Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Hands and Feet of Christ

To the Hands and Feet – Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ -  

We are humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and help God has showered upon us through all of you.  

We are not even sure where to begin when it comes to thanksgiving for all of the love and generosity God has poured upon our family through your generous acts of kindness.

Your prayers and those of the souls you have asked to join in prayer have sustained us throughout this time of uncertainty. How God spoils us so with such powerful and loving intercessors.  

We feel abundantly blessed and are humbled by His work through each soul who has touched our family. We have seen His hands and feet in motion, and we have felt Christ’s work through your souls, who love Him so dearly! We have felt His love, through you. There is no love greater than His.

Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement to seek a second opinion, prayers, including the most beautiful spiritual bouquet we have ever seen, flowers, enlisting the prayers of others, care package, meals, sacrifices, taxi services, words of consolation, organizing, re-organizing, cleaning, re-stocking, diaper changes, tutoring, coordinating, adjusting, re-adjusting, and the anonymous dollars that bought us take-out pizza!

While we were away, our home was still filled with love. Our children were safe, fed, and loved. You hugged, tutored, reproved, tucked-in, snuggled, laundered, organized food, tidied, cleaned, fed, taxied, played, and prayed with them. They did not worry. There is no greater feeling, in the midst of such uncertainty then to know that your family is ok. You cannot attach a price to this. This is love, this is God.

How blessed and fortunate your children are to see your openness to being a channel for Christ’s love, both receiving and giving. They say it is in serving, we are served. You are the light of Christ and we are all blessed to be the benefactors of His warm sunshine through you - like a cascade of brilliance upon our family.

When looking at Providence, we marvel at how God chose each of you, specifically, to place on our path. He knits the most beautiful quilt of people and circumstances. We are each a tiny thread in this amazing quilt and we all work together for Him. I praise Him for His generosity in placing you on our path. Each one of you is a special soul, a light, that God was thoughtful enough to spoil us with. Your faith strengthens ours. Your love, Jesus’ love through you, encourages love. Thank you for bringing Jesus to us and letting His love shine!

Thank you! 
Nate, Kristen & Co.

Extra thank you to my Mom for being my Mayo partner, chauffer, and gracious hostess, my sister Shelly for keeping Facebook friends updated, and to my sister Annie - the best project manager I have ever met -  she has juggled the food, taxi, childcare, and communication for us. Nate wanted to buffer me from the stress of these details in order to heal and Annie, the already busy, homeschooling, wife and mother of nine, embraced this challenge with impeccable talent, patience, and most of all, love of Lord. In the meantime, she gifted us the help of Grace, her daughter, who has been a Godsend for Nate throughout all of this. Thank you for this gift! Yes I would do it for you, in a heartbeat, but probably not as well.  :)

Lastly, thank you to Nate.  At the climax of all of this, when things seemed most uncertain, he looked so lovingly into my eyes and said, "You are so strong and beautiful!"  To which I replied, "I am only as strong as the arms holding me."  Thank you God, for loving me so beautifully through my husband.  I am held.


Friday, February 6, 2015

This is What it Means to be Held

Being on this side of a potentially life-threatening illness and seeing how God, through the prayers of others, holds us closely, I cannot help but praise and thank Him for His faithfulness and unfailing love. Many times I have expressed my gratitude for the front row seat God has blessed me with in watching His handiwork; tickets I could never afford. This time, I was in the middle of His Providence, watching it front and center. Both my husband and I, through the prayers of beautiful friends have felt held above the fear and peace in the uncertainty.  

Shortly after Christmas 2014, I had noticed some tiny, red spots on my feet and shins and in the evenings my ankles were, as in my pregnancy days, looking more like tree trunks. I assumed this was a result of my new Christmas shoes which were a tad taller than the shoes I had been accustomed to wearing. For the next two weeks, I refrained from wearing the incriminating shoes, to no avail. I then began noticing a bit more bruising on my body. Yes, being a mother of seven, ages thirteen on down, spotting them in gymnastics and engaging in a family wrestling match can provide its bumps and bruises, but I had no memory of so many bumps and bruises in the past. One night while spotting our daughter on a back handspring, her hand inadvertently knocked my lip and the area she hit immediately turned purple and began to bleed.

I finally asked my husband Nate to look at my legs and he suggested I schedule a visit to our family practitioner the next day. On Friday, January 30th 2015, after a full evaluation, my doctor concluded I was suffering from Schamberg’s Disease. He assured me that this is something that will clear up in time. Just to be certain, he asked for blood tests to be run and I was therefore sent to the lab.  

