remembering Who I am with

I felt very flustered at day’s end today. I felt like today was a whirlwind, like I needed a breather, and like I just wanted things to go my way. Welcome to the life of a lot of twenty-somethings!

As a Catholic twenty-something, I realize that a phenomenon that I experienced today was spiritual warfare, too. (I’m sure non-Catholic twenty-something experience just as much, but are unaware of it.) Satan really tried to get me down. For instance, after teaching Confirmation, I thought about how I felt like a fool and like I was doing a horrible job, though I knew those were irrational fears in my head.

When it comes down to it, Satan wants to discourage me from having joy, peace, and love. He wants me to forget Whose I am and who I am, so that I can no longer be filled with God’s joy, peace, and love… nor pass on that joy, peace, and love to others!

Satan and his demons want people to be unhappy with themselves, others, and God. In that order, a lot of times. We focus on ourselves, others, and then God, and things just start to come apart.

God, on the other hand, is Love Himself. He calls us to receive His love, give His love, and– most of all– abide in His Love! We are to love Him, our neighbor, and ourselves. And it is in that order that contentment lies– that Love naturally begets love.

Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the day, in a somewhat dejected mode where I was telling God all about the details of my day, I suddenly stopped. The order of my thinking had reversed. It had become Satan’s order, but I knew that I was called to think alternately: God, others, me. I had to think of Him first: He Who was right before my very eyes at that moment in the form of bread! He Who I was with!

I looked intently at Him, in the form of bread, and suddenly, it was as if the Holy Spirit brought back into me that joy, that peace, that love. For I realized… It is  not about my day, but about how my day is His day! It is not about what happens in my life, how I glorify Him, or what I can give to Him…

It was all about Who I was with in my life, and how I could simply see Him before my very eyes right then and there. in His True Presence. Moreover, I realized that throughout the day, at every moment outside of Adoration, I needed to see Him in others, and to love them. And I needed to see Him in myself. And to love myself. Like St. Therese said, the task to simply LOVE is my vocation– to simply love Him!

I thought about the story of Martha and Mary in Holy Scripture. A lot of times, I think that Catholic twenty-somethings feel like they need to be like Martha, always doing, doing, doing things for God. But God calls us to be like Mary in our heart, at all moments. Mentally, in every moment, we are to sit as His feet, look up to Him, receive Him, and just get lost in His immense Love! Throughout the various tasks of the day, we must keep Him, gazing at us lovingly, in our vision. It is He Who I am with.

God is the reason we do all of the things that we do. It is easy to forget this when we are going about our busy days and even when we are  in His Presence at Adoration or when we receive Him at Mass. Yet He simply wants us to abide in His Love. Every second of His every day that he has given to us. That is our main purpose in this life.

In the Adoration chapel at the end of a long day, God Himself was there with me, pouring out His love into and all over me. What more did I truly need that day (and night)? No, not my works (which were actually just His works through my hands). And no, no one else– not my boyfriend, family, friends, beloved students. Just Him. Just Jesus. Just Love Himself. That is Who was gazing at me with love: Love Himself. That is Who I was with.

I need to always remember Who I am with! Who I belong to, the reason for my song… Who is at the core of my heart all the day long!

The demons better be afraid! Because this Love has definitely got a hold on my heart.

Rising Above the Skin-Deep: Being “Hot” vs. Being Beautiful

We women are bombarded with messages from the media that chip away at or shamelessly tear down our inherent dignity as women. These messages deduce multi-layered feminine beauty to “hotness” and perfect measurements.

We spew out self-deprecating comments regarding our outer appearance. And these thoughts soon become the norm. But let’s stop ourselves for just a second. Is this how we want to evaluate our self worth?

When we feed into the skewed mentality that image translates into self worth, we blind ourselves to the fact that what shines most brilliantly in us is our virtue and who we are as unique persons! In the core of our hearts, we women know that we were created to be cherished not for our looks, but for our captivating souls.

An intense conflict thus arises within. We attempt the impossible: to reconcile our innate desire to be cherished for who we are with society’s unrealistic demands about what we should look like. However, truly beautiful women  emanate this pervading aura that, sans any words at all, assertively states: “I am an original, not a carbon copy. I have something irreplaceable to give to this world: myself! I respect myself,  I love myself, body and soul.”

Ladies, we are not just hot bodies and pretty faces. A toned stomach, perfect skin, and luscious lips only go so far. After all, “superficials” are, by definition, merely skin-deep. Growing in virtue, on the other hand, has no limit!

Being confident in who we are as individuals truly captivates. With our unique personalities, talents, and gifts, why let self-centered obsession stop us from joyfully living and joyfully giving life to others?

Mother Mary is said to be the most beautiful woman who ever walked this earth. In her apparitions to various peoples, she always appears as the most radiant handmaiden their country claims to have ever seen. Would we dare say that Mother Mary is “hot”? No. She is beautiful, because of her outer aura of femininity, her inner realm of celestial purity, and the fact that she is herself, which just so happens to be the Mother of God!

Let us not forget that we, too, have the same gift of femininity that Our Blessed Mother possesses. We were made to radiate beauty on the outside, yes, but much more powerfully from the inside– every one of us a unique masterpiece of God.

“There is a radiance in your heart that the world desperately needs.”

–John and Stasi Eldredge