28 July 2011

Summer Sickness?

Today (and for the past week or so) I am sick. I have a pretty bad cough and a headache to go with it, and I sneeze very frequently. I have a hard time sleeping and having any willpower to do anything besides lay in bed. It is rare to get sick in the summer, I think, so my only thought is that the air quality here is very bad and is affecting my allergies.

In other news, I am preparing for my Parish Talk, which I will (by God's grace) be giving this weekend at Saint Francis of Assisi in Grapevine, Texas. Please pray for me this weekend, as MPD has slowed down significantly, I really want to inspire these people to learn more about FOCUS and how they can help me change our culture.
After my Parish Talk, I plan on being incredibly busy meeting with all of the people from the parish, so today, I am packing for Auburn. I'm not leaving for a week, but I am packing now so that I can spend all my time and energy having mission partner meetings next week.

The fact that I am packing makes me the happiest little missionary ever. Words can not express my joy. I'm ready to get to campus and get this show on the road!!
(I could go on and on, but I'll spare you the details of why I'm excited for Auburn, I think it suffices to say that I'm most excited about just being a better version of myself!)

Saint Bernardino of Sienna, Patron of Public Speaking, Pray for me!

24 July 2011

In the World

I'm struggling to reconcile some ideas in my head, maybe you can help me out.

As Christians, especially as Catholics, (and for me, most especially as a Catholic missionary,) we have to recognize the privilege of the call we have received and have responded to. God desires to spend eternity with all of His people and His charity always desires to accomplish that goal. At the same time, my specific call (the way the Lord wants me to get to Heaven) is different from the calling of every other one of God's people. This requires my own unique response.

As a missionary, I am required to make my best efforts to live excellence in every way possible. I must admit that I fail very frequently.

It is difficult enough to keep my own mind on God's will and to keep myself from the temptations of Satan,  and the only way I can even begin to show others how to live out holiness is by God's grace.
While I'm desperately trying to live out holiness with charity, there are certain things that I must do and certain things I must not do. Of course, I must avoid sin at all cost, and all temptations to sin. (Nearly impossible, thanks to concupiscence, my own inclination to sin.) Simultaneously, I must go to the darkest places on earth (where the Resurrection of God Incarnate is not known), and bring light.

How do I, as a missionary, let my students (and family, and mission partners) know that I love them exactly how they are? I think that living in the world and being of the Kingdom will be my greatest challenge as a missionary.

Even now, I hear close friends and family say things like: "It was a good movie, but you might be offended," or "you wouldn't want to go (wherever) because of (whatever reason)." The truth is, I've been there, and I'm still there! I sometimes think inappropriate jokes are funny, and I like romantic comedies and reality television. (Sorry, Dr. Sri!) But I try my best to give up the good (or what my feeble senses think is good) for the better (according to God's will). I know that the Lord has a sense of humor, but more importantly I know that He desires for us only what is best.

I desperately want to love people the way God loves them, to meet them where they're at and show them a higher calling (to that of service to the Lord). I also want people to recognize my that my failures do not disqualify me from this calling, but that the Lord works through them for my own sanctification.

I'm not sure, I suppose I'm rambling at this point. How do I avoid sin without coming across as "holier than thou?" If you have any insight, I'd love to hear it!

In other news:

I've been praying and thinking frequently about employing higher faculties. If I want my intellect to rule, I have to exercise it most often. I think I can accomplish this by reading more, but it is difficult to use my brain when I'm not in school and not actively engaged in furthering my education. (I don't want my brain to turn to mush just because it is summer.) I have also been practicing a few daily sacrifices of my emotions and appetites in order to keep them in control. I hope this will help me in my quest for knowledge of the Lord.

Mission Partner Development is going much slower than I expected, but I appreciate all who have prayed for me and offered Mass and rosaries. I have a Parish Talk at St. Francis of Assisi in Grapevine next Saturday and Sunday, so keep the prayers coming!

I am eagerly counting down to my Texan departure for the cooler and friendlier Village on the Plains. I have less than two weeks to go and I can't wait for Auburn to be introduced to my sweet teammates, Michael and Brian! Get ready for an incredible year, Auburn!

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us!

13 July 2011


I used to be terrified of evangelizing. In a Marist study from 2010, 63% of those surveyed said they'd like to know more about their Faith... why am I nervous about giving them the information they've been looking for... information that could bring about Eternal Salvation?!!

This is what JPII has to say on the subject:
“We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists to evangelize." Blessed John Paul II, Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World)

Once I realized that evangelization must happen by one's life, it made evangelization both easier and more difficult.

It is easier because I recognize that all that is required of me is to live my life and invest my life into others. This means that when I'm meeting new people on campus, all I have to do is strike up conversations and hear people's stories. (Everyone has a story, and everyone wants someone to listen to it, and I LOVE getting to know what makes people tick!)

It is more difficult because it means that I need to be constantly cultivating the virtue of excellence in all things. When there are so many false ideas and bad attitudes about the Church, She desperately needs Catholics to make Catholicism look good! If I am going to evangelize by my life, my life needs to look a lot like Christ's. This is a lofty task, one that only the Holy Spirit can accomplish through me.

And thus, as difficult as it may be, I need to learn to find myself in sharing the Gospel with others. We are a Resurrection People!

Saint Benedict, pray for us!

05 July 2011

Mission Partner Development

One of the most important things that I will be doing for the next few years is Mission Partner Development, or fundraising. A lot of people misunderstand why FOCUS Missionaries raise their salaries, and I am just now beginning to learn the true blessing of being able to rely fully on God's grace.

The truth is that all blessings come from God (James 1:17). This includes money. When someone works for a living, their salary still comes from God, it is just a little bit more difficult to recognize. When we live purely off of the generosity of others, it is easier to see that our financial blessings come directly from (and belong to) the Lord.

The primary purpose of doing Mission Partner Development is not to get money or to put our trust in God alone (although these are necessary effects.) The primary purpose is to be able to share our mission with a team of supporters who can participate in the New Evangelization in radical ways by praying for us and supporting us financially. A lot of people are able to see the need for Jesus' transforming love in our culture, and they want to do something about it, they just don't know where to begin.

I am so excited to invite my team to come with me on my mission to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth by teaching others to teach (2 Timothy 2:2) and by living and communicating the fullness of Truth.

A few weeks ago, I made my first round of phone calls. It was much more difficult (and emotional) than I had anticipated, but I had a few good conversations and I thanked God for the triumphs and the failures.

A few things that I learned about myself on the first official day of MPD:
I am afraid of rejection.
My pride controls too many of my actions.
I do not trust God as much as He's asking me to trust Him, He's asking for complete abandonment.
God picks me up after I fail, over and over again, if I allow Him.
I am determined and resolute, and I know that I am called to be here.
Satan is real, and he doesn't want me to be a missionary.

Now, I am still making phone calls to set up appointments to share my mission with people. It's so exciting to get to give people this hope. God wants so desperately to draw His people back to Himself, and He wants to use me and my mission partners to do it! There IS a future of Christianity, and it begins with people dedicated to the fullness of life in the Church.

St. Joseph the Worker, Pray for us!