Spiritual Dryness and Pregnancy

I’ve been in the middle of a spiritual dry spell since at least early January, but it probably goes back a bit further.  The only moments I’ve felt close to God have been during the RCIA classes I help teach and Sunday Mass.  My prayer life has become all but not existent.   It’s been a very blah time for me, but I hope that this period is just temporary.

I’ve wondered why I’ve been experiencing this dryness and I have had a few thoughts on it. One of the reasons that I have thought about is how this pregnancy is going. I haven’t been sleeping – I went four solid nights a few weeks ago sans sleep.  That was no fun.  My hip girdle is where I’ve experienced all of my key problems.  I have been having a lot of pain that has made walking on certain days all but impossible, and on my “good” days I can’t walk or stand for very long before I can no longer tolerate the debilitating pain.  About the only position I’ve found any comfort in is sitting, but not for too long or my back begins to hurt.  I know all of this will pass, and all of my joint pain will disappear within a few days of the little one being born.  All of the pain and lack of sleep is what I think may be one of the key contributors to this dryness.

I can’t focus on reading scripture, prayer, writing much of anything these days, and let’s not even discuss my keeping up with my house.  I’m drained.

And yet, I know that God will get me through this and I will be stronger and wiser on the other side.  I will still try to focus on all the above, I may fail miserably at all of them, but I am doing my best.

About a week ago I found a beautiful prayer that I keep coming back to over and over again.

OURLADYPERPETHELP

Dearest Mary, I look to you now for the help of your maternal love.
You understand my trials as an expectant mother.
You bore Jesus in your womb.
You know the doubts and anxieties that beset me; you know the bodily suffering I endure.
Like you, may I turn all these sorrows into joy.
You overcame anxiety by a loving trust in God; you overcame doubt by gentle resignation to His will.
Your motherhood lifted your mind above earth and kept it close to God.
So speak to Jesus now with me, beloved Mother, as I seek prayerfully to learn to bear the trials of motherhood with joy.
Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for me!

Father Robert Barron posted this very timely video today.

One of the key scripture verses I keep coming back to is Philippians 4:6 – “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”  It is very difficult to thank God for pain and discomfort, and yet I am.  I have been “offering up” my pain for others.  Here is a great explanation of what I mean by “offering it up.”  And while I may feel miserable, I know that this pain can and will be used by God and for that I am thankful.

Advertisements

7 Quick Takes (Saint Nicholas Edition)

— 1 —

St.-Nick

Today, December 6th, is the feast day of Saint Nicholas. You probably know him better as “Santa Claus.”

— 2 —

He was born around the year 270 AD and died around 343 AD.  When he was young, both of his parents died, and he used the wealth that his parents had left him to “secretly” help those in need.  There are several stories of the wonderful acts of kindness that he did for those in need.

— 3 —

Saint Nicholas would later go on to become the Bishop of Myra (now known as Demre).

— 4 —

Nichols-Punch-Meme

One of the main topics that The First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325) addressed Arianism.  This was a heretical teaching by a priest named Arius who wrongly taught that Jesus was not fully divine and was a mere creature like the rest of us.  During Arius’ exposition of this belief, Jolly St. Nick had heard all he could of this nonsense,  got up and punched Arius in the face.

— 5 —

Emperor Constantine was in attendance at the Council of Nicea and after witnessing St. Nick sucker punch Arius, he and the other Bishops had Nicholas stripped of his office as Bishop of Myra, and confiscated his personal copy of the Gospels (remember books weren’t easy to come by back in the 4th century) and his pallium.

— 6 —

St. Nick’s story doesn’t end there.  According to tradition:

“…after Nicholas was deposed, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Nicholas who was being held in a prison cell for his fist-fight with the heretic.

Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Saint Nicholas, “Why are you here?” Nicholas responded, “Because I love you, my Lord and my God.”

Christ then presented Nicholas with his copy of the Gospels. Next, the Blessed Virgin vested Nicholas with his episcopal pallium, thus restoring him to his rank as a bishop.

