Tag Archive: suffering

A Mother’s Heart

It’s Mother’s Day here in the USA. Why should we bother to continue this day of remembrance?

Well for one thing, we all have mothers. Mothers are indispensable, a necessity whether they are our biological, adopted, or spiritual mothers. Mother’s care, or at least they should. A mother who abandons her children, we recognize as ill, or abnormal. Why, because mother’s are supposed to be the ones, when everyone else forgets, stops caring, or loving, continues despite all odds.

They love us even when we are angry at them, spiteful, mean, hateful. Their hearts can take a licking and still keep loving. Teens in particular, know how to aim for and hit the mark of their mother’s hearts to inflict the most damage. This is usually due to hurting pretty badly themselves and testing to see if they are still lovable. Mom’s come through despite these potentially mortal wounds. A mother’s heart is nearly indestructible.

Mothers who have suffered infertility and the death of a child are some of the strongest women I know. The pain of loosing or never knowing a child is the deepest kind of pain. Even children who wonder off, are never forgotten and always prayed for and welcomed home.

God knew what He was doing when he created a mother’s heart. He had a pretty special model to create a mold from too- The Blessed Virgin Mary. Now there was heart that loved without limit, suffered the extremes humanity had to offer and Divinity required of it.

Mother Mary, pray for all mothers. Those who kill their unborn, hurt, or abandon their children. Help those whose hearts are so broken in all the suffering a mother has to undergo. Fill us with abundant grace so that we, like you, may love harder through the most extreme situations. In imitation of you, we should run to the source of Love Itself, there we can find a limitless, unfathomable love.

For women yearning to be called mom.

For the mothers of sick children.

For the mothers of starving children.

For the mothers of lost, addicted, and broken children.

For the mothers whose children have forgotten, abandoned, or ignored them.

For the mothers who can’t forgive, and won’t forgive.

For the old mothers desperate to see their children again, hold them, and unite with them.

For the tired, sick, dying mothers alone in their despair.

Mother Mary, Mother of All, Queen of Heaven and Earth- wrap your mantel around all mothers that we may always be a model of your motherhood.




Suffering Makes Sense

Its been a month since the accident. Each day a new beginning, challenge and opportunity. What do I do with it?

While being hit by a car was never on my bucket list, it has provided me with a way to reach out to others who have experienced and are experiencing unexpected pain and sorrow in their own lives as one who knows.

The stories are a beautiful peek into depth of the human soul. We are stronger than we think. We are able to withstand immense, long lasting pain and we are capable of growth in holiness beyond our wildest imagination through all this.

No one looks for suffering, no one wants to wake up on a burn unit or ICU with needles and tubes connected everywhere, and stop their lives while the unexpected takes priority. Yet, every moment of everyday this is what happening all over when we least expect it.


Something about suffering makes sense. We can see it tangibly on a human level, how those that survive and surmount great pain and suffering are somehow stronger, wiser, transformed. Something changes in us on a profound level. Those who suffer long term disabilities, near death experiences and the like are wise beyond their years.

So this little thing I am going through I have to look at as a gift as crazy as that sounds. Good can come from bad things- that is a fact. The good I have witnessed so far is the effect this has had on others. They pay attention more when they drive, they bought helmets and promote their use, they pray harder and more regularly, they reach out with meals and cards and visits in their busy days. I am blessed beyond measure by the outpouring of love and generosity.

On a spiritual level I can only imagine what changes are taking place and how the Lord applies my pain and suffering to the One Body of Christ as a means of healing and reparation.

So I accept this, give it over to Jesus, and pray that one day I will get the privilege of seeing some of the good that came from this small moment in my life.

Let the Fire Fall

“Just about the worst thing we can do with Jesus is to domesticate him, to turn him into a nice, harmless figure, simply a teller of tales and wise spiritual teacher. He announces himself as an arsonist: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.” ~ Fr. Robert Barron

Why do we humans settle for “lukewarm” when it comes to faith?

I see people on game days dressing up in jerseys and sporting team colors, spending countless hours and dollars on following a team and when it comes to faith or participation at mass can barely utter an audible AMEN.

I see people spending millions of dollars on the latest clothing trends and for church they look like they have barely given more than a seconds attention to what they wear to God’s house.

What was Christ talking about when he stated His desire that we were already blazing? Do we possess a single heart for Him? Do our hearts burn with love? Do they have the ability to set the world afire?

What images arise in your mind when you hear these words of Christ?

Regret? Anger? Disappointment? Passion? Energy?

For myself; all of the above.

Regret, that it isn’t happening already and it is 2000+ years later.

Anger, that we let temporal things get in the way of the eternal realities, and are easily distracted, defeated, and discouraged.

