JESUS: in others, and alone with just me!

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Jesus.

Name above all names.

Worthy of all praise.

The above is one of the classrooms at the school at which I am a counselor. Saw these window decorations  and I just smiled big.  Jesus. That is the most important thing… er, Person… these kids will ever learn… er, meet!

I honestly believe that I have come to know this this Son of God Made Man, JESUS, primarily through relationships. And yes, starting at a very young age. My grandmother once told me that one day when she was praying the Rosary, when I was three years old, I just joined in with her. I knew every word to a tee. My grandmother was absolutely shocked.

My grandmother should not have been shocked, however. To this day, I remember how she would constantly pray to Jesus… and also, constantly praise Him in her deeds and actions. Yes… I knew Jesus from the fresh age of three because of my grandmother’s vivid WITNESS to Him!

My grandmother had a relationship with Jesus. He was her answer. He was her purpose. He was her love. I could tell this, and I wanted to be a part of it, even as a toddler. I wanted to know Him, too.

Granted, my faith has grown tremendously since then (and thank the LORD! it is all His doing!). Especially in my teenage and young adult years, I have questioned things, and gone astray at times. But I have always come back.

I ardently believe my constant “coming back” to Jesus– and rediscovery of who He is and how He loves me, throughout my life– is a result of purely A) God’s grace and B) my grandmother’s prayers. And not only that: most likely my great grandmother’s prayers as well.

According to legend (or, actual truth!), just like my grandmother, my great grandmother was also a woman of great faith. After my great grandmother raised nine kids and her husband died, she became a third order Carmelite!

I have no doubt that my faith (which I am still ardently working on day by day) is a gift from God (not earned) and a fruit of the intercessory prayers of my grandmother and my great grandmother. Moreover, I have no doubt that I have come to know Jesus through relationships with others who have borne witness to Him! As a kid, I knew who He was; and yes, I loved Him. But it wasn’t until college that I really met Him in a deep, personal way and realized that He loved me far better than I could ever love Him.

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Fast forward to today, and I believe that I am coming to know Jesus– Who He is, and also how to follow Him– in my courtship with my dear boyfriend, or “Saint Joseph,” as well. My boyfriend is teaching me Who Love is; and our relationship is teaching both of us how to love with Jesus’s love– side by side.  🙂

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What’s beautiful, however, is that although Jesus has met me through all of those relationships, it is ultimately those intimate moments, with just He and I, that shine the most! However, I truly believe that you need both type of experiences to meet Jesus: through His image and likeness in others’ and their love stemming from Love, and through encountering Love Himself, Jesus, one on one.

Jesus.

I am still trying to wrap my head around Who Jesus is. I am still growing in my faith tremendously. Our relationship will forever be “forming” one way or another! Deeper and deeper, I will meet Him, every day that I live.

Yeah… It’s You and me… and all of the people… with nothing to do, nothing to lose.

Yeah… It’s You and me… and all of the people… and I don’t know why. But I can’t keep my eyes off of You.

–Lifehouse

Jesus. 🙂

a Light bearer I know

Have you ever met someone filled with Light… and when you meet them… you just know?

You just know that that person has a deep trust in Our LORD Jesus Christ, and that that person derives his or her joy from Him.

You know from that person’s glances, words, and actions.

You can see it in his or her eyes, and voice. You can see it in everything he or she does.

Christ is his or her light. He or she is a Light bearer.

Such a person I know is my boyfriend.

“Glory and praise to Our God! Let us sing glory and praise!” I’ve never told my boyfriend this, but when I hear this song at Mass, I think of him. I’ve pondered why, and concluded that it is because I can tell that this is exactly how my boyfriend feels about life– about his purpose and meaning– at the core of his heart. My boyfriend has a joyful, grateful heart, filled with the Light of Christ. I know that my boyfriend lives to give glory and praise to Our Lord.

Well, tomorrow is my boyfriend’s birthday, and I’d like to say that I am so blessed to be best friends with such a Light bearer. I am so very blessed to share that purpose and meaning with him.

Christ, be our Light! Shine in our hearts; shine through the darkness.

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Found a picture of some WYD Madrid 2011 pilgrims. Can’t you tell by their smiles that Christ is in their hearts, and is their joy and meaning? Fellow Light bearers of my generation! (c) piercedhearts.org

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Amen!

being in love is…

“….If you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love. ‘What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?’ My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.” Song of Solomon 5:8-10

Another family party tonight. I smiled as my family teased me for my “first love” syndrome. When people ask me about my boyfriend, I cannot help but smile, because I definitely know that I am one blessed young woman.

I am not afraid to say that I love the most loving, caring, self-sacrificing young man I have ever met!

And as evidenced in Holy Scripture, I love how God knows exactly how I feel, emotions-wise, about my dear boyfriend.

I mean, this is the way God feels about me. He’s “sick with love” for me. I stand out “among ten thousand”– even if all ten thousand are His children! How humbling.

In His eyes, there is only one me, and His Fatherly heart cannot stop rejoicing over how I am His one daughter, just this way, that can never be replaced! How flattering.

Divine love is such a gift. And what does it look like? Not just emotions, but also decisions…. sacrifice.

And human love is also such a gift; it is truly a gift from the Divine! Therefore, although the emotions may come in abundance… I too must remember that my human love necessitates decisions and sacrifice to be brought to the level of Love.

Being in love is so exhilarating emotionally! I smile at just the though of my dear “ruddy and radiant” boyfriend.

However, being in love also teaches me so much about Christ– and about how “being in love” emotions-wise isn’t enough… deciding to love and sacrificing is what really matters most. Decisive and sacrificial love: now, this is love that has been brought to the Cross.

