What Is Trust? Week 1 Day 1

trust

I have received profound healing in my relationship with God through the Hearts A Fire retreat’s written by Fr. Michael Gaitley. 33 Days to Merciful Love is proving to be a beautiful and wonderful book that I believe is a gift to the Church for these times. We are now in a time where so many of us have been wounded by people and sometimes even by the Church herself.

hurt churchWhen the Church is who hurts us, we may be tempted to believe that God is not Good or that we are not good or deserving of anything good. I have met many people deeply and profoundly wounded by the Church. This has created a huge division in our world. I believe this book/retreat is a tool that can begin to heal division and bring all Christian souls together with one uniting purpose; to receive the merciful love of Jesus Christ and then to bring it to hurting souls in our broken world.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (397) it says that “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart…” lets talk about what this means. First of all we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Male or female we are icons of the truth, life and love of God walking around on earth and we are supposed to be making visible the invisible reality of God through the living our of our lives in union with God. However, when the devil comes and whispers his lies, we can in a sense, divorce ourselves from God and accept the proposal of the evil one.devil liar

Why do we do that? Because the father of lies wants us to believe that God is not trustworthy and does not want to honor our desires.  He begins by planting seeds of doubt. We doubt that God loves us, doubt that He desires to bless us, doubt that he will honor our desires. This doubt leads us to fear. In our fear, we may respond by grasping or taking instead of remaining in a place of trust.  Doubt means to be uncertain, to fear, to be afraid. Why do we plan and strive for what we think will bless us rather than wait for God’s timing or say on the matter? Because we are afraid and we hide ourselves. We turn away from God. Fear-is-a-Liar

Now that we understand that the evil one uses doubt to tempt us to believe his lies, we need to identify what our desires are and where we may have doubts so that we can invite the Holy Spirit it shine his flashlight of truth there and help us to come back into union with God.light

Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge.” This is so true! We must first see where we are being lied to before we can divorce ourselves from the liar and come into union with God and his truth and will for our lives. If we pretend that we don’t need God or that what we are doing is God’s will when it isn’t we will remain miserable, lost and afraid.

By inviting the Holy Spirit in, we expose where the enemy of our soul (Satan) has put fear into our hearts. Adam and Eve were afraid and so they hid themselves. God desires for us to take off the fig leafs we hide behind. He wants us to not be afraid because He promises us that He will always show up. He wants to honor our desires and he wants to heap a double portion of blessings upon each of us. The question is, do we believe Him and what, if any, lies are obstacles to His truth coming alive in our hearts? One way to discover the answer to these questions is to journal. journalWhen we journal we contemplate, we meditate, we hold truth in our hearts and ponder it thus allowing it to be birthed within us. It is in this secret place where the Holy Spirit begins to speak to us. It is as if the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that illuminates things that we cannot see in the darkness. When we journal, our thoughts and emotions as well as our will is engaged and in this sacred place and time the Holy Spirit shines His healing light on the broken places in our hearts, minds and souls. He speaks to us gently there telling us what it is he wants us to know about his love for us.

After reading through “What is Trust” (Week 1 Day 1) I have put together some thoughts and questions to ponder and journal through.

Do we believe God is trustworthy? Are you afraid that God cannot be trusted to honor your heart’s desires?  Why or Why not?

Where have you felt God has not shown up in your life or where do you feel you are still waiting for him to bless you?

Think of one memory in which God did show up or bless you?

What is it that you desire God to do in your life?

Now quietly pray to the Holy Spirit to come and shine a light on this desire and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know about this desire of your heart.

 

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy, Help me better to know the great and unsurpassable goodness of God. Amen

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Why Do I feel scared, ashamed, hopeless, rejected, angry or powerless?

suffering

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). 

WOUNDS CHART

sin separates

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.

spreads

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.

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.

clean

 

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.

struggle

“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:

wound hearts

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”.

castle

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.

 

bound

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.

 

 

7 deadly sins

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  .

Online “Healing The Whole Person” Retreat!

“To speak of prayer for the healing of the soul is primarily to speak of prayer for releasing someone from psychological sickness and emotional pain due to hurts and deprivations of the past.

Prayer for healing of memories is in this category.

