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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Even if you do not know me very well, you arrived at this blog posting for a reason. I believe this.


I have Faith. A Faith that leads me to believe the cliche that "everything happens for a reason" and that there is an ultimate plan that has already been drawn out for us. This Faith also leads me to reason that the people in our lives are there for a reason as well. Every person we know, meet, or even simply see passing us by does so for a reason.

As a human being I feel that I have an obligation to be everything I can to these people--everything they need me to be for them. Whether that be a friend, an acquaintance, someone to go out with, a reference, someone to tip your hat to on the street, or anything more or less important. I feel like if I ignore them or am not everything they need me to be I am doing them a disservice and even trying fate. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person. So I do my best to open the floodgates and let people into my life as the Lord would lead them to me.

This requires a lot of listening. It demands honesty.

God has brought me to a few key people that are in my life--or perhaps he has brought them to me. Regardless, I feel as though these people need me; at the same time I need them. A lot of times people just need someone to listen or even have a sort of presence. I want to be that for them. Simultaneously I learn from them and because of them I appreciate my life and everything that has always been easy or gone right or simply fallen into place. Each of them has bigger mountains to climb than I feel like I've ever been faced with. For that I am grateful to the Lord, and therefore I ask Him to help me be a leg-up for them in any way they need. These few persons have become my friends in unorthodox ways--I never would have predicted being as close as I am to any of them. But that's exactly why I keep my doors open.

Open doors allows for anyone and everyone to come and go as they please. The same people who once seem so important may be ushered out in time because you have been everything you can to that person. And then there are those who will be with you forever. Those are a select and gifted few. But how would you ever know who those people could be if you didn't let them in in the first place?

I find it curious that what I have pondered and written reminds me of my favorite Bible verse. It is a passage I choose to live by.

Matthew 5:14-16:

14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. --Robert Frost, 1915


I find myself at a crossroads.

I found solace in this poem while walking through the rain today.

Perhaps solace is not the correct word to use here, because I find myself more befuddled and indecisive after reading and rereading it since I first was reminded of it.

I do not call myself a rogue, a maverick, or someone that strives to be different. The only thing I can say is that I try to be myself; I have to believe that myself is unique from other persons' selves. So therefore I cannot say that I will follow suit to every man, woman or child that has been inspired by this poem and take the road less traveled by.

Readers assume that the final line commits Frost to be at peace with his path. Who is to say that this "difference" is good, bad, or ugly? To me, this final statement is quite the contrary--it seems rather ominous. It is for this reason that I am all the more intimidated and confounded by the fork that lies before me.

I suppose if I were to determine an answer for the question "Why are we here?", it would be to make decisions. While there is a path set before us, we are allowed the decisions to deviate or follow the righteous path. Our decisions are like the punches in our ticket to heaven. These decisions were not meant to be easy or obvious. Frost saw no sign that pointed him to either road.

So I must conclude that I do not find any solace whatsoever in Frost's poem. Ironically, his path of words directs me right back to where I started. I find that Frost merely states that the path you choose leads you to your fate. It's almost sarcastic in that it's common sense and offers no help or direction at all. I cannot scorn Frost, however, because he humbly admits being as human as the rest of us.

Now I can choose the road besotted with tracks and ruts or that of an inviting unrolled carpet of soft earth, but I cannot stare at this fork forever. The message I gather from Frost is that I must take that first step, no matter where it leads me, to make any difference at all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fishers of Men

This is a message that was shared between a friend of mine that I was very close to in my sophomore year of high school. She shared interest in going to church with me sometime because she was intrigued by my relationship with Christ and being in the Catholic church. Although we got distanced after that year we are still friends and she is now becoming Catholic as well. It is one of my missions in life to be a Fisher of Men as Jesus called us to do, and this news brought me tears of joy. I was more than happy to answer the questions she had for me.

From Alix:

Howdy guys!
As many of you know I’m going to receive 2 sacraments (baptism and first communion) during the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s. This has been something I’ve been discerning over for many years. I’m at a loss of words of how excited and just blessed I feel. I’ve been in RCIA classes for 2 semesters now and it has really open up a whole new world to me. I’ve gotten many questioned answered and have found peace with understanding I can’t understand everything (if that makes sense). But on that note I have a few questions I want to pose to my Catholic brothers and sisters. Please feel free to answer some, all, or even none of the questions. I will be the only one viewing the responses.
Questions:
1.What lead you to the Catholic Church?
2.Are you a cradle Catholic or a convert?
3.How did you choose your Saint name?
4.What is the hardest concept, theory, or ideology taught in the Catholic Church for you to understand/grasp?
5.In hard times what prayer do you find most comforting?
6.If you go to St. Mary’s, is there a Father or someone that works at the church that you have found to be easy to connect to?
7.Has there been a defining moment in your faith walk that has lead to closer to God?
8.Favorite form of worship
9.What did you give up for lent?
10.If you pray daily, do you find a particular time to be best?
11.And lastly, do you have any good advice or words of wisdom
Thanks you for time!

