Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Simply Grateful

Today, I found myself really grateful for what I have. I got a call from my dad, saying he was in Oklahoma City on business, so I suggested that we meet up for dinner. When I left to head for the city, It was pouring rain. I couldn't see the road, couldn't even see through my windshield cause of all the mist from the cars ahead of me. I remember thinking about turning around and not taking a risk at killing myself just to see my dad. A lot of times we can take for granite what we have and don't even think about it. When I met him at the restaurant we were meeting, we shook hands, hugged and shared stories. I told him how I was doing and he told me how he was doing. He ended up telling me that earlier he had picked a guy up looking for a ride, he was homeless, unemployed and just placed there by God in providence. It was really fun to catch up with my father, since it had been a really long time since we talked.
Back at the school, there was a candlelight vigil for a St. Greg's student whose father had passed away in a plane crash, He was the OSU Women's basketball coach. To talk to my dad the same day, there is a vigil to remember one that has passed is something to be really grateful for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Une vocation noble

Une vocation noble, it's french for a Noble Calling. As part of my discernment process here at the school God has placed me, I think I am understanding a new calling from God. Something like this has come to me only by the grace of God, through the hands of Mary. To comprehend this calling is a great privilege and an honor to believe that Christ himself is working through me to others.
My servitude has been a big part of my faith to Christ, It is something that I love doing. The smile that is left is a rewarding element to witness. Every mission trip that I have gone on is still in some way, shaping me even to this day. One that stands out that most, is my mission trip to Honduras.
Here, I went on a one week mission to build homes for those who have literally nothing. No Water, no electricity, no shelter. While it helped me realize to be grateful for everything I have, It helped me even more to understand that no matter what race we are, or even what language we speak, we are still are one in the same. A huge family that share in the same graces from God himself. It was just last year that I felt being called to becoming a missionary priest to help provide the sacraments and virtues to those who are less fortunate than others. In April 2010, I took a trip to Dallas with the diocese of Tulsa to visit the Holy Trinity Seminary. Someone that I grew very fond of on that trip was a 42 year old man from the Philippian Islands. Though his accent made it hard for me to understand, I still managed to make out what he was saying. It was a real gift and I am truly thankful that I see that. We hung out together, he taught me a few words, laughed together. He smiled, and every time he did it reminded me of the happiness from serving those who really need it. So this bond between the both of us started to become a real lesson for me. Later while I was visiting the seminary, I woke in the middle of the night, walked to the kitchen to help myself to a midnight snack. There I would meet a native from Guatemala, he happened to be in the kitchen eating too. We talked for a good hour, learning from each others past experiences. As he's telling me his story, for some reason the only thing that's running through my head is ways to help people. He told me that he went to school in Guatemala to become a priest. He emphasized that the people only have mass once every 3 months. When he told me this, my mind sort of stuck on this thought of helping out and changing this. Anyway, through time he got so sick, the school was forced to medically release him since they did not have the resources to keep him there. Frustrated, he set out for a desperate attempt to head for the United States, so he applied for a visa. I remember him saying that usually, it takes about 2 months to receive a visa in Guatemala, it is only typical. He said the very next day, heard at the knock at his door, and opened it to find somebody with an envelope that had his visa inside. He said, it was a miracle and to this day he believes it was an angel. One week later he found out that his uncle was flying to Houston for business, he begged his uncle for a ticket to come with, he found out that his uncle had exactly the amount needed for one more ticket in his bank. So he ended up going and now he is in Dallas, Texas attending a seminary, studying to become a priest.
I was amazed at the story and how everything seemed to work out for him. The whole weekend for me was a lesson, and a calling to help all of those in need. The thought of people having mass once in every 2 or 3 months lingered in my head, I couldn't imagine not having mass for that long.
Even now, we take it for granted and don't really get what we should out of it. We have the opportunity to attend daily mass while others only once every 90 days. That alone provides me with the desire to help as much as I can. Every time I am around somebody from a different country that calling just passes through my head. Talking with people from Honduras, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Haiti, and even the Bahamas, it really does go through your head. It's tough to discern what Christ wants out of us, but I learned that if we pray and put ourselves in obedience to God, graces will always be provided to help us see that calling. That calling, whatever it may be will always be a noble one.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unforgettable Unity

