Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GoOD daY


Today is going to be a good day! 

I remember saying that to myself today as I took this shot. There had been several things on my mind, and after breakfast and a good little talk with my best friend, I was reminded that it was all about an attitude approach. 

I looked down at my feet and remembered the Chucks I had on and the fun socks I decided to wear regardless of my collar. Just for fun. I took the IG shot, "Yeah, today is going to be a good day!"

I decided to just make the best of the day and move forward. I had mentioned to my friend, "You know, as priests we just need a tap on the back every now and then..someone to tell us we are doing good. Not to pity us, but to affirm and encourage" and in retrospect it was like the Lord said, "Alright. No prob. I can take care of that right quick."

He freed up my schedule unexpectedly which allowed me to get some work done. All the while I got a fun conversation in with a parishioner. Heard that Ben Affleck appears in the area every now and then. Then, I found out that Jim Jinkins, the creator of my favorite childhood show Doug, works just a couple buildings away. This last little tidbit just floored me and got me soaring through the rest of my day! 

Again it was like the Lord thought to himself, "I bet he'll enjoy this next fun fact."

I got some admin work done. I had the opportunity to pray and have a fruitful time in Adoration. This was followed by the awesome celebration of Mass. Afterward a random man approached me. He was at Mass. Turns out he is ridding his bike down from Pennsylvania to Florida. He spoke to me and shared his prayer experiences--friends, holiness can very often be overlooked...wow...what a brief and incredible encounter. 

He had asked for a blessing upon him and his bike as he continued his pilgrimage of sorts. He smiled as he pedaled away and referred to me as "Monsignor." I laughed. He stopped and looked back at me. He smiled again a smile that seemed to beam with a joy that wasn't really of this world...a bit mischievous like a innocent child who knows something that you don't and it brings him joy...with that smile, he turned away, pedaled and shouted "Goodbye Monsignor!" 

I'm not in it for the glory...puh-lease! I have other things to worry about...but the situation made me smile. You know that smile that comes about from just being amused by the little things? It was like that...here was another little thing along with a chain of things today.  This whole day had just been...surreally-fun! 

One of my last conversations of the day was unique. I had not really shared too much when out of nowhere the voice on the phone said, "It's like every now and then, the Lord will shine his rays of goodness on you to simply affirm you and love you up." 

My jaw dropped. I was smiling like a fool. That basically summarized my day. The Lord was just giving me a good day.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wait...WHAT?!

My sister was raising Adipose children.
She was in cahoots with the Adipose and attempting world domination.
I couldn't believe her! She was now an enemy that needed to be defeated! It was up to me to try to win her back and save the world.

I noticed, though, that the Adipose began to eat each other! Eating each other they began to morph into bigger Adipose...one of them was gaining in size and dominance.

Great. Not only did I have to try to stop my sister, I had to defeat the alien creature that was beginning to run a rampage eating everything and everyone in sight...

I was dodging flying alien missiles and taking coverage around the corners of homes...when I began to notice that man-eating vines began springing up and attacking me...snapping at me with their sharp teeth trying to get me...great...

My sister...the adipose...man-eating vines...what next?

I randomly found myself down a winding road with green pastures on either side...forests could be seen in the distance. I found a home I could take solace in as I tried to figure out how to deal with my sister and the giant Adipose...I walked in and found my inspirational hero... Steve Kamb - founder of NerdFitness. I was excited to be interacting with the guy that's given me the motivation to bring discipline into my health life. Through his work he has also given me a focus for my personal life. Without knowing it, he's helped me...and here he was! I was excited and yet I was trying to play it cool.

"Hey!" I said trying to not sound annoying...
 "ugh..." he lazily responded as he walked from one room to the next, picking up the mess that was left by a bunch of friends.
"So, yeah! You're the founder of NerdFitness and all...I just wanted to say hey and thank you for all the work that you do! You have really done a lot for me. All the work you do has helped me focus things in my life!"
Looking at me slightly annoyed he says, "Oh...good..." He slumps down at the edge of his bed and stares out into space...tired...

I looked at him...it was starting to get awkward...and then I realized that my hero was a fake...everything he's ever written...his optimistic view on life...his ability to instill in people a sense of purpose...it was all a facade.

My sister was attempting world domination and my hero was a fake...

And then...

...I woke up...


Confused and trying to get a hold of reality, I smiled somewhat troubled. "What in the world...?!?!"

I've had a crazy week...hectic for sure...crazy dreams follow suit I guess...hahaha

I love my sister. She isn't attempting world domination.
I may have been watching too much Dr Who, hahaha. A recent episode I watched had these aliens creatures called Adipose. Google it!
I have never met Steve Kamb, though one day I hope I will; I follow his stuff and can see that he does great work; he has inspired me in my personal life; and I know that he is currently running an exciting camp that I wish I was at!

sigh...
I wish I could travel by Tardis...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

One-Click to Craziness

I have a friend...and no, when I say "friend" I'm not referring to myself. I have a friend who the other night had a dream that he was cleaning his house with his mother. Random, I know. So anyway, he was cleaning and cleaning. Done. He wakes up groggy with eye crust. He rolls over and hits the snooze on his phone. He's a priest so he has to prepare for mass and meeting with people and all...he needs to get up and get his day started...

"Ugh...another morning..." Blurry-eyed he looks at his phone and notices a notification: "Thank you for your purchase."

With bed-head swooshing across his balding head, he wakes up panicked, "Wha...?!" He goes over the contents of the email and finds out that in the middle of the night he purchased two Dyson Hoover vacuums from Amazon.

"I didn't purchase any vacuums!! Unless..." And yes, what had never happened in the past happened last night. In the middle of the night, while dreaming about cleaning the house with his mother, he turned on his phone, punched in his password to open it, searched for vacuums, and bought two Dyson Hoovers. And thankfully, because of the one-click purchase option, they provided for a quick checkout without the hassle of punching in all your account details.

Poor guy. My priest friend is trying to get it all cleared up but who would believe you if you said, "I didn't buy these! Well, I did but I was sleep walking...or uh, rather...sleep buying..."

LOL

Before we sleep, as priests we pray the Liturgy of the Hours: Night Prayer. There are a couple prayers that come to mind from Night Prayer. "Into your hands Lord I commend my spirit. You have redeemed us Lord God of truth, I commend my spirit" and "Protect us Lord as we stay awake, watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep rest in his peace."

We never know the craziness of life that can befall us while we are awake, so we always commend our selves to the Lord in our morning prayers. But while we sleep, we too can undergo crazy happenings...LOL I doubt we will every buy two vacuums in our sleep, but be it an illness, a temptation, or an unforeseen death, we also commend ourselves to the Lord that he may watch over us in the night as well.

Now I'm not saying my brother didn't pray his prayers. Maybe the Lord was watching over him and was actually able to prevent him from purchasing 20 vacuums...I don't know! LOL --I still can't believe that happened to him!!-- But always remember that even in our sleep we commend our lives to the Lord...for even in the middle of the night the one-click purchase option can change things real quick!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WhA-cHu OfFeRInG?

As I was preparing for my homily this weekend, I was listening to a couple podcasts to get a good backdrop. I was praying and trying to figure out what to preach on and every time I would visit my notes, I could tell that the Spirit was nudging more and more to a saying that I learned later on in my life..."Offer it up."

Most of us may not have heard of this saying. I seem to always find out that the older generations heard it growing up. "My mom would always say that to us!" "My grandparents would constantly tell me to offer it up."

Suffering is a very difficult thing, but it seems to me that we have become sensitized over the years. Any form of discomfort or suffering is quickly avoided. We have forgotten, have never realized, or have never been taught that suffering can also be a great opportunity. Suffering is an opportunity for us to become channels of grace for those around us and for the entire world.

O_o

I know, right?!?!

Yes suffering is bad and we must do what we can to alleviate it. I'm not promoting masochism. Still, if we find ourselves in a moment of suffering, we can unite our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ and offer it up. We are united to Christ by virtue of our baptism. We are in Him in a very real way. He is living in us. When we bring Christ into our suffering, it becomes a moment in which his grace can be poured out into our lives.

