religion

What Gets Us Into Heaven?

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I always thought that following the 10 commandments and treating others the way you want to be treated was what got us into Heaven.

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But I heard something the other day that got me thinking.  The greatest commandment is, ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength….You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:30-31

How do we love so great?  Well from Matt 25:35-36, 45 we are told “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.  He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’”

OK so the reason I am quoting this is because I have heard it so many times in my life yet this past weekend it hit me differently for the first time.  It was an oh wow moment.

Many of us judge one another or assume something about another person more often than not.  Yet, many people can quote the bible and know all the books in order.  They go to bible study.  They go to church every week or every day.  They say the Rosary or pray daily.  They are involved in different ministries at church.

So they should get into Heaven right?  Not necessarily.  I understood that if we don’t follow the Ten Commandments and treat each other with love we don’t just get a free pass to heaven.

But what about those that don’t do all those things mentioned above but they do feed the hungry, cloth the naked… What about those who do all the things above but don’t respect and treat those around them with love?  It really opened my mind.

Jesus dying on the cross gave all of us the opportunity to be with him for eternity and I know there are many people out there who can quote the bible and tell me exactly what we need to do to get there.  Yet, I am not so sure they are right.

What I do know is God is all loving and he wants us all to be with him.  I know he wants all of us to love one another as he loves us.  I know Heaven is a perfect place and I am not.  I know I am not worthy as a human being the gift of Heaven.  But I will love God above all else and always try to love those around me as he would want.  I will try to take care of those who I may not want to care for but need me to.  I will thank God for what I have and ask for his forgiveness when I know I didn’t get it right.

Thank you God for the life You have given me.  Please guide me and my loved ones down the right path, the path that will lead to being united with You in Heaven forever.  Help those who struggle with doing your will.  Help us to remember that you love all of us and when we are sorry you forgive us.  You will never turn your back on us and will always welcome us back home.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

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religion, Travel

Finding Hope in The Catholic Church

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This week I was debating on what to write about.  My first thought was to write some thoughts I have to those who recently converted to the Catholic Church and those who are debating on converting.  Then I got thinking about St. Patrick’s Day and wanted to write all about that.  Well I decided by the time I post about St. Patty’s Day it will be over so maybe I would save that for next year.  Then I realized how the two topics mesh together.

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Saint Patrick converted people of Ireland from Pagans to Roman Catholics.  Do you know what the current colors of the Irish flag represent?  I didn’t until today and I really can’t believe it.  The green represents the Gaelic tradition of Ireland which was Roman Catholic.  The orange represents the supporters of William of Orange who was Protestant.  The white in the middle represents the hope for peace between the two groups.

As you can see celebrating St. Patrick’s Day does really mesh with my original idea to reach out to converts.

I have read a lot about different people facing struggles after they have converted and I simply want to say that you are not alone.  Even people like me who are called ‘cradle’ Catholics (those born and raised Catholic) have experienced struggles with our religion. How do you think other Christian denominations formed?  Many were Catholic and then chose to leave and start a new church.

My message to all who have doubts and struggles is to pray and pray some more.  Don’t give up and ‘take the easy road’ but learn and pray.  I had many questions about the Catholic Church and actually thought of leaving for a Protestant church but God led me home.

We can always find something to disagree with but there is hope in change.  There is hope in God.  There is hope in each other.  Bringing your gifts that God gave you to the Catholic Church is such a beautiful gift.  For example, there was a gentleman who was the leading Pastor at a Protestant church who since he has converted has felt lost at his local Catholic Church.  Yet, there are options.  He could look into being a deacon or maybe the head of one of the many ministries of the church.  There is an answer to your question but you have to be patient and open to whatever the answer may be.

The key is that if you found your way back to or for the first time at a Catholic Church there is a reason.  Don’t give up on that reason and just abandon ship but keep at it.

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While we are all part of the Roman Catholic Church each individual church has its own personality and you need to find the one that fits you the best.  If you aren’t comfortable at one parish try another until you feel at home.  There is a parish where we each fit into the puzzle of the church; you just need to find it.  Let God guide you there.  Let him help you feel at home.

