Category Archives: christianity

Does your inside match your outside?

English: Mother Theresa with Dr. S. Brahmochary

Image via Wikipedia

At Mass yesterday, the homily was about hypocrisy.  Being one way on the outside, and another on the inside.  A friend once asked me, if you met me and didn’t know me, would you know that I’m a Christian.  I said no, but that had less to do with her, and more to do with not really having a good idea about what it means to “look” like a Christian.

Let’s start with the inside, arguably the most important part.  What does it mean to be a Christian, inside?  To me, it means that you accept that you are a sinner.  It means that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour.  Once doing so, you keep Him with you as you go along on your earthly journey.  It means that you go to church.  That you surround yourself with other Christians.  That you read the Bible and pray.  That you follow God’s word such as the Ten Commandments and God’s other teachings.  That you try to do the right thing.  That you accept that you are not perfect.  That you try to accept and forgive others.  That you fight for what is right.  That you understand that there is evil in this world and you wait for the glory that is waiting for you in heaven.

How does that translate to the outside?  I believe that all those things in the inside should shine through to the outside somehow.  What does a Christian look like?  I think we are kind and loving people.  But we also have to be firm and stand up for our faith and for God.  We are modest.  We are dignified.  We are down to earth.  We look like we care more about the inside than the outside, which doesn’t mean we are dumpy and don’t care about our appearance, but it should mean that we are not overly concerned about the outside.  We are balanced. 

Most importantly, we are loving.  Like the song says:

“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.  Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Peace and love.

Christian Rock Bonding

Amy Grant

Image by _eurotrash via Flickr

I went to DC Fest this past weekend with my good friend. DC Fest is a Christian rock concert festival. I believe this is the first DC Fest. We really went to see Amy Grant but were a bit confused about the set up. It started at 3 pm at George Mason’s Patriot Center. About 7 different bands played and Amy was 6 of 7. My friend picked me up at 12:30 pm and we had lunch at an Italian restaurant in Fairfax. At about 2:40 pm friend was worried about being late. We were in our seats by 3 pm. After listening to 2 bands (with 30 minute set ups in between) we heard from a woman near us that this thing went on until 10 pm. At 5:30 pm, after two hours, we realized that Amy probably wouldn’t play until 7 or 8 pm. I called my husband and told him what we’d learned. I asked him “Who’s not very bright?” to which he responded “You and your friend.”  🙂

I really enjoyed the concert. The bands were increasingly good. I learned of a new singer I like: Francesca Battistelli. She has a very soulful voice. I also enjoyed all the ministry throughout the evening.

Highlights:

  • Baby Baby by Amy Grant
  • Dancing and praising God
  • A song about helping a friend through a rough stretch and Amy telling us to turn to the person we came with and telling them that you love them
  • Being with tons of nice, polite, kind and smiling Christians
  • Hanging out with friend

Good day!

How to be a good wife

"Women pray during Friday noonday prayer ...

Image via Wikipedia

Having written a book on how to find a husband following God’s will, I thought I might write a sequel called How to be a good wife following God’s will.  I started outlining and doing a little research and discovered two things: 1) there are lots of good books on the subject, 2) I am too new at being a wife to give others advice.  I will share a few things I’ve learned and that I would pass on to even newer wives than me:

 1)      Don’t sweat the small stuff – if you are in it for the long haul, as you should be, do many of the teeny irritations really matter.  Speak up on big things but please ladies, choose your battles.

2)      Be kind: remember that you love this guy.  That you are his friend.  Show him that you care.

3)      Listen more than you talk.  Gee, I should really take my advice.

4)      Try to be supportive: ask yourself, what does he need most from me, and try to give it to him.

5)      Do what you can to make yourself fulfilled and happy and you will be a happier and more fulfilling wife.  

6)      Pray for your husband: never underestimate the power of prayer.  When you pray for your husband you bring graces to him, and it also softens you and makes you love him more.

On Hope

Picture by A Perfect Heart

Here are two passages on hope that I read recently.  I hope you enjoy them.  (No pun intended!)