When someone has such a need he has a psychological barrier to freedom in Christ.” Leanne Payne

Though the human spirit is united with Christ, God’s Spirit cannot radiate through this problem area until the person gets help to understand and deal with it.” Leanne Payne

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Are you ready to become more fully alive, more fully capable to love and more fully whole? Then inner healing is for you because it free’s us from compulsions to sin by helping us identify where we are wounded, how the enemy has oppressed you or your family? 

If you answered yes, then listen to these 6 talks and take this powerful mini retreat to heal the wounds that bind you and prevent you from being able to fully be free in Jesus Christ to love your family, love your neighbors and love your enemies.

http://www.onlypeople.org/healing/Image

Treasure In Earthen Vessels; God Works Through Cracked Pots (UPDATED 10-28-2012)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM TO HEAR THE TALK I GAVE AND SEE THE PREZI/PRESENTATION I GAVE TO 1,000 WOMEN)

The story of the woman at the well is a marriage proposal and is a great place to begin in sharing how we are treasures in earthen vessels. It is strangely reminiscent of the song we sang as children “first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. First there was God who is love. Then the word was made flesh. Jesus is the Bridegroom.

That childhood song was a song about the holy Trinity and the call of our God into the marriage relationship of the bride and bridegroom and how we will be transformed into new creations. Theology of the Body gives us a beautiful lens from which to fully understand what the old Baltimore catechism said when it said we were created to know love and serve God to give you him forever in heaven.

The woman at the well is symbolic of all of our brokenness because of the sin in our lives, all of the inadequacies and all of the ways in which we fall short and yet God comes to us and seeks us out.

This is the marriage proposal. We are made for connection we are made for relationship.

Where we struggle in this is when SHAME gets in the way of allowing others to truly see who we are or to allow others to truly see us.

That’s where vulnerability comes in.

VULNERABILITY IS NOT WEAKNESS. How many think it takes vulnerability to speak in front of an audience of 800 people? It is true that vulnerability involves emotional risk and uncertainty but what vulnerability really means is to have courage.

Vulnerability is birthplace of creation and transformation. To create is to make something that never existed before like the unique and unrepeatable person. When we have the courage to really open ourselves to look into our hearts and even more importantly let others really and truly “see” us, we become transformed. “ Grace perfects our nature”.

In the garden, we were naked without shame.

“Naked without shame” is about knowing who we were as persons made in Gods image and likeness and our nature was perfect. When we fell from Grace due to original sin shame entered into the world.

Shame is the devil’s proposal about who God is and who we are.

Shame says one of two things; “you will never be good enough” or “who do you think you are”.

Adam and Eve covered themselves because they said yes to the devil’s proposal. Because they were unwilling to be vulnerable enough to go to God and trust in who He said we are, they fell and the consequence was sin.

A very basic understanding of sin is separation from God. In the Old Testament sin is described as a transgression. It is not just a violation of the law, but because the law was meant to protect as persons and to protect our world and our environment and God’s creation it is also a violation of God and violation of us so every time we separate from God and transgress upon his will we transgress upon ourselves and of all of creation. Sin, missing the mark and falling short of the glory of God. So with three

Sin has its effects always in wounding. Sin always wounds. There is no sin that doesn’t wound. It wounds us and it wounds others around us. We have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

What SHAME does is it takes the guilt we feel and turns the belief of “What I did was bad” into the belief that “I am bad”.

SHAME then makes us feel that we are unworthy of connection. It is in believing we are not thin enough, beautiful enough, successful enough or smart enough that SHAME turns our focus from who we are as unique and unrepeatable persons into who we think we “should be” or “should be doing”.

Shame makes us feel we are not good enough and that we will never be good enough.

The story of the woman at the well reminds us of whom we truly are which is the beloved of the Bridegroom and that God desires to marry us.

God knows all the places we have failed him and will fail him and yet he created us anyways. Out of all of the potential people God could’ve created we were chosen to be created and to come into the world to exist in fact of this very particular time in history.

But it gets better than this! God is calling all of us to enter into the redemption of the world! God could have chose to redeem the world anyway he liked. What he decided was that he wanted all of us to enter into this great work with him.

He does this by transforming our wounds much like his own were from the power of the cross. His “cracks” were in fact the greatest gift given to the entire world. Our wounds, our cracks, our inadequacies become the very place, once transformed like a firing kiln to a clay pot, becomes the very form from which God can best shine through, pour out of and be given to others. He is magnified by our smallness and our weakness.

God is calling you and is issuing a marriage proposal in which He desires to transform you and touch the lives of those around you through your fiat.

