I am an older single woman & I have a disability that hinders me from performing full-time work. However, I try to work half-time at my own home-based business. I’ve not been financially successful in said enterprise, but I do feel that this business is what God has
gifted me with, or asked me to do.
Hopefully someone can help me understand the concept of “fulfilling the duties of one’s state in life”? This is not at all clear to me! For married or religious/priests, it is quite clear what is necessary, in general, to fulfill their “state in life” because the needs are so obvious. In my case, I have a hard time figuring out what the needs are, aside from financial self-support to complement my disability income (meager), and regular old self-care for my medical condition.
I used to be a very active person, helping others via a social work career. But now, I am trained in website design (which I find too confusing to really use in business), and I do have a gift for humor, illustration, and so forth. I do love children’s illustration. It is not clear at all to me, as to why I’ve not been more successful, given that in prayer, the ‘answer’ always seems to be the same: “Keep on with this…”
Could anyone please give me a sense of what you think it entails to fulfill the duties of a single life, with or without being disabled? I understand that one does not need to be Mother Teresa to garner some measure of holiness, just by fulfilling whichever state you have in life?
Certainly a spiritual director would be the very best way to go. A few duties that have occured to me are:
*]Being disabled, primarily to take good care of your health and take necessary steps to do so.
*]To give time daily to prayer (actual time is not as important as that the time you give is focused on prayer. Some have the gift to pray for long periods, others not. Some pray once daily, others three or more times daily. Some pray once daily for half hour say, others three or more times daily for shorter periods. Common sense reflecting on your abilities and personal situation is needed in this.)
*]To give some portion of your income to charity. Again, if you can only afford 10cents day, then 10 cents a day it is- or even less if income is very tight) One way this can be handled is an envelope marked, say “For St Vincent de Paul” into one of the Sunday collections. None of this needs to be weekly.
*]If you have sufficient health, perhaps some time to volunteer work with a charity, even once weekly, fortnightly or even monthly.
*]Ask Father in your parish if you can help out in any way.
*]DONT FORGET time to yourself for relaxation and anything that does relax you.
*]DO NOT OVER COMMIT OR EXHAUST YOURSELF!
The other thing that has occured to me is to allow sufficient time for housework - and garden if there is a garden and you have the ability. My reasoning is that God has gifted me with a house and garden and one of my duties is to care for them.
Rather than volunteer work with a charity (or as well as - if you are able without overloading yourself!) is to visit someone you know who may be unwell or lonely, need company now and then - befriend them in true friendship.
A great result of an illness or disability is to offer what one must endure (unavoidable) as best one is able and in union with the Sufferings of Jesus. This is spiritually productive on all levels for the Universal Church and used to be called The Apostolate of The Sick.
It is very important not to overload nor overcommit yourself. One of our duties is relaxation - as the human psyche and body is so constructed that it needs “time off” and simply the way God has made us. For example, some religious orders will have two periods of recreation or free time daily. Religious orders and their customs etc. are always a good guide, providing one realizes that one is not called to religious life and does not attempt to create a strictly religious community way of life. Although some may be called to do so as lay people, others are not - and discerning all these matters is best done with spiritual direction.
And thank you for your suggestion of a spiritual director! I would love to have one. To be honest, I have had the impression that either there are few people available locally, and/or that the ones that are available, are very ‘busy’. Either way, though, I have sort of thought that maybe I should not ask for this, because people who are able and productive and all the rest, would be a more worthy ‘investment’ for the Church, or for any spiritual director. Now that I write this, though, I can see that this is flawed thinking; it probably was caused when I asked a dear priest friend to suggest someone, and did not receive any answer. Hmm.
I will ask. There are others I can ask around here. And perhaps I can ask my priest friend when we do lunch again ~ on Divine Mercy Sunday. Thank you very much! You have helped me indeed.
You have said many things here that are very specific, and that I find both validating and helpful. THANK YOU.
I have thought that self-care is likely to be an important duty, because to neglect to do that would really create a disaster. Definitely not the way for a ‘child of God’ - anyone - to treat him or herself! :eek:
Probably the best aspect of being disabled is the opportunity to spend time with Our Lord. One becomes kind of a ‘captive audience’, and intimacy does develop. I am very grateful for that, and I thank you for explaining that is fine to pray on whatever schedule, etc. works. The important thing is the focus.
