What would I do without faith?

NOVEMBER 4, 2014
Alberta Sequeira 

I ask myself this many times, especially in a crisis. Faith means different things to many people. It’s a belief, trust, confidence, creditability, and sometimes, hope that pulls you through a situation. These feelings make you loyal and devoted to your understanding or assumption that you are right. We want something to hold on to so we can get over the problem we are facing.
They say the topics of politics and religion should not be discussed because they cause many disagreements that lead to arguing, fights, or worse, killings. I think we get our strong positions with faith by how we are brought up by our parents. They pass-down their judgment on what and how they were taught on a topic by our grandparents. The cycle continues down into each generation.
Imagine if we were brought up to see no difference with a person of a different race or culture than us. What a world we would have. Wars are not between military men and women fighting, it’s the governments in each country that bring us into one.
Atheists believe there is no God, some people believe in miracles while others believe that a problem had been resolved came from a scientific result. To save time with disagreements, I guess you could say that no one is right or wrong, because it is what you believe yourself to be true.
I have to admit our family is Catholic and my father made sure we all went to church on Sunday morning either with our without him. No excuses were accepted, unless you had a fever and were sick in bed. Since I was thirteen, I loved going to Mass. In my days, the church doors were always kept open.
I would have to pass our church to meet my friends for our walk to an ice cream place after supper..our homework had to be completed. Never did I go by without entering the church, walked down the aisle, and sat for a few moments in a pew facing the statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The peace is hard to explain, but I cherished those moments. We never went by a church in a car without blessing ourselves with the sign of the cross.
Now being grownup, I thank my father for his firm hand in making us go. What would I do if I had no faith? Would I have any morals, be kind to another person, pray for someone, or believe that there is no life after death? I’d wonder why we were put on earth and for what reason?
My faith had been strong when I tried to hold on to my marriage with an alcoholic. Not having the knowledge that the alcoholic had to change themselves, I tried for 14 years trying to find ways to make him stop. From the stress, I had a small breakdown and blamed God for our suffering because he wasn’t helping us.
What I didn’t face was that God gives us choices; Richie’s had been to stop drinking or stay with the decision to keep abusing his body, and my choice was to keep living with the confusion, fear, and abuse or do something about it. Now, I realize that I had pushed myself mentally and physically beyond what my body could take without seeing any results and staying in a very unhealthy environment for me and my daughters. (Story in Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis)
My faith came alive in 1990 when I watched my father, Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, dying of cancer at eighty-years old. He had been one of the commanding officers of the 26th Yankee Division during WWII, fighting in Metz, Lorraine and the Battle of the Bulge. He promised Our Blessed Mother if she brought him home safely to his family, he would say the rosary until he died. He had been struggling to concentrate on the prayer near the end. My family said them for him and it was the first time, I learned the rosary. I say them daily. I watched the devotion of my father and his love for the Virgin Mary, I realized I wanted God back in my life. Without Him, my life was in turmoil. It brought me to the realization that we are all going to die. Jesus said, “If you believe in me, you will live.” (Story in A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje)
Three miracles happened to me after my father’s death. One of them occurred when I was packing to go to the hospital for surgery. Out of nowhere, I heard “inside” my head a voice that said, “Don’t be Afraid, I’ll be with you!” A warm feeling entered my head from outside, traveled through like lightening to the end of my toes to my fingers. Instantly, peace came over me. 

If someone said they experienced this, I would have laughed my head off. “Oh, Yeah!!”
I was afraid to tell Al, thinking he would send me to the Funny Farm. It was two months later, when I watched a show on spiritual miracles. During WWII, a soldier was in a tank and was petrified that he was going to die. A voice said to him, “Don’t be afraid. You will not die.” He had explained the same peace that came over him after the same vibrations went through his body that I had happen. It was then that I shared my miracle with Al. ( Story in A Spiritual Renewal a Journey to Medjugorje)
Faith can pull many through the death of a loved one. The six visionaries at Medjugorje said Our Lady calls each person herself when you take a trip to this remote village in Bosnia where she is still appearing each day since 1981. It’s there where I felt a sampler of heaven when I took a ten day pilgrimage to this location. I believe The Blessed Mother gave me the strength to go through Lori’s death and had planned on me to write about my life and loss and started me on the journey with my talks on spiritual changes and alcohol abuse.
When I go to any church, I notice all the different statues of Jesus on the cross. I find it odd that not one shows him with the true pain that He went through. He looks clean with nails in His hands and feet. I saw reality in Medjugorje when I went to the Oasis of Peace. This tiny chapel had a full-size statue of a man..Jesus.
Yes, we forget he was a human like us. They had hair on his body, with blood coming down His face dripping off his toes from the crown of thorns dug deep into his skull. The five thousand and some cuts on his body (told to St. Bridget during an apparition) showed the scorning. He had one gash so large that his beating took a chunk of flesh out of his shoulder down to his bare bone. He had to carry the cross with His unbearable pain. I wanted to wrap the statue up and take it to every land for people of all faiths to see what He actually went through for us.
Why? because he died for our sins so that we can have life after death. Jesus was a Man who was nothing but love and full of mercy who died so we can live and look at how many of us are living! Sin and crimes are pushed aside like they are normal ways to handle our problems.
Faith is what gets me through my days that are good or bad. I can’t picture waking up without prayer and not thanking God for the day ahead of me. I go to bed at night thanking him for my gifts he gave me, whether it’s from seeing a loved one, having me meet a new person where we touched each other’s heart, money to buy the food for the family, or anything else good that came my way. Even a bad day is a gift so I can learn from what I did or didn’t do right.
Faith is a gift from God if we open our hearts. The problem with being human is we want to see or feel the gifts and blessings we get during the day. Our Lady told the visionaries that people would not believe the graces God has for each of us but we don’t ask for them.
Our Lady told the visionaries that a Mass said for the dead is the greatest action to get that person closer to heaven. Sitting in Adoration in a chapel with God present is one of the highest graces bestowed on us. Prayer will end wars and no one thinks of what can save our world.
Faith and believing will never make us feel alone.

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