Sunday, November 29, 2015

"A Tale of Two Aunts" from book: Affirmations from the Heart of God by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver, Part 2

A Tale of Two Aunts

Frances Webster, aunt of author Regina Madonna Oliver, was in the habit of talking to herself.

Sometimes her mumblings would reach an audible volume, and someone in the family would

hear her spit these words out at her image in the mirror: ―You are so stupid! Just so stupid!‖ She

would enunciate each syllable with a venom that made anyone within hearing distance wonder if

she really thought that badly of herself. This behavior was of concern to everyone—especially

her family—because Fran was an incredibly wonderful human being—one of the most

self-sacrificing people we ever knew.

The eldest of three orphaned sisters, Fran went to business school at the age of thirteen,

had taken a job in West Virginia by the age of fifteen, and began supporting her two younger

sisters: Ethel, five years her junior; and Aunt ―Sleet,‖ five years younger yet. From Sleet‘s teen

years until she died of tuberculosis in her forties, Fran, on a meager salary, took care of her

financial needs. Fran also shared her room-and-board accommodations with her sister,

Regina‘s mother, during her high-school years, providing for her a good secondary education.

Later in life, after my mother‘s divorce, my entrance to the convent, and my brother‘s marriage,

Fran provided the ―homestead‖ and refuge for mom to come back to.

Aunt Fran never married, but she was at the heart of family celebrations, always present

with her seasonal gifts for her nephew and niece, and proud of our every accomplishment. She

never had harsh things to say of anyone else—only of herself. But since the recital of negative

self-evaluations was habitual for her, we had to wonder how many times during her ninety-two

years she had flung maledictions at herself. What impact would this kind of assault have had on

her subconscious? What effect would this negative self-image have on her spiritual life and on

her relationship with God? We all found her wonderfully lovable, so why couldn‘t she understand

that God felt that way, too?

Molly McCarthy, aunt of author Bridget Mary Meehan, was an equally incredible human

being, but she was amazingly affirmative throughout her life—in all circumstances. She

seemed to be serenely positive in her interchanges with others and greatly at peace with her

own self-worth. Molly would always say, ―That‘s all right, dear. Things will work out all right!‖ She

thought of everyone, including herself, as God-loved and, therefore, as good!

These two aunts, although of quite different backgrounds, were quite fond of

each other and got along famously. Now that they are both with God, we wonder if

Aunt Fran has reached the bliss of knowing what Aunt Molly already knew—that

God loves her enormously.

Aunt Molly McCarthy, I don't have a photo of Aunt Fran

The telling of these real-life stories shows that we all sometimes tend to see life, ourselves,

and others in ways that Love does not intend. Here is the beauty of the Resurrection message:

God, who is totally positive, affirming Love, can transform even the worst person into a lover.

And no Christian has any business wallowing in negatives. After all, our Creator God called all

of creation ―very good.‖

This book will also offer some prayer therapies to cure us of any negative thinking that may

have crept into our subconscious, because from there it can surreptitiously poison our outlook

on ourselves, deaden our hopes for the future, and stunt our ability to dream noble dreams and

aspire to great heights. Negative thinking can spiritually bleed us to death, like a giant ulcer,

without our even knowing what is wrong. For how many people who say, ―I‘m depressed!‖ is the

real problem their struggle against a lifelong influx of negative self-abuse?

A spiritual director was once overheard saying: ―How dare we! How dare we speak badly of

one whom God made and called ‗Good‘!‖ So we offer some models of affirming prayer, which

we believe are attuned to God‘s original heart-response to the miracle of creatures newly

formed. The heart of God formed the word of God about the newborn creation of which each

person is the epitome: ―Good! Very Good!‖

S ister Regina Madonna Oliver, SFCC, co-author of Affirmations from the Heart of God.
Sister Regina has passed into God's eternal embrace. We-co-authored five books. Affirmations from the Heart of God is One of These books. Aunt Fran was Sister Regina's dear Aunt, Aunt Molly was my dear Aunt.

During Advent Season, I will share stories and prayer practices for healing and wholeness from  Affirmations from the Heart of God  with my blog readers. On Nov. 10th, I shared the introduction to the book on this blog as Part 1. 

1 comment:

Angel1943 said...

This is one of my favorite stories from my favorite book that you have written. I have had a supply of these books and all to whom they were given appreciated the heartfelt wisdom in these pages. I hope that you will write another Affirmations...but this one is the best
In gratitude for your insights,