Monday, December 14, 2009

Back from the dead

It's been a while. I feel like I was brought back to life recently. I was pretty wiped out for a while just being sick with first a cough and then a cold...man...the east coast is brutal! My new favorite thing is a vapor tablet that you put in the shower with you and it's amazing!!! ANYWAY...enough about that...I have been praying this Advent about the coming of our King and how blessed we are to have so many chances to run back to Jesus when we fall. I feel like December is a great time to be close to the Church because there are so many great feast days and Advent services to prepare yourself for Christ. Just yesterday in Mass we heard some of the most amazing readings because they were all about rejoicing...sometimes our world is pretty dark and twisty and we don't see a lot to rejoice in, but everyone loves Christmas, (except the Grinch) and it is a time to reconnect with our childhood. Or at least we should reconnect with our childhood...recapture some innocence that brings hope back into our hearts! Rejoicing in the Good News that was brought to Mary is a way that we see hope...we rejoice that she said "yes" to God even when she didn't know what would happen. We are blessed in this season to be brought back from the dead, and be brought to life in the celebration of the birth of our Savior...O come, O come Emmanuel, let us rejoice that you have brought us back from the dead!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Come Lord Jesus, Come!


We just started our New Year! What's your New Year Resolution? Did you make one yet? I never keep my "drop 10 lbs" goal on January 1st, that pretty much goes out the window on January 2nd. But as I prayed today in front of the King of Kings, I made a resolution that I intend to keep. In the gospel of Matthew Jesus talks about not allowing yourself to worry about tomorrow because today's worries are enough for you to handle. I sat there today and I heard just a LITTLE itty bitty voice say "I always take care of you, AnnaMarie." It took me a second and I heard it again, and I felt days of worry and anxiety melt away in a breath. Why do I worry? It's satan, that's all it is. He's nothing compared to Jesus! And what a wonderful time to remember that in this season of Advent.

The word "Advent" literally means "to come to" and the Church is very wise in giving us a time to prepare ourselves to allow Christ to come to US! I always try to be mindful of this season because it can get overlooked very easily because Christmas season is so much fun to decorate for and celebrate, but it IS a time to make ourselves ready FOR the Christmas season. See, our society just gets it wrong...we STOP celebrating Christmas after December 25th. That's just when it starts! But we can get carried away in the moment. This year I had to take a step back and say "God what do you want me to learn in this season of preparation?" And what I heard was the gospel reading when Jesus says "can any of you, by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?" and later goes on to say seek first the kingdom of God, and don't worry about tomorrow because today is all God is asking of you. He is taking care of the rest. My prayer this Advent is that I can prepare myself for the celebration of the King of Kings who is coming to us every moment of every day saying "I always take care of you!" Come Lord Jesus, Come!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Calling

I just got back from a retreat that was looonnnngggg....very long. I was completely exhausted from it, but after recovering for a weekend and praying over it for a couple of days I love to look back on retreats. I think about the word "retreat" and how it literally means to fall back. I know that I titled a blog "retreat" before but this isn't the point to the blog so I feel like I can fish back a little bit! Looking back over this past week with some pretty amazing seniors I am reaffirmed that I am exactly where God wants me to be. Sometimes it is hard to see that in all of the things we get caught up in daily. Sometimes people ask me how I came to be a youth minister and my answer has changed over the years a little bit but it always comes back to this simple fact: this is how God formed my heart. Let me get a little personal with you here.
I think that God has a unique plan for us, each of us. And I know that there are many times my heart has been far away from God, but He never stopped calling me back to what He wanted me to do. And ultimately it's this: youth ministry. I hear often that people are afraid of kids and that they think it would be hard to minister to kids in today's generation but to me, it's just what I am called to do. Am I good at it? Not always. Do I love it? Every minute! And retreats are a good reminder of that calling in my life and on my heart. Retreats are hard because everyone is at a different place, but I am so comforted when I put high school students in front of our Lord that He will give peace. It was something He promised: "peace be with you, my peace I leave with you." Our Lord never fails. Never!
God places a call on all of our hearts. Do you hear it? Do you listen? Like I said sometimes I didn't, but I know that in the midst of my darkest moments that call never stopped coming. The Fray wrote a song called "You Found Me" and there is a part in it that says, "I waited by a telephone that never rang" and it can feel that way sometimes but one thing I can promise you, one thing I am certain of: He will never deny you His peace if you ask for it. This call that God placed on my heart a long time ago is solidly founded in the teens that I am honored to serve. So retreat, even though it drained me of all energy, was rewarding because I was able to see God calling on the hearts of the teens who were there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saints and Souls

