Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Love the 80s!

The band Naked Eyes. More than a one hit wonder. They had at least two.

Promises, Promises

In case you were wondering, the title of this blog is also the title of a 1983 song that I tried to find the lyrics for, but you'll have to settle for the picture I'm going to post of the band who sings it. It's almost as good as the song. Don't know what that says about the song...anyways...

When I was praying this morning the word "promises" kept coming into my head. The first reading today was a part of the saga of Moses leading God's Chosen People to the Promised Land. Basically, the Lord was bringing His promised people out of Egypt, and they began to get a little impatient.

He'd given them Moses to lead them. He made walls of water to set them free and drown their enemies. But the journey was starting to get long. And they were getting tired of waiting.

He'd given them signs, He'd given them a leader to bring them His Word and Promise. Yet, after a while, they were getting impatient and distrustful.

Sound familiar? It does for me! I find myself in this situation over and over again, and even presently.

"Sure, God, you've sent me lots of signs that you have saved me in the past. You've even kept some of your promises before. But this time....You are taking way too long. Trusting You is too hard. I give up."

Sadly, these thoughts have come a lot for me in the past year or so! But they come up over and over in the Bible too.

Exhibit A: Adam and Eve- God gave them everything!! But they didn't trust, and it led to sin.

Okay, so maybe and Adam and Eve aren't a great example because that whole original sin thing. So here are some examples in the Bible of how we SHOULD act when waiting on a promise (hint- it requires patience and sacrifice! Doh!):

Old Testament:
Abraham- waited hundreds of years for a son and then God asked him to give him back. Right. I'd be ticked. But in the end, God spared him and kept His promise!

Noah- had to go through a flood and build a big freakin' arc before he got the rainbow. And had to live with animals. Lots of them. Just saying. Couldn't have been comfortable or pleasant.

The Israeli people- many years of slavery and walking through a desert and plagues...hmmm...

This all makes me think of a St. Teresa of Avila quote: "If this is how you treat your friends, Jesus, no wonder you have so few!" I am paraphrasing of course, but you get my point.

Onto the New Testament:
Simeon- the old man who it was revealed he wouldn't die until he saw the Messiah. He waited for years before seeing Jesus finally in the Presentation scene. "Now your servant can go in peace. My eyes have seen the salvation according to your word". Indeed!

Joseph and Mary- lots of angels told them lots of things, but that didn't save them from any sorrow or suffering.

And of course...Jesus. He IS the promise and fulfillment for us, but He had to suffer and die before the promise was fulfilled.

I think you get my point(s).

God has a unique promise and call for each of us, but we are going to have wait, suffer, wait, wait, and then maybe suffer a little more before some are fulfilled. This whole time on earth is just a waiting for the promise of heaven.

The best way to deal with this suffering and waiting can be best seen in the examples of Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Mary, Jesus (maybe not so much the way I heard about this morning. There were snakes involved) ... and they said 'yes' to the suffering in order the be a part of the promise. So I guess we should offer up a little waiting and suffering patiently (easier said than done!) in the HOPE of the promise.

Ah, HOPE! Now, we are talking! The light in the midst of the suffering and waiting!!! Jesus doesn't just leave us to suffer and wait! He gives us HOPE!!! And here are a couple quotes I found recently in my prayer time on the gift in a time of waiting- hope:

"...hope is a choice that often demands an effort. It is easier to worry, get discouraged, be afraid. Hoping mean trusting. When we hope we are not passive, we are acting."- Interior Freedom

"But you must believe and hope. Oh this great quality of hope! Practice it often so that it will grow in you. Don't you understand that the more you expect, the more you receive? Then expect even the impossible and you will have it." - He and I

This second quote makes me think of something else I've been praying about- expectations (and I'll close after this, I PROMISE ;).

Before I entered the convent, my spiritual director told me to "expect more" out of God. This is GREAT advice, especially when waiting and trusting for the fulfillment of His promises. God can do everything! Anything! Shouldn't we expect the most from Him? This goes back to the confidence in God thing, which I've talked about at length and in circles, so I'll spare you that reflection again... ;)

As we wait in this desert of Lent for the HOPE and promise of the Resurrection, let's unite our sufferings to one another and hope in Jesus together!!

