Within a matter of one month, I've decided to clear some of my emails that no longer serve me. I even started to read only material on websites that were along the same line as mine. Strangely, one particular email subscription that I used to look forward to every morning somehow has mysteriously vanished without having to unsubscribe. Through this clearing process, I said a prayer of gratitude for all their encouraging words that inspired me, but no longer ignite me in going forward; doing so actually made room for something more beautiful to happen for me.
This new, heightened burst of inspiration began right after Pope Francis visit. I had more courage to stand up for my Christian faith and not worry as much about fitting in with others whom I've previously admired. And that was my problem: I never wanted to leave anyone out. But I began to see clearly that others had no problem ignoring certain serious issues that meant more to me than anything else in the world, and by that I mean the wisdom of keeping family together through God. I now can see that they were liberated and influenced by modern ideas, whereas I was, in some ways, still conservative. Pope Francis's visit provided me with the ultimate support and helped me to have more courage and take responsible action joyfully to play my part with love for families. Now, for the first time, without fearing letting go of others, I step up to encourage through my writing those who are married with children. I hope my words and experiences console, and possibly light their way to staying together for their children. If we listen to our hearts, we answer our souls' calling.
The other day, I shared my sorrow during a passionate conversation about women gathering to help the horrific situation of mothers in different parts of the world who are selling their own children for prostitution. Sadly, this is just one among other serious problems happening around the world. But selling children into prostitution is the most devastating. I asked, "When are we going to open our eyes and be wise and courageous enough to openly discuss and help families in our own country? We are in a crisis of marriages and children. Can't we help them first, and then be freer to reach out for those poor souls faraway and do more?" We all have different situations from which we can help others who are calling out for our help. These are right and blessed opportunities for us to get involved and help others to go forward, including volunteering to feed the homeless in a soup kitchen. We don't all have to do the same thing or compete with one another. All we have to do is to serve.
The marriage crisis continues to unfold around us. Sadly, I've heard too many stories where both women and men have left a spouse AND their own children, to be with some other love in their lives, usually resulting in emptiness and brokenness for the children and their spouses, even down to the grandchildren. Their once lively spirit of family, love, and security greatly diminished, these victims are left with little hope for years to come. These devastating breakups are permitted to continue, to the point of considering separation and divorce as healthy solutions to most problems. They are applauded, and some are rewarded, as being courageous for making a happy new life for themselves with their new love. These ideas are spreading and seem to be paving the way for many family problems, and the truth is most marital problems aren't such terrible hardships after all, and yet they are posing as real reasons to separate or divorce. And Pope Francis sees this as a deep concern. We need to be genuinely concerned with family crisis, the same as for other serious problems confronting families around the globe. Are not the frivolous leaving of children and spouses for another love less serious? Everyone has different passions that are calling us to delve deeper into our own hearts, minds and souls. To me, the opportunity to help in crises going on around us in our families is one of our greatest opportunities to move forward.
Saint Mother Teresa describes it best: "It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start."
Soon after clearing some of my previous email subscriptions, and feeling so much lighter and more at peace with myself, I've since found several noteworthy authors and material on the same themes of the importance of marriage and family. I even came across a wonderful book, Not Just Good, But Beautiful: The Complementary Relationship Between Man and Woman. This is a remarkable book of inspired wisdom from varies faiths and cultures from the highest religious leaders; Pope Francis, Rick Warren, N. T. Wright, Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Jonathan Sacks, Wael Farouq, M. Prudence Allen, Nissho Takeuchi, Jean Laffitte, Ignacio Ibarzabal, Kala Acharya, Jacqueline C. Rivers, Tsui Ying Sheng, Henry B. Eyring and Russell Moore, and the ideas in it support my own beliefs! Their reflections also encourage and inspire me to keep believing in the passion of Christ and the sanctity of marriage.
Shortly after purchasing this wonderful book, (that I sincerely suggest every married couple have a copy, regardless of religion) I came across a link to explore the Plough Publishing website and subscribed to Daily Prayer. They are among my new morning wake-up emails that replaced the one that mysteriously vanished. These messages are the timely gifts of inspiration that arrived as soon as I cleared things and made room; the right door opened for me with reflections that resonate with my work and breathe more light into my spirit. This just might be something to consider when things aren't working out for you. It might be the right time to take an inventory on the things around you that no longer serve your deepest beliefs and lovingly let them go. Meanwhile, new doors are sure to open, ones chosen for you that will really make all the differences in the world for you. They'll help you to serve your great passion and light your spirit once more.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's
works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, and conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress. She is also an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.