Sunday, December 7, 2014

Get Happy! The Beatitudes of Life for the Vocation of Wife and Mother - Conclusion

Kristen M. Soley

The Eighth Beatitude - Blessed are they that suffer persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Merriam-Webster defines persecution as “The subjecting of a race or group of people to cruel or unfair treatment, e.g. because of their ethnic origin or religious beliefs.”  

There are so many great saints that suffered persecution for the sake of justice. Saint Perpetua suffered for the justice of Christ crucified. She would not deny her Christianity and for this, she was martyred by the gladiators in Carthage in the year 203. In the arena, she was first tortured by wild beasts, and ultimately gave up her life by the sword. Before she handed her life over to the gladiator, she encouraged Christians that would come after her, saying, “Stand fast in the faith and love one another; and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." 10

Reading her testament in The Passion of St. Perpetua is a great investment of time as it demonstrates absolute surrender, love, and faith!  

Living out this beatitude in the vocation of wife and mother is simple, but not always easy. We are called to live our faith, really live it, regardless of the company and situation in which we find ourselves. We cannot choose to follow Christ with part of our life. We must follow Him in all things and “do not be afraid” (MT 14:27) to let Him shine through us, regardless of how people might respond to His love.   

Jesus promised that "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18 NASB) Suffering persecution does not need to entail blood for it to hurt; this differentiates white martyrdom with red. We encounter white martyrdom when we are judged for the size of our family, or what we do in our spare time, and our position on biblical truths in everyday life, specifically related to marriage, life, and education. We can, however, be consoled, as there is no pain of mockery, judgment, rejection, humiliation, nor abandonment that Jesus did not endure. Give your trials to Jesus.  

Like the great saints, we can find beatitude in these persecutions. We are found worthy enough to help Jesus carry His cross, what a privilege.  

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." – Jim Elliot

In Conclusion

The vocation of wife and mother finds genuine happiness in serving others, for love of God, with the hope of eternal happiness. The Eight Beatitudes are our roadmap to achieving this happiness here on earth and we know that Jesus is the source of true beatitude.  

The Beatitudes "confront us with decisive choices concerning earthly goods; they purify our hearts in order to teach us to love God above all things." (CCC1728) With God’s grace and loving Him above all things, we can achieve union with Him, experiencing Heaven on earth. With confidence, we can ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us, to be more like her, the embodiment of each beatitude.

Again, we were created to know, love and serve God, that we may be happy with Him in Heaven. Let us be gospel poor, meek, mourn for souls separated from Christ through sin, share Jesus’ mercy, remain pure of heart, be peacemakers, and suffer for love of God for the sake of justice. With God’s grace, living out the beatitudes will help us to achieve this beatitude. It is what we were made for!

Now go, and get happy!

Sources –
2. Eight Happy People, Reverend John J. Ahern
6. Happy are you Poor, Dubay
7. Volume 6, Direction for Our Times – Anne the Lay Apostle
8. Courageous Virtue, Stacy Mitch (A Bible Study on Moral Excellence For Women)
11. The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ – Luisa Piccaretta
12. Michele Szekely -  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Get Happy! The Beatitudes of Life for the Vocation of Wife and Mother - Part VII

Kristen M. Soley

Seventh Beatitude - Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

The "peacemakers" are those who not only live in peace with others but help to preserve peace and friendship among man and between God and man. They also help to restore.1 

St. Francis of Assisi was a happy and blessed man, who found his beatitude in peacemaking.2 Preaching peace was his war cry.

The Prayer of St. Francis is a perfect embodiment of peacemaking and a great guide to living out this beatitude in our vocation. 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace – May we be the source of grace and peace in our home. Even if there is chaos, with God’s grace, we can help set the tone of our home. We can lovingly guide and reprove, use gentle and forgiving words and show consistency in our presence. If we can remain calm in all situations, with God’s grace, we can be a constant and reliable source of peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love- In all things, choose love. Not only should we teach this to our children, but we should live this out. Set an example of unconditional love, even when it does not come easy. Encourage charity among the children and do not tolerate uncharitable behavior. Ask Mary and Jesus to love through us and that they fill the gap of love we fail to meet in our homes.

Where there is injury, pardon – Again, to be forgiven, we must forgive, as we are taught by Jesus, in the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are also taught in scripture the number of time we are to forgive, "…I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:22 NASB) Encourage our children to say, “I am sorry,” and “You are forgiven.”

The rest of the prayer runs:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy; 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love. 

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This would be worth hanging on the fridge as a constant reminder that we are called to be the channel of peace in our homes. And with God’s grace through time spent with Him in prayer, He can bring this peace into our homes. 
May we become the "peacemakers" who not only live in peace with others but help to preserve peace and friendship among man and between God and man; in our homes and wherever He may lead us. 1

Sources –
2. Eight Happy People, Reverend John J. Ahern
6. Happy are you Poor, Dubay
7. Volume 6, Direction for Our Times – Anne the Lay Apostle
8. Courageous Virtue, Stacy Mitch (A Bible Study on Moral Excellence For Women)
11. The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ – Luisa Piccaretta
12. Michele Szekely -  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mission Critical!!

