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Going the Distance

Last January I started my year as I always do, reflecting on the Lord’s blessing with a grateful heart and asking for graces I would need to reach my goals for the year. I write these down to later read. This January I asked Lord if it be your will, let this be the year I meet the one, but if that doesn’t happen it’s okay. In my mind I really thought I would meet them in New York, or meet him by the beginning of March. But when you ask God for great things you really can’t give him boundaries. After finishing a consecration to St. Joseph with special intentions for all the men in my life and for the special one I had yet to meet I should have known God was gonna wait. That March on St. Joseph’s feast day, at a Catholic retreat, I met Trevor. 

I did not really talk to him till the next day, and even then I was hesitant. I remember clear as day saying “I’m moving to the Bronx to do mission work,” and from across the fire pit I hear “That’s cool.” As this man continues to get closer and ask more questions, all I can think is God no, you’re too late. This man is too sweet. Saying good bye to my friends and family is hard enough, I’m not gonna say bye to a boyfriend. I tried so hard. I invited the man to mass the following week per his cousin’s request, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so focused on the altar. I told myself if you don’t look at him you won’t catch feels. But God’s firm clarity outran my stubbornness, and by the next week I was dating the man.

We had an amazing summer, and with each day that passed I only fell harder. Which only made July harder. My heart lived in my stomach for those two weeks, and his did too. People would say, “Wow y’all are brave,” or “Do you think you’ll make it?.” But they didn’t see us behind the scenes. They did not have to feel the helpless feeling of watching your man walk up the stairs with flowers in his arms and freeze because his heart is in such agony thinking about having to let you go in a matter of days. When you’ve both lived a life where you’ve been thrown a lot of hurt and pain, it’s hard to let go of something so good. We were going into such a big unknown. We had been barely dating four months, and we both had to just trust that the other was all in. 

July 14th was the worst day. I threw up in the bathroom of Henry’s diner while Trevor sat there eating breakfast with my family holding back tears knowing there was nothing he could do to fix it. We sat in that airport terminal, just watching planes take off, we didn’t say much. I laid my hand on top of his and we sat there till the very last minute. We said our goodbyes and I didn’t dare look back. After my plane took off, he left and Spotify did him dirty. The first song to play at random was “Hey there Delilah, What’s it like in New York City?” If I were him I would have crashed. This was day 1 of long distance dating, which has now made up more than half of our dating relationship.

“Is it hard?” 

“Do you miss him?”

“Do you miss her?

These are the questions we would get. And the answer was always “Yes, of course”

And as much of those questions reminded you of the ache, they also opened the door to talk about the very person you love talking about the most. Any ear willing to listen to me talk about my best friend became my favorite ears. Questions turned into “Do you miss him? to “Do you think he’s the one?” But even as the conversations got more exciting, it was still freaking hard. 

There was the letters back and forth, the flowers hand delivered by one of my teammates/ neighbor, the best virtual date nights, and we can’t forget the game nights. I think we’ve officially found all the best online games. Our favorites are scrabble and cribbage. We’ve prayed a rosary every morning. Trevor so graciously wakes up at 5:40 am just to pray with me before school. All this good does not prevent the bitter parts. On my first visit home I asked Trevor, “What’s the hardest part of this long distance?”

His answer, “Seeing you cry or be frustrated after a really hard day and not being able to hold you.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cried here, but I will say it has been better lately. What I appreciate the most is no matter how hard it gets, he has never once said you need to come home. Trevor has always said, “Do whatever God is asking you to do and I’ll support you through it.” Though it’s not any easier knowing your best friend lives in the Bronx of all places, but I guess Trevor has never felt these fists of fury haha! (Plus it’s not that bad here, but it’s quite the culture shock for a couple of midwesterners). I say for me what bothers me the most is having fun without your best friend. Like yes I want to be held on the bad days, but he’s my best friend and having fun and experiencing new things without him is tough. Like I wish I could share that with him.

Despite the difficulty I wouldn’t trade what we have for the world. God has blessed us abundantly. Christ has drawn near to us in our suffering. Praying a rosary everyday has been an absolute game changer, and there have been very few intentions that we have prayed for that have not come to fulfillment. It’s actually mind blowing!!!! Above all God has shown me that my best friend is the kind of man who’s willing to give up everything. He’s willing to surrender. He’s willing to put in the extra work, and do even the most mundane things for God’s glory. God has shown me that love does not know distance. Love is incapable of being distant. Trevor knows most of my students by name, and prays for them. Trevor has been there for every tear and victory. He has worked his butt off to provide for the future he desires. He has spent hours praying to God with these desires, and it’s paying off. We are halfway done with long distance, but with this new ring on my hand I have firm confidence that everything is going to be a-okay. I’m so excited to announce to you all that we are officially engaged.

I am so thankful for Trevor, and that I get to see Christ so clearly working in him everyday. I am excited I get to continue to experience that till my body hits the grave and I finally get to meet Christ face to face.

P.S. Shout out to all the men and women who serve our country and to their families back home. You have it way harder than I do. Praying in thanksgiving for your service and for your safe return home.

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To Be a Woman

When I see a person tripping on drugs in the streets, I think that used to be a student sitting in someone’s classroom, that used to be someone’s baby. That person came from someone’s womb and was placed in their mother’s gentle arms. Reflecting on that pierces my heart, but it keeps me grounded to their humanity. Too easily we look at humans in unfortunate situations, from conception to death, and try to see them as not human. Society tries to take the humanity out of the sufferer so they don’t have to suffer the guilt. If only we could just remember that every person is somebody’s baby. It reminds me of the dignity that we all have.

Speaking of being someone’s baby, can we just talk about moms for a second. I think mothers from all places and ages have been the biggest consolation since being here in the Bronx. I love being here and finally getting to meet the kids, but I would be lying if I said this mission is not one of the hardest things I’ve done. I find myself sitting in the 8th pew in the center just to have the best view of Mary at church. I find myself eager to answer a mother’s question at pick up time, even if I have to speak in my very broken spanish. I find myself drawn to a particular teacher’s classroom during down time just because her motherly presence and unspoken words make me feel emotionally safe. I find myself smiling as I watch my neighbor rocking her small boy in her warm embrace. Or watching that same momma calm her husband down after the boys pinched his last nerve. I see the kids holding their mom’s hand as they walk down the block and I just feel safer. I find myself leaning into the motherly love my roommates give even though they’ve never bore their own. There is something about motherly love that just hits different. It makes you feel at home in the most uncomfortable places. They say you never feel like an adult until you lose your mother, and I see why they say that. Being in the presence of mom makes you feel like you never have to grow up. It roots you in that child-like ambition. It takes away the overwhelming fears. It makes you realize you have nothing to lose. She’s the one you’d bite the bullet for.. She empowers you to go out, but you always have a place back home  in her heart. Mom’s have this way of making us feel emotionally safe. They break us down to our most authentic feelings. 

