28 September 2011

Accompanying Jesus

Sometimes I forget that Jesus is God. I often give Him human attributes (impatience, indifference, impracticalness, etc.) in my head.

Sometimes I think that Jesus demands perfection from me. Intellectually, I know that He always invites, never demands, because He loves so perfectly. Emotionally, I get frustrated with myself for my failures and I think He becomes frustrated with me. To some extent, He probably does wish I could get some of the basics right, but I often forget just how well He loves. I forget that His love drove Him to be ridiculed, scourged, crucified, all for me.

A meditation from the Magnificat a few weeks ago really struck me. It will seem ironic to you if you've read my post Humility, Detachment and Other Virtues, because the author of this particular meditation is none other than Saint Teresa of Avila. I guess you could say that we're reconciled.

She writes:

"If we proceed with a pure conscience and obediently, the Lord will never permit the devil to have enough influence to deceive harmfully our souls; on the contrary, the devil himself is the one who is left deceived... I really believe that the devil must be meddling so as to trick us. But I have seen very many, whom the Lord in his goodness has not let out of his hand. Perhaps he wants to exercise them through these deceptions they undergo so that they might gain experience...
Since, my Lord, we see that you often free us from the dangers in which we place ourselves, even in opposition to you, how can one believe that you will fail to free us when we aim after nothing more than to please you and delight in you? Never can I believe this! It could be that because of other secret judgments God might permit some things that must happen anyway. But good never brought about evil. Thus, may what I have said help us strive to walk better along the road so as to please our spouse more and find him sooner, but not make us abandon it; and encourage us to walk with fortitude along a road that has such rugged mountain passes, as does that of this life, but not intimidate us from walking through them. For, in the final analysis, by proceeding with humility, through the mercy of God, we will reach that city of Jerusalem, where all that has been suffered will be little, or nothing, in comparison with what is enjoyed."

I am so excited to read this meditation because it gives me joy and hope. Jesus is NOT against us, He is always for us! God will never allow the devil to fatally harm us, and He will never fail to free us from sin. All that we experience in this life will pass away when we experience the joy of the next.

22 September 2011


As promised in my last post, I want to tell you about one of the things I've been praying about lately.

Last Monday at holy hour (during Spirit and Truth, the Catholic Student Organizations weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), I was praying about Time. 

The reason I was praying about time is because it was on my 22nd birthday, and like every year, I needed to reflect on the years events.

Just a few of the things I did while I was 21:
Lived in my first apartment.
Learned that I'm a pretty good cook.
Re-learned how to play tennis, and won a mixed-doubles tournament!
Read more than 15 books (mostly spiritual).
Finished the New Testament by finally reading Acts of the Apostles and Revelations.
Finished my core finance curriculum and learned that I could graduate early.
Got an "A" in 5 higher level finance courses.
Applied for my first "real" job at SunTrust, and made it to round 3 of interviews.
Realized God was calling me elsewhere and applied for and accepted a position with FOCUS to be a Catholic Missionary.
Went to Nashville several times, including on my 21st birthday.
Wrote a lot of letters. (I'm bringing back snail mail!)
Learned that I prefer a clean house and a clean room.
Realized I'm even more of an extrovert than I thought.
Led two Bible Studies.
Worked at a BBQ restaurant.
Got fired from a BBQ restaurant! (In a text message!) (For not having enough availability!)
Tutored Auburn Athletes.
Nannied for a family of three beautiful little girls in Auburn. 
Watched my Tigers WIN the National Championship!
Spent the summer at the University of Illinois at FOCUS New Staff Training.
Realized that God wants ALL of me, not just the parts I'm willing to give Him.

I digress.

One of the things I don't like about turning another year older is the permanence of the change. Once I became 22, I could never go back to being 21. I don't usually mind the kinds of change that are reversible because if I don't like the new change, I can go back. Unfortunately, as with most changes, I can never go back to being 21. I really liked being 21. I also really liked being 17, and sometimes I still wish I could go back. I think that some days, I love my life so much, that I don't think it could ever get any better. I don't trust that God wants to make it any better because I think it is so good already, and I don't deserve for it to be this good, let alone any better!

 I suppose I have small dreams and hopes for my life, compared to those which are God's dreams and hopes for me. 

New goal: dream bigger. 

