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Faith, Experience, View

   To some, I would guess, they would find my faith experience is a little too "new agey", "touchy feely".  I have no problem with that, if we were all the same in out look and thought the world would be a very boring place!  And when anyone calls me "new age" I smile with delight because Christ brought an new age!

There is a very different spiritual world view for those who are more Vatican one than those who are more Vatican two.  I will only speak for myself, because it is the only point of view I know!  I believe that to fully understand your faith you must have a full experience of it.  Ignatius who wanted his novitiates to examine their day and see where they had loved and where they had failed to love; and here as I was taught by my wonderful Dominican Nuns, this meant to support, encouragement, and challenge with great gentleness.  There is no full growth without challenge!  Ignatius wanted his novitiates to be with those who came to them right where they were: meaning that the novitiates were to not push an agenda, a point of view, but to guide, listen, suggest only when the person needed it.  

I see my faith through that great gentleness.  I often will say to people: "I have never read a Gospel where Jesus went and nagged yet another time!"  His response to the women was always to challenge, have them see the real of their situation, but to always lead them back with love, gentleness; he never dragged them back with harshness.  

I respond best to that Jesus, because like many of the mothers with whom I journey, I too have had more than my share.  My father was a serial drunk, off and on the wagon and that affected each of us in our own way.  I remember my mother waiting by the door to take "the temperature of how Da was", and if it was bad; we ran to hide.  At sixteen I was raped twice!  Been in abusive boyfriend relationships.  So I understand trust issues, fear issues and also the power of prayer and help!  It was through the faith-filled help I received from the age of thirteen that I became the woman God calls his daughter!  And it was through that experience that I felt God calling me to give back, be present to others, to love tenderly.   Catholic culture and teaching tells us that suffering brings great spiritual insight, I know that, its one of the reasons I am were I am today. But I can not suffer with joy, I will only triumph even in the toughest times because Jesus loves ME enough to have died for my sins.

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