Stay Put and Serve During Sad Times

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As I ponder current events, I find myself wanting to move and join the exodus from the state of Illinois.  However, my husband and I understand we are here to serve. We are here to serve those who are wounded; to speak the truth in love and to offer mercy to those who, when their hearts turn to the Lord, when the scales fall from their eyes, will need to know they are redeemable.  We may need to rest in God, but we never retire from His service. We are in this battle for life; for souls, and we would never be happy or at peace anywhere else but in the wounds of Christ. Here then is where we choose to stay.

God Answered My Prayer

Years ago each Thursday evening as I drove into town for RCIA classes I said a little prayer and tucked it onto the ‘back burner’. “Lord, I know when we retire in about 5 years we’ll move to Wisconsin or Pennsylvania; somewhere beautiful and the weather is more to our liking. But, if we have to stay, Lord I don’t want to live here. I want to live in town on ‘Gumball Street’, on the east side, looking at the church.” It was just a little prayer; wishful thinking with no actual plan in the works.  God heard that prayer though, and his plan was so much better than ours. It always is.

Shortly after the Easter Vigil of 2005 where I had officially declared my Catholic faith and entered the fullness therein, we received a call from our priest. “There’s a house across the street for sale. You should take a look.” Within the week our family made skeptical arrangements to view the house. Our older son (never wanted to move and hated changes) quickly ran in to see if there was a solid basement. He hated storms and we lived on a slab with a crawlspace. Finding what he was looking for, he was convinced this house was his. His younger brother quickly picked out the room of his choosing. My husband and I stood in the entryway in a bit of a shock. It looked as if the house had been built just for us in mind 90 years before. By the end of the week, a deal was set. The house would be ours. And yes…it’s in town on ‘Gumball Street’, on the east side, looking at the church.

God’s Plans

We didn’t know why God planted us here at the time. Buying a new house in town put our dreams of moving out of state aside. Trusting in his plan for us we moved forward one day at a time. One day, just before closing on the house, I asked my husband about his vocation. Not as husband and father, but maybe he should be praying about how God wants him to serve in the church. Funny I should say that. He had recently seen a short film on the diaconate and wondered if he had a calling.

Again, skeptical and wondering if this was indeed what God wished we began the process of discernment. Here’s the short of it: Needing specific weekends off for classes for the next 5 (yes, 5 years) from his place of work where he worked weekends was approved. The priest who had mentored him and would need to give his recommendation wasn’t surprised, and about 5 years later after much study, prayer, and discernment, my husband was ordained. Yes, God did have other plans. He had a mission for us and we needed to trust and stay put. I remember distinctly the week of ordination while at Mass and praying the Anima Christi. “Within your wounds hide me. Separated from you let me never be.” This was and is my prayer. We put aside our desires for God’s desire for us and our family. We didn’t stay in Illinois for the weather or the beautiful scenery. We are here for the mission. Retirement is not an option. One does not retire from God’s service.

The State of Illinois

I’ve been contemplating the past 15 years as I see with great sadness where this State of Illinois is heading.  Just a few months back, some who live here elected our new governor,  JB Pritzker. He is a far left leaning progressive who wants LGBTQ curriculum in all K-12 schools.  He is also pro-abortion.  Attempting to push through two deadly bills (HB 2467 and HB 2495) which seek to allow abortion through all nine months and take away parental notification for minors, 1000’s of pro-life advocates showed up to protest, effectively shutting down the state capitol. The bills were shelved temporarily. That is, until Memorial Day weekend. In the evening hours of Sunday, Senate supporters of these bills called for a vote for Memorial Day. With no respect to the public for which they serve, a vote was made and passed the Senate. As well stated by Rep. Demmer (R-Dixon), ” We can disagree on the issues, but when we knowingly and willingly move to limit public participation in this process we have failed the people we represent.” This is an epic fail for the people of Illinois, and most especially for all women and babies. https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/illinois-abortion-bill-legalize-late-term-abortions-on-viable-preemies/?fbclid=IwAR2sZDwtmsBl4ddMZ9ZJ6r1A8ipUkPirB3Fm9kHp8yYy3zyT0AqsXZmYi2s.

