Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Core Strength

Ignitum Today is a Catholic news, entertainment & information site that I've subscribed to recently. An excellent review of Shaun T's, Insanity
which unpacks the Catholic spiritual dimension of the popular workout tapes evoked a comment which grew & grew into a post:

Until I became ill, I mostly taught the parts of dance one doesn't see in music videos: jazz barre & ballet technique. My goddaughter, who was studying drama & ballet in Moscow, took my jazz barre during a visit to NYC. I thought she'd find it easy but afterwards, in evident pain, she told me there was more core work than she had expected. Reading You're Insane on Ignitum Today, I finally realize why she went back to Moscow, left her faith & became a Muslim which is one of the painful experiences of my life.

As a child she had adopted me, the girl who rented the top floor of her mom's house. She'd been baptized & was taken to Mass on Christmas & Easter but only sporadically on other Sundays - HDOs were not acknowledged. Her mother was divorced & unable to help the girl who wanted to know how her sins could be forgiven. She came to me because I was friendly, religious, spent a lot of time at church & God was frequently in my conversation. I explained the process. We became friends & had many conversations. Eventually, she decided to call me "godmother" & I was happy to have such a role in her life. Then came the glamour & prestige of Moscow & finally becoming Muslim perhaps because it pleased her earthly father, who paid the bills, though not her heavenly One who gave her all. She didn't discuss becoming Muslim with me until after making the decision.

Christianity demanded too much core work just as Shaun T does, just as my barre did. It demanded too much heart. She went for less rather than more though I'm sure she imagined she was reaching for an immensity. She used to tell me she loved the Constitution & she shone when she spoke of it. Her desires that her sins be forgiven were so sincere yet she is of a belief that will never let her know whether she has been forgiven until death. And how did she stop believing Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for her sins? Recently, she published clips of her activity in Moscow & I wondered how she could have forgotten truths she knew so well as a child. The clips show a girl working to make lies acceptable. The shine has gone though she is so beautiful. The immense love cannot be seen.

For years, I have prayed that she might remember her childhood but that's You're Insane has made it clear that it isn't the past she needs, it's core strength, it's God's Cor uniting with her cor, the Heart that longs for her to restart the heart that once longed for Him. So now I will pray that God send her whatever she needs to become strong at the core of her being, in her heart. Baptism creates an ontological change which cannot be undone. Through baptism, we become a new creation. It takes work to live that newness but nothing can make it go away. May God grant all who have been baptized into His Body whatever we need to become strong in the very center of our being.

Do check out Ignitum Today. It's an excellent read w/ lots of great features.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Voice For The Voiceless

Ken called a radio program in DC & told his story of being the child of a girl who had been raped at the age of 15. She did not abort her son but gave birth to him & gave him up for adoption. Before he knew the details of his conception, Ken was so grateful that he'd been adopted, as a teenager, he made a vow to God to adopt someday. His story is worth listening to. He is worth listening to. When he says if he met his biological father he'd punch him, I totally agree. I'd punch him too. Rape is horrible! And I know! Personally!

What if my parents had decided that because I'd been raped they would kill me? What if we killed everyone who had been sinned against? That's what aborting the child who is conceived as a result of rape means - killing those who have been sinned against & sinning against their mothers too. I've struggled to live w/ being raped since I was four & it's been hard - it still is. But w/ God's grace, w/ the Body of Christ, w/ help from the right professionals, w/ the love of friends & the love of parents who ultimately sent me to safety & saved my life, I've done it & continue to do it. It's possible to live w/ the results of being sinned against. It's possible to do more than that. Through Christ, we not only gain the strength to live w/ suffering, we gain the gift of resurrection, of triumph over suffering.

As an adopted child, Ken gained a mother, a father & two siblings. He is the father of his own family now, including an adopted daughter. Ken has met his birth mother, her husband & their children - his siblings - they love him & are happy that he is part of their family. The fruit of a courageous 15 year old's decision is three, happy families that seem to be becoming one & the gift, to all of us, of knowing that we can be courageous. We can triumph over the crimes & sins committed against us. We needn't sweep them under the rug as if they didn't happen. In fact, if we do try to make them disappear, we will only create death when we might have such abundant life.

(h/t to Deidre McQuade who wrote of Ken's story at Life Issues Forum on the USCCB's website.)