Blast to the past!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9whehyybLqU
Balloons are wonderful!
I recall many good memories from my childhood, during which I would hit balloons back and forth, playing with my siblings. Our goal always seemed to be that the balloon not hit the ground or be popped. The funny thing is, ten years later, this goal has not changed. A few weeks ago, some friends and I set up a small surprise celebration for the birthday of one of our friends. Well, some of my guy friends set up a fan on the ground that blew upwards, and set balloons above the fan so that they hung suspended in the air. I love what college students do in their free time! Even though we are out of high school and "more mature," (I put that in quotation marks for a reason....) we have this incredible fascination with balloons. And why not? They come in all colors, styles, and can be used for a variety of occasions. I still remember that, during my freshman year of high school on finals day, my Forensics class went out side and released helium filled balloons into the air!
My dear boyfriend was talking to me the other day about how important it is to open ourselves up to however many graces God wants to give us; that we must pray to be receptive of all that God has to give us! Think about the Miraculous Medal; there are rays--signifying grace--shooting out of Our Lady's fingertips...but not out of all of them. Mary told St. Catherine Labore that the rays were not coming out of all of her fingers, because some people do not ask for graces even though they are available. Can you believe that? Our Lady wants to send us graces from God, but we don't ask for them! Crazy, isn't it?
Hmm....but then again, maybe we are guilty of this at times. How many times have we told God what we need; thereby dictating what graces He should give us? Don't get me wrong, it is good to realize what virtues we need to practice, and the graces that we need to grow in virtue. But don't try to put a lid on God and limit the graces. And there are those times when we tell God "Okay, that's enough. I'm good on graces and blessings now." Well, maybe not everyone does this, but I know that I used to. I would legitimately get exasperated with God; I would tell Him that I wanted sufferings and sacrifices, yet He would keep blessing me abundantly! And then there are people who claim that they have no blessings in life. Honestly, I have some great news for these people: there are graces and blessings to be had!
We have to be open and receptive.
So let's think about those balloons.
When you first open a package of balloons and take one out, it is not inflated. It's flat, lifeless, it limply lays there in your hand. So you stretch it, and blow a little air in it to help make it stretchy. Then you stretch it more, in all different directions. Finally, you blow hard, causing the balloon to begin inflating. You keep blowing, harder, consistently, as the balloon becomes larger and lighter, able to float in the air when given a little hit. The more stretched out the balloon is, the easier it is to inflate the balloon, and the more air it can take in to grow.
The more prepared you are by God's "stretching" through trials and purification, the more receptive you will be to those graces--you will be able to take in more air of the Holy Spirit, to grow. Let God stretch you beyond your limits. Then, you will be able to take in more graces, and be receptive to whatever graces and blessings He has to offer, even the unexpected ones.