Archive for September, 2012

REFLECTION in the Garden: Is this your home?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Yesterday, I wrestled with our Lord.  We didn’t physically wrestle, but my heart and my thoughts wrestled with Him.  Who won?  Thank goodness, He did.

For many months, I had wanted to write about the upcoming “Catholics Come Home” campaign (http://www.catholicscomehome.org/) which the Vancouver Archdiocese will be carrying forth this Fall.  The intent is to invite those who have left the Catholic faith back “home”.  This campaign is very close to my heart because over twenty years, I have watched many turn their backs on their Catholic faith.

Some had chosen to “accept’ the faith so their child could readily enter into our private Catholic school system.  Some were born into the faith, but because of trials in the Catholic school system, they left in search for something “better”.  Unfortunately, as they searched, they also left their faith walk behind.  And then there are those who were taught the faith at home and in school, but they failed to grasp the “truth” nor did they experience it, and they merely attended Mass to appease parental pressures.  As these reached the age of freedom of choice, these ones dropped away too.

As we wrestled, I asked our Lord, “Whose fault is it?”.  Like many, I have one who had chosen to leave the Church.  From birth, I had bathed her with Christian songs and I immersed her in multiple Christian activities and schooling.  We prayed together, we worshipped together, we praised Him together…  Where had I gone wrong?  Our Father reminded me of the Scripture…”Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6  That brought some comfort.  I also sensed Him say I had not done wrong, but in the mean time, there is much He calls me to do.  He reminded me to trust her to His care and to pray.

PRAY…yes, I had forgotten to pray.  I had forgotten that the devil, our arch-enemy, didn’t want mine to know Him.  Perhaps she will be one who He will use in a mighty way and the enemy is doing all he can to prevent this from happening.  …so pray I must!

My thoughts then wandered on to my other two.  They attend weekly Mass on their own initiative, but they quickly leave because they “don’t like our Parish”!  “WHY?”, my heart cried.  That’s when our wrestling heightened.  “Lord, I do everything, through Your grace, to make everyone feel welcome in Your home and yet my OWN children don’t feel welcomed!”  “Why Lord?!?”  The mystery continues, but our Father reassured me to trust Him.

One of them mentioned that many in our parish refuse to make eye contact.  Attempts were made to join a group and during the last attempt, people turned away when eye contact was made.  Unfortunately, tight cliques had been formed by regular members and unfortunately, this new comer didn’t feel welcomed.  BIG SIGH.

I had mentioned that everything had to start with ourselves.  If we make an effort to make someone welcome, then we, too, will feel welcomed.  Easily said, but more difficult to experience.  I then realized one couldn’t welcome another unless they themselves felt at home.

The lyrics of “A House is Not a Home” comes to mind.  “ But a house is not a home when there’s no one there to hold you tight…  A house is not a home when the two of us are far apart and one of us has a broken heart.”

Many with broken hearts will look for love in our parishes.  Many will yearn for the loving touch of another to encourage them on…

Do you experience God’s love when you enter His home?  I hope so.  We have greeters at our parish entrance who welcome all, but do we ourselves acknowledge others when they enter the sanctuary?  A nod and/or a smile would be nice.

I recall glancing at another not too long ago and unfortunately, haughty eyes and a quick turn returned mine.  Sad… at times I, too, feel unwelcomed, but that disappointment and hurt encourages me to make sure I do not do the same.

Our Father now reminds me about a childhood song sang by Psalty the singing song book…

“Welcome to the family,
we’re glad that you have come
to share your life with us,
as we grow in love and
may we always be to you
What God would have us be
A family always there
To be strong and to lean on.

May we learn to love each other
more with each new day
May words of love be on our lips
In everything we say
May the Spirit melt our hearts
And teach us how to pray
That we might be a true family.

The song says it all.  May our Father strengthen and renew the family ties in each of His homes.

God bless,

Melissa – September 12, 2012

p.s. –  information on the Year of Faith which begins October 2012: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20120106_nota-anno-fede_en.html