And actually, we can offer it up for someone else. We can undergo a certain difficulty and, uniting ourselves with the suffering Christ, ask the Lord that he use our suffering to bring grace to someone else that may have a greater hurt or greater difficulty...we can even offer our suffering for the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

Notice, through the very suffering of Christ; his agony; his persecution; his beatings; his heavy burdens; his scourging; his nailing and suffocation on the Cross; through all of his suffering moments and ultimately through His Death, he won for all of humanity the promise of the Resurrection. He redeemed the human experience and brought value and meaning to suffering. When we suffer, it does not have to be in vain. We can offer it up along with Christ. We are part of his Mystical Body and can thus share in the redeeming value of suffering as we undergo own sufferings.

Think of a parent who gives her meal to her child so that they can eat. She offered up a suffering (her own hunger) for the wellbeing of her child. Similarly, we can undergo our sufferings with someone in mind that they may be spiritually nourished, strengthened, and or assisted by God's grace.

Suffering is difficult, but it no longer need be endured in vain. Be it a paper cut, an annoying client at work, the individual who cut you off in traffic, the friend that betrayed you, or your second round of chemo...all these moments of sufferings are moments in which we can offer it up and be united to the Suffering Christ.

Start using the saying! Tell your friends and family about it...*warning, they'll probably hate you at first when you say it a lot...so go easy on them!* And yes, be mindful that we may need to console those who are in grave difficulty, still, now we know that suffering can change the world around us.

I found some links about Offering It Up. I think they can help fill in some of the gaps I am overlooking. They give Scripture references and other everyday perspectives!
http://catholicmom.com/2014/08/22/offer-it-up/
http://www.fisheaters.com/offeringitup.html
http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/offering-prayers.html
http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2014/03/whats-point-of-mortification-and.html
http://happycatholic.blogspot.com/2005/10/offer-it-up-what-heck-does-that-mean.html
http://catholicism.about.com/b/2013/11/08/offering-it-up.htm


Now if you would excuse me, I really don't want to clean up my room...so I have to go offer it up!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ViR-choo!! uh...Bless you?!

These thoughts are being prompted by a great book called Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri. I totally recommend it and will be using it as a spring board for this blog entry. I'll also be quoting it below. 

When I was going through my college years, and prior to that too, I recall learning about virtue. Over the last few years, after entering seminary and being ordained a priest, I've come to see and notice that we don't speak about virtue. I suppose we begin to consider virtue to be a lame or stagnant way of life. It's almost a bad word to say someone is virtuous, right?

BARF!!!

It's so fascinating what society has done to our understanding of all those things that are true and good and beautiful. You know virtues actually help us be more human. They help us control our passions. They help us see things as they should be seen. They help us interact with people as we should. I mean, they help us be more than just animals.

Danbo, leave...the milk...alone!
You've had more than enough!
You know, to be a morally good person means that the standards are held high.(Sri 87) Too often we settle for doing what feels good, "following our hearts," being complacent with the sub-standards of society...And when we fall for these sub-standards, we don't live out virtue but we tend to live out vice...

Danbo: Priest, what is virtue?

My bad...okay, so the easiest way to understand virtue is to think of it as a disposition of your heart and will.

Danbo: O_o

Virtue is basically the ability to do good things without thinking about it. You do good things because its now second nature to you. You do good things because you have made it a habit of doing the morally good thing.

Danbo: After doing a certain action many times it can become a habit? And the habit eventually turns into virtue?

Well, yes, when that action becomes second nature it becomes a habit. A habit to do the morally good thing is a virtue. A vice is the disposition to do morally bad (evil) things.

Danbo: So how does this help you humans not be like animals? How does it help you be your best?

Ultimately, virtue helps you see things as they are. They help you to always be thinking and acting in ways that are morally good. You'll naturally know not to not act out of emotions but out of the right and morally good thing to do. Animals will always act out of instinct. They will always act on emotions. And, though yes they can learn, at some point the animal cannot rationally say to themselves, "I am upset with my owner and the way he is treating me. Even though I feel this way and anger is raging within me, I will walk away until I feel better about this so I don't do something horrible. Then we can forgive each other."

