This summer I went on my third CHRISTpower retreat, a week-long service retreat for high school students in our diocese. We stay at the local high school and each day we attend a different service site, reflect on a different theme, and look for Christ in sometimes unexpected places. This year’s overall theme was Mercy in Action, in conjunction with the Year of Mercy. Each day at Mass while on the retreat one member from each group would describe where they saw Christ that day. As a tribute to everyone I have met through this amazing experience these past few years, especially those I met this year, I have written a manifesto of sorts:
Saint Profile: St. Francis de Sales
Today is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, a Church Doctor and the patron of authors, writers, deaf, and journalists. He followed the will of his father so much so that he did not tell him of his desire to be a priest until he was absolutely certain of God’s will. He refused to do anything prematurely, lest he follow his own will rather than the Lord’s. And how did he know that the priesthood was truly what God wanted for him? He fell from his horse three times, each time causing his sword to come out of his scabbard and make the shape of a cross. If that isn’t proof of God’s visible presence in our lives, I don’t know what is. Continue reading
Let This Year Be Done
As I begin to think of the new year ahead, I am starting to think of my mission. My mission on this blog, my mission in life, my mission in faith, and my mission for the world. I began this blog almost exactly a year ago, and since then it has been something that I have felt fulfills my mission not only in faith, but in life. Fiat, or “let it be done unto me” is the phrase that started me on this journey, and is the phrase that adheres me to it as well. Continue reading
The Mark of a Mountain
“The mountains are calling and I must go,” a quote from John Muir, has always held a special place in my heart. This summer my family was fortunate to be able to visit my cousin and her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There I began to learn what it is about mountains that captivates my heart the way it does-a connection to God. Mont Sainte-Victoire, an impressionistic painting by Paul Cézanne captures this feeling in the most beautiful way.
I Woke Up Like This: 21 Things I Took Away From Missouri Fine Arts Academy
This past month I was fortunate enough to attend the Missouri Fine Arts Academy (MFAA), a graciously state-funded inter-disciplinary arts academy on the campus of Missouri State University. The experience was unlike anything I had ever imagined myself having, and I am grateful for every minute of it. The community created at the academy spurred such a profound emotional response from students and faculty alike that to say I learned a lot about myself as an artist is an understatement. I learned about myself as a human being. I learned about art in society, about the changes that are occurring in our country right now and how they are affecting my generation, about collaboration, that there are people like me out there struggling in their situations the same way I am in mine, and a million other things that I don’t even know if I could put into words. In order to give you an idea of what I have been a part of the past three weeks, I have tried to pair the learning, laughter, and tears down to one for each day of the life-changing experience that is MFAA.
- 99 is not 100.
- You learn by doing.
- Entertainment gives you what you are expecting; art leaves you to connect the dots yourself.
- Snapping is a great way to recognize how profound something is without interrupting…unless it’s during Father’s homily.
- Education is an angelic troublemaker.
- You do not always wake up flawless, but it is always the proper response to “I woke up like this.”
- To collaborate is to create something bigger than yourself.
- Cereal gets the right of way. (in the dining hall)
- WE ALL HAVE NERVES.
- If something is deemed “unspeakable”, it is almost a sure sign that it must be discussed.
- If you have a fall back plan you’ll fall back on it.
- To fight for others to be accepting of you, you must first be accepting of them.
- Sometimes the words that best describe things are not words.
- The point of some art is to create a strong response.
- “Leaving Jesus out of it” ensures that you will find more of Him in it.
- We feel in tempos.
- Sometimes the best actors are not those of the theater discipline.
- Dr. Pepper and Muddy Buddies can fix almost anything.
- When a man says he hears angels singing, he hears angels singing. ~Mary Oliver
- Sometimes the best way to be creative is to think inside the box with your out of the box ideas.
- You don’t need wings to fly.
While the World Was Sleeping
This past week while trying to decide on a movie to watch with my boyfriend, we were looking at my family’s movie collection and he blurts out: “While You Were Sleeping? What’s that?” It then became obvious to me that the next step in his movication, a term I am fond of from the movie, Pitch Perfect, that we continue to use to describe my educating him of the “classics” of cinematography that he has missed while actually doing productive things during his child and teenage-hood, was to watch While You Were Sleeping. This movie has always been a favorite of mine. The cast stars Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher and Peter Boyle, among many other fine actors.
This Too Shall Pass
A wise woman named Corrie ten Boom once said: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” As the German Blitzkrieg spread through the Netherlands, her room held a secret closet that could conceal up to six Jews. Her actions have been estimated to have saved over 800 lives. I bet that she told the men, women, and children she harbored something similar to “this too shall pass”. Later, when she would be imprisoned by the Gestapo, I’m sure she told herself the same thing. Though the terrors of the Holocaust are far beyond that which most of us can relate to, we all face times of great turmoil in our lives. Continue reading
Oh Happy Day
One of my favorite gospel songs is that of Oh Happy Day, written by Edwin Hawkins based on an 18th century hymn. To me it sounds of victory and of great joy. In fact, this song is what wakes me up every morning whether I am joyful or not. Because of the events of the past week, we are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song. We suffered with Jesus on the Way to Calvary, and now we have the promise of being raised to new life in the Resurrection. Though I held so much joy in my heart on Easter Sunday, the events of the day were not necessarily the happy ending to Lent I had been hoping for. Continue reading
The Paradox of the Passion
Please, Lord, I'm not worth it. Not worth the pain the stain the strife Not worth the tears the fears or Your own life The hour has come for You to go But please, don't do it for me I am the one who nails You the one who bails on You the one who denies I am the one who cheats on You the one who beats on You the one who lies And still You stop me And still You say You are worth the agony and worth the Way to Calvary and worth putting my life on the line Because you are good because you withstood because you are Mine.
Where Feet May Fail
To me, Lent is somewhat about facing our fear of the unknown, facing that which keeps us from trusting God with everything we are. As we carry our crosses alongside Jesus, we must trust with all of our hearts that Jesus will carry us to the end. He will be our Simon, uniting our crosses with his, picking us up when we fall. I have always been irrationally afraid of spiders and of heights, but my focus this Lent is on a fear that I have only realized recently.