Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why St Paul Wasn't Wrong

There's a thought often heard in Christian circles that St Paul was just wrong in his comment that Christ would come again in the lifetime of his contemporaries. We say " well, St Paul was a great Christian, a wonderful evangelist, a righteous man of immense faith, but he just got that wrong. I mean, clearly, Christ didn't come again." 

I think the point at which we start along that type of thinking is the point in which we fall into an error greater than the one we assign to Paul. We remove God from our world. We remove Christ from our world.

That's right... every time we get so worried and worked up about the second coming we forget that for us, Christ may as well return in two weeks, or tomorrow. Or today.

Firstly, we fall into the comfort trap. By pushing the time of the Second Coming further and further into the future- or worse- by selecting the day and hour which Christ will appear ( which is Scripturally impossible), we allow ourselves to become lazy. to put off spreading the Good News, to see evangelization as a less-than-urgent endeavor. The problem with this type of thinking is that today is someone's last day. Today is someone's last chance. It might be yours. It might be mine. It is urgent for each person,

But there's another problem with this type of thinking and this critique of St Paul. This problem is the removal of God from our world. As Catholics we don't believe God has left us alone. We believe that He is here with us in Spirit as we gather and in Flesh every time the Eucharist is celebrated. During Holy Mass, we believe that ordinary substances are radically and miraculously changed before our very eyes into the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior. In our remembrance of His sacrifice on Calvary, He is made flesh again that we may consume Him and be transformed into His Body. We, the Church, His Bride, are here. We are waiting for His return, yes, but we are waiting in anticipation at Holy Mass. It is a foretaste of heaven, a few precious moments where we can glimpse the eternity that lies ahead.

I know that Christ didn't come again during St Paul's lifetime, but I also had an experience recently where I realized overwhelming that He really did come, too. That He really is always coming to us in the Mass. I mean... it's one thing to know something with your head and another to have that moment of clarity, and immense love, and to feel His presence so truly in the Eucharist. St Paul wasn't wrong. Christ comes to us in the Holy Mass every time His Sacrifice is celebrated. He promised us this and He follows through. The urgency of evangelization is not just to spread the word and love of God in the event that Christ returns to Earth tomorrow or next week. No- it's to allow people to greet Him now, because our lives are always better with Him than without. More joyful, more peaceful, more consumed with love. We realize those moments, those glimpses of heaven. Our hearts are truly restless until they rest in Him. Because His love for us is so great. So powerful and we constantly seek Him. We want others to experience that now because we know what it is to be changed by Him.  St Paul was right to be filled with urgency and zeal- because he knew what those who don't know Christ are missing. They are missing that experience of Christ now. 

When you have an amazing friend, don't you want to brag to everyone you meet about that person? About how wonderful they are? How good a friend? Who kind, how compassionate a person? Christ is more than our friend. He is Love. He gave His life for us that we could be with Him. That's news that demands to be shared.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Completely random thoughts

Like really random. I'm not exactly sure they're even related. So read at your own risk.

So… life. Well, I’m not exactly sure what I’m writing about right now. I have about a million thoughts running through my mind… okay not a million, that’s definitely an exaggeration, but there a quite a few thoughts.

This has been one of the strangest years of my life, basically because it feels like I’m really starting to settle into a routine, and I guess because I’m finally realizing that I’m an adult. At the age of almost-26. I mean, it’s strange, I’ve had a real-adult job for three full years- you, know, the kind that isn’t just a job. But it is that, too. Some days. Most days, it doesn’t feel like working- because teaching is what I do, it’s part of who I am. And I missed teaching so much this summer.

I guess that’s one of the weird parts, that after three years, it finally started to sink in with me a bit last year. I’d been saying it for the first two years, I’d been interacting with kids, building relationships, etc., but it wasn’t the same as when teaching started to give me energy. Yes, it’s still draining, it’s still exhausting, but it’s not just a job. It’s not just something I do from 9-5. No… it’s a part of me in the way that I can’t ever really shut it off. Anytime I’m outside my house, I’m Miss Gates. And I like that feeling, but it also brings a lot of responsibility.. because kids look up to me. 

