Wednesday, 30 October 2013


I disgust myself. I’m a hypocrite. A fraud. I’m no better than a Pharisee. 

I was walking briskly out of Toowong Shopping Centre when a man (who was clearly homeless) called out to me. I mumbled something about being in a rush and continued on. I was late and I was on my way to Mass. The irony.

Granted, he caught me off guard, but with every step I took towards that church and away from that man, my self-disgust increased. Just turn back, Michaela. Just turn back. But I didn’t. I continued on my way even though I knew being late for Mass was a pitiful excuse for denying Christ to this man.

I’ve since realised there are two common lies at work in my mind:

1. It’s not safe for a woman to help a stranger
Do you think Blessed Mother Teresa or St Elizabeth or St Gemma allowed these fears to prevent them from loving strangers? Hello! Ever heard the story of The Good Samaritan? The Samaritan could have ended up in the same state as the man that he helped - who knows if robbers were still lurking. Yet he helped him all the same.

2. Don’t give them money, cause they’ll just spend it on booze or drugs or both
I’ve heard of people who will give the homeless (who ask) their lunch or buy them a coffee instead of giving them money.
"God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: "Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you"; "you received without pay, give without pay." (CCC 2443)
I wonder, though, what this says to them. Do they see it as kindness or as a big fat sign saying you are not trustworthy enough to buy your own food with this money?

I’ve heard of another idea – taking them out to lunch. It means holding a conversation with them. It means connecting with them.

And now here’s a really radical thought: Ask them what they actually want. They ask for a dollar, you stop, look them in the eyes and with complete genuineness, ask them what it is they really want and need and be willing to spend a little bit of time or money on getting it for them. After all, the meeting we are going to be late to, the children we were meant to pick up 15 minutes ago, the lunch break that is wearing thin is tiny – absolutely miniscule in relation to the value of the human life you are about to change by being Christ to them. Treat them as a fellow child of God. Treat them as a human being.

"Not uncommonly, the poor and needy are regarded as a "burden", a hindrance to development. At most, they are considered as recipients of aid or compassionate assistance," the communique states, echoing the words of Pope Francis. "They are not seen as brothers and sisters, called to share the gifts of creation, the goods of progress and culture, to be partakers at the same table of the fullness of life, to be protagonists of integral and inclusive development." (Pope Francis July 13, 2013)
These works are called mercy.

"The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead." (CCC 2447)
I cannot imagine the courage or desperation that it would take someone to let go of their pride and ask a complete stranger for help. No wonder they always ask for so little.


God bless,

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Good Catholic

I attended a protestant friends' youth group recently and when we went inside to hear her preach, everyone hesitated on where to sit. I was about to say, "good Catholics sit at the back". Then I remembered I wasn't surrounded by Catholics.

Why does this negative perception of Catholics exist in my head? I know I'm not the only one. For instance, when I say "good Catholic schoolgirls", I bet this is not what comes to mind:

More importantly, what can be done about these perceptions?

Only by becoming truly Catholic can we begin to change that perception. So what is a "good Catholic" anyway? Dummies guide to Catholicism give the essentials of being a devout Catholic here.

What do you think?

God bless,

Friday, 4 October 2013

What’s so bad about suffering anyway?

"If God exists then why is there suffering in the world?"

You’ve probably heard this argument about as many times as I have – too many to count. If you’ve done your research or been 'round the block a few times, you’ll know that the answer lies in free will. That’s not what I want to talk about today, though. What I want to explore is the fact that many cannot see compassion or mercy of a loving God in pain and suffering.

God loves us too much to leave us as we are. Think over your life – how many of those rocky paths that you’ve encountered brought you out on the other side as being stronger, wiser or better equipped to face the world?
"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5)
 And in this suffering, how many times have you leant on God to get you through? Isn’t it when you are in that deep, dark place that you run into His arms? When you have nothing left and have no choice but to turn to Him?
"Therefore, I will allure her now; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her." (Hosea 2:16)
Pain and suffering is proof of a loving God. Take a bushfire as example:

Granted, suffering is anything but comfortable. I doubt that these people would have openly welcomed it into their life:
But I choose to see hope in the midst: that eventually everything will be okay – whether in this life or the next. To which horizon do you set your eyes?

Further info:
God bless,