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” ūüôā

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/

“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.

saint one day: how? martyr of the heart TODAY.

Tertullian said: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” However, Saint Therese of Lisieux stated: “Martyrdom of the heart is no less fruitful than the pouring out of one’s blood.”

What are my passions? What are my pursuits? Is my heart totally pure in its focus on Christ? Man, it better be. If Saint Therese is right, I can be saving souls right now.

How I am a martyr for Christ in what I orient my life towards? I really need to assess this question with an open heart, because I can actually be as fruitful in the salvation of souls as a “real” blood martyr– that’s what Saint Therese says!

After reading this inspiring quote, what comes to mind is the story of a young teenage martyr named Saint Maria Goretti. Yes, she was a “blood” martyr in every sense of the word; she was murdered and died proclaiming the name of Christ. But what I realize now is that she was a martyr first of the heart. And aren’t all true martyrs first… martyrs of the heart?

It’s not necessarily that martyrs shed blood at their death. The precursor to that is they shed their heart for Christ, first of all, every single day and moment of their life.

Saint Maria Goretti  was 12 years old when an 18-year-old young man, Alessandro, tried to rape her, then stabbed her 14 times when he was unsuccessful. Even as she lay dying, Maria told Alessandro that she would be praying for him, and begged him to repent.

Three years into his 30 year prison sentence, this murderer Alessandro converted to Christ and to the Catholic faith! Alessandro had a dream in which Maria came to him and gave him 14 lilies– perhaps to symbolize her forgiving him for the 14 times in which he had stabbed her. The lilies burned in his hand. He awoke and was never the same.

Alessandro awoke, repented, and gave his life to Christ. Once murderer, he eventually became a monk, and sat side by side with Maria’s mother at her canonization in 1950! He called Saint Maria “my little saint.”

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St. Maria Goretti, patron of purity, pray for us young adults!

Clearly, Saint Maria was first a martyr for Christ in her heart before she could be a martyr with her blood.

She was a martyr for purity and chastity.

She was a martyr for virtue.

She was a martyr for unselfish love— even the love of one who was trying to rape her, and who eventually murdered her.

If “martyrdom of the heart” is “just as fruitful” as dying like a real blood martyr… I’d like to really re-evaluate how I am shedding my heart for Christ right now in my life.

There is always room for improvement. There is always more of my heart to give. That may sound like an impossibility, but it is truly possible if my heart’s source is in the Eternal and Infinite Sacred Heart of Christ.

I want to be a saint one day by being a martyr of the heart today!

YOUNG ADULTS: YOU ARE “MARTYRS OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM”!

WE are the martyrs of the third millennium! That’s exactly what Blessed Pope John Paul II said when he greeted the young adults at the first World Youth Day in 1989. He proclaimed: “I have come to greet the martyrs of the third millennium.”

Teens and young adults, WE are called to live a “culture of LIFE,” showing the world that Jesus saves, the Gospel can come alive, and the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Instead of writing about it myself, I want to share a snippet from a blog post I found online– it’s too good to pass up!:

“Why Martyrs of the Third Millennium?
In 1989, young people from around the world gathered in Spain for the first ever World Youth Day, around 500,000 to be exact. The world watched in complete and total atonement. What had all these young people come to see? What did they plan to receive from such an event? A journalist asked Blessed Pope John Paul II what he had come to see. Like many saints before him he had a way with words and responded simply yet with great power, “I have come to greet the martyrs of the third millennium.”

We are the change we wish to see in the world. Christianity started with 12 men and it is now the largest religion on the planet. How much power lies in God? Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can be the change the world needs, with Christ all things are possible!

This blog is going to be mostly about my journey in my faith and my life. Everyday is a learning experience and that is wisdom from God! This wisdom is something that needs to be shared. My hope is that through my sharing of my journey it may inspire those around me and those reading to take the first step on theirs! If you are already moving forward than maybe it will be encouragement to continue through the hard times.

In Christ immense Love and Compassion,
Nickolaus Burns”

I want to be a saint in the making… I want to be a martyr of the new millennium. As the prophet Isaiah said: “Here I am, LORD! Send me!”

God will decide how I will “be the change” every day that I live. “My” vocation is not set in stone… because it’s actually¬†His¬†vocation. And He will call me wherever He wills; the Spirit will blow me wherever He wills! (John 3:8) (“vocare” = “to call”)

Perhaps Our LORD will call me to do the same thing every day, or a different thing day by day, moment by moment. In any case, I hope always to follow Him, to help renew the face of the earth!

Step 1: Live a Eucharistic life… and, with Him as my source and my summit… my all in all… to rest in Him… to live in Him… to let Him renew me!

A picture is worth a thousand words…

World Youth Day MADRID 2011. TWO MILLION teens and young adults ALIVE in Jesus. ONE pope. Pope Benedict XVI, our PAPA BENEDETTO… we will miss him! We weathered the storm that night on a gigantic air field. I remember nearly freezing to death while I slept with millions under a bright clear moon. It was simply amazing. We are the saints in the making and the martyrs of the new millennium!

 

I would be straight up lying…

…If I were tell you that being a saint in the making is easy.