The charity thing, or financial giving, has been difficult; I have no family & no one else to help in this area. I have feared being put out in the street at some time in the future, and I don’t feel it’s fair to expect my friends to ‘rescue’ me. However, prayer does a lot to mitigate the fear, thank God. I’ve felt ashamed that I do not give in the envelopes at Church. I will think about what you suggest! It is helpful to think about this in terms that do not demand some kind of weekly action. :twocents:
Charity work has been similar; but perhaps I can think of something small I could do. At my parish we have perpetual adoration in which I partake. I think I could offer to do one hour a week, staying with the Blessed Sacrament & giving others the opportunity to pray. That would be lovely.
I so appreciate your mentioning about not exhausting myself. This is so difficult when one’s state of health & energy is very changeable.
Thank you so much! You have gotten me off to a good start, I feel, in thinking of this in terms of specifics.
Thank you for posting again ~ I much appreciate your efforts to help!
You are right, I think, when it comes to keeping the house tidy & clean etc. That can be a challenge, but I know that if I try to do it on a regular schedule (and never let dishes pile up, put things away @ the end of each day), that will bring serenity and certainly, a sense of self-care.
I’ve had fantasies about visiting the sick - homebound. Currently I belong to chronic pain anonymous, and there are a couple of people there who are far worse off than me. I call them to just listen, and try to be a loving presence. (Pain is made bearable when one is not alone with it) I would like to connect face-to-face with people here, though; otherwise, it can become quite isolating/depressing to be in this situation. You are triggering some interesting ideas for me, & I thank you, big time!
I’d not heard of ‘The Apostolate of the Sick’, & I thank you for telling me that. I have often wondered if this suffering that I endure is in some way part of my ‘calling’. But who knows? I have no idea. I do frequently look at a crucifix and/or a gorgeous wooden mask that has the face of Christ during His passion; and I know I am not alone. God seems so close to me in my pain at those times; he most certainly knows what severe pain is! It is so moving to see that He came here, when He did not have to at all, to join me in suffering. I am tearful as I write this. It is more beautiful than all the world knows.
I hear you loud and clear, when it comes to emulating the general pattern of relaxation that the Sisters have. I would be scared out of my wits to try to do anything that is remotely as rigorous as what I know they do, God bless them. I do tend to overdo, and my doctor has told me to cut my ‘activities’ in half, to see if my health improves. Nowadays I do get a lot of rest and sleep, and actually feel more up to being with people. Heck, even Jesus needed rest! And look at what a load He was carrying! :extrahappy:
I think you might enjoy this presentationparish.org/index.cfm?active=1 I hope it shows up here, on this site; but if not, and you are taken to the Presentation Parish website - if you scroll down about 1/3 of the way, it is the little video on the left, entitled “Lent Cartoon - Jesus in the Desert”. That video has Gratitude written all over it.
Thank you for the link, Catherine - it is the most beautiful video I have seen in a long time. A very long time! How ordinary Jesus appears and with what childlike simplicity - about probably the very things we would be about if we went into the desert - the ordinary and the simple, and while taking time out from it all - just ordinary everyday life can present so many stresses. While taking time out He is confronted with the totally unexpected and major stress - and after it all is exhausted, totally. And now He is back! The song accompanying the video is beautiful too both in music and especially the lyrics. Thank you! And as you say, gratitude is indeed written all over it. It also reveals quite profound spiritual insight and this gives way to gratitude.
I am sorry to read that you suffer chronic pain - no easy road. And you are spot on in that Jesus is with you in every way - every way!
This site may interest you. It is an association of those suffering illness, titled “Apostolate of Suffering”. Pre V2, The Apostolate of The Sick was well known and publicized in The Church as an apostolate for those who had some form of illness or difficulty. Post V2 I really haven’t heard much about it at all. Plenty about the apostolate TO the ill or disabled, the suffering - but nothing about the immense spiritual value of the apostolate OF the ill etc. - and the great blessing to the Universal Church…- and then a couple of years ago, I happened across this site: cssisus.org/services/apostolate/index.html
If your inclination and desire is to somehow connect with people face to face, hang on to it, pray about it and ask The Lord to show you the way. Dont put time limits on Him - but be patient and persistent for as long as it takes. There is so much in life that strikes as absurd and especially in nature, hence we can know that God has a sense of humour. Take a sense of humour into your relationship with Jesus - and especially a sense of the funny about yourself.
