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Why I’m A Roman Catholic and Loving It!!!

May 31, 2011 is when I started posting this blog. I did pretty- good for a few years and then life happened and time got away from me. In May of 2014 I recommitted to writing, but again I let life’s circumstance get in the way and I did not follow through. But here I am again with a new commitment.
I am blessed to be 81 years old, in good health with lots of time and energy to do all kinds of activities that fill my life with much joy and satisfaction. I am truly blessed to be alive, growing and changing and loving all aspects of my life.
I’m grateful at this time to be back blogging and pray that my intention to write on a regular basis will be grace filled. I do not make New Year’s resolutions but do my best to set a few intentions. One of my intentions is to write on a regular basis and to post a blog at least once a month or so, give or take a few days or even a week.
I’ve learned a lot being on the planet so long and want to use blogging as a way to share what I’ve learned. I’m also willing to continue to learn, to grow and to change. Along the way I’ve discovered that writing is one way to uncover more about who I am, what I need to change, and what my purpose on earth is for the rest of my life. I hope that what I share here will speak to your hearts and motivate you to discover more about yourselves and in the process help me learn more about me. Please comment or ask questions when ever possible so I can learn from you as well.
What some of you don’t know is that I am a cradle Catholic. I went to St. Bridget’s Catholic School in San Francisco through the 8th grade. I am grateful for the education I received and for the spiritual foundation of the teachings that were embedded in me as a child. By the grace of God I benefitted in many ways. I know that my relationship with God was strongly influenced by the teachings I received at St. Bridget’s, which started me on my path of spirituality.
At about the age of 19 God took me on a spiritual side trip that took me 60 years to complete. From cradle Catholic to no church attendance to being very active in the Presbyterian Church, to no church affiliation, to Overeater’s Anonymous, to CSA. I know today, that I was led to and ordained a minister in this tradition, because God knew I could not be a Catholic Priest. CSA became CSE and I joyfully ministered in this tradition for 20 years. And now I’m back in the Catholic Church!
What’s interesting to me is that in the interfaith community of CSE, through the teachings of Ellen Grace O’Brian, Christianity came alive for me in a new and powerful way. By the grace of God and through the power and commitment of a regular meditation practice I was strongly led to narrow my path. At that time I realized that the place for me to do just that…was in the Catholic Church. In a way I did not have a choice. I yearned to go back to Mass. I believe that Mass like most rituals speaks to a part of us that we do not hear with our ears. I believe that the Mass resonates deep inside us and changes us from the inside out. Being a Catholic is in my DNA and over the years it’s there, deep inside me, that the Mass did its work on me…I did not resist the call to return at all! It was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been quite an adventure and I would not change any of it.
Today, I still believe there is only one God known by many names. I learned as a young child that God made everything! That being true, I believe that God made all those other religions so that God could be relevant to each individual of each culture in a special way. If you look you will find golden threads of truth to be found through almost all religions.
But today, I resonate strongly with Jesus and the power of His name and His teachings. I am back in the fold of the Catholic Church, attending Mass on a regular basis and participating in a bible study/prayer group. I have a firm commitment to study scripture and to meditate daily.
St Thomas of Canterbury is the parish I attend. I’m honored to be a member of this congregation. This community is an active example of what it means to live the teachings of Jesus Christ. They truly walk the walk.
Once a month we collect clothing and non-perishable groceries for distribution to people in our neighborhood, who need extra help in meeting basic needs. We also do a recycling drive that supports various programs overseas. This current drive is for the Holy Land: It will benefit the scholar-ship programs at Bethlehem University, the only papal university in the Middle East which is doing some fine work with interfaith and ecumenical relations.
We support a woman who’s a nurse at Valley Medical who started a clothing closet of new socks and shoes and underwear for the homeless. We also have several members active in the Kairos Ministry in prisons. This is a wonderful ministry that helps inmates to experience the love of God and quite often this experience is instrumental in changing their lives forever.
St Thomas has an active youth group, and children’s program as well as opportunities for adults to learn and grow together. I’ve only mentioned a few of the programs you’ll find at St Thomas of Canterbury. I volunteer for odd jobs here and there but I know I am not to take on any long-term responsibilities at this time.
Fr. Dave Mercer, is the pastor at St. Thomas and he’s been doing a series of talks to help us better understand not only the teachings of the Catholic Church but some of what goes on that you don’t read in the paper. He’s done three talks so far. Three weeks ago he talked about Pope Francis: what’s changing. The following week he talked about – Scandals: how are we doing? The third talk was about Science/Religion.
I’m enjoyed each talk immensely and learned a lot. However I want to share what I learned about Science and Religion through the eyes of the Catholic Church. In a nutshell we are not to take the bible teachings literally. WOW!!! In fact St Augustine , in his commentary on Genesis (AD. 400): said, “No Christian dare say that the narrative of Genesis must not be taken in the figurative sense. For Saint Paul says in I Corinthians 7:10: “Now all these things that happened to them were symbolic.”
Yes the bible was and is now, inspired by God. However, the bible is full of stories, recalled and written by men for all of us to learn about life. These stories are a teaching tool and we must look beyond the words on the page and search our hearts to hear what God wants to teach us.
The Catholic Church teaches science, Yes!…even evolution, in all it’s schools, high schools, and universities. The Catholic Church and Science work together to help us understand our world. God is behind all that goes on in our world but the church warns us not to be ignorant about the truths that science has uncovered for our benefit. And…the Vatican has scientists in an observatory in Arizona. See the Wikipedia article: “List of Roman Catholic Cleric-Scientist” You’ll be surprised to see this list takes up several pages.
By the grace of God, my being an active, committed Roman Catholic is helping me take my spiritual life to a deeper level. As a result my heart is overflowing with peace, love and joy…the joy of having a personal relationship with Jesus and enjoying this relationship in all aspects of my life. I am learning a lot.
I look forward to hearing from you…comments and questions are welcome.