Happy Almost Holy Week ;)
Peace in Him,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun with Media

First, I want to share with you all some things I thoroughly enjoyed today in the April 09 edition of Sojourners:

1.) an article from THE Jean Vanier!! (As many of you know, one of my heroes. I got so into Community and Growth and From Brokenness to Community, that I went and joined a religious order! Well, that was not the only catalyst, obviously, but as the postulants heard me say many a time in our study last year a la the book of Jeremiah on the 'joys' of community: 'You duped me Jean Vanier, and I let myself be duped...')Here's the article:


2.) A feature of one of the L'Arche core members that I work with! Eileen is awesome, we do a little dance each time we brush and use mouthwash. And she always asks about my family and my uncle each time I see her:


Okay, now onto my own personal experience with the Media as of late:

I'll be on a Sirius XM Catholic radio show next Wed- April 1st- at 1pm. Not sure what I'll be talking about quite yet, but it's a Social Justice themed show, and someone from the Board of the Directors where I currently work nominated me, so probably something about volunteering. The show is supposedly focusing on young Catholics doing 'good things'... little do they know....ha!

So if you have Sirius radio, tune into the Catholic Channel next Wed, April 1st at 1pm! Hopefully, you'll hear me and I won't sound too ridiculous! Say some prayers!!

I must admit, I myself do not partake in a lot of 'Catholic media' myself. I don't watch much EWTN and the like. It just doesn't appeal to me. Obviously, I love the prayers and traditions they teach and share, but I don't love the way they go about doing so necessarily. And I don't have satellite radio. So in order to research the channel, my co-worker and I were listening to some of the shows off of her Sirius account yesterday. The hosts of a different Catholic show were talking about who they would select to be the 'patron saint' of their show. They were putting the saints in 'brackets' and pitting them against each other. For example, St. Paul, you will be happy to know, was the #1 pick. St. Peter was like #6, St. Lawrence #11 and so on....My co-worker who is Methodist, was quite fascinated I think, by this whole thing. I, again, couldn't decide if I was into it or not. It's cool that we have these saints to call on for things- but to make your whole show about it? Is that really all that relevant/entertaining? I don't know. Thoughts? Concerns?

(Patron Saints of this blog of course: #1- St. Paul, #2- St. Therese, #3- St. Casimir (Polish saint, holler!: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03402a.htm)

My goal is to one day, of course, BE that host. Again, not sure what we would talk about, but I think it would be relevant and fun :)

Thanks again for reading!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Caritas Christi Urget Nos

The Pallottine mantra of "The Love of Christ Urges Us On" (or the "The Love of Christ Compels Us" as St. Paul says) has really been my mantra ths month in prayer and throughout each day these last weeks.

Thank you, first of all, everyone, for the prayers for my family. A while ago I told you that my uncle had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away on Sunday (the Day of the Lord) and was buried yesterday (Feast of St. Joseph! Could we be any more blessed?) Your prayers were truly, truly felt. The weeks leading up to his death were certainly difficult for my family, particularly for my cousins, mom, and grandmother. But I think we can all say we are rejoicing in the faith and hope of his rising with the Lord (Not to mention we did a little rejoicing the "Polish way" for the feast of St. Joseph and for my uncle with a few toasts after the services yesterday;)

Death always makes one reflect on our mortality and our belief in the after life, so I of course, have been doing the same. Also, at this point in Lent, we start to turn our thoughts towards Christ's suffering and death and also His Resurrection, so it was actually a blessing to have all this happen during Lent as well, I think.

I don't really have any new blog-worthy reflections on the topic (though our belief in heaven is certainly always blogworthy in and of itself)! Let's just say, I really want to get to heaven someday. I love being in the Lord's presence with the Eucharist and Mass, I can't even imagine what it's like to be in that True Presence 24/7. Sign me up!! But I also know He has a plan for us on earth that I'm pretty sure I still have yet to fulfill before heaven, so I won't start the countdown yet.

Again, I just wanted to write and say 'thank you' for the prayers and just emphasize how those prayers were felt! It's an amazing thing, that power of prayer! Seriously, there were many moments this week that my family and I were chalking things up to answered prayer and that was a blessing to be able to recognize those things so quickly. I will say God has always been good to me with that gift of revelation of answered prayer- He never waits too long to help me put the pieces together. He knows me too well, and how impatient I am!