 From Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

And then as the little plane climbed higher and Olive saw spread out below them fields of bright and tender green in this morning sun, farther out the coastline, the ocean shiny and almost flat, tiny white wakes behind a few lobster boats – then Olive felt something she had not expected to feel again: a sudden surging greediness for life. She leaned forward, peering out the window: sweet pale clouds, the sky as blue as your hat, the new green of the fields, the broad expanse of water – seen from up here it all appeared wondrous, amazing. She remembered what hope was, and this was it. That inner churning that moves you forward, plows you through life the way the boats below plowed the shiny water, the way the plane was plowing forward to a place new, and where she was needed.  She had been asked to be part of her son’s life.

 From “The Hope that Springs from the Mustard Seed” by Father Bede Jarrett, O.P.

Failure counts for nothing; defeat, disappointment – these matter nothing at all, so long as hope sits patiently , stirring the embers, watching and tending the fire, coaxing the flame, never despairing and never leaving the wind to work its will. That the clouds should come up over the sky, or that darkness should encircle the earth, brings no real terrors, for we are sure that the dawn will come out again and that the sun will break through with its golden glory.

Eating Humble Pie

Picture by Leonski

It’s funny how making a mistake leads you right back to a humble place. I’m not a haughty person but even I can get a bit smug at times – a bit too pleased with myself.  It’s hard to be smug when you err.  To err is human but to forgive is divine.  Maybe God allows us to mistakes to remember that we are sinners and that only through his grace and forgiveness do we overcome our sins.

When I make a mistake, the first place my mind goes is how I can prevent the same mistake next time.  That’s my analytical side.  But maybe not.  Maybe there is something spiritual about trying not to fall again.  I think God’s likes for us to try not to fall.  But we shouldn’t stop there.  We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that it’s all about us.  I will fail again and again.  It is only God that can save me from myself.

Being a Baby Christian

Picture by Grey Blue Skies

In some ways I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and in others just a few years.  I accepted Jesus many times throughout my life but the first few times, it didn’t really “take.”  I strayed away.  I pray now that I am home for good.  Each day I grow in my faith and I look back to the confused, troubled person I was.  I am grateful that God has never forsaken me although I’ve turned my back on Him.

What are the top 10 things about being a new Christian?

  1. You sometimes lack confidence in your faith, especially to outsiders
  2. You are on fire for the Lord!
  3. You go to church religiously
  4. You try hard to pray
  5. You try hard to do everything
  6. You still have regrets about your old way of life
  7. You no longer associate with some people from your past
  8. You have peace in your soul
  9. You are grateful about where you are
  10. You love God!

The Little Flower And Me

Picture by Jim the Photographer

One thing I’m good at is doing little things for others.  Writing little notes and letters.  Sending words of encouragement.  Sending birthday cards.  Baking cookies for neighbors and friends.  These little things may seem like just little things that don’t really matter, but they can make a big difference in someone else’s life.  This made me think of St. Therese.  She was someone who did little things for Christ and believed that those little things were pleasing to God.

Therese died at the age of 24 after living as a nun for less than 10 years.  She did not go on missions.  She did not found a religious order.  Her only book was her journal.  And yet within 28 years of her death she was canonized.

It seems that our world is hung up on fame and popularity.  There is a part of all of us that wants to do big things and impress people.  We think that if we do something very important, that we will gain the respect and admiration of others. 

It does not appear that St. Therese was after fame.  If her goal was to accomplish significant things in the eyes of the world, she failed.  She lived a pretty quiet ordinary life.  Why then did become such a significant person in the eyes of the church and people? 

I suspect that the very absence of the monumental and gargantuan is what draws us to her.  If a fairly ordinary person can become a saint, so can we.  There is something ironic and paradoxical about St. Therese that is not unlike many of the words of Jesus.  For example, Jesus said “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14.  In being humble, St. Therese was lifted to sainthood.  Her ordinary commitment to God became extraordinary.

Today I will focus on the ordinary things I do.  Making coffee.  Going to work.  Making dinner.  Spending time with my husband and child.  Through these ordinary things I will labor and give myself to God.  I will submit to God in the most ordinary ways in order to please Him.   

St. Theresa’s Prayer:

 May today there be peace within.
 May you trust your highest power that you are
 exactly where you are meant to be.

 May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

 May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love
 that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a
child of God. Let his presence settle into our bones, and
allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.