A treasure in earthen vessels is about our unique and unrepeatable personhood, it is about our immortal soul chosen by God to be called into existence. The earthen vessel reveals that the person we are is feminine or masculine and also is a sign that we are called to love like the trinity. But the earthen vessel also speaks to us about form.

Form, and the material from which it is made reveal its purpose. If I held up a cup and asked, “What is it?” unless we were from another world where they do not use cups, we would know it is a cup and that it holds liquid. We know understand what it is because of its form

Our form is meant to be a visible sign of Christ to the world. It is not just our masculine or feminine person that our form reveals but it tells a story of the Bride and the Bridegroom.

In Caryll Houselander’s book “The Reed of God” she uses three forms to reveal how Christ “shines” through our cracks”, The reed, the chalice, and the birds nest.

The Reed grows on the riverbanks and must be cut with a knife and then hallowed out with notches cut into it to create its form. Some of our stories include this kind of shaping. We are cut and hallowed out. We may think that we have nothing to give, our brokenness, or even our sinfulness might make us believe that God could never possibly choose us. The woman at the well is a reminder that God does chose us and when we allow him to redeem us, it is as if we are pressed to the lips of the master and when His Spirit blows through the reed, lyrical music is created because of the hallowing out and the notches that had been cut.

Some of our stories are like a chalice. A chalice is made from gold that has to be first hewn from the mud, then forged in fire before it can be poured into it’s mold. It then has to be pounded by a mallet to create its form. For those whose forming came from the succession of blows or from the purification of fire, they may understand that they are like Gold, that they are good, but they may not believe themselves worthy of greatness. It is the age-old question “Who do you think you are? If we remember that we are the beloveds of Christ, that He called us into being that we are His, then we remember who we are. A chalice is used to offer the great sacrifice of the mass. For those whose form is like the chalice, God desires to fill you with the water and blood that gushed from His sacred heart so that through your form you can pour Him out to a thirsting world.

Finally, for those who are shaped like the nest of a bird, the soft downy feathers of a tender mother bird’s breast create the form. For those who may have been formed by loving parents, in a prayerful home and have no painful formation as part of their story the temptation could be to say that they do not have a unique or inspiring story. Those whose story includes love, fidelity and affirmation are not only hope and inspiration for the world but it also creates a person more fully capable of revealing Christ. This story is an example of how each of us is called to become tabernacles.

We are to bring Christ to the world with our own hands and feet, with our own stories.

Each of our stories is as unique as our fingertips, as unique as our personhood.

We are the vessel and form helps us to tell the story of who Christ is and who we are in Christ. We should never underestimate the power of conversion to work through even the most broken of vessels.

Lazarus is an example of just such a vessel. He was dead. A rotting corpse and according to chief mourners “stinking” and yet when Christ shone through Lazarus, an entire city and now every generation to come, was converted through his story and through his form.

For me, my form is the reed. I have been hallowed out, whittled and cut into. The story I have to tell is of being transformed through my children and my husband.

I’ve been able to identify specific attributes or virtues that God has helped to develop in me for each one of my children.

For Maegan it was vulnerability, for Sara it was selfless love, for Elisha it was the need of affirmation, for Gabriel it was submission, for Annamarie it was long-suffering, for Mercedes it was Mercy, for Christopher it was joy, for Jonah it was perseverance.

For each child I have received a healing of a major wound, crack, or notch cut into me. God transformed it and the grace He has given to me in each of these areas have brought me freedom to love more rightly

Each time I was cracked, wounded or cut into because of my sin or the sin of others, the enemy proposed a lie so to enter into my heart and bring me to a place of shame.

Christ helps to expose the lies and bring healing to our wounded hearts and when we become vulnerable and allow Him in to truly see us, Christ transforms our wounds and they become like stained glass windows illuminating and radiating God’s beauty, God’s light, God’s truth to the world.

They will know us by our joy they will know us by our love. In this year of faith we are called to transformation. The new evangelization is about allowing Christ to permeate us. We embrace our greatness when we dare to take what we know in our heads and connect it to our hearts. When we move from knowing God, to being in an intimate relationship with Him.

When we allow ourselves to truly be seen and to really see the person God puts in front of us everyday is when we enter into one another’s story of redemption. God works through cracked pots, because His greatness is magnified in our weakness. The truth is that the enemy puts salt in our wounds because he is terrified that if we actually go into the wounds and bring Christ there with us, we would discover that when Christ redeems them, they become like jewels in the Crown of the creator.

