Life

Giving Your "All"

Sunday November 8, was a time of farewell. Friars leaving our parish, to be replaced by new friars.

One of the friars celebrated his last Sunday mass, thirty second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Fr’s homily was far from ordinary. He inspired not only me, but many others who have also shared with me their thoughts and tears.

Inspired us all to give our ALL.

Give our all in our vocations – be it as husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, priests, religious, lay people, teachers, doctors, nurses..and so on.

Give ourselves fully to our vocations.

Give.
The trouble with me hearing give my all is that I tend to use it as a stick with which to beat myself.

I want to give my all because I want to; because I know I should; because it is the right thing to do. And when I fail to give my all, as we all fail at times, I feel guilty and bad.

Catholic guilt? As if! There is no such thing….Nah, I felt like this way before I was a Catholic.

Giving our all in our vocations should be done with love. Yes, I get that part. I love and so I want to give my all.

But it can’t be done on our own. We give our all in love, with love, with God’s help, His graces and His love.
We may give imperfectly but it is in the striving, the leaning on God, the love that counts . That helps us live out our vocations, our lives.

I am the first to admit that this is hard for me. Loving God is easy. Living that out in my vocation is not.

I have read and talked with friends about the Five Love Languages.

How we express our love, in ways that another appreciates.

I love to do things for others..the trouble comes, for me, when others try to do things for me.

I can see where my husband and children have strong leanings towards different love languages – one likes the language of touch; another of affirming words..and so on.

But I, personally, don’t like any of the five love languages. Not that I don ‘t want to be loved but I dislike it, well, feel uncomfortable, when others show they care. I just want to live my life day to day, doing my best, following God, finding joy.

I am uncomfortable with receiving love.

There. I said it. I blogged it. With trepidation. Because maybe my writing this out will help others in their vocations, in giving their all.

And maybe this uncomfortable-ness with emotions is what also prevents me from giving my all in my vocation, giving my all as well I could. Or should. Or as well as I want to.

The Five Love Languages

Words of Affirmation – I am uncomfortable with receiving praise or words of affirmation..but love to affirm others. ( So uncomfortable with words…Lois and Brenda…You know, someone says you have a nice smile and your immediate thought is..yeah, that translates as I’m fat and ugly but they are trying to say something nice..)

Quality Time – love spending time with family and friends but hate the idea of quality time..feel controlled or owned. That I have to perform or please. And fail.

Receiving Gifts – Oh, shopping for gifts for others is so much fun! Receiving gifts can be kind of embarrassing..how do I say thank you? How do I receive? I’d rather give!

Acts of Service – This is a big way that I try to show my love, to give my all. I give by giving – gifts and acts of service. But I hate things being done for me! Ack!

Physical Touch – I am just not a touchy feely sort of person. But I am learning to give hugs. To like hugs. Enough said!

These are the things I have thought about this week. Why?
Because of Fr’s excellent homily. Inspiring. Give your all to your vocation!

Because of some emotional stuff. And dealing with emotional eating.

Because of dealing with unhappiness in others – my fault? Did I, am I really giving my all?

And because of wise words from a long term friend….one who knows me and my family and extended family well…a quote…

It is the mother who gives food and in being mothered you were really sold short. So to make up for this, you have been excellent in mothering – both your boys and your friends. Well – I don’t know about the others but you mothered me and you helped in turn with my mothering. I expect its the same for the others though. But all that giving without the initial sustenance has left you starving. And every so often you feel that starvation. But you have been left – not only without a mother – but with a great distrust of being able to receive mothering. So you fill the starvation with food.

Now, these words, and the rest of her too-personal-to-share message, were like a splash of cold water to me. What? Could this be right? Too much to think about!
Two days in Queensland with female friends, for a friend’s son’s graduation, became not only a time of laughter and shopping and fun and talking and alcohol but also a time for prayer and reflection. And book buying. Buy a book! Solve your problem!

Reflection? On giving my all as a wife, mother, friend, teacher.

And learning how to receive so that I can actually give my all. Instead of my (many times) feeble attempts.

And trusting in God, not doing this on my own power, but with His love and grace.

Giving my all in love.
Even when I fail.

Beginners in the service of God sometimes lose confidence when they fall into any fault. When you feel so unworthy a sentiment rising within you, you must lift your heart to God and consider that all your faults, compared with divine goodness, are less than a bit of tattered thread thrown into a sea of fire.Suppose that the whole horizon, as far as you can see from this mountain, were a sea of fire; if we cast into it a bit of tattered thread, it will disappear in an instant. So, when you have committed a fault, humble yourself before God, and cast your fault into the infinite ocean of, charity, and at once it will be effaced from your soul; at the same time all distrust will disappear St Paul of the Cross

And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof. Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9 23-27 ( emphasis mine)

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