A couple of friends and I decided to drive up to Wisconsin for fall break. We drove up through St. Louis, visited a few seminary schools, stayed the night and had some fun hanging out with a couple seminarians. Even hanging out with a filmmaker, Kurt Krauss, whose a good character and very uplifting in spirit.  When we arrived on Wisconsin, I couldn't help notice the beauty of the state. It was so beautiful and so clean. Season changing leaves on the trees, and rolling hills that are either farmland, forest or grass fields. When we met the family it was so comforting, I felt like I was at home. This family was the happiest family I have ever seen in a long time. No worries, no stress, just the family and this sense of unity. I remember watching everybody having a good time with each other and all of a sudden I started to think of my family and every single person. How sometimes we have those days when we argue and don't get along. Naturally that is how every family is, sometimes you just don't get along. It made me be so grateful for the family that I have today and cherish them as long as I can.
You know all weekend long, we have been talking about life and how its not about where you are at, but the people you are with. I think God wants us to understand that as his followers, yeah its great to get out and experience what life is like through the different areas and culture but as long as we cherish the people that are there living that culture It's almost like your there with them and apart of what they love. It's with those great people that you gain the unity that Christ wants us to. This weekend in Wisconsin has been great and I won't forget it here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Love Divine

The word "Love" is over used and miss interpreted so many times now days. So much that when it comes down to it, we don't even notice the true or exact love that comes from within or from somebody else. For the first time in my life I witnessed a true and divine love that was brought up from God through Christ himself. Some friends of mine having been dating for quite a while now and today was the day he would ask her. We decorated the Mary chapel with roses and red flower pedals. As she walked in, he sang her a song that he wrote.When he finished he dropped to one knee, looked at her straight in the eye and said to her, "Karen, I love you so much, and I want to be with you for the rest of my life. So would you marry me?" For the first time I saw love, true love, self-giving love that would bow down and ask for love in return. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was a sacred moment, and I couldn't help but see Christ down on his knees in the same position, asking us the exact same question. Will you love me, will you live in me. The question and the response together make a one, true love divine. It was great to be apart of, Congratulations to my good friends Joshua & Karen Dutchover Hynes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Everything and Nothing

From Matt Maher's new album, this song has got my attention and I can't stop listening to it. It's one of those songs that helps you realize all that you have done, it has you close you eyes to listen to the lyrics even more closely. When I heard it for the first time I didn't know exactly what the song was talking about, and I thought the title was weird. I had no idea what Matt was talking about. Even now I still don't, because it is not my song. For some reason it sticks out to me.
For the past few weeks, I have been down, lost thinking about my self-esteem and what other people think of me. It almost feels like I am nothing and worthless to everyone, including myself. When I go to mass in the evenings, for those few minutes after receiving communion I instantly feel like I am everything in the world, I feel like I am held in the palm of God's hand. In a sense, I am Everything and Nothing in his Love. When I got to hearing the song more and more, I started thinking this song describes exactly how I feel. I'm lost and found, I'm saved and drowned. I'm everything and nothing all in one, I'm so far gone, but I'm already home, cause everything but your love. I thank God everyday for the love that he's given me, without his love we would be nothing. It's through his love that we are Everything, and through his grace we are nothing. The nothing is what makes us stronger.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Brother's Keeper

For the past few days, one of the monks here at the Monastery has been in the Hospital battling his last few days here on the earth. On September 1st, Brother Joseph Lawrence Niichel, O.S.B., entered eternal life. The brothers of his life, the monks, prayed with him before his death, prayed for the intercession of all saints, he was given his last rights and prayer for a great and peaceful death. As Br. Joseph laid there in bed, the Abbot of the Monastery came over, leaned over to his ear and said, "Brother Joseph, as your Prefect, Brother and Abbot I give you permission to let your spirit go, and pray for us you leave behind." Less than five minutes later, He rested.

