This Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass

A reminder for the times when you need it most.

"How ironic, your permanent ink tattoo says, "This too shall pass!"

Yes, so ironic, so hilarious. I've never heard that joke before.

So, why did I get these four words tattooed on my arm?

In order to understand the importance of the quote, you should understand where it originally came from.

Many say that "This Too Shall Pass" comes from a Jewish wisdom folklore. In the folklore, King Solomon wanted to humble Benaiah Ben Yahoyada. He gave Benaiah a task to find the ring that, when worn, will make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. King Solomon told Benaiah to be back by Sukkot so he could wear the ring and show it off to all of the Ministers, even though no such ring really existed. Benaiah searched for the ring, but could not find it anywhere. On the night before Sukkot, Benaiah stopped and asked a merchant if he knew of said ring. The merchant gave to Benaiah a gold ring, with which there were three Hebrew letters inscribed: a gimel, zayin, and yud. The letters abbreviated "Gam Zeh Ya'avor." Translate that to English and it says "This Too Shall Pass". When Benaiah returned to King Solomon with the ring, King Solomon was in awe. He sent Benaiah out on an impossible task, but Benaiah completed it anyways. When he was given the ring, Solomon realized that all of the wealth, wisdom, and power would not last forever, and one day he will be nothing more than dust, just like everybody else.

So the quote stands as a reminder that it doesn't matter how bad things are, it's only temporary; stay positive. It doesn't matter how great things are, it's not going to last forever; stay humble. A reminder for the times when you're feeling a little extra anxious that you're going to get through it and everything is going to be okay.

So next time you're feeling upset and getting down on yourself, and the next time you are feeling super excited and showing it off to the world, just remember:

This too shall pass.

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Yes, I Had Ashes On My Forehead Last Wednesday

We all mark ourselves with ash and confidently walk the streets after, not at all phased by the confused and seemingly questionable looks we tend to receive.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why Catholics put such a big emphasis on Ash Wednesday and Lent. We all mark ourselves with ash and confidently walk the streets after, not at all phased by the confused and seemingly questionable looks we tend to receive. Now, while the Catholic Church is not the only denomination to celebrate Ash Wednesday, it is often directly referenced when speaking about this special day every year.

So, why Ash Wednesday? Why Lent? What’s the big fuss about?

Catholics celebrate Ash Wednesday because we see Lent as a beautiful and important way to recognize our humanity and prepare our hearts for the celebration of God’s ultimate sacrifice.

The Ash we place on our foreheads reminds us that our earthly life is temporary, and we must set our eyes and hearts on heaven and eternal life with the Lord. It is a symbol of our sinful human nature.

The ashes are seen as a sign of penance, meant to remind us that we must prepare ourselves for Easter. It is easy to forget these things. Ash Wednesday reminds us why we celebrate Lent and actively involves Catholics in the Lenten season.

Lent, in the Catholic faith, is forty days spent, mirroring Jesus, preparing our hearts to celebrate Him at Easter. Often, Catholics choose to make a sacrifice during the Lenten season.

Children are encouraged to try to take something they really love and sacrifice it. As a young Catholic, I spent years giving up TV, candy, and one year even red meat.

But, the sacrifice for teenagers and adults is intended for something deeper. The goal of a sacrifice during lent is to do something for your life that will ultimately lead you closer to the Lord. We also take on a sacrifice, or penance, to acknowledge the fact that we are sinful and in need of spiritual repair before receiving God's grace at Easter.

Some people choose to sacrifice their time by going to mass every day, praying the rosary, or making more time for prayer. Others eliminate something negative from their lives: bad habits, negative influences, or addictive behavior.

Ultimately, the goal of sacrificing during Lent in the Catholic faith isn’t to give something up for forty days and then immediately splurge on Easter, going back to old habits or addictions. The goal of Lent is to change the way you live in order to deepen your relationship with God.

So, if you spend too much time watching television instead of making time for prayer, hopefully after Lent, you have made a change to your prayer life that will exceed just the forty days and ultimately change your life for the better.

Our small penances are ways in which we try to comprehend the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Although we can never fully understand or experience the magnitude of His sacrifice, we try to make smaller sacrifices mirroring the Lord and trying to live like Him. At Easter, we receive the redemption we desperately need and rejoice in God’s love and sacrifice.

Understanding why Catholics place such great importance on Ash Wednesday and Lent can help you better understand the Catholic faith. One of our goals as Catholics is to deepen our faith in the Lord and to one day abide with Him in Heaven.

Lent helps us recognize the faults within our own lives and work to live a life closer to that of Jesus Christ.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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What It Means To Be A "Christian"

Do you qualify?

You go to church, but that doesn’t mean you are a Christian. You don’t go to church, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a Christian.

What is church anyways? A sanctuary, a building, a place Christians herd through on Sundays. I like going back and searching for basic definitions, because they help me understand bigger concepts. Church can be a place where we go on Sundays, but you should think of it as a common ground for fellow believers to meet and worship God.

It’s a place that reminds us of God’s grace.

It gives us comfort, reassurance, wisdom, but more importantly, it is a place we can be with God. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

I grew up going to church regularly, but it wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I made my own decision to attend. Despite the unfortunate circumstances my family was under, I developed a strong desire to go and listen to the pastor. I wanted to study the bible more, and by doing so, I developed a personal relationship with God.

The habit of going to church with my family always facilitated my learning about Jesus, but our family unit broke up towards the end of high school. No longer did I have someone taking me to church. I had to made that decision on my own. The act of deciding to go on my own represents making the decision to put my faith in Jesus. I grew up going to church, but that doesn’t mean anything.

What defines someone as a Christian is not whether they go to church every Sunday or not, it’s whether or not they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and they desire to grow closer to Him. If I have a basic understanding of the bible but I don’t follow it and try to live my life according to it, then how can I call myself a Christian? Delving deeper into this question of “What makes someone a Christian?” leads me to scripture.

Look at Matthew 19, because there’s a story about a rich man who asked Jesus how to attain eternal life in heaven. In verse 21, “Jesus said, ‘If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.’"

Should we take that literally and get rid of everything in our possession?

While as believers we tithe and be generous in our offerings to the Lord, this verse has another meaning. We should get rid of anything that stops us from following Jesus wholeheartedly. God should be the center of our lives, regardless of our circumstances.

In Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, ‘Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” I remember a Sunday morning in first grade, my sisters, my mom, and I listened to a church sermon on the TV.

After it was over, my mom asked me, “Madi, have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you for your sins?” She explained that I had to do that on my own and that she couldn’t do it for me. I felt like I was too young and I didn’t want to do something so radical, but she said I wasn’t too young and every person needs to ask Jesus that. So I did.

My question for you is this: have you asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you for your sins? Can you say that you have a personal relationship with Him? If you can boldly proclaim that you believe Jesus is the Son of God and he is your savior, then you are a Christian.

I don’t care if you go to church, I don’t care if you make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve sinned in the past, because Jesus forgives our sins. But, only if you ask Him. Romans 10:9 says, “Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Cover Image Credit: Yahoo

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