While sitting in the lab for my blood draw, the pediatric nurse (and friend) stopped by. She asked how I was doing and the reason for my visit. When I explained my symptoms, a look of fear came across her face and she asked me about the bruise on my forehead. Quite honestly, I had completely forgotten that I had hit my head a week ago – moving too fast and it met the corner of one of our cabinets. She motioned toward my face and asked the lab nurse what color she would call me, gray she suggested. She said she would pray for me and that I should keep her posted. Upon leaving, sitting in the car, I looked in the rearview mirror at the place where I had previously hit my head, and indeed, there was a grayish spot sort of creeping down my forehead; not a bruise, per se, but a gray discoloration.

By the time I arrived home, I had missed at least two calls from my doctor. When he did reach me, he spoke in a bit of a hurried manner, explaining that all of my blood cell counts were low - dangerously low. My Platelets in particular were troubling, as the normal range is 150,000 – 450,000; I was at 2,000. He asked me to head straight to Fairview Southdale Hospital, where a hematologist would be meeting me, as with such low counts, there was a worry of internal bleeding.  

I explained to the children the words of the doctor, and that I was asked to go the hospital. I also asked that they pray for my health. Next I called Nate, asking him to meet me at the hospital. After talking with Nate, I called my dear friend Teri, who lives in the next town to see if her daughter could stay with the children until we formulated a plan, depending on how things played out at the hospital. She wasn’t available, but I left her a message. Next, I called my dear friend and neighbor, Tina. She was able to re-arrange her schedule and come over immediately, praise God. In the meantime, the hospital called explaining that my room was going to take a bit longer to get ready so I should hold off for twenty minutes before departing. This was great, as it gave me a little time to explain to Tina what was going on after she arrived. 

On my way to the hospital, I called my Mom to explain what had transpired and asked for her prayers. She, in turn called the Poor Claires to enlist their prayers. My truck required gas and I therefore stopped at the nearest gas station on the way. After fueling, as I was pulling out, I saw an unattended, white Jeep rolling across the parking lot, toward another vehicle fueling. I quickly put my truck in park, hopped out and further engaged the Jeep’s emergency brake and the truck came to a halt. I quickly ran into the gas station to alert the Jeep’s owner that it was running, unattended, in the middle of the parking lot. As I was turning back toward my truck, I heard, “Kristen!” My friend, fellow Jesus lover, and neighbor of years ago, Dawn, was checking out and said I had been on her heart. She continued that she had recently planned to stop over and visit our family. She asked how I was doing and I said that I was not sure, and was heading to see a doctor now. I asked her to pray for me, and we parted ways with a warm hug.

Upon my departure, I glanced toward my phone to call my mom again; Dawn’s contact information was displayed, not my mom’s. Dawn, being a close friend of Christ, would pray for me, and I knew God had heard her prayers. At that moment, I was overwhelmed with God’s love and closeness. I felt Him reach down from heaven, with His gentle and loving hand. All that happens, is His Providence. He ensured that I require refueling and an unattended Jeep roll across a parking lot, so that I may see Dawn and be the fortunate recipient of His warm embrace through her prayers. God, You are so, SO good to me. As of late, God had been asking for my trust, and in this moment, He assured me that He was in control, I felt Him say, “I’ve got this, do not fear.”

Upon my arrival, after checking in, Nate and I were escorted to a beautiful corner room on the eighth floor of the hospital. The view was spectacular! We could see both Minneapolis and St. Paul, including the Cathedral! 

At first, we were greeted by my nurse and nurse assistants, lab technicians, and others. Each kind face we encountered had a gentle nurturing way about them. The charge nurse asked me if I wanted a pneumonia vaccination, to which I questioned, “Why I would need one?” She explained that it is not uncommon for their patients to have this administered. I said it could not imagine this would be necessary and politely declined. When the doctor arrived, he reviewed the symptoms I had been experiencing with Nathan and me, then explained that these were symptomatic of leukemia – red spots on legs (Petechiae), low platelet count and bruising easily- (Thrombocytopenia) and headache.  

Due to my low platelet count, in an effort to increase my counts and hopefully trigger further production, he scheduled a platelet transfusion for later that afternoon. He then explained that a specialist was coming in to perform a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration tomorrow (Saturday) morning and if the test results were positive for leukemia, they could start treatment as early as next week. He was very gentle and compassionate in his delivery and understood that this was likely, as he called it, “A hiccup in our plans.” Finally, he handed me his business card and said he would be working with us closely and was available for questions. When I looked at the card, it read Doctor of Oncology. What? Oncology? I still had not digested the word leukemia, much less that the hematologist I was planning to meet, was an Oncologist.

Both he and the nurse departed, and there was a silence.