Today, I was asked to be pallbearer for the 71 year old fellow. I was honored, I have never done it before with any of my family members who have deceased. To do it for the first time for Br. Joseph is a privilege and honor. As we carried the casket down the isle to the cemetery, even when we lowered the casket I remember thinking about what this man did in his life, where he was at, what his last thought was, or his last word. It was all visual for me, I remember just picturing him in mass when I saw him in his motor chair.
When we were lowering the casket into the ground, I was proud enough to smile for him being Brother and me helping to be his keeper.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today, I came to realize that there is more to the Virgin Mary than what I thought there was. She wasn't just the Mother that we pray to for peace. She isn't only the Queen of all Saints, or our Lady of Grace. While these are all great things, the Virgin Mary is a symbol for all. As I found out today, these symbols are all hidden inside the portrait that was revealed to Juan Diego On December 9, 1531. Juan Diego, a young peasant Aztec native, saw a vision of the Blessed Mary, telling him to build a church at the top of the hill. Juan Diego shared his story to the Bishop. But, the bishop wanted proof. Mary appeared the Juan Diego a second time in the same spot and explained to Diego to gather flowers. It was in the middle of winter and soon, Juan Diego gathers beautiful red roses, collects them in his tilma, in those days a tilma was used as a carry-all. So on December 12, Juan Diego takes them back to the bishop and as he lays the flowers down in front of the bishop the Image of Virgin Mary is miraculously imprinted on the maguey agave fabric.

Today, I had the privilege to be shown the hidden images that are inside this beautiful picture, some which i will show with you. I will try an explain from the top to the bottom with what I was told:)

Water/Acid Damage: at the very top middle there is line of water damage on the original copy, because of a great flood that happened in the chapel that it was kept in. The Rays of the sun are seen to be fading because of the water. Painters try and clean it and revive it with acid but damage it only more on the right side, they become frightened and stop.
Right Eye: On Mary's right eye a hidden image of Juan Diego is seen wearing a Sombrero looking up
Neck: Right underneath the neck of Mary, the Image of the Holy Eucharist is seen by few, with the face of Jesus inside of it!
Hands: In Aztec times, the mothers started to have many miscarriages during pregnancy because of the labor that home mothers required. So Aztecs would tie the hands of pregnant woman to keep their work limited and close to the womb. Gold is used to tie her hands, as a sign of Divinity. Mary although prays for US while she is tied.
Belt: the black knot is actually a European symbol of pregnancy. Some say that the can see Saint Martin de Porras as the belt, who was born on December 9th, and the patron saint for all mixed races.
Aztec Symbols: The symbols that cover the dress are all signs of life, of heaven and God. Under the black belt, is a flower, that symbolizes God. The black belt, being a sign of pregnancy. Together, Mary is pregnant with God, or Jesus.
Dress (Leftside): Here you will see a light ray that runs down the side of the Dress, with a sharp end near the bottom. This is the exact tool that is used during an Abortion.
Bottom: Near the bottom, Mary is crushing the angel Lucifer who has horns on his head. If you look closely you can see the two large horns from each side of Mary, two eyes on each side of the head of Lucifer, which is the demons nose and the sleeves of his shirt are the smile.

The Virgin Mary is the Mother of Christ himself and offers endless grace to us, her children. She is the Mother of all nations, her love for the world is unconditional and we should offer her our love and prayers. Her mysteries will last forever, Love you Mother

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Never-ending Joy

The past four days I have been helping out with the Vacation bible School with my parish. I have been the music coordinator for about 4 years now and I have enjoyed it ever since I started. Monday, was the start of the 2011 Bible School and It's been a blast so far. Today unfortunately, was the last day for this years SonSurf Beach Bash, but, the beginning of every bit of never-ending joy. This year, just like the other years, every child seems to light up with Joy that I have never seen before. Happiness and pure Joy fill the room and cover over every person in the room. It's almost like water that qinces your thirst. It satisfies, and gives you energy. While I'm going through the motions of every song, I can see smiles all around, laughter, I can almost touch that happiness it's amazing. I try and give my energy while doing that music motions so that they feed off of it and praise God while doing it. It feels good to be almost like a mediatrix between the children and Christ. As Leaders, as adults, that is what we are called to be towards the children and younger ones, we are mediators working in between the two. Doing this in any way we can, will bring Never-ending joy to our lives, because true joy, lies within the children.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back on my Knees

