Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Next Five Years

I want the next five years to be different.

I want the next five years to be...
Less about mourning what I have yet to do,
But more about what God has already done 
And is doing now –
Not only in my own life,
But in every life,
Every heart,
Every soul.

I want the next five years to be...
Less full of worry for the future,
But more full of trust in what God has planned for me
And those I love –
Knowing that everything we went through yesterday,
And endure today,
Is all shaping us for tomorrow.

I want the next five years to be...
Less built on a faith of laws and rules and obligations,
But more built on the rock of God's unending love for us 
And for this whole world –
His presence in our suffering,
His compassion in our failure,
His joy in our triumph.

I want the next five years to be...
Less about

And more about


I want the next five years to be about love.

And that's all I want.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Last Five Years

It's hard to believe that tomorrow afternoon will mark five years since I came back home to the Church.

Hard to believe because it feels both like ages ago and yesterday. My soul has blossomed into something I never anticipated – something strong and free and beautiful.

And yet...

Taking stock of everything this week has left me in an odd state. I gave up so much for this faith, for God. I have been pruned and tempered and humbled and tried in more ways than I can even begin to count. I have been brought to the limit of my strength and then pushed beyond it.

There were a lot of moments I wondered if I would ever see this milestone, honestly.

In those moments where I was broken and isolated, my prayers evaporating into the air unacknowledged, it was so easy to ask myself if any of this matters at all.

I found myself longing for a time when it didn't matter, when my mind wasn't constantly occupied with unanswerable questions and inconsolable worry.

God was always there for me, yes, and the tide is slowly turning. My paternal grandmother is back in the Church; I have many dear friends in the faith; and this year I've been blessed with a wonderful man who believes just as I do, that every moment should be joyful and full of His light.

...But in the last five years, I confess that I've let much of that goodness go to waste, drowned in my penchant for worry, judgement, and despair.

I may have "made it" five years, but my attitude isn't one of celebration. Mostly, I'm just glad that I survived this long.

You know something? That's a damn shame. It took me five years to realize that while God has set me free of so much, transforming my mind and soul in the process, the real gift of His love for me, for this whole world, has yet to reach my heart.

And now that I've realized it, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to let Him change that.

To be continued ...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thomas and Me

Alleluia! Christ is risen now and risen forever!

It's been a while. But oh, what a productive while it's been...

For now, though, I need to start with the present. Divine Mercy Sunday.

One of the most beautiful things about the Church's tradition for me is our feasts. We celebrate and honor every aspect of Jesus' life and heart. And it seems that every year, there's a deeper layer of meaning to explore.

This year, sitting next to my grandmother at Divine Mercy parish of all places, I couldn't help but offer Him a humble thank you. When I began this journey of faith six years ago, I had no one. In little ways, as subtle as it may be, that tide is slowly turning.

What struck me especially this weekend was one of my favorite Gospel stories that I've heard plenty of times before: the encounter between Jesus and St. Thomas the Apostle. Elated, the eleven others who saw Jesus appear to them ran to Thomas to share the good news. But he didn't believe them.

He said, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand in his side, I will not believe."

In that moment, I heard the bitterness in Thomas' voice and saw the sadness in his eyes.

On Good Friday, the apostles were utterly defeated. They had seen a man walk on water, heal their wounds, change their hearts. And then, all of that died with Jesus.

I bet I know how Thomas felt that night. For once, I thought things would be different, he must have thought. I had hope. I trusted Him. Then, with a sigh and a shake of the head: Perhaps I was too trusting.

Resigned to that despair, it's easy to envision the wry smirk that probably appeared at the expressions on the faces of his dearest friends. How crazy they must have looked after all they had seen. For Thomas, it was rubbing salt in the wound.

He and I, we're not all that different. We have this incredible gift of grace in our lives, but in the face of the bleak world before us, it's hard to take it seriously. It's almost impossible to believe.

So imagine Thomas' joy at that meeting. I'd wager he didn't just go to his knees before the Lord, but that they simply gave out in shock, amazement ... and relief. Jesus kept His word. He came through for Thomas, and for them all. For me.

His love and mercy endured. And it will endure forever.