Anyways, as I was reflecting and praying, I was asking the Lord about why I have such an aversion to change. He seemed just as perplexed as I was, because He created time. Time is one of the ONLY things that man hasn't messed up. Think of all things natural: weather, vegetation, creation of life, etc. Man has successfully figured out how to majorly mess up all of these things in the name of progress! 

Time has been unaltered by man, and is purely a creation by God! So why do I dread it's passing?! I think it is because of concupiscence (the effect of Adam and Eve's sin on my soul, which causes my desires to be disordered.)

I'm going to try to embrace the passing of time, simply because God ordained it to be so. 

Saint Matthew, the Evangelist, pray for us!

13 September 2011

Twenty Two

Yesterday was my birthday.

If you have known me for a while, especially over the last half decade or so, you will know that I don't particularly like my birthday. I think that this is mostly due to the fact that I always build up in my mind what I think it will be, and then, inevitably, am disappointed.

If you have known me at all, ever, you will know that I don't handle change well. I enjoy my comfort zone, and although my comfort zone is much broader than most, I don't particularly like to leave it. I think this is because I'm human, and we tend to like what we know.

Cue, missionary life!

My job, what I get to do each day, requires me to constantly be in situations which make me uncomfortable. It is quite a blessing, in fact. Detachment asks that we are always growing and changing and being refined.

This year, as my birthday approached, I literally had no expectations. I turned 22, which is not a particularly exciting age, and I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. Fortunately for me, I have incredible friends, roommates, teammates, etc. who were so generous as to give their time and effort so that I could have a good birthday.

Celebrations began at our Upper Room on Sunday. (Upper Rooms are events we have each month hosted by the missionaries for our student leaders to build them up and encourage them as they grow in their understanding of evangelization and holiness.) In the middle, my teammates brought out an ice cream cake and sang to me. It was great!
Then, we had team dinner (which we have every Sunday night, like a little family!) at my favorite restaurant, where they brought me out a chocolate cake and sang to me again!
Then, after our Student Mass at 8pm, we went over to the Katies' house for drinks and dessert. (This has become a typical after Sunday Mass activity, so therefore I thought nothing of it.) When I got there, everyone was hiding, and jumped out to surprise me. We had cookie cake and they sang to me, again. (Poor teammates!)

I woke up the next morning (my official birthday) to a decorated living room, full of streamers, balloons, and signs! I went to our weekly team meeting and when I got there, my teammates and Michael LaPointe (FOCUS Missionary serving at Georgia Southern University, Auburn Graduate, friend, etc., who was visiting us) had made breakfast!
When I got home from Mass, there were flowers and jewelry waiting for me (thanks, Mom!), and a few cards too!
Later, my roommates (minus Katie who had to work) took me out to dinner where we had a relaxing evening of good food and even better company, along with a thought provoking conversation about education which even got our waiter involved!
Then we went to pray Holy Hour at Spirit & Truth. More on that later in the next blog post. After S&T, everyone there sang to me and ate spice cake cupcakes which my roommates had made.

I am SO BLESSED. Thank you so much to all who participated in the cake making, the cake eating, the singing, and everything else that made my birthday so great!

Mary Most Holy, pray for us!

02 September 2011

Fall Outreach

At the beginning of each Fall Semester, FOCUS teams across the country prepare for some of the most challenging and rewarding weeks of the entire year. This year was no different, and my teammates and I have been hard at work trying to "cast the nets wide" so that the Lord cant plant and sow where He wills.

Some of our Fall Outreach events include:
Bible Study signups at Masses
Catholic Student Organization Fall Kick Off
Organization, or "O"-Days
Ice Cream Chaos Tailgate
Freezy-Pop Tuesdays
and a lot more.

O-Days are usually the second week of classes each semester here at Auburn. It is a week full of all kinds of student organizations. Nearly every single club/team/group on campus gets a table and fills the concourse with posters, flyers, free food and all kinds of ridiculosity.

This week, my team and I were out in the hot Alabama sun from 10am to 2pm on Monday and Tuesday meeting as many people as possible and just having a Catholic presence on Auburn's campus. We were SO blessed and met so many great people and had so many great conversations. We got a bunch Bible Study signups and we're even in the running for best table from the O-Days Committee, because Pope Benedict XVI was handing out popsicles with us!

Here is my team with BXVI:

(Left to Right: Brian, Michael, Me, Pope Benedict, Katie O., Katie S.)

Our Mascot, Aubie, got in on the deal too:

Keep us in your prayers as we continue to do God's work on Auburn's campus!

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!