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Friday, February 21, 2014

Dignity and The Journey

St. Catherine of Sienna, good Dominican that she was, wrote:

"What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good."

So often we think loving someone is putting a rubber stamp to their beliefs. To my way of thinking, that is one of the most hateful things we can ever do: allow someone to overwhelm Truth with emotion, with feelings, with fear of the future. When someone says to me, "If this happens, I will suffer this...." am I doing them a favor by saying, "Oh yes, you are so right. Quick, run to the shelter and hide you head"?. I don't think so.

I have watched a lot of good people get overrun by fear over the past twenty years. I listened as good Catholics predicted the end of civilization as we know it and I have listened to good intentioned left wing types insist they are merely liberal in their thinking and that all the ills of the world are because of white, male republicans. Both sides of the aisle make me tired because neither recognize the necessity to subjugate our lives, our minds, our emotions to our Creator.

Well meaning people tell me that the Catholic Church refusing to change Her teachings on artificial birth control means She hates women. In other words, the refusal to condone handing women death in a package means we are unloved. They do not want to address the physical damage that poison does to our bodies. These same women who will spend HOURS at a Farmer Market making sure their peaches are organic will demand that medicine linked to stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, unnecessary weight gain, infertility, endrometriosis, pulmonary heart disease, deep vein thrombosis and a host of other wonderful ailments is necessary for our HEALTH. And if you dare to ask them if we should be concerned about this, you will be either shouted down as somehow a female traitor or you will be dismissed as a hysterical right wing religious nut job.

I am sure the parents of the little girl from Durango, Colorado who died as a result of using artificial birth control would agree.

Well meaning people will ignore the past statements by people such as JPII regarding the sinful behavior of Catholics and our public atonement for those sins. They will bring up stuff that happened 1000 years ago as proof of how horrible we are - but mention that the founder of Planned Parenthood hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics and all those she deemed 'human weeds' or 'garbage' and they will choke on their own vitriol. When will they demand that PP acknowledge their past sins and publicly distance themselves from the evil that was Margaret Sanger? How come she gets a free pass but the Crusaders don't?

My walk becomes stronger as I age. Because I was a believer of the great lie for so long, the scales falling from my eyes made the world as it could be bright and beautiful. I am so grateful that Jesus never said to me, " had your chance back in 1980 and that horror you lived means you are lost forever". I am so grateful I was welcomed home to The Church He founded, lovingly and with great mercy. I am so grateful I learned that stating Truth is not the same as the 1970's style "telling my truth" while holding a talking stick. I am just so grateful that sobriety has meant seeing life for what it is, and acknowledging what it could be and making a conscious decision to walk to it no matter the cost.

And listen, the cost has been high. I have been vilified, I have been lied to and about, I have been ostracized. I have been called a bigot and a hater.

Yet I have to also tell you that the gain has been pretty fabulous as well. I have been embraced, I have been loved, I have been given a family that is immense and powerful. I can look at myself in the mirror, even if I am physically alone, and know I am united with my brothers and sisters in Christ - especially my Dominican Family.

I have found a courage I never had before - a courage to face my past and look towards my future and stop thinking only about how things are going to be for me as I age. Instead, I find myself becoming more and more excited about getting older. It looks like looks looks like true freedom.

Recently I was reading over some of my older blog posts. I was looking specifically at the time in my life when two men who posted on the now defunct Modesto Bee blog site made it there purpose in life to hound me and harass me. They threatenned to call my boss (and then stated they knew where I worked and of course it was the wrong city). They called my house and threatened me with bodily harm and was roundly laughed at and taken to task by my mother. They tried to run me out of a local 12 step fellowship and the members at that fellowship rallied around me and told them to go jump in the creek, which is mostly dry.

At the time I remember thinking, "What have I done to deserve this? Been against abortion? Been against phony Vietnam Veterans? Spoken out about my own past as a way to warn others? What has been so awful about what I have done?".

Now I see that I was not doing anything awful. Now I see that Jesus was holding me close, allowing me to experience a small share of what He had suffered while He opened the gates of heaven to all humanity.

I am humbled by that time. I now am so grateful for that time.

I hope, as I age, I do not lose my ability to laugh at the absurdities that come with being human. I know without a doubt I am not perfect and I still manage to get disappointed by people - especially those who claim to love me - but I am so grateful that I can keep going forward with a smile on my face.

Thank you, Lord, for my life today exactly as it is...I wouldn't change a thing...even if I could.

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