Wow. What wisdom.
It has been too long since I have written… blogged…. and what a perfect feast day to jump back into it. Ah, one of my favorite saints, St. Catherine of Siena, though it is very un-catholic of me, I like to think of her as one of the most “bad-ass” female saints (right up there with St. Joan of Arc) … for she was very outspoken and persistent, something I strive to emulate. I need to be strong like her, strong in faith … it seems recently I really need strong Catholic women (saints) I can look up to!
These past several months I had fallen into a mini dark night of the soul… this oppressiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger clutched onto me and would not let go… and I couldn’t seem to drag myself out of it. So I persisted through it, offering up my sufferings and praying through it. Of course trying to understand why we go through moments (months!) like these is sometimes next to impossible, we cannot see what it means now …. we just need to trust that He is doing something important. For God has a plan and He is working in us, making us better people, making us holier. Though I, of course, did not feel holier during this time. I felt like an epic failure. Was I supposed to learn something? (I didn’t). Was I supposed to be kinder and forgiving? (I wasn’t). Was a supposed to learn patience? (Good God I hope not!). Or maybe I was just supposed to suffer yet endure. I have also been reading St Faustina’s Diary recently (another amazing saint!) and boy did she suffer a lot! So I understand that at times we must suffer for God to work. But suffering is just that… so painful, suffocating, difficult and draining… how can I continue on when I feel so oppressed?
Why am I bringing this up on St Catherine’s feast day? Well, here are two very powerful quotes that I feel help me get through.
Bam! Be who you are meant to be. That simple. God made you unique. There is no one else like you. There is a reason for that. So BE that person he created you to be, because no one else can do what you do. No one else can set the world on fire like you! Don’t let others drag you down and tell you to be something you feel you are not. The only changing you should be doing is becoming more of a Christ like YOU (if that makes sense). God made me like this… at times outspoken (obnoxious might be a better description. haha) … and rebellious and radical. He did not mean for me to ever sit quietly and not speak out when I see something wrong. He made me like this! So I find offense when I am admonished (and silenced) for speaking out, for asking questions or when I point out hypocrisy. Hey! Back off! Good wants me to be me. I have struggled with trying to understand how I am supposed to act and who I am supposed to be … but I now know that God wants me to be me, it’s that simple. He wants me to set the world on fire in my unique way. He wants me to speak out. Which brings me to this next infamous quote.
YES! I will not be silent. She is right… especially now… the world is ROTTEN ROTTEN ROTTEN (Yes three rottens!!!) because of silence… especially recently…. everyone is so afraid to speak out about life, marriage and gender (among other things!) … and now we have lost the battle (read Matt Walsh’s book The Unholy Trinity, Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage and Gender… he explains it all!) … It disturbs me that so many do not speak out! … but we should not give up! We need to continue to cry out! So I will be ME and I will be brave… I will CRY OUT!
So thank you St Catherine for your wisdom! Know that your words give others like me the faith to be the strong Catholic women we are meant to be.
Today we celebrate All Saint‘s Day. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Of course I want to be a saint, as do most practicing Catholics. Saint Kelly… yes I want to be the first Saint Kelly (though there may be one already… I am talking about the ones recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.)! But after the homily today I became a bit, just a bit discouraged… you see Fr. Phil said in his wonderful homily that he once heard someone ask a priest, “What makes someone a saint?” and the reply was, “A saint is gentle in everything he does.”
Me, gentle? Ha! That is probably the last thing someone would say to describe me.
Yup… that would be more like it. I am …hm… how should I say this… passionate… zealous… and at times quite honestly obnoxious. Gentle?… nope, not me. I am the proverbial bull in the china shop of life. I can be loud, selfish, opinionated, animated… the punk rock Catholic. I seethe … yes seethe at the statement, “Let’s agree to disagree!” Because no I don’t want to agree to disagree, especially when it comes to topics such as abortion… killing a baby is wrong so there can be no agreeing to disagree~ you are wrong, change your mind! I can be intolerant, yes I said that, INTOLERANT at times of other people’s opinions and beliefs (like on abortion)! So yeah… I can be intense and very UNgentle.
Case in point, last month while at Derry Fest (our town’s annual festival) I saw that Planned Parenthood had a tent… so what was my knee-jerk reaction? As I walked by I yelled out to them, “Defund Planned Parenthood!” Yeah, classy. My friend Jennifer, who is very involved in 40 Day’s for Life, was a much holier person than me that day. She went up to them and told them she would pray for them. She spoke kindly to them. She expressed her beliefs in a nice, kind way. Not like crazy, mad Kelly.
I do admit that I have been working on not being so…. ME. I have been trying to be holy. I am trying to not blow up as much (my Irish temper!). I am trying to hold my tongue. I am trying to not post as much (in-yer-face stuff) on Facebook (yeah that won’t happen haha 😛 ). This summer I actually stopped myself from freaking out on a woman who misunderstood how we (a co-teacher and I) were handling an autistic student who was melting down in the middle of Manchester Community College. She got all up in my grill, accusing us of things… which infuriated me, not only because she did not understand the situation but she didn’t understand our students… I was furious… BUT… I refrained from freaking all up and down her… I kept my cool and I turned and walked away. My co-teacher said she was impressed with me, in the past I would have lost my cool. So, there is hope for me… for Saint Kelly. 😉 ha!
So on this Feast Day I have learned something (thank you Fr. Phil). Be gentle. I need to continue to try to be less me and more Him. I know that it is hard. I know that it takes time… years even…. and I know the saints weren’t all perfect. And some were very wild too. One of my favorite Saint Francis of Assisi quotes (which I have quoted before) is, “I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me He can work through anyone.” God is working in me … no worries… There is always hope for us wild obnoxious Catholics.
Phew. Thank God.
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it years ago when I started as a special education teacher. I am always praying before meetings, usually rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets on top of all my other morning prayers… and there are even times when I ask all my friends/prayer warriors to pray for me if I think a meeting may be a bit …hm… difficult. My husband says he prays a whole army of angels and saints surround me at my meeting.
Yeah! Makes me think of that Chris Tomlin song about the God of angel armies… at my side! Makes me feel that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”… I feel peaceful and courageous.
So recently a co-worker, friend and fellow Christian and I talked about writing a specific prayer for IEP meetings… so this is what I came up with:
Prayer Before an IEP Meeting
I thank you, Lord, for this glorious day
I thank you for my job as a special education teacher. I know this is the plan you have for me, help me be the best case coordinator I can be.
I thank you Lord for all my students. You placed them in my life for a reason. Help me to help them be successful.
I ask you to pour down your blessing, mercy and grace on ___________________’s IEP meeting today
I pray for peace, love, joy, courage, strength, protection, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and compassion during the meeting. Surround me with your heavenly angels, Lord
I pray that all goes well and my student gets the services and support he/she needs to be successful at (Name of school).
I thank you again, Lord, for this wonderful journey.
Help me be obedient to your Word, to serve you and live the gospel in my life.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
This makes me think… I should write more prayers… for all I do…