What Gives You Passion and Purpose to Persevere?

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Each of us has been created for a reason. When we discover it, we find our passion and purpose in life. The trick is to always keep it before our eyes. In doing this, we may be consoled during periods of desolation.

How do we keep our passion and purpose before our eyes? Is it like a photograph in the back of a soldier’s pocket during wartime? For soldiers, a photograph would console them as war waged all around. We too need something to take out and gaze upon as the challenges of life press in upon us.

What might your photograph look like? What consoles you most when the difficulties and sufferings of life feel that they might consume you?

St. Therese of Lisieux created such a photograph for herself. She created a coat of arms. Many of us would say it is like a family crest. In it she placed symbols that described her spirituality, her relationship with God and what her mission in life was. It was a snapshot of her passion and her purpose that would give her perseverance.

theresa coat of arms

Here is the description of St. Theresa of Lisieux, The Child of Jesus, The Little Flower’s Coat of Arms;

Theresa coat description

After seeing that St. Theresa created her own snapshot to make visible the invisible reality of what gives her passion and purpose in life, I decided to create my own. I encourage anyone that is desiring perseverance admits the struggles and tribulations of daily life to create their own and put it somewhere they can look upon for consolation. If you do not feel artistically inclined but still desire to create a coat of arms then consider checking out the online website that helps you step by step to create your own.

Beauty will save the world because it inspires within human beings passion and purpose along with the very virtues necessary to live it out. Here is a description of my own Coat of Arms that I have put together while contemplating what gives me passion and purpose.

The Garden

The Garden

I will start with myself. If the world was a garden, what flower would you be and why?

I would be the Lily of The Valley. It grows in darkness. My childhood was one of darkness and yet God’s grace sustained me. As a child the Lily of the Valley grew in the shade of one of the many houses I lived in. The smell is one of my most favorite. It’s delicate bell like blossoms are like pearls on a string. I would like to think I resemble this flower.

I have put 10 blossoms because the pearls in my life are my 10 children. Eight of my children are still living.

The Three round circles are a family from which my children sprung from. It is also the love of the bride and bridegroom from which this free, full, faithful and fruitful comes and from which we are called into union and communion. It seemed appropriate to put this relationship in my coat of arms as it is the tender, gentle and sweet love of the Bridegroom which has wooed me to Himself. Theology of the Body helps us to understand the trinitarian love of God in this same light and has become my life’s work.

Mary My Mother

Mary My Mother

Mary is responsible for bringing me to Jesus. This is so perfect since I grew up without a presence of a father in my life. My parents divorced when I was 3 months old and there were years that went by without ever seeing him. The step-father in my life sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abused me. My conversion came through her direct intercession. I read stories about her appearing in Fatima and began to learn about who God is and about the love of Jesus.

I used two triangles in union to symbolize Mary (blue triangle facing up to heaven) and how she was espoused with the Holy Spirit (the green triangle facing down toward earth). The Immaculate Heart (flowers on heart) of Mary is in the center of the two triangles with 7 swords (7 sorrows) piercing her heart. This is because I believe I have been called to build up her army and the secrets she holds enables us to crush the head of the serpent.

“In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in one there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity; in the other all of creations love. So it is that in this union heaven and earth are joined, all of heaven with all of earth; the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love.” St. Maximilian Kolbe

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Above Mary, we are led to the source and summit. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, inflamed with love for all mankind is surrounded by thorns. The green in them reminds us that His suffering and sacrifice is life-giving. His heart is crowned because Jesus Christ is my King. My name reminds me of this. Christina King, like Christ the King is how I help people remember my name. The Halo is representative of my love of iconography. The Nahuatl Glyph found in the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe has so much meaning I barely know where to start. Let’s just say is symbolizes Divine Mercy, Bl. Pope John Paul II, the Church and the establishment of a new civilization of love which I have been called to help bring into existence. The rays flow from the mouth as they do in the tilma symbolizing the writings of St. Faustina.

Jesus I trust in You

Jesus I trust in You

The motto of my crest is “Jesus, I trust In You” and it is in German. I am the first generation to be born in the United States. I chose German because so much of my identity is tied to my German heritage.

Finally, the top cross has the letters J.M.J. to symbolize Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I have been called to evangelize as a teacher, in media and through speaking and I fell in love with ArchBishop Fulton Sheen very early on in my conversion. I still pray for him to intercede for me.

This is a simple example of how we can create an image to be our own coat of arms. This image can help to inspire us when we need it most.

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Divine Providence or Coincidence? (Repost)

When I woke up today, I did not know I was going to hold a dying womans body in my arms. I did not know I would have to push through skin, muscle and fat tissue to tie a turnacut around her leg which was nearly severed from her body.

As usual, I had my day’s wrong in my mind and thought I was heading to our parish picnic where I had signed up myself and two of my teen age daugthers for face painting. As I turned down Northland Avenue, an ambulance pulled into the intersection so I turned the radio off and my daughters and I prayed a Hail Mary for the person who was in need and that the driver would get there safe and soon, Amen. Little did I know that I would soon see another ambulance, this time to the scene of an accident I would be at.