When the Emperor Constantine heard of this miracle, he immediately ordered that Nicholas be reinstated as a bishop in good standing for the Council of Nicea. Today we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday so we know how the controversy played out. The bishops at Nicea sided with Saint Nicholas and Saint Athanasius and they condemned Arius as a heretic. To this very day, we still recite in the Creed that Christ is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father.””

— 7 —

And I thought I’d just add my favourite Saint Nicholas memes I’ve seen around the interwebs.  Enjoy!

St.-Nick2 St.-Nick3 St.-Nick4

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Happy New Year!!

georgia_cyclone3

I hope that everyone had a blessed Advent and Christmas. I did, but I’m so glad that it is over!!  The entire month of December was an emotional roller coaster for me. It included quick descents into sad, melancholy moods and very slow climbs into better moods which were quickly followed by near vertical descents all over again, with a few corkscrews thrown in.

Here’s a quick recap of December 2012…

1) Finished a MOPS craft that was nearly 4 years old.  Yay!!

20130103_105327Christmas Countdown Blocks

2) Printed, framed, and hung up our house rules.  Double Yay!!

20130103_105444

3) Hurt feelings between me and another friend….

4) The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that hit very close to home. No, I didn’t know anyone involved, but being a mum of two small children – one that is the same age as the victims, it was so easy to imagine that it could have just as easily have been my child or one of my friends’ children that day.

5) I found out that a guy I dated back in university who had a major influence on my life died several years ago. The strangest part of finding out about this was that he died on my husband’s birthday the year we married.

6) My maternal Grandmother died the next day. I love you Grandma and my hope is that you are in Heaven with our Heavenly Father praying for all of us who are still on this earthly plane.

471426_10151344158036071_1538361157_o

7) My Mum-in-law came to visit for a week.  This had its very good moments, but as when all family gets together it had it’s not so great moments as well.

8) Mike finally finished the shelf (stained, built, and hung) that he’s been talking about doing for the past 5 years.  Yay!!

9) I dedicated myself into holy slavery to Jesus.

And that’s a quick rehash of my wonderful December.  Amazingly, I kept my cool through it all and was able to find joy in everything that occurred.  Was I sad? Sure. But emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc) are fleeting feelings. Joy is eternal and comes from our faith in God. As Christians we are called to be people of joy and to be always hopeful, trusting God during every event in our life. Is it difficult to find joy in all things?  Absolutely! Whenever you are down, something tragic happens, and what not my advice is simple. Take it to prayer, and offer it up to God.

“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  –James 1:2-4

“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” –Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:4-7

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of the Virgin

Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption. For those who have no idea what this means let me explain. At the moment of her death she was assumed body and soul into Heaven by the power of God. This is not to be confused with Christ’s ascension into Heaven. Christ ascended into Heaven by His own power, Mary was assumed into Heaven by God.

How do we know that this occurred when it isn’t found in scripture. Firstly, not everything that Jesus taught his Apostles nor the teaching of the Apostles is written in the Bible. For the first several years of the Church everything was passed on orally. Many of these teachings are now called Sacred Tradition (I’ll get into the debates of sola scripture and sola fide at a later time). Secondly, no relics nor tomb have ever been claimed to be that of our Blessed Mother. All of the other Apostles, Saints, and so forth have had someone lay claim to finding relics or tombs. There are only two people who this has never been claimed for: 1. Jesus – because we know that he ascended to Heaven by his own power. (Acts 1:9-11) and 2. Mary. Lastly, there were other people whom God assumed into Heaven: Enoch (Gen 5:24), Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), and some say Moses was also assumed (no one knows where his grave is – Dt 34:6, the archangel Michael argues with the Devil about his body – Jude 1:9, and he appears alongside Elijah at the transfiguration (Mat 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36)

There are several excellent posts on this topic around the interwebs. I feel as if I would just be rehashing them. Allow me to present the links to a few of their posts:

Two posts from Brent Stubbs over at AlmostNotCatholic.com:

  1. The Assumption in Church History
  2. The Assumption in the Bible

Mary’s Assumption Makes Sense in Light of Microchimerism  An interesting take on the assumption by Elizabeth Scalia:

The Assumption by Brianna Heldt

The Feast of the Assumption is Our Feast Too written in 2010 by Msgr. Charles Pope