See virtues "remind us of the higher moral standard that we are called to follow." (Sri 87) As human individuals, we move outside of ourselves. We think of the "other" in a personal way. Virtues help us tame the emotions and appetites in us so that we can always act as we should. Emotions and appetites are not bad in themselves, but when we allow them to control our every actions, then in a sense we become slaves to our emotions. We have noticed what happens when we act out of the immediate feelings we are experiencing. We do something we regret or we get ourselves into a slump of some sort...Virtues help us place our emotions in their proper place in our lives so we can enjoy things and interact with people as we should...

Danbo: To act as you should means you act the way you were created to enjoy life?

Yes.

Danbo: But doesn't that mean that all the other fun things you could do are forbidden?

Ah, but Danbo, to truly be happy, live life, and have fun, we must live as we were intended to. First and foremost we follow God. Following Him, we begin to realize how to live our lives and how to enjoy the things of this world. Now, that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy zip-lining, powerlifting, skeet-shooting, wake-boarding, or the like...Being temperate, prudent, just, and fortitudinous help us figure out how to put all our energies in living life rightly while working and having fun.

Doing bad things, though they may have an initial "fun characteristic" to them, will leave us feeling empty and void. They will never satisfy. They will leave us wanting, hurting ourselves and others. If we were meant to enjoy bad things, then why do people who do bad/evil things seem to never be happy nor satisfied? Those that live a virtuous life find happiness and satisfaction because they have developed their hearts and actions to do the good thing.




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ninja and Son of God


Discovering our uniqueness can be a great adventure. For the most part, we will be discovering who we are until the day we die. Some of us will never really understand who we are while others may have a deep, grace-filled, insight and be fully aware of their uniqueness. And what makes us, us? What defines us?

Our existence, our identity comes down to one simple reality: being a child of God. Everything we do in life flows in and out of that reality. What we do, how we interact with people, what dictates what will make us happy or sad, what will build us up or take us down...it all comes back to the fact that we are children of God. Sons and Daughters of the Most High. When we realize that, everything else will have it's place.

Take my pastor for example. I am convinced that he is part of some secret ninja organization--I mean even ninjas need chaplains too you know? Part of his ninja training has equipped him to enter a room without so much as a sound. This has allowed him to come into any room in the rectory without my notice until it's too late. I'm sure on many occasions he could have dealt a fatal blow and ended me. All that said, I must always recall that at the deepest core of who he is, he's a son of God. God loved him into existence and holds him in existence in love. All that he does in life flows in and out of that reality. God has called him to live out that reality, his identity as son of God, as a priest. Of course, this has upped my personal strength training and made me work on my cat-like reflexes so that I can eventually have the upper hand.

Even though my pastor has these secret ninja skills and freaks me out every time I turn around to find him in the room doing something without me noticing, the dynamic reality of his identity as son-of God will always be firm and will never fade away. His uniqueness primarily comes from this first reality. It doesn't make him any duller. It doesn't make him a one product within a multitude stemming from the same mold...no...He is still unique. Loved into existence to be son-of-God in the only way he could manifest his unique identity -- with ninja skills and all. Loved into existence to be son-of-God, called to the priesthood to mediate God's love and grace to the world so that those he comes in contact with may discover their unique identity as son or daughter of God. 
In the midst of life's crazy chaos, in the midst of our uncertainty and anxiousness, even if we think we ain't nothing much, know now oh man, know now oh woman, that you are more than what you know yourself to be. 
And discovering that reality can be the greatest adventure we will ever have.

Friday, August 1, 2014

WhO Dat taLKiNg BAcK? Habits Help

A couple weeks ago I was confronted by the very person who brings about my downfall on a regular basis. I know this guy a lot. We've been through thick and thin, and yet, every time I want to do something that will help me out in the long run, he tries to convince me otherwise. I am sure anyone reading this would be like, "Dude, just leave your friend. Why keep him around?" Well you see, this guy is...me!

