Blessings in Transition?

In the midst of yet another major transition I’m asking myself, “Is there benefit to this discomfort?” “Where is the good here?” I have recently finished my year of volunteer service, moved out of the volunteer house, and I’m starting two new jobs, looking for a car to buy, etc… Needless to say I’m a little stressed. Pretty much all the time!

One of my new bosses described me to his wife saying, “This girl, her life is one big trust fall into the arms of God!” Yes, that pretty much explains it! To many I’m sure I look like I have no plans or little direction. There is so much uncertainty and I can’t tell people much of what I am looking towards in my future. I tell them that I feel called to be here, I feel called by God to do this work right now. Yes, I don’t know my monthly income yet. Yes, I am not using my nursing license at the moment. But yes, I know God has my life in His hands and I trust Him to show me the way.

I am very much human and prone to frequent freak outs. When I’m breaking down in tears or completely paralyzed and overwhelmed by whatever life happens to be throwing at me I know I need to slow down, move over, and give Him the time and space to comfort me, to work with me. @Corinthians 12:10 says “Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

When there are cracks in our armor of distractions, false security, and self-confidence, That is when we are most able to let God in, to allow Him in. He is kind and will never force Himself on anyone if they are not willing to let Him past the door, over our walls, through our many, great, defenses. He waits patiently and He longs for us to come to Him.

Though I don’t always like the paths I have to go down to realize this truth time and time again, I am thankful, and I am blessed with this journey and this transition.

He is Patient With Me

“With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise as some regard “delay”, but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2Peter 3:8b-9

This calls to mind my very impatient self. Constantly waiting for something to happen for life to get better or easier, for Him to swoop down and fix it all just as I like. Right now! As a society we have become accustomed to instant gratification, shortcuts, hacks, cheats, easy… This passage reminds me that all will come in His time. He is patient with us and is giving us our crosses, our daily struggles and time. Time to work on ourselves and bring our lives back into focus, back to Him. He wants to give every single one of us our eternal reward which is heaven. He will not short change any of His precious children. He loves us, thirsts for our souls, and He wants to take our hearts at His prize. We are worth more to Him than all the riches of the earth.

I have been nannying two boys ages five and twelve. They are so unfocused sometimes and I imagine our relationship with God is much the same.

 When I want to take the boys out for some “adventure” or “treat” there is always one massive hurdle… Getting them out the door! It usually goes something like this:

“Boys get your shoes on.”

Ten minutes later boys come down and realize they are hungry… the five year old says:

“I’m actually quite hungry!”

Hmm well I’m quite ready to go…

“Get your shoes on.”

They eat a snack and by now have completely forgotten about getting their shoes on and go jump on the trampoline.

“Boys get your shoes on!!!”

They might sit and get started but if I don’t stand there they get distracted!

I imagine God is gently or not so gently reminding us of our goal. To seek holiness, to seek Him, and to obtain our ultimate goal- eternal life. We are children easily distracted with all the things the world has to offer. The solution you ask? Simplicity.

Oh really? That’s great but what exactly does that mean? It means de-cluttering your life. Like a good garage sale when you purge all the unnecessary things that have piled up in your house. You go back inside and there is space! You can breathe easier. When you cut out things or cut back on things that occupy so much time and space in your life (like me and Facebook) you have time and space to breathe, to invite God back into your life. Refocus and spend your time on what really matters.

Don’t wait for better, live in the gift that is the present moment. There is some good meant to come from today. We are more precious to God than all the riches the world has to offer. God is more precious to me than all the distractions the world has to offer. He is my number one priority, what’s yours?

  
Picture taken from Blessed Is She Instagram page. I definitely recommend following them and receiving the daily devotional emails.

Jesus Is Always Present

I just started teaching second grade religious education and I am so excited to show them the beauty of the Eucharist. Right now I am working on making some resources for the chapter called “Jesus Is Always Present”.

Growing up is hard with all the pressures and issues that come up. I have seen kids so lost in pain and worry and I want to teach them that He is ALWAYS there for us. I want them to feel His love and to love Him in their beautiful innocence. You don’t always need to say a prayer that’s written out. You can talk to Jesus like you would your very best friend and that is a prayer. He will never put you down. His love is infinite and no matter what you do He will not turn His face from you.

The story of Jesus’s life and death is the most beautiful love story. He died so that we may live. We have a power in us to do good or to do evil. I want to teach them how good it feels to help someone, to say a quick prayer for someone who needs it, and I want to teach them to trust in the Lord for his mercy is never failing.

