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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Am Third

After Student mass I felt the need to pray in the presence of Jesus. I was kneeling before the tabernacle, humbled, in fear, and just worried. I remember the only thing I was worried about was myself. I kept asking for my own spiritual guidance, my own renewal, just my own things, beings selfish. When I thought I had asked for everything I needed I got up, knelt before the tabernacle and walked my selfish butt over to my friend, who had just walked in the church. He seemed troubled, like something was bothering him. So I asked him if he was alright, he shook his head no and looked at the ground. He told me his grandpa had been put in the hospital and might not make it. At that instant, I realized that my first priority should be worrying about other people and not myself. I realized I shouldn't be first, because God is. I shouldn't be second, because other people are. I am Third.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alternative Spring Break

Spring Break these days is all party if your my age. Most of my friends head over to Padre Island, Florida beaches, Galveston Bay and have a good time. This year I decided to take a trip with the school to New Orleans for an alternative Spring Break trip. I thought it would interesting to return to the City where my calling and vocation was first initiated to me in 2006 when I visited to help rebuild the city after Katrina. So I was anxious and eager to start working and satisfy the desire that I've always had to serve people who truly need help. However during the trip, I didn't feel the same about my service, something seemed to be missing. We worked only two days out of the week and I was disappointed in myself, in the group, just the outcome of our work. In my reflection I started to see something greater. I started seeing that service isn't just about working and breaking a sweat. It isn't about standing on a 30 foot ladder tearing down an entire plastered ceiling. It's about just being there for the people, for the kids, and for the city.
Our main objective while we were there was just being present to the kids and showing them that there is other places that care, and show respect to them. Where we stayed was a rough rural area in New Orleans where the homes of these kids are mostly influenced by drugs and the business of drugs, and just violence. So we were there to show them that the home they live in, is not how the world is outside of home. I took me a long time to realize that just being present to the kids means more to them then anything in the world. They might be young but they do have feelings. It was sad when we left, all they kept asking us is if they would see us the next day and help them with their homework. When you told them no, we weren't gonna be back, they would just get this sadness in their heads and lower their shoulders. It was sad to see, but since they were kids they would soon forget and run around again, just like if they knew that they wanted to make the time with you last.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The American Dream

Today I met up with a friend of mine while I was walking to dinner, we crossed tracks and walked together towards the cafe. As always, I asked him how he was doing and how is day was going and, as always, he said "Yeah, I'm good" in his deep Japanese accent. Shinya, whose a communications major here at the school had the overwhelming task of memorizing the entire "I have a dream" speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. on Aug 28, 1963. As we were walking, I soon realized it was the longest walk to the cafeteria I had ever taken, but as we were walking I told him to show me what he's got. So I grabbed his paper, and waited for him to start the speech that he would soon say in front of the entire school. He muffled his voice, and began...
He began with strength in his voice, and his chin up high. He had the same stagger and monotone Dr. King had the day he gave his speech. Turned out Shinya had studied Dr. King's voice and speech so well, that he nailed every pause, every exaggeration and emotion that it had me amazed.

Shinya Continued in his slow Japanese accent...

       "And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!"
As I was following along with the paper in my hand, I began to think of an amazing reflection and revelation in my head. It was like Shinya was ambassador for all people of this nation who have been abandoned, starved to death, mistaken, lost with no where to go, hungry, cold and homeless and in need of shelter. I listened, and just pictured all these people in my head crying out the exact same thing "I have a dream" the dream to be free, to be healthy, the dream of an American dream.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Catholic Soup...

I would like to share my posts from my previous blog called Catholic Soup. I have about 20 posts that are posted on it, so I thought I would share the ones I like with you:

From Catholic Soup

An Act of Love

Knowing that Jesus Christ sacrificed himself only for me to gain eternal life is one of those things that really gets to my heart. He suffered what he suffered only for us to gain a better relationship with him. He endured all that he could endure only for us. He was nailed to the cross by us, and still had the courage to die for us. That my friends, is Love.

Imagine that your just a bystander, you hear all of this commotion out in the street people shouting and harassing a man that you don't know, but you have seen him before. You go over to the crowds trying to see over the shoulders from the person in front of you. You have no idea what is going on, all you know is that right now people really hate this man. As you and the crowds follow this man up the mountain, you feel what seems to be this man's heart beating inside of you. The only thing you can do is watch as this man suffers and falls not once, not twice, but three times. Sweat forms around your neck, making you feel more useless by the minute because now, the sound of cold hard nails are breaking the wood and penetrating the skin. This heartbeat that you feel is even stronger and feels that its keeping you alive making you fall on your knees because suddenly you know that this is an Act of Love. Not choice or what somebody planned.

Christ wants us to be like him, live for him. He wants us to experience all that we have so that we can experience him. We can never know God completely, but for him to die for us means that he most certainly wants us to be one with him. Loving as Christ did is what we are called to do, to love everyone we meet unconditionally just as he did. Christ is with us where ever we go, we may not be able to heal the blind and cure the sick, but we can do it spiritually. The phrase dying not only means what it is, but also a chance to rise and raise a whole other Act. An Act of Love

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Verso L'alto (Toward the top)

In the bible, there are stories of Jesus climbing to the top of mountains with his disciples so they can pray. Usually, it took them most of the day to climb up to the top, and then back down again after they had prayed. In Lawton, OK are some of the oldest range of mountains in the whole United States. The mountains have a similar region to those in Jerusalem, because of this, there is a nearby replica of the holy land, called the "Holy City" which is man made city depicting Jerusalem. So, yesterday I had the chance to climb up these mountains to experience a little bit of what it was like for Jesus and his disciples at the time. These mountains have huge rock faces that we had to climb up and over, sometimes under caves, or through brush, even jumping from one rock to another with a 30-50 foot drop beneath you. We were on our hands and knees pulling ourselves up, jumping from one rock to the next, even up and over rock walls. As my friends and I were climbing, the air started to get thinner, and by the time we knew it we were sucking wind and out of breathe. The only thing that kept us moving was because one, the adventure and excitement, and two, well, as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati once said, "The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ." So as I was climbing I tried to imagine Jesus in front of me leading me to the top. I tried to picture him climbing these huge rock faces, using all-fours and then turning around to help up his disciples if they had lost their footing. The whole time we were climbing, we had to use tactful skills of balance, hand-eye coordination, strength, and then jump. When we got to the top, I remember looking out for miles and seeing nothing but the region of rocks, nearby waters, and even more mountains! It was breathtaking, and exciting to see and realize once again that God created this. The thought of being on top of a mountain, made me feel the presence of God there with us. It was amazing. The three of us sat there on top of the mountain looking out, we prayed a rosary there in honor of God and all that he had done for us. For Blessed Pier Giorgio for being our inspiration and finally the Virgin Mary for being our great model of love, compassion and obedience.