Maybe you don’t have an earthly mom like that, but I promise you have one who is reigning in heaven. (Psst.. it’s Mary). God does not leave us lacking. After all, the love of a mother is essential to human flourishing. From the very beginning mothers suffer for their kids and will lay down their life for their babies sake. Yet our world hates motherhood. The world says it’ll destroy your body, break your bank, ruin your career, and you’ll be miserable. They crush everything it means to be a woman by making power, success, and anatomy the defining features of what it means to be female. And unapologetically I won’t stand for that. Because to merely degrade women into people capable of being CEOs or having breasts or a vagina, is insulting. If that’s the case then anyone can be a woman. Women are more than that. You can take a woman’s ability to have children, but you can’t remove her motherly nature. Only momma’s can grow a baby in their womb, only momma’s can understand the pain of infertility, or the insecurity of not feeling ready to have a baby. Only momma’s can understand the pain of miscarriage, or the pain of feeling like your only option is abortion. Only a mother knows what it’s like to nurture every child as if it were their own. We all know the feeling of having a woman in our lives that knows how to peel back the layers, press into our emotions, and love us unconditionally. There are no perfect words to describe it, but if I could perfectly describe the feminine genius; anatomy, and success would not even scrape the surface of its depths. You’re far more than a body with a title, you’re a being we all need. It’s your feminine love, not your submission to lust.So to all you women out there. Thank you! Thank you for your presence. Thank you for being with us in the storm. Thank you for helping us realize it’ll all be okay.

To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

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Nothing in Common with You

Trinidad March 2020

We are all probably familiar with the story of the woman at the well. But just in case ““There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.””

‭‭John‬ ‭4:7-10‬ 

Maybe you’ve done bible studies with that passage and broken apart the symbolism, or maybe you haven’t. Either way today I want you to focus on verse 9, “The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

‭‭As I was sitting here praying about the racism issues we face all around the world this verse came to mind. Some of you may want to just stop reading at this point, you’re tired of hearing it, but I encourage you to press on. 

For those of you who don’t know I am in my last week of student teaching at a high school in Omaha. This school is full of amazing students that I love wholeheartedly. Of those 2,000 + students about 60-70% are black. Growing up I went to a school that was probably 90% white. Though this high school is much different than my past experience I went in enthusiastic about it. Deep down though I had fears. What if I say something that comes across the wrong way? What if my lack of understanding gets in the way? 

Neither of those things happened, but I did find both myself and my students had underlying biases and stereotypes that we believed about ourselves and each other. I’ve had students say to me that if I ever got yelled at in school I’d probably cry because that’s what little white girls do, they ain’t  ‘tough’. 

Or when I taught them about melanin (instead of doing the basics for evolution and genetics), both the students and I learned so much about skin tone and it brought up a lot of conversations. I remember at one point during the unit I caught myself saying fair skinned instead of light skinned, and the students never said anything, but I hated that I said it and actually chose to correct myself for it. I’ve learned the best thing I can do is acknowledge these little things (assumptions or stereotypes) and have a conversation. It doesn’t make me racist if I have these underlying biases, it’s racist to feed into them and act on it. And it’s not doing anyone a favor if we don’t get them out of our heads once we find them. 

Doesn’t matter how nice of a person you are, if you’ve been exposed to society you have it in your depths. It’s like sun spots from the sun, we all have them even if you can’t see them. But what does it take to overcome these underlying beliefs we all have? 

It takes sharing your life with others. Read all the books you want, but until you acknowledge we are all humans and not little gold fish that you can read up on to learn how to care for you are never going to quite understand. Immerse yourself into a culture different then your own. Not so you can post about it on the Instagram or look good, but to have your heart touched in a way it hasn’t been touched before. Set yourself free to love more deeply. Because what that woman encountered at the well was so much more than the kindness of a Jew. She encountered the face of God Himself. And she was deeply moved by this, and stricken by His simple humanity. Totally stricken by the fact that he looked right past the woman everyone else saw, and gazed directly at her true identity. Looking at her as though he was looking in a mirror. Pointing out the fact she had five husbands was not to shame her, but rather to say, “Yes woman, I know what you’re ashamed of, but I still choose you.”

His look says I know who you think you are, but trust me I know who you really are. You are mine. It is you that I chose to share life with. Through this moment more than just water was shared. And I feel like this Gospel moment sums up my semester. Teachers in the building and even friends warned me that I’d probably be cursed at, see a fight, and that it was going to be tough. Those people were wrong and the only tough part is when a student doesn’t understand how much I love them, or the toughest thing will probably be leaving. I’ve shared my life with these students, they know that I go home and tell my mom how much they mean to me and how much she loves them too. They know I’m willing to talk about the tough things with an open heart. They know I’ll never know what it’s like to experience some of the things they have experienced. They also know despite what they believed previously that I’m not all that different from them. One day they decided to teach me about the process of getting dreads, and the next laughed about me and my cowgirl boots and how I shouldn’t wear them in the Bronx. They taught me that it’s disrespectful to use someone’s full gov (full name). And that I’m always gonna be just “Miss” to most of them, not Miss Olson. And I’m okay with that. And I’m proud to say my favorite kiddos in the world call me “Miss”. We spent several weeks learning about the biology behind skin color and the importance of learning it so that we can see the beautiful reasons why we are so different yet still the same in so many ways. I’ve noticed this growth in not only myself but in my kiddos as well. The first day we brought up melanin a few students made some border line comments. And I noticed quickly how they started comparing themselves saying things like “I’m black, but not that black” or “you are too light to be black bro.” I also noticed that none of them had any interest in careers and science and a lot of them believed the lie that science is a white people thing to study. 

But it was so cool to see their reactions to the scientific work of people they could identify with. I also loved seeing their answers on the test when I asked, “what is one interesting thing you learned?”

I got a ton of different answers, but many of them said that they found it so amazing how our bodies evolved different skin tones in order to survive in different geographic regions. They thought it was so cool that our bodies could do these things and then pass it down through generations. They were fascinated by the beautiful truth about the goodness of their bodies. 

My point is this world is lacking love, and it is deeply affecting our little ones. It affects what they believe about themselves, what they are capable of, and who they believe they are supposed to be. It affects the way they respond to others, it makes them have assumptions about what others think of them, and how they value themselves. I pray that you be part of the change. That you chose to imitate Christ. That YOU CHOOSE to go out of your way to not just learn, but experience. I pray that in a world full of hate, you chose to love. I forget what saint said it but in places where there is no love to be found, put love in it. We must stop choosing sides, and start choosing love. We must acknowledge that it’s real and that we have a bias, and do something about it. And the best thing you can do is love. Live life fully with others. Will their good. Fall in love with the beauty of Christ radiance that shines forth from the heart of every human soul.

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Outweighed

Fun fact about me is I never weigh myself. Yes I get weighed at the doctors office, but it’s in kg and I just don’t pay attention to what it says anyways. Why am I telling you this? Because you my friend are more than just numbers on a scale. I quit weighing myself because I got tired of feeling confident only to be insulted by the numbers. I did the same thing with pant sizes, I stopped comparing myself to the sizes I could fit into in high school, and chose to embrace the pants that fit. Or when I’m running for fun I stopped measuring the distance and time. I did this because I wanted to be free of depending upon a number to be happy.

Now maybe the size of your jeans has never mattered to you, nor the numbers on the scale, or how fast you could run but I’m sure there’s a number you are obsessed with. There’s some number that you are constantly measuring and comparing yourself to. Maybe it’s the money in your bank account, the amount of likes she got on her post, the followers, the views, the overwhelming odds, the grades. Or maybe it’s a number you didn’t even notice you were tracking, a number that is not exact, but you can make a rough estimate. Like the number of times you’ve been hurt by someone, how many times you’ve fallen into the same sin, or the number of times you’ve been left behind. There  is a number in your life that you let speak a little too loudly. A number that you have let identify you. A number that you let label you as unlovable, stupid, fat, ugly, unwanted, annoying. 

My friends you were made for so much more than that. You were made in the image of likeness of God. And you can not put a number on a creation that is made in the image of likeness of God. You can’t put a number on a soul that the Lord Himself died for. So I want you to take that number to prayer. And say in the name of Jesus this number does not define me. This number is no longer going to weigh me down, wager in on my decisions, and get in the way of being the Saint  I am called to be. Because there’s is no number out there that is not outweighed by the love and mercy of God.

Whether it’s the number on the scale or the number of times you’ve made the same mistake, turn away and look to Him. Sinning repeatedly or stuffing your face with doughnuts are not good, but we do not need to let that number prevent us from fully trusting in Christ and receiving what He has in store. His heart aches at just the thought of his beloved children refusing to run towards Heaven because they have let a number label them.

He says “Don’t you trust me? You were made for so much more than this. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice you slip out the back? You are more than just a number to me”

Are you going to let a number stop you from being numbered among the Saints in Heaven. The Lord has promised you joy not only in the next life, but also in this life, even amongst the suffering and pain.Joy is to be found, and there’s no time like the present to seek it. Let go of the numbers and let yourself be outweighed by His overabundant love and mercy. Because you my friend are worth it.

P.S. Thanks for reading first off. Secondly sorry it’s kind of brief, but I have some bolder blogs in the making plus a book. So cats out of the bag I am working on book number two! Any guesses as to what it’s about?

If you haven’t checked out my first book check out the link below

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To be His Sheep

Honestly just chose this photo because I thought you would click the link if the photo was less boring haha.

This past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday and it has me thinking a lot about the relationship between the Shepherd and His flock. Many of the Gospel readings this week have been centered around this theme of Jesus being the shepherd and we are the flock. To give you a snippet of what’s been on my mind I’m going to give a brief summary of the super awesome homily my priest, Fr. Chuck, gave this past Sunday.

My home parish priest was a Nebraska farm boy, so he knows quite a bit about sheep, and he’s a priest so obviously he knows a lot about the theology behind this Gospel. He talked about how during the time of the Jews, the sheep were kept in one common holding pen, with stone walls around it and how the Shepherds would sleep at the gate.And the sheep knew their shepherd by the sound of his voice. Don’t belive me? Look it up. Fr. Chuck also said that if a sheep falls on its back it will suffocate. So that’s why the shepherd’s staff has a hook or what we call a crozier at the end of it. Just like the staff of a pope or bishop, and hold onto that because I’m going ot come back to it . Any ways the shepherd would use the crozier to flip the sheep back over. It made me think how sometimes we suffocate in our own sin and Jesus comes and flips us back over. He flips us over because He loves us so dearly. 

Fr. Chuck described his own experience with catching sheep to be sheered and how the sheep would run, but as soon as you got ahold of them they were calm, they didn’t fight it. And then they would bring the sheep over to be sheered and it would lay their calmly. That’s where we get the saying like a lamb before its shearers.It amazes me how Jesus used this perfect analogy to describe His love for us. Sometimes in life we are scared. We do not know what lies ahead, but the good Lord scoops us up into His bosom, and carries us off to the shearers. Because amidst our thick wool, that has been blemished by sin, He sees us, and knows who we are. He calls us by name, we recognize His voice and we know we are His. He sheers away the wool and the rubbish we have dragged, and looks upon us with tender love and compassion. Then he releases us back into the flock of the faithful community, the Church. 

At the gate post He sleeps and He will lay down His life again and again for the salvation of His flock. Which brings me back to the crozier on the staff of the Pope and Bishops. These are the shepherds He has called to care for His flock. It says it very clearly in the Gospel. Remember? Jesus came to his disciple Peter, His “rock” on which He wanted to build His Church, and tells him tend my Sheep. This role was passed down through apostolic succession and rests in the hands of the Bishops and Pope who have authority of the priests who work as one to protect the flock, and nurture and cleanse them with scripture and the sacraments. They are the ones who sleep at the gate. They are the front of the line! That is why it is so important to pray for them. The devil can climb over the gate and try to steal a few, but he knows he can have the whole flock if he takes down the shepherds. That is why are priests are under constant spiritual battle. I think even more so during times like these, so please keep them in your prayers, and thank God for their beautiful sacrifice. And to all my priest Friends who read this , THANK YOU for all that you do, you have served as a spiritual Father to me and impacted my life and others in countless ways.You are always in my prayers and I mean that sincerely!

Back to the sheep though. Another common practice that was used for run away sheep was to break their legs, and carry them over your shoulders. This seems cruel, but it was what was best for the sheep. A run away sheep is a dead sheep. I firmly belive Jesus does this to us as well. I experienced this in my own conversion, and even though it was hard, and painful, the Good Shepherd carried me. I was the run away, and he broke my legs and carried me intimately close to Him. He did not act out of rage or anger, but rather out of a deep unsurpassable heart of compassion. I think people often overlook or under appreciate Jesus’s words when He describes us as His flock, and uses this analogy to describe a beyond awesome relationship. Seriously, think about it, Jesus was the son of a carpenter, He never tended sheep in His life. But His knowledge of shepherding runs deep, and his understanding of the exact words we truly need to hear, even today, illustrate fully that Jesus is Lord. The one true Messiah, the all knowing, powerful God. The One who has beckoned our hearts. The One whom we should be following whole heartedly. The One who laid down His life for His flock, so that they could have everlasting life. He deserves all of our love, praise and worship. 