I am overflowing with joy. He fills me more than anything my mind can comprehend. I want to teach them to find things to thank God for every day so that they can realize what they have. He has removed so many obstacles from my life and I am seeing His plan unfold around me. I want them to look for Him in their lives, to see Him in everyone they meet.

Gosh do I have my work cut out for me. I pray that I can teach them things that will stay with them forever and I can make little evangelists!

“I am with you always, even to the end of time.”

A Selfless Gift…

Total Consecration to Mary is the most beautiful thing I have come across in my spiritual journey. When you consecrate yourself to the Blessed Mother you give her every part of yourself even the merits of your good deeds. One of the most radical things about this to me is that you don’t build up a store of wonderful things you have done to show God on your judgment day anymore because you have given every bit of it away to Mary. She will be your advocate in that moment and what human would God listen to that he would love and honor more than the Mother of His only Son. She knows better than we do who might need that prayer or sacrifice. Another really cool thing about this is that when people ask you to pray for them Mary remembers for you and you just give your little deeds to her and she will see that everyone is taken care of. She is the best mother any of us can have and it is truly wonderful that Jesus invited us into His family so we could share in their love. One of the things I was taught in religion class as a little girl was that if you found a beautiful apple in the dirt and gave it to your father it would be perfect to him because you are giving it to him out of love. If you gave that apple to your mother first she would wash and shine it, she would put that apple on the prettiest plate and make it more pleasing and acceptable to your father. This is what happens when we give Mary our prayers, she takes our imperfect sacrifice and makes it more beautiful and pleasing to our eternal Father in heaven than we could ever hope to on our own.

Now that all sounds great but how do you give yourself to Mary? There are many different publications and programs you can follow and you’ll have to find one that works for you and your life. There is a 33 day preparation period in which you will meditate and learn to die to yourself. Well that sounds a little harsh and more than you’d like to do. Understand dying to self is merely learning to put the needs of others first and teaching you to give more of yourself to Jesus through Mary. The act of consecration after the 33 days does not however mean you’ve made it, dying to self is a continual lifelong process that you need to work on every single day. We are casting off the spirit of the world and all the ties to worldly desires that bind us and make it harder to attain our eternal goal and prize which is heaven. During this period you will learn more about Mary’s role in Jesus’ life and now our lives. We through this endeavor grow in holiness and increase our faith, hope, and love.

I used two different books for my preparation the first was 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley, MIC, The second which was more rigorous and appealing to me was the Manual for Total Consecration published by Saint Benedict Center’s Mancipia Press.

33 Days to Morning Glory introduces you to three holy men and one holy woman. Saint Louis de Montfort is the first week’s topic followed by Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Pope John Paul II, Blessed Mother Theresa, and a review week. The book explains the profound devotion to Jesus through Mary that each of them had so that we may learn by their example.

The Manual for Total Consecration starts the day off with litanies and Marian hymns followed by a scripture reading (which I also used for Lectio Divina) and then mediations from Imitation of Christ or Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s writings. It is rigorous yet understandable and it helped me grow in my faith.

I made my first Consecration this year on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, and the Visitation of Mary to Saint Elizabeth. It was a beautifully packed feast day and I was also visiting Holy Angels Convent. I look forward to renewing my consecration every year.

SMC sent me pictures of the prayer her community uses every year on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to renew their consecration.

Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart. We consecrate to you our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To you we give our bodies, our hearts, our homes, our families, our country. We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to you, and may share in the benefits of your motherly blessing.

That this act of consecration may be truly fruitful and lasting, we renew this day at your feet the promises of our baptism and our First Holy Communion.

We pledge ourselves to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits Catholics who are submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him. We pledge ourselves to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord’s day. We likewise pledge ourselves to make consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all Holy Communion as important part of our lives, in so far as we shall be able to do so.

Finally, we promise you, O glorious mother of God and loving mother of men, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the spreading of devotion to your Immaculate Heart, In order to hasten and assure, through the queenly rule of your Immaculate Heart the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of your adorable Son, in our own hearts and in those of all in our country and in all the world, as in heaven so on earth. Amen

When you begin the process of the 33 days you should pick a feast day of the Blessed Mother Mary and begin 34 days before that so when you end your preparation you will consecrate yourself to Mary on her day. Both of the books I used had a cheat sheet that told you when to being based on which feast day you chose. I hope you have or plan on consecrating yourself to Mary, it has helped me more than I can say!