And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will”
SUNDAY, MAY 3:40PM
Before reading this post please listen to The Song “I Grieve” By Peter Gabriel. You can listen to it while you read my blog as it will open in a separate tab. This song as it embodies the emotions that I am experiencing. It captures the moment of my life that I am living, right now. The lyrics are so perfect… There is something beautiful and something so raw about embracing life even when it means that we embrace the intensity of suffering, sadness and grief.
I am working through my emotions as I experience this miscarriage by journaling here on my blog. I have a hard time with allowing myself to cry, to feel. It is easier to numb myself. I have become quite good at. When I wrote the last two posts the flood gates opened in a way that I realized I needed. I only realized it after I opened to feeling the pain. It almost seems like I am not supposed to be grieving. Some of the questions I get like “how far along are you” is just code for “your not far enough along to be so upset.”
I was almost ready to numb myself through this but then I realized that I really am hurting and if I don’t face into that hurt it is going to come out sideways. It always does. Rather than stay in denial, or turn to anger as a means to control my pain, I am choosing to embrace the pain that comes from feeling everything, talking about it and processing it in the moment. It hurts. I still find I cannot stay in the moment with my feelings and allow myself the grief that is just below the surface because life does go on, and on and on and on. My children need me, my house has chores and there is work to be done. I keep having to push down the sadness and disappointment and grief.
I will keep updating this one post as I document the process of losing Kolbe. If you are just happening upon this blog post then you can read the first two posts by clicking the links. The first one, “I’m Having a Miscarriage” and “Deep Sorrow” will get you up to speed and I will put headers of the day and or times of the new entries…
Where am I at right now? Well, this image helps to make that clear. Right now I am angry at my body and I feel very alone.
I am angry with my body for failing to protect this precious little person. I feel alone because not everyone sees a miscarriage as the loss of a child. Instead it seems to be viewed as the way the body discards babies that were possibly genetically inferior and “for the best.” I don’t know why I am miscarrying but I do know that the reality is that I am losing a baby.
So where am I at in the process today? I am still waiting. I have a terrible back-ache, I am cramping but as of right now I am still waiting for my body to complete this process it seems to have committed itself to. There is light spotting of pinkish brown mucus. It reminds me of when I would go into labor. The first stage was losing the mucus plug. It was so exciting to see that process begin because it meant the long wait to have a baby was finally going to be over. It signaled that very soon, a baby would be placed into my arms. It signaled that a process was starting. It was a sign indicating that a process had begun in which the result would be my child leaving my body.
It means the same thing today but there is no joy in it for me. There is only grief. So I will walk into that. I will grieve.
Deep sorrow is emanating from within me as I fear every visit to the rest room.
It is 11:36pm and this final visit to the “John” tells me that Kolbe is leaving my body.
As more brown substance is wiped away, I take an overnight feminine napkin from my drawer. I realize this may be his or her final resting place. So sad am I that as I peel the paper off the adhesive and apply it to my undergarments, I watch as my tears soak it before the blood that will surely be there by morning.
Mary, please comfort me , I’m drowning…
This may be a bit of a difficult blog post to follow over the next few days but I’m finding that I need to use this blog to sort out my emotions during this inevitable miscarriage.
That’s right, I’m going to lose my child. Before I know if he or she is a he or she I am faced with the reality that I will never hold this child in arms not will it suckle at my breasts.
Science has revealed the future to me and I have mixed emotions about knowing that sooner rather than later this pregnancy will be ending.
Last week I went to have blood drawn to check the HCG levels in my blood. This test detects a level of a specific hormone that a newly conceived child produces after it implants in the uterus.
This hormone is the same hormone that darkens the second line on a urine test indicating pregnancy. If that hormone decreases rather than increases, it indicates that miscarriage is inevitable.
I found out 4 days ago that my levels decreased, a lot. The exact words from my doctor were;
I am sorry to half to tell you but this is not a viable pregnancy. Your quants have dropped and we need to have you stop all progesterone. You should be able to miscarry on your own by simply stopping the progesterone. It can take A few weeks but with the low quants I do not suspect it will take long if you have not already noted bleeding.
