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Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? ~ Stanza I ~ Part I

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken, Poetry

In a world of broken people
You alone can make us whole.
Wounded hearts and minds and spirits,
broken bodies, battered souls.

USA, Summer of 2010; four years into my faith formation program, almost ready to graduate.  I cannot help but reflect on the differences in how I view the world now vs. four years ago as the Holy Spirit pours words in my heart to express what He has shown me.

Not long ago a friend and I were discussing some troubling things that were happening at their workplace.  The new buzzword was ‘wounded’ and from my own days in the business world I could see the way it would be used to allow employees to get away with not doing their work; their co-workers being told they must learn to be more sensitive because, “we’re all wounded.”

This idea played through my thoughts for quite some time and I began to see that, while I didn’t agree with the way it was being used, it was true.  I would go so far as to say that I don’t believe there is a soul on the face of the planet that isn’t wounded in one way or another.  Be it physical challenges like blindness or paralysis, mental-emotional disorders or illnesses, various anxiety issues or troubles on the spiritual front……none of us escapes; we’re all broken in some way.

God was teaching me to see what happens when we leave him out of our lives.  For example; although our society claims to be very advanced, especially in the realms of science and technology, and while vast numbers of people flock to psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and other mental health experts, in hope of finding the right medication or the right ‘outlook’ to deal with painful life issues, things are getting worse; and the experts fail to explain why.

Talk shows fill the airwaves with souls confessing their dirty laundry to millions of viewers, and they often seem proud of appalling behavior and unkind things they have done to other human beings.  Cell phones are everywhere and many seem to find no impropriety in discussing very personal issues in public!  This demonstrates the soul’s need to articulate its sins (CCC 1450), yet, with the exception of the priest, the confessionals of our Catholic churches are often empty.

Commercials by the hundreds promote ‘the perfect life’ one can have if they only take a certain medication.  It often takes longer for the spokesperson to tell viewers about the numerous side effects of said medication than its supposed benefits.  Patients walk into doctors’ offices asking for anti-depressants describing the commercial.  “I want the one where the couple is walking on the beach” or “I want the one where the guy is rowing his boat across the lake.”   The number of commercials for anti-depressants and sexual dysfunction medications alone is staggering!

The divorce rate among Catholics is as high as in the rest of society.  Families are torn apart, not realizing that in addition to being a physical entity, a family is also a spiritual entity.  We can separate our bodies from one another, we can tear up the marriage license, but we cannot extinguish the bond of unity that exists between our souls.

One day in the midst of this line of thinking I remembered something I had read about Our Blessed Mother.  It was a reflection on how she must have felt during Jesus’ Passion and it described her as being completely broken holding her dead son in her arms ……it went on to explain the tremendous graces that came to us through her willingness to accept this brokenness…….and it was this that solidified the idea in my mind and heart that what the world considers broken, isn’t really broken at all when viewed from a spiritual perspective.  Thus, the question mark in the title of the poem.

Love & Prayers,

Becky

This post is part of a series.  The introduction and other articles from the series can be found here once published.

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About Becky Ward

Becky is a wife, mother of four (One in heaven), grandmother of five, and a ‘re-formed Catholic’ who, after receiving the gift of a deep conversion in 2006, and working through the Disciples of Jesus and Mary faith formation program, now considers herself to be ‘fully Catholic’ What this means is that she now, at last, understands and appreciates the beauty of the Catholic faith in such a way that she wants to share it with everyone. “I’ve heard that the Blessed Mother told a visionary, “If Catholics really lived their faith, the whole world would be Catholic.” I see the truth in this, and it is my deepest hope to be a living example that draws others to Jesus. Given the nickname Rebel-Becca by her mother, Becky strongly identifies with St. John the Baptist and his call to “make straight the path of the Lord.”, and with his role as “Friend of the Bridegroom”. The poem, “Broken?”, written through her hand, is a reflection of the journey of the soul, and Becky explains what the Holy Spirit is teaching her as she writes posts for each stanza.

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  • Maria

    Beautiful reflection! I loved your ending that “what the world considers broken, isn’t really broken” Its so much easier to run away from “brokenness” instead of accepting it and offering it to God.
    This reminded me of a song by the Jesuit Music Ministry from my school. Here is the link. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOicZkTEor4&feature=related

    • Becky313

      Thanks Maria….this is a beautiful song!  Definitely a reflection of the same line of thought……… :)

  • Cara

    I agree that all of us are broken and that many of our own actions, such as divorce, add to our brokenness. But sometimes it seems that God is the one who is breaking us. I think of Mary who was completely in sync with the will of God, yet (as you say) completely broken by it.

  • Pingback: Broken? – Introduction and Poem - Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction

  • Examenyourday

    Wow…so moving and full of grace. Thank you and bless you!

  • SalvatoreButtaci

    In my past I never saw myself as “broken,” so I never bothered to think about fixing me. When things got bad in nearly every area of my life, I turned to God Who took away my brokenness and I’ve walked with Him ever since. Sometimes one must be broken to realize he or she needs God to make essential repairs.