…If I were to tell you that being 20-something, that being young and in a world that screams, “WEALTH! PLEASURE! POWER! HONOR!” (as Fr. Robert Barron says) was easy.

…If I were to tell you that trying to: embrace a life of virtue, work to my full capacity as God’s handmaiden, overcome daily insecurities and anxieties, be chaste with my boyfriend, be patient with my family members, trust the LORD with all my heart, and smile through the trials in life… was a simple walk in the park.

These are all challenges for me. Yet this is why God has given me grace. God’s grace makes us holy; yes, it sanctifies us. But grace comes at a cost. We don’t earn it, but we have to say YES to it. That is the cost. Are we willing to let grace work in us?

Jesus requires change. He requires discipline. He requires sacrifice. And He accomplishes it through grace.

Does grace always simply float into you, like a nice breeze? No. Sometimes, grace cuts into you, strikes you like a bolt of lightning, shakes you up and to the core.

But even in the latter, we have to remember: ALL the time, grace will pulse straight to the heart, and do it Eternal Goodness, not eternal harm.

Living in the world and OF the world– following it, just doing “whatever”: now that harms your soul.

But living in the world and NOT of the world, with Christ within you, with GRACE in your soul– either in a calm way, or in that aforementioned crazy-making way: now THAT leads you to eternal joy.

So why settle for excitement that fades, for the promises from our world that will always be broken?

I am set for a greatness that will last. I am bound to a God who will keep His promises, even after the darkest of hours.

His Light WILL shine! His Kingdom WILL prevail! And how blinding, how radiant, how glorious it is!

I am a twenty-something in this world, and it’s incredibly hard not to listen to it sometimes. It’s incredibly hard not to listen to my own weakened nature sometimes. But I have grace: I have Christ within me!

I am a saint in the making, and I am nothing less.

…Now, THAT is the truth.

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Imma Be… a SAINT

I… have the soul of an artist. Or I at least I feel like I fit the stereotypes: emotional, passionate, idealistic. Not as organized nor as timely as I’d like to be. (I hate to admit that last bit.)

Empirical proof to back my theoretical conjecture?¬†On an official Myers Briggs personality inventory, I was assessed as an “INFP”: the personality type often referred to as the “healer” (perhaps reflecting my career choice), the “dreamer,” and yes… the “artist.”

Being the “artist” type, having very intense emotions does, in many ways, make me feel most alive. Ironically, however, being the nearly 100% correlated “dreamer” type also paradoxically hinders me from bringing my dreams INTO life.

Yes, as in that lovely Langston Hughes poem,¬†I, too, have dreams deferred. Dreams… sitting like raisins in the hot, hot sun. Dreams… ready to explode.

But my, O my, how I wish these dreams would come to life!¬†Why?¬†Not for mere self gratification, but because¬†my dreams are my Divinely-inspired duties.¬†Because I am a unique daughter of God, and God wants me to be woman fully alive!¬†As St. Irenaeus says:¬†“The glory of God is man fully alive.”

The more that I meditate on these words, the more that I realize that the only way for me to be fully alive in Christ is by being His DISCIPLINED disciple! Disciplined. I never really wrapped my head around the fact that “disciple” is derived from the word “discipline.”

Disciplined. Nothing less.

Even if every bit of my “artist” personality and temperament screams “spontaneity.”

For¬†I am not a mere artist. I am God’s paintbrush. And I do not ¬†merely create.¬†I let God create through me. And being a co-creator with the Master takes genuine, blood-and-sweat discipline.

But blood-and-sweat discipline is worth it. Because, through me, and much to my humility, I know that God can blow Da Vinci outta da water!

Yet why do I fail to realize it so often– that I am called to greatness? That I have been given much, and that much is being asked from me?

All too often, Satan wants me to believe that I am a nothing, a nobody, that I’ll never amount to anything but mediocre. But that’s not what God made me for. Yes, He wants us to be humble. But it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t also want us to be GREAT.

Humility and greatness in Christ are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are bound together. For when we are weak, we are strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Pope Benedict XVI tells us: “You were not designed for comfort. You were designed for greatness.”

More importantly, Jesus tells us: “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.¬†I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:48-49)

As a saint in the making, I’m called to dream BIG.

Do I merely hear the words of Jesus go into one ear, then out the other? Or do I believe the words of Jesus in my heart? Do I make His Will my very food (John 4:34)?

Like the summer hit “We Are Young” by Play, Jesus wants me to “kindle” the fire that He’s already cast upon the earth (Luke 12:49)! Jesus is calling me to set the world on fire… burning brighter… than the sun!

Yep, Play is totally just plagiarizing St. Catherine of Siena, who said: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!”

Well, who am I? And who should I be, so that I can set the whole world on fire? (That sounds pretty awesome. In a non pyro kinda way.)

I am God’s disciplined disciple. I am a¬†saint in the making. And one day, in Heaven…

Imma be, Imma be, Imma Imma Imma be… ¬†a SAINT!

There is no soul who can fill my shoes on this earth. There is no soul who can touch certain souls the way that God wants me to touch them.

It’s true for me, and it’s true for you!

As rising YouTube star SheIsCatholic says… “Be a saint!”