Things to be concerned about are very brisk bleeding, increased abd pain, fever, fould smelling discharge for which you need an acute evaluation
We do need to follow the quants down to normal
I would recheck next week Monday
I will keep you in prayer during this time
Love and prayers
I have a great Doctor, but it’s still hard to deal with, knowing I’m going to lose this baby.
I’m still waiting. The only sign of miscarriage this far is that just now, about 5 minutes ago I saw a tiny bit of pink and brown tinged colored mucus. Is this it? Is it beginning? Please Jesus, help me to bear this weight. It’s so painful. I’m grieving the impending loss of Kolbe, the name I’ve given this child. If it was a boy, I wanted to name him “Maximillian Kolbe” if a girl, Claira Kolbe. So it seems fitting, to call my son or daughter by his or her name, Kolbe.
I wonder if you are already with Jesus or if you are still hanging on, waiting with me as the numbers drop low enough till finally you can no longer hold on. I love you Kolbe, your omit and Opi, your brother and two other siblings cannot wait to meet you. Until then, know how very much I will miss you.
You are not a disorder, you are a person.
We are body, soul and spirit. We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit). Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.
Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power? I say no. I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles. In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power. Christ desires to restore us. Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth. He makes us whole. I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17
We are not disorders. I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity. To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.
I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?
Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.
Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way. It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct. This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true. This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect. When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.
Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul. It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul. We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone. Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.
The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity. Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.
the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.
Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body. For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up. When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame. He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants. They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons. When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects. They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.
What was good and right became disordered due to sin. This is the reality of the world we live in. If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another. If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness. Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.
We are complex human beings. The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.
Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up. We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.
Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness. Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing. Anything else merely treats a part of a person. Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.
Bl Anne Catherine Emmerich writes in her diary that God desired to bring about His plan of redemption sooner but began with St. Joachim and St. Anne because, she says, they were the first to love one another as an icon of “Trinitarian love.”
The trinity has been described through the lens of Theology of The Body as God giving Himself in perfect love as a free, full, faithful and fruitful gift to the Son and the Son giving Himself in a perfect love as a free, full, faithful and fruitful self-gift to the Father and the fire of this love between them IS the Holy Spirit.
According to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich it was St. Joachim giving himself in perfect love to St. Anne and St. Anne receiving that self gift and then giving herself in perfect love to St. Joachim and the fire of this love between them is what became the means from which Mary was then immaculately conceived.
But “Immaculate Conception”? How is that possible and why was it necessary? For me her Immaculate Conception is further proof that God is indeed outside of time and space. He is pure spirit so He is unaffected by time and space which exists in a physical world. It is logical that God could take the graces of Calvary and apply it to Mary as her soul was infused into her at the moment she was conceived in St. Anne’s womb. He created a perfect vessel, Christ makes all things new and she became the under of knots.
Perhaps it is in Mary’s unique capacity to be a reflection of the Holy Spirit that we can enter into the mystery of how she offers us a way in which to be most deeply permeated, espoused and penetrated by the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that Mary was cable of being so receptive, so open to the Holy Spirit, that she was espoused and thus conceived of the Holy Spirit and we are to beg for this same gift of receptivity.
We are called to open ourselves so completely that the Holy Spirit can find a dwelling place in which He can espouse Himself and conceive His divine life within us. We are called to bring life into the world, to make the incarnation known and visible by becoming the body of Christ. We are called to receive, conceive and birth Christ into the world through our Fiat, our yes! We are to be like living tabernacles, to be a monstrance from which Christ radiates to everyone who sees us. We are to radiate Christ and to be a star of Bethlehem. I have always desired this and because I am lazy and sinful I look for shortcuts. I know how my own limitations are what keep me from being able to do these things yet I still desire to embrace this greatness that I have been made for. That is why Marian Consecration is such a great gift to humanity.
