I'm so blessed it's RIDICULOUS!
Seriously, when you think about how imperfect us humans are, how we constantly fall away from God, how little we are in the eyes of God--and compare us to GOD-Who is Infinite, Omnipotent, All Loving, etc.--its easy to see just how ridiculous it is that God dumps down His blessings on us! 'Cause we don't deserve any of it, but He, in His great love to woo our hearts, pours out His immense love.
This past weekend is a tremendous example of God being ridiculous in blessing me.
Friday was great; I got to eat lunch with my household's chaplain, went to Mass with household, went to this mini-opera thing that the Schola Cantorum performed at, went to a crazy household dance party =) and spent the first few minutes at Trinity hanging out! And ending my day by praying with one of my very dear friends started off my birthday weekend in a great way! (My birthday was Saturday, the 28th. Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas!)
Saturday morning, I woke up on....4 1/2ish hours of sleep? I was too tired to notice. But somehow I hauled myself out of bed, and went to 6 a.m. Mass. Two of my friends who were unable to come to the abortion clinic came to 6 a.m. Mass anyway, to offer prayers and give me hugs! How awesome is that?? Well, I went to the abortion clinic. And it was cold. And prayerful. And cold. And tiring. But one of the women in our group encouraged us all, speaking of the importance in being "fruitful vines" even if we do not see the fruits of our labors. At the end of the shift (I go on 1st shift, which is from 7:30-10:30. Then we're relieved by 2nd shift, they're relieved by 3rd shift, they're relieved by 4th shift....we have students there for the entirety of the clinic being open on Saturdays) a counselor came up to us and said that a woman inside had decided to turn around. To which my friend Michael said "Well guys, there's some fruit!" We were ECSTATIC!!!!! But it got better. Apparently on 2nd shift, a woman came out--pregnant with twins--deciding not to have an abortion. We don't know if this was the same woman or a different one, but we don't need to know. We know that at least one woman had a conversion of heart, and at least two children were saved from death!!!!! I was just like "God, I don't even need anything else for my birthday. That's just epic!!!" But does God ever listen to me? I wonder.....
I had brunch with some of my brothers, and went over to Trinity where I just relaxed, played cards, and talked with them until a little before Lord's Day. On my way to Lord's Day, I stopped by the J.C. Williams Center--where I saw a couple friends from Students for Life. The man, Don, randomly was like "Oh, I have to show you what I got for my birthday a couple weeks ago from a seminarian friend!" What did he pull out? A cross-shaped case--containing 6 FIRST CLASS RELICS! He hadn't had time to use tweezers to pull out the papers to see who they were (I think one was St. Ursula), but that is okay. Dude, I don't just randomly get to venerate 6 First Class relics of holy saints every day! So then I went to Lord's Day. And it was awesome! My Big Sister gave me a bad of candy wrapped in red bubble wrap =) (so I can pop it for happiness!) and a card with a bunch of sacrifices and prayers. She's so awesome!!! And we had tons of visitors at Lord's Day, so I had about 50 people sing to me. And I got tons of epic hugs. And the only place where I could sit--because it was so crowded--was right in front of the crucifix. So during Praise and Worship, where we all face the crucifix, I was just a few inches away from the incredible image of Our Lord. AH!
After Lord's Day, I went to dinner with a bunch of friends, and they told me that Jacob wanted everyone who could to go with me to the Port after dinner, in honor of my birthday! Some people had homework or work, but in the end, about 7 of my friends joined me in the Portiuncula chapel, praying in honor of my birthday! How incredible is that??? It meant soo much to me, I just couldn't handle it!
Then we walked over to the J.C., 'cause some of the women wanted tea. And I thought that Jacob was up to something, since he kept calling Bobby on the phone. But I wasn't sure....well, us ladies went over to Trinity, and Jacob took us back to the lounge with Bobby and some of the other guys. And nothing happened. So I was just thinking "Okay, well this will be nice. I'll just sit here and knit while we play 'Apples to Apples' and eat candy with them and we'll just have a really fun evening!" Just as we were starting to play the game, Bobby took me to the kitchen to talk to me. After several minutes, one of our other friends, Kathleen, came over. Bobby and I had finished talking, so we decided to take Kathleen back to the 1st floor entertainment lounge. We walked in, and....it was like the rapture had happened. Everyone's STUFF was there, but NO ONE was to be seen! I figured that they had migrated down to ground floor or up to 2nd floor, 'cause they've done that before. So Bobby took us to ground floor....nothing.
So we go up to 2nd floor. And I walk up to the lounge, and open the door. The room is dark, and there's a movie on (with Dutch subtitles-random!). Before I had a chance to wonder anything or think anything, AH!
The lights turned on, and about 20 people all screamed "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!" This huge banner, about 4-5 feet long, stretched over a couch--all fancily decorated with letters and pictures that had to do with my life. Cyrene and Kristen walked in with a cake that looked like my Feast Day Hat--it was red velvet, round, in three layers. And the sides weren't frosted, so that it looked like it was my red-and-white striped hat! On the top, they had piped out the words "Happy Birthday AnneMarie" in cursive, with frosting dandelions! It looked--and tasted--amazing! There were also lemon poppyseed cupcakes, and apples and bananas that formed a heart shape. Sara gave me this cool sparkly cross hanging/ornament and a coin purse, I got a ton of awesome cards, Nicole gave me an epic scarf (just like hers! So that when we wear them for household, we'll match!) Jackie gave me an orange, Twin gave me 4 POUNDS of baby carrots, and Virginia and Maria gave me a whole bag of apples. The movie that was playing was "Sister Act" (they all know how much I love the religious life), and after that we watched "Aladdin" and I prayed with Jacob. And Bobby threw confetti at me. And it was amazing. I honestly was so overwhelmed with love and joy that I sat on the floor, with the hugest smile on my face. And they all mischeviously smiled back at me. I still can't comprehend the amazing love that they showed to me, in putting together this amazing surprise party!!!!!!! It was soooo amazing!!!!!!! I got back to Tommy, and went to the chapel until 4 a.m. What an incredible day!
On Sunday, I slept in, went to lunch with some of my epic friends, and skyped back home to let them know what had happened. Then I went to High Mass. God is so good! And the Mass is already epic. But an especially epic thing happened. It's the "Our Father."
"Sed libera nos amalo." BOOM! All the lights in the church go out. After flickering back and forth, the lights stayed on. But it was just epic. Soooo epic. After Mass, I got an epic hug from Jacob (who I had been sitting with) and we walked to the gathering space for our coats. And we saw through the windows that it was snowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God is crazy. Sooo crazy!!!!! Then I walked/danced in the snow over to household holy hour, which was beautiful. Sooo beautiful!!!! Then I watched the newest episode of "Once Upon a Time" (Love that show!) and went to swing dancing where I danced my heart out! And I finished up the last couple hours of my weekend by studying and praying with my epic friend Jacob. Epic weekend? Best birthday weekend ever? TOTALLY!!! God basically took a bunch of epic blessings and decided to continually dump them down on me. Because things kept escalating in sheer epicness. So good!!!
God loves all of us, and He loves to shower us with His love and blessings! It's important to be open to how He's blessing us, to have the eyes needed to see His wonders. So today, take extra care to see how God is blessing you and loving you!
Jesus loves you!!!!