LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
Before my alarm clock pours the sound of a trickling forest stream into my bedroom; before I have kicked back the bed sheets and dropped my feet to the floor; before I have read any texts or emails or checked
any phone messages or have spoken to another soul… dread often makes a guest appearance.
This is what the panic feels like: It is as if I have casually stepped off a curb,and suddenly looked up from my reverie just as speeding car is bearing down on me! Does this sound familiar? And, at such times, it is only by the grace of God we have survived. The feelings stay with us. The adrenaline rush is breath-taking and, too
often, crippling. How can I experience this feeling first thing in the morning without ever having left the assumed safety of my bed? What summons this panic that can paralyze? And what can be done to assuage the panic?
I have tried “self-medicating”: using people, work and exercise a panacea. Also, I have sought out therapeutic methods of psychoanalysis and prescriptive medication. Today, following such attempts for relief-- which failed or ran their course--I chose to pray.
I have several lines from scripture that I repeat as a mantra while praying: “Be Not Afraid” is one of them.
God instructs us seven times in the Bible to “be not afraid”; 43 times to “fear not” and eight times to “have no fear". I finally got the message: Christ wants me to give my fear to Him so He might relieve me of it. I think He puts it inside His most Sacred Heart where His Love extinguishes the "smoldering worm".
My prayer begins with those three words: “Be not afraid”, then stream lines into “I seek the mercy of God”, only to end with some of the most important words that Jesus gives us:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. “
John 14: 27
I think about what I want and what I want is only Jesus’ particular kind of peace. For me, any other is as meaningless as milk toast. “My peace I give to you….” "My" ...is essential here for the peace that belongs to Jesus, His serenity, His sense of tranquility, His calm is restorative and He offers it freely and abundantly to us.
As I pray these words, I think of what His peace feels like, how it looks, how it sounds. I see Him as a vessel containing the only peace that can heal me and, suddenly, the dread vanishes, and I experience no more panic.
“ Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not
your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
I listen for the words of Jesus as I pray; I hear them...and I am made better.
What Woman Should Be on the $10 Bill?
I’m sure by now most of you know about the facelift our Treasury Department is planning for the $10.00 bill? Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, recently announced that the “Hamilton” was undergoing “cosmetic surgery” of sorts. The government is seeking public opinion on what woman might be worthy of that prominent portrait. So, why I am focusing on this subject - which is seemingly unrelated to the content of this blog For Catholics who Care? The connection to Our Lord is somewhat subtle, but unmistakable relative to how God reveals His presence in all of our lives….
But, first, my personal choice - without hesitation – would be Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary. Imagine the publicity! Imagine how our Call To The New Evangelization would benefit. Of course, you can also imagine how Treasury Secretary Lew would receive my suggestion. My second choice would be Mother Teresa (and some who took the USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll agreed). Then, something my friend wrote on his FaceBook page reminded me of the grand dame of women who have changed history: Helen Keller!
“Much debate over which woman should
grace the new $10 bill. My choice is Helen
Keller. I believe she is the embodiment of
the spirit of this country. Just look at her
adversity, what she endured and what she
accomplished. Strength, determination and
courage defined her, as well as America.”
Ah, yes, I thought - Helen Keller. And I joined, without hesitation, the Let’s Put Helen Keller on the Face of the new $10 Bill Committee.
After all, Helen Keller was one of our Nation’s strongest women at a time when women weren’t celebrated for their personal strength. She was a pioneer and an icon in so many arenas. It was Helen Keller who became one of the country’s leading anti-racist activists, and who also championed the needs of people with disabilities. And it was Helen Keller who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union. Helen Keller said:
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do
everything, but still I can do something. I will
not refuse to do something I can do.”
I was struck by her declaration! Recognizing that it might have come from the lips of Mother Teresa herself! And, what really amped up my campaign efforts to put Helen Keller’s face on the $10 bill was this quote:
"Once I knew only darkness and stillness...my life
was without past or future…but a little word from
the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched
at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture
How Christ-centered these words sounded to me! I think Helen Keller was certainly a Disciple of Christ, even though she made not have realized it fully. From a letter Helen Keller wrote to Bishop Phillips Brooks we've come to understand that: “She had always known about God, even before she had any words. Even before she could call God anything, she knew God was there. She didn't know what it was. God had no name for her -- nothing had a name for her. She had no concept of a name. But in her darkness and isolation, she knew she was not alone. Someone was with her. She felt God's love. And when she received the gift of language and heard about God, she said she already knew.” (See City-Data.com)
(See collected letters of Phillip Brooks and Helen Keller.)
General Information for The United States Treasury. Call and nominate Helen Keller for the woman on the $10 bill. (202) 622-2000
Fax: (202) 622-6415
To Write to Jack Lew and nominate Helen Keller: