29 January 2013

Rough Around the Edges

I think for a while now, I've thought that holiness meant you had your life in order. I would take all the junk and put it in neat little piles in my mind, and tell myself that I had it together.

I think I thought I had to fit neatly into a missionary shaped box to be able to preach the Gospel effectively. Femininity looked this way, evangelization looked that way, et cetera.

I must be out of my mind! It's all too much to live up to. My perceptions of other peoples ideas of holiness and how I didn't and don't fit in... why does it matter?

Hasn't God Himself provided as many ways to Heaven as there are people on the planet?

What an incredible weight lifted off of my shoulders!

For me to become holy, I have to become the "me"ist that I can be. God made me to be the best me, not the best anyone else, and especially not the regular anyone else.

Here's what I know about me: I'm opinionated; I have strong opinions and I like to share them. I'm intelligent AND emotional... but my mind rules my emotions most of the time. I am a woman. I like people and I thrive in small groups where people are openly communicating about things that matter. I like to read, and then discuss the things I've read. I love learning new things about God, myself, and the way things work. It takes me a long time to process the things that I'm feeling. I'm optimistic and I am tempted to forget about the bad and remember only the good; this can be both a gift and a flaw. I am loved by some of the most amazing people I could ever hope to be loved by. I get obsessed with things easily. My sense of humor is immature.

I used to think that the sign of one who has undergone deep interior conversions would be a person who never does or says anything offensive, never speaks of anything but this doctrine or that, never tires of praying.

I put my foot in my mouth often, I geek out on finance stuff, and sometimes, I get bored in prayer.

There you have it. I am real. And I love Jesus fiercely.

I'm rough around the edges. Praise God.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

18 January 2013

Fallen Humanity

When I look at the state of the world today, I often wonder "What the heck is going on here?"

In regards to the recent debates about gun laws and marriage and health care etc., I can't help but feel like we as Americans think we know what's best. In addition, our government thinks it knows what's best for us. But what happens when the two disagree? A government SHOULD try to discern and take steps that are in the direction which is best for its people... but what if its people demand things that are actually contrary to what is best for them? Is the best approach to "give the people what they want" and let them see how it will blow up in their faces ten, twenty, fifty years down the road? The other option seems to be to make decisions which the people disagree with, risk a civil war or something ridiculous of the like, and hope for the best? Both situations leave something to be desired.

Basically, I suppose the question is: How do you govern a nation full of sinners?

One of the consequences of the fall of man (in the garden of Eden) is that we try to make ourselves like God... and then we try to tell ourselves we made the right decision in trying to make ourselves like God. It's all very confusing. I think that none of us know what is best for us... and those who might have a better understanding of what's best for us are sorely outnumbered.

The solution? Inviting souls to know Jesus: the Man who does know what's best for us, who gave His life on a Cross fighting for our salvation. Communication with the Blessed Trinity. Prayer and sacrifice. Honesty, humility. patience.

St. Rita, patroness of impossible causes, pray for us.

14 January 2013

Waves of Grace

So... a lot of my big life events happen on Marian Feast Days... pretty cool... right?

In September of 2011, my roommates and I prayed a Novena that ended on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary (8 September) about my placement with FOCUS. On 8 December 2012, I received my placement, which was to serve at Auburn University for another semester (exactly what I wanted/needed.) 

This year has been no different. A dear friend of mine was married to her MIDDLE SCHOOL sweetheart on Mary's birthday this year and I was privileged enough to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.

Leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I had been asking for the Blessed Mother's intercession in my discernment process, and on her feast day I was offered the job with Fidelity Investments. And as God would have it, my first days is 11 February... which I just found out is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

God's blessings are abundant!

Queen of Patience and Humility, pray for us!

01 January 2013

New Year's Evolutions

If you've been reading my blog for long, you know that I'm not a fan of change. I've recently made some rather large changes in my life and I'm actually beyond excited about them.

The past semester has been extremely difficult and I've had to make some "grown up" decisions that I didn't want to make and didn't feel like I was ready to make, but I made them and I think I'm taking steps in the direction that God is calling me in.

When I look back to New Year's last year, I would NEVER have guessed that I'd be where I am today. So much has happened in the past six months that I never could have dreamed up or planned, but I have tried to seek God's will through all of it. There were times when I felt like God was dropping unidentifiable hints as to what He wanted me to do, and I was fearful of making the "wrong" decision and being punished by Him. (Now more than ever, it sounds ridiculous and irrational.) I learned that God doesn't MAKE us do anything, and He certainly doesn't try to deceive us when we're seeking Him!

Back in October, I started actively discerning God's will for my future. I began to feel more and more strongly that I wasn't called to be in Southwest Florida and I started looking at all my options. I prayed and prayed and asked a thousand people their opinions and complained and laughed and cried and worried about what to do. (Is discernment always so stressful? Maybe when I become holier it will get easier.) A friend told me that I was unable to make the decision because God wasn't asking me to make it just yet, and that I would have the grace to make the decision when the time came to make the decision. On December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I was offered an incredible opportunity with Fidelity Investments. At that point, God had closed all of the other doors, all of the other decisions were no longer options, so I went through the open door and accepted the position, no stress, only excitement.

Next week, I am moving home to Southlake to begin my finance career at Fidelity in February. (Isn't it crazy/awesome that the company is called Fidelity?! God is so faithful, even when I'm not!)

I know for a fact that I am and always will be a missionary; all Christians are missionaries by virtue of their Baptism. I also know that being a missionary in the corporate world will be a LOT different from being full time and having Missionary as the job title on my business card.

In this experience, I hope to grow and change into the woman that God has made me to be. I want to take chances and be bold in my efforts to make Christ known to those around me. I want to become holy, and make prayer my first priority in everything. I want to grow in the virtues of patience and humility.

As I begin this new journey, please keep me in your prayers. My goal is to start posting more frequent blog posts on my experiences as a "Real World Catholic." These posts will hold me accountable to evangelizing in little ways, and I hope to share with you my failures and my successes. Will you come along for the ride?

Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mother of God, pray for us!

P.S. One of the things I've found myself doing recently: when I hear or see someone say (or type) something sarcastic about Mary or use one of Her titles in vain ( Sweet Mother of God! Holy Mother! etc.) I stop to think about how sweet She really is. It makes me forget to be mad at the person who just insulted Her, and remember to think about how lovely she is! It's so fun, you should try it!