29 June 2016

A Few Good Things

Oh, Summer.

We have a love/HATE relationship.

This month has been pretty ho hum, but there are a few highlights.

I went on a retreat at the University of Dallas this past weekend. It was good to take some time to ask God to speak into my life and to try hard to listen. I don't know exactly what the fruit of the retreat will be just yet. As I was driving home from the retreat, I was thinking about all the things I can do for the Kingdom of God: I have the ability to make (and give) a lot of money which can/will do a lot of good, I am an evangelist, I know Jesus and I'm equipped to make Him known.  Then He stopped my utilitarian line of thinking right in its figurative tracks when He told me very clearly that I was worth so much more to Him than what I can do for Him. It was such a great reminder. Our society is so objectifying in so many capacities. But He loves me because of exactly who I am, not because of anything I can/will do for him. (And He loves you because of who you are too.) Sometimes "who I am" feels like a real piece of shit. But where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more!

During the retreat, we watched the movie Karol. (Whole movie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4bWX9zaFBI)
This movie is the best movie I have ever seen. I have loved SAINT John Paul II since I was little but this movie just takes my love for him to a whole new level. I can't believe I've gone 26 years without seeing this movie. If you've never seen it, please stop reading this post and go watch it. It's worth EVERY MINUTE of the 3 hours.

In other beautiful Pope news, I heard this quote by Pope Francis about Pope Benedict. It's a rough paraphrase because I can't remember the exact wording and now I can't find it. He said something like this: "Pope Emeritus Benedict is so holy, when I read his writings, I feel I should read him on my knees."
I just love the love that they have for one another. Priestly brotherhood has got to be one of the spiritual wonders of the world.

In other news, this evening I finished my 4th golf lesson. I'm having so much fun!! (But I think I will enjoy it even more in the Fall.)

Also, one month from today I'm off to my European Vacation and I.CANNOT.WAIT!

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us!

07 June 2016

Come to the Lover

Today I had a few interesting experiences.

First, I was talking to a colleague (literally at the water cooler) and I started telling him about a mission trip I'm thinking of going on. (He's some kind of protestant preacher.) He said "wow, I didn't know you were a believer." I told him that I used to be a missionary, etc. and when it was his turn to talk, he immediately told me about his first encounter with Christ.

This interaction made a deep impression on me for a few reasons.
1. Why didn't he know that I am a "believer?" Why did he seem surprised to find out?
2. Why was I so quick to give him my "Christian Resume?"
3. Why don't I lead with my experiences of who Jesus is?

I thought about it all the way to Mass. A comment that a different protestant colleague made a few weeks ago about transubstantiation (and how it isn't the most incredulous thing about the Catholic Church) made me think about how many churches would be filled to the brim if we had a true understanding of Christ's Eucharistic Presence and could share that joy with our protestant brothers and sisters: that Christ dwells in thousands of Tabernacles in every country in the world, just waiting for us to come to Him. I feel like transubstantiation isn't believable or isn't a big deal to protestants because if it were true and if it's implications followed, how or why would we go one day without going to see Him?

I have none of the answers.

I was praying for a bit before Mass, completely aware that I was in the Presence of Jesus... and I asked Him to give me an experience of Himself outside of the Mass. He came through in a big way in my prayer this evening, as I prayed over Isaiah 55:

All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of nations, So shall you summon a nation you knew not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, Because of the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back; Mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, and all the trees of the countryside shall clap their hands. In place of the thornbush, the cypress shall grow, instead of nettles, the myrtle. This shall be to the LORD'S renown, an everlasting imperishable sign.

It also reminded me of this song:

Felix and Elisabeth Leseur, pray for us. 

01 June 2016

Mum's the Word

Almost nothing thought provoking has been happening lately.

I say almost because there is one area of my life where I've been able to have some life giving conversations, and it's in the most unexpected of places: my office! My protestant teammate and I have had some pretty interesting conversations about Jesus. He seems  to be an unaware Christian Relativist (I thought those things were mutually exclusive too) but he likes Aquinas and Augustine. I have been given such an interesting grace: complete detachment from the outcome of these conversations. Of course I would LOVE to see him think his way into the Church but I have no desire to tie up loose ends in any of our conversations. Usually I get a little overzealous and want to sit down and figure everything out right then and there when these situations arise, but in this case, I have him captive for a minimum of 11 more months, and I have been able to completely surrender the results to Jesus. I'm just feeding a little fuel into the fire that the Holy Spirit has already begun.

In most other areas of my life, I feel like I'm in a quiet period. (Picasso went through a blue period, can my soul go through a quiet one?) It is also perhaps the calm before the storm.

Life Update during the calm:

I'm taking golf lessons.

I'm going to take a quilting class (and hopefully make a quilt for my Goddaughter)
This month I will pay off a student loan I've been working on paying down since August!
My Bible Study is starting back up for Summer. (Pray for the women who I'm asking to join us!)
I'm still working on training for a 10k. I've gotten myself up to a 5k but I'm so absurdly slow that if I start the 10k race now I might finish by the 4th of July.
Still getting into the groove with my new job. This one has a much longer "ramp up" period than others I've had.

The storm?
July 30-August 8: FRANCE!!!!!!
Kathlene and I are going to Paris, Lisieux, Normandy, Tours, Bordeaux, Lourdes, Toulouse, Lyon, and Reims! EEEEEK!!! I'm so excited! Joie de vivre! (This is about the only French I know.)

Also in August: bridal shower for the beautiful and holy and talented Allie, and mid month my Goddaughter (daughter of my friends Kelly and Mat) should make her appearance!

Right now, while I feel like I'm in this quiet period (characterized by a calm contented prayer life where neither Jesus nor I say much, I think) I'm trying to be the best Me. I don't know what God has planned for my life. I want to know... but I also want to be able to look back on this time fondly, as if I lived each moment and enjoyed this time. I don't always enjoy it, and I often have to remind myself to wait for the future to come and not grasp at something that isn't mine yet. But I want to try my hardest. I want to become holy while carrying this cross, and not look at others and ask for those instead.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, pray for us.