Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Dear Young People, do not be afraid to witness to your faith" PB XVI

As I sit here and read this quote again and again I can't help but think, he is talking to me! So often I find myself fearful of witnessing to the faith, wondering how others will perceive me, will I say the right thing, and so on and so on. I can always come up with an excuse to not confront someone or something when I have to. As young adults we are given many opportunities each day to witness to the faith whether it is at work, at home, with friends or family and how often do we allow those moments to just slip right by us? I know it happens to me more times than I would like for it too. To be a witness to the faith takes great courage and humility. We must first recognize that it is not about us, it is about Christ and bringing others to know His love, and secondly we must pray to the Holy spirit for guidance each day in our words and actions as we encounter others. We live in a world today that is absent of God, and it is our call as the future of the Church to be a witness to others that Christ is still present here and now! How are you being called to witness to the faith this Lenten season? What is holding you back? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

One week in... and I'm already failing

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I gave up CHEESE for Lent. We are a week in and can I tell you it is one of the hardest sacrifices I have ever made. Even harder than when I gave up coffee, and if you know me I LOVE COFFEE. You could even say I bleed coffee I drink it so much of it. What I did not realize until this past week is that everything I like has cheese on it and if it doesn't have cheese on it there is a pretty good bet that I don't like it. I was three days in and wondered if it were too late to change my Lenten offering. 

This past weekend I had the great privilege of serving the youth at Destination Jesus. It was a wonderful retreat and so many beautiful blessings came out of this past weekend for not only the youth but for myself. It was also quite challenging, you see, everything that we had to eat had cheese on it or in it. I found myself feeling frustrated, annoyed and quite hungry. And there were times when the other youth ministers would tease me with all the delicious cheese they were eating. Now granted it was my own darn fault that I told them what I had given up for lent, but nonetheless it was hard. As I went to prayer with this frustration that night at Adoration, the Lord was very clear in his response to me, "Alle, you asked that this Lent I would give you the opportunity to walk with me in these forty days. I am only giving you what you asked for." Sigh, this was a true statement, and from that moment on I decided I am not complaining anymore about the lack of delicious cheese in my life, but to truly take this opportunity of sacrifice and offer it up for the many intentions and prayers that I know so many need. Christ suffered because of love for us, we are called to suffer for love of Christ and love of neighbor. Don't let this Lent be a time to mourn the loss of our beloved food, drink etc, but a time to truly love one another as Christ loves us. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our German Shepherd

I don't know about you but the news I woke up to on Monday morning about Pope Benedict XVI retiring was quite the shock to me. It was weird, I was experiencing a whole range of emotions. I was sad, upset, concerned, disappointed and honestly just a little confused. I quickly turned on the TV after I read on my Fox News app the breaking story and sent a text to Fr. Adam asking what the heck was going on... his response "Already on it!". My memory quickly took me back to almost 8 years ago when I was still a student at Franciscan University and Pope Benedict was elected. As you can imagine being on a very Catholic campus everyone was a buzz waiting for the great news of a new Pope. Much of the student body gathered in the JC Williams center hovering over the only TV that we all had access too. As we watched the white smoke appear the whole campus burst out into applause and anticipation of who was going to walk out! It was one of the most joyful memories I have as Pope Benedict made his appearance. If I am not mistaken there were not many dry eyes in the building. After the death of such a beautiful man as, Pope John Paul II, that all loved and adored him many of us were worried that we would not love this new Pope, but I believe we all took one look at him and feel instantly in love. 

I read a blog recently that I thought put this great action taken by Pope Benedict into perspective. Pope Benedict is NOT giving up due to the demands of the job, he is seeing the great need for a younger man to lead the Church as he continues to fight the spiritual battle that is at hand. This particular blogger wrote, "you don't retire to the monastery to relax, read and write. You retire to a monastery to take on a greater challenge, the spiritual war between good and evil." When I read this it made perfect sense. I have such great respect and love for Pope Benedict XVI. Let us continue to pray for his health and for the Church as we prepare for a new leader that the Holy Spirit will always guide and protect us!

Lent is upon us!

Believe it or not we enter into Lent today! Where did the time go? I feel like I finally recovered from the Christmas Season and now we enter into preparation for Easter. I will be honest my favorite Catholic Holiday is Easter, but the less anticipated part of my beloved holiday is the 6 weeks leading up to it. Don't get me wrong, there is great joy and beauty in experiencing the 40 days of the desert with Christ as we prepare our hearts for the Resurrection, but my temporal body at times feels differently. The past few years I did small sacrifices, but the main priority was to add some component of prayer into my daily life that had previously been lacking. As I have contemplated and prayed about what to "give up" this year my first thought each time has been CHEESE. Sigh. Now if you know me even in the slightest you know I am a huge lover of cheese. I practically have it with every meal I eat in some capacity so the thought of giving it up brings a little tear to my eye and makes my mouth salivate. But isn't that the point? The purpose behind Lent and the 40 days of sacrifice is not to give up something that is easy for us to, it is a call to die to the body and experience the great suffering Christ did in our own very insignificant way. Sacrifice means to offer. The Church in her wisdom knows that we need a time to remove ourselves from the business of life and temptation to regain joy. Let's not look at this as a curse but as a beautiful opportunity to unite ourselves with Christ.