Today, for the first time in a really long time I knelt down to pray. Over the past few months it seemed like I forgot how soothing it was to the soul. I never prayed before I went to sleep, I didn't pray on my knees when I woke up. I would always skip right over it, like it was a CD or something. The CD would play but when it came to a song that I didn't like, all it took was one single act to skip right over it and go right on to the next. But, that's what I did, never cared too much about praying on my knees.
My father called the family down from upstairs, as we each gathered in the hallway, we walked closer to the distant voice we heard coming from the back room. He called us into the master bedroom, got down on his knees and said "we need to pray". As I hesitated, for a second, a cover of amazement sheltered over my body and I dropped to my knees. As I closed my eyes to the prayer, I felt relieved, so relaxed, It felt like I was being held, everything was comfortable again. I realized that I had been gone from prayer for so long, so long that I had forgotten about that peace it brings not only to pray, but praying on my knees. I knelt there, with my body hunched over on the bed. My elbows propped me up while my hands were covering my face. I stayed there, humbled, attracted, and in pity. I mumbled, I'm sorry over and over again. I was going lost, and Christ voice attracts. God, I need you, I'm nothing without you, bring me back to you, If I don't make it through, I need you. I love you

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ranchos de Taos

I went to Taos, New Mexico this weekend. The same trip that had a profound impact on my life 4 years ago. We went to remud the Mission of Saint Francis of Assisi. There, I would witness the Holy Spirit just putting all sorts off things together for me. How I met different people, the scriptures that I received, it was amazing how everything seemed to tie all together. I went to sleep everyday getting closet and closer to the thought of not being afraid. Afraid of being who God really wants me to be. Afraid of just losing everything that God has given me by throwing it away by one simple wrong decision. I got off the bus onto the parking lot of my home parish knowing that Christ will always be with us, he will never leave us. That we should never be afraid because Christ is our Guide. My rock was "Guidance"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Working on the Heart

It's always a good feeling when you finish working on a great big project or something that you really take pride in. You have been working on this project for a really long time, giving it some great detail to the point when every last drop of sweat has fallen from you. Everyday you work on this masterpiece and the only thing that keeps you from not giving up on it is the thought of seeing how it looks when your finished. The feeling of completion and that feeling of rising above every voice inside your head to give up and quit is what draws you to keep going, and ultimately finish.

This weekend I went with some friends of mine to work on a natural spring just outside Konawa, Oklahoma. It's a natural spring in the shape of the Sacred Heart. When we got there I bent over and starting praying as I was working. After a few minutes of prayer and movement, I suddenly got a desire to get dirty, and put all I had into this one thing, this one heart, a Sacred Heart. I took my shoes, socks, shirt and shorts off (not to worry, I had shorts on underneath) I continued and instantly became drawn to keep moving, and I didn't want to stop. I began to sweat as I tried desperately to get the crystal clear water to flow better. The water-flow was so dirty and as I used my hands to pull the weeds, and remove the dirt. The water would soon flow and clear out all of the dirt and create a beautiful rich, clear flow. It was amazing how I could actually see the dirt being filtered out through the flow of the water, it was like the old was being replaced with new. Then it became clear to me, there was complete silence, and I seemed to be at peace and not think of anything but focus on the Heart of Christ. I began to think about how Christ works on my heart, and that it is the exact same way as me working on it this great potential natural spring. I did not want to stop moving. My friends would call upon me and I was so zoned in on the love of Christ through the Sacred Heart that I didn't hear them. It was an amazing experience that became obvious to me.

Jesus works on our heart everyday of our lives trying to shape it and help make everything flow better. He makes builds it and helps it take on anything that our heart endures. I think that this was the main reminder of me working on this spring. Jesus, cleanses our heart, takes out everything that is holding up the water from running, like the leaves, the mud, rocks, all of these things are the things that keep us from gaining a healthy spiritual heart that Christ wants from us, He wants our hearts and he wants our love for him to grow. Christ is doing everything he can to help your heart flow, he is removing your sins, and cleansing your soul, building it up and preparing it so that we can open it right back up, and offer it back to the one who made it work. As we speak, he is replacing old with new, removing all that needs to be removed. As we speak, he is working on your heart.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life is Spontaneous...

Yesterday, I got a text message from my good friend asking if I wanted to go to a Thunder game in Oklahoma City. Of Course, I could not say no, so an hour later we were on the road. We ate at "Old Chicago" had some great pizza, made a sign to hold up at the game walked a good ten minutes to get to the stadium. By the time we knew it, the game started and we were having some good fun. At the end of the game, Monte Ellis (8) tied up the game as people were leaving, thinking the game was over. It went into overtime, and there were empty seats. So my buddy and me went down the stairs and sat pretty close to courtside for the extra quarter. We had a great time. Life is Spontaneous wouldn't you say.