I also wanted to share with you that simple truth that 'The Love of Christ' does indeed 'urge us on' in Lent, in these tough economic times, in life and death. Amen!

Speaking of Lent, hope you all are doing well with your observances/penances/sacrifices! I myself fixed myself a nice turkey sandwich today (Friday) which my mom had to gently stop me from eating at lunch! Hope your head is more in the game than mine!!

Caritas Christi Urget Nos! See many of you when I return from Ohio on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Day in the Life

Hard to believe it will be FIVE YEARS since I volunteered with NET this Spring. CRAZY! But God has used the five years since then in HUGE ways. And as hard as NET was for me, it was very influential in decisions I've made these last few years.

Here's a video they recently released that really does show what we go through each day in terms of ministry:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Consolation, Communication...Calls for Celebration!

Apparently giving up Facebook for Lent makes me think less about blogging 'cause I see it's been about Ash Wednesday since I last blogged and I'd been so good about blogging once a week almost! ;) It [giving up Facebook] definitely forces me to do other things that I should be doing- praying, working, volunteering, emailing or calling friends instead of just checking their status-.so, so far so good on the lenten sacrifice!

I did have to go on it for about .2 seconds yesterday at work to check our 'Fan Page' for the non-profit I work for. My co-worker asked me to post something, and that is part of my job to maintain our web profiles, but I was sooooo tempted to start looking at my missed 'notes' and 'updates', I had to get off of there quick!

I also blog when I am inspired spiritually. I'll get something in prayer and then just immediately think: "ooo...I need to share that!". That's not to say I haven't been getting anything in prayer- prayer's still been great! I've gotten into a smooth routine- something I was praying for this summer! I'm able to delve into the prayer most days...I just think Jesus has been giving me little personal lights and consolations, keeping me happy day by day :) So He's given me lots of stuff just for the two of us right now... A little honeymoon stage again ;) (I'm holding onto this consolation as long as I can, fo' sho, just like St. Ignatius says to! This is long overdue... ;)

All that confidence in God stuff I was praying for earlier this year has seemed to WORK! ha! Who'd a thought? ;) I'm still discerning lots of things- how to use my gifts in grad school, ministry, job, relationships, etc (I got into grad school at CUA, btw! More on that- I suppose that's blog worthy!) and a month or so ago I was stressing out about all of the above. But now after praying about confidence and surrender, I'm finding I am putting it into practice and just truly trusting that whatever He wants from me He will make known in His time.. Praise Him for this time of consolation! Don't let me take it for granted! Readers- keep me accountable, okay?? ;)

So, yeah, I got into grad school for the fall at Catholic. I am going to be pursuing an MA in Theology, specializing in Catechetics and Religious Ed. I was hesitant to take this speciality at first because there's such a stigma in my mind about getting a job or degree in "Religious Ed" That stigma in my mind being the old Church lady running all the formation programs single handedly at the parish forever and forever, since before time began, and never being able to give it up. I've seen it....it ain't pretty!

So, again-readers- keep me accountable! Do not let this happen to me! ;)

I have found over the past 5 years since CUA that my passion is sharing the truths of the Catholic faith with others; educating and teaching them in a way that is RELEVANT. And doing this particularly through film, music, MEDIA. This is why I love youth ministry. This is why I entered the Daughters....so I'm thinking this could be it! The next step in my unique call!

I hope to discover with my studies methods of Catechesis that we can implement in NEW ways. Ways that are relevant to the culture and that WORK (not to say text books with coloring pictures of Jesus and rainbows don't work, but really.....they kind of don't).

So that's my soapbox for today. If I get any shareable lights with Jesus soon, I will certainly pass them along ;) I will say St. Vincent Pallotti has been a focus for me ever since we had a retreat on his charism for work last week. He is very like Alberione (the Italian that founded the Daughters) in that he was very devoted to the traditions of the faith of his time, but visionary in seeing how the Church would be lived in the future- if that makes sense. For example, he really supported the laity's role in the Church before Vatican II was even in anyone's mind or vocabulary. So he has been great because that is who I am trying to be- a holy lay woman in the Church!

God bless you all, friends, and your Lent! We'll be in touch again soon, I'm sure....just not with Facebook ;)