Maybe I’m just being ridiculously full of myself, but it makes me wonder, what if we all acted like grown-ups. I mean- what if we all, everyday, put on our real clothes, and our good attitudes and spent energy trying to improve the spirits of those around us. What if, everyday, we truly cared about our neighbors… all of them, and acted in a way that showed we cared. What if we cared enough to put on real clothes, and brush our hair and smile? 

I mean, we teach kids these things are important- that they should “dress for success” and be polite and respectful. Is it really that respectful for us to walk past our fellow human beings like they’re strangers? Even the people we know? Without acknowledging them or smiling?

I guess I started to realize something last Sunday. I was having a reply bad day… well couple days. And I have this weird thing where I never realize when I’m upset or not in the best of moods. I mean, other people will pick up on it and comment, but I don’t usually notice. (I’m working on it… I think it’s probably one of the things I really need to fix this year). So anyway… Sunday. 

After church, my family and I always go out to eat lunch somewhere in town. On this particular Sunday, we went to one of my favorite restaurants.

Or you know, I’ll come back to writing this two weeks later. Still relevant though, so I guess I’ll keep writing.

I was shopping and everyone was annoying e. I mean… no one would stop talking to me. So the fourth time in two minutes that the clerk asked if I needed help I snapped a bit. And then the other customer in Penney’s wanted to chat. Well, I guess yo could say I finally realized I wasn’t behaving very kindly towards the world. And then it finally all started to hit me. How I’d been very carefully distancing myself from everyone after the last couple of weeks. From my family, from my friends, and now even from random strangers who were just treating me like a person. I have this tendency when I’m getting depressed/ am depressed to draw back from people. To not let anyone in and to lock everyone out.

The biggest problem with this isn’t that I lock out my family. Or my friends, or really even, that I lock myself out. The biggest problem is that I also lock out God. And in the sea weird way I lock everyone else out. I act like everything is normal and have “normal” conversations. So my prayer life goes on auto pilot and I completely shut God out of my emotions.

Because… even when I know that God’s mercy knows no bounds, sometimes I still struggle to let Him in. To let Him actually do the fixing. To let His grace pour over me and help me to forgive myself. Which is why when song after song that Sunday on the radio was about Go’d forgiveness, it all started to sink in a bit.

 And I’ve been working on it. Shutting God out of your life, not talking to Him and refusing to listen while at the same time venting to yourself that He’s not answering, well, that’s a toxic form of prayer. 

It’s frustrating to realize that I can’t focus enough to pray three Hail Mary’s without having to stop and start over. It’s frustrating to realize that I can’t say an Our Father without going on auto pilot. The first step for me is to stop the auto-pilot. Which means I have to slow down and force myself to say the words. With meaning. Even if that takes and hour. I have to force myself to feel. Because as much as words can be said with hurt and malice I think it’s worse to say them with a lack of intention. It’s worse to not tell God our frustrations, to not let Him comfort us. Because our God is our Father. He is our Comforter. He is the One who can give us hope, and faith, and love. He is the source of all things good, and when it hurts… well, we need to turn to Him. We need to let Him in and let Him help.

This summer has been weird. Or different at least, because patience has never been my strong suit and two and a half weeks later, I'm puzzling through things a bit and it’s starting to click just a little. That I need to learn to trust Him more. And have faith in the storm. And not rely just on feeling close to Him but then letting my prayer life fall apart when it gets a little tough. That I need to be honest with myself, and realize when things aren’t going so well, instead of always convincing myself that everything’s great. All the time. Life is great- all the time. But that doesn’t mean that even in this wonderful life, we don’t experience tough moments, heartbreaking moments and moments of loneliness and despair that challenge us. I need to learn to push through those and to persist. 

I have a feeling I'm going to be rereading this... on the discipline of delay... several more times. 

So. This year. I’m working on growing my faith. On trusting God. And being faithful in the little things. That’s the plan anyway.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Music... what's the big deal?

So several months ago I followed the debates in the Catholic blogosphere and elsewhere about the role of Christian musicians. Chiefly, it boiled down two viewpoints of the role of Christian musicians. On one side, the argument goes, Christian musicians should separate themselves from the secular music world by creating Christian worship music. Others seemed to feel that Christian musicians should play a role in transforming the music world through their art.