Some days there are no words for remembering. But it is so important to pray for the souls of the faithful departed and to invoke the saints for prayers! We need the mercy of God to pour down into our lives and we need to see how much we need that mercy! We are nothing without Christ dying on a cross, and rising victorious for us in our brokenness! Thank you Lord, for trampling death for us!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pub Talk

My roommate and I frequent a certain bar in Fells and catch up on life. Last night was one such night. After dinner and talking we decided to walk down to the bar and have a drink...we got there and sat at the main bar with our drinks and started up a conversation that we had left off from earlier. Within a half hour of being there two men came up and sat at the bar beside us saying that we were the only two "normal" looking people to talk to in the whole bar (likely story). Oh how wrong they were...the first question that they asked us was what we did for a living. When we answered they knew immediately that we were anything BUT normal. Working for a church when you're 20-something isn't exactly normal...but the question that they asked is normally a very safe question for 20-somethings. The guys looked at us a little stumped because they didn't quite know where to go from there with the conversation. Now, all the bartenders at this bar know us and know what we do, so it's always really amusing for them to observe the men who approach us and how quickly they tend to retreat. But not these guys, they were determined to see this conversation through. After some really awkward questions about faith and politics I began to realize that this is what being a Christian should really be like all the time. That this is where ministry takes place...at the bar! That we are witnessing everywhere we go...not just at church but at bars, grocery stores, at the gym. The term "they will know that we are Christians by our love" is corny but true. There should not be a time when we aren't witnessing to our faith...but the cool thing is that we can still be normal and do that. I can have a conversation with someone in a bar over a drink.
It is always funny that the first question after people find out what we do is "are you allowed to drink?" People have such a warped conception of who Christ is and what religion is. So many people only see religion as a means of controlling people and oppressing freedom...but Christ said it perfectly, "I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly." He is not a God who oppresses His children...rather He is a God who allows us to live in freedom and love...His love! I think that G.K. Chesterton said it perfectly “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” We need to rise up and show the world that the Christian Ideals that we hold to as truth are worth the struggle that will end in victory with Christ. Maybe that starts with a conversation in a pub!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If not now...when?

Toby Mac just came out with a song recently called a City on Our Knees and the lyrics are awesome! I was reflecting on these lyrics and how the song asks:
If you gotta start somewhere why not here
If you gotta start sometime why not now
If we gotta start somewhere I say here
If we gotta start sometime I say now
I think sometimes we get very caught up in saving the world that we miss the mission right in front of us. On the home front, if you will, we are called to do something HERE and NOW. There is so much that needs to be done in our own communities. But we can't start until we start on ourselves. Remember the passage about not pulling the splinter out of your friends eye while there is a plank in your own? Did you ever stop to think that on an airplane they advise you to first put on your own air mask before assisting the person next to you? There is a reason that we need to take care of our own spirituality first sometimes. It helps us to minister (yes, we're all called to minister in someway) when we are being ministered to! As Toby Mac says, we gotta start here and now. That's just my thought for the day. Check out Toby Mac's song. Peace!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"God's greatest attribute...