We can learn so much when we contemplate how God’s plan for redemption began with Mary. Mary was free to choose sin just as Eve was. So God began with Mary because He was going to untie all of the knots tied by Original Sin. It began in the virginal garden of her womb. Like Eden, Mary’s garden was without sin or blemish. Just as Eve was given a choice to love, so too was Mary. Whereas Eve took from the tree of knowledge and closed herself to the will of God, Mary yes began when she “let it be done unto her” and the fruit of all knowledge, the Alpha and Omega was given to her. Mary’s yes to the Holy Spirit conceived the very life within her that would become the word made flesh and in His sacrifice of love, mankind would be saved from their sins.
Mary is the Undoer of Knots, she is our hope because she was mere creature, just as we are creature yet she did the will of God. Mary was no different than Eve was before the fall in that both were immaculate and without sin. Mary was completely capable of sinning and yet she did not. Mary is our proof that we can give our yes to God and be transformed, permeated and espoused by the Holy Spirit.
If you desire a double or triple portion of the Holy Spirit, then Consecrate yourself to Mary, she opens us wider than we can do on our own because she undoes the knot. Mary was what God chose to start with when He set the plan of redemption for the world into motion. He could have dropped Christ naked in the street, He could have chosen to come in flesh in any way He desired, yet the plan He chose was to undo the knots of the fall way back in the beginning.
When Christ makes All Things New, He makes ALL THINGS NEW. Mary, I ask that you intercede and show me how to open my heart to love like the Trinity and to help me to open myself in a bigger and more vulnerable way so that the Holy Spirit will find a home in my heart from which to bring life to the world in and through my yes to the Fathers plan. Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us. Amen
Please consider ordering my book on healing wounds from Sexual Abuse.
“EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: Healing Wounds and Reclaiming our greatness through Theology of the body.
You can get your copy by clicking the link.
Want to know why you feel so screwed up? Well, it is probably from wounds created by sin that has you believing a lie in which you have then made vows to do or not do this or that ever again in an attempts to get control over your pain or fear or distrust or feelings of powerlessness. How do you fix it? Read on.
(This is a long piece and meant only for those who desire to understand what their root wounds are that are causing such great suffering in their lives due to a life of neglect, trauma or abuse).
From the very beginning of the Bible sin is defined as separation from God. It is also spoken of as a transgression, which means to violate the law. Since the law is meant to protect us and the world we live in, we see that sin is not only a violation of God but a violation of us and of all creation. When we sin we separate ourselves from God, transgress against his will and against one another and against all of creation. This is the condition we live in due to original sin.
The word sin can also be understood as missing the mark. Greek archers used the word sin when an archer would aim for a target but miss the mark, they would fall short of their target. Many of us aim to please God yet we all fall short of the glory of God.
So with these biblical definitions I think we can agree that we are all sinners. All of us live in that place of struggle in which we miss the mark, transgress upon the will of God and in doing so violate one another and ourselves
So all of us are sinners and our sin has it’s effects by creating wounds. Sin always wounds. Our sin wounds us every time. But we are also wounded by the sins of those around us. So it seems very clear that we have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.
Sin is like cancer in that if it’s ignored it will grow in our bodies. As Christians we are called to be the body of Christ. We are to make Christ visible in and through our lives. We are to be living signs, our families an icon of the Trinitarian love of God revealing truth, life and love to the world. When we sin, the effects of our sin spreads in three directions thus marring our ability to reveal Christ to the world.
Sin spreads socially, to all those around us.
When we sin, we diminish Christ’s glory, not that Christ’s glory can be diminished but certainly our ability to be an icon that reveals His Glory can be diminished. How can someone see Christ in us when our sin is the first thing someone sees when they look at us.
Scripture tells us in Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy that sin also has an effect for generations. Some scriptures say ten generations. Many of us are not only dealing with our own sinfulness but with sin that has had it’s effects in our families down through the generations. For people who have been abused, simple affection can be difficult to give to their children. Those children then have difficulty with affection and so you see that the same affects of the sin from abuse has its affects down the generations.
When I began my journey in inner healing and realized my own sinfulness as a result of my wounds I discovered that the same wounds that had been passed down through the generations to me did not stop there. I realized I was in fact responsible for bringing the same kind of pain to the people in my family. This led me to become overwhelmed with grief.
