“Silence is PRAYER, prayer is FAITH, faith is LOVE, love is SERVICE.”
When you hear the words FAITH or PRAYER, what definition comes to mind?
How do you use these two gifts in your life?
Along my journey over the years these are the two most consistent gifts to help guide me to this very moment I am walking today and guaranteed to be with me to the end. It may surprise some that I believe in ways that they have nothing to do with religion. I started out in a very conservative strict Catholic upbringing that did not look like most. I credit Faith and Prayer for my constant survival.
In childhood I knew there had to be a greater force that got me through. I knew that this couldn’t be all there was and I knew that if I held on I would see a better day. No one could take my Spirit away from me in the moment...that was FAITH. And that belief would inevitably follow me along my entire journey in which I would hold onto in my darkest moments.
Many people look at my journey in awe on a day to day basis. I simply never let someone tell me no, can’t or impossible. I believe if I can dream it, think it, or own the thought then it can become a reality and so it has on all fronts. Yes, there may have been immeasurable trials, but they are gifts to learn from that I would never take back. I honor the journey for what it is. That is FAITH. If we dwell in the darkness, if we don’t think and believe in ‘what if’ then a choice is being made to be stuck. If we look outside the box, that is FAITH.
I went on to Young Adulthood alone stepping away from the Church and family, falling deep into a 14yr battle with Anorexia. I slowly and cautiously walked back accepting religion and Church on my own terms with Faith and Prayer as my focus. As my healing continued, I would begin to discern a call to religious life to become a nun. During this time where life was defined by healing my childhood and depths of illness 24/7, FAITH was by my side, but PRAYER became my friend and constant companion. While I walked through mountains, I always prayed…for others. I found great peace in holding others in prayer and healing, before I could own my own journey.
Many have told me over the years, I have a gift of intercessory prayer, for I often pray without being asked. I simply just sense someone’s needs who later will come to me asking for prayers and I can tell them that I had been praying all along. I found incredible peace in a ministry I created going on 13 years in Lourdes, France where I would spend months at monasteries while praying in the Grotto of Lourdes with and for the sick. It is home to me to this day. I find such peace and gratitude in the simple act of PRAYER.
And after some time through rejection, reflection and acceptance I was able to start healing in prayer for myself. Once I did this… it all made even more sense on where the journey would go from there.
Until I rounded life up to the present moment where in healing began to follow my passion and dedicate my life to service to the sick through my Lourdes Ministry; went on to define religion for myself in my present life and owned the truth in my heart of survival, healing and finding my voice… Faith and Prayer were my constant companion.
Today, as a wife and mother, the journey may look different but I am finally defining the gifts and following a dream to open a retreat house, Anam Nostos and spiritual gift shop, Bernadette’s Cupboard where my husband, also in ministry, can share the gifts full circle.
Faith and Prayer may have a formal definition, but in the end you have to define it for yourself. In the days to come consider where these two gifts reside for you, you may be surprised.
If you walk over to my job, Bernadette’s Cupboard, you will find just a few prayer tools to take with you along your journey to see how diverse Faith & Prayer can be. I stepped out of tradition along my journey and defined what worked for me….that is key for every person. What will work for you? How is Faith defined for you? How will you pray? Only you can answer these questions...