Yup, on a regular basis I find myself to be the cause of my own demise. So I was going to my continued education workshop, Good Leaders, Good Shepherds. Yeah, I was a little excited to go, a little not excited. Hahaha, well who wants to feel like they are in school again? *Ahem* Well, I kind of do...but I digress. So in preparing for pastor-school, as I have dubbed it, I was looking into seeing if there was a gym nearby. Yeah yeah yeah...go ahead, make fun of me, but I've been really digging this new lifestyle. It has helped me out in other areas of my life.

So there I was, day two of the week of the conference. Day two of getting up earlier than the other guys. Day two of driving 5 minutes to the gym...and I parked in front of the gym. I sat there tired --- traveling zonks me out --- and looked at the doors to the gym. The thought came, "You know...you could just exercise later. You can head back, sleep some more, feel rested, and exercise this afternoon." Hmmm...he does have a point, doesn't he? I mean, my workout wouldn't go well because I'm real tired...maybe I should


Then out of nowhere it was like the "real me" realized, "WOAH! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!? What are you saying?! You won't do it later!! You have already decided to do this a long time ago. You are in it for the long haul! You are already here!!!! Get out now and ignore that other guy! Let's do this!"
Brandon Phillips. Photo: Shaun Cleary:
Maybe it was the devil or maybe it was the old habits coming back, either way I had to grab the bull by its horns. Nothing is more difficult than going against those excuses and that nagging "logical-sounding-other." And yet it must be done.

Walking the Christian life is a difficult one. We may find ourselves completely invested during that initial phase but its when the rubber meets the road that you have to come back to the reason why you started. If your reasons were superficial, then any difficulty will have you running for the hills. This reminds me of the seed that fell among the rocky ground. Matt 13:20-21 There is no root, so when the dry arid heat comes, when persecution comes, when difficulty of standing up for your faith or getting up to work out confront you, we wither up and run away.

So how do we stand firm? How do we grow strong roots in rich soil? How can we go against ourselves when the excuses come? By building up habits, good habits, i.e., virtue. Habits would be the everyday life experience of what we do when we workout...we slowly work on weight lifting to be able to be strong and equipped to lift heavier. We slowly work on creating habits to do the right thing so we can be stronger and quicker to do it when things get tough. It's all about the small actions, the small victories, the constant and continual little action to do the right and good thing. If we build these habits, even when we don't want to, we will be able to persevere when it is difficult; we will be able to do the right thing regularly without thinking; we will be able to live out our faith with greater courage; and we will be able to speak to the broken part of ourselves that desires complacency and have them rise to be greater.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

dO yOU eVen LIFT?!

I've been working out these last two months with a great coach. I hope I get this right: he's the athletic strength coach for all the athletes at Valdosta State University. He's really taken me under his wing to help me workout and do things as I ought. He's coached me with good form and has been there to change my perspective on how to workout. Needless to say, it has also trickled over into my spiritual life.

As an athletic strength coach at a university, students always come and go. He walks with those students during their time at the school and then they leave. No grieving or anything. They come and go. He does his job. It's up to them to keep going if they so choose to do so.

I'm leaving that town, going to a new parish to be the parochial vicar at another, and will be on my own for the time being to give myself a schedule, a routine, and to put the discipline and principles he taught me into practice. I was joking with him in a text the other day saying that he will be undergoing a grieving process as I leave. In my mind's eye, I could see him shake his head the way a coach does when focused, and in a frank manner he texted back,
I do not grive. People have always come in and out of my life...You are the one in trouble, you have to lift alone. You have to choose now.
Wow...I smiled when I read that text. True to being a coach, he has been trying to instill in me the need to have a focus; to find that determination; to get the right mindset; to find the inner drive to push when I didn't want to push; to realize that even when I thought I couldn't do more, in actuality, I was stronger than what I thought.

We had a debate about making daily decisions; whether or not we are free to make the daily decision to complete a goal; and whether or not we had any more options once we completely committed to that goal. It was a great conversation and overall we were on the same page. Ultimately from an athletic perspective, when we fully commit to something, when we have decided to give our all to a certain goal, all other things that would distract us from that goal is out the window and they are no longer options. From that moment, when we wake up and eat and work and pray and live our lives, we are driven by that goal; and the moment we begin to debate as to whether or not we will act in line with it, we have lost our goal and, truth be told, we were never in it for the long haul to begin with. We were never committed to it.