At that moment, I understood how it feels to hear the words, “You likely have cancer.” In my personal family history, cancer had proven itself a death sentence; as all but two of the seven of my loved ones, lost the battle. I looked at Nate, and my heart hurt. In my mind, I saw our children running, and my heart hurt. I felt absolute trust, knowing God had this one, but His plan, though perfect, seemed to be quite different from mine. I recalled the conversation I had with my cousin in his last days, losing his battle with lung cancer, he said, “I have the easy part, it is going to be hard for my family.” I would have the easy part. Suffering is a gift and I foresaw myself embracing my cross as I was lead back to my Lord, eternally. That is the easy part. 

At this point, we agreed not to alert our family until we knew for certain. It is nothing until it is something and we did not want to worry our loved ones prematurely. We ordered our fancy room service in our Ritz Carlton room. We joked with the staff that this is the sort of thing that is required for us to get out of the house for a date!

When the platelet transfusion arrived, they explained all the side effects and the transfusion commenced. The headache I had been enduring for the last few days worsened and I felt as though my brain was bouncing around in my skull, I needed to lie down, close my eyes and just pray. The medical staff was concerned that I could be bleeding internally and scheduled a CT or CAT Scan.

The nurse wheeled me down to radiology and we awaited an ER patient’s scan to finish. In the interim, he asked me about our children. I began to describe them to him, they are so lovely - each little soul is so lovely. I began to cry, as the reality of the moment closed in on me. I apologized for my tears and he rubbed my back. I told him how I was not sure what God was doing with all of this, but I trusted that His plan is perfect, though possibly different from mine. I praised God for how He had prepared Nathan for this through Mary, our youngest child’s, labor and delivery; how Nathan had feared losing both of us. The strength that God had given him and His faithfulness to Nathan in this particular time of need would be a source of strength for him in days to come. Every moment in our lives prepares us to serve God in the manner He wishes us to serve. I then explained how God had been relentlessly asking me to trust in Him; how every time I went to confession, my confessor had asked me to close my penance with the words of Divine Mercy, “Jesus I trust in You!” How another spiritual director and friend of mine, when praying with me, saw Jesus’ Divine Mercy image, and He was pointing to the words, “Jesus I trust in You!” How my spiritual reading and morning-prayer time had affirmed all of this. I praised God for sickness, for loss, for pain, as sometimes God needs to take things away from us, our health, our money, our loved ones, in order to take our eyes off of them and back onto Him, remembering that He is a God of love and desires for our eternal happiness, something money and health cannot provide.

I shared how blessed each person in the hospital is, that God loves them enough to try to draw them closer to Him through their trials, and suffering. He IS relentlessly pursuing us all of the time. I closed by posing the question as to what this sort of suffering would look like without Him. A friend recently explained to me that suffering with God, is sanctifying; suffering without God is hell. I then was wheeled into the CT room and they performed the scan and to everybody’s delight, there was no internal bleeding, and Tylenol was administered. 

As we proceeded back to my room, I was more aware of my surroundings and when the elevator opened to our floor, I saw the words ‘Cancer Unit,’ inscribed upon the wall. As we progressed to our room, we approached a set of big, automatic doors, which communicated limited access and that no flowers were permitted beyond this point. Finally, we reached our room and there were more notices about the sanitary needs of the patient in my room. When the nurse left, I looked at Nate and said, “Did you know we were in the cancer unit? They really think I have cancer!” He softly voiced, “I sort of figured.”

True, the results of the CT scan were negative, praise God! Unfortunately, Nathan and I sat, confronted with the possible reality that I had cancer. We hugged, cried, and prayed. The nurse provided a lovely cot so Nathan could sleep near me. Neither of us slept much that night. I spent much of the night, absorbed in him, watching him when he slept, weeping for him, our children, our families, and me.

The moon set and the brightness of another day presented itself. The time had approached for my bone marrow biopsy/aspiration and the doctor was clear and thorough in his explanation of the procedure and lab result timing. The biopsy would either confirm the presence of leukemia, or relieve us of the heavy boot stepping on our chests, enabling us to take a full and fresh breath of air again. At this point I realized I would be awake for the procedure. YIKES! After they were finished, Nate whispered, “I understand why they give the option to leave the room, it was worse than I expected.” Indeed, this procedure was a great opportunity to suffer, and my Mother Mary, was very close throughout, as I asked her to pray for my strength and I gifted all the suffering to her to do with as she saw fit.

Next, room service again! We felt very spoiled. The staff explained that many complain about the hospital food. Nathan and I were just so happy to have somebody else cook the meal, deliver it, take it away, AND do the dishes! At this point, my sister Annie, who had lovingly offered to play point person on this for our friends and family, had enlisted many to pray. God has placed so very many holy souls on our path and I can honestly say, we felt held.   

