Before I forget, I'm featured over at Haven's Realm:) Come over and say hi!
With the urging of two choir members, I agreed to add the '33 Days to Morning Glory', a devotional consecration of ourselves to Mary, the mother of Jesus, to my morning Quiet Time. As the only non-Catholic member of our choir, it still baffles me that this much attention is given to Our Lady. The first 7 days was all about how St Louis DeMontfort, who (I think) stated that if we give everything to Mary, all our prayers and needs, then we lose the right to pray for others. I strongly disagree with this. We can ALWAYS pray for others. I also disagree with the statement of giving everything to Mary, and standing before God with empty hands. Maybe on some level it's a case of 'Mary has everything I've done; go and ask her.' I just don't buy that mentality. I want to stand before God and Jesus with my strong faith and devotion. Not because of the things I've done (yes, they count, but not ultimately) or said, but the basic truth that I accept the fact Jesus died FOR ME, and I have FAITH and proof of him working in my life.
Week 2 focused on St. Maximillian Kolbe, and I only took issue with his teachings twice:
1) I do not believe Mary's mother 'immaculately conceived' her. That would make two, and there was only one.
2) "(God) made a creature who was conceived w/o sin..." He refers to Mary. I disagree; this was JESUS. Jesus leads us to do God's will, and helps sinners along the way.
However, now we're in week #3, I have found something I DO agree with. Mother Teresa wrote a letter saying when others don't accept you, or even if you yourself don't accept you, know that Jesus does.' I clung to this knowledge throughout my entire 8th grade year of hell, and the first few weeks of my 9th. I was convinced I had no friends; I was an ugly, unwanted person, but because I was only 14, dropping out of school wasn't an option. I built a wall around myself, adopted an 'I-don't-care' attitude, and suffered in silence, except for on Sundays and Wednesdays, when the message 'Jesus loves you' was reinforced by godly people in my life
And when an incident took place where I was publicly humiliated, again, dropping out wasn't an option. I had to go to school and face those who laughed at me. I put on my toughest attitude and went to school.
And when I walked into my 1st period classroom, I was in for a shock. Everyone gathered around me, expressing sympathy for me and outrage at the person who had hurt me. I found out that day I had more friends than I thought, and let my walls down a little, slowly letting people back in.
Instead of railing against God ala 'why did you let this happen to me?', I clung to him, believing he was going to get me through this and everything would smooth out.
And it did; I developed the tough skin I have today, to put my work out there for criticism. I also learned to be humble. My affliction came at a time when I was getting a swelled head from certain attentions. If this hadn't happened, who knows what kind of person I'd be today?
Things happen for a reason. And my faith saved me 33 years ago, and got me back on track. In a sense, I was lucky, because I had parents who refused to let me give into self-pity and who brought me up with godly principles. The only thing I'm seeing from the Catholic teachings is a bunch of false guilt. Every time something happens to my spouse, he assumes God's mad at him. I wasn't brought up that way at all, but 50+ years of this teaching has him convinced. He was never taught to read the Bible, never taught to pray directly to Jesus. And more importantly, was never taught that he is loved unconditionally. He feels he has to 'earn' his way in.
Even when he crossed over, he feels 'rejected', because he was sent back 3 times. He doesn't see it as 'we're not ready for you; it's not your time'. Rather, he feels it was God (or the saints, maybe?) saying 'We don't want you.'
And that's a tragedy.