If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we must believe that God loves us and would never allow for us to experience suffering without purpose. Therefore, there has to be purpose in the cross of unhappiness. Whether we struggle with depression for months on end or just experience a day lacking fulfillment, perhaps these are opportunities to shine brighter and cling tighter. Perhaps there is purpose in our pain.
When I first heard Isabel’s testimony at a retreat, I was tearing up just thinking about what life would be like without having parents around. It made me wonder… do I respect and value my own parents? The words of advice that I couldn’t stop thinking about from Isabel were, “Always love and respect your parents before it’s too late.” That talk really inspired and helped everyone realize that our parents should be loved, respected, and valued every day while we have them with us.
The next few Sundays looked the same. Each week I was presented with an opportunity to tell them more about my faith but each week, I responded with a one-word answer. After a month of this happening, my siblings caught on. They noticed that instead of cramming for a test on Sunday night, I was at church. They called me anything from “church freak” to “soon-to-be-nun.”
To make matters worse I began struggling with even more anxieties, anxieties about: past worries, college decisions, the future, and even my faith. I wrestled with these anxieties for a while and though I have certainly been able to manage them better, this is something that I still struggle with today.
Often I wonder why did this happen? I felt fine in the beginning of the school year. I’ve had worries like this in the past, but nothing that has trapped me as much as these anxieties did. After praying and reflecting on this question a great deal, I strongly believe that this was Jesus telling me to wake up.
Life is messy. We’ve got so much to worry about, so many things to juggle at once. And all the while an intimidating little beast called “the future” keeps knocking at our door, reminding us of all the things we’ve got to do right… or else.
I think somewhere along the way, we all lose sight of what matters. We become more intrigued by the words on a screen than by the words in our Bible. We become more concerned about the relationships we have with people around us than with the One who created us.
If you are a sinner like me, you sin all the time. This calls for continuous conversion or continually turning your heart away from sin and toward God. St. John Paul The Great says “We ourselves are to be converted anew every day.” So here are three simple steps to help your continual growth and conversion toward Christ.
The other day, my youth minister threw my phone out of a (moving) car window. It was his way of teaching me to be “in the world but not of it.” He’s a tough-luck kind of guy. Just kidding. He did throw my phone out the window, but it was an accident. I was shocked. […]
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:
I rode in the car for two hours with our Lord clutched to my chest. I had my knees up by my face and both my hands over Him, hugging Him tightly to myself. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands, pounding through the gold capsula. I did not speak. The hours passed like minutes as I sat there in complete awe and wonder.
Ready or not, here it comes… It’s almost 2014.
I don’t know about you, but this year for me has been a year of challenge, change, and growth with a ton of added mercy and grace. Looking back at the challenges, I am grateful; grateful that the Lord allows me to grow when I suffer and grateful that He never stops loving me.
I got rocked at Mass this morning while celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. For the first time, God revealed to me that Jesus died on the cross for His Mother. I thought Mary never sinned. Why would she need her Son Jesus to save her? Let me explain. “The most Blessed Virgin Mary […]
All I’ve ever wanted out of my relationships is to feel safe.
I’m always worried that I’ll make someone so angry that they won’t want to have anything to do with me. I want to know that I’m worth someone’s time and effort; that they’ll stick around when things get rough.
But people always fall short. We’re imperfect and broken and there’s no escaping that. Show me someone who’s got it together all the time and I’ll show you someone who’s wearing a mask. People are unpredictable and it’s scary.
As most of you know, there was an event last month that was a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. It was a gathering of more than 3,000,000 people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil called World Youth Day. Every couple years this incredible week of catechesis, celebrating the sacraments, and much more allows young […]
One little bump and I go from calm and collected to, 'This plane is going to crash, and I'm too young to die!'
Yes, I'm that dramatic, sometimes.
I think of all the things that I want to still do with my life, things that I want to accomplish, places I wanted to go; I think of children and enjoying the benefits of becoming an old man who sits on his front porch drinking lemonade and yelling at kids to get off his lawn (face it, you know that is going to be awesome).
Fear will grip me the rest of that flight. I can't focus on anything … not the weird in-flight movie or awkward conversation I am having with the person next to me. I'm gripping the armrest like it will actually steer the plane for the rest of the flight.
Our faith, however, is not based on hollow rituals or oppressive rules. It's based on an encounter with the person of Jesus, who changes everything. Our relationship with Christ connects us with the origin of our life and the meaning of where we are going. He desires us not to be weighed down but rather to live life to its fullest potential (John 10:10).
When He calls us to live a holy life, it's because he knows what we are capable of and is drawing our potential out of us like any good sports coach does.
The Apostles couldn't explain how Jesus rose from the dead but they still spoke the truth because they experienced His rising in person. I couldn't intellectually or scientifically prove the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (see CCC 1374) yet I proclaimed it as true because I have experienced what Jesus has done for me through the Eucharist.
This is how we can grow in holiness in everyday life. Every day gives us new opportunities for our selfish, superior part to die and for us to grow in love. Maybe we do the dishes without grumbling about it, help someone with school work even if we'd rather be doing something else, or take time to hang out with our siblings.
We’re in a time where our leaders and beliefs are under a lot of scrutiny. It’s not always a popular thing to stand up for the Gospel these days. However, it wasn’t easy to stand up for the Gospel back in the days of the Early Church, either.
It’s ironic because I think it should have been easier back then. I have to pull out scripture to show people what Jesus said and did. The Apostles just had to say “Guys, don’t you remember two weeks ago on the boat when Jesus said this and that?”
I'd probably be on my way home, too. Because, in a way, I have felt like they felt. Maybe you have, too.
We've been on the great retreats, attended the amazing youth conferences, heard the killer homilies, felt the graces of Confession, gotten into the power of the Triduum. We've heard His voice and felt His presence. Everything is working according to plan.
And then, a little time goes by . . . a couple hours, a couple days, a couple weeks. And the feelings are gone. And it feels like Jesus is gone, too.
of former way of life. After His death and resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven where He is highly exalted and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23)