Blogging

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My older brother writes a blog. http://www.deusnobiscum.com He’s been writing since 2007, before Catholicism was even on his radar.

He recently asked me to be a contributing writer. Check out my first post which reflects a little on adoration, especially my experience with it at the SEEK conference.

 

The Catholic Lifestyle

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My parish is encouraging all of its parishioners to read Rediscover Catholicism (as I know many churches are now). Since I am a peer minister with my parish I figured I should take part in this initiative, even though I’m in the middle of a couple of spiritual books right now. Anyway, there is one passage in Chapter 4 that really stood out to me. This chapter is about the ways in which people try to find identity and there is a section about Catholicism being a lifestyle and one paragraph just reminded me so much of my personal journey:

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; It has been found difficult and not tried.” This is particularly true of Catholicism.  Of all the many people I know  who have rejected Catholicism, or who are critical of it, I do not know a single person who has truly explored and embraced the Catholic lifestyle. If you humbly [emphasis in text] open your heart, mind, and soul to the genius of Catholicism, you will not find it wanting.

Rediscover Catholicism, p.52

Before I made a decision to consider Catholicism, I fully rejected it. The few teachings I knew of made no sense to me. They seemed ridiculous so I rejected all of Catholicism, just as my friends at my old church did. Even when I first started to learn more and seriously consider what the Church teaches, I was apprehensive. There were times when I wanted nothing more than to turn around and go back to my old church. But I had heard God’s call and I humbly opened my heart. I searched for answers without assuming that the Church was going to be wrong. I gave her a chance to speak for herself for once and as soon as I realized that Catholicism isn’t “just another religion”, it’s a unique lifestyle based on the life and teachings of Jesus, I could not turn away. I was new and had a lot to learn, but I could see now that it was worth it. And after I was confirmed and started to surround myself with students striving to live this lifestyle, it sank in even further. And now Catholicism is the only thing that makes sense to me. It’s only been about a year and a half since I officially decided to become Catholic, (not even a year since I was confirmed) but I already feel like I’ve always been Catholic. I can hardly remember my time in any other type of church. That is how transforming the Catholic way of life is. It is a life of prayer and thanksgiving,  faith and community, love and sharing, and so much more. It is a rich way of life. It is the way that Jesus calls us to live. And I thank God everyday that I answered that call with a yes.

 

It’s ok to be Human

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It really and truly is.  It’s ok to have and show emotions. It’s ok to breakdown and cry.

As long as you don’t let it consume you. As long as you don’t let yourself shut out others and God.

I discovered recently that I’m still carrying at least one unhealed wound on my heart. A wound that I thought had healed awhile ago, until something bumped it and it began to ache again. I thought I had surrendered it to God. I thought I had let him heal it. But apparently I asked him to stop treatment at some point. I’m not sure when that happened. As I laid on my bed the other night dealing with overwhelming emotion that seemed to come from nowhere, I felt really dumb. My reaction was an overreaction. I couldn’t explain why I was so upset. Why I could not stop the flood of emotion. I felt completely useless. And I realized that I truly don’t want this wound anymore. I need to let it go. I need to stop clinging to what might have been. I need to let God’s healing hands remove the pain. God can do amazing things with our weaknesses and it’s time that I let him deal with this one. Because, clearly I’m not doing well with it on my own. And that’s ok, because I don’t have to do it on my own.

A Story of Life

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On this anniversary of Roe v Wade, I want to share a story of a young woman, Chiara Corbella, that I first heard at the Seek conference. Because the story has already been told beautifully I will share the link rather than trying to do it justice myself. On this day when many are celebrating abortion under the guise of “choice” I think it is necessary to share an inspiring story of the other option, life.  Look at her joyful smile!

Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah

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I always thought that I wanted to get married someday. After the SEEK conference and all the talks about relationships and marriage, that desired was tempered a little, brought under control. I was learning to be patient and to seriously consider that maybe I’m called to something else. Then this weekend I went wedding dress shopping with my best friend and the desire for marriage reared its head again. But as I sat there among the beautiful dresses, veils, and jewelry, I realized something about my desire. I always thought it was for marriage, but when I dreamed of marriage, I always imagined the wedding day. I pictured my dress and my friends and family celebrating with me at an elaborate party. I very rarely thought about what it takes to make a marriage work. I very rarely thought about how there would be days when it is really, really hard. And I realized that it might not be marriage so much that I desire. I think it is the wedding. I think I want to dress up and feel like a princess. I think I want that big day. Many of my friends have wedding pinterest boards and I was so proud of myself for not making one of my own. But really, I have one in my head. The only difference is that my friends can’t see it.