Personally, I feel that there is a strong need for both. Christians need Christian artists to write songs that speak to us and help us to deepen our faith lives. Because sometimes, when it's hard to pray, it's really comforting to turn on the radio and speak to God through the music. I would say that this area of music, the Christian genre, is not really a mission field, at least not for those outside Christian circles. It's target audience is a Christian audience seeking to deepen their faith.

Another part of the debate hedged on the idea of what constitutes and artist as a Christian artist- is it that each song they write mentions God directly? Or is it that because the artists see through the eyes of faith they sing through it, too?

I  side with the latter definition. It would seem that we need Christians in all walks of life, and that that witness isn't always going to be a verbal witness. We don't always preach the Gospel with words. Though it's a quote frequently misattributed to St Francis,  "Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words" has some merit. It should be apparent we are Christians by the way we act, by the choices we make, by how we treat those around us. We are called to be the leaven in the bread. To transform, not separate ourselves off into our own little corner of the world.

As I was driving home today, I did something I rarely do, I turned the radio to one of the more popular radio stations. I listen to the hit music when I'm in the store, I hear some of it on tv, but I made the decision several years ago to listen to almost entirely Christian music. It wasn't a decision I made because I disagreed with the secular music industry. I switched for one reason- because it wasn't uplifting, it wasn't joyful. It was sad. It had so much hurt in it. I was in a rough spot at the time (dealing with my dad's passing) and I didn't want to surround myself with any more sadness. So I gave it up. During this part of my life, I really struggled to talk to God, but gradually through listening to Christian music, I made some strides back towards happiness. So I'm really very grateful to the Christian artists and I definitely see the need for the Christian music industry.

So that brings us to the state of secular music right now. When I turned on the radio, I heard one of Lady Gaga's latest hits, Do What U Want. I almost started crying. Because that song is so depressing. There is so much hurt and pain in it. It's written in response to the press' treating of Lady Gaga, and while that may be the original intention of the song, it certainly has a double entendre. The phrase "You can do what you want with my body", indicates that it is somehow possible to separate the body from the soul. There is so much hurt in this world, and this seems to be one of our biggest coping mechanisms, that the body doesn't effect our selves, our thoughts, our voices, our hearts. This seems to be one of the biggest lies perpetuated to the young today. Because the human body is a beautiful thing. It's not something that's meant to be used and discarded. It's not something that's meant to be put on display to be rated and judged with a rubric. It's a work of art, and it's meant to be loved, protected, and taken care of. We can't separate our emotions and thoughts from our bodies. They are meant to help each other, two facets of the same person. Each with its purpose, each able to help the other to do good.

That's the Christian message. And that's what needs to be preached just as loudly as the secular gospel on the airwaves. We need more Christian musicians who are willing to revolutionize our society by participating in it. By transforming it. By shaping the way we think.  So I'm grateful for those Christian musicians who have left the Christian music industry to pursue society. To seek them where they are at and to reach them through beautiful music, music that will speak to their souls and send them the message that they are valued and loved. Musicians who won't be afraid to spread love through their song. Musicians who won't settle with creating something less than beautiful because they have heeded the call to serve, to evangelize, to be missionaries of love.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On the continuing process of conversion

All Christians are called to be holy. We are all called to be saints. To do that, we must be able to listen to God's call as Samuel did. We must not only hear His voice, but listen to Him. During Father's homily today, he said that we cannot do what we want to do and just assume that this is what God is calling us to do. Frequently what we are called to do is not something that immediately looks attractive to us. We must listen to Him and discern what He is calling us to do. We must become holy.

That's quite a challenge. It's impossible on our own, but through the grace of Christ in us, we can. We're given three examples in the readings today of people who accepted this call to holiness- Jesus (as prophesied in Isaiah), Paul and John the Baptist.

It's interesting to think about the time required for Paul to live out his vocation after he was called. The time between his conversion and the start of his ministry was certainly a time of profound growth and preparation for him. In other words- even when he was changed in an instant, time was required for him to truly become who he was called to be. 