How can we prevent hurting our own children? The answer is we can’t.
The only thing we can do is to continue to clean up our hearts. The cleaner our hearts become the better we can love those around us. It is like our heart is a vase meant for holding flowers but with sin and wounds our “vase” is cracked and holds sludge instead of water. When we clean out the sludge and allow Christ to heal us, we can retain His grace to love others the way He loves and the water is not tainted with the sludge.
The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.
“There are many kinds of wounds but what they all have in common is that they affect us in such as ways as to give us a taste of hell.” Says Dr. Bob Schuchts, founder of the John Paul II healing center and creator of healing retreats in Tallahassee Florida. These retreats are what I believe have saved my marriage and saved my own children from growing up even worse off than perhaps I was. While taking his course “Sexual Healing and Redemption” at the Theology of the Body Institute, he spoke of 6 common wounds that many of us carry. He bases that number off of the Theophostic Healing research done by Ed Smith’s work who lays out 7 common wounds. Dr. Bob has condensed the list to 6. He lists them as follows:
1) Abandonment Wounds. “I am all alone and I will always be alone”.
2) Fear or terror wounds. “I can’t trust anybody.”
3) Shame. “I’m unworthy, I’m unlovable.”
4) Powerlessness. “I have no ability to do anything. I can’t change anything.”
5) Rejection. “I’m unacceptable, I’m disgusting, I’m repulsive.”
6) Hopelessness. “I can’t change anything.”
7) Identity Wounds. “I am garbage, I am nothing, I do not matter”.
When events in our lives cause us suffering, the devil, the enemy of our soul, comes to us in that moment and proposes a lie to us much like a groom would propose marriage to us. If we believe the lie he proposes, we are then opening ourselves to him. This is a foothold. St. Paul tells us how sin can becomes a foothold using anger as an example.
“Do not be angry and sin in your anger and give the devil a foothold”.
We are either in relationship with God or relationship with the devil. We are either walking in truth or walking in a lie. When Eve was in the garden of Eden, the devil came and proposed his lie to her that God could not be trusted, that he was keeping something back from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree of knowledge. He was proposing that God did not love her. When Eve ate the apple, she was accepting the proposal of the devil, she accepted his lie and just like any marriage there was fruit that came from her accepting the proposal. The fruit was death. When we accept the lies that the devil proposes to us we too our severing our union with God and are uniting ourselves to the evil one. With our free will, we are chosing to be in relationship with the liar and this foothold we have given him, will grow like a cancer if we ignore it. Like cancer spreads in our bodies, so too does the affects of the lies we consent to believe in. These footholds turn into strongholds.
“A stronghold is any pattern of behavior in your life that you know is against the will of God but continues to persist even when you try to change it.” ( Dr Bob Schuchts Anatomy of a wound audio http://www.OnlyPeople.net).
This pattern is a result of the barriers we have built around our heart, brick by brick, lie by lie and vow by vow in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt or suffering in some way. The problem with putting up walls around our hearts is that we keep out the good along with the bad. We become like a prisoner within a castle and the stronghold keeps us there.
Counseling can bring us temporary relief, can teach us coping skills and can give us a means by which to deal with the distress symptoms that result from us believing the lies but they cannot change the stronghold or bring it down. Medication can offer us some relief as well, perhaps helping us manage our anxiety that is related to the stronghold but this is not a chemical imbalance we are talking of. A stronghold is an action of our free will and unless we take it down with our own free will it will not be moved by medication. Praying is helpful and is definitely a step in the right direction as God is the one that can help to expose the lies so we know where to start but unless we are using the weapons spoken of by St. Paul then we are only managing the our pain rather than finding true freedom.
Dr Bob Schucht’s goes on to say that “Every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God results in a stronghold.” (Anatomy of a wound audio). So in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of God we can break strongholds. Without the power of God we are just using our will to do something or not do something. If we try to overcome stronghold by own own sheer will we will end up frustrated or giving up all together.
