Sunday, February 27, 2011

(A Spiritual) Blast from the Past

A journal entry written one year ago.  I had the privilege of searching through some old journals a few weeks ago and I found this gem.  It's a beautiful witness of my encounter with a LIVING Christ that I didn't really have before...

The weird thing is, I just had this SAME desperation I was feeling over a year ago LAST NIGHT with completely different circumstances and He SAVED me again...in a new way, but with the same embrace.

To put it in context, about a year ago, I was going through a break up with a man I loved, him finding someone else and preparing to marry her all in the same season.  I was truly broken.  But God allowed this for me because it forced me closer to Him.

"Vision of me at Mass looking at all the other 'happy couples' and families and judging why they might be unfulfilled. (to make myself feel better) and Jesus (or my image of dark, rustic, bearded Jesus) took his hands to my face and gazed upon me and said, 'Don't pay attention to what others are doing--stay with me, I know this is hard but let's keep working.  I'm with you.'

He made no promises of when it would be over, but I knew with that gaze that there was someone looking at me--looking at how much I have to fight malicious words, thoughts, guilt and confusion.  He saw me, embraced me with the gaze that said, 'Let's keep going.'

With this vision I'm reminded of what truly needs to happen tonight so I'm not enveloped in the darkness of yet another, hard, monotonous week that I loathe.  And so I turned the cell phone off and here I am with you.  Because only in putting myself with you am I ever going to be healed.  Help me to love you more.  Help me to call/show others to love you more.  Erase my criticism and my doubt.

You are here.  My being longs for you: one who loves my desire, on who delights in my beauty, one who has MADE a special plan just for me that will make life increasingly clearer.

I am doing everything I can, Lord, to abandon myself to your will.  Look with favor on me and give me a special part to play in this adventure.

Breathe your life into the activities I already do so I can be made new in those as well.  I don't want to just settle but REALLY be moved.  Educate me furhter on this as I gaze upon the crucifix."

When I read this entry, I ask myself, "Who is this girl?"  It doesn't even sound like me which is LIVING PROOF that the Holy Spirit lives and moves in us.   Thank you, Lord, for the love and patience and MERCY you have had with me this year.  I am in wonder more and more every day of your mysterious, yet deeply satisfying, ways.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a Good Day...

1. Mucinex. 
How is it possible that two little tablets can make so much snot come out of your nose?  It's amazing how much more energy I have when my head doesn't feel like it's going to explode off my shoulders.

2. MyFitnessPal.com
I should also lump "Zumba" into this category.  I'm very excited about my turn towards better health that started in late November.  I joined http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ to start counting my calories and share that with my friends and family who are also members.  (It's free if you are interested!)  I also joined the YMCA and started taking Zumba classes about 3-4 times per week.  It's high energy and full of dance moves and I don't have to feel ashamed about sweating!  (As I do sometimes when line dancing...I mean come on, you can't really woo the men that way!)  Anyway, I've lost eight pounds so far, but more simply, I'm just happy to be taking care of the body God gave me.

3. Outdoor Recess
My students FINALLY got to play outside today and I got them out of my classroom!  No wonder we are all sick together...it's because we never leave!

4. Hope for the Future
I have Christ in my life, whose love outweighs any trial that may come my way and THIS is a reason to celebrate!  Also, I just officially sent in my application to receive a grant to get my master's degree, so I'm pretty pumped about that too and I'm SURE we'll see more blog posts about that year-long adventure!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Secret Hunger

Published in a daily reflection of January’s Magnificat.

“By the heart we understand the most secret part of the soul, where joy, and sadness, fear, or desire, and whatever we call sentiments or affections is formed.  Then the love of God in the heart is that sweet attraction which draws us incessantly to Him, which desires to enjoy him, delights to be busied with him, tastes always a new pleasure in him as the confidant of its joys and pains, it lives under the liveliest impressions of its sovereign good and intimately enjoys his continual presence.
…What is this cry of the heart, this unceasing desire, attraction of the soul—this secret hunger which calls every moment after a happiness it can never reach on earth?...
You give to the soul your delight in her, the purest joys in foretaste of the torrents of your eternal inebriations—speaking to the soul, you consume, at all times, and in all places, in silence or in the noise, in deepest darkness, or brightest day.”

---Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (was the first American canonized saint, a mother of five, widowed, and founded the American Sisters of Charity)

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton rocks and I’ve known this since I was in college.  I used to have quotes from her taped to my mirrors so that when I dried my hair, I could read them.  They were always about vocation…living only for God’s will and not our own, etc. and that attitude was what I aspired to be as a 20 yr old and now as a 27 yr old!

The “secret hunger” that she speaks of in this above reflection is becoming for me more of a hunger pang…more and more intense in its longing.  I want to know God fully and I want to live my life so other people can know God fully.  And in the midst of all of this, God is filling me with a deep sense of satisfaction and joy that makes me glow as if a candle was lit inside of me and warming my insides!

The mild satisfaction of this “secret hunger” actually makes me crave even more…which is frustrating because I want everything and I want it NOW.  But, the more I am aware of this hunger…this ability to love God as I was truly created to love…it is HERE that I will find my greatness and my path in life!  What will become of this hunger??  It’s in pursuit of this answer that makes the adventure of life completely worthwhile!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Transforming Limits

This blog was made possible by a snowstorm.  I was supposed to go to Vincennes today to visit a friend, and instead, wound up at home.  I told my friend, Caitlin, God was probably asking me to pray all day.  Ha.  Could I even handle that?  It HAS been an hour…

I would love to be God.  Immediately. Not have any limits.  Do everything perfectly.  Help anyone and everyone without letting them down.  Never get tired in my work.  Have an unending amount of love for people without being disappointed.  To actually do what I mean to do…and not the ways I screw up my intentions.

I almost started out this blog post with “I want to be Jesus.”  But you know what that means, right?  You’re God in a human body.  You have the knowledge and power to change the entire world, but are limited by people’s freedom.  Yuck.  Limits.  Having to deal with other people’s limits.  And don’t even get me started with dying on the Cross.

I’m in tension ALL THE TIME because of this desire to do GREAT THINGS and this inability to do them.  Not only because I am limited by my endless laundry list of sins, but also time constraints, money constraints, not being able to bi-locate, not knowing what to say in certain situations, etc.  I’m so limited and I hate it!

In my prayer/reflection/quiet time with God this morning, I remembered this reflection written in January’s Magnificat by Elisabeth Leseur, a married French laywoman who died in 1914 and whose canonization is underway.  The fact that she’s married and able to write with such clarity to God is the first blessing to me this morning because I’m having a hard time understanding the married vocation as of recent. (How can a guy NOT be a complete distraction and actually lead you closer to God?...but that’s another day’s writing entirely) But secondly, and most importantly, it’s a beautiful witness to what it means living an infinite desire for life within a limit you can’t change.  Our only hope is to give our limits to our Creator, who can fashion us the way He needs us! Enjoy!

“Material concerns, sometimes too heavy for my already burdened body, time wasted, relationships that hold no attraction for me, the effort to be pleasant and smile when all of me longs for recollection and for only close friends—all this constitutes my hidden cross, which does not elicit sympathy or admiration as illness or misfortune does.
To accept equally the impossibility of an active life through good deeds, relationships and regular work, and the impossibility of a wholly contemplative life that my family obligations, the preferences of those around me, and my circumstances prevent.  To do all I can for others, to take refuge often in my ‘inner cell’ to pray, to adore, and to unite myself to my beloved God.  To make of everything—prayer, suffering, self-denial and action—an interior offering for others and for God’s glory, as well as for those I love.
O my God, ‘give me an adoring soul, an atoning soul, an apostle’s soul,’ and do with me what you want according to my pact with you.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Iced In and Thankful

I had a super busy week this week...or at least that was the plan.  Catholic Schools Week, report cards, one-on-one student conferences, conferences with parents during all my plan periods, etc.  The "to-do" list was ridiculous.  One of those times where you are forced to say, "Okay, God, I give you this day because I know I can't get it all done!"

Then the unthinkable happens...a HUGE ICE STORM.  A few days of school are cancelled and BANG...I've got all the time in the world.  I was sharing with Fr. Rick today that God's always surprising (and a little funny) about how He takes care of things.

Fr. Rick said, "Maybe this was His way of telling everyone to slow down." It's sooo true!  Here's to a few days of simplicity...a little gift from God.  A time where I can get all my papers graded, read things I've been wanting to read for months, and get some sleep!  When lived intentionally days of "nothing" can really honor God just like the busy ones.

And my prayer when it DOES start to get busy again will be to never forget this Lord who hears my plea and looks at me with undeserved mercy.  That I continue to fall in love ever deeper with this real Presence.