I'm not what you'd call 'competitive.' My mom used to summarize my little league soccer games saying, 'yeah . . . sometimes the ball would hit your foot.' I've been known to intentionally lose a pick-up game of volleyball because it was getting cold outside . . . and after three times around a Monopoly board, I'll give you the Boardwalk and all my hotels for a chance to leave the table and do something else
But we live in a world that doesn't really get that.
A world where people sing songs about how they're perfectly good at being 'bad' and radio edits of songs switch 'love' in for the 'f' word like there's no difference. Society has taken something sacred, designed by God to unite couples in the Sacrament of Marriage and cooperate in bringing new life into the world ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù and categorized it as just another extracurricular activity.
We observed workers moving rocks barefoot because they only had one pair of shoes and needed them to last. Families who lived in a landfill without electricity or running water, hoping to make a dollar a day sorting trash. As the mission director, Julia, told us, 'I know that you think that you have problems in the U.S., but compared to what we have here, you live in heaven.' While we had grown up hearing about those in need, our first hand encounter was sobering.
If you're on the interweb, you've seen #YOLO unfold in a series of tweets or status updates of shenanigans involving late nights, red bull, and impulsive hair dye. I don’t find the choices in these updates all that inspiring.
In choosing what you do to commemorate these final days of school, whether after graduation, prom or band practice, at the forefront of our mind and hearts should be this reality that all is a gift from God, to be used for His glory. This doesn't require walking around yelling, 'hallelujah,' but it demands that our actions be a reflection of who we belong to. We are not our own.
Deep in the heart of Paris, there is a Catholic Church that you could walk right past, if you weren't paying attention. It's on a cobblestoned road lined with shops and apartments with classic french windows that you half expect the characters of Beauty and the Beast to pop out of, yelling, 'Bonjour!' and 'I need six eggs!' It was only at the tip of a local that my friends and I ventured down ru de SÌÄ®ÕÌâå¬vres and into the Chapel of the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission. We were told that it was the burial place of St. Vincent de Paul and not to be missed.
Joanna and I became friends in college, when I was a junior and she was a freshman. Her family had converted to Catholicism when she was a teenager and she struggled to embrace their new beliefs. I was a theology major who loved my Catholic faith and a good discussion. Joanna would often knock on my door, offer me a pudding snack, and spend hours grilling me about the Church.
Patti was an easy target for these jokes. She went to a different school, dressed a little differently, talked a little louder. Leaning against the sink in the girl's bathroom, sensing everyone's attention and wanting to seal my spot in the group, I made a joke about her. It was true, but it wasn't nice.
When we attend the March for Life, we stand in the streets of our Nation's capital to protest a law that is unjust. To take a day to gather and give a very public witness – to 'shout' that we are Pro-Life, and that the law of our land is unjust. But as Catholics – as humans – we know that at the heart of the pro-life movement it is not a question of laws but of souls. The souls of babies, the souls of mothers and fathers, and the souls of those with whom we disagree.