Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ode to St. Rose

I'm a few days late, but allow me to give you a little information about one of my favorite saints in the Catholic Church, St. Rose of Lima, whose feast day was celebrated last Tuesday!
Who was St. Rose of Lima?
Living towards the end of the 16th century and early 17th century in Lima, Peru, Rose, from a young age was a saint that most of us just scratch our heads and say, "What?"  She modeled St. Catherine of Siena by praying almost constantly, abstaining from meat, fasting three days a week, giving herself harsh penances, etc.  She wanted to take a vow of virginity, but was very beautiful and her parents wanted her to marry.  Eventually, she was granted her own section of the house by her father so she could live as a recluse.  She became a Third Order Dominican because her father forbade her in becoming a nun.  She performed awesome acts of charity, had intervals of ecstasy, saw the Infant Jesus at times, and prophesied her own date of her death. She lived to be 31.

Why is Erica in love?
The coolest story of St. Rose of Lima that attracted me when I was picking a confirmation saint name at the age of 14, was that Rose put lye and pepper on her face when she was young to disfigure her face and deter suitors away from her. (since she did not want to marry)  In the words of my 4th graders, "Then those guys didn't love her really anyway."  Great point.

It's interesting that I love St. Rose so much that I even took her again as a patron saint for a retreat I took in college and her influence has stuck since.  But why?  This woman is NOTHING like me.  It's hard enough for me to not eat second helpings, let alone fast.  My idea of a perfect night would be line dancing while hers would probably be adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  For goodness sakes, she died at 31---I'm four years away from 31!  And detering attention from guys?  That just sounds stupid.

It is PRECISELY because of these differences that I think St. Rose is so amazing. When I read that story of her disfiguring her face because she loved Him so much and only needed Him, I recognized in this saint a faith that I did not have.  She's not just inspiring in a sense of admiration that is distant.  She lived in this world...dealt with things I deal with and STILL chose Him first, above all.

I'm grateful to my Catholic Church for giving me such awesome saints to show me that it is possible to live this way. I might not be whipping myself any time soon, but her life makes me strive to discover and pray for an ever greater certainty of God's power and mercy in my life.  I feel like St. Rose is saying to me, "Don't worry.  God's got your back," and through her intercession, may I live a life worthy of His call.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Slim Pickins'

So now that the school year is BACK IN ACTION, I'm very excited to announce that I've started monitoring my food consumption again.  As fun as summer is, it is SO EASY to slack off on how much money you are spending, how many times you go out to eat, and how much you pig out at summer picnic potlucks. Yikes.

Just for funsies, I'm sharing a list of things that make eating right really fun because God allowed them to taste so good.  The other list are all those other things that ALSO taste really good and I think God must have put those in my life as healthy temptation.

Stuff I Could Eat All The Time and Be Guilt Free: (in moderation, of course)
  • Bananas
  • Plums
  • Nectarines
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Cooked Onions
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Asaparagus
  • Rice
  • Salmon
  • Chicken (any kind of chicken...seriously doesn't matter)
  • Pretzels
  • Chip-Ins (My NEWEST discovery!)
  • Crystal Light
  • Cucumbers
  • Popcorn
  • Bagel Thins
  • Fiber One Bars
Stuff I Could Also Eat All The Time (and if I wasn't on I probably would)
  • French Fries
  • Sweet Tea from McCallisters or McDonalds
  • Donuts
  • Cakey Cake
  • Chocolate
  • Brownies
  • Any type of chip..Potato, Tortilla
  • Taco Bell's Grilled Stuft Burritos
  • Peanut Butter
I'm excited to say that since I started this little "monitoring my weight and activity" venture on about nine months ago, I've lost 22 pounds and I plan on losing about ten more!  Thank God for it's accountability feature AND it telling me how many calories I lose doing Zumba and line dancing!  What a gift!  You guys should check it out!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bringing Down the Backer....

Am I a huge Notre Dame fan? No. Do I think their alumni stuff is kind of weird? Yes.

However, I have a lot of really great friends who just graduated with master's degrees in theology from there, so we HAD to celebrate.  And the only reasonable thing to do was "close the Backer" last Friday night.

Closing the Backer is as awesome as it sounds--staying out until 3am dancing your butt off to tunes you may have heard in the 80s or on your radio on the way to the bar.  The Linebacker Inn (known by that name only to people who are uncool like me...) is a tacky little establishment with no seating or tables...just a dance floor and a bar.  Your $5 cover buys you your first drink and you then get 32oz beers of GOOD beer for $3.00.

But I've danced the night away before...many nights.  I had to ask myself what made this one so different?  Especially enough for me to write a blog post about it and even be thinking about it a week later.

It was by far the people I celebrated with and the fact that those people will NEVER be together again.  It was our one moment in time...when "you really get to see another side to people," as my friend Joe said! :)  We danced with no inhabition, sang at the top of our lungs, and just were pumped to be together. 

The rest of the weekend was awesome too getting to see my friends graduate, have dinner, dance AGAIN and then say our goodbyes.  I'm so thankful for the friends that I have and that I continue to meet.  They are truly people who I've seen a passion for life in a way I didn't know before I met them.  And even if they don't live in my city anymore, that passion and love for life is something that never goes away.  SOOOOO...when we visit each other in future years, it will be like nothing has changed.  I know this is true because I already have so many friends around the world where it is like this.

How's it possible?  From one God who created us to have one desire--to be with Him.  When you find people who are living pursuing THAT, you really can never be disappointed, bored or mediocre.

Praising God today for Nic, Natalie and Joe and the "excuse" of being able to reflect on the amazing few years of their lives in Indianapolis.  May God continue to bless all of us with these rich friendships and powerful encounters!