You are a treasure in an earthly vessel and your form reveals a call to love and to be loved from the bridegroom to His bride. All it takes is your “fiat” which is the greatest “I DO” you can ever utter.

LISTEN TO MY TALK HERE

http://archive.org/details/TreasureInEarthenVesselsGodWorksThroughCrackedPots

HERE IS THE SLIDESHOW

http://prezi.com/rf8re5qrwol-/treasure/

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

LISTENING TO SHAME

Intercourse Of The Heart

“O Church, pilgrim and suffering, of which I am the Mother, you must understand that the center of your life, the fount of your grace, the source of your light, the beginning of your apostolic action is found only here in the tabernacle where Jesus is truly kept…The more your life revolves wholly and entirely at the foot of the tabernacle, in intimate union with Jesus in the Eucharist, the more you will increase in holiness. (#360 c, d, B).

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This is a quote from Fr. Gobbi’s book on what Our Lady spoke to him for the Church.  I read this on a card given to me by Lilla Marie, a woman that is now apart of who am I not merely someone I met or someone that I know.  In fact, I know her as an experience, which is internal rather than external.  I met the love of God in that place.  I learned something about God there and so desire to share it with anyone who is seeking their own identity or seeking to “know” God and His calling on their own lives.  I think for me, this is going to transform how God will evangelize in and through me.  Here is what I believe the Holy Spirit showed me.

 

The source of light, the font of grace to be center of our lives is the tabernacle that is not an external thing (although certainly we know Jesus is there) but in a mystical tabernacle within our hearts.  Mary is the mystical declaration of this truth as first tabernacle.  She embodied the incarnation of God, Jesus Christ within the tabernacle of her womb and she brought Jesus within this tabernacle of her heart to the world when she visited Elizabeth.  In this demonstration she revealed what we are to do when Christ “lives” within us.  We are to bring Him to others and their birthplace within them will “leap” for joy when they receive Him through us.

 

Intercourse of the heart is a 2-fold mystery.  When we spend time with Jesus in the flesh a mystical infusion, penetration and intercourse with our hearts takes place and his “seed” is ejaculated there onto (hopefully) a receptive and fertile ground within us bringing about supernatural life.

 

It renews and refreshes us and it restores us, especially when we receive Him in the flesh because this is not just an intercourse of the heart (Holy Communion) but it is a unification of the body, soul and spirit within us receiving this Holy Seed, His Word and it is made flesh within us.  We enflesh it when we live out the fruit that begins to grow within the tabernacle of our person.  We are “possessed” means an enfleshment of this spiritual reality.  The body, soul and spirit is 3 in 1 or Trinitarian view of our personhood and He comes to us in a profound way in all three of these parts of our personhood.

 

God the Father gave Himself as a full, free, faithful and fruitful gift to the son and the Son openly received this gift and gave Himself to the father in this same way and the love between them IS the Holy Spirit.

 

The more your life revolves wholly, meaning is surrendering your all and everything (I surrender all) in its entirety at the foot of the tabernacle within you, this submission allows Him to possess us and conforms our will more perfectly to His.  Through this possession of our being, our tabernacle of our personhood then is possessed by the Holy Spirit and made manifest in intimate union (intercourse of the heart) with Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

When we are in His presence (Adoration) or receive Him in Holy Communion, a mystical restoration takes place through an intercourse of our person with God in His Three Persons, not just 1 of the three persons.  This brings new meaning to “you are what you eat”.

 

We need to be recharged, to receive and be filled to overflowing so that we can be filled so as to spill out to those who are desperate for their thirsts to be quenched.   It seems that intercourse of the heart with God is a profound way to do this and the purer the form of Him we receive the more capable we are to enflesh Him in and through our own lives, families, communities and friendships.  The more we do this the more we will increase in holiness.

 

I desire to be filled.  I desire to be capable of evangelizing in the way that Heidi Baker, founder of Iris Ministries declared in the foreword of Michelle Perry’s book LOVE HAS A FACE.  She said  “I have seen visions of a radical army of laid down lovers- a whole generation of those who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost bride.”  What I have to say to that is this.  COME HOLY SPIRIT COME.

 

For more on this go to “Missionaries of Our Mother of The Eucharist.  The website is linked HERE.