priorities: live and die tryin’

World Youth Day Mass 2013 at Rio de Janeiro... millions of youth yearning for God to fill their hearts-- for the Eucharist to feed their bodies and souls!

World Youth Day Mass 2013 at Rio de Janeiro… millions of youth yearning for God to fill their hearts– for the Eucharist to feed their bodies and souls!

Those days. I remember those days. When I would lay in bed at night and think and pray that if I only had a boyfriend (hopefully, a very potential husband), I would be happy.

Those mornings when I would wake up in the morning, look at the light hitting my pillows and sheets, and dream about cuddling with a baby, or maybe even five kids (LOL– typical devout Catholic girl dream?), and a hubby, too.

Well, guess what? Those days and mornings are here. Marriage. Family life. And yes, life is beautiful. And I am happy in many ways. All thanks be to the Providence and the goodness of God the Creator. AMEN.

Yet… surprise! (No, not really– knew it was coming!!) I still have this deep longing in my heart, this restlessness that I cannot explain. I still have that “God hole” that nothing and NO ONE (not even my husband or son) can fill… but God.

As Saint Augustine stated so eloquently: “You have made us for Yourself, O LORD, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” (Happy feast day today, St. Auggie!)

I also still dream. I dream of saving souls. Not so much in a “preach-y till they all convert” way, but in an “indirect, let the Holy Spirit use me somehow” way. Call it the spirit of the New Evangelization teeming from within. It’s what gets me up in the morning!

Yet tonight during prayer, my husband reminded me of something very important: Prioritization.

While we were praying, I prayed to the LORD that my husband would excel in one of his life’s ambitions.

Then my husband did something funny. He smiled. He laughed. He looked at me. And he changed that prayer. He quipped, gently, “And LORD, that I might be the BEST DADDY in the world!”

Oh so true. This is why I married this man. Because before being an engineer, he is a father and a husband. And before being those roles, he is a son of God. A soldier of Christ.

The same goes for me. First, a daughter of God, a disciple of Christ. (That “God hole” will always feel wanting, and that’s a good thing.) Second, a wife and a mother. Third, a __________ (fill in other roles pertaining to my unique vocation or “calling” here).

My primary goal: to get myself and my hubby and my son to Heaven.

All other goals are secondary.

Priorities…

Just tryin’ to get ’em straight. I do fail sometimes, ’tis true. But…

Hope I live and I die tryin’.

2 friends, 2 vocations: sisterhood & married life

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One of my best friends, Melissa, is an “aspirant” in a religious order, meaning she is preparing to become a fully-vowed religious sister one day (there are a series of vows over many years). Similarly, I am engaged, preparing to become a Christian wife this upcoming April. 

Recently, I was looking at pics of Melissa, who now lives in a convent (and has an apostolate chockfull of various duties, such as teaching). I saw her radiant smile shining the love of Jesus! JESUS: her all-in-all, her MAN… the Son of God made man! There she was, in her beautiful uniform. Radiant. In every picture.

The pictures had me thinking… I feel like I was sorta a “wannabe” religious sister before I met my fiancé. Simply put, the entirety of my days revolved around Our Lord. Much of my time was devoted to Him. Because I was single, it was easier to have a more singular focus on my spiritual walk with and worship of Jesus.

When I was 25, dating for the first time had me feeling very odd at first. I was jolted into another way of existing: loving Jesus, but also loving a human man like I love Jesus.

Dating meant making time for daily Mass, holy hours, and morning/noon/evening/night prayer and as well as for daily significant-other conversation, date nights, and relationship building.

So much was new to me: talking out misunderstandings like there was no tomorrow, making surprise brownies like it was a sacred duty, entrusting to this young man my vulnerabilities when I had never laid them out to anyone.

I began to see that Matt deserved my attention, adoration, and sacrifice as Jesus did, albeit in different ways. My new mission was not just to love my perfect Jesus, but also to love an imperfect man in His name. And to be trusting enough to let Matt love an even-more-imperfect me.

Gazing at the radiant smile of my “sister-in-training” friend, Melissa, the presence of the Son of God Made Man could not be more apparent with her. And, after reflecting, I can see how Jesus is present in my relationship with my purely human man as well. I have not left Jesus. In loving Matt, I am loving Jesus in new ways that I have not loved Him before.

In dating / courtship and engagement, my love for Jesus been put to the test! In the past two and a half years, I have tasted the decisive love of the Cross in unforeseen ways. Ultimately, I have learned that with grace, with the life of Jesus within, selfless love is possible to give as well as to receive.

My attention?

To decrease on myself, and to increase on Matt. My Ultimate Question: “How can I serve him better?” In serving Matt, I serve Our Lord!

John 3:30 reads: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

My adoration?

On Matt’s personhood, his manhood: on his being made in the image and likeness of God. And as the man in our future marriage, on his being our image of Christ: my spiritual “head” to whom I am to “submit” or to “be subject.” On respecting and adoring Matt as a son of God, I am respecting and adoring Our Lord!

Ephesians 5:22-23 reads: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”

My sacrifice?

To lay my life down for Matt. Every. Single. Moment.

John 15:13 reads: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The two biggest differences between my friend who is in the convent and me?

FIRST. Jesus will be my friend’s “head” while Matt will be mine. He will be my head, I will be his body. Matt and I will be an indivisible team, united by God as “one flesh”! In the ups and he downs, the joys and the sorrows. Together, we will reflect the entirety of Jesus; we will also reflect Jesus the Groom with His Bride, the Church.

SECOND. My friend will have Christ as her “husband” to sanctify her and lead her to Heaven. On the contrary, Matt’s and my shared mission as husband and wife is to sanctify one another via loving one another with the unconditional love of Jesus. And, get this: it is only when we are BOTH alive in Jesus that He will be able to lead us as “one flesh” into Heaven. I am accountable for Matt’s soul and Christian discipleship as well as my for own. And as for our possible future children: we will also be accountable for them so long as they are in our care. These duties are not to be taken lightly!

It is always so fun to receive a letter from Melissa, or to call her, or to meet up with her. Girl talk abounds; but the funny thing is, we could just as easily call it “vocation talk”!

“Vocation” comes from the Latin word “vocare,” meaning “to call.” As Melissa and I follow the Lord’s call in our respective vocational journeys, it is a sight to behold the parallels in our shared calling to Christian discipleship. Although we have two very different vocations, we have more similarities than we can imagine! For at the root of both of our vocations is the Cross, on which hung our sweet and powerful King, Jesus.

What an adventure life has been for both of us, and what more adventure awaits!

A.M.D.G.

before you DIE…

…What ONE THING do you want to do in your life? How do you want to LIVE?

It sounds cliche, but Saint Ignatius of Loyola actually came up with some pretty cool spiritual discernment techniques that incorporated such questions into their methodology!

And really, if God said you were going to die sometime in the near future, and you REALLY had to wittle it down, what WOULD you do?

A la Saint Ignatius, Father Nathan (@CathTools) tweeted this recently: “What is that one thing you don’t want to die without having done? … So WHEN are you going to do it?”

I was pretty surprised about the clarity in my response. And the rapidity in which it came. It almost felt like the answers sprung from my heart.

It also almost felt too sacred to tell the world my dreams on this blog! Isn’t it funny, the human spirit?

But I thought I’d share that tweet by Father Nathan, because it is my hope and my prayer that you will have some music start playing from your own heart, too.

Is it love that you’d seek?

Here’s my cover of “We Could Happen”– a song I would joyfully listen to in the initial stages of my courtship, pre-“officialness” 🙂

ALSO: This post had me think about this AMAZING guy named Zach Sobiech, who really did only have months to live at the age of 17… what a TOUCHING story. Makes me think that I do not want to just “live in the middle.” I want to be a saint in the making!

http://thecatholicspirit.com/featured/remembering-zach/

WHY are you AFRAID?

“Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48

How are you meant to give life to the world?

St. Therese, St. Josemaria, and countless other saints did not say you had to do extraordinary things to bring life and light– and Life Himself and Light Himself– to the world. Yet if you have been given much, do know that God demands even more of you! These are the words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.

And only you can know what that “demand” of you from God means. It might mean little things with immense love. Or it might mean huge things with immense love.

Just know that you cannot evade the immensity (and intensity!) of love with which you intentionally live out your life calling! This God expects of you, baseline.

Yes. You were made to be life giving, not just God the Creator. You were created to come alive in Christ and to give that life of yours within to others! You are called to let God renew the face of the earth through you!

Your mission, when it all comes down to it?

HOW COULD YOU FORGET?!

You were made to be a saint!

So, as every saint has his or her calling, what is your calling? And if you ask yourself, deep down, why are you afraid of facing it, or of finding it out if you do not know it already?!

I exhort you to pray, to explore, to try, with Our Lord Jesus Christ as your source and your summit. How else will you ever hear His voice if you do not do so?

I know that I often fail to hear His voice. I know that I often lose that gift He gives me: that sense of wonder in this adventure we call life!

Well you know what? I am tired of forgetting to listen carefully to His voice. I am tired of forgetting about the high calling that I know God has for me. And I am ready to try harder to listen to His voice and put His love into action.

Every person God has made is able to transform others with a LIFE lived with PASSION. And we must not be afraid, because there is nothing to fear when we know that whatever our calling, our human passion can only be a minute speck in THE Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself has already conquered the world!

I am tired of mediocrity in my life.

I am ready to live a life of passion in the name of His Passion, fueled by His grace that ignites and transforms the world! To God alone be ALL glory, honor, and praise!

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change in your life? remember: all things are passing

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”

Saint Teresa of Avila

Being a disciple of Christ can feel so uncertain at times. The only certain thing? That God never changes.

He never changes in His love for you.

He never changes in His plans for you.

“Vocation,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary: vocation (n.) early 15c., “spiritual calling,” from Latin vocationem (nominative vocatio), literally “a calling,” from vocatus “called,” pp. of vocare “to call” (see voice) …. [continued].

At this time in my life, I feel that God really wants me to listen to His voice, to listen to His calling out to me. I feel that He keeps calling out to me in different ways, and tellng me to follow Him somewhere and to do something that I didn’t exactly plan. At times, life just feels so unpredictable and unplannable.

Yet I can still sense God’s Plan in all of the uncertainty! Sometimes, I strongly believe that there are “signs” about God’s Will,  such as words other people say, actions other people do, and direct things that are provided for you or taken away from you. “Signs” can also be images, visions, thoughts, and feelings / bodily feelings. Basically, you never really know what a “sign” is until you experience it and Our LORD speaks through it to you.

Reading the signs, listening to God’s voice amidst them, praying, and courageously stepping forward in the direction that you believe the LORD is leading you: now, I believe that’s real Faith.

Faith is blind; it believes in the invisible, the unforeseeable– and it follows the “signs.” Our LORD wants us to be at peace knowing we have done our best to hear His voice and to follow His call. He will support us in every step of our journey, and re-direct us. We must simply trust in HIm!

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

(first heard this quote in the movie “Bella”)

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