Yet so often we fall short of that, we stray away. We think “I’m just one in a billion sheep”. But to Him you are so much more. When you stray He knows it, when you cry out amongst the crowd He hears it, when you have blemishes He cleanses you, when you’re broken He heals, and if you’re pride is too big He will break it, for nothing shall separate us from the love of the Father. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows it all, sees over all and endures every pain. He knows that when they strike the shepherd the flock will scatter. His flock scattered in His darkest hour, and scattered when Luther nailed the 95 thesis to His door, and when bombs were dropped, scandals were revealed, and when air planes crashed through towers, and when a virus shut down the whole world. The sheep scattered. They ran into places of refuge, they cried, they mourned, and Jesus came to them, even with doors locked. He came into their midst and He said “Peace be with You” (John 20:19). The sheep rejoiced at the sound of His voice. For sheep have no home, they are home in the presence of their shepherd. So they rejoice because they know they are home, and that they are going to be okay. They thought everything was lost when they lost their shepherd, but He rose up from the grave, and conquered death for the salvation of His people. And they do not worry about the future, not all, because their one simple task is to follow and to trust that He is indeed the Good Shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want”

So be at peace my sweet beloved child. The World may have broken your heart, but they have crucified me. And remember you do not belong to the world, you belong to me. If you thirst for running waters, I will lead you there. If you long for greener pastures, I will lead you there. The earth under your feet has no hold on you and nothing that sprouts up from it shall have govern over you. For indeed you shall see greener pastures, and water that looks pure. But sheep do not follow the world, they follow the shepherd because he knows what is good for them. Wise are the sheep who do not follow other sheep, but rather the shepherd himself, for these sheep will not be scattered. 

Do not forget how deeply He loves you. Not because of what you do, but because of who you are. He looks upon you with great delight, and takes notice to your every move. Even though you may feel broken right now or lost, He is with you. And if you are feeling extra broken, He’s carrying you through. Find rest upon His shoulders, and let your heart be consoled by the sound of His heart beating only inches from yours. And if you’re feeling like a failure in the eyes of the world, remember He never asked for anything more, than to be His sheep.

Much love to you all, let the Holy Spirit rest upon you and your household

~Mikayla

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Come Fill My Joy

I was really struggling to come up with something heartfelt to write to you all about without trying to cut into my own personal secret garden of my prayer life. These past week has been pretty simple, lots of school work, prayer time, and fellowship with my roommates. I’ve really been trying to keep my heart at peace and just enjoy this time of simplicity and not much to do times. Never have I had the time to eat every meal with my roommates, and go on walks, and call people, so I’ve really started to enjoy it despite the circumstances and the huge itch I have to travel.

I’ve also had a lot of time to read some scripture, and I ‘ve recently read the wedding feast of Cana, and John 21 where our resurrected Lord appears to the disciples and feeds them fish. What stuck out to me is how the Lord not only provided for a lack thereof but He provided it in an overabundance so that their joy might be complete. Like who needs 153 fish, or 150 gallons of wine. Nobody, but God loves you that much. No, He’s not saying get wasted, or be fat, but rather be joyful. And I think God provided a great example of that this week, and it really stuck with me. 

Earlier this week a buddy of mine from NYC face timed me, and his brother was with him. They were outside getting some fresh air (and YES still minding their social distance, so hop off.) His brother’s name is Paul, and Paul has autism, so all of this chaos has messed up his routine, and canceled a lot of his plans, yet Paul was the most joyful face I had seen in a long time. This man was just so happy to be outside walking on Staten Island’s beautiful boardwalk, listening to his music on his CD player, not a care in the world. He doesn’t understand this corona virus or why he can not go do the normal things he does, and why there are all these rules that were not there before, and I’m sure he’s had his moments, but he doesn’t let it ruin his day. He dusts it off and moves forward with the smile that all of NYC needs to see (from the comfort of home of course) because a smile like that is contagious. 

I know a lot of you out there are frustrated, sad, bored, annoyed, ready to just break free, but Jesus has so much He wants to give you right now. Right in this very moment, but you are far too focused on the big change, we want the doors to swing wide open, but there’s a reason that God has us in this place right now. Do I know why? No. But do I trust him anyway? Absolutely. We need to be like my buddy Paul, and even though we don’t understand, we have to keep seeking that joy. We have to trust that when someone tells us to quarantine it’s for our own good. And even though we are not always going to get along with those we are living with, and our temper might get the best of us, we are going to forgive, and love others unconditionally.  Live simple, stay hopeful, worry less.

Yeah, I’ve had little quarrels with my roommate for the first time ever, and I really want to go mass, but none of this is worth dumping out my 150 gallons of joy and saying screw it. And if I didn’t bring this point home last week maybe this week, I will….. God has not abandoned you!!

Also, this whole be joyful, forgive, and love unconditionally, is not just a stupid corona thing, it’s an EVERYDAY THING!! And my biggest prayer is that God will give you all the grace to do just that. So we can fulfill the greatest commandment, and be one with Him. Our eyes will be open and we will realize that God is closer to us then we could’ve ever imagined.

So keep looking for God in the little things. Become childlike, and do not leave any stone unturned. Keep on smiling y’all.

Also please email me, text me, call me, and tell me the joy that God has been putting in your life. Who knows maybe it’ll make the blog. But even if it doesn’t I just want y’all to know that everything you guys share with me from your hearts really helps me to know Christ more, and helps me to help others to know Christ….. So I encourage y’all to keep sharing, not only with me but with the world. Tell them the good news, the son of God has risen from the dead……. 