Monday, March 14, 2011

CD Collection

Getting autographs is always fun, even signing your own name is fun, well for me at least. Here at Saint Greg's we had a visitor come down and play for us, Luke Spehar, he is an amazing guitarist with a gifted talent. His songs are all based on finding the will of God and discerning his vocation. He came to play his second album for us at school. I got his autograph. In Washington, DC we we're out eating at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown and found out that the guy walking back and forth was Mark Ballas with Chelsie Hightower, two well known winners from the TV show Dancing with the stars, Me and my buddy bought his album which was set to release the very next day and got his autograph. Now, When we went to Nebraska, we got Corey Crowder's autograph along with the band and his newly released album. We didn't quite get Willie Nelson's autograph but we got Bobbie Nelson's. So we got a good collection going on here, hopefully we can keep going and having as much fun as we have been.

Willie Nelson in Concert

There are a lot of things that I have on my mind that I don't ever imagine doing while I am in college. Truthfully, those things are not really even on my mind, I don't think about them. I would have never thought I would shake Willie Nelson's hand when I am 19. That just was not something that I thought about. This weekend a friend of mine, offered a trip to Omaha, Nebraska to see a well known legend, Willie Nelson. By the time I knew it, we were on the road me and four others. It was a long drive but in the end it was worth it. When seven 'o clock rolled around we were driving around the Emporium Theater looking for a parking spot. We got our spot and tickets and something else. VIP passes to a room that was just loaded, It had nice furniture, good food, open bar and nice restrooms. When the concert started it was Corey Crowder playing then came Willie Nelson. He is really good on the guitar, I was surprised at how old he is and still doing good on the guitar, he looks pretty healthy to me. The crowd was getting into it, yelling out his name, and clapping along to the rhythm. When It was over, we rushed to the bottom of the theater, reached over a few heads and shook his hand.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just a Walk

The season of Lent is finally here, a time of repentance, a time of noticing our sins and making a commitment to change them. The season of Lent calls for a time of fasting to focus more on prayer and the continuous conversion that we have. This year I am trying to only eat one meal a day, and two small meals. So far It's working good. It makes me more grateful then I have ever been with the food that I eat. I was so happy to eat such a tasty meal. It made me see what I have, and what others don't.

The bible says that Jesus is led into the desert by the Holy Spirit after he is baptized in the Jordan. He is led for forty days and forty nights to a place that is dry. No water, no food, no animals, no shade, it is a place of sorrow and sadness. The desert is a symbol, just as the Cross of our Lord is a symbol. With the cross, we are called to carry it, take it up, and engage in journey with it. The journey carrying the cross is not easy, we will fall, we will experience pain and suffering but in the end it is all worth it. Same thing with the desert, It is not going to be easy to walk in the desert, Our goal on the other side of the desert is not going to be easy, we are going to be tested, tried, tempted.

I was sitting in Mass today, and I just felt drawn. I didn't know what to, I didn't know what for. It was just like a calling deep inside, I wanted to just close my eyes and sit there in the presence of God. I closed my eyes and felt so comfortable, so relaxed and so warm. It felt like I was at home, like when you have nothing to worry about, nothing to think about. Deep inside I know that God is with me where ever I go, even when I feel he is not, he is. It seems like God knows me so well that he just wants me. He wants me for whatever it is that he has planned for me. Lately I have been moving from his own plans, but I can feel his tug and hear his call. This is my desert, It isn't going to be easy, but with God, It's Just a walk.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just Visiting

The past two weeks of mine have been pretty spontaneous. Some friends and I decide we will just go to someone's house and be there for the weekend. It's been pretty fun, meeting different parents and grandparents. They feed us and give us a place to sleep, we get to hear some pretty amazing stories. Last weekend we visited some parents of a friend of mine. We got there and they had a beautiful house, two-stories, fireplace, nice kitchen, beautiful backyard view of the neighborhood pond, and not to mention a really cool dog! The kind parents feed us dinner, salad, on the nice table that they set up. It was really great, we hung out played "Yatzee" the game of rolling dice, drank coffee, and stayed up pretty late working on our talks for the retreat the next morning. The house is really a gorgeous house, it is one of those houses where you can just drop your job your plans and just retire in it. It's beautiful, the couple seemed to have everything under control, there wasn't ever really a mess in the house. I happened to grab a picture from the second floor.

