All will be well.


 Tomorrow begins the Easter Triduum of

  • Holy Thursday, when we contemplate Jesus’ desire to be with us, even in the face of death, as he offers his Spirit to be accessible through a simple meal of Communion;
  • Good Friday, when completely innocent and all powerful, he chooses to suffer and relinquish his life to redeem us from our failings; and
  • Holy Saturday, when we move from the darkness of death to the light of resurrection on
  • Easter Sunday, when death and sin have been conquered!

Easter is a celebration of victory! God is on our side and he won! We are victors!

How can we not exude CONFIDENCE? Even if all the efforts of our past 6 weeks have not paid off and we still feel inadequate, we can step forward with confidence in God’s love for us.

There can be NO DOUBT when we look on the cross and contemplate Jesus’ suffering, knowing he chose freely to die for us.

If we truly believe that the Son of God suffered, died, and rose for us, shared his Spirit in order to continue to be with us, we have no choice but to TRUST God’s love for us.

Being followers of Christ doesn’t mean we won’t be outcasts.    He was.

It doesn’t mean we won’t know failure.    He did.

It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer.    He chose to.

It means we have already won! He lives! 

It means this life we live has meaning. He shows the way.

It means we will rise after death! He prepares a place for us!


In celebration of our victory over all that is imperfect, I offer you words from St. Julian of Norwich, who lived during the threat of the plague:

“And these words: ‘You will not be overcome,’ were said very insistently and strongly, for certainty and strength against every tribulation which may come. He did not say: ‘You will not be assailed, you will not be laboured, you will not be disquieted,’ but he said: ‘You will not be overcome.’ God wants us to pay attention to his words, and always to be strong in our certainty, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights in us, and so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well.

“All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.”


Blessings on your Easter season!

Betty Arrigotti

Gaining Confidence Through (Or In Spite Of) Family

            I spent last week visiting my family of origin in Montana. My brother and I shared a book signing there for my novel, Hope and a Future, and his photography book, Visions of Montana.

            I left for my hometown expecting that the trip would provide input for me to write about Alan Loy McGinnis’ recommendation, in order to grow in confidence, “Make the best possible peace with your parents.” I’d like to extend his words to include families.

 Make the best possible peace with your family.

            However, it wasn’t my own family that drew my attention. Throughout the week in Montana and the days in Oregon since, other families’ pain pressed upon my heart.

  • On the airplane, I sat next to a 16 year old who was being sent to live with her grandmother because of falling in with the wrong crowd at her school. She fingered a beaded cross her little brother had made and sighed, “I’m going to miss him so much.”
  • At daily Mass I listened as one child requested “Prayers for my mama because she’s been crying a lot and having a hard time.”
  • An acquaintance divulged her heartache over her adult children’s refusal to speak to each other.
  • A dear friend and her siblings grow weary from their efforts to help a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • People I care about contemplate divorce and, though I spent years studying marriage counseling, I cannot heal their relationships.

             Our families cause us pain by the very nature of how important they are to us. We share any hurt they feel. In addition, loving them deeply opens us to vulnerability. Our intimacy creates countless ways that we can be injured. They know about certain of our weaknesses, or past wounds, and sometimes inflict pain with that knowledge.

            They know we were shy/awkward/a bully/mean/selfish/nerdy, etc., and often can’t realize we’ve grown beyond what we used to be. Being around family can wear away any confidence we’ve built. We need to remind ourselves of both our growth and our ability to continue to grow.

            Perhaps our past failings don’t haunt us now. Perhaps it’s the way our parents or siblings or classmates or neighbors treated us. Even Jesus had that problem: “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’” Mark 6:4 (NASB)

            Our families are filled with imperfect people who make mistakes. Those mistakes damaged our confidence in our past and may continue to do so in our present. They were flawed people trying to overcome their own obstacles back then. Let’s refuse to allow their mistakes or their treatment of us to continue to affect us now. Let’s make a conscious choice to let go of the wounds, to realize the roles or labels our family gave us do not need to be maintained or accepted as true. Let the sweet satisfaction of liking who we now are replace the embarrassment or frustration or pain of the past.

 Let it go.

             For as difficult as our families can be, they are also some of our dearest blessings and sources of meaning of our lives. Think of our children. What a gift to the world! (Ok, those of you with preschoolers have my permission to use these 4 minutes for a nap. And if you have teenagers, you know deep down they still love you even when they roll their eyes, right?)

