Saturday, January 16, 2010

More of You

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen! Two weeks into my grand plans that this time, I'm Going To Change, and grace is far from me. Good job, soldier.

In the meantime, I find myself returning to the empty handed helplessness I often find myself experiencing before Confession. And, really, despite everything, it's not the most awful place to be.

It hit me over Epiphany that the whole point of poverty is to make ourselves helpless. We are told to give up everything we have to follow Christ. When He called His Apostles from their old lives to be disciples, they dropped everything in that moment to go after Him.

And sometimes, when we don't listen, He sends floods. He turns our lives upside down to shake us up and turn us back to Him. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is where I'm at right now.

My relationship failed in its last weeks primarily because the focus turned completely away from God. There were a lot of reasons for this, but regardless, at that point His insistence that I follow Him couldn't be ignored. By then, things had gotten too muddled to ignore.

Perhaps that's what I needed. Maybe the relationship failed because I was insecure first with Him. It's often been said that you need to learn how to love God and be satisfied with just that before you'll ever be capable of giving your heart to another. Now, in hindsight, I can see how that was true for me.

As I adjust to loving Him and only Him, I've found myself balking. This is difficult! Too difficult sometimes, I wonder. I want nothing more than to make Him proud, and to be free of everything that keeps me from reaching the potential I'm capable of.

"He must increase, and I must decrease." Maybe I just need to get out of the way.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Epiphany Tunes

Happy Feast of the Epiphany! Merry Christmas--for just a day, in both the West and East.

Have a present. These guys, Straight No Chaser, are an a cappella group that got their start as college buddies in Indiana. Three years ago, one of the group members posted videos from their performing days to reminisce with friends; what he never expected were over three million views, one being from a major record label. They've since been signed and are touring a larger circuit than they would have ever dreamed.


Monday, January 4, 2010

The Epiphany of Poverty

This past weekend, one of the priests from our "sister" parish that we'll be merging with came to say Mass. It was the Feast of the Epiphany (though I'm still trying to figure out how that works, what with the sixth being Thursday...), and so he was preaching about the wise men.

He cast light on many elements of the story that I'd never considered, perhaps most notably the fact that they were--duh, Melissa--magi. Pagans. Non-Christians. And yet, they were pulled from three different countries to give homage to the Son of God. They weren't connected to the Holy Family at all, and knew next to nothing about the baby they would soon adore. All they knew was that somewhere, something amazing was happening.

The homily reminded me of an Advent homily my pastor gave last year, where he described just how lowly the conditions in Bethlehem would have been where Christ was born.

God brought salvation out of extreme poverty. He used an ordinary girl to change the entire world, and brought poor men from around the known world to worship Him. It proves to me time and time again that God will use anyone to further His glory. He passed over so many--the wealthy, kings, priests, nobles--in favor of the meek, humble and poor. Maybe Jesus said that "blessed are the poor in spirit" for a reason. It only solidifies that He doesn't desire us to win favor with this world as the "prosperity gospel" may suggest. Notoriety only gets in the way of what He wants--our simple love and affection.

(Goodness, is it just me, or do I sound a touch Franciscan tonight?)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out of Exile

I'm back! I wonder if anyone will notice. :)

My semester with Abide With Us is behind me now, and I can finally return to my first love, this blog. While I still can't guarantee frequent updates given my courseload, it's my intention for the new year to blog when I can. I need some sort of outlet for my creativity that's not newswriting, after all.

So much has changed since my last substantial post, and I can say with certainty that my personal and spiritual growth has been exponential since living away from home. I'm back in town on winter break for the time being, which gives me ample opportunities to reflect on all that's happened.

My university Newman Center is without a doubt the biggest blessing I could have received in transferring schools, more than the surprising ease of independent living or at least one compatible roommate. I have regular access to the Sacraments, can attend Mass three times a week, and live right down the street from the Blessed Sacrament. With the emotional turmoil of the last few months, it's safe to say that the Eucharist has kept me sane. More than that, though, I found fellowship with people that really, truly understand why this Faith is so important to me. They live it just as passionately as I do. It's a welcome change, having allies.

I'm single, and though that decision came a few months ago now, it's one that will take me a good while to process. My vocation is still to marriage, of that much I'm mostly sure...but now I'm left to learn what it means to be alone with Him. My entire journey with God (as a Catholic) has taken place within the span of that relationship, and it's only now that I realize how often I leaned on the gentleman instead of on Love Himself. It was a reasonable flaw that can be expected, I suppose. My faith still has all of the ups and downs it did, but now, He is my sole partner, at least for this season. It's a challenge, but one I'm growing stronger for.

"There is a time for everything," Ecclesiastes says. It will be interesting to see where this new leg of the race will lead me.

Peace in the new year! More to come.