They are pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Dr. Bob Schucht’s reminds us that “It is interesting to note that they are dispositions or attitudes of our hearts before they are sins. These are attitudes of our hearts that orientate us towards sin. Each one of them has an idolatry of something that exalts itself above God.” (The Anatomy of a wound audio on onlypeople.net).
Anger is an idolatry of control.
Pride is an idolatry of self.
Greed is an idolatry of things.
Lust is an idolatry relationship.
Gluttony is an idolatry of substance to comfort.
Sloth is an idolatry of comfort to avoid pain.
Envy is an idolatry of the status position or privileges of other people.
To explain this further let me clarify the relationship of sin, idol, wound, lies and vows. When the enemy proposes a lie, and if we accept his proposal, we then turn away from God. When we turn away from God, we then are turning towards something else. This “something else” becomes our idol. If we are feeling powerless, the enemy may propose the lie that “we must be in control or we will be hurt”. We then accept his proposal and profess to him our vows to unite ourselves to his lie. Our vow may be “I will make sure I always remain in control”. My idol is now control and not God. When I am feeling powerless I no longer turn to God and believing that he will protect me and his hand is guiding my life for my well-being. Instead, my heart has closed itself to God, instead my new idol of control is what I live by to protect myself from feeling powerless. I have exalted control above God. When I cannot control a situation and begin to feel as if I am losing control the result is my anger. I sin out of my anger in many ways and they are the distress symptoms. You will see my outbursts, my nit-picking, my perfectionism, my passive-aggressive means of manipulating others you will see me rage.
For every wound there is an idol and for every idol we worship we manifest sinful actions. Every sin has an effect and those effects are usually very visible to the people around us. (I have made a chart and attached it above to give an understanding ow how they all go together. I have used the information that I learned at several healing retreats taught by Dr. Bob Schuchts however, I could not find a chart that put together the connection of all of the components to make it easier for people to discover what their wounds are so I created my own.
We begin to make God’s out of all of those things because we think they will give us some satisfaction yet they are all characterizations of the devil so if we begin to engage in the lies that he tells us, we allow him the very foothold upon which he can ensnare us.
So how are we going to break free from the strongholds? We must be willing to suffer. When we are willing to suffer the original thing we were running away from and turn back to God and ask him to help us, then and only then do we acquire the actual graces to practice the virtues necessary in overcoming a particular sin in our life. If we have experienced abuse, trauma or neglect as children then the powerlessness we experienced in those moments may have resulted in our attempts to control everything and everyone. Most likely it also resulted in distrust, fear and un-forgiveness. When we forgive people who have hurt us we then begin to embody the merciful heart of Jesus Christ. Anger cannot remain where one has softened their hearts and become forgiving and merciful. Anger cannot abide where a heart has turned to God and begins to relinquish it’s power in exchange for his grace and his will in their life.
The only thing that overcomes pride is humility. Humbly acknowledging your pride before God and asking Him to take it away. If you think you can work on your pride then you are being prideful. The sin of being prideful or self-justifying comes from identity wounds. When we grow up in homes where we might not have been affirmed and loved as unique and unrepeatable person we begin to self-justify. If the only thing we were affirmed for was being attractive, this may become our new idol. This is vanity which is a form of pride. When we were only affirmed for being smart we make our intellect or academics our idol. The only way to overcome these things is to acknowledge that these are gifts from God meant to bring souls to Christ.
The only thing that overcomes our greed is generosity because greed is the control over our possession because of insecurity. Many people who hoard money or objects (there are even shows on television showing the lives of hoarders) desire to keep as much “things” around them and with them because they have entered into a relationship with objects that are safe and cannot “hurt” them. Greed is a “distress” symptom of a wound. We sin in our greed in attempt to stop feeling insecure or afraid about our well-being. We do not trust that God will care for us.The irony is that they are hurting because of the isolation their greed may cause. This is like a cycle that repeats itself. The only thing that can overcome greed is trusting in the generosity of God and then becoming generous yourself. Generosity is saying and believing that you trust in the providence of God. So if you think your issue is greed you are wrong, it is a fear wound and a trust issue.