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Amazing book. Stumbled upon it by accident at UCLA when I was 18 wandering the research library. I was hooked… and never the same after I read it…

“Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God.” Pope John Paul II

real love: hard, but worth it

Real love is when it hurts, but you forgive.

Real love is when someone sees all of the ugliest parts of you, but loves you anyway.

Real love accepts the other, but also challenges the other to grow.

Real love is open and vulnerable.

Real love is messy.

Real love is struggle.

Real love is sacrifice.

Real love is hard.

Real love is beautiful.

Real love is full of joy.

Real love endures.

Real love is strong, and when it is weak and falls, can grow stronger and fly up even higher than before.

Real love is worth it.

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My “ashed” boyfriend on Ash Wednesday serenading me in a surprise cover (to be linked to me the next day on the Feast of Saint Valentine). Man o man am I one blessed woman. Funny how this Instagram came out with a yellow tinge. “Look at the stars… look how they shine for you… and everything you do… yeah they were all yellow.” 🙂

Thank you for loving me for nearly two years now, with a steady love that no woman could ever imagine existed!

no greater love than this

Family life, and all of its struggles, has taught me about Christ’s sacrifice for me, His love for me, all of these years. In a family, sacrifice, patience, and humility are key to surviving.

During various times of my life, I have grown used to living in a single household of 8 to 10 people. Things are just bound to go wrong with numbers so high (and even with two people, you have two very unique individuals who are bound to disagree about something). But we never gave up, and we continue to never give up.

Not only that, I come from a large Filipino clan on my mom’s side– and we have certainly weathered it all. My extended family has also taught me what a true “all for one and one for all” spirit looks like.

When I used to think of romantic love, I would very much idealize it. I would fail to take into account all of the sacrifice, patience, and humility that would be necessary in a future relationship– the same kind of virtues that I was learning about growing up in my family.

Now that I am in a courtship with a wonderful young man, I am constantly reminded, from my own past experiences with my family, how I cannot run away from Cross of Christ, even in this most exhilarating experience. (Yes, he is my first boyfriend. Shocking!)

In dating, there will be crosses to bear, most especially if we are to marry and start our own family too, one day! Namely, our own two crosses, which we are discerning uniting under the one Cross of Christ for life.

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My dashing boyfriend and I in front of the Memorial Church at Stanford University. I am learning all about how to give pure, brave, Christ-like love with this young man. 🙂

Christ Himself told us: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Well, I consider my boyfriend my best friend. No wonder love can get hard sometimes. There’s no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend– let alone the person who is nearest and dearest to you.

I can confidently and conclusively say…

It’s a challenging task, to love.

And yet, every day, in little and big ways, I discover that LOVE is truly that “thing” for which God has designed me! After all, He is Love (1 John 4:8).

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Perpetual Adoration of Our LORD Jesus Christ– He who models Perfect Love for us–  in the middle of hippie town. Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. My boyfriend and  — and my best friend, our tour guide– took a visit!

am I just the girl he’s looking for?

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Some awesome young adult Dominican sisters at WYD 2011 Madrid. (c) WordOnFire

Warning: #CatholicNerdingOut.

And the more she ignores me
The more I adore her
What can I do?
I’d do anything for her…

‘Cause she’s bittersweet
She knocks me off of my feet
And I can’t help myself
I don’t want anyone else
She’s a mystery
She’s too much for me
But I keep coming back for more
‘Cause she’s just the girl I’m looking for”

–from “Just the Girl” by the Click Five

I randomly happened to listen to this song tonight. Brought me back to my college days when I’d plug into my iPod while walking to and from class, as it was a favorite.

The lyrics got me thinking… Is this how God feels about me? The more I ignore Him… the more He adores me? How lovely, how enamoring. That He would pine for me that much.

I also got to thinking about vocations in the sense of married life versus consecrated life. I know, I know. I have a boyfriend. But sometimes I wonder. Though I have met someone who I could envision marrying, I am still trying to be open. After all, it ain’t a thing till there ain’t no ring! 😛

I bolded the lyrics that especially struck me as translatable about how God really pursues me and wants my heart.

I really admire sisters and nuns and consecrated religious. Their love for Our LORD must be so strong, so pure, so deep, so eternal.

I admire friends who are married too– and heck, those married in my family. I know the LORD is present in their lives too, strongly and beautifully so! And working with kids, teens, and families, I can see how married life truly is a vocation filled with grace.

Yet I can also see how religious life truly sets one apart for the LORD in a very special, unique way. As a consecrated religious, you are already living like you would in Heaven, like the angels who are already fully consecrated to our LORD. For instance, if a sister, you ARE the bride of Christ… or, if a priest, you ARE the bridegroom of the Church.

Does God want me to marry? Does God want me all to Himself? These are questions all Catholic teens and young adults should ask themselves. I know that my boyfriend and I ask ourselves these questions occasionally still.

If God does will me to marry, I know He’s still pursuing me. I feel that every day. But how in tune am I to that? And what should my response be? Am I doing enough? I want to love Him to the best of my capacity! Receiving and resting in His love, yes. But giving back my entire self to Him: I’d like to do that too!

It’s truly a beautiful gift to be a daughter of God, to be one of God’s creatures– but still to be  pursued as a complete “mystery” to Him, whom He would like to unveil!

Like the song says… no matter what God has in store for me…

God adores me, He’d do anything for me, He doesn’t want anyone else, He thinks I’m a mystery, and I’m just the girl He’s looking for.

Well, now.

I’m completely flattered.