Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Heavenly Hugs

Photo by Brett Sayles
With the 2 year anniversary of my husband's cancer diagnosis looming, I felt the pressure of the insecurities and fear of living without him. The reality hit hard. It's been easy (for me anyway) to go about my life with a new routine since he started chemo. He is able to go to appointments without me and since I'm still working full-time outside the home, I'm not there to see just how badly it affects him. The worst days are a couple of days after his pump comes out. To look at him, you would never know that he is terminally ill. You wouldn't even know that he is sick at all. 

Don't get me wrong: I'm ecstatic that God has given us this precious gift of time. But I know with each month that the sand is running out of the hourglass. I know I shouldn't mourn him right now; we have a lot of living to do while we still can. We have a lot of memories to make; we want to live life to the fullest until we can't. 

So, yeah, I had a pretty pissy day the day before the anniversary. I went to the Adoration Chapel and spent more time there than I had in a long time. A friend gave me the booklet "Pray the Rosary with the National Council of Catholic Women". Each of the Mysteries includes several different themes to choose from. Since it was a Friday, I chose the "For Courage in Adversity" theme in the Sorrowful Mysteries. Those meditations were exactly what I needed. The words were perfect. They helped to console me and give me the hope I needed. 

While in the Chapel I talked to God about how much I miss my mom, especially now. I know that she would have the right words to say to me; at the very least her hug would help ease my pain. My dad wouldn't know what to say (he was a man of few words) but his bear hug (even though somewhat awkward) would hit the spot. On the day of the anniversary, during my morning prayer time, the morning Reading from the Liturgy of the Hours included this verse:

He comforts us in all our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation we have received from him. (2Corinthians 1:4)
I pulled out my Magnificat, read the day's Mass Readings, and then took a look at the meditation. I have to admit, I will often look at the author of the meditations. Sometimes I'll read it and sometimes I won't, based on who wrote it. The meditation on that day was from Mother Agnes of  Jesus who is St. Therese's (of Lisieux) sister Pauline. My mom had a devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux so this meditation intrigued me. Man, am I glad I read it! 

Let us not ask Jesus that suffering or some events should not make us tremble—for that might perhaps
be a useful humiliation—but that we may always follow him step by step; and if we are so weak that we
run away for a time, that our hearts may remain united to him in continual prayer and confidence, and that we may come back to him without delay. Never doubt his love and mercy, for that wounds him to the heart...
 He must therefore know that we are weak, that our exile is painful, that even the most strongly established virtue can fail, and that often everything around us seems to combine to make us weep,
seeing that we no longer have the strength to row because the wind is against us. He comes to us in the night of trial. We must do our best simply and humbly. How beautiful it is, it is everything—littleness, the spirit of childhood, humility. Let us ask just for these virtues at Jesus’ crib. He will give them to us, and we shall be as happy as is possible in the land of exile and then go straight to heaven. You have only to acknowledge in the depths of your heart that you are unworthy of so many blessings
and immediately you will be pure. “O my God, make me more and more aware of my weakness, but at the same time of your divine strength.”
Mother Agnes of Jesus, o.c.d.
Mother Agnes of Jesus († 1951) was the sister of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and prioress at the Carmel of Lisieux for over fifty years.

There are moments when I just want to run away. I just want to be left alone and not have to face what is to come. I want to run away to Ireland and hide out in the countryside. I heard a song about a week ago; these verses really hit home for me:
To run and hide would be so easy
You don't wanna stay and fight
If you don't give yourself completely
You won't get to see the beauty
Waiting on the other side
It's gonna take some time
Healing always does
Embrace the road you're walking
Be patient with the process
You're gonna make it out alive

I'm getting constant reminders that God is here with me. He's giving me what I need when I need it. Running away isn't an option. Instead of "Godwinks", He is sending me "heavenly hugs" just when I need them. God is good all the time; All the time, God is good.

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