I've done a lot of growing, a lot of changing in the last two years. But those changes were all written on my heart two years ago. It's taken me two years to follow through, to actually change my life. It hasn't happened in a single moment, and I'm not done growing and changing. My conversion is not complete. 

The word conversion is defined to be "the act or an instance of converting or the process of being converted". A synonym for conversion is changing. Conversion then isn't ended in a moment. It continues as we further let Christ into our lives as we offer Him more of ourselves and in turn receive more of Him. 

So for the moment, I'm stuck. I don't know what He's calling me to do. And it's a little terrifying to even consider. I was listening to a sermon on discernment and vocation today and it said that if you aren't challenged by your vocation, then it's probably not the right one. That seems about right- life doesn't get easier just because we're on the "right path". It certainly didn't get easier for John the Baptist or Paul. To be filled with joy and peace despite the troubles and struggles of life. To be certain in what you are doing. To be holy.

We sang this song at church today. It's always been one of my favorites. The music isn't fantastic. The lyrics at times are a bit over the top (I am your song... too much). And I find it to be a little stuck in time... not the timeless type of music I usually prefer. But it's a heartfelt and prayer-filled song that always moves me. 


What do you want of me, Lord? Where do you want me to serve you? Where can I sing your praises? I am your song.

Jesus, Jesus, you are my Lord. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

I hear you call my name, Lord, and I am moved within me. Your Spirit stirs my deepest self. Sing your songs in me.

Jesus, Jesus, you are my Lord. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

Above, below, and around me, before, behind, and all through me, your Spirit burns deep within me.
Fire my life with your love.

Jesus, Jesus, be the warmth of my heart. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

You are the light in my darkness. You are my strength when I’m weary. You give me sight when I’m blinded. Come see for me.

Jesus, Jesus, you are my Light. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

I am your song and servant, singing your praise like Mary. Surrendered to your Spirit, "Let it be done to me."

Jesus, Jesus, "Let it be done to me." Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Two Quotes from the Church Triumphant

"To pray means to think lovingly about Jesus. Prayer is the soul’s attention that is concentrated on Jesus. The more you love Jesus, the better you pray." -- Bl. Charles de Foucauld

I read this quote on Facebook and, as simple as it is, it made me stop and think. Then I searched for an image of Blessed Charles de Foucald and found this icon. I was blown away by the message it sends. This image perfectly describes the saints. They point us to Christ. They are humble and have surrendered themselves entirely to Christ. The quote below, which I read earlier this morning on a blog and had been mulling over so perfectly describes all of the saints.

"Examine yourself to see whether you have within you a strong sense of your own self importance, or negatively, whether you have failed to realize that you are nothing. This feeling of self-importance is deeply hidden, but it controls the whole of our life. Its first demand is that everything should be as we wish it, and as soon as this is not so we complain to God and are annoyed with people." -- Saint Theophan the Recluse

It's just so amazing that we have the saints! All of them. Not just the ones who have been recognized by the church, but all of the saints in heaven. All of the saints who pray for us, and intercede for us and, through their lives encouraged others and passed on the faith. Because the saints are the church. They have built the church up, and strengthened it through their lives, and continue to strengthen it through their prayers. They are the Church Triumphant- and they shared in the cross of Christ and now glory in His Resurrection. Because God loves us that much. So much that not only does He send His Son to save us, He lets us participate in His plan for salvation. He lets us be filled with Him. Just. So. Beautiful.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Holy Name of Jesus

So yesterday was the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Apparently the feast used to be celebrated on January 1st along with the Circumcision of Jesus, but was moved to January 3rd to allow for the older celebration of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st. Both feasts seem to have good reason to be celebrated on the 1st, though it would be nice to celebrate the feast of His Holy Name on the day it was first announced. Regardless of the date of celebration, however, the feast commemorates the naming of Jesus and the salvation that comes only through His Holy Name.

Today was also First Friday, so I had the chance to go to a parish I don't get to attend as much as I would like for adoration, mass, benediction and nocturnal adoration. The church was beautifully decorated for Christmas and I couldn't help taking a few pictures of the empty church!