“Be the joy you want to see in the world”

On a final note….Also please, please, please pray for political and religious leaders everywhere. Praying does so much more than complaining, 100% guaranteed. They are under constant stress and criticism, and they don’t need your criticism. Everyone wants to be a critic, but nobody wants to give them the compassion they need. They are human, they aren’t perfect, but they are trying their best. Everyone is trying to back seat drive, but really I don’t think anyone wants to be the one driving. It’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of backlash, and it’s not fun, but choices still need to be made. So pray for them, and be compassionate. Love you all and God bless.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis
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Ignorance is Bliss

Imagine this. There’s a giant rolling stone, and it’s going to smash millions of people. The people do not see it coming, and by the time they do, it will be too late. You have been told, and are 100% certain that if you can spread the word, and get everyone to move out of the path of destruction, then everyone can be saved. But you decide that it’s much to difficult and nobody is going to listen to you because they can not see the rolling stone. So instead you spend all your time building a giant contraption to stop the rolling stone. Meanwhile, everyone else just keeps on doing whatever makes them happy, and they dance along the path of destruction without a care in the world. Then the big rolling stone comes crashing in, and then boom, your contraption stops it. Everyone is so grateful for you, you saved them. You allowed them to remain where they were within the comfort of their homes, they were not inconvenienced by you ever trying to convince them to believe you. No, you just did your thing, and they did theirs. Wow, what a hero. Then boom your contraption breaks, the stone rolls, and everyone dies. They could’ve been saved, but they weren’t and now it’s too late.

Sad story, but this folks is reality. We live in a world, where there are people who know the absolute Gospel truth but refuse to share it. They rather be loved by the world. They want to be the hero, they want to be the god who stops the whole dang world from turning and somehow saves us all. There are people out there who see God, but refuse to tell anyone, because why would anyone believe in some God that not everyone sees? 

So what do they do? They start making bandages because ignorance is bliss, but eventually the wounds become so big you can’t cover it. I mean take a look around everyone wants to be happy, and so many people claim to have the answer. Oh, you got pregnant at 16? Well here have an abortion. Oh, you’re sad about it now, sorry but could you move along you’re scaring our other patients? Oh, you want to be with your mistress? Here file for divorce, I’m sure your wife won’t mind. Oh, you want to have sex but never have kids? Here’s some medicine. Oh, it failed again, oh well here have an abortion. Quit having sex? No…. pshhh… how could you be chaste and happy? Ha, have all the sex you want. Oh, you feel like you don’t matter, here have this 18 pack, don’t let yourself run sober. Oh, you want to feel loved, well show a little more and don’t be so shy. Oh, he mistreats you? Here’s a book about how to be better in bed. Watch this porn, you’ll feel better. Oh, you want to do this as part of your satanic ritual? Yeah, let’s just make late-term abortion legal, ha freedom of expression am I right? Do what you want, be who you want, even if it comes at the cost of someone else’s freedom and joy. And research, Nah, rest at ease, our media has got your back, they’ll tell you all the truth you need to know. This what our world tries to tell us.

It’s sick, but it’s reality. People in this world trust anything and anyone to make them happy, but nobody wants to do the real work to solve the problem. We figure what they don’t know can’t hurt them. If they are ignorant they can live happily with all the money and bandages the world has to offer. If they stay ignorant, they don’t have to know the truth about the consequences of their actions. We can just keep the warnings in fine print. We don’t want to scare them, we just want them to be happy. Ignorance means they can’t blame us when they get cancer from the medicine we gave them, and they can’t blame us when things go wrong. If they remain ignorant they don’t ever have to know that they are being used. They will never have to know that there’s a God who loves them, who made them for so much more than this. They will never know their true worth, so they will just grow numb to the pain. Then bam their dead and gone, and we all have to face God. The God who loved them.  Then what? Spoiler alert, it’s too late to run to Mars at this point. These are His beloved children and you have kept them in the dark. You refused to be a light to the world, and have allowed many souls to be handed over to evil.

We are called to be a light to the world. We cannot stop people from dying, and perfect happiness is not obtainable in this world. For some even if you tell them the truth they are going to quite literally spit in your face. The world will hate you, but to be a true disciple we are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. We need to rip off these band-aids of today’s society and let God heal our gaping wounds. There is so much evil going on in this world and it becomes completely blanketed by our rummaging for worldly pleasure and happiness. Don’t believe me, look up some up the sick satanic rituals out there (beware though, that its disgusting, and not for the faint of heart to read). But seriously though, do not be selfish. Don’t try to be a hero, because this World already has one and His name is Jesus Christ. But go ahead and spread the message, they will loathe you, but shall not die. For Christ has promised eternal life for all who believe in His name. Keep in mind also that He has warned if you deny him before others, He will deny you before His heavenly Father. 

Jesus loves you, God bless. 

P.S Also please read Isaiah 43, the whole chapter!

When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor will flames consume you. For I, the LORD, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior.

Isaiah 43:2-3
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My Brother’s Keeper

11 years ago as of the 17th, I would have first held my little brother in my arms for the first time. It was my 3rd sibling I had welcomed into the world, but my first brother, and I was much older so it was very memorable. I remember standing at the end of the hall waiting for them to bring him out of the OR. Finally, my dad came down the hall beaming with joy with the sweetest most precious baby I’d ever laid eyes on. My dad looked at me and said here hold him, and looking down at the tile floor and back at him I was terrified, like no way can you just trust a 10-year-old girl to hold something so fragile. But I held him, and instantly fell in love. Only moments ago he was in my mother’s womb, and now he was lying in my arms and from that day forth I was my brother’s keeper. I realized not only did my earthy father trust me to hold him and protect him, but so did my heavenly father.

But today the scariest thing is not the hard tile floor beneath him, it’s what lies beyond my control. My brother has outgrown my arms, but he has not outgrown my heart, and I still desire the very best for him, but I cannot protect him from this world. It breaks my heart to think he’s now at the average age of when a boy views pornography for the first time. 

Pornography is a sick thing that sucks the life out of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The statistics are scary……

(conquerseries.com)

Our overly sexualized culture is breaking apart families and tearing apart what it means to be human. As Pope John Paul II says, it’s not that porn shows too much, it’s that it shows far too little. This world tells us that our bodies are the only thing we have to offer, but that is so far from the truth. We are to be loved body and soul, and we are so much more than the desires of our flesh. Pornography objectifies human beings, it takes someone made in the image and likeness of God and completely destroys it. Yet we think since it happens behind closed doors that it does not affect us, but that is such a lie. Just look at the standard women have for how they need to dress and act to feel loved, look at how commercials sell everything with sex, and how there’s such negativity wrapped around sex that it’s seen as something scandalous rather than something true, good, and beautiful. I could go on and on about why porn is evil, and how much it destroys our humanity, but I think we know that. I think most of us have seen with our own two eyes the effect porn has on us. But what we need to know is there is hope. We are not called to be slaves to despair, but rather children of God.

