Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph's Day: A Tribute to Men

I've always felt for St. Joseph.  He was stuck in the house with two literally PERFECT people--Jesus and Mary.  How could you ever compete with that?

Throughout my life, I've asked St. Joseph to pray for me because I've felt like he had a deeper understanding than I have of what it means to perfectly love, even when you don't necessarily get all the glory.  He served Jesus and Mary with his entire self...while not being Jesus' actual dad and having a sinless wife.  Wow.

I was super excited when asked to start a St. Joseph novena ten days ago.  A novena is just a prayer you say for nine days in a row, asking a saint for prayers.  You can add your own personal intentions as well.  Praying this novena allowed me to really reflect on husbands, fathers, and just guys in general...(lucky me...haha) and it was soooo good for me to place all my deep desires for a good, holy husband at the core of this novena.

St. Joseph is a model of purity, charity, and holiness for all of us--particularly men that they could have the grace to live as St. Joseph did.  But I think for girls too, it helps us understand the traits we want in a husband and future daddy of our kids. 

Everyone knows I love guys.  Especially "deadly" are the guys who have real passion and talent for a sport, art, or intellectual area of study.  As I get older, I'm understanding that my attraction to their passion is because in front of their "trade" those guys really come alive--are truly what they were created to be.

St. Joseph truly came alive in following God's will--as all men do when they really follow.  He took care of Mary and raised Jesus not because it was a rule to follow--but because it was here that he knew he had ultimate Happiness.  As I was praying my novena this week, I prayed for lots of men in my dad, grandfathers, and godfather.  New daddies like my brother and close friends.  Priests and seminarians.  Husbands-to-be and those who are dating seriously.  And all those single men who are still trying to find their way.

Thank you, God, in your Infinite Wisdom, for giving us St. Joseph to follow as a model of what it means to come alive while obeying Your authority.  He exemplifies selfless love and preserves the dignity of families. Listen to St. Joseph as he prays for my future husband and my discernment in finding him! :)  AMEN!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just Face It...

Although I may not know a lot about it, I love the technology we have.  I'm really new to these Apple products, but I won an Ipod Touch in a raffle and now I can't get enough.  I can't wait for the summer so I can learn to use my interactive white board.  It's awesome that my students are using laptops in my classroom to blog. It's totally amazing that through Skype you can see and talk to a loved one thousands of miles away instantly.

What's hard for me to justify, however, is when I use technology to hide.  I'll send an email instead of actually talk out an issue with a friend.  I'll text someone saying I can't go to a party or appointment because I know it would hurt their feelings to tell them to their face.

In an exchange with a friend and then a conversation with a parent of one of my 4th graders just these past few days, it proves again that communication would be SOOOO much better if it was face to face.  A lot less confusion, hurt and headache.  Now, we don't always have those luxuries, especially with those that live far away, but I catch myself choosing the "easier" option all the time.

The real kicker here is that I do it in my prayer life too.  Instead of just asking a hard question in prayer--something I really want, like the husband question, or if I'm a good leader, am I good teacher, etc.-- I feel more guilty that the question even comes up at all and so I try to hide in my myriad of activities or "self-improvement" plans so that maybe I can answer these questions myself OR they'll just go away.

My knock back to reality happened this past Saturday with a Lenten Retreat that CL offers to our communities every year.  The entire theme of the retreat was taking us back to what we, as humans, really need from life and asking, "What will save me of these intense desires?"  Not "save" as in reduce or take away, but "save" as in fulfill, or actually realize.  Christianity claims Christ saves these needs.  But not only does He save us, He FASCINATES us while saving us--so that we'll stay.

And here's where the light bulb hit.  Fascinate.  When in the last two weeks had I been fascinated?  I wasn't even looking for that!  In fact, I am really, really bored.  Sure, I do a lot of things that are really cool--I'm a Zumba instructor.  I'm an elementary school teacher. I have some pretty wild and crazy friends.  But none of this matters if you're not looking into the FACE of who is giving you those gifts.  And they're being given to you so that you're fascinated...inspired, moved.

A friend in Thailand serving the Peace Corps just said in his blog, "I was waiting to blog about something interesting that happened and then I realized, it had been happening all the time."

Right then and there on Saturday, I was honest with God.  "Lord, I'm bored." (which has a nice rhyme now that I'm typing that.)  "Save me from this boredom." and even that recognition, facing God with that heartfelt prayer, gave a freedom I hadn't felt in weeks. I was finally saying, "God, I don't have it all together.  I don't see all your glory in my daily life and yes, I'm supposed to be leading tons of people to see that too and I can't even do it myself.  Help me."

The retreat reminded me that being authentic to ourselves is the most attractive of ways to live.  My authenticity with myself, the people around me, and God is sometimes severely lacking because I'd like to believe I have all the answers.  I'd like to believe I can fix your problems and I'd like to believe that I could fix my own.

To make life more interesting and to not be bored anymore, I have to admit that I'm lacking some of this!  I'm full of need and my core of humanity needs a FACE. More face time instead of screen time.  It's here where we really grow to understand the FACE of Jesus.  Not an email.  Not a text.  But, His real face.