Opening Post:

My goal for the remainder of this workshop is to utilize the tools that I have learned from our discussions on the readings so that I can continue this journey in my personal life after the workshop ends. One of the most important tools I have gained is through my friends in the Beech Tree Group. The tool is to use my love of God to believe in myself. I have learned so much from this fantastic group, and that is most definitely one of the best lessons I have gained. My intention is to use the remainder of the workshop to go forth with more confidence and recognition of the skill-set and the charisms that the Holy Spirit has given me.

I intend to bring more mindfulness and preparedness to our Beech Tree meeting tomorrow evening. I intend for this to be the week during which I have prepared as much as I can and responded in writing as best as I can prior to our meeting. I want to bring to tomorrow’s meeting a higher awareness of myself and a larger openness to listen. I intend to take the risk in this moment to express to any person who reads this that I would like to continue our workshop journey together even after the workshop ends. If you want to comment below that you would like my information, I can get my information to you for us to continue the discussion and the growth of this miracle workshop after it ends.

The one area that I need to grow more regarding stretching my limits is to understand more of the ecumenical causes that run deeply within the Catholic Church. As a practicing Catholic, I have taken ecumenism for granted more often than I should have. The Church has written about ecumenical movements, and I wish I had listened better to that movement in my recent past. I also intend to work more at recognizing the ecumenical work that one of my favorite saints who is named Saint Margaret Clitherow has done. She miraculously navigated having a 16th century Christian marriage in which she simultaneously respected her husband’s different denomination while also staying faithful to everything the Catholic Church believes. Even faced with a terrible death, she defended her family and her beloved husband by refusing to “testify” which would have stripped them of all their property. This past Lent, past Easter, and even this Ordinary Time has been a time of working to get ever closer to Saint Margaret Clitherow. I need to “listen” to her more by prayerfully re-examining her life. Despite her passion and conviction for her Catholic faith, she was also fearless in the respect she held until her last breath towards Christian unity. I pray that Saint Margaret Clitherow walk closer to me and that I listen more when she teaches me about humility of preaching truth. Sometimes when I think about her life, I get tears in my eyes, because her living testimony really speaks to me. She is a martyr who gave her life to protect all seven sacraments. How can I resemble that today, tomorrow, and in upcoming weeks? I make the prayer that she will continue to intercede for me that I gain more strength and encouragement.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share a song that I love. It is called “Thank you” by the artist Alanis Morissette. The lyrics teach me about true gratitude and the song resounds inwardly as my theme-song every time I hear it played.

2 thoughts on “Opening Post:

  1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you again for your presence, participation and authenticity during our small group sessions. Similar to last time, I’ll attempt to look closely at your words and see if we can explore them further.
    You mentioned, “The tool is to use my love of God to believe in myself.” I wonder if it helps at all to imagine how much God loves and believes in you?

    “The one area that I need to grow more regarding stretching my limits is to understand more of the ecumenical causes that run deeply within the Catholic Church. As a practicing Catholic, I have taken ecumenism for granted more often than I should have. ” I want to focus on the areas where you said, “I need to grow more” and “for granted more often than I should have.” As you reread these sentences and focus on these phrases within them, do you sense that these words are coming from God, from you, or from someone else?

    “The lyrics teach me about true gratitude and the song resounds inwardly as my theme-song every time I hear it played.” I’m so glad that you have a theme song about gratitude. What line most resonates with you as you sit with your gratitude for this workshop?

    “Thank you!” Elizabeth. I’m so glad we met and I’d be happy to continue our conversations/collaboration if you’d be interested. Take care and may God continue to bless you and your various ministries!

  2. Thank you again, Daniel. Thank you for paying attention to me and helping me to feel better about my reality. You have a really special gift, and I hope that I can implement that when I use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given me with other people.

    I am able to think about how much God loves me, and that was very helpful. I struggle to see how God “believes in me”. At least, God’s belief in me is not something I have ever thought about prior to your question!

    I think that those lines come from God and maybe even Saint Margaret Clitherow. I had not thought of that prior to you asking me that question.

    The song lyrics that fit with my gratitude for this workshop are: “Thank you, terror. Thank you, disillusionment. Thank you, frailty. Thank you, consequence. Thank you, thank you, silence. How bout me not blaming you for everything? How bout me enjoying the moment for once? How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you? How bout grieving it all one at a time?” This workshop has been an enlightening moment and one that has really brought God to me in many ways. But the workshop has also brought me a lot of pain and anger from some correspondence with my other friends in the workshop. I feel a bit displaced and not sure how to feel about other Catholics whom I have interacted with lately. I think I need to grieve my previous sense of feeling a sense of belonging in regard to believing I “fit in” with other Catholics. I am learning to accept that other people who practice Catholicism are going to sometimes have views I consider “fringe”, but my job is to accept their fervor for the Faith, just as I want them to accept mine. I feel kind of emotionally damaged, and I think it is from holding unfair expectations of my fellow Catholics. This is some of what has happened in the past two months in my relationship with my Catholic friends: I have been having a continuous friendly debate with a friend who believes many right-wing views and who prays about my support for Democratic candidates, I trusted another right-leaning Catholic friend when I decided to help her because she needed a ride from three hours from my home and I ended up not being more careful and acquired COVID-19 on that trip, I had to grieve seeing my friend as someone who I could trust with my own safety. Meanwhile, I experienced sad feelings, hurt, and anger with correspondence with my two other left-leaning Catholic friends who pointed out that I need to be more welcoming in social media. I don’t know why my relationship with these four Catholics has caused me to doubt MYSELF in many ways. I keep wondering what is wrong with me. I think I may be a zealot in some ways that I had not previously understood. Anyways, I think this workshop has helped me face the terror and frailty. I need to stop blaming and I need to grieve and forgive myself and others. This might be a longer process than I thought which is also similar to my chest pain that has began out of the blue. I think my body is trying to fight COVID-19 still, so I need to let it do its thing.

    I appreciate your help. hugs.

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