is His mercy."
I had a professor in college (a favorite) who always said that if we put that quote on the front of our test books he would never fail us. He said that if God was merciful enough to offer us life in His kingdom that he could be merciful enough to not fail us. Everyone in his class always remembered to put that on the front of the booklet. But all of us, also, studied very hard for his tests regardless of the fact that we knew we wouldn't flunk. I think it was because we respected the man so much that we wanted to do well for him. The thing I loved about his teaching was that he taught what he lived, he didn't live what he taught. I think there is a huge distinction in that. There are people who will live what is taught to them, but then there are people who live a certain way and teach by that example. As Christians, we are all called to live that way. St. Francis of Assisi said that we should preach the gospel at all times and only use words when necessary. That is living our life in a way that teaches others how to live too!
But no matter what we do...there will never be a time when we don't need God's mercy! We can never do anything to "earn" heaven. There are not enough good deeds in this world that would allow us to merit heaven...Only God can bring us into eternal life. I think sometimes we get caught up in doing good deeds but it is God who sees our hearts and loves us through everything! One of my very favorite passages in the Bible is in the book of Psalms chapter 18:19-20 which says "He [Christ] saved me because He loved me." I did nothing to deserve it (salvation), I've done everything to have lost it, but that doesn't change the fact that He loves me! What a gift! God's greatest attribute is His mercy! How thankful I am for that gift of mercy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Lord's Day

I recently upgraded my phone and much to my dismay I had to have a middle school kid show me how to put the phone on silent! Crazy...this world is moving so fast I can't keep up! But yesterday helped me to slow down. After numerous times of having to go back to my office because I forgot this or that for youth group, I found myself starting to get irritated with the people around me driving slow or walking slow...I had to literally stop and remind myself that even if I was working it was still the Lord's Day. How often do we get caught up in what we're doing and we don't even stop to think that there is something bigger going on in this world? On the Lord's day we are commanded to slow down. That is actually a COMMANDMENT! Weird eh? I think that God really knew what He was doing. He didn't command us to work...we do that out of necessity. But He knew that we'd get caught up in that...and so He commanded that we take one day that is just for reflecting on Him.
There are so many ways that we do that. But we get caught up in sports and practice, homework and yardwork, and we forget that all of these things are pointless in a grand scheme of things. Jesus reminded us in this Sunday's gospel that it is hard for a rich man to get into heaven...even if he observes the commandments. God alone knows the soul. The rich man went away sad because he had many possessions. He was invited to follow Jesus and he turned away. We all have that invitation, how often do we walk away? It's sometimes easy to walk away because we have the INTENTION to follow Christ later and before we know it...time has flown by. Just like I was saying about how quickly technology changes in this world...so to does time past just as quickly. There is a verse that says the pathway to hell is paved by good intentions...how true.
The Lord's Day is an opportunity to stop and make time to reflect on Christ's invitation to follow Him. Yesterday I forgot that...I didn't take enough time to reflect on my invitation to follow Christ. But the great thing about Christ is He invited me again today to follow Him. Take time for the Lord today...take time to reflect on His invitation to you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spirit Week

It's that time again...homecoming! I remember when I was in high school and things were so crazy the week of homecoming. Spirit week was the biggest time of the year for us in high school...now that I am a few years removed from high school and I find myself working right near a high school I am getting caught up in that excitement once again. Isn't it funny how sometime things just throw us back to a time in our lives that are either good or not so good as far as memories go? Remember those times? Were they a long time ago, or just last week?

That's not really what I wanted to talk about though. I wanted to talk about something different...it still has to do with spirit...but I feel like this week is totally spirit filled for a different meaning altogether. This week the Church celebrated a lot of feasts, one being today, which is the feast of the Little Flower, or St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. This past week we also celebrated the feast of the Archangels on the 29th and then tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the guardian angels, and there are many others that are coming up! God gives us so many opportunities to experience the Spirit and His Grace...we need only to be open to it. Let it rain down on you this week! Praise God for His infinite mercy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

millstones

This past Sunday's gospel reading was pretty in your face. Jesus, I don't care what anyone says, was NOT a nice guy. That doesn't mean He wasn't loving, but let's be real...anyone who says "if you lead one of these little ones astray it would be better for him to wrap a millstone around his neck and cast himself into the sea" is not a "nice" guy. He's a "real" guy. Yep, I think Jesus was a real guy. A really not nice kind of guy! But at the same time, you always knew where you stood with Him. I think we still know where we stand with Him. He isn't going to sugarcoat the truth, or water it down. He will tell you like it is. Wrap that millstone around your neck, my friend and cast away!

