Emma Rose Taylor
Child of God and Life-Long servant
I have never been labeled as the “pretty girl,” the “skinny girl,” or the “athletic girl.” For the longest time those titles consumed me and to be honest, they occasionally still do. I have spent my entire life trying to meet the expectations that those around me have relentlessly thrown my direction, failing every single time.
Social media tells me that I should either be a size 2 or super curvy, I resemble more of a chubby rectangle, so I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. My various school experiences have taught me that Math, English, and Science were the most important subjects, but I’m creative, so I struggled to find my place. Society tells me that I need to make a lot of money and go to college to be successful, but I want to work in the educational field, one of the lowest-paid careers. Am I not choosing the right one? Occasionally, Satan screams in my ear, telling me that I need to fit in and be like everyone else to be happy, but God whispers that my uniqueness has a purpose in his grand plan.
I often find that Satan screams and God whispers, and we have to really be listening to hear the truth. I think for some of us, it is easier to stop searching after hearing the scream. Why pray when the “answer” is so prominent in your head? But that’s just it; God desires for us to keep searching as he wants us to choose a life with him and not the other way around. God does not create mistakes, even the seemingly horrible situations you are in. God created us in His likeness, so every scar, flaw or quirk, is of him. God is the definition of a gentleman; he will never push himself on you the way Satan does. He chose you and is waiting patiently for you to choose him back.
God is truth and once we decide to take a step back, pray, and hand over the reins, God will provide a sense of direction, and we must have the courage to trust in him. God does not desire for us to be consumed with this world. While it is our home, the home is temporary, and Heaven is where our soul belongs.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
As Christians, we are called to different standards of behavior; standards that are not of this world. We are not called to be focused on our wealth and outwardly appearance but on our growing relationship with Christ. We are called to have the fruits of the Spirit and Christ in our hearts. We are walking testimonies of Christ’s love and each and every story is unique.
Every single person on this planet has a testimony as unique as their DNA. While the hills are high, the valleys remind us of where we were and where we are going. I struggle like all Christians to remind myself that I am created in the likeness of Christ. I must be kind because every negative thought or comment towards myself or others is an insult to our creator.
I have homework for you today. Write down three personal praises to God in thanks for your gifts, talents, and vast opportunities. These compliments must be purely internal and not based on wealth, status, or physical attributes. As for me, I find this task to be very difficult. Satan knows where his screams are heard the most, and I hear the screams when it comes to feeling worthless. Satan’s scream is different for everyone, but today pray, listen to God’s whispers and hear the truth.
Lord, I have been struggling to hear your voice. Satan’s screams have begun to overpower my heart and I desire for your whispers to be heard through the chaos. You are the bread of life and through you I become whole. I ask for healing, I seek the truth, and I am knocking for permission to enter under your roof. Hear my prayer Lord and reveal to me the gifts, talents, and unique qualities that you have provided me for the use in your kingdom. Amen.
My 3 Compliments:
1. I am a Child of God: I have been chosen by God and play a part in his grand plan.
2. I am full of life: I have energy, and I am able to show Christ’s love to all those I encounter.
3. I am selfless: I have been given the capacity to place others’ needs before my own and desire to make everyone feel significant.
You are enough. You are important. You are worthy. You are beautiful and handsome and desired. You matter to God, and you matter to all those around you. You are full of so many amazing gifts and talents. Do not let Satan’s screams tell you otherwise. Share the love God has given you with the world today. Spend some time in prayer. Who else in your life are you thankful for? For their gifts, talents and dedication to Christ? Physically write down three genuine compliments about someone else and hand your work to them.
Be salt and light in someone’s life today and remember: Take time to hear and trust in the whispers of God.
Go out into the world and do work for the kingdom of God!
“Hell is a door which is locked from the inside”- C.S. Lewis.
Our path through this earthly Christian life, though varied among us all, is all leading toward that one great end: Heaven. Each of us, together, yearn for the eternal presence of God, the Father, in Heaven. However, we may not often give enough thought to the eternal absence of God. Hell.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, there are four levels of Hell: Limbo of the Infants, Limbo of the Fathers, Purgatory, and Gehenna. Limbo of the Fathers, or ‘Abraham’s Bosom, was the location held by the holy men and women of the Old Testament, before ‘Christ’s Resurrection. Additionally, this is where Abraham held Lazarus, and the rich man called for a drop of water on his tongue (Luke 16;19-31). Purgatory is a place of the purging of ‘one’s sins before entering into the full grace of God. Purgatory is not a place of relaxation. In Purgatory, our sins are burned away, and our gaze is locked on to God so that we are as white as Christ before entering into heaven. Gehenna is what our Lord referred to as Hell in the real sense of the word (this is where you lock the door from the inside). The fires and cleansing of Purgatory pale in comparison to the absence of God and his love that is present in Gehenna.
Hell is real. There is no denying the existence of Hell. We understand that Hell (Gehenna) is the eternal separation from God. Not only will you be separated, but you will also be fully aware of your intentional defiance of His will. You will be in an agony of regret, forced to look upon Satan and his demons, and be scorched by spiritual fire. This spiritual fire casts no light and does not consume. The damned are tormented by the disconnection from God for all eternity.
‘C.S.’ ‘Lewis’s describes Hell has having a door that has is locked from the inside. This is due to the fact that we are not predestined or condemned to Hell by God. What can we do to lock the door from the inside? What can one do to end up in Hell? Firstly, Hell can be a reality if we turn away and reject God. Second, we could face Hell if we commit a mortal sin, or many of them, and do not repent. When we reject God or when we commit a sin that goes unrepented, we stand the chance of locking the door from the inside. In doing so, we lock the door from the inside and choose our own will over the will of God.
We must be vigilant in our seeking reparation of our sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation. In Matthew 24:36, our Lord describes the day of judgment as “that day and hour no one knows.” Jesus knew of our mortal weakness and fallible nature. He gave his disciples the power to loose sins on earth and likewise in heaven. God yearns for us all to be in heaven with Him. He gives us the tools to cleanse ourselves before our earthly death. Confessing our sins with honesty, via intentional regret and humility allows us to rid ourselves of the possibility of slipping into the pits of Hell.
Just as Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter; we hold the keys to unlock the door to heaven or lock ourselves into the gates of Hell. God sends no one to Hell. We choose to separate ourselves from God and turn away from his love. If we fail to reconcile ourselves to God, by living life opposed to God’s vision for us and therefore living opposed to God at time of our death, then we turn away from God and lock ourselves into Hell.
Let us humbly respect and participate in the gift of the sacrament of Reconciliation. By dropping our guard, confessing our sins to the priest in the confessional, in persona christi, we become reconciled to God. Through confession, we grow to have a true sense of sin, the damage it causes to ourselves, and our relationship with God. Let us receive the Eucharist as a pure vessel; as to remind ourselves that we are the true tabernacle that Christ intended. As Catholics, we have the gifts of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as handed down from Christ to Peter. Let us cherish our lives as we love our Church, our tabernacle and body, and the purity of spirit after a complete and justly rendered absolution of our sins. Let us hold these close and be ready for that “day and hour.” For, we do not want to be locked from the inside.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.