The pastor touched on the parallel to Exodus where God tells Moses "I AM who I AM" indicating not only His existence outside of time, but also that He is the only one who can make that statement, and the Name of Jesus, revealed to us precisely because that very Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He also spoke about St Bernadine of Siena who encouraged devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus during the early fifteenth century. St Bernadine was responsible for adding the name of Jesus to the Hail Mary (Luke 1:28,43) and founded an order dedicated to reparation for the damages caused by the profane use of the name of Jesus.

Father also mentioned the practice that some have of making a prayer of reparation every time they hear His name misused. He referenced John Paul II who said that every moral act, be it good or bad, has two effects, an effect on the person committing the act and an effect on the world. Making an act of reparation, then, is a virtuous act that can help to restore sanctity and atone for the damage caused by the profane act, as well as give us another opportunity to pray for the person committing the act.

I find the Golden Arrow prayer, given to Sister Mary of St. Peter in 1843,  to be a beautiful prayer for this reparation.

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable,
most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God
be always praised, blessed, loved, adored
and glorified in Heaven, on earth,
and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Choosing a Patron Saint for 2014

I intended to do this last year but then didn't really allow through. I decided to try it again, using Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint Generator.

Apparently this tradition goes back to the middle ages, where nuns and monks would draw a saint to be their patron of the year. According to tradition, the saint chooses you. St Faustina records the devotion in her diary.

"There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”

So my patron saint for this year is...

St. Paschal Baylon

Throughout 2014, I will try to learn more about him, and ask for his intercession in deepening my relationship with God. Just from reading some online, he's a patron saint of cooks, shepherds and Eucharistic congresses and associations. His feast day is May 17. 

What I'm reading

One of my goals for 2014 is to read at least 1 book every month.

My current reading list:
1. The Sanctifier  by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez
I'm really enjoying this work on the Holy Spirit. Originally published in Spanish, the first English edition was in 1957 after his death. Martinez writes in way that incorporates the solidity of truth into spirituality. It's quite beautiful and powerful to read.

2.  A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor
Written by O'Connor when she was just 21-22 years old, this journal contains some beautiful prayers and thoughts. "Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth's shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon." ... "My dear God, how stupid we people are until You give us something. Even in praying it is You who have to pray in us."

3. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
A well-written novel that explores the world of English Catholicism in the 1920's through the view of an outsider.

4. The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis de Montfort
I read de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary last year. This work emphasizes the beauty and power of the rosary through meditations on the prayers of the rosary, the mysteries and also stories of the miraculous intervention of Our Lady in the lives of those who have upheld this devotion.

5. Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads by Kevin Orlin Johnson
A history of the rosary detailing it's development as a way to communicate and pray the gospels. This book contains very valuable information on the rosary.

6. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
I'm almost finished with this gem... in all honesty I've been putting off reading the last few pages because they are such a delight to read! Chesterton's wit makes this an entertaining as well as informative read.

7. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
This is my first introduction to Merton and I will be reading more of his works. His story alone is a fascinating tale of conversion.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

On loving God here and now and being in His presence… regardless of the promise of heaven. Why we are truly saved from hell in the present

I’m tired of this world. The things it contains… well, they simply don’t appeal when compared to the glory of God. But that’s no reason to shut myself off from it. Or is it? Should I consider more seriously a contemplative life? A convent? A third order lay apostolate? 

The strangest part for me is that if I looked back on how I felt about all of these things 6 months or a year ago, or two years ago, I wouldn’t recognize my current state. Well… maybe a year ago, by that point my ideas were evolving, and I had begun to shift my focus.

Here’s the complicated bit though. I know full well that nothing in this world that God created is inherently wrong. Nothing He has given us is errant on its own. We can misuse this life, or we can use it to bring us closer to Him, now. That's where I'm struggling. I feel like I want to completely distance myself from the world... to shut myself off in a little tiny box and stay there. Where no one is hurt and there isn't any pain to be seen. But it also would never lead me closer to Him. I was reminded recently that He who is in our hearts is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Christ is triumphant. God gives us the grace to turn from sin and be faithful to Him, here in this place, where it's messy and where there is so much pain. He gives us the chance to see how great He is when He works in the world.