This is one of the stories in the Bible I like to joke around a lot with because it's so to the point. But the reason I can joke around with it so much is because I know and understand the importance of it. I can see that story and relate it to my own life. I can see that millstone and ask myself if everything I am doing is truthful and loving...or if I should be wrapping that millstone around my neck. I work with kids for a living and I better be darn sure that I am leading kids closer to God and not further away. I can never let my own insecurities or opinions lead someone away from Christ or having a personal relationship with Him. I have to know that how I live my life reflects the relationship I have with Christ and therefore witness to Him. Do I always do that? Certainly not. We all mess up and make decisions that lead us away from Christ, but it's in turning back that we set the example. It's by repenting and stating that we were in the wrong that we show people how to set the bar higher for themselves in order to make it to heaven. Jesus is that bar that we are setting. Do we set Jesus really low in our lives? Or is He "the bar" that we are reaching for, striving for? Are we striving to set that example for everyone around us, or should we be looking for a millstone? Priase God He always lets us come back when we mess up, Amen!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Live for today...

Over the past few days I have seen quite a few people who have had some major health problems...and none of these people are super old. It makes me really reevaluate the way we tend to live life. I know that for myself I can easily say, I'll do that tomorrow...but what if tomorrow never comes? I know this sounds cheesy but as I watched last season's finale of Grey's Anatomy and people are dying and the monologue is all about asking ourselves if we told the people who have changed our lives that we loved them, I found myself asking the question: "Would I be ready if I died tomorrow?" I don't think this is a morbid question...actually I think it is a wise question. We have to constantly be thinking beyond this world...beyond this life. Are you? If I had to say that I would change ONE thing then I wouldn't be ready to meet my maker. I mean, clearly I can improve on things but I need to know that I am as ready as I possibly can be. It's a big deal...it's the difference between heaven and hell, it's the difference between seeing the face of God for all of eternity or being deprived of the very thing that gave breath to your soul!
I made it a habit a long, long time ago that I never, ever hang up the phone or walk out the door without telling my parents or brother that I loved them. Because what if I never see them again? I want the last thing I said to be something of love. It's imitating Christ, even when we don't feel like it, and even when our family irritates us beyond measure. That is what Paul was talking about when he said, imitate me and I imitate Christ.
I encourage you tonight before you go to bed to sit down with a piece of paper and write the things that most desperately need changing in your life...do you need to apologize to a friend or family member who you've hurt? Do you need to forgive someone for hurting you? Do you need to spend more time in prayer? I know I do!
Live this day like it could be your last...and Christ's peace will enter your heart!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do you worship the snooze button?


I love sleeping...it's actually one of my favorite activities (can it be considered an activity?). It is one of my favorite things in the world to get into my fluffy, cozy bed at night and just snuggle down for sleep! And then the alarm goes off! Now, I am not one to hit the snooze...nope, not because I don't want to continue to sleep but once I'm up, I'm up. I hate the sound of that alarm too. Ick! But I think for a lot of us getting out of bed is tough...it's much more inviting to continue to stay in that warm place and not have any cares in the world. I imagine that this is what the womb would be like...I would like to think that when I was born I was clinging onto my mom's rib or something so I didn't have to come out. I guess I didn't cling too hard because I was out in 45 minutes! That's besides the point. We like being comfortable and a lot of us really like that extra five minutes to sleep. I wonder what the world would be like if we didn't hit the snooze button. I wonder if all of us would just get out of bed and start our days like clockwork. I think back to when there weren't alarm clocks in everyones room and people got up with the sun and went to bed when the sun went down. Did they just NATURALLY get up? Were they really THAT disciplined? That amazes me because we live in a world that lacks discipline...ie we tend to worship the snooze button.

