Chosen, not Qualified

Our base parish has been so thankful these past two weeks. Last April, our active duty priest assigned to our base retired and we have been without an assigned priest since then. A very kind priest from town has been coming to help fill in, but has to basically fly in, say Mass and then zoom straight back to his parish to make the times work. We were grateful for the gift of the Sacrament, but there wasn’t much time for pastoral care. After much prayer, a civilian priest volunteered to come fill the void and his homilies the past two weeks have been very, very good.

His main point this week was so good, I had to take a minute and share it with you all. He asked us a question at the start: “In all our readings today, there was a man before God. Was he chosen, though unqualified for the work? Or was he qualified, and then chosen?” The answer, of course, is that Isaiah, Paul and Peter were all chosen by God for extraordinary work, but at the time of their calling they were unqualified, unworthy or unclean in some way. They did not have perfect track records (remember Paul’s persecution of the early Christians). They were not holy men (Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips living among people with unclean lips). They were not righteous men, living ascetic lives in the desert (Peter calls himself a sinful man and works as a lowly fisherman).

What makes these men great is their engagement in their call. Each one was called, and though knowingly unworthy, each responded in some way. Their response is what propels them along the path of grace which God had laid out for them. It changed them, moulded them into individuals uniquely qualified for the role God had called them too.

Isaiah’s lips were purified with the burning coal so that he could be a prophet to a people desperate for God’s presence. Paul credits his complete 180 to the grace working in and through him. Peter hear’s Jesus command to lower the nets and even in his doubt he is obedient. Through that obedience, a catch so large nearly capsized his boat.

What does it mean for you and I? It means that we all have been chosen for some work in this world. It also means that we probably aren’t qualified fully for it. None of us are perfect, we all have places of brokenness, fear, doubt, anger, etc. But those are exactly the places that God wants to work on, to improve, to qualify, so that we can fulfill His mission for us. We are each a unique chosen son and daughter of the Almighty, and nothing can take that away.

I, personally, see this especially in parenthood. These children that have been placed in my lap were chosen for my husband and I to raise. More often than not we feel hugely unqualified for this position. Books upon books upon blogs upon podcasts will try to tell you that you are qualified, that you’ve read all the answers, and it’s just not true. Because your children were not handed to you and your spouse unattached. They belong to God, and He is raising them right along with you. He chose you for them, unqualified though you are. When we lean into the grace He provides we discover the way forward which we couldn’t have found on our own.

So on the days you are feeling less than qualified for the work God has placed at your feet, take comfort and inspiration from Isaiah, Paul and Peter. They may not have been qualified, but they were willing. Are you willing to take the next step into your calling as a chosen son or daughter of the Father?

Catholic Conference for Moms – Oct 10-15

Hey everyone! I intended to get this awesome info in your hands last week, but the week (and Eliza’s mysterious fever) got the best of me. So here we are, the day before this exciting opportunity which starts TOMORROW! The Catholic Conference for Moms is an online conference that is totally, completely and 100% FREE for anyone who signs up.

This conference is so great. This year, the conference theme is Pass It On, thinking specifically about what we pass on to our children. What things do we want to pack in their proverbial life backpacks. Speakers from all over the country and walks of life share a bit about what the essentials for a well stocked life backpack would be. Each day 3 new presentations are available, but you can still see the ones you may have missed from the previous day. The presentations are simple videos of the person talking and are perfect to listen to while folding laundry, stirring a pot of soup, or sitting quietly with your cup of morning coffee (you might even be able to take a note or two). And you always have the handy dandy pause button to back you up when life happens.

Some of the topics covered this year are:

cc4m speakers

There are already thousands of moms, and parents in general, who have signed up for this conference. It is a worthwhile way to spend your week, especially as we are all looking forward to the holidays. What is truly important in our family? What are the lessons my own attitude is teaching my children? How can our family grow in holiness these last months of the year? What are the areas we are succeeding in helping our children lead happy, holy lives? What are the areas we need to concentrate on?

This conference is an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate yourself spiritually, especially within the context of your vocation as a parent. I cannot encourage you enough to sign up.

I’ll be posting again in a few days about Danielle Bean’s presentation “Love of Learning” which I got to preview ahead of time – it’s so good! My review will be here as well as on Catholicmom.com where you can join in discussions all week long about the conference.