            Even if we aren’t blessed with children, we have relationships that we nurture with parents or spouses or the friends we consider family. If those relationships are more positive than negative, congratulate yourself!

 Here’s the answer to the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?”

 It’s to learn to love.

             That’s what God wants from us: that we steadily learn to love him, others, and ourselves more deeply. He wants us to grow in love. And since he is love, he wants us to grow in him.

            Whenever we feel like life lacks meaning, we need to think of the people we love. That love itself gives our lives significance. And if we don’t have anyone to love, then it is time to connect to others who feel unloved. Be the one who shows them love. Reach out. Volunteer. I guarantee life will bloom with meaning.

            We talked before about how finding and following a passion gives our lives new momentum and builds confidence. However, we don’t need grand, extravagant actions to make our lives more consequential. It also can  be done in the few moments we take to send an encouraging email or letter. By humming to the baby while we change the messy diaper. When we smile through an elderly uncle’s repeat of his favorite story. Or maybe when we decide to forgive our spouse for the latest mistake without even mentioning it.

            Our lives become more meaningful every time we show love, and love-filled lives produce confidence.

From Passion to Action

Still unsure of your passion or calling?

      Some of us will have considered last week’s questions and still not have an answer for what our calling is. Elizabeth O’Connor in her book, “Cry Pain, Cry Hope,” writes, “Many times a person, unsure what her call in life is, will go from one mission to another. She gives each the gift of her energies for a time, but then she has to try others in an effort to discover the one that connects with something deep in herself and which can become for her, true vocation.”

     Some things to consider:

  • You may already follow your call. Parenting, or caring for the elderly, or heading a huge project may be exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Do you already feel fulfilled by meaningful work or through creativity?
  • Your calling may change over time. Young parenthood years may draw you a different direction than your empty nest stage or your retirement.
  • Fear may be clouding your view of the path ahead.

      O’Connor quotes H.A.Williams in True Wilderness, “Fear, in the New Testament, is considered to be the root of all evil. It is fear which makes men selfish, it is fear which makes them hate, it is fear which makes them blind, it is fear which makes them mad. Fear casts out love, as love casts out fear. Which of the two therefore am I going to choose?”

     Over and over again in the Bible God exhorts us not to fear. See if you notice a common trend in these excerpts:

  • “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”  Isaiah 41:13
  • “O Jacob My servant, do not fear,” declares the LORD, “For I am with you.” Jeremiah 46:28  
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1
  • “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7

     Each verse takes our focus away from our fear and places it where it should be, on God. He says, “I will help you; I am with you; I am your light and salvation; My peace will guard.”

     We are working this Lent to overcome our fears and replace them with confidence. Not so we can be superstars at work. Not so we make more money or impress people. Rather, because when we are confident we refuse to let fear stop us. We are able to …

 Take action.

     Once you discover a gift, calling, or passion, take action! Commit to struggle, work, and perseverance. O’Connor forewarns us, “The identifying of gifts brings to the fore another large issue in our lives—the issue of commitment. Somehow if I name my gift and it is confirmed, I cannot “hang loose” in the same way. I would much rather be committed to God in the abstract than be committed to Him at the point of my gifts.  When one really becomes practical about gifts, they spell out responsibility and sacrifice.”

     Yes, responsibility and sacrifice are frightening, so we must take our fears to God in prayer. Acknowledge what the risks of this path are. What obstacles must be overcome? What must be sacrificed? Ponder and mull and brood about this calling, but take some sort of action. Seek out people who will support you as you undertake your work. Find someone who helps protect you from succumbing to the criticisms of others, or their jealousy, or your fear.

     Whatever inspiration you discover, take it to a higher level by taking it to God. Begin whatever passion calls you to do, whether taking a class or reaching out to others. If it is a work of art, either show beauty to others through your work, or point out areas that need attention to become beautiful. Let your creativity call others to change, to growth, to improving their little part of the world.

     I’ll leave you with a quote to mull over for the week:

     “The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work that you need most to do and that the world most needs to have done…The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”– Frederick Buechner’s definition of “vocation” in his little book “Wishful Thinking 

 Prayers for you during this fifth week of Lent!

Betty Arrigotti


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