As I drove, I continued to think and pray about who was in need and I contemplated upon the severity of the accident. When I turned down the street to my church, I noticed how sparce the cars were and decided to drive towards the back of the church, thinking it would make getting to the place we would be set up easier. As I passed the first driveway, my daugther, who was sitting in the back said;

“Go back mom, there is a woman who was hit by a car, she is pinned by a pole!”

My other daughter scoffed at her sibling saying;

“I don’t think so, I am sure that is not what you saw”.

Wondering what it was that she did see, I turned the car around and pulled into the main driveway. Sure enough, there was a woman under a car near a light pole and several people were standing around her. All of them seemed to be in a daze.

At first I thought, I don’t want to be in the way, maybe I should not go over. But then I saw that other than a woman holding the victims hand and another holding her head, it did not appear anyone knew what to do.

My mothering and bossy nature came to the forefront and I immediately yelled out;

“Is there anyone here that has more training than me? I know CPR, I have had some first aid training?”  As I looked around they all shook their heads and stared blankly, just as scared as I was we all could see the the blood forming a large pool around her. As it poured out of this little woman the pool began to grow larger and so I knew I had to do something and I had to do it fast.

I yelled for someone to call an ambulance and then I yelled for them to get Fr. Tom outside NOW! I kneeled down next to her and she was praying the Hail Mary, over and over in a whisper.  A friend of hers, Toni, was there praying a rosary out loud and I could hear the woman praying softly with her.  I too began to pray.

I now looked more closely at her injuries and saw that the bone had not only been broken and twisted completely around, but it had been pulled through the body and her entire upper thigh was ripped open.  The tissues and bone were all exposed and the blood was spurting out all over. Out of no where, an image that I remembered from college popped into my mind. It was a black and white photo from a first-aid manual of a turnacut. I realized she needed a turnacut but was not sure how I would get it around this mutilated leg or even where I would get something to tie around her. I yelled for someone to get me material or a belt, I needed a turnacut.

Three people ripped off their belts and thrust them at me, I have never been so grateful to have someone hand me a belt in all of my life. I then realized I was going to have to pull through the muscle and fat tissues and lift them out of the way to find my way around the leg. After several failed attempts, I realized if I did not do this, she would bleed to death if she was not already at the verge of being left with little to no blood. I yelled for someone to go and get Father Tom.

“She needs a priest! Someone get Father!” I yelled out.  I saw him emerge from the church doors looking confused and then in horror and shock at what he was trying to understand what he was looking at. One of his parishioners, a woman who sought him out after every mass to kiss his hands and thank him for bringing her Jesus, was lying under a car, in a pool of blood. Not more than 5 minutes earlier, she had been smiling up at him.

“There’s no time Father! She needs an anointing (I did not want to scare her or any family present by saying last rites, although I clearly felt she was going to die before the ambulance even arrived)you have to give her an anointing now!”

It was as if he immediately understood without me having to explain.  I saw on his face that he understood the gravity of the situation.  I knew in that moment, the most important thing I could do for her that day would be to bring a priest to her side and give her last rites so as to make her ready to meet Jesus.  His face turned white as a sheet and then, as if he was given an instruction internally, he turned on his heel and went back into the church. Oh no, I thought, he isn’t coming.

“Where is he going?” I said outloud.

Someone I am not sure, perhaps Toni, who remained at Paz’s side the entire time, said to me “He is going to get the Holy Oil”. I must have been in shock, because I did not even think of that, even though that is why I called for him.

The next thing I know he was back with the holy oil and was praying over her and giving her the blessing of the church and absolving her of her sins. He must have ran the whole way because he was by my side faster than I had ever in my life seen someone move.

At this time, Paz had stopped praying and looked so very afraid. Her eyes where very wide and her mouth was open as she looked into my eyes. I quickly prayed for the strength to do what needed to be done and I felt an interior voice say…just focus on her. I lifted up the flesh and put my hands into her body and felt around to the other side and then quickly slid the belt along the route I had just determined I could get to as my fingers kept the skin back to give the belt passage. I secured it and then pulled with all of my might, knowing it would need to be tight, but so very afraid I would hurt her. I watched her face as I did this to see if there was any reaction of pain, but there was none, only confusion and fear. That is when I knew that the words I would speak to her would perhaps be the last she would hear on this earth. What would they be?

I leaned over to the woman and told her not to be afraid. I reminded her she just received the blessed sacrament. I told her she had been given last rites and that we were praying the Rosary with her. I saw her look at me and I told her that Mary will hold her in her arms and Jesus was with her. I told her she was in a state of grace, she was wearing her scapular and she was ready. I told her to trust in Jesus, to place herself in Marys arms over and over. I desired to give her peace and to take away any and all fear, but let her know to trust in God, trust in Him. Her eyes softened and it was as if all the fear and confusion melted away.

