Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13:4-8 __________________________________________________________________ Patience and kindness. These 2 virtues highlight the Christian experience, which is, above all, about love. Love of God, love of others, and yes, even love of oneself. For when we embrace the Christian life, that is what others hopefully see in us, that helps them know, definitively, that we are Christians. You see, Christianity is far beyond a multitude of rules and traditions. Simply put, really is all about love… Nothing can take the place of love in a relationship. Absolutely nothing! For to love others generously and with complete abandon is to share our very best with them. In as much as God is love, we pour out on those in our lives the very best we have to offer, and, in turn, the Lord replenishes our supply matching, and even exceeding, what we have shared. How blest are those who are able to love others freely and return to Jesus in prayer to replenish their supply! In a way, the Lord fills your cup, then you pass it on. Love was never meant to be kept to ourselves. For to love and be loved is a basic human function; and with that said, people need people to give and...

Do You Have a Thorn?

  Have you ever cried out to God to remove a ‘thorn’ from your life? Even St. Paul experienced ongoing some human weakness, which Scripture calls ‘a thorn.’ Though we don’t know the nature of his condition, it may have been depression, anxiety, a relationship, infirmity, disability, etc…, Scripture tells us that St. Paul reportedly prayed to God 3 times to remove it, but God’s answer to him was this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   2 Corinthians 12:9 Be strong. Avoid weakness… The world tells us in so many ways that showing human weakness is not an option, especially to succeed in any area of life. Yet, the Bible has a completely different take on weakness and vulnerability. Sure, we all have times in our lives when we experience various forms of weakness due to medical infirmity, disability, mental health issues, grief, loneliness, relationship issues, financial challenges, or other adverse circumstances. The truth is, we all experience times of weakness, which is just part and parcel of our being human.   Certainly we all have thorns at times that annoy us, distract us, and derail us, from our life-mission to serve God with all our being. A thorn can affect your comfort zone and even leave you feeling alone and devoid of God’s love—even abandoned. Yet most of the challenges we face can bring us closer to God if we let them. Obstacles can enable us to choose between becoming bitter or better. Make no mistake about it, perspective is a conscious choice. We get to choose what we think about, and...

An Extraordinary Opportunity

  As Christians, we have the extraordinary opportunity to strive to live a good life in Jesus Christ. We are called to focus on what is good and right and true. We try our level best to avoid occasions of sin, but in our humanness, we fall time and again through our words, deeds, thoughts and even bad habits. I say ‘strive’ because we are all sinners to some degree. For we all fall short of the glory of God, the Divine plan He has for each of us. Yet the operative word here is strive.  As a striving people, trying to emulate Jesus, we are called to radical faith. The kind of faith that focuses first on getting our own houses in order, figuratively speaking. Secondly, we are called to be fishers of men—that is, in word and deed, to love as many people as possible to help them follow Jesus, ultimately, into eternal life. ‘Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ‘ Mark 1:17 The example this Scripture gives us is one of becoming gatherers. We are called to gently, through love, not coercion, bring others to Christ while being careful to avoid sin in our own lives. Those who get to Heaven will not be there because of how many rosaries said, church attendance, self-righteousness, eloquent prayers, or works. In actuality, no one deserves to go to Heaven. Since we are all sinners, it is only through God’s generous grace that it is possible for anyone to go to Heaven, as none of us are worthy.  No one will...

If God Is for Us

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) This Scripture serves as a powerful reminder that when God is on our side, when we have given Him control over the details of our lives, we are truly empowered like never before. Empowered to pray with confidence for all that we and our loved ones need, knowing those needs will be met. Prepared to take on the challenges of this world, regardless of circumstances. We are more able to love others, even our enemies and those that are difficult to love.   When you strive to live a faith-filled life, you are in a position to step out with holy boldness, move away from your own worldly desires and needs, to reach for all that is good and right and true. You are no better than anyone else, but your primary focus is on doing God’s Divine Will in your life. That is, doing as much good as you possibly can with complete and utter abandon. You are able to throw caution to the wind and harness the ordinary in an extraordinary way—with patience, courage and love.   Recently I saw a podcast of Joyce Meyer advising her listeners to ‘do it afraid.’ Like the disciples did so many times throughout their ministries, we too, are often afraid to serve God and others with boldness. But remember–faith and holy boldness are gifts of the Holy Spirt who dwells inside of each of us. To be able to proclaim God’s love to others, especially to the unworthy—and aren’t we all?–is one of the greatest privileges we have...

PART II: The Trifecta: Depression, PTSD and Autoimmune

Untreated childhood trauma may play a major role in depression of unknown origin, as people struggle to find the cause for depression and seek relief from it. It is not uncommon for people living with untreated childhood trauma to be undiagnosed, and also have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, and/or seemingly unrelated physical symptoms such as auto-immune and/or a neurological condition concurrently. Depression is a most unwelcome visitor, one that can easily wreak havoc in the lives of those within its reach. As with physical illness, it is important to understand mental health issues as they arise, so a person can address them, and get the timely, effective help they need to move on with their life. There are many well understood reasons for clinical depression: Chemical imbalance Difficult circumstances Emotional trauma Strained relationships Unforgiveness Medical and disability challenges Nutritional deficiencies Medication side effects Aging, and even genetics When the mind is overwhelmed by too much stress, including childhood trauma, the body can become sick. This frequently occurs by the stress of untreated childhood trauma entering the body, and damaging the immune system, sometimes causing the trifecta: depression, PTSD, painful and/or unrelenting, debilitating autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, myasthenia gravis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, some cancers, and/or a host of other autoimmune conditions. For some, the auto-immune system reacts to overwhelming stress and trauma by going on to damage the neurological system. Understanding the untoward effects of untreated childhood trauma can enhance maximal mental and physical health and wellness, leading to a better life. Recognizing untreated childhood trauma can help individuals to seek...