Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The New York Encounter NOT Encountering New York

It's been a week and a half since I got back from Communion and Liberation's annual New York Encounter.  This event keeps getting bigger and bigger--somewhat unintentionally.  The organizers of the event (and their friends) find people who have something interesting to present about life, they are invited, and in turn, everyone present is educated to some new perspective on reality and the inclinations and interests that God puts into hearts.

The objective of the weekend was to "celebrate the joy of life at the level of the Infinite."  With that objective, ANYONE can participate because everyone was created with a heart of infinite need and want. 

So what did I see?  Poster presentations on Flannery O'Connor and the Financial Crisis of the past two years.  A play called "The Tidings of Mary" written by Paul Claudel. A talk on if science and faith can BOTH be believed.  A book talk on Fr. Giussani's Religious Sense. A "Night in New York" with several performances from musicians that typically perform in the subway system of the city.

Underneath it all was a begging to the participants:  What causes these presenters to live this way?  Who looks at life this way?  What EXACTLY is going on here??  In comes the answer of "Jesus Christ" such a small name, yet such a powerful Presence that it generates LIFE in front of the most unexpected of circumstances--800 "friends" that you've never met, interest in subjects you've never been interested in before (I mean, the financial crisis, really??) and, most unexpected, a vigor for life when you go back home because in New York, you were reminded that life is positive.  Nothing is meaningless, nothing is uninteresting with the correct lens.

And all of this without leaving the block of 34th St. and 8th Ave. all weekend.  Because, in the end, the Statue of Liberty (which I've seen a couple of times) is meaningless if I don't know where true liberty comes from.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Encountering New York

Well, it happened.  I've used every ounce of energy I have to type up some notes from my weekend of learning and prepare for this next week of school!  There will be more to come, but right now, please check out a link at an event I went to in New York this weekend.

It was truly life changing!

http://www.newyorkencounter.org/

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Humble Prayer

I've been relfecting on this all week:

"God longs for us to speak 'let it be done unto me according to Thy Word' so that the greatest miracle of all can happen: a saint be made out of a sinner."  (Peter Kreeft's Prayer for Beginners)

In these recent weeks, I've seen the numerous times that God is offering sainthood to me, but I MUST choose it.  Will I be humble admist criticisms (constructive and not so) from my boss, coworkers, friends and family?  Can I love without possessing?  Can I accept what God gives instead of always wishing for something better?  Can I see His goodness when I'm so blinded by what I think is best?

May this week I choose to live as a saint and may God's grace do the rest...in the ordinary ways of life.

As Mary once uttered, "May it be done unto me according to Thy Word."  Come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taking Time to Pray

Friday's daily Mass gospel had to do with Jesus healing the leper.  I was most struck by what the end of the Gospel said, "The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of all their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray." Luke 5: 16

Picture it from Jesus' perspective.  He has the gift that millions of people need--and they are DEMANDING it from him, in good faith; and they are probably good people, but the need is so great and Jesus, God, but having the limits of a human being because of His saving choice, is only one person.  So, what does he do?  He withdraws to pray!

What?? How did He know who to cure and who not to?  How did He know when enough was enough and the best thing for the world was to be in prayer to His heavenly Father?

I'm no Jesus, let's be clear on this.  But I can related to feeling needed all the time.  My fourth graders need me to teach them their academic subjects and values of their faith.  My workplace needs me to lead Catholic Schools Week.  (God help us.) My family needs me to be present to them. My high school friends need to see my face.  My friends in CL need me to come to the meetings prepared and living actively.  My "Fitness Pal" community needs to see that I'm taking my weight loss seriously, etc.  The list could go on. 

God has blessed me with many gifts one in particular being leadership and I'm asked to lead and be present for a lot of different things on a daily basis.  What I'm discovering more and more these past months is the ESSENTIAL value that my prayer to my Creator and Lord has in being any kind of leader.  Without my face turned towards He who is the Light, my actions are in vain. And sometimes, the best thing for me to do, as a leader and a limited human being, is to take a BREAK and retreat in prayer...just like Jesus did in the desert.

Lord, may you help me understand more and more my limits in front of the responsibilites in my life.  Help me see clearly that I need You in all things--all the work I do in front of people and in the silent times.  May I grow more and more in understanding when I'm just being lazy and when I really need to "withdraw to the deserted places to pray."  Do not leave me in this journey, Lord.  Amen.