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/

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. 🙂

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

do you love your body?

“Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

You have great reason to love your body! It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you love your body? Do you take care of it?

I find it so fascinating that God reveals to us that “the immoral man sins against his own body.” We often think that sin is what we do to hurt other people. But do we ever think about how hurting ourselves is also a sin? The immoral man forgets that his body is a temple of the Divine.

We are called to love our bodies— in a non-conceited way, of course. They were shaped by God in His image and likeness! We are called to a possess a pure self love— including a love of our own skin and bones.

We are called to take care of our bodies— to keep them healthy and fit. How else can we be “fully alive” in other realms, such as spiritually, if we are unhealthy or dying physically? There exists an intricate mind, body, and spirit connection: God made us masterfully integrated beings.

We are called to use our bodies to glorify God— to keep them pure and chaste, truly worthy vesicles of His Pure Love!

Of course, it’s always easier said than done.

But just as Jesus sacrificed His body for us, let us always try to sacrifice our bodies for Him. We were made beautifully, body as well as soul. Let’s love our bodies the best that we can, and support one another in doing so.

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Me with headphones! Lots of media today tells me that I shouldn’t think of my body as a temple of the Spirit. I choose not to listen.