Perhaps the toughest part of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. This Lent, I’ve made specific efforts to forgive myself for past wrongdoings. I’ve reflected on what lead me to those sins or mistakes. I’ve confessed them and have felt Jesus take them off of my shoulders. The freedom that comes with Jesus’ forgiveness is life-changing. But we have to let it change our lives. We have to accept that He forgives us. He doesn’t hold a grudge, so who are we to hold one?
Category Archives: Relationship with God
“I don’t even know how she got on this show if she can’t harmonize,” I said as I leaned back in my chair and looked at the TV.
“Megan!” my roommate snapped. “You’re not supposed to be watching TV! Get back to work!”
“I’m not watching, I’m just . . . ” I trailed off, unable to come up with an excuse. I sat back up in my chair and started in on my schoolwork again.
So often I grasp for more and more. Things are good but I want them to be better. I have so much . . . why do I always want more?
This week has taught me to slow down and receive what God is giving me, and not complain that I want more or less. He knows what I can and can’t handle today. And He won’t give me more than I can handle – with His grace.
You see, more isn’t always better. I used to always focus on achieving, but now I want to focus on receiving. Our Lord is the Giver of all good gifts.
I want a lot of things out of life. I want to be happy. I want to feel like I have purpose. I want to be loved. I want to make a difference. I want to live a life I’m proud of. I want to be a saint. I want chocolate and tacos but not at the same time.
But I don’t know where to find those vague and lofty desires. Are they only talked about in poems and songs? Because so many people around me aren’t happy with their lives, or haven’t found their purpose, or are settling for counterfeit love and a bottle of booze.
Instead of going into the chapel and pouring out my thoughts or trying really hard to hear Him, I’m just sitting in the silence. His calm, gentle, strong voice always comes to me if I submit to the sacred silence in the chapel.
If I can’t make it to the chapel, I can sit in silence with God in my room. My reflection this week on my silent time has flowed nicely with my reflections on not speeding.
What I’ve learned this week is this: I don’t always have to set the pace. Whether it be in the car, in the hallway, or in the chapel – I can take my time. I can slow down. I can breathe. I can listen to His heartbeat, and strive to live my life to the rhythm of that heart beat. Let God set the rhythm, and experience the freedom that it offers.
I’ve been to hundreds of youth conferences, camps, and retreats. And rarely one goes by that I don’t hear a men’s or women’s talk that encourage those who are single to spend time waiting, trusting, and praying for their future spouse. Now I know the analogy can get a little weird if we push it too far, so let’s be careful there. But in the same way that a single person who is waiting for a future spouse makes it a good practice to pray for their future spouse, we as a Church should pray for the future pope. We should ask the Lord to protect him, bless him, and make him ready. We should ask the Lord to give us strength, to encourage us in the interregnum (the time between popes), and to make us a more loving and faithful Church under the care of the next pope.
For me, it took my mind wondering and asking what my next pope would be like to realize how important it was to be praying for him every day.
Picture it: You’re in a hurry. You’re focused on school or work or family or friends, where there are a thousand things going on. You stop “real quick” to eat in the middle of the day. Halfway through the meal – or a little while after – you remember it’s Friday. And it’s Lent! And that’s a burger in your stomach!! In the words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”
“Excuse me, you’ve got some dirt on your head.” Every year someone says that to me on Ash Wednesday. Maybe it has happened to you too. In the past it used to frustrate me, but in recent years I have come to see it as a great opportunity to evangelize, to share with someone about the most important person in my life: Jesus Christ.
So here we are. Lent 2013. Another 40 days of no caffeine, cookies, soda, candy, the snooze button, Facebook/Twitter, gossip, video games, complaining, showing up late, secular music, texting, TV, or homework (just kidding . . . don’t try it, it doesn’t work).
There could be a lot of different motivations behind those sacrifices – like a desire to lose weight, or to get attention . . . but that’s not exactly what Lent is about.