Intense, I know...

We are in this life for the long haul. There are moments in which we have great coaches in our lives that are there to help us draw closer to the Lord, and ultimately to help guide us so we can make it to heaven in holiness. Virtue, habits, right living, selflessness, charity, sacraments, prayer, denying our passions...these are just some of the things we use in the giant gym known as life. They are the intense weights, barbells, dumbbells, squat exercises, burpees, crossfit routines, breathing exercises, stretching routines, spin/biking classes, marathon training programs, eating lifestyles that are there to help us draw closer to the ultimate spiritually-athletic goal: heaven. At some point we need to ask ourselves, "am I all in?" We have to realize that we have to choose. Yes there are moments that we will have great support and friends to help us, but in the everyday moment, we seem to find ourselves alone and confronted with what we think matters most...

What will be my decision? Am I all in? What will I do to live out my Catholic faith? Living our faith with conviction takes more than just a quick fix. All these diets and "quick abs" exercises are fads and won't give you what you need unless you change your lifestyle for the long haul; when we think that just being good or just going to Mass once in a while is all we need, we won't really attain holiness goal of union with God; it may get us somewhere, but for how long? We have to find that focus, mindset, and inner drive that allows us to live for our Lord. Yes, I do want to be lift to be stronger and I don't want to let it go; this lifestyle has allowed me to put to words the deepest desire in my heart: to get to heaven. I have to let myself be driven by what I have given myself to completely at every moment of my life...and I do...as best I can in my broken human-ness. We are all a work in progress, but at least we have given ourselves to that progress. You can't squat 200 lbs overnight. You build up to it. You deny yourself some things and work on others. Similarly, you can't expect yourself to be fully detached from material-worldly passions and possessions overnight. You have to build up to it little by little through mortification, and the sacramental and prayer life.

Fortunately, we won't be alone in this. I workout alone currently and I have to conjure up my coach yelling at me and pushing me during a routine. I have to remember the things he has said to me. In a sense, he's still with me. We will always have the Church and the Lord to guide us. All we have to do is just listen up. HE will never leave us alone.

I'm in this for the long haul. Thanks Mike. Not just for the athletic perspective, but for the ways you have strengthened my spiritual life.



What about you?
Have you allowed yourself to be driven?
Are you driven?
You in this for the long haul?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Priorities?...AIn'T NObOdy Got TimE foR DAT!

You know, I've been following a blog/website that has been helping me have the right perspective with trying to stay healthy. Yeah, we priests have to take care of our bodies too. Within the midst of doing ministry, trying to meet the needs of people, making hospital visits, having meetings, celebrating the sacraments, remaining healthy seems to be last thing worth considering. Sometimes we just believe that being healthy can't become a priority. I mean, ain't nobody got time for dat! lol But I've had to make it a priority so as to be balanced both in body and soul. I mean, I want to create a healthy lifestyle grounded on good habits and discipline that will be with me in the long run; I've come to find out that exercising gives me the focus and discipline that I need.

Really, I stumbled upon the most helpful advice that I have applied not only to my life in general, but also to my spiritual life: "I don't have time" is a Big Fat Lie. Notice, we have time to spend on random things: watching TV, Facebook, apps/games on our phone that take care of singing monsters, etc. (Not that I know anything about singing monsters on my phone or anything *nervous laugh*) but we never seem to have time or energy to spend on things that matter the most (e.g., taking care of our health or our spiritual lives). I mean we do things because on some level we have told ourselves that it is important enough or that it has some kind of priority but sometimes it's not on what matters most.

So on some level, we need a shift in our way of thinking. We need something that convicts our thought process and our hearts. Something that can attack the lie that "we don't have time." And really, in the combat of the spiritual life, the devil loves convincing us that we never have time to draw closer to God...