A Sad Time

It is a sad time to be living in Illinois. People and business are leaving, taxed out by the state. Taxes continue to fund abortion, and as of this writing, the Illinois congressmen have passed those laws which are clearly a death sentence for our most vulnerable. Coincidentally, at the time of the passage, the evening of May 31st, thousands were marching in Chicago with Our Lady of the Broken. We are indeed a broken state. I find it ironic that Illinois, a state which produced the president who would abolish slavery has become enslaved to the sexual drives of the body, killing the most precious gift; life. Children in the womb are considered no different than the slaves of our past. Everything done to the slaves was legal. Every horrid thing Hitler did to the Jews was also legal. The dignity of their person-hood was denied, just as it is now denied to pre-born babies. Changing laws were clearly necessary to abolish these evils. However, it took decades to change the hearts of the people. We must learn from our sins. It’s no surprise to me that the southern states, the states who owned most of the slaves of the past, are leading the way in pro-life legislation. They have learned the painful lessons. We, however, in our pride, have not. The primary mission we have now is to change hearts along with the laws.

Yes, there are so many reasons I can give for moving, and for all of them, there is one thought which counters; “Within your wounds hide me. Separated from you, let me never be.” Dear Lord, have mercy…

 

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10 thoughts on “Stay Put and Serve During Sad Times”

  1. I disagree with the premise of this article. I live in Illinois and am looking to leave as soon as I can. Sometimes, one needs to shake the dust off their feet from a location and move on. Illinois IS a lost cause, and people like you and I are not welcome here any longer, and I have no desire to stay where I am not welcome. You will have absolutely NO impact on the schools, or state politics. You will be taxed to death, and shamed for your contributions. Sorry to be a realist, but you will have NO impact on the conditions here, and to think you will otherwise is foolish. Being foolish is not being faithful. You need to vote with your feet.

    1. I completely respect your view. Those who need to leave and vote with their feet should go if that be the best thing for them. For us that is not an option until God says it’s time to go. As my husband is a deacon, we need to stay and serve in the mission land as long as He asks that of us. If and when it’s time to go, I’m sure He’ll make it clear and we’ll be ready for whatever mission He has for us. Thanks for you comments!

  2. “Every horrid thing Hitler did to the Jews was also legal.” That depends on how you define “legal” in Nazi Germany. The German Criminal Code’s prohibition of murder was never repealed, notwithstanding Hitler’s December 7, 1941 so-called “Night and Fog” Decree (“Nacht und Nebel”) authorizing the death penalty for those considered subversive; and also notwithstanding the secret and unwritten directive, delivered at the notorious Wannsee Conference through Reich Main Security Office Director Reinhard Heydrich, to put the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question” in motion. I suppose if you recognize Hitler’s claim to be the “supreme law lord” of Germany, then it would have been legal by virtue of the fact that he wanted it. If you recognize the law books, it was illegal.

  3. Wonderful article, Betty. I thought about the “should we stay or should we go” dilemma a great deal as I sat in the House and Senate galleries to witness the debates and votes on SB25. I came to realize that when all is said and done about the current legislation it cannot change our mission. Stronger than ever I feel the Holy Spirit nudging us to stay. To stay in Illinois for the mothers and the fathers and the babies. To stay as a bearer of hope and light for the misguided and for those who are leading them into temptation. To stay on “the right side of the sidewalk” and continue to pray that others will join us in ever growing numbers.

    1. Yes this is definitely mission territory Jan. If there is ever a need for us to move on and move out I’m sure God will let us know when and where. Most likely to another mission. Happy to be in the fight with you!

    1. Thanks Marianne, we are in this fight together and there is reason for hope. The church always grows during persecution. Love that about Caryll. Interesting thing heard after I had read both her writings and Lucile’s is that they had become pen-pals. God bless you!

  4. This post spoke volumes to me. I can sympathize with your plight and admire your decision to stay, pray, and “fight.” I live in New Jersey where they just passed a law to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives. It is sad to see the morals of our country, in so many parts of it, getting worse and worse each day. But a priest once told me when I was upset about this,
    “God is in control.” That’s what I cling to when I become discouraged as I “fight” for pro-life values.

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