The whole night we worked on our talks for the retreat. It was a very long night, but we got some great rest and finished off the retreat. When we came back to the house, I had a bathrobe waiting for me. kelly's parents wanted me to have it as a gift. I had a ton of fun hanging out and getting to know some different parents. They make some great coffee I don't think I will ever forget this one!

That was last weekend...This weekend we are staying at my friend's grandmother's house. Along with her hospitality, she has a very funny husband. this man could very easily go for a comedian. He does accents, has great stories, they are just a sweet family with a nice house. She fed us a ton of food, doesn't even care to sit down, she is so worried about caring for us. In the house she has probably over a hundred antiques that she doesn't even know about. In the house is a picture of her brother, who is the inventor of the push pop can opener for the sodas, with Pope John Paul II, the soon to be saint.She has an autographed picture of Don Larson's perfect game from the 1958 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. They got a picture of my friends great grandfather with the Hall of Famer, Lefty Grove. Not to mention a New York Yankee autographed baseball from the 1977 World Series with signatures of Lou Pinella, the Chicago Cubs manager, Billy Martin, the current Yankee manager, and a lot other big league names. So being here is an adventure for me, the hospitality is great, food is wonderful. Mom, we're visiting next!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Silence Me

You ever lie in bed and just think back on how fast your day went, so fast that sometimes you can't even remember what happened, who you ran into, who you smiled at, who smiled back or what you were doing. At the end of my day, I find myself thinking back on what I did right, what I did wrong. Possibly what I can change or what I can do better at, and I think a lot of times we find ourselves searching, and searching trying to find or remember what it is that we lost or what it is that we can't quite remember. It's like when you meet someone that you've been wanting to meet for a really long time now and today is the day that you are introduced and then by the time you know it you just can't remember their first name. I think a lot of times we go through our days thinking that we have another one tomorrow, we go through the motions, not really acting but just being present. Today I wrote a song while I was praying. It came to me as I was strumming, just because of my thoughts on the day. Lately my days have been missing what they should really hold, I feel like I am moving to fast, so fast that I pass right by Jesus and don't even recognize his being. I pray that for all that feel like their days are caught in the wind and just moving so fast that we don't even have time to pray or sit. I pray for all those that move so fast that they pass right by Jesus, just like me. This song is called Silence Me

Lord Silence Me, Silence Me
Slow Me down, help me live in the spirit
Lord silence me, silence me
Slow my Mind, help me learn to clear it
Silence Me, silence me
Ease my Heart, help me to give it, to you

Lord Speak to me, Speak to me
Draw me to you, help me see you forever
Speak to me, speak to me
Bring me down, down to my knees to pray
Speak to me, speak to me
Calm my soul, by the music of your voice

Silence Me, Silence me
Slow me down, Slow my mind
Silence me, silence me
Ease my heart, Draw me to you
Silence Me, Silence me
Bring me down, and Calm My soul

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Beautiful Revelation

These past few days the school has been covered with fresh snow. On Monday, we got word that Tuesday classes were canceled due to the weather. The forecast said that we were suppose to get about a foot of snow by ten that morning, and we did. The snow covered the ground and it was freezing cold, on Tuesday we got word that Wednesday classes were canceled and on Wednesday, Thursday classes, and on Thursday, Friday classes as well. So we had about a four day break out of the week.On Friday, I woke up, got dressed and headed out to the gym. Today was different, It wasn't cold, It wasn't like the days earlier in the break. When I stepped outside it was so radiant that I had to squint my eyes. The earth seemed still, no breeze, no noise. Snowflakes feel from the sky the size of quarters, It was beautiful. It reminded me that all life is new and bright, all we have to do is see, that snow was there I just didn't see it. As I trudged through the snow with my head up, I couldn't help realize how beautiful the scene was. I started to think back at past days and how I have been just so frustrated with my thoughts. My mind has just been cluttered with all sorts of things, by the words that I say, and the things that go through my head. I remember seeing the flakes fall, and thinking to myself, what am I doing. These things I say about other people isn't me, the thoughts that go through my head about others is not my mind, it's not mine. I prayed as I was walking that God help me to control my thoughts and my words of and to others and to see all life as new life, to not judge at first sight. Snow is a beautiful thing and you can see a lot of things through it, I think God wanted me to realize what I have been doing to him and myself. Of that, I am grateful that he helps me see what I fault in and what I need to improve on to live a life that is based on the imitation of Christ. Today happened to be that day he helped me see new life, through a beautiful revelation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Voice. Our Strength