Absolutely in love with the conference? Wish you could keep some or all of the presentations? Want a ton of free stuff and discounts? Be sure to check back on my review for information on how you can score a TON of conference swag, books, ebooks, discounts to Catholic websites of all kinds, and the presentations to keep. =) =) =)

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

When Words Fail

I have been debating back and forth to write this post. Truthfully, I’m not sure what I can say, what I should say, or what I ought to say. These past 2 weeks have been full of tremendous pain, anger, sorrow and shame for our Church.

As a Catholic, I am so ashamed, even though I have no knowledge or contact with anyone who has suffered abuse or perpetrated it. As a mother, I am fearful and on edge, what if it happened or someday happens to one of my children? As a member of society, I am outraged that something this heinous could happen among people claiming to love and follow Christ.

Naming our feelings is just one of many steps in what will be a long, slow process of healing. We are still not recovered from the scandals of the early 200s. Wounds have been torn back open and new ones made in the wake of Pennsylvania.

In times such as these, it is perhaps understandable to want to circle the wagons, keep everyone and everything close at hand. We can read the Bible at home. We can teach our kids right from wrong at the park under our watchful eye instead of at Religious Education classes. There isn’t time for the parish potluck, and besides we don’t know who will be there.

Tempting though this attitude may be, it is not one that will bring healing and wholeness back to our Church. The temptation to isolate ourselves from our faith would be the height of achievement for the devil’s plans in this twisted mess. Bishop Barron, in his article about this situation, reminds us that “The devil works through temptation, suggestion, and insinuation—and he accomplishes nothing without our cooperation.”

As a mother, it is my job to work with my husband to raise our children in the ways of society and the truths of our faith. We would be abandoning both charges if we turned our backs on the Church in this moment. We show our children every single day what it means to be a member of society through our interactions with others. We model our faith in the exact same way. If we were to stop going to Mass or participating in parish events, we would effectively be training our children that 1. This faith stuff really isn’t the be all end all if it is so easily cast aside and 2. When there is a big problem, something bigger than just ourselves, our actions mean little and aren’t worth the effort to try and fix whatever is going wrong. Pope Francis  said, “today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.” We must come together, not be driven apart.

Like I said at the start, I’m still not sure what to say or how to say it. What has happened, what has been allowed to happen, are crimes against so much of Jesus taught us. He exposes the injustice of society. He reaches out to those in need and to those being trod underfoot and raises them up. He loves without measure and forgives without tiring. We as a Church are in great need of His mercy now, for we have greatly sinned.

Regardless of how closely related to this situation you are, your prayers and your presence are needed. I would encourage everyone to pray in a special way through Mary, Our Lady Undoer of Knots. This is a deep, dark problem. One that we most certainly cannot unravel on our own. It will take time, patience, diligence and justice. For the victims it will take enormous amounts of mercy, compassion, healing and hope.

Some other ideas for the way forward:

Read Pope Francis’ letter to the People of God and join him in prayer for the victims of these crimes as well as their families and communities.

Write a letter to your local bishop, archbishop or cardinal.

Pray with #sackclothandashes a growing movement that wishes to participate in acts of sacrifice, sorrow and reparation to God for the terrible sins committed against God’s people. This is a call for fasting and prayer for 40 days. Though it started on Aug 22, the Queenship of Mary, your prayers, sacrifices and support are never wasted.

Holy Mary, full of God’s presence during the day of your life, you accepted with
full humility the Father’s will, and the devil was never capable of tying you up with
his confusion.
Once with your Son you interceded for our difficulties, and full of kindness and
patience, you gave us example of how to untie the knots in our life. By remaining
forever Our Mother, you put in order and make more clear the ties that link us to
the Lord.
Holy Mother, Mother of God and our Mother, to you who untie with a motherly
heart the knots of our life, we pray to you to receive in your hands (the name of
the person), and to free him/her of the knots and confusion with which our
enemy attacks.
Through your grace, your intercession and your example deliver us from all evil,
Our Lady, and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God, so that
we, free from sin and error, may find Him in all things, may have our hearts
placed in Him, and may serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.
Amen.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com