In order to prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families and the anticipated visit from Pope Francis to the United States, we as a team are reflecting on a catechism on family life entitled, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. Each week we will reflect on one chapter from this catechism. You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families at WorldMeeting2015.org.
WEEK 8: A Home for the Wounded Heart – Reflection by: Tina Ferrigno
Pope Francis once likened the Church to “a field hospital after battle.” He said: “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol… You have to heal his wounds (first), then we can talk bout everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds, heal the wounds…and you have to start from the ground up.”
We all bear many wounds from experiences, from our childhood well into our adulthood. To begin the healing process, you must first let go and let God take the reins! Let go of the anxiety, the worry, the bitterness, the blame and the burdens… and make the choice to turn them over to God. The new evangelization exists because the Church has become more present in our wounded communities and asks us to bring the “wounded in from the battlefields of the world” to encounter the Divine Physician for healing.
My wounds may look different than yours, but they sting and hurt the same. At 45 I lost my best friend and husband of 25 years. In my search for physical scientific answers as to why this happened, God showed me this was His divine plan. I only needed the faith to understand that. The suffering and burdens we all endure here on Earth are simply our crosses to bear on our quest for Eternity. Our family unit changed forever that day. It looks very different now and often the pain of watching my children without their earthly father figure has been a wound in and of itself. For me, my vocation as a wife ended that day. But I make a choice everyday to remind myself I am a daughter of God and to live in his graces of love and mercy.
Loneliness sometimes remains from my healing wounds and often times is considered “the high cholesterol” that affects so many single men and women today. Our secular culture pushes us towards needing a romantic partner. So many of our single men and women are crippled by this culture. The WMOF catechesis sums this subject up beautifully:
“Does one NEED a romantic partner to be complete? Widows feel set aside in traditional societies and single people in modern cities often socialize in clubs pubs and bars where promiscuity is considered the norm. Our culture needs an alternative space where people who are not married can experience joy and have a mission. The Church is our extended family that can assist us in this internal mission with God at the core. What a beautiful world if chastity was innate in our culture outside of the sacrament of marriage. This is what God intended our intimate existence to be. Celibacy follows in the footsteps of Jesus, flourishing by offering the self to God and trusting his plan and building a life remised on loving others with mercy, patience, generosity and service. The virtue of chastity can blossom in friendship. This takes strength and courage but can develop friendships that represents a great good for all and leads to spiritual communion in self and community.” (Love Is Our Mission The Family Fully Alive; A preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families). (Our Sunday Visitor, 2014).
Through a daily prayer ritual, we can allow the light of God’s love slowly to seep in and let go of the pain of our wounds. Through this practice we can also be given the graces of patience and forgiveness to help us heal and grow together as a Church community, as a faithful individual and as a family unit. Taking part in a sacramental life, developing a life of prayer, spiritual disciplines, accountability and support from church community…these things offer the wounded hearts a path towards conversion.
We all need to be reminded that we are sons and daughters of Christ, and no one is excluded from the joy that is brought by Him. We are invited to choose this Divine joy in our life. We are all called to a personal encounter with Jesus, and through this personal encounter we can grow in our capacity to love others, and to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul. Love can heal our wounds.
Tina Ferrigno is Chief Financial Officer and has worked at My Saint My Hero since 2011. According to Tina, “I feel my mission is dynamic based on the needs of my community, but my dream would be to create a friendship group of all widows and widowers for support within our Catholic Church structure. Every Friday I am not in the office! I spend Fridays with Emma, my one year old granddaughter. There has been so much joy in my life in the last 5 years, with two of my four children getting married and the birth of my granddaughter.
I have spent much time in Medjugorje and Fatima and will be in Lourdes this fall. I am hoping to see the Basilica of Guadalupe early next year. These are all beautiful holy sites where our Lady has appeared. I have found much peace visiting these sites and encourage others to share in the joy and love of our Heavenly Mother.”
Her favorite My Saint My Hero piece is Soar designed by a special friend and artist Maria Franklin. This bracelet is now available in boutiques and will soon be available online.
Week 7 Light in a Dark World
Week 6 All Love Bears Fruit
Week 5 Creating the Future
Week 4 Two Become One
Week 2 The Mission of Love
Week 1 Created for Joy