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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Like the Water Flows

For a long time, I felt like I was being held back. I was weighed down and tied up, tied up by what? It was my guilt, my sin, and my shame. I had gone to confession before but I felt like it wasn't enough. During my stay in Pecos, I remember sitting there in prayer for a really long time, I prayed long and hard that I be forgiven from all my faults, It was hard because I had to look deep inside of myself, and finally look at what it was that was keeping me from being a fully, functioning Christian. When I think about it now, It's like I really doubted the Mercy that God offers me, I never knew what it meant to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. All I did was stare into the eyes of a man who was given the vocation to resolve me from my Sins with the help of God, and then I would leave and pick it up, right where I left off. That kills me, that kills us. By the state of Original sin that was given to us, it's natural for us to sin, it's in our nature and always will be. However we shouldn't take the Mercy of God for granted and that's what was hard even for me to comprehend.
I was standing in the river there at the Monastery and I remember being so cold and so covered that It was so hard to walk and move. The wind blew up against my back and sometimes I would lose my footing beneath the current and plunge into waist high waters. I began to think of all the sin that I had brought with me and how likewise, it was the same. So heavy, so cold and keeping me unable to move, sometimes scared to keep moving forward because with all that weight you don't ever know if you'll go deeper with it all and drown or sometimes become carried away by the water that is pushing you.

I thought..

Even like the likewise, we push Christ away by our actions, we knock him down and repeatedly keep him from getting to where he would like to be with us. It's almost like our sinful nature allows us to be like this, like the water, where at one point, we become so strong and in favor of doing whatever we want to do. At the same time, I thought of how just like that raging water, and raging sin, so too, is the Mercy of Christ with us. So strong, so full that it's like a giant river that is cabable of covering anything, no matter how big or bad of a past we have. That same water, that brings us down and pushes us around, is the same water that lifts us up and holds us high.

When I returned home, that analogy has stuck with me ever since, and I wrote a song about it.. Remember, no matter where you've been or where you have gone, our God is a kind, loving and merciful God. Like the water flows, so does his Mercy. Here's the video link

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pecos, New Mexico 2012: Mercy Undeserving

This past weekend I went on a mission trip to Pecos, New Mexico to visit the Benedictine Monks. It was a 4 day retreat for the Lifeteen and it went pretty well. We learned a lot about the silence and how it is where our souls are at their best ability in finding Christ. We learned how in Silence, really the only thing keeping ourselves from Christ, is ultimately ourselves. We worked there at the Monastery voluntering to clean up some of their fields, buildings and gardens. It was a great time off, out of the world, and into our hearts to slow us down for self examination. For me it was rejuvenating, to serve once again, what I, what we are called to do.
Before the trip, I knew I had to make it to confession just so that I would be in the right state of mind when I went. So I went, and nothing really changed for me. Deep down inside I wanted to feel like I was forgiven, but honestly, I felt like I was just the same as when I walked in the confessional. I doubted God's mercy, and his forgiveness. Throughout the trip I tried to work when it was time to work, eat when it was time to eat, and pray when it was time to pray. In reality, it is a very hard thing to do, just to keep a balance of life is hard and I fail at it every single day. The first night we had confessions again, and I felt the need to go and just re-examine myself one more time before I went. So I did, and for the second time, I doubted again the mercy that God grants us, I doubted his presence and his forgiveness. But just like the last time, I was putting it inside of my head that I was forgiven and still somehow didn't feel like it. The next night we had the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, I prayed, everybody prayed, and I remember feeling so immersed, so focused on the Eucharist that no matter how hard I tried, I could not look away, I was so attracted and so relieved that at that instant, I felt the inner presence and mercy that God had given me. It was like a strike of a match, that was all there, It just needed that initiative to spark the flame. When the retreat was over, we got our rocks and through Divine Providence, I got the word 'Mercy' written on mine.. I think my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary helped me understand and see that, without her intercession I don't think I would have been revealed the true Mercy that God offers for us. It helped me realize that no matter how useless you feel, no matter how unworthy you feel, God still finds a way to forgive us, no matter how much we done against him, no matter how many times we have turned our backs on him he still finds a way to call us back and pour that undeserving mercy into our hearts.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brother Lead Me

My brother Nicholas, finally graduated from High School. That's right, class of 2012. I remember like it was yesterday when I was in the same spot, walked the same stage while he was just beginning the same path that I had took. All our lives, we spent our time following each other around waiting for the other to take initiative and take the lead. I can't say it was me but, my brother too. I believe that when you follow someone, your actually leading another and that's what it was about. Leading the people you love, no matter where they end up when it's all done with.  I think of the story of Moses and the Israelites, how he led those people out of Egypt, how he was so set on doing what he had to do that he did whatever it took to get the job done. For his family, his sisters and his brothers. I think we're all called to lead in some way or another. Some ways might be different than others, but we all have brothers, we all have sisters, and a family who needs our help. Congratulations to my little brother, who even though is younger than me is still in some way older than me. Congrats.