I think this lack of discipline has almost come to be expected from the young people! But take heart young people! (myself included) today's reading was from the 1st book of Timothy in which he says "Let no one have contempt for your youth,but set an example for those who believe,in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity....Do not neglect the gift you have". We are not chained to the snooze button, we are not chained to the laziness that people expect from the youth in today's society. I encourage you to break the mold! Get out of bed 5 minutes earlier and spend it in prayer. I challenge you this week...take an extra five minutes out of your morning and thank the Lord for giving you life! Let's worship our Salvation, not our snooze button! Happy morning!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The saints of our time


Today's gospel talked about us being ready for the coming of our Savior. An old proverb says, "do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today." There are many times in my life, in my day, that I will say..."I can get that done tomorrow" and I'll spend my extra five, ten or fifteen minutes checking facebook or my email, or the score of the Steelers game on nfl.com. :) But today's gospel speaks to me especially, maybe to you too, about the need to be diligent in our work and in our faith. We don't know the hour that Christ is coming...and there have been times when I certainly would not have been ready to meet Jesus face to face if He would have come down. So hopefully, we can truly say at the end of each day I did everything I did today for the greater glory of God.

Today we also hear about St Monica, the mother of St Augustine...and man, to be the mother of St Augustine, you would HAVE to have been a saint! St Augustine was a bit of a party animal...he had mistresses and even had a child outside of marriage. But his mother, Monica, knew her son had the potential to be great. Yep, GREAT! And she prayed and she prayed and God worked in her son's life helping Augustine become not only a saint but a doctor of the Church! But as I listened to the gospel and heard about St. Monica, I found myself thinking about St Monica's fear as a mother for her child. Did she wonder if he would make it to heaven? Did she fear that Christ would come and her son wouldn't be ready? And as those thoughts crossed my mind and found myself thinking of my mom and all the grey hairs I probably gave her when I was going through "the world is against me" stage. Mom's have a special place in today's feast of St Monica. Mom's pray hard for their children to turn out well, and not just that, but they pray that their kids make it to heaven. Today's feast of St. Monica is really a feast for all mothers and for their strength to keep on praying even when their kids are making poor choices. What a gift to have St Monica and her intercessions for mothers today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

fire, fire, FIRE!!!!!!

I used to be so afraid of fire I wouldn't even light a match. Yep, I didn't light my first match until I was probably 16 or 17 years old. I had my dad or my brother do it for me...or I'd get one of those cool fire starter plastic lighters with a long handle. I was so afraid of getting burned! I had this fear that I would catch on fire and my skin would fall off...that's gross! But as I got more bold I realized that if I was careful I wouldn't get burned. This analogy of fire is perfect for talking about our faith. Sometimes I am so afraid of getting "burned" by people that I shy away from certain issues because I don't want to chance my skin falling off...you get me? I think it is pretty common that we back down when talking about Jesus to our friends, co-workers, families because of what might happen. Will we get burned? What if fire isn't such a bad thing after all though?
Lately I have prayed a lot in front of the Blessed Sacrament and over and over I find things keep referring to fire. In songs, in verses, in conversations it seems like things just keep going back to this idea of fire. As I was reading about St Alphonsus I came across a quote
"To cast fire upon the earth—that is my mission! And how I wish it were already blazing fiercely! Nothing in the world can set hearts ablaze with love for God like the Blessed Sacrament." This more than anything just affirmed what God has been speaking in my heart that we are called to truly cast the fiery love of Jesus Christ on this earth! How do we do that? Especially in a world of fires of the wrong sort? There is a lot working against us. But we were baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit and we were confirmed in that later when the fire came down again through the Spirit in the sacrament of confirmation. There is a lot of darkness in this world and we are called to bring light to it. We're called to be burned by the fire of the love of God and to go and start that fire in others!
I was talking with my best friend about her retreat she just got back from and she was telling me about how in one of the Servant Songs, in Isaiah 50, there is a verse that says this
: "But all of you are kindlers of fire, lighters of firebrands. Walk in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that you have kindled!" All of us are called to serve, not one like another, we are called to cast fire upon the earth in a way that is uniquely ours. God did not make us to be cookie cutter images of the saints, no, He created each of us to cast fire upon this earth in a way no one else can. How are you called to do that? How does God want you to witness His message to the world? It will be hard. He says that upfront. But we know that at the end of the day God wins the war...He banishes Satan and we, His people, are victorious under the King. So I pray that today we can take that step together to be bold, and to cast fire upon this earth.
But don't play with matches, you WILL light yourself on fire, and your skin WILL fall off. Gross.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Redemptorist what????