On Monday, I finally got to stand up for what I believe in and attend the National March for Life in Washington, DC. Just being there is one thing that you know is amazing and well worth it. Even after a 26 hour long bus ride. Thousands of people gather in this march so that the pro life voice can be heard by congress an all other bystanders. 300,000 people marching trying to make this cause known by holding up all different kinds of signs and wearing all different sorts of colors. The sounds of drums and yelling was in the distance, chanting songs and praying went on as the fog of our very own breaths came out of our mouths upon exhaling the cold air. It didn't hit me until I was on the hill and I looked back and saw this huge mass of people covering up the street. Then I had a thought come to my head, I started thinking about all 38 years that this March for life has been going on and how powerful it is, even on Monday. You don't really know how powerful something is until you actually visualize. During the March, I saw power, I saw one, by the speakers and the people who showed up everybody just seemed to be all together in this fight. It was great to see that even though we are separate as human beings, we can still rise together and all fight for the same cause. I was in shock at the devotion that our country has at trying so hard to stop a massacre that more people are becoming aware of, and I think that as Christians and as pro life body, that our voice only cries out for more help, not only to put an abrupt end to abortion but to start something new, something that the world rarely sees. A new start at love and what it truly means to be part of the Pro life movement. This is our voice, This is our strength.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Buckley Team

This semester I took on the challenge and service project of being on the Buckley team here at St. Gregory's University. It's sort of strange on how I came to know the team because a few years ago while I was in High School, I went to the Regional Catholic Youth Conference (RCYC) in Amarillo. While I was there I met a few people and I remember hearing something about the Buckley Team, Long story short, I think I met the team there.
Now I am on buckley 4 years later, quite coincidental. We'll anyways this weekend was the Buckley Refocus Retreat where everybody learns about each other a little bit more than what they already do, we plan the semester and talk about some of the things that the team has done, that is handed down traditionally. Our job is to strengthen teens into becoming better disciples in Christ, that way they learn to take on the leadership role that we provide and use it back home. The semester should be pretty fun and exciting. Just like our personal lives that are always seeking conversion, in that same way the team I think is still on that conversion process. It'll be fun, It'll be fun. Personally, I am glad to be on the team as I explained to the team while I talked for about on hour about the things I have gone through in my life, in terms of service projects and the ups and downs. I told them that being on the team will help me, and also us live out the message that I, we, even we, have been giving from Christ, to serve.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Call to Imitate

I am back at Saint Gregory's after my long and exhausting Christmas break, I had alot of fun though hanging out with family and friends. Overall I would say that I learned alot of new things, being about myself and others things like what I should be doing with my faith as far as making it last and stretch out to others. One of the things that remains in me more than anything during the break and even after the break was the call to Imitate. Not just to imitate your favorite quotes from your favorite movie, No, much more than that, something like imitating people that you know are reflecting the love of Christ himself. One of which is my father. My whole life was basically founded by my father and I have always wanted to be like him and only hope to gain the knowledge that he does. I mean what child doesn't want this from a father of their own? While I was spending some good working time with my father, he was telling me a story about how he was gone for a truck driving trip in Wichita Falls and he happened to come across a call girl, he told me he was praying deep inside. His heart was crying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Throughout the night, God answered his prayer sending him a good friend of his own that he had happened to know. Crazy how God works right, we'll he invited this woman to mass, and prayed with her. I thought to myself, man, my dad is a strong man in his faith, there aren't many men who can resist something like that from a woman, It goes to show that God isn't just a three letter word, it's hope, its refuge, it's strength. I was amazed on how he had gotten through this, as I was listening I became even more in awe just by listening to his Evangelical life, having conversations with people who he doesn't even know and praying with them, giving them at least something to stand on. I am thinking to myself, you know what, I want to be like him, I want to tell people of Christ and what he has done for me, I want to be a living testament of him. After hearing a simple story of Strength I have come to understand almost a whole new calling, the calling to imitate not only my father, but also Christ.

Jesus, help me reflect the image of your love to others the way you would do, help me to see all that you see, Make me a beacon of light for all to see, and that they see your message of Divine love through me, Amen.