Thursday, March 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!

[Quick thanks to somwatstrange for computer help =) ]

I love peanut butter. In cookies, on pancakes, in candy, on a PB&J sandwich, on a sandwich with chocolate syrup, on a sandwich with marshmallow cream, on a peanut butter and banana sandwich …and hey, I even will scoop peanut butter on a chocolate bar or into chocolate chips and eat it. Or if there’s not chocolate around, and I need some sustenance, I’ll just eat a scoop of peanut butter by itself.There are many different kinds of peanut butter; natural, crunchy, smooth, honey peanut butter, no-salt added, no-sugar added… a type of peanut butter for nearly everyone. God’s will is like peanut butter. Every type of peanut butter has one thing in common: it’s all peanut butter. At the same time, everyone usually has a different kind of peanut butter which seems to be “made” just for them; their favorite kind.

God’s will for everyone has one thing in common: whatever His will, it will make each person happiest. However, just as there are variations of peanut butter, God’s will for each person is different. Maybe your closest friend favors crunchy peanut butter the best. But maybe natural peanut butter seems made for your ultimate peanut desires. It’s the same thing with God’s will. Your closest friend might be called to religious life, but that doesn’t mean that you are. Perhaps you are called to marriage. Maybe you are called to religious life. That’s for God to know, and you to find out.

Peanut butter can be hard to swallow at times. I mean, it’s thick, sticky, and has a way of not going down one’s throat. Many times, it can be helpful to drink milk; this helps the peanut butter to go down. In the same way, in order to fully live out our vocations, we need to drink in the graces of God. The graces that God sends aid us in living out our vocations fully. We can try to eat that peanut butter without drinking milk along with it. It’ll be harder, and the peanut butter may not all be completely consumed, because it isn’t being washed down the throat. In this way, we can try to live out our vocations without utilizing the help of God’s grace.

We can think that God’s grace is unnecessary; we fall into pride, and think we can do things without looking to God. In order to fully eat that peanut butter, we really need to drink milk, water, some type of beverage! In order to fully live out and know our vocations we need to drink in all of the graces that God sends; we need to ask God for His assistance and help in knowing and doing His will! Once that peanut butter is eaten, it brings sustenance. It fills us, and helps us to live and act. Choosing God’s will, and choosing to accept His graces and help, is touch. However, this decision is well worth it. The satisfaction and fulfillment upon living in God’s will is incredible. The next time you eat peanut butter, take that time as a chance to renew a goal, or make a goal, of choosing God’s will. A goal of letting go of pride, and humbly accepting His graces and help. And for those allergic to peanut butter? It’s just another way to remember that God’s will is different for everyone. Not everyone is called to go “eat peanut butter.” Take a look at that peanut butter, and live life with a purpose.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sacrifice of Love

Praised be Jesus Christ! Really, praise to Him. Have you ever realized how amazing God is? Like, He's so amazing.

I woke up this morning...and prayed that I would not be grouchy. Five hours of sleep--but hey, that's okay, 'cause I'll just drink coffee and going to bed late was worth it. But---I couldn't get ready for school fast enough, so no coffee for me. And then I have this Forensics tournament today, which I'm not ready for AT ALL. But God has a crazy way of turning things around. I started off this day with Adoration at God Squad. 45 minutes of Adoration to start off my morning? Yes! Then I went to Mass during the morning. Fabulous. And I got a history paper over Pearl Harbor back, to discover a 99%. Win. English class was great, and we're starting on Readers Theatre. Win. That's been my day so far. God is awesome.

But that's not entirely what's on my mind right now. See, when I created this blog the other day, I needed a title. I opened my Bible, and gosh-I can't even remember what verse I opened up to. But somehow that verse made a strange connection to this JP II quote I learned on a school retreat last year. But let me back up and give the story.

I went on this school retreat, all girls from the junior class. The retreat was themed "Vocations." I sat down against a tree, by the cemetery at St. John's Clonmel, with this meditation packet that they gave us. I didn't know what I would pray about; I mean, I've prayed about both marriage and religious life, and really feel a calling to the latter. But I'm called to live in the Present Moment, so what more can I do in the way of a vocation? And maybe I'm not called to religous life, but to marriage? Anyways, I sit down and start looking over this meditation packet that I was given. I kinda read/skim, until this quote jumped off the page at me. "Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice." (John Paul II) Bam. Holy Spirit Anvil? Yes. That quote launched me into my prayerful meditations, propelling my vocational prayers into a different direction. Yes, it's still important that I pray about my future vocation, and I do. But the vocation that I have--regardless of marriage or religious life--is vital for me to be aware of. The vocation to be a Sacrifice of Love. We are called to love with the love of Christ. How did Christ love? By dying for all people, friends AND enemies. How does Christ continue to love? By being a humble servant, offering Himself to us in the Eucharist. So, the question is, how can I love with the love of Christ? By being that Sacrifice of Love, so that all may be loved. By dying to myself daily for my classmates, friends, people I can't stand, get the idea.

I can love by being humble.