From Me:

Alix,

First I want to tell you congratulations. I am beyond words and almost in tears of happiness for you. I always hoped this day would come for you, and now that it has I am ecstatic for you and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I fulfilled part of my Catholic Christian promise to be a Fisher of Men in taking even the smallest part in helping you find a relationship with Christ.

1. I was baptized Catholic before I could even retain memories. It was my parents' gift to me to be absolved of Original Sin and to initiate me as a member of the Church. Some say that this is taking that choice away from me. However, I have been in love with being Catholic for quite some time. I can tell you that I really felt my love for Christ and His love within me when I was in high school, around the time I started studying for Confirmation. Everything I had been learning while being raised Catholic was starting to make sense and fall into place. Being Catholic was not only emotionally and spiritually drawing to me but also logically. I am Catholic because the Catholic Church is the church that Jesus built on Peter, his rock. Catholic means "universal," and to me it encompasses everything I believe and love.
2. I am a cradle Catholic! However my journey with Christ is also one of choice. I was not required to be Confirmed but I was because my Creed is that of the Catholic Church, defined by the Apostles. Many protestants speak of being "saved." I have a similar experience, but it's not the same. I always knew Christ and had Christ within me thanks to my baptism, so I never had to "find" him perse. I embraced my relationship with Christ, my life as a Christian, and his love within me when I was in high school. To me this is the the Catholic analogy to being "saved."
3. I chose my Saint, Saint Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, based on the Saint my father has always prayed to for me. He prays to her for me, to Mary for my mother, to Saint Michael for my sister, and to Saint Augustine for my brother. I always have felt a special connection with her for that reason. Many people I know choose based on what the Saint is a patron of.
4. Perhaps the hardest idea for me to grasp is the idea that the bread we eat and the wine we drink is indeed the Body and Blood of Christ. It is very abstract in nature and takes the utmost faith to truly believe. I do believe it is so, but I feel like experiencing an Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament would really broaden my understanding of the concept.
5. The Hail Mary is the prayer I turn to most. Because I am female, I feel that if anyone could connect to my emotions and feelings it's Mary. Ever since I knew the prayer I have been saying it in all my times of trouble, whether it be a bad dream, fear, or sadness. There is a song for the prayer as well, which I find truly beautiful. If I ever need solace, I turn to Mary. The prayer encompasses forgiveness, revelry, and the entirety of my life.
6. I do not go to Saint Mary's, but I find that in my home parish, Sacred Heart, it is easy to talk to Deacon Billy Guerrero. Whenever I find it is also helpful to get many perspectives, so I usually approach my family. My mother, father, grandmother, cousins, aunts, and everyone are all on different parts of their journeys as Catholics and are there whenever I need.
7. I can't remember a defining moment, but there was a point in my life when I realized I was truly overjoyed to go to church and be in the House of God. Every prayer after that seemed to mean so much more. Sometimes though, I feel like this revelation came with age. When I was younger I still had a deep relationship with God. I prayed all the time and I believed even then that God would give me anything I would ask for as long as it was His will. There are many small miracles in my life that I believe are directly related to prayer.
8. My favorite form of worship would have to be song--the traditional hymns you usually hear in traditional Catholic Churches. It doesn't matter how horrible my singing voice is, I have no fear in belting out Amazing Grace, Ave Maria, O Holy Night, the Hail Mary song, Gather Us In, On Eagle's Wings, and every other song I grew up singing.
9. I gave up overindulgences for Lent. As you remember I have an addiction to Sonic! It was so bad I started going about 4-6 times a week and was basically throwing away money. So for Lent I gave up having so many Sonic drinks, if any, shopping (which I do way too much of), and going out in general (like to eat, etc.).
10. I pray mostly before I go to bed. It's my time to clear my head, review my day, and make sure I'm living the way Christ wants me to live. At the same time it helps me sleep easier. However, I also pray whenever I need to, especially during games or when I need more patience. Even reading a verse is a form of prayer--any time you are deepening or experiencing your relationship with God is prayer. The entirety of Mass is a prayerful state. I feel like it would be silly to only have one designated time for prayer, so I like to whenever I feel like I need a little spiritual boost :)
11. The advice that I can offer is the advice my mother gives me any time I need confidence. I also remind myself of it whenever I feel like I need to realign myself on the Path of God and be a Christian example to others.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Matt 5:14-16.

Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you! I really wanted to sit down and write really good, meaningful answers for each question. Best wishes and God Bless!

Haley