late night vocation pondering

I never thought I would leave California. Southern California, to be exact. Where most of my extended family is.

My mother has 7 siblings, and most live there. Every few weeks, we have clan meals. Family pow wows. Tribal gatherings!

I thought I could never leave them. I thought that there was where I always belonged.

Yet here I am! In Texas.

And I ask myself: SOOO, I can belong somewhere else?!

Yes, I can belong somewhere else. And it’s not that I don’t belong there anymore. But I also belong here.

Houston… oh, Houston. Charming. Urban, cultured, friendly.  A land of opportunity.

Houston, you broke all of the stereotyoes that I thought were true about Texas.

And my world is now so much less… myopic.

Moreover, I’ve realized, from moving here, just how much of an ADVENTURE life is when you follow the Gospel fearlessly. For my moving here was all part of my “yes” to God in fulfilling what I perceived and believed his vocational call for me.

God is transforming me into more and more of a woman here. He’s helping me to grow into my vocation of married and family life. Here, I have grown into wife, into mother: Two parts of my identity that are now so “core,” in a visceral way, to my very being!

It’s happening. Day by day. Moment by moment.

God is forming me here as His disciple. And I’ve never felt more fully alive.

I pray that I have the strength to keep on. May the LORD ever be my guide, my North Star, my one true home amidst all the others.

Kissing Matty

Way back in the day, when we were long distance between CA and TX. Ha, ha! 🙂

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The fruit of our love! The physical incarnation of our wedding vows. 😉 #ultimateblessing

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’.

my favorite spot at UCLA…

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(c) Caravaggista

…is the engraving of this Psalm on the Humanities Building.

One day when I was an undergraduate sitting on either the grass or a bench by the building, the words caught my eye… and little did I know it was a Scripture verse!

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

Psalm 119:18 (RSV)

I feel like I had a Saint Augustinian like transformation during my college days. OK, minus the crazy past life maybe.

I kept wondering, “Why? Why? Why does the Church teach we have to do x, y, and z?” I challenged the law. I pondered the law. And in my studies… I dwelled in the law, whether I believed it was worth following or not yet.

After immersing myself in texts and tomes, primary and secondary sources… I was truly enamored with how the “rules” of Catholicism were actually beautiful parameters by which the human soul could be set free. Really, the “rules”– or the “law”– were just a structure by which I found the LORD could enter the human soul.

And trust me… the last year of being a teenager, and embarking into the life of young adulthood, the last thing I wanted to be was “bound.” I did not want to be set into any sort of confining “structure” of “law.” And yet, when studying how such “law” actually paved the way for more intimate relationships with Christ, with others, and with self (yes, within!), I saw how the “law” was actually made to bring peace to the human heart, and to set it free. In all of its theology, dogma, and doctrine, Catholicism set me free into a beautiful world of wonder! Truly, I was beholding the Living Body of Christ on earth.

No longer did “Law” mean some sort of cold and calculated weighing of what is right and wrong.

Instead, following the law meant loving the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your strength, and with all of your soul (Luke 10:27)!

Following the law meant glorifying God in everything you did– even in your eating and your drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31)!

As a late teen and early twenty-something living on a secular college campus, I saw Light in a world of darkness caused by moral relativism. There was something real, vibrant, and life-giving to this supposed “Truth” that the realm of all other ephemeral “truths” by which everyone else seemed to be living.

I saw this Light first and foremost in the Catholic young adults that I was meeting and asking all of my “why?” questions to. They shined with a light I had never seen before. They contained within them a peace I had never met. (Well, besides perhaps in my grandmother– but that’s for another blog post!)

I met young adults who were standing up for something (rather, Someone) rather than falling for everything. I met young adults who were passionate and fighting for a Cause.

And, O, what a battle to fight in the spiritual warfare I perceived all around!

Yet there was something romantic about that battle in which I began to fight

The God I loved (Luke 10:27) and glorified  (1 Corinthians 10:31)… He brought Light.

Now a late twenty-something (gasp!), I still find myself fighting that fight– that fight for the Light! In ways both the same and different.

And first and foremost, the battle occurs in my own heart. Every moment that I live, I have the freedom to live in Christ if I so desire.

Only Christ makes me fully alive. He came that I might not only have life, but have it more abundantly (John 10:10)! May I always deeply revel in the wonders of the law of the LORD my God. May I always choose Him in every moment!

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” –Deuteronomy 30:19

I wake up for him

You thought I meant for my boyfriend, hm? Nope. Well, OK, I really do look forward to his good morning calls or text messages. But there’s Someone infinitely more important (no offense to my dear boyfriend).

In the morning, every morning, I wake up for Jesus. Moreover, I wake up hungry for Him in the Eucharist!

When the Holy Spirit somehow, in His kindness, awakens me to a new day, do you know what I should be able to hear? I should be able to hear Christ whispering to me! And O how lovely it is when I am listening well!

As Song of Solomon 2:10 reads:

“Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come.”

Jesus says this to me every morning. Not only does He want me to “come away” with Him by inviting Him into every moment of my day. He also invites me to meet Him as He comes down for me on the altar.

Even more exhilarating, every Holy Mass, my Beloved LORD asks me if I will let Him enter into me– if I agree to willingly receive Him– in the form of the Eucharist!

What an invitation. There are no words. What God in the Universe would do such a humble, romantic thing?

In college, I heard a priest once say: “A day without a Mass, if one can attend, is a day wasted.”

O, how verily so.

I pray that I will never take Our LORD’s invitation to receive Him in the Eucharist for granted. That priest was right. Not to go to a daily Mass, when I am so able, truly is to waste my day. The Mass is the highlight of any day on earth, so long as I shall live, because it is there that I meet my true Love, receive Him, and am one with Him. It is there that I give back to Him all that I will do or all that I have done throughout the day, and moreover, all of who I am, in love!

If Your LORD and Your GOD is offering Himself to you daily, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist— in the “form” of bread and wine, but truly JESUS Himself– what, o what, is holding you back?!

So you say you want a revolution?

Let’s start a revolution.

A Eucharistic revolution.

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Eucharistic miracles: they’re real. Jesus is waiting for you to meet Him at the altar, to receive Him, to adore Him. He wants you to carry Him with you wherever you are! He wants to enter your body and your soul.