Showing posts with label pope francis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pope francis. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Contemplations - Mother Teresa's Humility

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of the most amazing women to have ever walked the face of this earth. The things she was able to accomplish with what little she had is something that not even the most powerful of entrepreneurs or political leaders have done. 

Mother Teresa at Prayer - source
Some background if you don't know much about her: She was only 18 years old when she joined a community of nuns and was sent to India to work as a teacher in Calcutta. She was from Macedonia (15 hour flight from Calcutta). 
Mother Teresa young - source
She taught in a private High School in Calcutta but she was never able to get over the profound poverty and suffering that she saw outside the convent. She gained permission from her superiors to leave the convent and work with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. 

source
From that point on she depended on "Divine Providence" because she had no funds and was able to create an open-air school for the poor children and many volunteers joined in helping her. She then received financial support from the community that she used in starting her own order "The Missionaries of Charity" and from then on the Society has spread all over the world. It is active in 256 countries and consists of over 4,500 religious sisters.  Mother Teresa died when she was 87 years old on September 5, 1997.  

*Information found on Wikipedia and NobelPrize.org.*

She was an example of love, humility and generosity. She never put her needs in front of the needs of others.  I think that there are far too few people like her today unfortunately. Some people are so far from humble it's frightening. Many people I see (especially the ones higher up on the food chain) think they are the best at everything, everyone wants to be in charge, the end result is always about earning more money and hardly ever only about the good of the people. 

Last Sunday's Gospel really opened my eyes and made me think. It was just beautiful and I would like to share it with you because I think it really touches on what I'm trying to say in this post. 

MK 12:38 - 44

 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, 
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers. 
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

The last phrase was the one that touched me. Basically what this means is that the rich people gave their surplus, what extra money they had, but the poor widow only gave two cents. In God's eyes the widow gave more than the rich, even if of lower value -- because she gave all that she had to live. 

I thought this reading was beautiful because it expresses the true meaning of love and humility. Mother Teresa, like the poor widow, gave ALL that she had. I'm not talking in terms of money but in terms of her love and passion that God put in her heart to help those in need. 

source

I wish I could be more like her. To be like Mother Teresa takes courage...it takes balls!! 

I'll conclude this post with some of her most inspiring quotes that I found in a USAToday article.  I have highlighted my favorites.  Number 9 to me is the best quote that is very current to this day...

1. "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?" - From a 1974 interview.

2. "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful," she told her official biographer Navin Chawla.

3. "The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day to day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them." - From a 1977 interview.

4. "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive it (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." - She said when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

5. "If luxury creeps in, we lose the spirit of the order," she said. "To be able to love the poor and know the poor we must be poor ourselves."

6. "I have never been in a war before, but I have seen famine and death. I was asking (myself) what do they feel when they do this? I don't understand it. They are all children of God. Why do they do it. I don't understand." - Beirut, 1982, during fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas.

7. "God will find another person, more humble, more devoted, more obedient to him, and the society will go on." - She said in Calcutta in 1989, after announcing her intention to retire.

8. "I was expecting to be free, but God has his own plans." - She said in Calcutta in 1990, when the sisters of her order persuaded her to withdraw her resignation.

9. "Please choose the way of peace... In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life your weapons will cause." - Letter to George Bush and Saddam Hussein in January 1991.

10. "The other day I dreamed that I was at the gates of heaven. And St. Peter said, 'Go back to Earth, there are no slums up here.'" - Mother Teresa was quoted as telling Prince Michael of Greece in 1996.

Mother Teresa with an armless baby

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pope Francis

I’m a practicing Roman Catholic. I believe in God. God is my light, my guide, my reference point for everything I need. I turn to Him and He always answers me…maybe not immediately but He has His own way of answering my prayers in His time.

My life would not exist without Him. If I didn’t have God by my side every moment of every day I would be miserable, unhappy and depressed. I need Him like I need air and water to live. I pity those who don’t believe. Those who get by day by day without being thankful or believing that they are on this earth because God gave them a chance to be here.
I feel sick to my stomach when I see heartbreaking images of people fleeing their countries because of war and terror traveling miles and miles cramped in small boats with women and children and then seeing the image of a two year old boy washed ashore because the boat flipped over in the middle of the night and he and his family didn’t make it…  It is terrifying and those children that die each day because of our continuous battle over money, power and religious beliefs deserve instead to live a life full of love, happiness and joy…not hatred, sadness and misery.
We have an amazing Pope to guide us and pray for peace along with us. I have never felt so touched by a Pope as I have by Pope Francis. Every time he speaks, his words enter my heart and stay there. Watching all that he does makes me a better person.
I know he was sent by God to help us and to make the world a better place. He does some amazing things. He does things that no other authority figure of his stature has done. He has donated 200,000 euros to families that can’t afford to pay their bills at the end of the month. He has provided public showers and bathrooms and even haircuts in the Vatican for the homeless people of Rome.
He has been seen walking the streets in the middle of the night in disguise breaking bread with the poor and sitting with them to let them know there is hope. He recently went to an eyeglass store by himself, he just walked in and asked the clerk to change his lenses. He said “I don’t want a new frame, just new lenses because I can’t see that well anymore”. The store flooded with people. Isn’t that the most wonderful thing?
He rides in a Ford Focus instead of a luxury car. He held a mass in the chapel of a prison and washed and kissed the feet of the prisoners. A 44 year old woman who was violently raped wrote to the Pope and he contacted her by phone and comforted her.
 
He is not against atheists, divorced or gays. He has stated that “Atheists are good people simply because they do good.” or “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge.”  He has told a divorced and remarried woman it’s ok to receive Holy Communion if she has God in her heart. He fought hard against child abuse and set up a committee to pursue the Catholic Church child abuse cases. The Pope donated the Vatican employee bonuses to charity.
He encourages cooperation between Christians and Muslims. There was a lot of controversy when he commented on the killings of the staff from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdoe. He said something along the lines of “If someone insulted my mother, I would get so upset that I would probably slap that person in the face. You cannot insult the faith of others”. If someone makes fun of something that you love and believe so strongly in, like our God, the reaction is probably not going to be a good one.
During a mass celebration a child jumped on stage from the crowd to give Pope Francis a hug and he told security that he did not want a child taken away simply because he came up to hug him so the child sat in his chair for the remainder of the mass with the Pope.
My favorite thing he said in regards to married couples which gets me teary eyed each  time is this:
“Arguing is normal in a marriage, get angry, throw plates even, but before going to bed at night…make peace. You don’t have to get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness, just give them a pat on the shoulder and a smile to let the other person know that you're not angry anymore. Married couples who separate have not managed to forgive each other in time.”
There are little things we can do to help our world be a better place. Help a sick person, call someone that is lonely….and pray, pray and pray for peace in this world. If we all pray together,  Someone is sure to listen. Life is too short to waste it on anything other than LOVE.