First, start praying that we can overcome our shame and our pride, and with humble hearts return to the Father. Let’s stop pretending we don’t see it. Let us be our brother’s keeper, let’s let the whole world know they are not alone. We are forgiven, and we have nothing left to boast, but the cross of our savior. Let us speak about our actions. Ladies, let’s call men higher, call them to the Lord, with our modesty we speak truth about the goodness and sacredness of the body. Temptation will always come knock and it will knock hard. The devil is prowling, but we are NOT alone. Together we will hold on to what we were made for, and strive to give Christ like love every single day. We will frequent the sacrament (especially confession and the Eucharist). We will cling to the rosary, and scourge the devil through our trust in the Blessed Mother’s intercession. No matter how many times we fall and mess up, we will keep on fighting.

“For God did not call us to impurity, but to Holiness”

1 Thessalonians 4:7

Are you going to answer that call?

If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your sibling, for your future spouse, and for your future children. Do it for Christ who lives in them.

So to all my Brother’s in Christ (in particular my little hero back home),

I’m praying for you always. If you fall I hope you get right back and up and remember whose son you are. You belong to the one true King. And with every lady you see I hope you remember she is a beloved daughter of God, she’s a princess, treat her as such. I hope you remember you are never alone and I hope you remember you can always find Christ in the church, talk to your priest, find an accountability partner. Pray for the porn industry, and for the conversion of souls and remember this…

“”If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”

Matthew 18:6

Basically Jesus wants to kick the devil’s butt, so don’t get in the way of that or you’ll go down with him. Keep up the good fight and remember God loves you recklessly. There’s a lot of doubt in my heart right now that this is even going to strike a single person’s heart, but I am going to go against that doubt and trust that Jesus has something in store. The devil is probably telling you no to give up and not even bother fighting this fight. I know he’s telling me that right now, but I also know I don’t belong to him I belong to God. And when I think about my brother and when I first held him in my arms, I remember this fight is worth fighting, because I am called to be my brother’s keeper, and so are you. I will not let the purity of my brothers and sisters be handed over to Satan when they were made for a Love so much greater. A love so great that in order to receive it we must completely empty ourselves of our worldly desires, and come to Him with arms wide open. He must increase, I must decrease.

Thank you so much for reading, and God bless!

Also would love your feedback, comments, and questions.

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Too Busy to Care

300 years from now what will our descendants think? They will have so much information on us, it’s truly endless. But when they look back at what remains will they be able to explain what they find. Will it actually make sense? When they find more black babies were aborted than born each year in America, while we meanwhile claimed to be the generation that fights for equality. What will they conclude? Will they wonder why we argued over the best way to protect our soldiers while we completely ignored that there are more of them dying out on the home front from suicide than on the battlefield itself? What will they conclude from a society that clearly wants liberty and justice for all, yet is so divided on what that looks like? What will they say about those who screamed women’s rights, but only for the women who want to be exactly like men? Will they be able to piece together what led to the American dream to becoming a bunch of broken homes? Will they look at our posts and see our smiling faces and think we had it all? Will they wonder why billionaires died of drug overdoses? 

Who will be the heroes of our time? Who will be the brave who stood up for what’s right? I hope to God our descendants are not like the media of today who overlook who the true heroes of this generation are. Maybe it’s because they stand with God, or because they actually stand for what this country was founded on…. But the heroes of this era are hundreds of thousands of people who march for the respect and dignity of ALL human life, and the millions of others who stand behind them. There I said it. And to all of you out there fighting the fight, I love you. I know it’s hard to be hated, but I promise Heaven is worth it.

I’m not done though…..

Every story seems to focus on the villains and the heroes, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about the bystanders. The ones who were too busy to choose what side they were on so the world chose for them. The ones who walked right over the hopeless every single day, without an ounce of themselves to give. And what’s their overwhelmingly, disgusting excuse? “I’m too busy” 

Busy doing what?

They’re all in a rush to get nowhere, make another dollar, get another adrenaline rush, get another follow, another like, or earn some shiny gold medal. And you do all this for what? So you can go home and have sex with a screen instead of your spouse, so you can brag about your daughter on Facebook while she sits unknown to you in the other room crying because she feels like she’s never enough, so you can go on another vacation and scroll through your phones, or maybe cry alone in the night because you’ve come to realize that the rush of this world does nothing, but take. Then when it all fails you scream, “why, God? Why?” 

Then He looks upon with mercy and says, “where have you been? Don’t you know that I love you?”

To which one might look back and realize “I guess I was lost. I was too busy to notice the little graces, the good morning texts, the friendly coworker, the sunset in the traffic jams, the blue jay in my window, to notice how beautiful my family is. I was too busy to blame the good things on you, yet when my world is shaken I blame it all on you without hesitation. Who am I? Who have I become?”

Or for most people they won’t even bother to acknowledge God, they will open the door to blame Him and then swing it right back in His face. They will keep on being busy and pretending they are okay.

Each and every day God wishes to bestow so much grace into our hearts and to do good works through us, but we have forgotten. We have forgotten that we have a free will, a choice. And that choice has to be made every single day. To chose Him. To claim He is the way, the truth, and the life. Yet so many of us say “I’m busy”, I’ll take care of that when I have more time….. God gave you that time and what do you have to show for it. And I hate to burst your bubble, but nobody is too busy. Your life is full, yes, but busy is a choice. We all have 24 hours in a day and you choose how to use them. Your life is just go, go, go and it emptied you of everything except that last little piece of pride that says, “I don’t need God, I got this.” But don’t forget this. The Devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for souls to devour (1 peter 5:8). And we are called to resist him steadfast in faith. So start praying. And pray hard. Pray for the humility it takes to say Lord I need you. 

Yeah, there are millions of future saints out there, but God still wants you. He sees you. And unlike the world, He doesn’t love you for your looks, or your abilities, or to use you, or only when it’s convenient, or when you’re happy. No, He loves every square inch of you, body and soul. 

I know there’s some of you out there right now who are thinking, “well I would pray, but I never feel anything, or I never get anything out of it.” If you say that let me kindly point out that you are saying The Bible is a lie, and you are also missing the point. Let me show you. I am sure many of you have heard of Mother Theresa. The cute Holy lady that people remember because she was such a God-loving soul. Would you look at that woman and think she had any trouble praying? Well she did, she’s called the patron saint of darkness for a reason. She suffered from desolation, and for over 50 years felt no spiritual consolation or anything in prayer. Yet she committed herself to Christ. In those 50 years, she prayed for hours every day, and still served others and showed them the reckless love of God. Nobody else has ever recorded in their life such a long period of dryness in prayer. So if she can pray from the pit of darkness for years, you can pray too. Your life may be crazy and hectic, but what are you here for? What would you do differently if you knew your life ended tomorrow? I hate to tell you this, but even busy people at some point in time die. “Busy” people one day have to meet their maker and what’s their excuse then. “Sorry, God I was too busy”?