Your apostolate with CPA and is a wonderful apostolate. Don’t underestimate it. It is a gift to be able to be with people at the level of their need, rather than to be trying to meet OUR own need(s) of one kind or another.
Many for one reason or another suffer dreadfully under the burden of isolation and loneliness.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions re your health - and especially if you regard your doctor as a good one and you trust him. In fact follow your instructions from him as if from Jesus would be my advice.
My attitude towards house and garden is I address first what MUST be done - and after that what needs to be done if I still have the time, energy and inclination. My maxim is “It aint gonna pack up and leave home”. When time and inclination are with me, all tasks will still be happily at home awaiting attention:thumbsup:.
Do try and locate a spiritual director. One could ask one’s parish priest. Or ring diocesan offices and ask how one would go about locating a spiritual director - very often diocesan offices have contacts. Finally, one could contact religious orders of priests and brothers, nuns even - these sometimes undertake spiritual direction. Sometimes retired sisters in active orders might undertake to spiritually direct. As with your doctor, seek out a director that you can have confidence and trust in in every way. Someone you can open up to fully without feeling threatened or anything else adverse.
It is quite common for those who do take Jesus and The Gospel, their spiritual lives, most seriously to overdo things. To search for “what they should be doing”, when what The Lord would like them to be about is right under their noses. Have you read the autobiography of St Therese. She did nothing at all outstanding in her Carmelite Monastery - she was regarded as a good but most ordinary type of Carmelite nun, so much so that when she died they had no idea what virtues they could point to in herlife as outstanding. Then her autobiography came to light of day. She is today a great saint and one of the three female Doctors of The Church with St teresa of Avila and St Catherine (I think that’s right). What she did that raised her to great sanctity was the very ordinary things in a very extra ordinary manner. There is an online version of her autobiography, I will return and post the link.
I am glad that you are coming to see yourself as able and productive (in your own way) and worthy of “investment” of the Church’s resources.
Don’t be discouraged if your priest friend still doesn’t know a spiritual director to refer you to. Just ask another priest. Alternately, you could contact the diocesan Spiritual Direction office (of the Vocations office if they don’t have one) to inquire where you might find a director.
I think some directors are actually paid counselors but there should be no-cost direction available since you have tight finances.
Thank you so much for this post as well as the one, with 3 links, which follows. You are so thoughtful! I’m sorry I’ve not responded sooner, but I just was not well, not able to. Anyway, here I am now, to thank you!
The Apostolate of Suffering looks like a very good fit for me. I can very much relate to all that they say on their website. It is very, very difficult to accept endless suffering; and to watch, all the while, other people being more functional and not suffering, at least to this degree. Even though I know that a much closer relationship to Our Lord has been the result in my case, well, still it is hard. The Apostolate understands this, and I am comforted that you sent me a place where I can go, and join my sufferings to those of others, and ultimately to those of Christ. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
You are very thoughtful to have introduced me to St. Therese of Liseaux’s story in e-form on the web! I could learn a lot from her, and again, thank you very much for sharing this resource, as well as the informational pages on her!
Sometimes we need ‘the god with skin’ - each other, so to speak, to reach out and connect; so as to ease the pain, assist in comforting, etc. You have been that person to me now. Please know that. :console:
You’re so welcome to the link to the Jesus in Lent cartoon. It is quite wonderful, isn’t it? I was quite touched by the portrayal of Him as a person just like us, albeit with special divine assistance. I loved the way he went to sleep, exhausted, in the cave. He looked like a child, or like any of us ~ vulnerable and yet trying to find peace, refreshment. I have always felt safe in turning over all decisions about myself and for others, to Him. He knows exactly what we go through! :bighanky:
I appreciate your insight, that the CPA help I give is important. I can relate to John Paul II, actually. After he’d been shot, he was in such pain. He got into a state where he did not need ICU care, but he could not return home. So, he got in his wheelchair and visited with his fellow sick and injured people. He said that his writing on the meaning of suffering came from that experience directly, because he had to join the ill and infirm. He was one of us. Even Jesus joined us! :stretcher: All of that is a great comfort, Tigger.
I think I will look for a spiritual director. You and others here have given me some good starting point ideas; and I thank you. :flowers:
One can learn much from St. Therese. I will look at her writings etc. from the point of view of a ‘broken workaholic’. It seems safe to say that anyone would learn the real nature of spiritual connection - not of its evil cousin, workaholism - from her.