The only thing that overcomes lust is not “getting yourself under control” and saying to yourself “I just won’t look at the person or that pornography.” Our issue is a rejection wound. Out of that place of feeling disgusting or that no one can love you a false idol is made out of disordered relationships of intimacy where the other can not “in-to-me-see”. Intimacy is about seeing deeply into an other and allowing oneself to be deeply seen. When we come to see the beauty and purpose of the human person made visible in and through our bodies we begin to heal. Theology of the Body is the antidote and chastity is lived out because once we understand our sexuality we desire to “speak” a language of love in and with our bodies. It is then that we can come before God and beg him for purity of our eyes and our hearts and of our bodies. Chastity is seeing the awesome creation of our sexuality “male and female” He created us.
The only thing that overcomes gluttony is abstinence and fasting. This can come from shame or hopelessness wounds and so we begin to consume a substance that comforts us rather than go to God and ask Him to fill the hole inside our hearts. We begin to forget the spiritual life and rely only upon the pleasures of the body. It is disordering our very personhood. This often times leads to sloth.
The only thing that overcomes sloth is diligence. This can come from feeling powerless. We become bound up in sloth when we believe the lie that we are powerless in some area of our life or in life in general and so we avoid the pain of trying to effect change by being slothful. It is in being diligent and willing to do the things that God is asking us to do especially when it is difficult that helps us to get free from Sloth. This is a common attack as it has to do with keeping the body of Christ from realizing we are in a spiritual battle. If we feel powerless and so then give up and become slothful the enemy can make more ground. I would say fortitude and diligence as well as courage and perseverance are important in overcoming sloth.
The only thing that overcomes envy is kindness. The wounds here can be from identity wounds. When you grow up feeling that you do not matter and that you are garbage, it is easy to begin hating your neighbor whose life may seem so much better. Envy is not just desiring your neighbors goods or status it is also believing that they have gotten something that you deserved to have. Is the reality that you deserve to be seen as good and worthy? Yes, but when one suffers from identity wounds then the lie is that you don’t matter and so envy builds up in our hearts turning it even more cold and hard against others. When we can be kind to others, be truly concerned for others this hardness softens. When you begin to see that each of us are called into being by our creator, each of us are unique and unrepeatable persons, then we see that our own worth and dignity is God given and are no longer angry about the good fortune of others.
Sometimes we can’t truly choose to become free from something so we may begin by choosing to become free in something else. We may chose to abstain in a smaller area which will then give us the strength to deal with a more powerful stronghold later. This helps us overcome the hopelessness of feeling that nothing will ever change.
These are just some of the examples of how sin and wounds and lies work together and how once discovered and the virtues sought can enable us to brings some real healing into our lives. None of us are any position to judge one another yet I am sure all of us can identify with one or more of these sins. All of us struggle with these sins and virtue is the way in which we will get free.
Once your identity a sin in your life that you cannot seem to get free from you must then begin to identify the lies that you believe. You must then renounce those lies and ask Jesus to forgive you for making a false idol in an attempt to deal with your pain alone rather than to open your heart to God. This is where healing comes in. If I have truth to undo the lie, if I believe the scripture that tells me that I should not worry about what I eat and what I wear because I trust in God’s providence then all of a sudden I can have security, real security because the stronghold lie begins to crumble. In asking forgiveness for making a false idol and renouncing the lie in Jesus’ name the enemies power is broken. Now the drawbridge has been lowered so that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete can come in and be the divine physician.
So how do we begin? First you must ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you. God knows what you are ready to deal with and where you must first get free in order to have the strength and courage to press into the other wounds. If you go into areas you are not ready to deal with it will feel as if the enemy is rubbing salt in your wounds and you may be to afraid or feel to incapable of handling the pain associated with it.
