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Don’t Bear Hatred… AACK

Happy Thursday All,

The Saint of the Day today, January 10th, is Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Read about his life by clicking on his name. St. Gregory of Nyssa – Pray for us!

I am sharing the below with you because:

  • …it is real.
  • …we all have periods where we revert back to middle school feelings of “not good enough”.
  • …those of us who move across the world from friends and families have days where we feeling almost as if we are trying out for friendship with people… “hey, am I good enough?” “are they always going to nix my ideas?’ 

I’m sharing this with you because I know I can do better, and I want let you know it’s ok if you feel these things. I want to encourage you to BE YOU. Be the light God made you to be. People will eventually see the light, don’t let them snuff You out. In other words, don’t make the same mistakes I do.


Leviticus 19:17-18 was the first reading today. I have to admit, this is hard for me sometimes. 

For instance when I first moved to Italy, I encountered a couple people in the Catholic Parish that were very unwelcoming. There’s a lot more to the story but I’ll leave it there.  I am not saying that these people were the only ones at fault, they were unwelcoming and quick to judge on several occasions, and I was ugly about it. I’m not normally an ugly person but I think being overwhelmed about moving to another country, being nervous, feeling like a junior high girl that has to prove that I’m worthy of friendship, and frankly just being lonely and bewildered lent to my reaction to these women. When I apologized for my part in it, it was not well received as they did not see their part. I am not good at conflict.
I was an Event/Meeting planner at one point in my career and excel at putting together Events/Parties. And Hospitality/Welcoming people is my specialty, which is why I am very conscious of other people’s lack of hospitality/welcome. Plus, some people just put off airs that they can’t be bothered with others. Lastly – I never lived the actual military life as an adult, where you move every few years, and that has to be hard. So I really am not here to pass judgment on them, just giving you background.
I am feeling guilty this morning and have been for a week or so. You see, I went to the Priest and another Church Council member about the lack of community/hospitality/communication at the Parish.  And eventually we decided that I would head up the Hospitality Committee, and then I noticed things Father had talked to me about were being done by these women who I perceived did not like me and would never accept my ideas, or me in that position…  and then I panicked about past experiences with women who bully and decided that I had severe dislike for these women and thought all kinds of uncharitable thoughts. I took the position because I believe welcoming people and creating community is one of the most important things. I excepted, and then a couple days later I declined. What this all amounted to was that I chickened out.
I was here, without my lifelong friends, without family for the holidays, I felt self-conscious and unwelcome and I decided I hated it here, and hated them, and I started walking down a path where I was allowing myself to pick it all apart, instead of learning how things run here and helping institute positive change. Hate is a strong word, but the devil is a strong force. So much has gone wrong here that it’s hard to put the angst I felt even into words. The roller coaster of feeling like I wanted to leave my husband and our faith and that no one cared… and having to fake my way through it like I was the happiest person on earth… Sigh. Let’s just say it was all bigger than me. I was spiraling. The couple years of BAD had finally broken me. Italy broke LadyEm!
Yesterday, was the first women’s meeting I have attended since my first unwelcome experience. In the previous meeting, I will share with you that several of us new people stood there, and then sat down, and not one current member of the women’s group greeted us. No one had on name tags… honestly no one even spoke to us. It was not a great experience. And when I suggested name tags and other things, privately, I was rebuffed. It was hard for me to walk back into it. But I invited a new friend and I knew that there would be one other person there I knew. So I went anyway. And I survived. There were even name tags, and Father came by to say hi. Did the leaders introduce themselves to new people – nope. But that’s ok, it’s on them. I guess it’s just not who they are, and I can’t let it diminish my experience here. 
This evening is the first meeting of the hospitality committee. Our Priest wants me to come. I really want to head it up, but after backing out, I know I will take a support role and I’ve been battling my ego for a couple weeks. Yesterday at the above-mentioned meeting, I said I probably would not be there because I hate to drive at night. This is true, I have no depth perception and could easily back out. But I don’t want to further let Father down, and I don’t really know what to do.
But I do know this. I broke more than one commandment with my thought process and actions. It’s weighing so heavy on me. Confession is not readily available here in Italy. One Priest, three bases, 1/2 hour confession a week, unless you make an appt. sigh… but I need to go and I will make that happen.
I share this with you because I want you to know that when you are spiraling out of control – as depicted above with my train of thought – that God still has you. You are NOT alone. Why else was the meeting scheduled today? When God knew I would read the above and know that I have been very wrong…. and then encourage me to get up and come down to my cold office to write this up, to help someone else who needed to know:
God loves you and wants you to live bravely and assuredly in His word. Fear not, my brothers and sisters in Christ… He is with you. Don’t fall into the sin of self-doubt, for it is lead by EGO and PRIDE! And you know the saying, Pride goeth before the fall. 
I don’t really know how to “get over myself” because I am a work in progress. BUT – I can tell you that I feel God working in me. I know I don’t have to LIKE everyone I meet, but I must not HATE or show contempt either, because that is a sin against God. And really, when you think you aren’t good enough, that is self-hate, and it’s also a sin against God.
Sigh. Pray for me. I don’t know if I will serve on the committee or take a role of helping when I can.
But I know I need your prayers. I want to be the Light I am. I don’t want to give into fear, angst and ego. I’ve been here before and it’s NOT pretty.