Disappointment, because we lack focused discipline and determination for the things of God.

Passion and Energy, for all the wrong things; diets, politics, sports, material things, excessive exercise, gastronomy, celebrities, clothing, shoes; need I go on?

So what will it take to transform our hearts, refocus our lives, and realign our priorities? God knows a little secret that has worked for as long as humans have walked the planet; suffering.

Nothing gets our attention like pain. It seems to cut through all the BS and get right to the heart of the matter. We tend to look up when there is no relief in sight. We tend to bend the knee when answers are not forth coming. We tend to bow our heads and surrender our wills when we have no one else to turn to.

Yes, God knows what it takes to get our attention. What we have to remember is that it is not out of spite or malice but out of love. Suffering can purify and cleanse away impurities. It can help us detach from harmful habits and unhealthy attachments to earthly things and more importantly it can assist us making the necessary adjustments to fire up the furnace of love.

Let us beg for the fire of the Holy Spirit to fall on humanity and set our hearts on fire for Christ– a transforming fire, a fire of love… a cleansing fire that purifies hearts and souls!! Come Holy Spirit come, set us a blaze!

Filling the Unfillable Void

 By Barbara Lishko

“Our hearts are restless Lord, until they rest in thee.”  St Augustine knew well what he was writing about, having spent part of his life filling the void with everything but God.

It is difficult to watch people you care about “fill their voids” with self- destructive habits, people and distractions. So many times I see them settle for pleasure, when what they really yearn for is happiness. I remember Matthew Kelly speaking once on this subject of pleasure and happiness. The main difference being pleasure must be constantly fed or the feeling dies. Happiness on the other hand, can sustain itself long after the experience which brought it about.

Being a parent and a youth minister who works with teens and young adults, I am constantly baffled at the lengths our young people travel as they seek pleasure. It can be like a drug addiction that must constantly be sought in ever higher degrees to attain that original euphoria. Many are so lonely for one reason or another. They feel incomplete without all the material trappings society says they must have to be happy and fulfilled. Often their desperation for a soul-mate drives them into settling for a hook-up instead of true and authentic, self-giving love. They desire answers for their purpose and meaning yet lack discipline and patience, descending instead into a constant state of meaningless diversions.

It is sad to hear about. It is heartbreaking to observe. I have found myself in the role of confidant many times so I have a unique perspective as I watch the drama unfold. I know their desire is for something more, yet time and time again, they settle for the counterfeit. I go to “the Garden” often, and kneel there beside our Lord as He interceded to the Father on our behalf. I too intercede and do what I can in small ways to beg the Father, Son, and Spirit to guide and assist these young people as they struggle with their choices and ensuing consequences. We have all been there in one degree or another, yet these times are somewhat different and less forgiving.

I know when I goofed-up as a young person I might be taunted about it for awhile but I would have never had to see it played over and over again on the internet, spreading poison and stinging each time with ever increasing destruction.  With all the means of greater communication, we have faster ways of spreading gossip, lies, and drama to the detriment of those involved.

What is the solution to this, if there is any?

Dare I suggest, we make a stronger more determined effort to model Christ-like behavior in our own lives; to walk the walk ourselves, so that they see a way that points to truth, a love that doesn’t count the cost or use, and obedience that disciplines the will conforming itself to God.

Persistence in prayer for one another will invoke the Spirit’s movement in their lives and ours. Attentive listening and availability to those who struggle is critical so that they can be wrapped in encouragement and love as they stretch, and grow into the fullness of God’s creation.

God allows U-turns, and do-overs and restarts. There is an essential need for us older brothers and sisters to show them the way. We must grow up and put away the things of our childhood without losing our childlike wonder and awe of God. Men must become men whose lives are in line with Christ.  We need your witness in faithfulness to family, wife, Church and what it means to lay down one’s life.

Ladies, our model is Mary our Mother; self-giving love and the great fiat. We must stop saying yes to sex outside of marriage and respect ourselves enough to say that we are worth waiting for. Crystalina Evert says that “a guy will be as much of a gentleman as we require.” We have the God-given power to help our brothers step up and be the protectors and defenders of our virtue, not the slayers and betrayers.

I know that I have been called to be in this place and time for a reason. Each and every one of us is here because God has a purpose and plan for our lives and a part to play in each other’s salvation.  May we see the unique role we play in this period in history, and become the saints so desperately needed.



Hardship For God

Pope Benedict says that when the disciples through the Transfiguration “experienced ahead of time something that will constitute the happiness of paradise” These “brief experiences that God grants on occasions, especially in anticipation of harsh trials.”
God knows what we need… when we need it. Like water in the dry parched desert, He quenches our thirst and sustains us through life’s dryness, trials and difficulties.