The problem with thinking about heaven as something which comes only later is that we miss the times we can experience Him now. Catherine of Siena said “all the way to heaven is heaven because Christ is the Way” and that makes so much sense to me. We experience heaven and Christ when we are following Him. Heaven can be described as God containing us, whereas here, on this earth, now in the present time, we are called to be the temples of God, to be His dwelling place, and let His light shine through us. But that just the thing… those moments when I fell Him so strongly, holding me and filling me is an experience of heaven.

It’s not just that those moments are more than enough… because in my weakness I seem to always need more reminders of His presence and strength in my life. No, it’s not that those are enough for us to fully sense the love that God has for each of us, his children. But it would be more than enough for us if that were all there were. Because nothing of this world can compare to that indwelling.

Which is why I don’t understand atheism. Because even if this world were all that there is… even if there were nothing after this life. I wouldn’t trade the person I am now for the person I was two years ago. Even if this were it. Because being saved doesn’t just mean being saved from hell. It means that we are saved from the here and now, too. That we are set apart from this world. That, though we reside in the world, we are not contained by it, because our God is not contained by it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never understood the reward-based mechanism we set-up to describe God and the afterlife. As if we can somehow earn a place in heaven. I understand theologically, that we are saved by works and grace. That the works would be impossible without the grace. And that faith without works is dead. But what I don’t understand is why the type of rewards-based thinking would really motivate anyone to do better. 

I guess I’ve never been motivated to act in the here and now for anything other than the heard and now. It’s better now to choose God. Not just later. And I usually find that in the things that are built on a “wait… the reward comes later” mechanism in other things, too. I did well in school because I enjoyed learning, not because of the promise of a far off piece of paper. There’s a reason NOW to do good works for the kingdom. Good works are by nature good, and so have meaning and bear fruit now. Yes, there are times when I am certain that a current struggle or some sort of growth I am experiencing will be useful later, but that doesn’t detract from it’s use today. I guess I have very little patience and like to see the current benefit of my actions, though I realize that the consequences of a specific action may be more far reaching than I am currently viewing.

I am reminded that Satan will ultimately fail. As tempting as he makes the false pleasures he sets up for us in this world, the hunger that humans have for the experience of God is still there. And when one experiences that love, that power, one is forever left changed. Because even in the parts of this world that seem most controlled by Satan, the people are still hungering for God. I can’t lay claim to the idea that those people, despite the vice that they are seeking are truly reaching out to the Lord for help. The things of the world that bring them the closest to what they know of Good, they continue to seek. It us up to us to be the temples then, that they may come to see and experience God and to recognize Him. 

So it’s difficult… because the hardest thing for me right now is to see people so wrapped in sadness who cannot see it themselves. Because Satan is smart- he has learned well how to set up something that will look like heaven. What else is our current society but the very best that humanity can offer on its own? We have well shown that we can have ALL of our material needs taken care of, and most of our wants. Not that the list of wants grows shorter as we near the end of the list, but that we have things that we take for granted today that our ancestors 100 or 200 years ago could have scarcely imagined. Sometimes, we are left to remember that we are not invincible. though we have made modern medicine into one of our gods, and money into another, we are sometimes faced with struggle that we cannot battle on our own. We occasionally come to moments when even the most atheistic recognize their powerlessness. That wasn’t the case when disease ran rampant, when hunger was encountered daily, if not in your own life, then in the life of someone you knew. People in these circumstances knew that they were not in control.

The hardest thing for me to do is to give that control back to God. To acknowledge that I am not in charge of anything other than my own will. To acknowledge that God is God and I am not. to acknowledge that I don’t know what God’s plan for my life is next year… and to be okay with that. I’ve grown a lot, because two years ago, I could have told you for certain that I would be teaching for the next thirty years. Because I was in control. It was my choice.  And today? Well today, I’ve become, dare I say it, comfortable with the uncertainty. 

The thing is, God will use me wherever I am, if I let Him. But I want Him not just to use me, but to use me to my best purpose. To use the me He created, and not the me I have tried to make on my own.

A good reminder for the first of the year

It seems like I need to remind myself of this daily... and sometimes hourly! Once again the Little Flower gets it right.