Driving up the hill to the Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, NY this past weekend, I was reflecting on my month of working at St Mary's and what that has meant for me spiritually. One of the things I've been hearing a lot about since coming here is Christ's crucifixion gives us plentiful redemption! So when I went up to this retreat house for a symposium for the Redemptorist Order this was the focus of my heart. So I got to my room and sat down thinking I would be able to relax and take it easy for a while. God had other things planned as He usually does. So I went down to the chapel and was greeted by this French priest who was one of the most joyful people I have ever met. Was this the life of someone who had experienced plentiful redemption? This was my experience throughout the weekend. People were joyful and excited about this order of priests, this way of life. And I found myself getting more and more excited!

The order of the Redemportists was started by St Alphonsus Ligouri and is called the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, St Alphonsus is also a Doctor of the Church because of his influential thinking and practice of life. He had this call to aid the abandoned and the needy. Aren't we all abandoned and needy at some point or another in our lives? Don't we always need someone to look out for our needs? I know that sometimes I just NEED to fall back on my family or friends. I know that sometimes I feel alone. This is our world. Yes, we can focus on the actual poor and sick of this community, but we can only really serve when we can recognize that poorness and sickness in ourselves as well.

This past weekend I met a lot of wonderful people, doing great things in this world to further the mission that St Alphonsus lived by. It inspired me to go forth from that weekend and do the same! The Redemptorists take a 4th vow of Perseverance and I think that this is something that we can all learn from. There will be times that we will be spiritually dry and worn out by the battlefield that is this world. There will also be times when we see much fruit in our work...but what is most important is that no matter what we see, we can persevere through everything so that at the end of our lives we can look back and truly say that everything we did was "Ad majorem Dei gloriam"! (All for the greater glory of God!). This perseverance is what will sustain us when we want to give up. We must, as St Paul tells us, "pray at every opportunity" so that we can stand firm.

You know what they say...practice makes perfect!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There's something about Mary

Today is a great feast day of an amazing saint. Her name was Mary Magdalene and there is a little confusion about who she was, but what it really comes down to is that she was a woman of whom much was forgiven and therefore she love much! When we talk about Mary Magdalene we take a look at the gospels because she is in there quite a bit. In the gospel of Mark, he talks about Mary Magdalene, out of whom he [Jesus] had driven seven demons. She was healed by Jesus. The one thing we can see from the gospels is that that Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' best friends. She was with Him until the end, at the foot of the cross and after. She was the first person the risen Jesus appeared to, and she was the woman who believed and ran back to tell the others what she had seen and heard. What an amazing witness! We are called to be a witness in that way. We are called to not shy away from the cross because it is scary or difficult to see. We are called to believe the words of Jesus and go out and share those words with others.
I love St Mary Magdalene because she is called the saint of whom much was forgiven. I like this reference because it leads me to look deeper into my own life and the many things that have been forgiven. The other part of that title is that she loved much. I hope that I love much because much has been forgiven. The Mass readings talked a lot about love today because Mary loved her Lord so much. The first reading was from the Song of Songs, which most people relate to a love of a man and a woman. But here I think that this was about the love of man towards God and visa versa...one line says "I sought him who my heart loves, I sought him but did not find him." Just like today's gospel, Mary goes to look for the Lord at the tomb and she doesn't find Him. She looks for Him and finally He appears to her. In the Song of Songs it ends with: "I found Him who my heart loves." It makes me think about that deep love that our souls are created with, a love so deep that we can't even comprehend it without God's help! Our souls CRY OUT for that love...we seek that love all the time. Sometimes we look in the wrong places but God won't stop until He has all of us! Just like Mary Magdalene we seek God, and He's there. Sometimes, like in today's gospel, we don't recognize Him at first but when we do we rejoice, just like Mary did.
Today, let's work on that idea of forgiving because we have been forgiven, and loving because we are loved! St. Mary Magdalene, Pray for us!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Miss Independence


Just this past weekend we celebrated the anniversary of our nation's independence. What a blessing it is that we live in a land where we are free to do so many things. Free to worship without fear, free to come and go wherever we please. This gift of freedom was fought for by our forefathers and it is maintained by many people today...people we might even know and love.

