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Beloved Christian

Day Three of Gratitude

My name is Carina Cristiano. My Father named me and he gave me a very melodic name. He was also a fantastic singer with a voice that dripped with emotion and beauty. Therefore that was one of the explanations for my namesake. Another reason was that it was a spin-off from his mother, my grandmother, Chiarina. Then there is the song "Carina." We had an Italian restaurant for 58 years, and back in the day, my dad created cassette tapes of music, and he often recorded the song "Carina" several times over on one cassette tape. Customers would sometimes ask, "what is with the song Carina playing over and over again." LOL.

Carina in Italian means beloved, dear, or even cute. Cristiano, in Italian, means Christian. So my name means "Beloved Christian." As I'm getting older, I love this God-given, dad-inspired name more and more. I am beloved by God, my Father in heaven, and the more complex the struggles of this world, the more grateful I am for this acknowledgment.

We all get caught up in titles, don't we? From daughter to university credentials, career titles, nationality, and even our faith titles. I am a Christian, yes, but I was also born and raised Catholic. To add, I enjoy hearing all Christian sermons, and I attend various churches. Not just Catholic ones. I have been known to attend two services in a day, if not three, of different Christian churches. I don't believe in a divide of the "Christian Faith Family." Not to say I haven't had Christians talk wrong about Catholics or Catholics talk bad about Christians, but that is all part of the resume of sinners. I don't care for it, and I'm going to venture to say I don't think God does either.

Nevertheless, I am genuinely grateful for understanding that I belong to God, and so does my purpose in this life. That is really what a "heart-driven purpose" means to me. I feel like I needed to fine-tune my understanding in the last six years. I was so excited to turn 50 years old that I thought this would be the best for the best of a lifetime decade. On the contrary, it has been a difficult six years of trials and tribulations, and as a result, it takes on a deeper meaning to me of heartbreak. Worse boyfriend relationship of my lifetime, deaths, job loss, pandemic, illness, crazy politics, and "friend" betrayals, Yet, simply saying my namesake is a constant reminder not to lose faith! I can talk about this more in other appreciation posts, but for now, in this journey, I want to say I am grateful that I belong to God, my Father, in heaven. That the Holy Spirit guides me, and I seek His wisdom. Jesus Christ is who I want as my best friend, and I want to mirror His teachings in my life. When I make mistakes or sin, I'm humbly grateful to know that no matter what happens or what I fail to do, I'm loved and forgiven as a "Beloved Christian!" Thanks be to God.

On an added note, if you want to hear a great sermon, I highly recommend Father Mike Schmitz's Eulogy Virtues. It was a few months long, and all were rich in the essence of life's meaning. Here is one link to one of his sermons, . I am also participating in his 365 Days of Bible Reading. It is free, and here is the link for that, too:

You can go at your own pace, but thankful,y for now, I am reading daily, and I am on Day 64. Reading the bible daily has taken me to a different place in my understanding. For one thing, the Old Testament is not an easy read. Not because it is complicated, but rather because there are some very harsh realities about humanity's beginnings, including some uncomfortable subject matters for me too. "Killing the firstborn, slavery, and sacrificing animals for God." Yet, it also requires a new devotion to God to invest time in understanding this history. I know the New Testament's references on a deeper level while thinking, "oh, that is where that comes from our why that happens here, and it is significant." And a few "I had no idea of that!" It is a journey for me to live up to my namesake in a very personal spiritual way; hence, I'm grateful and blessed to be sharing Day 3 with you.

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