I started with a distress symptom, an area of my life I felt was creating a pattern of sinful behavior that I just could not seem to get free of. I then asked the Holy Spirit to show me what He wanted me to know about it. For me, he showed me a memory. I then asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the lie in my heart that I believed. I then asked Him to reveal the judgment I had made about God and about the other person. I then asked God’s forgiveness for the believing the lies, making the judgments and for turning to a false idol instead of to Him. I then asked God to help me forgive the person for what they did. As for the lies, I renounced them in the name of Jesus Christ. It was as if I broke off my union with the enemy had re-united myself to my true Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. The effects were immediate. The peace was beyond anything counseling or anxiety meds or alcohol or food had ever done for me.
When I contemplated the lie again, I laughed out loud because it sounded, AND FELT, so ridiculous. It no longer had any hold over me. Who would have thought that freedom would and could be so instantaneous. This is because it is by the power of God. So why did this work when nothing else seemed to? Because God does not and will not violate our free will. He can supernaturally heal us but before that we must first surrender our will to God and invite him in. It is, to use the castle analogy, as if we must lower the drawbridge to give him access.
St. Peter says “Anyone who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin” 1 peter
Jesus is the only person who experienced all of the same wounds we have and yet did not sin out of his wounds. He was abandoned “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”. All his friends left him. He was abandoned, yet did not sin.
“He was rejected and despised among men” IS 53, but he did not give into the rejection, he continued to love in the face of that rejection.
He was complete helplessness on the cross, but he chose to surrender his will to the father.
He tasted the greatest despair on him from our sins in the garden and on the cross but he never gave into despair or sloth.
He experienced every single wound in the mystery of creation and chose to be obedient. He took on every wound for us and the sins and penalties of the wounds and the sins. He did this for us. He also identified with us so that we can see that we can identify with him in our suffering and know his compassion for our pain.
Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.
Are you still afraid? Are you still feeling hopeless? Are you still not sure how to begin? Then start simply. You can say “I can not overcome this Jesus, but you can”. “I can not bear this Jesus, but you can.”
In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him. Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature.
Take some time to journal. Take an area of your life, some place of distress in your life. Pray and ask God to show you what the lie is that you believe in your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the root wound and the root sin is. Ask him to show you where it is rooted in term of memory and experience. For some it may be a recent event for others something farther back.
This part is important. Allow yourself the chance to feel the pain of that. Bring that to Jesus and ask Jesus to reveal the truth and bring his healing love there.
He who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin!
God will meet us. It’s a matter of walking there so don’t be impatient with yourself. It is a process and He is not going to give you something that is more than you can bear.
I want to give you hope that as you walk through this, to know that there is such joy on the other side of healing. It is awesome and worth every bit of the pain you might go through as you look at events or people in your lives that wounded you with their sin. Keep your eyes, your focus on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He will bring you to the joy that He promises. That may be hard to believe, especially for those who might have been dealing with deep hopelessness wounds for a long time. Let me encourage you to not give in to sloth, remain diligent, keep going forward even if it is very small steps, that is still progress and you will be greatly rewarded.
This information comes from Dr. Bob Schucht’s work on “Healing The Whole Person” and other great Inner Healing work he provides for those desiring real freedom. You can find more information on how to attend his healing retreats by going to his website The John Paul II Healing Center .
The fact that hell exists is proof of God’s love. Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love. If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him. Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice. If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.
Does God pre-destine a soul to go to hell? The short answer is no. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Predestined means that we are selected for divine adoption by an eternal decree of God (Eph 1:4). “Predestination is a mystery revealed but not fully understood; what we know for certain is that God is free to act as he chooses (Ps 135:6) and man is free to accept or reject his blessings (Rom 2:6-8; Sir 15:11-13). No one is predestined by God for eternal damnation” (CCC 1037).
Predestined and predetermined are two different things. We are in fact predestined for heaven. The old Baltimore Catechism says this about why God created us: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” This goes against the argument that some protestants have used to say God predestines some people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do to change it. They believe that some people are chosen and brought into existence for this purpose, to go to hell. This is false. God does not desire it nor does He bring into being a person so he can then “send” them to hell.
It is a person’s free will that destines a person for hell. God’s gift of free will allows each person to choose heaven or hell. There are two choices really. “I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to they word” as Mary said or “Not my will but thine be done” as Jesus said. The alternative is “I will not serve” which was the response of Lucifer.
