Christmas Blessing

2013 has been a difficult year.  I worked for most of Christmas Eve but needed to make time to stop and reflect, so I went to the 4pm mass.  I showed up about an hour early and noticed a young boy with who I think was accompanied by his mother and grandmother.    He was dressed in a nice, tan-colored suit and seemed to be there working as one of the ushers.  I couldn’t help but notice how his family was treating him.  Everything he did upset them.  He was constantly being ridiculed for decisions he made but appeared to be only trying to help.  I don’t understand people sometimes.  Christmas is supposed to be about love, happiness, and giving all in the efforts to celebrate the birth of Christ.  There is a way you should speak to people.  With respect and dignity.  Not to belittle them because they aren’t doing work fast enough or are confused as to what their roles and responsibilities are.  I took a minute to pray for the boy;  asking God to forgive his mother and provide the young boy guidance and patience.

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People started to pile in and within no time the place was packed.  The Father made a brief announcement that he would be available in the back for confession for approximately 20 minutes.  As I waited in line, a woman in her late 50’s leaned over to compliment me, which broke the ice.  I thanked her and explained I was nervous because I had not gone to an official confession in 25 years.  She reassured me that it would be okay and kindly reminded me of what I should say when I entered.  I told her I always thought it was weird for people to attend confession hidden behind a curtain.  She explained I could choose to sit in front of the Father if I chose to.  I told her I had no shame, therefore I would choose to look at him when I spoke.  She giggled and said “okay, that is your choice dear”.

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Well, my number was up, I entered the room and took the seat directly in front of the Father.  I immediately let him know I forgot how to begin the session and that my last confession was about 25 years ago.  He grabbed my hand and asked me to sit down.  I sat directly in front of him and we began to pray.  Forgive me Father for I have sinned.  It has been 25 years since my last confession.  Then I said, “Father I know we have a short time as mass will start soon and I am sure I need more than 5 mins to list all my sins.”  He smiled and said, “This is your time my child.”  In turn I said, “Father I will say this; I have had a difficult year and learned sad news of my child, served in the military for 16 years thus far, and have done things and seen things no one should ever have to speak of.  I pray everyday, bless everyone I come in contact with, feed the homeless, take care of those less fortunate and try to be great mother to my child.”  As tears filled my eyes, I finished by asking him to pray for me and asked God to give me strength.  He said, “I feel your pain and suffering in this room today.  You have brought an enormous amount of joy to all the Angels and Saints, and Jesus is so happy that you took the step in coming here today.  We all have our cross to bare and yours is much heavier than most.  You must not lose faith in God.  Instead, realize the cross that he has given you even with all its weight, is because you were chosen to bare the weight of those who cannot.  Looking at you, I feel, and see that you are a strong young woman, and you must carry on.  God is always along side you.  I hope you will come to mass more, we need you in the church.”  I took a breath and we closed out with a prayer.  Then, I stood up and hugged him and thanked him for what he did.

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I felt so uplifted and re-energized.  I sat in church during mass reflecting on the readings and what the Father told me.  He opened my eyes to the things that were going on in my work environment at the moment and it made so much sense.  I will remain professional and say this, I know my efforts and hard work are currently assisting  my co-workers and will change how my current leaders view one’s actual performance.  This pain, suffering, and days away from my child will help prevent the same trials and tribulations for our newly assigned airman.  I know I learned a lot about people in the past few months.  I saw people’s true colors.  Remembering this has kept me focused and aware of who has true integrity, honor, and actually would never leave a man behind.  I will learn from my experiences and ensure I never engage in the type of behaviors I have witnessed and endured.  I thank you GOD for my cross and know all I do has a purpose larger than I will ever comprehend.  For those of you reading this, or if you too have a heavy cross to bare…re-read the Father’s message to me and know you are not alone and no matter what religion you are, you have a purpose and there is a reason things are happening.  You will see why in the end.  I pray and hope all of you have an amazing Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!  I love you!

XOXO Besos,

Anna Castillo

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