    Salvatore Buttaci

  • Bal5932844

    In the many paths Gid has taken me down, there are perods where I have felt broken and abandoned, bt it was inthose times I clung in darkness to the hasn of Our Lady.  In brokeness we realize our weakness

  • hazcompat

    He wounds to heal.

    peace

  • Jzielinski1

    Becky—Thanks for this wonderful document and also for the poem “Broken” that I have laying by my computer and that I read daily. throughout the day, My husband is a Passionist Associate and is quite active at Our Lady of Florida which has the most wonderful fathers and nuns and retreats and E-mail messages everyday. I have had many broken experiences Becky, but in retrospect, I can see where each one has led to a positive consequence. Growing up abused has led to the ability to forgive,  I was infertile due to a brain tumor and adoption of babies led me to realize that love is a choice, a decision, One of my children was handicapped and it led me to understand the situations the parents of my students had to face. In retrospect, I am thankful for each element of brokeness although it is unclear when it first happens. Anyway, Becky, you are gifted and talented in your ability to touch the hearts and souls of those who read your works. Thank you.—Joan Zielinski
    jzielinski1@cfl.rr.com

    • Becky313

      Joan, thank you for your kind words………and I extend my thanks to all those who have left such nice comments and encouragement about the poem.

      This is the first thing I have ever done where I know, without a doubt, that God is working through me.  It’s incredible and overwhelming…..and deeply humbling.

      I am grateful for everyone’s support, and ask for your prayers, especially for courage and perseverance in seeing this project through to the end.

      May Our Good God shower you all with abundant blessings!

  • Mary@42

    Thank you, Becky.  Your Posts are truly edifying.  One can almost see the “Steps of the Holy Spirit” in your life journey. You assist so many of us on this Website.  God bless you

  • Teresakunkelkopp

    As exemplified by Joan Z’s comments, it seems that those who choose to put Christ at the center of their lives are never really “broken” in the sense that the world defines broken; but, they would be better described as “broken open”.  When we are broken open, I believe we are enabled to more easily receive.  

  • AnnieB

    Hi Becky
    It has taken me until now to comment because I have been contemplating these words. The Realisation that God may see us as perfect whilst we may see ourselves as broken has had a big impact on me. I hope I have understood this correctly. It has helped me come to terms with some of the traumas I have had over the past 2 years, bereavement, unemployment, marriage breakdown, betrayal, and it has helped me see myself in a new light. Whilst I may feel broken, maybe I am exactly as God wants me to be. Certainly I now know I depend entirely on him and all good things come from him. Thank you for sharing and your openness. I look forward to learning more.

    Your friend across the water in Christ.

  • JoFlemings

    Becky, this is good! :o) I am looking forward to more!

  • Becky313

    Hi Annie!

    The best is yet to come…we’ve only begun the journey.  Through our brokenness, when we give it to God….He heals us and makes us whole.  You’re with many others who can relate to your sorrows here.  God Bless You!

  • Pingback: Broken? ~ Stanza I ~ Part I | Catholic Canada

  • GrowingInSpirit

    Wow Becky; it’s amazing — you see the same as I’ve been seeing about the working world (since, I would say, the advent of ‘the computer.’) I worked in one place that held ‘sensitivity seminars’ and the speaker (a lawyer) spoke of how we should not be afraid to go to any person of authority if someone’s actions or words are ‘troubling.’ Now; it’s so easy to take this stuff at face value, but do not. (read between the lines; this is a lawyer talking not a minister or rabbi or priest)

    Yes; workplaces are ‘walking wounded’ – wounded because, well I’m not going to list all the ways society is wounded, we probably know.

    I see what is happening in the analogy of how folks with computer knowledge will give a virus to a healthy computer;
    sometimes it’s done purposefully sometimes not. Same with the walking wounded; if they are miserable; they sometimes
    feel ‘better’ if the ‘happy one’ also becomes miserable and
    eventually everyone is miserable, angry, distrustful, and suspicious. Misery loves company is a secular truism.
    And that is what our workplaces are becoming. Miserable
    angry, discontented and racked with distrust of everyone.
    Walk around on eggshells; that you don’t ‘offend’ anyone’s
    ‘sensitivities’ that they hold in them. (unresolved sins)

    YES…GOD is missing in action in many workplaces. Where
    once folks overlooked ‘little things’ — these days if we overlook, the perpetrator gets more emboldened to keep
    poking, picking, kicking (up a fuss) hoping we will ‘cry uncle’
    …which is ‘the exit’ for us.