Can you relate? Let us love one-another. If someone is not welcoming, you be welcoming. If someone is not nice, pray for them. Don’t let Hate seep into your thoughts, it affects your heart and soul. God commands us to LOVE! Be the One who LOVES!

DO NOT BEAR HATRED FOR YOUR BROTHER (and Sisters) IN YOUR HEART!
As I told someone recently – Italy Broke LadyEm! Sigh. Pray for me. I’m praying for you, I promise.

I promise to be back and on a happier note soon.
I hope this helps at least one person. 
Love, Hugs & Blessings,
Lady Em
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CWBN BlogHop – The Role of Women in the Catholic Church

Dear Ones,

We live in a world that would have us think our Church is backwards, sexist, and antiquated because women aren’t Priests, because we don’t marry same-sex couples, and a plethora of other reasons. But we must hold on to the truths in our Church and continue to honor the strong and faithful women who came before us, reaching as far back as the Old Testament, and live our lives on the path they forged for us.

Our Church began with a resounding YES from our Blessed Mother Mary.  That young girl, long ago, who gave her resounding yes to carry Our Lord in Her blessed womb. She helped start our Church, the first Church that all others have sprung from. She is our guide for what Women should be in our Church. She is our model in our Faith and how we live our lives.

We may not always get it right, like she did, but in our striving to do so, we change the path of our Parish Churches, by living our lives faithfully in our Domestic Churches.

In the CWBN BlogHop this month, on Allison’s Blog, we are challenged to share our opinions on Strong and faithful women in the Catholic Church. I would encourage you to read articles like these:

When we think of Our Blessed Mother and all the Catholic Female Leaders who came before us, we think about things like their Faithful Example, Comforting in Motherhood and leadership, the way they forgave others, and their humility; but, mostly we admire them for their tenacity, integrity and their focused YES to Our God’s direction and plan for their lives.

Probably my two favorite Catholic women role-models that formed my faith, besides Our Blessed Mother, have been Mother Angelica and Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta.  I watched these women live their faithful lives (of course, from afar)… but I will never forget their examples. The way they reached out to the poor, the way they taught us to love the Lord, the way they admonished themselves and therefore our sinful nature and brought the reality of Christianity into our hearts, souls and our decisions in our Domestic Churches.

Christ ordained men to be Priests, so I will not discuss any chance of ANYONE in the True Catholic Church ordaining women Priests. I pray it never happens. And, if I am being honest I don’t like to see women serving on the Altar at all, beyond the position of Cantor or Eucharistic Minister. HOWEVER, because of the shortage of men/boys to serve, I get that in some areas, for many reasons these things take place. And I will not speak out against it, except to say, it’s not my preference.

