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
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.
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
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.
When God Lowers the Kneeler
I don’t know about you, but I am fully prepared to petition that the month of February be officially removed from the calendar (sorry those of you with February birthdays!). One needs a lot of endurance to make it through February sanely. Though teachers can get a lot of work done during the month, students are struggling to stay with the program-even the ones who agreed to it in the first place. For me, one crazy thing happened after another, and though most things in my life were in place, it felt like anything but. Continue reading
Parce Domine (Spare, Lord)
Can it be that Lent is upon us so soon? I know that I, for one, am not ready. Though I am ready for Christ’s triumph, I am steadfast in my complacency and my sin. Change my ways? Ehh, better not. I will, however, vow to not eat sweets and work out three times a week, because “giving up” and “adding” things will help me reach my goal of a smaller weight!
Though I have never taken part in Lenten work-outs, I have given up sweets in the hopes that it will lead me to a better lifestyle; and while neither of these are always bad things to do for Lent, we must do them for the right reasons (ie; not because you want to lose weight!). Continue reading
Catholic Education Appreciation Post!
What a wonderful liberty it is to be able to write such a title! In a world that still struggles so greatly with religious persecution, I feel so blessed to have not only grown up within a huge community of faithful, but to have received a formal education within that community as well. Continue reading
A Holy Pilgrimage, Part 3
I am at a loss for words over what I have experienced this past week. The president of my high school, Father Jones, told us many times that this was a mission trip of witness rather than service, and that it is just as important. Our main contributions were physical presence and prayer, and though it may not seem like much, I feel in my heart that it was. Continue reading
A Holy Pilgrimage, Part 2
Wednesday we traveled to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The purpose of the group going there was to be reminded that all human life is sacred, and that man has power to commit horrible atrocities to fellow man. The museum itself is a beautiful remembrance of something that is so prevalent in human history, but to me it represented so much more. Continue reading