Human beings are spiritual by nature, our spirit lives within us.
I find artists, for example, very spiritual, and I suppose it is
because they express themselves from inside out.
Children are very spiritual, and very in their nature, too!
If you are "spiritual but not religious", then you probably have a
particular aim, or several; maybe to be happy, feel "connected",
centered, grounded, loving, present, energetic....... etc.
With the Catholic doctrine it is about obedience.
Obedience is a word that is enough to make people flee,
to send shivers down the spine.
One might ask: "what is in it for me", "why would I agree to rules
that does not make sense, and agree to do things that are boring
and that I do not understand?"
And again: "what do I get out of it?"
And then, amongst Christians there are those that are "trying hard"
to come close to God.
They can never succeed, as it is their "trying hard" that blocks God.
It is God that does everything. That does not mean that we do nothing.
So what is required of us?
Obedience. Prayer, Mass, Bible readings.
That our attitude is one of trust, trust in what we cannot see;
acts of faith.
It is not us that are in charge, we are being led by God.
It is a constant work of self emptying; we have to "get out of the way"
in order that God can fill us.
And we need to have the desire. Deep desire.
The desire that never goes away after we have seen and experienced
something that is "not of this world", but that is more real than anything
in this world.
Abuse is abuse, it is an attack, a violation.
The fact that there has been a massive redefinition of the word abuse;
what was normal and acceptable decades ago, was maybe even classed
as discipline, does not change, reduce or eliminate the damage inflicted
in any way.
The first step is to recognize what happened and then recognize the damage done.
At the same time the historical or cultural context should not be completely
disregarded, since keeping it in context is important for the healing process.
Because when a victim understands that the person(s) that offended them,
in fact did not know what they were doing, the forgiveness process
can begin. Forgiving, letting go, the emotional charge can leave.
The reality as well, that we are all, at some stage in our lives,
in a smaller or a larger degree, both victims and perpetrators of abuse,
even if we are convinced that we are not.
A child who has nobody to support or help it when he/she is being aggressed
in some way, has to rely on itself. But since a young child has not got the capacities
for self help, the child's mind tells the child that the person who is carrying out the
violence, is right.
That provides a temporary solution to the situation, because the mind needs
one, in order to regain some kind of balance and to carry on with life.
The problem is that this risks becoming permanent.
The child can become completely identified with the aggressor, and if the aggressor
is one of the child's parent, it can become complicated in adult life, as it
hampers the autonomy and development of the growing child and adult.
The person shields themselves with denial, in fact internally it is frozen in fear.
The person cling to their fear as a way of protection. (!)
For someone who does not stop talking about how he absolutely does not
believe in God, the british comedian Ricky Gervais seems all the same to
be pretty obsessed about Him.
Last night I saw a clip of a show he did at the end of last year (Australia?) where he in a
sketch jokes that, obviously mocking Christians who believe in the omnipresence of God,
the premier cause of all things created, that God was in Africa at a certain moment in time
busy "given AIDS to babies".
I assume that he has no christian education, but I have heard this argument several times;
that God must not be good, or He must not exist, since He allows so many terrible things
On the most basic level of christian doctrine,
is the recognition of the existence of good (God) and bad (the adversary).
The adversary goes under many names, but it is him that is behind disease,
all misery and even death.
It is not God.
It is important to clarify it.
People are free, free to believe in whatever or whoever they want.
But before rejecting something, people should at least inform themselves about what they
The adversary is active in the world, because people choose him, instead of God.
It is our cooperation with him, our yes, that allows him to continue his work of corruption.
We are complicit, we are implicit, we are not detached observers.
Us human beings are, generally speaking, not making use of our free will,
which is our greatest "asset", gift from God.
Many years ago, it was at the very beginning of my prayer life, I came upon a novena to
Saint Therese,which I picked up from the table close to the main entrance/exit door of the church.
I had heard about Saint Therese, but as someone who did not grow up in the catholic faith, I had
converted, I did not really understand the role of the saints.
At this particular time, I needed help, help from above, as I found myself in a very uncertain
situation; my 24 year old marriage had broken up due to my ex's alcohol addiction.
I did not know what was going to happen to me and my children, and I was coming up to the day
in court for the legal separation hearing where my future would be decided by a judge.
My ex had furnished himself with a well reputed solicitor and barrister,
I had no income, so I had free legal aid.
In the little leaflet that explained how to pray a novena to Saint Therese, it said at the end that
in praying this novena one would receive flowers as a sign that the supplication would be granted.
I was very sceptical regarding that bit, but I thought it was worth praying the novena anyway.
A week after the 9 day novena, I was hurrying from my house to get to the bus stop in time.
I was getting the bus to town. In passing in front of my neighbours houses, one of them saw
me from her upstairs window, opened the window and shouted out to me to "hang on" a minute.
I was a bit annoyed because I was sure that I would miss the bus.
But as my neighbour was insisting that I wait, I did. She then came out of her front door with a
beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was speechless. In the decades I had lived there, neither her or any other of my neighbours had given me flowers.
They are good neighbours who help each other, but giving flowers just like that,
is not the done thing.
When I looked at her, she just said that she had felt inspired to give me flowers. Her daughter had been with her when she bought them, and she had tried to discourage her from buying flowers, saying that she would be better off buying me chocolates or something, but no, she felt strongly that I needed flowers!
This neighbour is in no way religious, and she obviously did not know anything about my novena.
The day in court went very well for me, but not for my ex.
Another time I had been talking to another member of the prayer group that I belonged to.
She was desperate to become pregnant because she experienced difficulties in this regard.
I had told her a short time previously that I would pray the novena to Saint Therese for her.
One evening, in entering the little side chapel where the prayer meeting was, I noticed
some beautiful lilies in front of the Altar.
At the end of the meeting, the man who was leading, took the beautiful flowers and in an
official kind of way, handed me the flowers, saying they were for me.
The woman who I was praying for, and another woman who also knew about it, were equally
amazed as me. Not long afterwards the woman became pregnant, and shortly after she had
the first child, she was pregnant again with the second.
I actually have a long list of similar episodes, always with flowers!
But once, when I was not even praying the novena, I had gone to Mass without realising that it
was the feast day of Saint Therese (1.October), and as the priest announced it at the start of the
Mass, I was saying to myself that fortunately I had not missed that day's Mass, since it was Saint Therese's feast day, as she was always helping me enormously.
As I went out of the church after Mass, my friend who had waited for me,
handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers!
He was not religious, and had no idea about Saint Therese's feast day either!
Through her I have come to understand the role of the Saints in the catholic doctrine, how important
they are for us, and how they help us. In helping us with real practical or material problems, they
help us to understand that we can also be sanctified.
In learning about Saint Therese; the events of her family and personal life, her personality,
her character, I see that she was not perfect either; in several aspects she reminds me of myself,
and that encourages me!
She suffered the effects of the loss of her mother,
(twice, as her elder sister who had become her mother substitute also left her ),
she had a nervous breakdown as a young girl,
she was the youngest in the family,
she had a very strong willpower, she was hypersensitive, and suffered from "scrupels"