I see the word ‘triggers’ a lot in relation to reading. Authors warn readers of possible triggers whereas certain actions or situations may cause harm to a reader mentally, bodily and even spiritually. Recently an author pulled her debut novel out of publication because a book reviewer disagreed with the theme of the book. The author wrote a novel based on her own life and the culture she left when she immigrated to the United States. The protagonist of the book encountered human trafficking, slavery, and forced prostitution in the country where she was born and countries where she l lived enroute to America. The book’s intended audience was older teens to adult. The editor and publishing company explained that the book wasn’t pornographic or violent but a young woman’s life story as fiction. The result? The author stopped publication because she didn’t want to offend anyone. Think of all the books that we may have been denied because they might “offend someone.” Readers have different tastes in books. I might be offended by a book you liked and you might think the stories I like are boring. Religion, political views, lifestyles or themes are perceived in different ways, especially in books, movies and entertainment. The bible is the most banned book in history. The US and many other countries don’t censor book production at this time. Things could change. What if reading was prohibited and the government burned all books? Farenheit 451by Ray Bradbury is science fiction as of now. That’s the temperature at which paper burns. Should we listen to one reviewer’s opinion as to what is dangerous to read? Do you think people are able to decide for themselves what to read? Was the young author wrong to not let her book out into the world? Are there any books that you would be disappointed not to have read? What would you do if some group, organization, or even the government, came and took your books away? Writers, would you let someone tell you what you could or couldn’t write?
Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Prayers, works, joys and sufferings. What do I have the most today? Sufferings, not terminal disease, not disasters, not tragedies, just ordinary sufferings. I want to have silence so I can write without distractions, but there’s so many people around and they are noisy and loud. I want calm and serenity in my room, but little kids pop in and out wanting me to do something, give them a cookie or a hug. I want a body with no pain, but my eye feels like a knife is stabbing right through it from this migraine. I want peace of mind with pictures of fluffy clouds and flowers, but instead I keep seeing images of war and floods, fires, and people fighting. I want everything to be the way I want it because that would be easy. So I make an offering to God which is the pile of my little tiny insignificant sufferings and ask Him to receive them. Instead of trying to blame God for eye pain or loud little voices, I say thank you. I’m alive today, united to God within His Sacred Heart. Please erase my sins away, O Jesus. Heal my family and friends. Send good people to fight evil in the world. Listen to my pleas and those of your people. Holy Mother Mary, thank you for your love. Thanks be to God!
A reflection on a prayer written by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity for her sister Guite 1906
Heaven in Faith The Second Day, First Prayer
“Since love is what unites us to God, the more intense this love is, the more deeply the soul enters into God and the more it is centered in Him.”
I attended a birthday party for my husband’s twin fifteen year old niece and nephew. I say his, not mine, that is until I watched them dance with their mother and grandfather. It was a slow dance, the boy with his mother and the girl with her grandfather. I’ve never spent much time with them because we lived far away. Now we are retired and live in Mexico where Oswaldo and Shara live. They have Multiple Sclerosis and have physical and mental problems due to their condition. Shara will not look at anyone. Oswaldo will look at you in the eye and make a sound. Neither one speaks. Oswaldo hugged me back but Shara put her head down even further.
During the dance, everyone in the room was crying. That made me cry because I saw how much the family loved Oswaldo and Shara. The family lives in the same town and see the twins frequently, but I couldn’t feel love until then. Until I saw them for the brief five minutes or so of the dance, I didn’t think of them as individuals. I thought of them as just “them”; the kids who have something wrong. I didn’t feel hate or anything bad. I didn’t feel anything. But then I observed Oswaldo and Shara communicating with their grandfather and mother, communicating as much as they knew how. And then I felt like they were mine.
I thought about God at that moment and wondered if that is how He feels about Oswaldo and Shara. They are imperfect, but He loves them anyway. He loves them greatly. I am not perfect either. I felt united to God very deeply for those few minutes because I had a glimpse of the way God loves people. Without judgement, with complete acceptance, and holding us close within His heart. The dance ended and the music stopped. I am certain now of God’s love for me and for our family and His people on Earth.
Elizabeth of the Trinity. Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Works, Volume I: I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings . ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
Not everything is black and white. Some things are multi-colored with geometric shapes, fine lines and fuzzy, blurred edges. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where one thing ends and another begins. There may be no edges, fine lines, borders or shapes. There may be times when all these are present, yet they have no name. You can’t describe them even if you try. They just are.
That’s the case with the dilemma I have. Immigration, borders, fences, walls, doors and rooms to wait in are around the peremiter just outside my heart.
I can see them clearly, so bright, the faces of my family, my neighbors. The ones who live in this city, so energetic, magnetic pull me in. Outside the city, the others tempt me, burden me, point arrows at me, hurl giant stones at my mind to try and force me to leave the place I call home.
Out there, it seems orderly and everyone has their place. In here, the faint and glaring colors depend on the time of day or the evening or the night. I can live in whatever room I want to, painted blue or the kaleidoscope I feel most secure in because everything is so complete. Black and white is the expected outfit for Race Day. In the sea of spectators, you won’t stand out. It’s regulation that you blend in with the crowd.
I’m getting farther away from looking at the painting. No longer staring at the list of rules. Do Not Touch. Closing Hours. Do Not Talk Above A Whisper. I decide to take the artwork off the museum wall and leave with my treasure. Whoever owns that place doesn’t need all those pretty colors.