I am working through a workbook by Angela Shelton, (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for everyone- you can find it at AngelaShelton.com) and one of the latest questions as I am challenged to remove my “sword of trauma” was: “What would your life be like without pain and suffering?”
No pain and suffering?
I thought I was supposed to take my cross and follow Him.
No pain and suffering?
Just imagining that felt blasphemous. I felt I had been programmed to embrace a hard life. Not turn away from pain and suffering but “offer it up.”
Imagine a life without it?
So it got me thinking…I wonder if I make more suffering than need be due to the programming I have had.
I wrote that in my own version of the the Stations of the cross because I couldn’t stand the wording we used at church- perhaps we create more suffering than need be. My Stations of Hope containing a message of Love, Forgiveness and Hope instead of a breast-beating pain and suffering mantra. And that message of Love, Forgiveness and Hope has been granted a nihil obstat and imprimatur– so it doesn’t go against any teachings of the Catholic Church. So why hasn’t that message been programmed into me instead of the other?
It’s what most are comfortable with I believe. After all, how many songs and prayers tell us over and over that we are a wretch or a sinner- tell someone that enough times and they believe it, right?
I personally despise the song, “Amazing Grace.” The last time they played it in church, I looked at my husband as I listened to the words and told him that I do not have to sing that song. I am not a wretch. I am thankful for God’s amazing grace as his beloved, precious child.
Well that certainly has a different ring to it doesn’t it?
How about the “Hail Mary?” The first section comes straight out of the gospel of Luke but the second section repeated over and over again will bury us if we let it. “Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us SINNERS, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
I know I sin, but any good psychologist will tell you that to be labeled will bring about that behavior. As a good parent, there is a difference in telling our children “That was bad to do,” compared to “You are a bad boy.”
Well now there is a twist. Instead of labeling us sinners repeatedly, how about, “children of God who sin.” Has a different ring to it doesn’t it?
As a sexual abuse survivor, I don’t need anyone belittling me and verbally beating me up as I have done that to myself enough.
So here is how I am praying the Hail Mary from now on: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Anyone joining me?