 So I leave you with this, start reading the bible every night, pray, keep his commandments and live out moral authority every single day. And KEEP the sabbath day holy folks, and stop putting false God’s like money and porn before Him. Wake up America, stop letting the devil take the innocent. Quit being hypocrites, quit saying tomorrow. Be His hands and be His feet. Be that someone who’s not to busy to tell someone “I am here for you.” If we continue to build up a culture of death, abortion will continue, sex trafficking will continue, child abuse will continue, anything violent and cruel will continue because guess what? When we stop caring for the human dignity of a single soul, we stop caring for any human soul, and when we stop seeing dignity in each other, we stop seeing the God who lives in them. We no longer will see the God who loved us so much that He died an agonizing death or the cross. We will run out of hope, faith, and love, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not a world I want to live in. The most important moments and right now and your death, do something because this world does not wait. You can fight for the culture of life or you can drown yourself in the culture of death, it’s your choice. God bless, and do not let your heart forget He loves you.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch to wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.”

John 15:5-6

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Loved into existence

Nobody has ever earned the right to exist. It’s impossible, for to earn anything one must exist. So prior to you existing, you had no dignity, no worth, nothing. Life itself and everything we are and ever will be is a gift. Loved into existence, conceived and bore form your mother’s womb, you have been chosen. That itself is a beautiful thing. Yet so often we forget that. The gift of our existence, and the joy of being called His beloved slips our minds because we become to “busy” existing. We forget who we are and what we were made for, and therefore we have forgotten our Father.

Fortunately for us God not only gives life, but he loves us enough to give us grace and mercy. Therefore we are able to return to Him and His arms will be wide open ready for a sweet embrace. Then what… did God make us just so we could fall and come running to Him…. Certainly not. No He made us for so much more than that, but to simply put it we were made for relationship with Him, and with others, so that all may know Him and all can be one with Him in His Kingdom.

This all either sounds super basic or super far fetched depending on where you are at in life. Either way though, think about this. An orchestra is not an orchestra without all of the instruments, and then even with all the instruments the volume does not increase unless the number of them increases. The orchestra led by their conductor can play the sweetest of songs, and the more they play the better they get. Then let’s say we take out the cello, and the violins, and slowly they fade to nothing, but a conductor. How sad it would be to no longer hear something so beautiful. That’s the church without you, one less instrument conducted, one less decibel reached, and one less person who’s to far away to hear of the song of the Lord’s glory and salvation. Each one of us is loved and chosen to spread the good news, that there is a place where all of our sorrows end, that there is hope, that you are loved.

I was recently in New York, and I’ll admit it I love people watching. So naturally I loved Times Square, even though it was a vastly different scene then a mid-western girl like me was used to. Being catholic I was also a huge fan of the statue of the priest. Besides my point though. My point is this. As I stood amidst the most populated city in the U.S, my mind began to wonder and think about how many of these people feel unseen, unloved, and unknown among all the millions of other people. How many of these people actually know their worth? How many of them know their loved? How many of them know what they deserve? Oh how I wish I could tell every single soul how much God loves them, and how he thirsts for them. Everyday around the world people rush to make another dollar, make another amazon purchase, fall in love, break up, take their first breath or maybe their last, yet how many of them turn to God in the stillness and the silence. When they do not know how to lift up their hearts to him, do they just crumble or become numb? Do they even know who they are?

Now I’m just one person, but I hope till the day I die I can live a life that glorifies Him and tells everyone I love that my redeemer lives. My hope and prayer is that we can all do that, because nobody earned their existence, but by love alone they do exist and therefore just as much as you and I they deserve to be loved. Now I will end with this. There was a prayer on the last column at ground zero in NY, from a priest by the name of Father Mychal who died on 9/11 giving people their last rites. The prayer read as follows: “Lord, Take me where you want me to go. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say, and Keep me out of your way!” This prayer really touched me because it speaks the truth. If we want people to know their loved by God we need to be willing to be lead, and be willing to let go of ourselves completely. God loved you into existence, and He is calling you. Will you go?

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

St. Augustine

Pursuing the Weekend by Thomas May

I was attending a work retreat recently and there was a panel discussion on teachers. One of the questions asked was “How do you (the panelists) not live for the weekend?” With a knowing smile, each panelist talked about their strategies to appreciate the week.

Obviously, living in the present moment is fundamental to having a meaningful life. The danger seems to be that we will always be in a “The grass is greener on the other side” attitude and miss both the sanctity of the work we are doing for Christ, as well as lose the ability to be satisfied because we are habitually waiting for the next best thing. Once a good thing, like the weekend arrives, we not only enjoy it briefly, we also feel disappointed in returning to our work life, and so psych ourselves into not appreciating the challenges and victories of our jobs. Maybe we even lose sight of the joy of the weekend because we are always thinking about how it could have been better, or about how the next weekend will be even better than this one.

But in recently discussing with my colleagues their excitement for an upcoming weeklong vacation, all of them admitted to living for that break. I don’t remember one (in the modest few I polled) who said they were not looking at that break as much needed and a way to escape the difficulties of work life. It has me wondering whether there is some legitimacy to living for the weekend. I think everyone admits that there is a necessity to rest, and relax and take time to rally our spirits for the upcoming week. The retreat I attended even included a lot of free time as a sort of tacit acknowledgement that we needed to take a moment to withdraw ourselves from our busy lives and do what we needed to do to recharge.

I’m also reminded of Josef Pieper’s book Leisure the Basis of Culture in which Pieper argues that work is not for its own sake. We work so that we can survive and flourish, and we make money in order to live, not so that we can work more. To Pieper, the weekend is not merely a time of resting, but what he calls “Leisure” a time to live in the best way possible without being caught up in the “World of Work”. In fact, he argues that contemplation, thinking of the greatest things, is really the best activity we could be doing, and we are simply working as a means to attaining opportunities for practicing philosophy.

This strikes me as true. I’m almost offended by the idea of the “Worker’s Paradise” of the Soviets. No one wants to work everyday unless their work really has a value beyond simply earning money, either pleasure or purpose or divine charity. In a way, the weekend is what we should be living for because it is when we can take time to pursue things of value beyond material goods, like relationships, philosophy, and Sunday Mass.