Every year since I’ve been a Catholic (five years and counting!), I’ve really loved coming up with different challenges for Lent. One year I gave up eating any meat, last year I read the bible for 30 minutes straight each day no matter what, you get the picture . . . Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s not just how much we give up or what extra stuff we do, but it’s about the quality of your sacrifice and what you decide to do.
How about giving up some of your time and using it for prayer? In fact, let me make the ultimate suggestion . . .
Ready to move beyond just giving up chocolate? Last year we gave you 25 Creative Ideas for Lent. This year, we wanted to expand upon that list. Except, if you know us, you know we like to make things a bit . . . well . . . more interesting. So here’s a list of weird things to do for lent. The best part is that even though they’re a bit odd, they will actually help you to be holy! Don’t eat the last bite of your food Park at the very back of the parking lot Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe Read more [...]
Maybe God’s calling you to reorder in that way. Or maybe He has a different way of walking with you and helping you establish order. Let Him walk with you. Let Him speak truth into situations in your life and bring calm to the chaos.
We waited all throughout Advent. We celebrated all throughout Christmas. Now we have the beautiful season of Ordinary Time to settle into a routine – but a routine that looks different than it did last year, because we’re letting God in to our lives in new ways.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Are you going to study more? Eat your vegetables? Finally watch all those episodes of Honey Boo Boo clogging up the DVR?
How about a resolution to proclaim your faith a little more?
You know, proclaim. To state publicly, to announce, to shout from the rooftops. In his letter on the Year of Faith Pope Benedict XVI writes that,
“The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person.”
The people of the Old Testament were waiting 400 years to hear something, anything, from God. In our Bibles, it takes less than a second to turn the page from the Old Testament to the Gospels when in reality, there was about a 400 year gap.
So what would He say? When God finally showed up, when the Messiah arrived, what would be the first thing He says? A message of condemnation? Reminding us of our sins? Telling us to be more patient? Giving us new rules to follow?
But no . . . the shocking reality was that Jesus, the Word of God, the King of Kings, and Savior of the Universe came in silence, unseen or heard of by the world.
No trumpets were played, no Youtube videos were released, no “likes” on Facebook were given. He entered the world not as a heroic muscular man, but as a frail vulnerable baby.
But have you ever thought of the significance of that?
Our God loved us so much, He let himself become small and vulnerable, unable to walk, drooling, baby Jesus. Who became so vulnerable and frail, and in need of Mary’s nurturing.
As it is with the Christian life, if we want to see clearly – as God sees – we have to look at the “big picture” of salvation. If we want to understand Jesus’ death, for instance, we need to begin with His birth and when we do, we will undoubtedly learn something very interesting . . . that He was born to die.
If you want to get technical, that “pieta” moment first occurred not on Calvary, but in Bethlehem. The manger’s wood was a foreshadowing; it is the “cross” of Christmas. There is far more going on at Jesus’ birth than many of us realize upon first glance.
The man in my life is Jesus. On a scale of 12 to 89 He weighs in at about a million. Some girls and Tumblr accounts, I’m not naming names here, think Mr. R. Gosling is the epitome of the male gender.
Just look at this face. But wait another 200 words before you agree because I’m about to do a Jesus vs. Ryan Gosling throwdown.
You see, many of us have gotten into a routine of stuffing ourselves during Advent. It’s the holidays! We like to take it all in. The lights, the music, the food – we want as much as we can get!
But Advent isn’t about stuffing ourselves. The Nativity scene isn’t full of people gathered around Jesus because they are full. They are there because they’re hungry.
In case you haven’t seen a calendar, looked at people’s front yards, or watched enough of those ridiculous cars-with-huge-ribbons-on-them commercials (because most people we know regularly get a Lexus for Christmas) . . . Christmas is coming soon.
The Church celebrates Advent – a time of preparation – for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I never really used to get into Advent; it seemed like an unnecessary reminder when we already have radio stations playing Christmas music, Christmas episodes of our favorite TV shows, and those red Starbucks cups to let us know that Jesus’ birth is just around the corner.