But I’m not sure about the rest of marriage. Do I really want the bad times along with the good? Do I really want the fights? Am I willing to commit myself to another human who will by their nature let me down at times? Maybe. But I don’t know. I realize now that I am nowhere near ready to think about marriage and so I’m going to stop dreaming. I’m going to focus on where God has me now and just see where he takes me. Maybe someday I’ll meet a guy that makes me think about marriage beyond the wedding day, and even make me excited for the sometimes difficult adventure, ups and downs included. But until then, I need to stop fantasizing about that “perfect” day because marriage is so much more than that.

The Faith of Bartimaeus

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One of the things I took away from SEEK was that I need to spend more time in sacred scripture. My goal is to spend at least 10 minutes a day (but hopefully more) prayerfully reading from the Bible. One of the passages I read today was this one:

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10: 46-52

Two things stand out to me about Bartimaues’ faith. First, in his day, being blind made you one of the lowliest in society. You were completely dependent on the generosity of those around you to make it through life. You had to live the life of a beggar.  Yet, despite his status in society, he confidently calls out to Jesus. He ignores the people around him telling him to be quiet. He knows who Jesus is and what he can do and his faith allows him to reach out to him for healing. And Jesus does heal him, because of that faith. The second thing that stands out to me is that once he is healed he follows Jesus. He can now see and would be able to be a contributing member of society. He could do anything he wants now. And he chooses to follow Christ! That tells me something amazing about his faith.

I feel like if I were in Bartimaeus’ shoes I would have felt too unworthy to even ask for Jesus’ help. That’s how I often feel in my sin. I have a sin on my heart and know that I am unholy and it makes me afraid to reach out. I hear people around me telling me not to, whether it be because they don’t believe Christ is who he says he is or because they, too, think I’m unworthy. But it is precisely when we feel at our lowest that Christ wants to lift us up and show us all that we can be.  I want the faith of Bartimaeus that allows me to confidently call out to Jesus and ask him for help, because he is the only one who can help me. And I want to be the kind of person who follows Christ after he heals me. Sometimes, I just use him for what he can give me. I reach out to him to heal me and once he does I head out on my way again. Not always, but sometimes. I want to be faithful to him as he is to me. I want to stay with him even when things are going well and don’t feel like I need him. Because, really I always need him. There is always room for me to grow and to heal more. I just don’t always realize it. I want the faith of Bartimaeus to trust and follow Christ no matter what.

New Year’s Penance

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Virtually everybody makes new year’s resolutions and most people give up by the end of January. Instead of resolutions, my older brother does a new year’s penance. I guess it’s kind of like a resolution, but he offers it up to God on behalf of someone else. In 2010, he gave up alcohol for the conversion of our family (myself included at the time) and a few months after the year ended, I decided to become Catholic. Crazy, right?

So this year, I am doing a penance for my family as well, especially my younger brother. He’s struggling, though he would not admit it. For the next year I will not drink soda. Seems easy enough, but I became incredibly addicted to it last year. I don’t like coffee, so Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew are the ways I get a caffeine boost when I’m tired. By the end of last semester, I was drinking at least one soda a day. I was hooked on the stuff. Talk about bad for my bones! And my bank account! I’ve been good so far. No soda. But let me tell you, has it been hard! I’m incredibly tired as I have not had caffeine in 10 days! And I used to have it everyday! I’ve had moments where I want nothing more than to run to CVS and buy a wild cherry Pepsi to wake me up. But I have resisted. It helps that I was in Florida for a week and prices were so high at the resort that I wasn’t that tempted to cave. And I haven’t eaten out much lately. I almost always got a soda with my meal when I ate out. It will be a habit that is hard to break. But it is a habit that I need to break and I offer this struggle to resist the sugary goodness for the souls of those I love.