Alright, so how do we apply this? Well, Steve Kamb wrote a great article and it's the same one I linked to above. Yes it's a fitness site :p It's a forum on learning how to have a healthy lifestyle and perspective. He uses great practical principles that can be applied to different parts of our lives and I would argue that some of them can be used in our spiritual lives. In a way, he helps people Level Up their lives! *Shout out to Steve Kamb*


Okay, so basically, Kamb says that we have to replace some of our vocabulary: "I don't have time for X-thing" should really be "X-thing is not a priority." By changing up the approach of how we describe our situation, we can shift our way of thinking. "I don't have time to workout" turns into "Working out/my health is not a priority." "I don't have time to pray" turns into "Drawing closer to God is not a priority." Kamb is right on when he says that we begin to feel a sting when we are faced with the reality of our actions. It puts things into perspective. To say that a bag of chips or that our complacency with our relationship with God is more of a priority begins to sound like a life we don't want to live. Who wants a hopeless-driven life of lethargy and complacency? NO ONE! Simply changing our verbiage can help draw out the proper perspective and motivation.  It's a great practical tool to have for our lives in general.

It's also a great, practical, and crucial tool for our spiritual lives with the Lord. It's easy for us to say I don't have time to pray, or that the church is too far to go spend time with the Lord in Adoration, that the Rosary is too heck-ah long to pray, that there is not enough time to read the Bible...but what we are really saying is that those things are not a priority. Spending time with God is not a priority. Praying the Rosary and Scripture are not a priority. His desire to draw us closer to heaven, transform our lives, and provide us with meaning and hope isn't our priority...

Scary, right? Let that be some food for thought. Priorities, we do have time for dat! It's time to recognize it and Level UP :p




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christ is Risen!

Probably one of the most interesting things that I have encountered is our immediate sense of putting things aside. I've seen it in my own life, in the lives of those around me, and in society. Somewhere along the way we have conditioned ourselves to move from one thing to the next. We have found it difficult to relish the moment we are in. We are too occupied with the future. We become anxious. We become uncertain of what is to come. OR we allow ourselves to be burdened by the past. It feels like baggage that can't be shaken off. There is a sense of uncertainty and fear at the prospect of stepping outside of the paralyzing event that we cling to for dear life.

It's so hard to just let go and to be in the ever present moment. The present moment is the true reality we find ourselves in. It is in the here and now that we can find ourselves capable of going beyond the person we were in the past. It is the here and now that we can make a decision that will take us one step forward towards our goal. Notice it is just one step. So it is only one step we must concern ourselves with. And it is only one step beyond the person we were.

So who are we? What makes us good? What draws out our dignity? The Resurrection. It is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-man, that we begin to understand who we are as men and women. We begin to understand that we are not bound by the past. The chains have be broken. We are more than the fears and insecurities that have cornered us for years. Our dignity and goodness has a foundation in a deeper reality. We are not paralyzed by an unknown future. We are not overwhelmed by unknown possibilities. Rather, we are motivated and zealous by the hope of the Life we are promised in eternity!

You see, God BECAME man. He took onto himself the human nature. Being truly God and also truly man, he was able to raise the dignity of every human person throughout the world and for all times (past, present, and future). GOD *said in a southern accent that places three syllables in the three-lettered word* found us worthy enough and desirable enough for his goodness and his love. He snatched us away from a torturous past and overwhelming future and gave us what is most essential to live our lives in the freedom found in his Son: an understanding of our human dignity and a purpose in life.

We are good. Created good. Meant to live with Him in eternal bliss.
All we have to do is live it out...now...in the present moment...

Easter is a time to relish in what has been granted to us. And as Catholics, one day of Easter is not enough. The Octave of Easter is what we find ourselves in. One week where EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. we celebrate as if it IS Easter Sunday. One day is not enough to relish in our goodness and the promise of eternal life. One day is not enough to dive deeper into the reality of our dignity and what God did for us.

I will not set it aside and move on to the next moment. Nope. Not me. I'm going to enjoy this Octave (Easter Week). I don't want to forget who I am. I'd rather be liberated from my past uncertainties and be given a peaceful hope of what's to come.