I'm not sure if you know this about me but something rather drastic happened in my life a couple months ago – I found out I had an intolerance for gluten. If you follow me on the Twittersphere (LT_Christina) you've probably seen me talk about this. Scratch that, you've probably seen me complain and bemoan my gluten-less state while everyone else is so happily eating muffins and bagels and brownies.
Catholics follow the Ten Commandments because Christ, Himself, followed them and because He told others to follow them (Matthew 19:16-19). We also follow them because they were given to us by God. In the book of Exodus we read how God himself gave these commandments to the Israelites through the help of Moses. However there is more to following the Ten Commandments than just because 'God told us to.'
We obey God's commands because He loves us! Because God loves us and loves us perfectly we can always trust His word. Also, because God created us we can trust that He always knows what is best for us.
That was a tough question, but the next one worried me:
'Was I afraid to talk with God, to be honest with Him, and listen to Him even if I didn't like it?'
I had to think about it for a while. I realized that while I trusted God with most things, there was still one thing that I avoided … Confession. I would go to Mass every Sunday and pray throughout the day asking for help or thanking Him, but I didn't like sharing my weaknesses with Him.
Catholics believe in indulgences because ultimately we know we're all sinners and need God's mercy. When a person commits a sin, there are two kinds of punishments that they have to deal with as a result of that sin. The first is called 'eternal punishment' which means the sinner can't enter heaven because of a grave sin that is not repented from. Through Christ's sacrifice we don't have to suffer eternal punishment if we repent. The second kind of punishment is called 'temporal punishment' and every sin we commit carries a temporal punishment with it.
Try to picture it now. When the earthquake subsided and the darkness lifted thatÌÄ‰Û_ÌâåÊFriday afternoon, it must have resembled something like a crime scene. Ask theÌÄ‰Û_ÌâåÊHoly Spirit to guide your mind and heart now as you discern the site.
Ìâ‰âÂÌâÅÒGreat news! I got a promotion . . . and I'm ENGAGED!'
My friend went on and on sharing the romantic story of how her tall, handsome, Catholic man proposed. Everything in her life seemed to be the stuff of her dreams . . . and mine. As she was oozing with excitement, I smiled and was happy for her, but inside I had this strange, silent but sickly feeling of envy. There was this small part of me that wanted her to gain 10 lbs, break out with acne, or just stop talking. (Ok, not my finest moment).
My image of God the Father, enthroned in heaven in flowing white robes and Birkenstock sandals, was overshadowed by my certainty that he didn't want me to have any fun. Not only was God all about rules, he'd drop anybody that strayed off his path. Parochial school should have taught me how to live but instead I learned how not to die and burn. The result was that I treated Moses' Commandments with the same reverence I reserved for one of Letterman's 'Top Ten' lists.
Patti was an easy target for these jokes. She went to a different school, dressed a little differently, talked a little louder. Leaning against the sink in the girl's bathroom, sensing everyone's attention and wanting to seal my spot in the group, I made a joke about her. It was true, but it wasn't nice.
I was just thinking about mothers and how much I love the moments when I’m able to call my mom and just tell her how I feel . . . she's so good at listening to me. I love my mom and couldn't be more happy with having a mother who does everything she can to be a good mother. She doesn't even know how great she is.
Then I realized that I was not much better than those pagan voodoo worshipers.
In my head I know that God was the only one worth my worship, but I still found myself turning to so many other relationships, habits, and even sins to save me when I was overwhelmed and in need of help. I knew that Jesus was my Savior, but often I turned anywhere else but towards Him when I needed to be saved from loneliness, hurt, or boredom.
… I felt it slipping but didn't know what to do. The ornate, china plate fell to the tile floor.
You know that split second of silence after something shatters on the ground? It’s in that split second that I caught my breath in shock waiting for the reprimand, gasp or look of disapproval. And in that moment, my grandma had a choice.
She would always, no matter what was broken, say something to the effect of: “That’s ok! Don’t worry!” Immediately, that’s what she said to me. No hesitation. I remember asking her about it later and having her tell me, “What’s done is done and it’s no use being upset over.”