But as a teacher, I am also struck by the fact that I am trying to develop students’ souls. I’m passing on knowledge to them that generations of humans have known and have thought worth knowing. Sometimes I’m preparing them to be better workers, but sometimes I’m teaching them how to read a book more carefully, or how to write. And when I teach catechism, I’m literally sharing with them the highest gift I have, my knowledge of God in this life. In a way, I am practicing contemplation even in my working life because I am not absorbed with the material goods of the world, but with great ideas and worthwhile truths. Things that will endure beyond my time here could stay with my students for their entire lives. Maybe they’ll remember the four levels of happiness, and the Trinity, even if they forget the school lunch they ate that day, or the bathrooms that were so diligently cleaned time and time again, or me teaching them.

This is not to disrespect mundane workers, and not to say that divine charity doesn’t turn even the most miserable or valueless task into something greater than can be imagined. I’m trying to say that there is a natural worthiness in the work I’m doing, and that it’s easier on a natural level to realize it’s value.  So, when I think about it, living for the weekend is a kind of good if one is finding real value (i.e. opportunity for contemplation) in that weekend. But if every day is an opportunity for contemplation, for knowledge and learning, for thinking about and coming to love God, if, when I teach, I am also learning or at least knowing, then maybe the week isn’t so bad after all. 

Who is Christ calling me to be?

In the moments where I feel tired and overwhelmed I find myself asking this question. Who is Christ asking me to be? At times I feel torn at the seams. I’m watching teachers cry because they are burned out, my teammates falling asleep at meetings, and I’m standing over the top of 7 year olds trying not to cry because they can not even write a sentence.  Some can not even add basic numbers like 2+2. I feel like on the inside that I am screaming into an empty abyss. It was not until I looked up to Christ and said “Do you see this,” that I found my peace again.

    Gazing back at me in the Eucharist, in the brief time I found this past Friday, He said “I see it all, but did I ever ask you to fix it all?” No He did not, He asked me to be here. To love His children and teach them about Christ. He spoke again saying “Do these kids need you to save them?” It was then I realized why I am here. These kids do not need me to save them.  I don’t need to save these teachers from walking out the door. I do not have to be the savior. They already have a savior, and His name is Jesus. My job is just to show them who He is. I am here to be His hands, His feet, His lips, because He has none but ours. My job is not to keep the teachers from quitting, my job is not to make sure every kid can read at grade level, my job is to love. My job is to make copies, to walk my little runaway back to class, to laugh with my roommates, to teach kids how to pray. And do all these small things out of love. The numbers, the grades, the data, all of that matters to someone, it is important, but to Christ it means nothing. Christ rejoices not in the one who gives the most, but rather the one who gives their all. If all I can do is teach a girl how to pray, or teach another kid 2+2 then that’s enough. I don’t want to be the teacher who drilled them for perfection, but rather loved them where they are at.

    I’ve been telling people if my “favorite” student in the whole school is a student who elopes and gets in trouble for doing the same things over and over, then how much more does God rejoice in me. This student is far from the goal lines, and he’s quite ornery, but I love him so stinking much. I certainly don’t praise his bad behavior, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s literally just a kid, and he’s no longer one of my actual students, so I don’t get anything from it. I will never see his grades, I’ll never get paid for anything, I won’t see him graduate. But I hope one day I will see Him walk through Heaven’s gates. If that’s all he learns from me is how much God loves his reckless soul, then that is more than enough. 

This school is not Catholic, just the after school part it is. But I find it mind blowing how responsive these kids are to the presence of Christ within a servant heart. Most of these kids don’t even go to church. They are however quick to love and forgive, faster than some of the most devout. As I write this I am beginning to realize the abundant love and joy I have failed to see. If I just stop complaining and open my eyes I would see Christ standing right in front of me. Wow. That’s all Christ is asking of me. I am called to love, be loved, and above all be His. Totally, completely, forever.

Totus Tuus

Grain of Wheat


Maybe when we reach the end it’s just a choice between a barren cross and endless riches of gold. The foolish will be certain that Heaven is the one of gold, forgetting all Earthly things mean nothing to the dead. But those who loved Christ till the end will embrace the cross knowing all the treasures it bares.
Is that not the choice we face each day? The choice to save your life or lose it for the sake of others. The choice to embrace the cross or to grasp at shiny nothings.
Is that not also the difference between joy and happiness. Joy is everlasting, where happiness stays for but a moment.
With my Grandma passing last Friday, I’ve been thinking a lot about death and Heaven. I’ve thought about how the greatest joy in life is to love and be loved, therefore Heaven must be that and more.
Death is not the end, but the beginning of the greatest moments of our lives.
A couple weeks ago I was picking up my messy classroom after my students had a bit of an off day behavior wise. For once I noticed that it did not bother me. I laughed while picking up pieces of shredded paper. I really do love these kids even on the days that they fall short of expectations.
As I bent over to grab the last few pieces of trash my pin ,which is a bundle of wheat, fell off my back pack and broke.
It had been there since college when one of my friends pinned it to the strap of my back pack out of the blue. As this pin fell I heard the Lord say, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and does it shall bear no fruit”.
It spoke volumes to my heart, and oddly enough I had been praying with that Gospel passage for a while. That passage later goes on to say “… Whoever loves his life, will lose it. And whoever hates his life in this world, preserves it unto eternal life.”
‭‭John 12:25. This is the verse that has kept me here in the Bronx on the hardest days and has become the core of what I want my vocation to look like. I had a teacher tell me as I sat on the phone for an hour in tears seriously considering going home, “Service starts when it stops making sense to show up.” Diving further into this I would say a true act of love is not defined my the worthiness or openness of the recipient. But the ability of the giver to love “even if,” not “only if”. It doesn’t make sense to pour out your life’s savings over the feet of a crippled man. But that’s exactly what Christ is asking us to do. He is asking us to do the ridiculous. He’s asking us to empty ourselves completely and trust that He’s going to fill us right back up.
He’s not asking for perfection, He’s asking for our total selves. He’s asking us to stop bending and breaking our selves to what we think he wants us to be. He delights in the person we are. He is asking us to die to our selfish pride and vanity.
I just want to be that grain of wheat. I wanna die without fear of the fruit I will never reap. I want to have faith that God has laid me in rich soil. Every student I teach, every child I bare, every life I o touch I want it to bear the fruit of just knowing they are loved. It’s that simple. Because if we know we are loved then we know we are worth more than any summation of sin or labor. We are forever in debt to a Divine Creator. But our debt has been forgiven.
I know I’m kind of rambling, but truly it’s a beautiful thing to think about. It’s beautiful to know very bit of suffering in this life can be embraced knowing Heaven awaits. Sometimes after a long day I joke with my boyfriend saying, “We are gonna be rich”.
And I’m not talking thick in the wallet, I’m talking rich with graces in this life and the next. As hard as this mission has been, it’s already been filled with so many crazy graces. It’s truly beyond anything I could ever deserve.