Remember To Feed Your Soul!!!
Love, Anne

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Loving myself….

September 17, 2012

Loving myself…..

Loving myself like I’ve said before starts with my commitment to love my Creator and to make that Love the center of my life.

It takes determination, a solid commitment, vigilance, and faith that no matter what my mind tells me I am loving God to the best of my ability with the tools and knowledge that I have at my disposal at this time. WHEW…that was a mouth full!!! But also very true. Thoughts are powerful. As a man/woman thinks so is he/she in her heart.

As best I can I pay attention to my thoughts. I now know it’s not God telling me there’s ice cream in the freezer. But you can bet your life if I keep thinking about the ice cream in the freezer it will soon be in my stomach. Food being the drug of my choice is as damaging to my well being as alcohol is to an alcoholic. Everything I do starts with a thought. When I remember to pray before acting on a thought it’s amazing what happens but sometimes the temptation is so great that I find myself eating the ice cream before I even think about praying first. Today I love myself enough to keep ice cream out of my home. When I love myself in that way I am also loving God.

My body is the Temple of Love. My body is sacred and requires a lot of attention and care. Eating healthy, exercising and paying attention to my thoughts are ways that I love myself. I know that when I’m at odds with myself I am unable to love others.

We are called to love others as ourselves. Not more than ourselves but as ourselves. When we love and accept who we are, just the way we are, which is the way God loves us then we are able to love others in a healthy way.

There was a time when I knew more about the people around me because I thought I was loving them, but what I discovered is that I was avoiding and not loving myself. I spent time learning about others because I wanted to make them happy, I thought….but when I started really looking at my self and being honest with myself I discovered that everything I did was for my benefit. If the people around me were happy then I was happy. Here’s an essay I wrote a couple of years ago that tells this part of my story.

Healing My Life

April 14, 2009

Compulsive overeating and obsessive people pleasing were the demise of my life. Yes! My whole life. Food kept me from being in touch with my feelings and people pleasing kept me from knowing who I was, what my God given gifts were and what I wanted in life. I rarely gave any thought to what was important to me. I was concentrating on the people around me and looking for ways to make them happy. If they were happy so was I…..that is until I hit a bottom in my life, that looked to the world like a successful life.

I had acquired everything the world says you need to be happy. I had for the most part,  a kind, loving, devoted husband who was an excellent provider. I could go anywhere, buy anything, do anything, be anything and “should” have been very happy but I was miserable.

The one thing I knew for sure was that there was a God that I loved and that God loved me. I had what I thought was a healthy spiritual life. Most of the time, I knew that I was being led and could see signs of that in my life. But somewhere along the way I was derailed. I’d become so obsessed with food and people that food and people became my god.  I was brought to my knees because I was miserable.

My spiritual tool box was empty.  In the past when I prayed I was restored to a peaceful place. Now nothing was working. Emotionally I was frightened, frustrated, angry and disappointed.

I hated my job. Thinking that was my problem I quit working, but nothing got better. In fact my relationships got worse. My emotions took over making my entire  life a mess. I was not a fun person to be with. I was rude to sales people. My sister and I would get into screaming matches and I would end up hanging up on her. I was suffering physically as well. Headaches, backaches, stomach, gallbladder and sinus problems seemed to take turns plaguing me. No matter what I did I could not get relief.

Someone who loved me very much could see what was happening to me. This loving person told me that she used alcohol and drugs to deal with life and it seemed to her that I used food. She told me that she was attending AA meetings and that there was an organization for people who used food called Overeater’s Anonymous. She also asked me to go to Al-Anon. Alanon is for those of us who live with an alcoholic or have a loved one in our life that is addicted. I was ready to try anything and everything that could possibly restored me.

I went to my first OA Meeting on a Friday night in March of 1982. It was a small meeting with only about five people attending. It was held in a small, rather drab Sunday school room of a local church. As I looked around I was not impressed. That is until I spotted and read a poster with “The Twelve Steps of Alcohol Anonymous” printed large enough to read with ease.  As I read each step I began to cry. These were tears of hope. I intuitively knew that I’d found a home. I also knew that those twelve steps would fill my tool box, repair my life and allow me to be healed.

Well that was the beginning of a new life for me. I’m ever so grateful to the loving person who by the grace of God had the courage to tell me the truth. I’d hit a true bottom and was ready to surrender my way of doing things. Today I surrender everyday and reaffirm my commitment to Love God with all my heart, my soul and my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. I’m even learning to love my enemies. Lots to write about….lots to think about.

Remember to love like your life depends on it…..because it does!!!

Remember to Feed you Soul…..it’s a good way to love yourself.

Blessings of Love for each of you,

Anne

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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