Saturday, December 17, 2011

Faith - Have Some

Religion is nothing more to me than a means to organizing my faith.  What faith?  I have faith.  I've always had faith.  Faith is probably the most important life line I have.  In times of trouble, I have faith.  In times of need, I have faith.  Lately, I've become increasingly aware of my faith in times of joy, prosperity, health.
Faith enables me to pray.  Prayer enables me to release concerns.  Prayer enables me to offer thanks.
Prayer enables me to remain faithful. 

I attend a church.  An Anglican Episcopal church.  A "high" church.  One with candles, incense upon occasion, blessings, holy water.  I cross myself.  I started doing that one day when I felt particularly blessed by a benediction.  Since that time, crossing myself is a way I focus on the Trinity.  Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
Three in One.  I pray to all.  Sometimes I pray to Saints.  God is pretty busy.  I know He hears me but having my prayers held and repeated by a trusted Saint can't be a bad thing.  I've prayed to St. Anthony.
Tony and I have a close relationship.  Particularly as I've aged, my memory is not as good as it used to be and Tony has helped out more than once.  Anthony is the patron saint of lost things.  I lose things all the time.
Most everyone knows of St. Francis.  He watches over animals, children and those that are helpless.
My church provides blessings for all of God's creatures on St. Francis' Feast day.  I've never felt that taking my pets for a blessing has been a mistake.  I have faith that St. Francis will watch over them just as the medallion I am offered to put on their collars says he will do. 

Anne is another friend.  Saint Anne is the patron saint of grandmothers.  I'm not one yet but I hope to be someday.  Anne is looking after that for me.  Anne is said to have been the grandmother of Christ.  I like to believe that Anne is watching over and helping to protect, comfort and preserve my own grandmothers; Rose, Elsie, Anna Marie, Mary and Elizabeth.  And that she'll do the same for me some day.

Gerard.  He's a new one.  I didn't know about St. Gerard until my daughter in law told me about him.
We've talked, Gerard and I.  A lot.  Gerard looks after those who hope for a pregnancy.  His job on earth was to provide comfort and solace to those women who were seemingly infertile.  He's been working hard lately and for that I'm grateful. 

I am updating this in the summer of 2013.  I have become familiar now with St. Peregrine.  He has been called the Patron Saint of Cancer Patients.  Since my daughter in law is struggling with this disease, he and I have become partners of sorts.  When I was visiting my other son in California, I toured Capistrano and ventured innocently enough into the Chapel that Capistrano is known for.  I was surprised and taken aback to learn a small chapel had been carved out of the larger one and was solely for those struggling with or praying for someone with cancer.  Of course, Allen and I entered in, lit candles and prayed.  Called St. Peregrines Chapel, we placed our faith in him.

There's a country song by Lee Ann Womack that is popular today.  It has to do with last words that a mother gives to her child.  One of her wishes is that the child promise to give faith a fighting chance. 
It can't be said better than that.  And not just because one would want the child to become religious. 
No, more because with age does come wisdom - some at least.  I've learned that without faith, you can become lost.  When I have nowhere else to turn, no one to turn to, I can lean on my faith.  I can lean on my belief that there is a plan.  I am comforted by my belief that things will work according to that plan.  It helps me to accept what comes and believe me, sometimes that acceptance is hard. 

I can pray anywhere.  I drive down the road and pray.  I talk to God all the time.  We have little conversations in which He doesn't say much, but He listens well.  I wish I were more like Him....talking less, listening more.  I'm trying to thank Him more.  I have so many things to be thankful for.  I try to remember to thank Him whenever I notice something He's done.....especially when it concerns a prayer being answered.
I don't always get what I pray for but I always get an answer to my prayer.  Sometimes my prayers don't get the answers I am praying for.  That's where faith comes in again.  Faith that the answer is just that....The Answer.  That even when it's not what I expected, it's what I need to have for the plan to unfold. 

So, it's not religion that is the focus.  It's faith.  There are many religions.  I'm not sure it matters which one you might ascribe yourself to.  Faith is what is important.  Faith that there is a plan.  Faith that you are not alone.  Faith that you are loved.  A religious belief might further your faith, deepen it, foster it.  Or it may not.
Identifying with a religion and attending a place of worship might assist you in keeping your faith, in exercising it, in sharing it with others.  Or it may not.  

Faith.....have some.

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