Being a Catholic in this world today is not an easy task. Most of us probably could use some help in learning and knowing more about our faith, especially the Bible. The Bible can seem daunting, it is pretty big and let’s face it, some of it is a bit confusing. And if you are anything like me, you like to spend your time reading things that you can apply to your life and circumstances.
That’s where a Bible study is a help. The author has already sifted through verses, prayed about presenting them to you so that you make connections to scripture in your daily life! I’m humbled and happy to say that I have written a Bible study! The Stay Connected Bible Journal for Catholic Women published by Gracewatch Media is (so far) a series of 3 books: The Gift of Invitation by Allison Gingras, Exploring the Catholic Classics by Tiffany Walsh and Invite the Holy Spirit into your Life by Deanna G. Bartalini (that’s me).
My focus is on the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do we need the Holy Spirit? How do we get more fruit? How does the way I live out my life intersect with the Holy Spirit? Those may seem like big questions not easily answered, but by taking each fruit and providing you with real-life examples of success and failures, scripture references, prayer, and questions you will learn the answers to those questions. Not in an in your head, now I’m so smart way but in a way that gives you tools for the next thing that happens in your life. And there is always a next thing! Ask me how I know.
Last week my husband had to have semi-emergency toe surgery. (There is a whole section in the chapter on love devoted to my husband’s toe and what I learned from it.) Anyway, the timing was terrible. He’s a teacher and was scheduled to go back to work Friday, which wasn’t happening since he would still be in the hospital. We were supposed to go help our daughter with moving tasks and get to see the best grandson ever on Thursday but that was surgery day so I didn’t get to clean bathrooms or hug Henry. He would miss our friend’s mom funeral Mass. There’s more, but you get the picture.
Inside I was fighting with fear, confusion, and doubt. There was not much joy, peace, or patience manifesting itself despite my prayer and determination to stay positive. I sent messages to my pray-ers, spoke to our children, and prayed. My husband had his surgery and it went well but I was still anxious because I kept thinking about the last time. I needed to stop focusing on the past. When I got into bed I remembered a few things I wrote in my book on peace:
“Peace came when I accepted the marvelous reality that God is in charge. He is trustworthy, and his Word is truth. My fears and anxieties, both of the world and for my family, from the biggest problem to the smallest, could be handed to God. He would, as he promised through Jesus, give me peace.” I handed my anxiety over to him just as the woman with the hemorrhage turned her physical needs over for healing.
“In Mark’s story about the woman healed of a hemorrhage, Jesus is giving her so much more than physical healing. He is giving her back her life, setting her free to live fully again as a child of God. This woman lived for twelve years without any freedom to live her life in a normal way. As a Jewish woman, she knew that she was considered to be unclean and could not live and move about freely. She had to be vigilant in making sure to follow the cleanliness and ritual purification laws so that others would not be made unclean by contact with her. It must have been a very isolating existence. The woman was afraid to openly touch Jesus because of that uncleanliness. I also wonder, was she awed by his great power and so approached him with humility? Her thoughts show her faith and humility: “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured” (Mark 5:28). She had no desire to call attention to herself.
The woman with a hemorrhage needed physical healing, but also spiritual peace. I think that many of us need this peace. And we can get it. If we desire peace in ourselves, which is where it begins, we need to turn to him. Turn to him and tell him what we need. You may be wondering why I say to tell God what you need. Does he not already know? Yes, he knows, but in our asking, we show him two qualities or leanings that make our request more genuine. In our asking, we show our humility and our readiness to grow and change.”
(Excerpts are taken from Invite the Holy Spirit into your Life by Deanna G. Bartalini, published by Gracewatch Media.)
I have peace about the toe, so much so I drove my husband to work this morning after his doctor’s appointment. His classroom is full of boxes to unpack, furniture to move and posters to hang. I’m trusting his paraprofessional and former students will show up and help. He’ll get a ride home and tonight we’ll figure out tomorrow.
I have peace today and I know as long as I stay in the Word, I’ll have it tomorrow. I pray the same for you.
NOTE: If you’d like to pre-order my or any of the Stay Connected books you can do so here.