed even.

But they are missing the point.

It’s not about my pain being so horrible,

It’s about pain being horrible.

It’s not that my struggles are the worst,

It’s that they are the least.

It’s not a little pain,

It’s the largest pain there is.

It’s the anger, it’s the fear, it’s the hope,

In the face of a God who will not relent.

Or sometimes won’t. It depends….

On what?

On His mood? On my merit?

If God shall number our sins,

“Lord, who can stand,”

But if God does not hear our merits,

Lord, who can stand that either.

Eve may have fallen, and so have we,

But we have also begged you to return.

We have made you king.

We have fallen again and gotten lost

In this terrifying world you have created,

But we have come back to you and we have begged you to return,

No more to go away.

But you won’t hear us, Lord.

Please forgive me, my anger Lord,

My heart breaks over nothing, I know.

My heart breaks for the whole world,

I cry for days over a 6 month old boy I never met,

I break in half over a family who loses their father and almost their mother.

I shatter over shootings, over bombs, over countries, over worlds,

That cry out like violent small humans for your help.

Oh God see us in our weakness and have mercy on us.

We are so desperate for your love we are destroying each other,

God, we want you in your fullness,

We just don’t know it yet,

Have mercy on our misguided attempts to find you.

Reveal yourself, and hold us until we stop crying,

Like a mother with a flailing infant,

Hold us in our fear, despair, rage,

While I kick my legs against you and scream,

Hold me and receive my tears,

Understand that I am lost in your exile,

And I just want You to come home.

How to Pray about Same Sex Marriage

A few months ago, I went to a Rosary event at a parish in my city. It was a gorgeous day out, a farmer’s market down the street, and a small gathering of people in the square of the parish praying the Rosary for the Nation. It was a really beautiful experience and I kept thinking what a great witness it was. That is, until we reached a certain set of prayer intentions. One of the prayer intentions was “for an end to same sex marriage” and my heart broke. All I could think was that if someone who experienced same-sex attraction had come up to that Rosary in the square, it would only have taken 10 minutes for them to feel like they do not belong there.

Don’t take me the wrong way, I understand that the Church teaches that same sex marriage is wrong. I am not arguing that point right now. What I am arguing is that even if the Church does believe that homosexuality is wrong there are better ways to pray about it, especially in an event that is meant to evangelize.

The first and most important problem with this prayer is that to someone who is same-sex attracted it is a prayer that they will never get to experience the committed love that straight people do. (Again, not arguing whether it is right or wrong at this point, just arguing points of view.) Can you imagine being drawn to a beautiful prayer service, only to hear them pray that you could never get married? How would that make you feel? All I could think was what a punch in the gut that would be. What’s worse is that they already have to deal with so much from the world, people acting like they are worthless, and in that moment, I can only imagine it would feel like God hated them too.

I closed my eyes and continued the prayer in my head, “Lord Jesus, if same-sex marriage is wrong, then take away their desire for same-sex marriage. If it is not, than help the Church and the world to understand and embrace them. Lord, if you get rid of same-sex marriage, then comfort these people who will feel so lonely and abandoned.” I’m sure there would be LGBTQ people who would be displeased with the prayer because it allowed for the possibility of same sex marriage being wrong, and Catholics would object to it because it allowed for the possibility of it not being wrong, but my point is that right or wrong was not the point for me in that moment. The point was that if this prayer got answered, people would suffer. Whether it is right or wrong, their hearts would be broken, at least for a time, and we were praying for that break as if we did not care about the people who would feel it at all.

We need to remember compassion when we pray for intentions like these. We need to remember that there are people who genuinely do not believe they are doing something wrong and yet will feel shunned by this kind of prayer. I am not saying that the prayer I prayed is quite the right way to say it, because it is just what came into mind at the moment. I do think, though, that if Catholics are going to pray for an end to same sex marriage, then we have to pray for healing for all of the people that would hurt. In the same way, whenever we pray for something that may hurt other people in some way, even if we believe it is for their greater good, we must also pray for protection and/or healing for them.

To be honest, I even do this when I pray for snow days now. “Jesus, I would love a snow day today, but please protect everyone and if I need to not have a snow day in order that people will be safe I accept that.” It’s cheesy, but true. 😉 (Yes, I pray for snow days, my husband works long days and I’m home alone with two toddlers, 8-0 ) On a more serious note, I also recommend this if you are praying for an end to abortion, because there are a lot of scared women out there who are desperate and feel like they do not have a choice, so if abortion is not an option, they are going to need some serious help from God and from us. I also pray this way when I am angry at someone and praying for resolution, I’ve been praying for whoever is working on my taxes for the last 10 months of trying to get my tax refund.

To put it all simply, if you are going to pray for something that may hurt others, pray for protection and healing for those people too. Ask God to comfort and help them if His will is to answer your prayer, and be there for them yourself. Most of all, please, if you are evangelizing to people, do not start out with condemning them ten minutes in, there are some teachings of the Church that are really, really hard to understand, and it takes a long time to appreciate or even accept them, but compassion and love are the most important things to know about our God, and that is how we should start the conversation, with His love, and ours because of Him.

Amen.






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