So how is one to understand how a person is “predetermined” to go to hell? When we understand the immaculate conception we understand predetermined. Why is this? Because the Immaculate Conception reveals the very timelessness of God. God is outside of time and space. God applied the graces merited by Jesus Christ on the cross and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception.
How could He do that? Because God knew Mary would say yes. This did not mean she did not get to chose it, it just means that because He is God He exists outside of space and time. He is past present and future. God knows no boundaries. He knew she would say yes it happened already outside of time and he preemptively applied the grace. This is of course my laymen terms for such a complex theology that only a theologian (which I am not) could explain it concisely.
You could say that Mary was predetermined to say yes and be the mother of God. Bl Anne Catherine Emerich talks about this in her 4 volumes that Mel Gibson used to write the screen play for “The Passion”. She said in her writings that God desired to bring about the salvation of the world sooner but it was not until St. Anne and St. Joachim that two loved like the trinity into which Mary was brought and in which she would say yes to being the mother of God that God could then move forward with His divine plan. That shows you how much God honors our free will. He won’t even save us unless we allow Him to, that is how much He respects our free will.
It is hard to understand how the graces merited on the cross by Jesus Christ were given to His mother before she was even born. Another way to wrap ones head around this mystery is to contemplate the Eucharist. At mass we experience Calvary. It is because the Holy Sacrifice of the mass is able to pass outside of space and time, literally making present the body of Jesus Christ, that this is possible. We are not re-creating Christ’s death and crucifixion, nor are we re-sacrificing Him, rather we step through a mystical veil of time and space and Calvary is made present. We are at the foot of the Cross.
This is why we pray for the dead or why we ask for the Communion of Saints to pray for us. Our prayers can bestow graces to them before their deaths. We can pray for those who died and our prayers can merit graces that outside of time can be given to them before they died to help perfect their nature. It is this mystery of timelessness that many of us cannot understand because we are temporal beings. We are bound by space and time but God is not. The spiritual is not. Angels pass through this veil easily because they are not bound time space as we are. Perhaps this is why some Saints could bi-locate. They could pass through the veil because it is a reality created by God to govern the physical realm. However, we are spiritual and physical beings. Therefore, we too are able to pass through the veil in ways known only to God and in our Glorified bodies we will move as fast as our thoughts and will pass through walls much like Christ did when manifested into the upper room. He passed through the veil, the dimension that separates us.
At the moment of conception God creates a holy immortal soul and infuses it into the body of that child. At that moment God knows all of the choices that person will make before they make them, never diminishing their free will.
It is the choices they will make that will determine their final destination. All souls are destined for heaven. This is the the truth of the trinity because every person is created in the image and likeness of God who is Love. God is love poured out and overflowing and in that excess of love He creates Holy immortal souls. This means we are all created to love and be loved. If we do not chose enter into that love we reject God (who is Love) and chose the alternative.
The fact that hell exists is another proof of God’s love. Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love. If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him. Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice. If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.
God does not force himself on us but rather allows us to decide if we will be with Him forever in Heaven or if we will reject Him and spend eternity in Hell. We will exist for all eternity, where we do it is up to us.
So if we are not predestined to go to hell are we predetermined to go to hell? What does predetermined mean? In this context predetermined means that before it happens it is already known to happen. Souls are predetermined for hell because their choice of hell is known by God before they live it out.
James 1:13-15, “Let know one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”
It is our choice to sin that determines whether or not we spend eternity in hell. When a soul is pre-determined to go to hell it means that God knows that they would reject Him regardless of His invitations or intersessions. He knows it because He sees their decisions, sees into their personhood, knows their hearts and understands all of their choices and gives them the freedom to choose.
Free will is a very powerful thing. Even the devil has no real power other than what our free will gives him. When we submit our will to evil and enflesh it, that is when the devil is able to oppress us. Free will is something we should all contemplate more. It transcends space and time and can condemn a person before they are born (because a birthday is a time and God is outside time). On a positive note, it can also save the entire human race. Jesus and Mary are proof of that.