Oh, how that hurts. Humility is tough. I wish I could be humble. I pray that I will have the desire--the true desire--to be completely humble. But I can try, even though I fail time and time again. Being a Sacrifice of Love. Sacrificing myself--my desires, my prideful thoughts, reaching out to others in humility--in order that all people encounter the love of Christ. So that when people encounter me, they may not really meet me, but encounter Christ. I definitely fail at this but hey, it's worth a shot. So that's the idea behind this whole blog. I try to be a Sacrifice of Love, even though I fail time and time again. God and Mary continually pick me up, helping me to try again. Throughout life, let us all strive for humility, so that we may each be that Sacrifice of Love to bring others closer to the Heart of Christ. Deo Gratias!

Monday, March 28, 2011


As a caution, this post was not pre-thought out. I sat here, and my fingers typed. This post is all over the board, but that is how my thoughts are working right now. I cannot have one single train of thought tonight. So be it. Amen.

So....I'm sitting in the living room, and I know that I won't be able to sleep for a while. It's 10:32. My parents just rushed my youngest brother, Dominic (age 5) off to the hospital about 10 minutes ago--his head just got banged up and really bloody. Seeing the agony of my parents combined with the agony of DJ (what Dominic likes to go by) is intense. And I'm sitting here, telephone at my side, waiting for know what is happening. I wasn't allowed to go with them because I "need to sleep because of school tomorrow." Sleep is definitely not coming for a while.

The timing of it all. I practically see God's gentle, fatherly hands covering my family right now, even though today has been....stressful? Difficult? Yes. While being on my school retreat, I missed the big news about how our dentist today somehow gave us a $429 bill when we thought we would only have an $80 bill for the visit. With the times being what they parents especially feel the stress, anxiety, sadness of the crosses that they and us kids have been bearing.

It's 10:38. The bleeding just stopped. Praise God! And DJ will be able to come home tonight!

God's timing is insane. I don't pretend to understand it. At all. Today was a blessed day. I had a good retreat with my senior class, but I've been worn out all day from this rainy weather, coming off of break, that kinda thing. Coming home, all the stress and worries of life really hit me. And then after all of it, when--after a big family discussion and prayer time--it looked like the evening would finish out in a much more relaxing, calm way, chaos is breaking loose.

So is this event tonight God's way of showing us how He'll pull us through all (since it all started and finished within a span of half an hour)? Or is this something the devil is trying to pull to make us despair and become incredibly dejected, and God has allowed it? I do not know. And I am not going to attempt to figure it out.

God is with us in every single part of life. The joys, the trials, the sorrows--He cares about every single one--and He is always present. His Hand is always holding us through life's events.

Think about it. I could easily be dead right now. Heck, a car accident could have easily taken my life in 2004--but I just came out of that lovely 10 hospital stay (and not so lovely styrofoam collar-ugh!) with a cut on my brain. Okay, not that great of an injury. But still, I'm alive. Praise God! God was with me through that whole incident. And it was stressful. And discouraging. And sad. And difficult. But, He has used that situation to bring me to life in my spiritual life, as well as my very purpose. I didn't really start living until I nearly died.

And now it is 10:51. And you are loved. Isn't that cool? Jesse Manibusan taught that to everyone at the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference in Wichita this past weekend. Whenever the time is said, turn to the person next to you and say "and you are loved." Well, my parents and little DJ aren't home yet, but I'm at peace thanks to that phone call. I am loved. Loved abundantly by God.

In His goodness, this incident was not a huge tragedy like a 2004 car accident. But this little incident is enough to wake a person up. Tragedies happen. Who knows when that person down the street will die or be seriously injured? How about your own family? How about you? I started really contemplating death with the passing of 3 people I knew in 2010. Shannon, a former middle school classmate; Justin, a man who I only got to know over a few days, but had deep conversations with and really grew to love as my Brother in Christ; and David, a classmate, fellow Dead Theologians Society member, a fellow Totus Tuus volunteer. None of their deaths were anticipated. That tragedy could happen again, easily. To whom? I don't know. But I do know this: Live each day as if it would be your last, according to an Irish proverb.

It's 10:57 p.m. And you are loved. He loves you, cares for you, went through many incredibly torturous agonies for you, DIED for you! What do you do for Him? Do you send more scourges into His back, ripping away His flesh with your sins? Or do you take the veil of your contrition and repentance to wipe the blood from His Face?

The choice is yours.

Totus Tuus Maria!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Begin at.....the beginning!

"Holy Spirit, command me to do Your will!"~Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR

I was not planning to start a blog now. I figured, a couple months down the road and yeah-why not-I'll start a blog. Obviously, that's not happening! Why? Well, as I read on the blog of a good friend of mine, I suddenly felt an urge-divine?-that I need to start this blog. Now. And if there's one thing I've learned about divine urges, it's this: when the slightest urge is felt, give it a thought and prayer. So here I am, typing, with no idea where this post is going, or where this blog will go. Okay.

But I guess that's how life should be anyway. Mother Angelica once said that "Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach." How true! Faith is the virtue by which we blindly give everything over to God. Everything. That can really, really be hard. Because in order to give one's life over to someone else, that person must trust the other fully. And let's face it, trust is hard to come by. So here's a little urging to trust God in a whole new way with your life. Wherever you are-maybe you've got the trust thing going on, maybe not. Whatever stage you happen to be at, take this chance to give God a try. The Divine Mercy image has the words "Jesus, I trust in You." Pray these words--pray, don't just 'say'--and give God a chance.

Let's pray:
"O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me; to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will. Amen." ~Cardinal Mercier