Kristen M. Soley

Years ago, I read that the primary mission of the family is to get each other to heaven. We have seven children, five of whom are boys. Introducing the journey to sainthood as a mission seemed a perfect approach for our family. It also helped to understand that God’s plan is perfect and has chosen each family member for our sanctification (growth in holiness).  

Everything that happens to us, good, or seemingly not so good, is by God’s hand; gently aiding our growth in virtue. For our family, He Wills for us joy through successes, peace through time spent in prayer, safety through our angel's prayers, wisdom through learning, laughter through recreation, character built through work, His love through us given to each other, and ultimately union with Him through full surrender to His Divine Will. He also wills that we grow in patience through trials, fortitude through hurt feelings, perseverance through enduring long days without sufficient rest, meekness when we hit sensory overload, forgiveness when we have things stolen from us, mercy when we lose a friend (if only for five minutes), humility when our pride is pricked, and surrender when we feel unappreciated. These are a mere sampling of all the opportunities family life provides, and are not dissimilar to His life on earth. Each of these opportunities allows us to grow in virtue; to be more like Him.  

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10 NASB)

Our family has taken this mission, as given directly from our Commander and Chief, God Himself. Therefore, in our home, we begin each morning with family prayer. As we close our prayer, either my husband or I, with team-captain enthusiasm, pose the question, “What is our Mission?” To which we all cheer, “To get each other to heaven!” This is followed by the question, “What are we going to do today to get each other to heaven?” Which is followed with the children cheering loudly the following:

· “Be kind and share!
· Do the right thing even when it is difficult!
· Pray, think, and then speak!
· Pray, think, and then do!
· Build up the Kingdom of God!
· Do something beautiful for God!
· Be charitable!
· And when in doubt, ask the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’”

Finally, we all put our hands in, team-style, and raise them as we cheer, “One, two, three - “Go team Soley!” 

This has helped us to daily embrace our assignment to this critical mission; getting each other to heaven, and helps us to remember that it is a mission we cannot fulfill without each other. 

+All For JMJ+

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Fruit of His Love

Kristen M. Soley

No matter what our vocation, if we are given the good fortune of arising to another day, God has work for us to do, for Him. Borne of the love Jesus has for us, He desperately desires to equip us with the fruits necessary to serve Him in the gift of another day.

Imagine that each morning we arise, we are holding a bag that is utterly empty. This is the beginning of each day for us. Only through prayer, which is quiet, meditative time with Him, is He able to equip us with the fruits needed to serve Him each day. As Blessed Mother Teresa expressed, “In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.” Therefore, in the quiet He waits, patiently and lovingly, each day with the fruits we require to serve Him throughout the day. This time with Him can be as little as fifteen minutes each day.  

Now imagine as we are spending this quiet time with Him, He lovingly fills our bag with beautiful fruit, to overflowing. This fruit is the exact amount required for our service to Him for this new day. Again, no matter our vocation, we were given the gift of another day to serve Him, through those He has placed on our path, and we now have the fruit to do so. Whether we are to allow Him to shine through us at the office, settle a dispute, encourage a patient, assist a student who is struggling, endure a manager who is unable to show love because he or she is hurting, pay for somebody’s late fee at the library, support a friend who has lost a loved one, suffer for offenses against Jesus, lead a parish family closer to Jesus, pray for those who are separated from Him, bring a meal to a new mom, wipe a runny nose, change a diaper or twelve, or support our children in their vocation as parent, we have been given the exact amount of fruit required to serve Him in this gift of a day.

Today at Mass, our Pastor illustrated that Jesus was often exhausted from tirelessly serving. He healed, forgave, fed, prayed, taught, suffered, endured and loved. Jesus was so exhausted for love us that He was able to sleep in the midst of a terrible storm on the Sea. This is the visual we are to use in our service to Him. As Blessed Mother Teresa expressed, “Give until it hurts.” As our day comes to a close, our bag is to be completely empty, having given back to Him all the fruit He gave to us, to sustain us as we navigated another day.  

Each person we encounter is an opportunity to allow Jesus to love through us. This is the fruit. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (MT 25:40 NASB)

Jesus’ life, His Passion in particular, is the perfect example; teaching us to empty ourselves for love of God and man. Beginning His passion, He was beautiful, unblemished, and filled with the fruit that would be our salvation, His love.

His Passion began at the Last Supper, where He humbled Himself by promising to remain with us in the Eucharist.  Jesus teaches, “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins." (Mark 26:26 - 28 NASB) "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." (John 6:55 NASB)

Following the Last Supper, Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying and making reparation, offered Himself to the Father for our salvation. He emptied Himself of is Precious Blood, through His sweat, which ran down into the ground, “giving blood for offenses, life for death.” 1

Next, He emptied Himself of more of His Precious Blood as He was mercilessly scourged, crowned, and given the Cross, the symbol of His love for us, further consuming the fruit of His love.

Finally, it appeared He had no fruit left to give, after suffering for us, giving us forgiveness, His Mother, and the promise of eternity with Him in Heaven, they pierced His side from which He was completely emptied. He gave us everything He had to give. His bag was completely empty, for love of us.

Let us thank Him for the gift of another day, by meeting Him in quiet, meditative prayer, where He can give us His fruit, the fruit we need to serve Him, through those He has placed on our path.


1 – Hours of the Passion - 

The inspiration for this post was from Jesus, through my friend Susanne.

All For +JMJ+