When she would shoot, it was always a swoosh. When she dribbled, it was between the legs and around the back. And when it was a no-look pass, it was the slickest alley-oop you’d ever seen. Or in this case imagined. At 34 years old and a whopping 4 foot 6, she was our determined Down Syndrome winner of hearts and the star of every imaginary game she had ever played in our family room back home.
When you wake up, you look at your floor, strewn with t-shirts, phone numbers of friends, and your journal. You remember the moments that challenged you, the resolutions you made to make changes in your life: to delete the songs on your computer, to change who you hang out with, and to basically be the Mother Theresa of the tenth grade.
But of course we all need help. Time and time again, God reminds me that it is through my brokenness that Christ’s love will penetrate into the depths of my heart. And, I have come to learn that it’s through our brokenness that we are able to know others better. If we don’t allow our vulnerabilities to show, then other people may think that we don’t need them or care about them.
And not only was he my teacher; he was a mentor, an inspiration in my faith life, and someone from whom I had often sought theological advice. How fitting, then, that he was there that evening to make physical God’s promise to uphold my right hand — and the right hand of each member of my beloved class.
When God makes promises, I learned, it’s anything but a metaphor.
The biggest thing I learned from last year at LTLC was to get out of my comfort zone. Whether that means being more open to prayer and allowing Christ in your life, or going out of your way to say hi to other people. I’m a naturally shy person, but once you get to know me I won’t shut up.
Luckily, we are Catholic, so we don’t believe in superstition. To help you prioritize your fear gage here is a list of 13 things ACTUALLY scarier than Friday the 13th.
That’s when desolation hit. Prayer became pretty challenging, reading Scripture felt like doing homework, every single thought distracted me and I felt an overall darkness. This lasted for about 4 months and after recognizing my “dark night” I knew what I had to do for a “bright morning.”
I’m such a huge Cardinals fan because, well, it’s how I was created. It’s part of how we were all created, actually, written into our very souls. We all have this innate desire to worship, given to us by God to lead to us to worship Him. But because we’re human, and have free will (not to mention original sin), we’re all really good at worshiping other things.
Eventually, in my heart, the answer became clear. But it was gradual. It was never a burning bush or a voice from the heavens. And honestly, I think I grew more as a person because of it. Throughout my seemingly endless period of questioning my future, I learned to trust. God created the Universe. Did I honestly think He couldn’t handle University?
I had no idea what to say when I was first called “Jesus Freak.” So I ended up saying, “Wow, okay.” I shrunk because I didn’t think anyone would ever call me that, at least not to my face. And then I went home and cried. I didn’t know how to respond. I took it terribly.
I always tell people who are discerning their vocation to be courageous and remember Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” His dreams for us are our joy. God both wants the best for us and gives us every grace and strength we need. God is the best lover, friend, guide, help, mentor we could ever wish for!
Learn to love the quiet, gentle (yet strong) way He speaks. He never forces us to listen to Him so we must learn to be quiet and to love His voice.
So when a person comes to speak to me initially, that is how I try to explain it to them. They are not signing their life away, and ultimately, my interest is their eternal joy and salvation, and if it is not as a priest, or a priest for my diocese, I want them to figure that out. So they are certainly not committing to anything with just a conversation with me.
Of course I am excited for the future, but most importantly, I am striving to be fully invested in the present moment at all times. I believe that the Lord puts a call, gifts, and desires into each of our hearts… and the world needs it! The world needs YOU… and me, and everyone.
May is when it gets real. The predictable routine of school is about to end and suddenly you realize that you’re not 100% sure what the future holds. When I started college as a freshman, I assumed that life was now on a set track — I’d meet and fall in love with my future husband around the middle of my junior year so we could be engaged by the time we graduated and get married in the summer. We’d both get great jobs, acquire a house with a white picket fence, live happily ever after with our dog and three kids and be active volunteers in our local Catholic Church. I had seen this story unfold in the lives of others, so I figured it would be mine, too.
As a freshman in college I found that my campus Catholic club left something to be desired. While it wasn’t really bad, it was definitely not what I wanted or expected coming into college. I wanted somewhere to grow in my faith and to build a community of believers and tight friendships, but my Newman Club was not the place for it. As I watched the attendance of the club’s meeting dwindle as the year went by, I knew that other people wanted more as well.
God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God's mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, 'Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.'
I didn’t believe in God until I was 15.
I was raised Catholic and got dragged to Mass and religious education and I hated it. I went to public school preK-8. By the time I went to a Catholic high school I was already formed in my beliefs.
What did I believe?
All my life I loved animals and Nature more than anything. I planned on spending my life doing conservation and working to save animals and the environment. I was into Greenpeace, recycling, living in harmony with Nature. I was a card-carrying member of the Audubon Society.
I believe that Pope John Paul II was one of the greatest Popes to have ever served the Church. History has shown him to be a man who can be all things to all people. He was an athlete, an actor, a writer, a priest, a bishop, an activist, and most of all a follower of Christ. He was a man who was deeply in love with Christ and the Church. He was willing to do whatever it took to lead the faithful into the victory that Christ has won for us.
In terms of leadership and bravery, William Wallace has nothing on this guy. During the years of Pope John Paul II’s service to the Church, he encountered many things that would make the average person run and hide:
Like accomplishments, boys only filled me temporarily. After another meaningless fling with a younger boy ended, I ended up breaking down in front of a sorority sister I barely knew. I told her everything: the boys, the partying, my poor judgment as well as the impossible mountain of insecurity that I could never fully conquer.
Let me set up a common scenario in my life. I sit down to pray to God, whether it is before or during Mass, during Adoration, or just in my spare time. I find myself starting really strong and then my mind wanders. I coo over the cute baby five pews behind me. I plan out what work I am going to be doing later that night. I wonder what on earth was I thinking when I answered that question in class. I try to figure out what I’m going to wear tomorrow.
Let’s just say I get distracted easily.