As soon as I said this, her breathing changed, first she stopped breathing, then she began to gasp and gulp. The paramedics arrived. I yelled to them and to the woman who was helping me telling them she stopped breathing. The woman helping me confirmed indeed, she was dying.

I saw the blood flow slow down, but I saw the spurts continue with a pulsing rhythm. A woman, an anesthesiologist was helping. She told me I had to apply pressure at the groin. The turnacut was not enough so I had to use my hands to grip her flesh directly to try and stop the bleeding. I reached in and held the skin and tissues with my hands as tight as I could. The spurts stopped.

When I realized all I could do was done and a paramedic stepped in and was working on her breathing, I let go of her leg and stepped back. Her blood covering my hands and arms, pooled in my shoe and on my knees from where I had been kneeling before her.

I slowly stepped away from her. It was hard, because I saw her go from praying and looking at me, to dying in front of me.

As I went into the parish bathroom and washed the blood off of my hands, I saw bits and pieces of her on me, I realized that I had the blood of a possible saint on me. She had come from Mass, she was a regular attendee and Eucharist Adoration visitor, she was wearing a scapular, had gone to confession (I found out later she attended Divine Mercy Sunday services and this is the remittance of all temporal consequence for sin) and she had been given last rites and anointing and so I may assume based on her faith and love of God, that she was with Jesus in Heaven as I washed her body from my hands. I prayed for her and thought, was this a loving mercy from God?

I have always prayed that when I die, I would be in a state of grace, I would have been to confession, would have just received communion, would have a priest there to give me last rites, that those around me would be praying a rosary or speaking to me about trust in God and to not be afraid and here she was given all of these things.

At 95 years of age, she lived a beautiful long life. I found out she also had all her faculties and was considered by many woman a beautiful and holy soul that inspired them to live their own faith. She had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and shared this prayer with others. She had been an OB/GYN had a love for the unborn and here she laid, not more than 3 or 4 feet from the memmorial to the unborn. She was surrounded by flowers and people praying the rosary for her and with her.

I met a woman named Tony who told me these things and also how much she prayed and offered up suffering for her own son to come back to the sacraments. I offered my next mass for this and later, offered my communion at her funeral mass for him to be reunited to the church and the sacraments. I ended up singing the Ave Maria at her funeral. How fitting since it was the prayer we had said together as she approached the throne of God.

Was this all just a coincidence? Was it a coincidence that I got the day wrong and drove by just at the time this happened? Was it a coincidence my daughter saw it as I was about to just drive by?

Was it a coincidence that I heard her praying and yelled for the group to pray with her? Was it a coincidence that I had an image of a priest giving last rites flash into my mind so that I would have the presence of mind to think to call for a priest? Was it a coincidence that when he came out and heard me, he was able to subvert his natural inclination to run to the aid of an injured woman and instead of acting on it he ran into the church to obtain the holy oil in which to give her Extreme Unction? Was is a coincidence that her death occurred within minutes of the accident, minimizing suffering, but enough time to allow for a priest to come and for the sacrament to be given while she was still alive?

I think not. I think it was a gift. I think it was divine providence. How can a tragedy be a gift? Because her death, although it still haunts me, was the way I would want to die. For those of you who believe in heaven, then you realize what an amazing blessing it was that the hour of her death was 15 minutes of union with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, followed by 15 minutes of suffering, surrounded by people in prayer and a priest anointing her and comforting her. The prior 30 minutes was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For me, that would be a blessing. I pray her family sees it that way.

Eternal Rest Grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her and may she rest in peace, most sacred heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us.

Paz Guidote, 95, a native of the Philippines, came to the United States in 1964 where she built a career as an obstetrics and gynecology physician. She retired from her job in St. Paul, Minn., at age 78.

While she was in her 20s, Guidote served as a first lieutenant in the Philippine Army, as part of the Philippine resistance to the Japanese.

Paz Guidote in 2009 told The Post-Crescent she treated several American soldiers who escaped from the infamous Bataan Death March, which was the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war from the Bataan peninsula prison camps. In 2009, Paz Guidote talked of her family’s role in the war. Family members used a transmitter to send messages reporting Japanese army, navy and air force strength and troop movements to U.S. military bases in the Pacific Theater of Operations. A Japanese soldier came to their home and it provided a close call. Her sister, though, stepped to the piano and provided significant enough distraction to keep him from the bedroom the transmitter was located.

She, too, made note of her love of country.

“I’m proud that we survived and helped the Americans,” she said.

“People along the route would grab American prisoners and help them escape,” she said. “That was the first time I saw malaria.”

Friend Judy Gruber said Guidote had a zest for life that never diminished with age. Gruber took her to Mass five or six times a week. Sometimes Gruber would receive thanks for bringing her, but “it wasn’t thank you to me. I felt blessed to be in her life.”