You are right, you guys have helped me to feel more ‘worthy’ of investment of time and caring from the Church. Thank you!
There are certainly many priests around here, and a large diocesan center. We are lucky around here, in that way. I will see what resources are available, then begin enquiring. I appreciate all you have said. You have encouraged me and helped me to feel confident. No small thing! Many thanks, John. :tiphat:
It is a joy to see the difference from your opening post - so much hope, joy, insight and warmth now coming across.
Those that suffer in any way are invited to unite their Sufferings to those of Jesus and thus what they do suffer is redemptive and a blessing thus to The Universal Church and the whole world - and those that suffer physically have a double dose of suffering, as it were. Physical suffering is the actual pain and then the mental and emotional drain it takes to bear it and go on. To be asked to unite oneself to the Passion of Jesus, by which we are saved, is a great honor. A great honor!..but no easy road!
It saddens me that the Apostolate of The Sick once highly publicized in The Church and conveying to those who are ill and suffering that they are an immense gift to The Universal Church and the world, that nowadays we read more about the Apostolate TO The Sick, and jolly little about the Apostolate OF The Sick. Of course, because the latter is not well publicized cannot take one jot away from its absolute validity and total gift to The Universal Church. It is the ‘hidden vocation’.
God bless!.. Tigger
I just had a thought. Jesus as He is arrested and then tortured and crucified was living a very ‘hidden vocation’. His apostles had deserted Him and His mother and the women that stayed beside Him through His Passion, also St John, were probably crushed with absolute pain and sorrow, grief. Jesus, in fact, as He was dying on The Cross was achieving in absolute aloneness and suffering, desolation, uniminaginable physical agony, the salvation of the whole world from the beginning of time to its conclusion.
It is always so nice to ‘see’ you, and to converse back 'n forth as well.
You are so right, that physical suffering is a double whammy: the fact of being in pain (which is then, and always, the focus of attention - it gets one’s attention, and it is very hard to distract oneself into far more pleasant things) AND the emotional helplessness, sadness, and suffering. I used to think that depression was THE worst. Well, not any more. With pain, if it is intense enough and/or if it lasts long enough, one wins the ‘prize’: Depression.
I feel much better now, stronger, and more willing to think of offering my sufferings each day, to be melded with those of Christ on the cross. It helps ENORMOUSLY to see that this indeed has an honorable purpose. You have told me much about this. You have been ‘Christ’ to me, lately, and I am very grateful and glad to know you a little bit.
The Apostolate of the Sick should absolutely be more publicized and much better known. I cannot tell you have many of my group-mates in ‘chronic pain anonymous’ would find relief and spiritual help, if they knew of this. I think that some have strong suicidal impulses BECAUSE they do not know that suffering has enormous spiritual value. I tell the people I can, but many are simply not believers. (yet )
On ‘Women of Grace’, Johnnette Benkovic’s radio program and tv show via EWTN, she has had a priest discussing St. Alphonsus Liguori (sp?) He is usually seen bent over in pictures - well, he was in a lot of pain, apparently, with arthritis. However, they said, he always kept in mind, and as his main focus all the time, that his PURPOSE was to return to Heaven, to God. He did not seem to question “Why me?” with the pain on a daily basis. He just offered it to Christ and continued on, KNOWING that he was adding, somehow, to the vast treasury of grace available to others, for the salvation of their souls. And of course he knew that he was uniting his pain to Christ’s, as per Christ would have us do. I want to purchase a picture of him! If he isn’t the patron saint of those in pain…well, he should be!
Thanks much, Tigger. More blessings to you! :highprayer:
God bless you, Catherine! And good to ‘chat’ away with you also.
When good wine flows from an old tarnished vessel - the vessel remains old and tarnished but the wine remains good. Nor has the tarnished vessel created the good wine!
I very much agree that the Apostolate of The Sick (or “of Suffering” which I prefer) is not publicized widely enough allowing people who are in pain of any kind at all to find great value, dignity and worth in what they are undergoing both to the Universal Church and the whole world. The best that can be done, I think, is to advertise it whenever and wherever we may have the opportunity presented in any way, shape or form.
I dont know much about St Alphonsus Ligouri at all to my very real poverty. I should remedy that situation and will make a note on my “To Get List” of books.
The “Why me?” question is an interesting one. Very good people can suffer very badly in life and ratheroften - and perhaps a more accurate question is “Why not me?”.