I was thinking about this over the weekend while I was working a fund-raiser at my parish. So many people were coming in from out of town to see the fireworks and I will be the first to admit that fireworks are my favorite, but I couldn't help but wonder if we view this freedom the way we view fireworks. I LOVE fireworks (love, love, love) but I love them from afar...I never want to get too close because it's dangerous. But is this the way we view freedom? We love our freedom, but do we fight for it, or do we love it from afar? No, no I am not talking about strapping on some gear and going off to war...but I am talking about fighting for things we know to be right. There are many things that we tend to look in the other direction when they happen...what do we do in the here and now? In our hometowns? Do we value the freedom that was so violently fought for with the importance it deserves? It makes me think a lot about the statement from (don't judge) Spiderman, "with great power, comes great responsibility." We have a great nation, a powerful nation. We have the responsibility to uphold the rights of all people!

So, back to my title...Miss Independence. This month I kinda feel like that...since I've moved from Colorado I have felt a lot of independence...sometimes it is scary, sometimes it is fun. But I am overwhelmed sometimes at the responsibility of being independent (My parents are on my speed dial for a reason :)). So as I sat watching the fireworks with friends I reflected on that independence that was believed in to the point of death...I thought about the people who are fighting for that freedom now, and the ones who have died fighting for it, and I felt an amazing feeling of gratitude to people I might never meet, but who have changed the world I live in! My prayer is that I fight for the freedom and dignity of every human person in this great and powerful nation that was founded on defending values!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New Chapter


I think maybe my life is on chapter 8 right now...like I just started chapter 8. Chapter 1 I was born, chapter 2 I was playing with dolls, chapter 3 I was saved from awkward middle school years because I was homeschooled, chapter 4 I was a mean high schooler, chapter 5 I went to college (I was hopefully no longer mean), chapter 6 I started my job at St Mary's, chapter 7 I was started my job at STM, and hence chapter 8...now! Wow, that sums up my whole life. I like it!

Yesterday, was the first day of work, I picked out some cool new office furniture and am waiting for it to come to me! But backing up about a week and a half, I started driving across country...I made it, don't worry. But I made it about a block from my parents house before I started crying, not because I was scared but because it is sad when things come to a close in your life. I was sad that God had called me away from some really amazing people, especially my parents, but I also had a sense of excitement for what God has planned next.

I had to write a letter introducing myself to my new parish and in it I was reflecting on the saying: the only constant thing in life is change. It is a very true statement but one that people hate accepting. Oh, I know, I know, I heard it a lot during the elections...change, change, change. But when it really comes down to it, people have a really hard time watching things change in life. The loss of a loved one, the moving on of a friend. There are many things that we don't like when it comes to change; sometimes I don't like having to change my coffee brand because I have to get used to something different. But change will happen and the only thing we can control is how we react to it.

That is an important thing to reflect on...how we REACT to something that happens to us, or around us. There are many times I have left God out of that reaction and it is in those times that I see where I failed most. When I don't pray about the situation and what God is calling me to do in that situation I tend to do very prideful things. Things that aren't the best because I am simply reacting in a purely human way. Which makes sense in this world because I am human, but because we live in a secular world this is the only logical thing to do...make the best decision based on MY knowledge. But I KNOW that God has already seen the end result...so why not ask for HIS guidance?

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. We all know that we refer to Thomas as "Doubting" Thomas, because he doubted that Jesus had actually risen from the dead. How did Thomas react to this change? Well, he didn't react well, but isn't this the way most of us would react? Isn't this how we react to most things in life? He lost his faith because something didn't go the way he thought it should. That's life, that's change. St Thomas, who, when he saw his Lord, fell to his knees and exclaimed: My Lord and my God!" knew how wrong he had been and he repented to the Lord. Let us follow the example of St Thomas and say "my Lord and my God, may Your will be done in my life today and forever!"

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