    Management takes a passive stance. We who know; have
    to act on the authority in us. Ignore or speak direct to the
    persecutors; firm but polite. Speak in broken record
    technique or ‘fog’ them (let it go in one ear out the other and
    switch to another subject entirely…fog: to say yes interesting; then do what we know to be correct; and they also know is
    correct) Don’t get into lengthy dialogue with a wounded
    soul. Just as when we care for someone physically ill, we
    ignore some gripes as coming from the hurts; not taking
    it personally, so too we need to understand this co-worker is not fully him or herself. To know who is wounded can be
    somewhat ‘easy’ … they will start out friendly but then they
    give themselves away with actions. Talk of an ‘ex’, or
    speaking four letter words as adjectives, or they may seem
    nice but they talk a lot / actually too much for a business
    environment. Approach ‘talk’ carefully in work because it
    never stays between ‘you and…so and so’ / say nothing
    that can’t be repeated. (the wounded are honest, they
    don’t make stuff up)

    Work life is getting more difficult. The wounded are being treated with ‘kid gloves’ (specially protected) and these
    specially protected do know they are specially protected.

    Assertive is essential. Simple Honest Direct communication
    of what is not right because….it can’t be defended and we
    aren’t wrong because feelings are neither right or wrong.
    When you do …. I feel… (name the feeling) so I am asking
    that you please do not speak to me in that tone. Direct
    one on one. “They” will not complain to management
    because “they” will then be ‘the complainer’ (this is ‘the
    game’ that is played out there. We who are good were
    raised to go to authority…but authority can’t do anything;
    in a ‘sensitive world’ / so…if we state what we don’t like;
    our persecutors will either back off or continue. We can
    keep telling them til they ‘get the message’ (politely) or
    if there is a real difficulty in that our work is being effected;
    then and only then…can we escalate to the higher authority.
    I was unable to properly do my job because I was not given
    information about…. (blame self in a way, they can’t attack
    back on that) Then a question: “how do you suggest that I get my information for the future?” This is putting trust to
    management proper without naming names. Placing it on
    management to provide an answer. They will. We don’t
    bring so and so’s name to the floor…we don’t have to,
    management knows the problem.

    This is all my opinion on how to handle a convoluted and
    wounded working world; I might be wrong but my gut says
    it is the new way; if we wish to continue working out there.

    We cannot go in believing that our co-workers are whole.
    The majority, as you say Becky, are broken and wounded
    but at the point we meet them, they aren’t admitting that.

    Think of them crossing our path as God saying “I put you
    here, because you can help this situation WITH ME–
    Lean not on your own understanding.”

    If all of this fails and our work environment is not working
    for us, making us lose our peace, then QUIT! it’s easier
    to explain to a new employer that we were not able to
    satisfactorily do our job and in fairness to the firm, had
    to resign then to try to explain why the employer let us go.

    Convoluted world.

    • LizEst

      : O

      • GrowingInSpirit

        ?? : O – what’s that mean?

        • LizEst

          “O” “O my!” Re – the “convoluted world” as you put it. Blessings to you, Growing in Spirit!

          • GrowingInSpirit

            I think I used the word correctly: convoluted means: complicated; intricately involved; when it should be quite simple and orderly.

            Blessings to me? So then, you are in agreement with my opinion? ‘the world’ is more complicated than it should be? Mostly because order is of God and we are falling
            more ‘from God’ to ‘do it on our own?’

          • GrowingInSpirit

            so you agree? the world is convoluted (sometimes) that which should be simple and ordered …complicated?

  • LizEst

    “The world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:17). The world IS convoluted and complicated but we must not become like it. In fact, Christ tells us, “be simple as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The Spanish have a saying, “Where there is order, there is God.” Because God’s ways are not our ways (cf Isaiah 55:8b), we have to be careful that we follow God’s order and not our own, being ever cautious of not falling prey to the temptations of the evil one, who has a way of making bad things look good and the good things of God seem evil (cf Isaiah 5:20).

    There’s a lot of that going on in the world. Having already won the victory, Jesus told us as much: “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). Blessed be God who “so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We have much in which to rejoice!

    • GrowingInSpirit

      Thanks; I needed the affirmation it’s not my imagination. Working used to be ‘simple.’ A worker came, did what was hired for, went home and came again to do again. Now; they hold ‘sensitivity seminars’ (to adults) and if you want a laugh; the lawyer used hand puppets to explain it all (to adults!) and the adults sit there listening. If they had handed out balloons and lollypops after it would really say much. Maturity doesn’t need to be told how to engage in business talk.

      Convoluted rationale to protect ‘business.’

      Here’s how it used to go…anyone who was
      ‘nasty’ or ‘raised a voice’ in an office was
      quietly led to an office; rebuked in private, and given one warning, two warnings and
      at the third OUT! I have had someone with a title administrator literally scream at me for no reason and then her boss says: “she did nothing wrong” (spiritual concept at work – if she doesn’t know she’s doing wrong because we did not directly tell this one, then on a technicality “she’s not wrong.” The secular which imitates the
      spiritual a bit says: set boundaries.

      That’s why it is so important to give direct
      communication; yes is yes and no is no.
      Other than that…they feel they are off the hook for ‘ignorance.’ (even though adult)

      Convoluted.

      Sad world.