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God please watch over all those facing religious struggles.  Guide them where you want them to be.  Help them to be open-minded and open to change.  Help them to listen to you and hear your calling.  Please let them feel your love when they come home to the Church.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

parenting

My Views of Abortion Through the Years

Here is a letter I wrote to President Bush when I was only 15;

letter-to-the-president-218x300When I was a senior in high school I wrote an article for the local newspaper on the debate of abortion;

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When I was pregnant with my 3rd child I went in to the doctor for a routine visit. However, this time I had to have blood drawn to find out if my child may or may not have Down syndrome. The doctor said that after the results come in I can then decide if I want an amniocentesis.  I asked what the point was.  What if my child does have Down syndrome then what?  I would still love the baby.  She said then it would be up to me but I asked again… What?  I could have an abortion this far along even though I would never?  She said in NJ you can have abortion through your 24th week.  I was in SHOCK.

I have always been pro-life but now that I am pregnant it touches me even more.  Why is it that a murderer is put to death or put in jail for life but women are given the OK to kill a full baby just because it may or may not have a disorder??  I am so bothered I spent all night crying.  At 24 weeks I will be feeling my baby move and you are able to know the sex.  If anyone knows who I can write to or how I can help stop this crisis please let me know.

here is a picture of a 24 week old baby;

24weekold

So my view on the topic has not changed but my feelings towards those who have an abortion have changed. I truly believe that those who have had an abortion are ‘punished’. I have heard women speak about having an abortion and how it affects you through the years and never truly goes away.

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My heart breaks for them.  Anyone who has committed any type of sin and is truly sorry for the sin should be and is forgiven.  You have to forgive yourself too.

I hope that anyone who has regrets finds some kind of peace and finds a way to forgive themselves.

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With that being said I believe it has become too easy to get an abortion and that needs to change.  There are so many resources out there for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant but they may not know about them. Here are two;

Birthright

Adoption

I want my children to know that abstinence is the only true birth control that is full proof.   Saving yourself for the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with is truly a one of a kind gift.  We don’t need to accept what society says the norm is.  We can change what the norm is.  You can stop the rash decision of ending the life of your baby. We can love one another and be there to support each other and help each other on unexpected journeys.

If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant even after using protection there is a reason God chose you.  If you pray on it and listen for God’s guidance you can find the right path.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

parenting

Choose Modesty and Dignity

modestySo I was just reading a blog; somebodylovesmeblog.  The writer said how our bodies are a temple to the Holy Spirit.  I hate to admit this but I am not sure I ever thought about it that way.  I have come to understand modesty better through the years.  Our bodies were created by God for ourselves, our spouse and God’s eyes only.  Growing up my mom tried to teach me in her way about modesty but I guess I did not listen or get it then.  I was a girl who loved going to clubs to dance.  I dressed provocatively not to get the attention of boys but because I would get really hot dancing.  I did not think anything about it.

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Now that I have my own children and one is a little girl I see things very differently.  I see so many little girls in bikinis during the summer months and think ‘oh no not my daughter’.  How about the new style of wearing skin-tight leggings and not have something on top that goes past our butts?  It is not just little girls doing this; it seems to be all ages.  I spoke to someone recently about it and she simply stated that it is just the style.  Why does that have to be the current style?  I have no problem with leggings.  I actually love them BUT my daughter and I wear them under dresses or with a long shirt on over them.  If our butts are showing then we find a different top to wear.

I want my daughter to know that just because everyone else might be dressing a certain way does not mean the rest of us have to.  I want her to love herself and to know that even with a beautiful body she does not need the whole world seeing it.  You can dress sexy but modestly at the same time.  I want her to be classy and to respect her body.  As the woman said in the other article “our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit”.

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Hopefully if I start now (my daughter is 5) by the time she is a teenager she will understand where I am coming from.  She will be the one setting the trend with modesty and not seductive dressing.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent