lesson from JP2 & Pope Francis: love vs. lust

Bl. JP2 always talked about how young men and women, to their very core (even if they didn’t know it!), really just want to find eternal happiness by giving a total “gift of self [themselves]” to one another…. to others… and most of all, to God.

In “Love and Responsibility,” Bl. JP2 talks about how the core of love is sacrifice. The core of love is giving, not taking! (Boy, the world’s media today’s got that one a little mixed up.) Moreover,  Bl. JP2 expounds upon how lust focuses on “what’s in it for me?” while love focuses on “how does this affect the other person?” (or God, or others, or both of you together).

In the same vein, I recently came across this “Made In His Image” image that says: “Love can’t wait to give. Lust can’t wait to get.” Exactly what Bl. JP2’s “Love and Responsibility” gets at!

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In great serendipity, I came across this quote by Mahatma Gandhi as well:

“There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.”

What’s interesting is that, immediately after reading this, I equated “religion” with “Jesus” who IS Love (1 John 4:7-8). Therefore, without even thinking, I was translating it into this: There is no such thing as love without sacrifice. No such thing!

And lastly, in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel a few days later, while praying before the Lord Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, I conveniently flipped to this excerpt from the Book of Tobit in my Bible app:

When Sarah’s parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah rose from bed and said to his wife, “My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that they might be protected. He began with these words:

“Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors;

blessed be your name forever and ever!

Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever.a

You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve

to be his helper and support;

and from these two the human race has come.

You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;

let us make him a helper like himself.’

Now, not with lust,

but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife.

Send down your mercy on me and on her,

and grant that we may grow old together.

Bless us with children.”

They said together, “Amen, amen!” Then they went to bed for the night.

“Not with lust…” I read the words and I pondered over them. The words brought me such joy, such light. This Tobit knew what would be the foundation for an everlasting marriage bond. Love. Not lust. Giving. Not taking.

So much in our life is about what we want– even the most holy and good things– and yet, if we desire those things in inordinate ways, in all honesty, we are lusting over them.

We should never place anything over Eternal Happiness. His name is Jesus.

Everlasting peace of soul is only to be had from Our LORD– the only One who can offer us anything eternal: solely HIMSELF. We were not made for anyone else, no matter how holy, nor anything else, no matter how noble and pure. Made in His Image, we were made for HIM.

No one creation can compare to the One who created us, the Creator.

It is only when we FIRST give ourselves to Him, and THEN give ourselves to others in His name, including our spouses or perhaps the Church or those we serve (if we are consecrated religious) that anything at all makes sense!

It is so, so, so very easy to fall into the trap of confusing seeking the good, holy, pure gifts of the Giver rather than the Giver Himself. Yet we must detach from everything and everyone but Him. We must even be detached from spouses and children, to an extent, if we are in the marriage vocation. (God shows this with Abraham and Isaac… and Job…. and Jesus, HIS Son, of course! We must be willing to forsake even  mother and father and sister and brother for Him.)

It is so, so, so very easy to have “ulterior motives” but not even really realize it. For instance, do we do good only because of the feelings that doing good begets? Or do we do it because we want to love and to give and to sacrifice, even when it hurts or does not feel good or feels futile, unfruitful, un-returned?

I know I have leaps and bounds to grow spiritually. The tweets of our new papa, Pope Francis, have really made me think twice recently about my intentions of my spirituality. The true core of my spirituality should be to love God first, always, in everything, and in everyone: to give, not to take; to love, not to lust.

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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“Make me a channel!”

In light of the new pope, Pope Francis, I’d like to share a “Culture of Life-ism.” As coined by my youth minister friend, a “Culture of Life-ism” is a short catchy saying that someone can use to promote, you guessed it, the Culture of Life.

Culture of Life-ism for today: “Make me a channel!” A short, handy-dandy saying that you can pray all throughout YOUR day so that you can be fully alive.

So when can you use “make me a channel!”? Why, any time!

In the morning, when you wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. Hop out of bed, and onto the floor on bended knee. Clasp your hands together, and pray: “Make me a channel!”

When you’re talking to someone who’s challenging your Faith and your beliefs, and you’re about to loose your cool, or you’re just at a complete loss for words. Smile at that person and silently pray: “Make me a channel!”

When you’re sitting in front of a pile of textbooks that you have been dreading cracking open. On the top of that juxtaposed pile of lined paper, write: “Make me a channel!”

When you’re on the job, filling out some tedious paperwork, get out the sticky notes and write: “Make me a channel!”

When you find yourself at your wit’s end with either your significant other, or a parent, or a child. Whisper under your breath: “Make me a channel!”

When you’re having a bad, bad day, and someone does something that really irritates you, like cut you in line or cut you off on the road. Start to hum: “Make me a channel!”

Sanctity is not about doing great things. Sanctity is about letting Our LORD use you as His channel in the smallest things imaginable, and in your every day life happenings!

Sanctity is everyday discipleship.

Grace is the life of Christ in us. We can only be fully alive in Christ (as St. Irenaeus says) if we first let Him use us in the littlest of ways. Only then can He use us in big ways! Let us always let Our LORD make us a channel of not only His peace, but moreover His eternal life!

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there’s sadness ever joy.

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love, with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

–The Prayer of Saint Francis (song version)

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This one is mad that Pope Francis is in the Chair of Saint Peter.

Habemus Papam! Pope Francis: Already Rockin’ in a Humility

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

LORD Jesus Christ,

Thank you for sending us your vicar on earth, Pope Francis, to lead us, tend us, and feed us, Your sheep!

He seems like a truly humble man who has followed Saint Francis’s example his whole life, and lived a life of spiritual and physical poverty, in order that he be rich spiritually in YOU, and even physically– that is, Eucharistically!– in YOU.

Thank you so very much, O LORD, for the gift of the Chair of Saint Peter that you have bestowed upon us. Without our believed popes, we would feel like sheep without a Shepherd. Though you are truly the Shepherd of All, o LORD Jesus Christ, you knew that we would still need a “rock” here on this earth upon whom we could lean on (the pope!) until you come again in glory!

The gates of the Netherworld shall never prevail against Your Church, O LORD. Thank you for gifting us yet again another shepherd of Your flock, who himself is following You, Our One True Divine Shepherd.

Let us all be open and excited, and obedient, to the will of our new Holy Father and His steering of Your ship, the Church, on earth… towards Heaven, with Mother Mary as our North Star. He is Our Holy Father, but only You are Our Heavenly Father.

Love,

Your Daughter Rosanna

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

–John 21:15-18, a Gospel account of the first pope, Saint Peter!

About our New Pope, the 265th successor of Saint Peter,

Pope Francis:

I have only read a little bit about him, and he already inspires me.

Supposedly as Cardinal Bishop Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis refused to live in the Bishop’s Palace. Instead, he lived in a humble apartment, took public transportation (the bus!), and did his own cooking and cleaning (he refused to have domestic helpers). It is also said that he has advised clergy higher ups to be very judicial about their trips to Rome due to the high cost of plane tickets– and if the Holy Spirit did not truly will them to visit, to use the money of the airfare to feed the hungry in their towns instead.

If you had watched Pope Francis give his first papal speech today, he also asked the throngs at Saint Peter (and all over the world through live streaming) to pray for him first, before He gave any sort of papal blessing! He told the people that he was blessed by them first and foremost. Today he also did not want to address the cardinals on a podium as is tradition, but instead at eye level. Lastly, he refused to enter his limousine at the Vatican. Instead, he rode the bus home with his (formerly fellow) Cardinals. The Swiss Guard must have been perplexed and caught off guard.

A couple of interesting tidbits? He’s the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit pope. By many he will be known as the “pope of firsts,” as there is a plethora of other things for which he is first.

One thing I do know is that the first thing that pope already seems like he wants to do is to be the figurative “last” in everything, as Jesus exhorted us we should all desire when He said: “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).

Let us as one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church rejoice today.

Habemus Papam!

Habemus Papa Francesco!

habemuspopefrancis

A meek and humble “first hello” appearance by our new Franciscan-hearted Jesuit pope, Pope Francis!

Read more about Pope Francis below:

New York cardinal offers glimpse of new pope’s style

Pope Francis’ choice of beloved saint’s name reflects ‘ministry for the poor’