There are MANY choices for women to influence our Church in leadership positions.  Women can become Nuns/Sisters. Women can serve on Financial Advisory Councils and other councils in our Church. In fact, there is a National Council of Catholic Women (and I’m assuming other groups as well). I am involved at the Parish/Diocesan Level in this group. There are many more ways we can serve as great role models, and I urge you to get a list and pray about what ways you can serve best.

Since 2011, I have taught 3rd Grade Religious Education, they call the position a Catechist.  Through this position, I have had the awesome task of teaching children about Our Lord and Our Faith.  I have volunteered through serving on the Altar Society, and in the Religious Formation Office as a Volunteer to help organize various church functions.  I have volunteered with Catholic Charities and the local food bank. We all have great roles we can play when we say YES to God and lead with love.

However, I think my most important function in our Church, as a woman… My biggest and most important role in the Catholic Church is the responsibility that God has given me is as WIFE and MOTHER.

As a mother, I am everything to my child. In this way, I can only hope to imitate our Blessed Mother in preparing my child for his life. You see, Faith Formation starts at home. What we do in our homes lays the very foundation for how our children approach their faith outside our homes. Before our children learn from others, they learn from us. So teach them well. Show them the unconditional love our Father asks us to live by. 

Do I get it right all the time? – NOPE. But I try. Is this about fancy meals and art and comparing myself to other mamas? – NOPE, not all the time. LOL It’s about teaching my child about our faith in a way that weaves that faith into EVERY LITTLE THING WE DO.  And sometimes it’s exhausting and more than I could manage if I was doing this by myself. BUT the Good Lord and many mamas I know – have been integral to a) my knowing what to do and b) my not losing my mind.

My free advice —

Find a small group of like-minded mamas and their like-minded families who understand what you are trying to accomplish by raising your children in your faith.  Give your children good examples of friends to play with, learn from, etc. AND give yourself the gift of women who understand and won’t challenge everything you are trying to accomplish. This is a sanity saver. TRUST ME.

Those same women could be the women who build you and your marriage up when society doesn’t understand what you are trying to accomplish in it.

What do I do? Amongst other things…

  • Love my husband, their father. Do right by him. Pray for him.
  • Love my children. Pray for them. Spend time with them. Listen. Talk. Pray more.
  • Over the years I have  — 
    • Introduced Feast Days.
    • Read Catholic Children’s Stories.
      • I read the Bible to my child every day, starting with Children’s Bible stories for infants and toddlers – over and over again. As he got older, the stories got more detailed. Virtues and Commandments were introduced. 
    • Read Books on Virtues for children – and discussed them with my children (age appropriately).
    • Participated in Catholic Art projects. 
    • Homeschooled (though this is the last  year).
    • I am involved in our Parish, Diocese and Philanthropy. And therefore, so is he.

Most importantly – I lead by example and apologize when I get it wrong. LEAD THEM!  Just so you know, my husband has three children from previous marriage who I include as my children. We went through an annulment process, for those who may be concerned with the integrity of our marriage. I really owe no explanation, but I do intermittently use plurals when speaking of children. So there you have that.

I don’t need to give you countless examples of how to raise your children and how to live out being a good wife and mother, because you’ve read blogs, books, etc.

Sisters, you have many options to lead and grow in the Catholic Church. Find what you love and do it. But while  you are having children – I implore you to concentrate on your husband and on them, and you will be doing exactly what God had lead you to do.

This includes those who work, run businesses, write books, etc. Bottom line – they put their family first. For sure. It’s the way God intended it.

We must all learn to say YES to God. And to stand firm in our roles in the Catholic Church.

Lastly, I want to say that God does not ask me to deny I have more talents in addition to being wife and mother. I just want to put that out there, lest anyone not get where I am coming from.

I think I will go write a post about what I’ve learned since becoming a mom… about myself, the world, etc. I mean – the laughter that has ensued and the wisdom I’ve gleaned. HA! It’s like Joan of Arc and Lucille Ball mixed with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and The Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Am I right? HAHA

Many blessings ALL!

Emily