God continued to reveal His hand in the midst of this uncertainty, as my friend Teri, whom I had first called to help out at home, said she received my call when she was at her Holy Hour (praying in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord), and had felt called to pray for me, not knowing I had called. Now she knew why. I then recalled an email from earlier in the week, from my friend Mary, asking how I was, as she had been praying for me, as she felt called to do. These revelations caused my heart to stir with gratitude for such holy friends; friends who not only can hear the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but who are obedient enough to do what He asks. This is a perfect description of all my close friends. How God spoils us!  :)

Dinner time, room service again! YIPEE! This was followed with the test results. The Oncologist entered the room and shared with us the much anticipated boot-remover. He said the first run of tests came back negative of leukemia. He said, “You look too healthy for somebody with cancer.” He then explained that ninety percent of all patients who test negative in the first round, are indeed free of cancer. We now only need concern ourselves with a paltry ten percent. Our spirits lifted and we were jubilant. I called my family and Annie apprised the prayer warriors with an update and it was then that I shared with her what we had been confronted with and our gratitude for the prayers.

Subsequently, we were visited by two hospital chaplains at Fairview and both prayed so beautifully for and with us. The Catholic Chaplin gifted both Nate and me with the Holy Eucharist and also blessed me with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Shortly thereafter, the nurse suggested we go for a walk, and indeed we did. We escaped on a little date around the hospital. Nate bought fancy treats for me from the gift shop and we held hands as we walked, praising God all the while. He joked that in an effort to get out of the house next month, he could have a heart attack. I agreed, as long as there were no lasting effects. We both laughed out loud as we floated through the hallways hand in hand.

After we returned to our room and Nate prepared to leave for a night at home with our children, we were pleasantly surprised with a visit from our dear friend Kristi, who came bearing gifts, including chocolate! We hugged, cried, and praised God. It was lovely. My sister Annie arrived for our girl’s snack & chick-time campout at the hospital and Kristi left shortly thereafter.   

The next morning Annie and I ordered our fancy room service and the doctor asked if I wanted to await the results at home. His only stipulation was that I refrained from playing football in the house. Annie and I were both elated! She headed home to her beautiful family and the staff began the process of unplugging me. I called Nate celebrating with him that I’d be home for Super Bowl Sunday and began to pack my gifts and goods.

Throughout all of this, our children had been at home in the care of family and friends, eating like royalty, and having more fun than reasonable. When we arrived home on Sunday, one child confessed she was disappointed I came home so soon, as our dear friend, Tami, was planning to spend Super Bowl Sunday with them and she was bringing her adorable, big-blue-eyed son to play with them. It was wonderful to learn that they were not burdened with the fear that this time carried and God provided safety, peace, and even fun throughout all of it for them. He is just like that!

I have had a couple of blood draws since leaving the hospital, and Nate is requiring that I lay low- he takes such good care of me, and thus so do our children. My platelet count as of Tuesday was 27,000 and the doctor ordered a slew of tests, trying to nail this quirky, and out-of-nowhere issue down. I will take anything with gratitude and joy now that the big C has been ruled out.  We have been blessed with amazing meals and held by beautiful prayers as we await answers.   Thank you Jesus.  

Through these prayers, we had never felt God’s presence so near and His faithfulness so true. Throughout all of this, we had felt held above the fear and peace in the uncertainty.

Thank you!

Note- the image in this blog post was taken after we were confronted with the potential of cancer.



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Worshiping Saints and Monkeys

Kristen M. Soley

Sitting in a cozy coffee shop, enjoying a creamy vanilla latte and some moist pumpkin bread with a dear friend, our conversation turned to a party which her child had recently been invited. The family hosting the party was Hindu and as the party came to a close, the guests were invited to, as her child explained, “Pray to a monkey.” From the host’s perspective, this opportunity was, from what I understand, very generous, as the Hindu monkey, or Hanuman, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon and is worshiped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance, and devotion. 1

In a very sincere and light-hearted delivery, my friend then likened this form of worship to how Catholics worship the saints; how we worship statues and images of saints, more specifically.

I was very humbled and grateful to hear this perception of my Catholic faith, as this friend is a beautiful Christian. Although her beliefs are somewhat different than mine, we have a dear friendship, mutual respect for one another’s faith, and share a deep love for Our Lord. I just had no idea that my protestant brothers and sisters in Christ believed that we (Catholics) truly worship the saints and could not have visualized this perception until I envisioned a group of children worshiping a monkey. It then made more sense to me why some might disagree with Catholics - if they have been taught and truly believe that this is a typical form of worship for us. In both the Christian and Jewish faiths, worshiping idols is a grave sin.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them.” (Exodus 20:4-5 NASB)

 The quote from Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen came to my mind,
“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

With great joy, I was able to share with my friend one facet of my Catholic faith - the fullness of the truth in the communion of saints. I explained how the saints, those who have gone before us and are in heaven in the presence of our Almighty and Loving God, are so close to Him and intercede, or pray for us. They are living in the beatific vision, face to face with God, desiring for us to join them when our pilgrimage on earth comes to an end. With such hope, I shared that I ask (daily) for the saints in heaven (my grandmother included) to pray for me; that I may love our Lord and those He has placed on my path as He loves and that I may come to know, love, and serve Him according to His Divine Will.

Jesus assures me that the saints indeed live in His presence as He questioned Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (JN 11:25 NASB) Jesus also expresses in Matthew 22:31, "But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?  He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

The saints are living and have reached perfect happiness with God in heaven, beatitude. I explained that I truly believe the words of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the greatest saint of modern times, who shared, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth and… will let fall from heaven a shower of roses.” I don’t worship St. Thérèse, but, quite honestly, I desire to love our Lord as she does. Her love of Lord has inspired me to, as Mother Teresa says, “Give until it hurts” for love of God and all His children.  Furthermore, I do ask her, among many other saints (my late Grandmother included) to pray for me. I pray directly to God for specific intentions, as I have absolute confidence in His love, fidelity, and mercy. I know He is relentlessly pursuing me, drawing me closer to Him, every day. Unfortunately, I am weak, small, and I need as much help as I can get. I cannot rely on myself to carry me through the trials and temptations this world has to offer. I depend on God’s grace and the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ, both living and deceased, for the support and grace needed for my journey.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, the intercession of the saints:
"Being more closely united to Christ… do not cease to intercede with the Father for us… So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."(CCC956)

To help me pray, I do have a picture of St. Thérèse near my kitchen sink, which I often look upon when I ask her to pray for me. Just like I look upon the picture of my dear and very holy, late Grandmother. I don’t worship my Grandmother, nor do I worship St. Thérèse, but I have confidence in their intercession for me as I look into their eyes, knowing that those same beautiful eyes look upon my Savior, face to face, as I hope to join them, gazing upon Him, adoring Him someday as well.  

I also look to images of the saints, as I look to images of role models, like those of great leaders, inspiring me to rise up, even after I fall - sort of like the Vince Lombardi picture we have in our basement, instructing on “What it takes to be Number One.” The great saints have walked a similar path of struggle as I presently walk, fighting the greatest battle of all time, against self. With faith and trust, they have successfully surrendered their will to the Will of God. They are my heroes if you will. They have overcome their faults, with God’s grace and true Divine Love. 

I wear a cross on my necklace, reminding me of the sacrifice Jesus made for me; the sacrifice that gives me hope for eternal life with Him.  I also wear medals of some powerful saints on my necklace, such as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, St. Benedict, and Saint Michael the Arch Angel. I ask Sts. Michael and Benedict to pray for my protection against the wickedness and snares of the evil one and Mary, a perfect role model for my vocation of wife and mother, whom I love dearly, to pray for me to be more like her: patient, humble, loving, obedient, self-controlled, meek, generous, and to love her Son like she does.  I cannot love Mary more than Jesus and desire to love Jesus as she does.  For me, she is the ideal mother and I pray to be to my children as she was to her Son, my Savior.  She is a tough act to follow.

My faith has provided me many aids in this pilgrimage to my home in heaven. I worship God and in Him and Him alone I place my trust. But thank you Jesus, I have His friends, and mine to help me along the way, that I may, God-willing, enter through the narrow gate (MT 7:13) and He may one day look upon me and say, “Well done good and faithful servant." (MT 25:21)

In summary, I thank God for this morning coffee, with my good friend, and for the insight into the perception of my Catholic faith. I am also grateful for the opportunity to clarify the truth of my Catholic faith for my dear friend. I feel blessed and thank God daily that I was born Catholic, this is truth for me and I know that God’s plan for me is perfect. He made me to know, love, and serve Him, that I may be happy with Him in Heaven at the end of my pilgrimage. This is the path for me to achieve beatitude. I pray that as a Catholic, I witness to my Catholic faith as I was taught and respect others as they witness to theirs. Gratefully, I will be able to do this partly aided by those who have already run the race.

“...since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NASB)

Praise God! He is so good and loves us dearly! St. Therese, Pray For Us!  All the Angels and all the Saints, pray for us!





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 -