Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Made to Love

Sweet Sylvia at Catholic Causerie has said so beautifully and so well all that is on my heart in recent months, and graciously said I could share it. I've been directed to be more interior as I travel His journey for me, and so for the time being, and perhaps indefinitely, this blog will continue to be quiet. May each of us live daily in His Presence!

People seem to focus so much on the future. Our vision is naturally horizontal — looking at the things in front of us (or behind). Some of us fruitlessly dwell on the past, and others (like myself) have the tendency to dwell in our imaginings of the future. What I wish I could do is shift my eyes to a vertical perspective, one that moves along the x-axis of time, but is always fixed on the y-intercept of the present.What I mean is, if we could look upward, focused on God and not on our own fates, our fates won't get messed up by our tainted, twisted selves. We don't live for the future; we live for the infinite God. Our lives shouldn't be directed toward our own pursuits; they should always be in pursuit of Him. I've come to realize that it doesn't matter much what happens to me as long as I am in union with God when it happens.I came across this passage when I was re-reading The Screwtape Letters for my previous post, and I think it explains the "present" concept brilliantly:
The humans live in time, but [God] destines them to eternity. He therefore, I
believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself and to
that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at
which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have
an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole;
in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them.

Recently, I've been faced with many "coming of age" decisions, and to be honest, I've struggled a lot with entrusting them to God. But He has given me a great confidence because, even when I feel I don't know what to do with my life, I know that my life should belong to Him no matter what I do. I try to embrace that knowledge because it gives me purpose in the present.
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or
'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your Heavenly Father
knows that you need them all. But seek ye first the kingdom (of God) and his
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you besides.

On a bigger scale, for the last 5 years I have wondered and prayed about my "vocation," whether I should serve God within a family, or consecrate my whole self as my patron St. Cecilia did. I have a deep attraction to both lives, and I have come to realize it is because they both have the same call - to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a sacrifice for us. All lives have this same call, and when we answer it, we are fulfilled in the deepest part of our souls.

Our vocation is LOVE, and we are called to it NOW.

* * *
Amen. Now and forever!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The best plan

"Our best plan is to place ourselves in the Lord's presence, meditate upon His mercy and grace and upon our lowliness, and leave Him to give us what He wills...He knows best what is good for us."
~Saint Teresa of Avila

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On Spiritual Motherhood

In honor of Mother's Day, some moving selections from Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (emphasis original):

Motherhood has been introduced into the order of the Covenant that God made with humanity in Jesus Christ. Each and every time that motherhood is repeated in human history, it is always related to the Covenant which God established with the human race through the motherhood of the Mother of God.

Does not Jesus bear witness to this reality when he answers the exclamation of that woman in the crowd who blessed him for Mary's motherhood: "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!"? Jesus replies: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Lk 11:27-28). Jesus confirms the meaning of motherhood in reference to the body, but at the same time he indicates an even deeper meaning, which is connected with the order of the spirit: it is a sign of the Covenant with God who "is spirit" (Jn 4: 24). This is true above all for the motherhood of the Mother of God. The motherhood of every woman, understood in the light of the Gospel, is similarly not only "of flesh and blood": it expresses a profound "listening to the word of the living God" and a readiness to "safeguard" this Word, which is "the word of eternal life" (cf. Jn 6:68).

Virginity according to the Gospel means renouncing marriage and thus physical motherhood. Nevertheless, the renunciation of this kind of motherhood, a renunciation that can involve great sacrifice for a woman, makes possible a different kind of motherhood: motherhood "according to the Spirit" (cf. Rom 8:4)...

Spousal love always involves a special readiness to be poured out for the sake of those who come within one's range of activity. In marriage this readiness, even though open to all, consists mainly in the love that parents give to their children. In virginity this readiness is open to all people, who are embraced by the love of Christ the Spouse...

Spousal love — with its maternal potential hidden in the heart of the woman as a virginal bride — when joined to Christ, the Redeemer of each and every person, is also predisposed to being open to each and every person.

Happy Mother's Day to all physical and spiritual mothers!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Today is both Good Shepherd Sunday (see the Liturgical Readings), as well as the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

From Pope Benedict's special message for today:

"God's free and gracious initiative encounters and challenges the human responsibility of all those who accept his invitation to become, through their own witness, the instruments of his divine call."

There is also a brand new website launched today by the U.S. Bishops: For Your Vocation. Looks like a helpful initiative!

It was neat (and fitting) that myself and two siblings portrayed saints in first person for a Religious Education "Family Day" this morning. I was St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of the Catholic Education System in America, and the first American-born Saint to be canonized.

Let us pray for many holy vocations: to matrimony, to priesthood, and to consecrated life, that we may build the Kingdom with all that we are!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I love St. Edith Stein!

"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace."

-Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Friday, April 9, 2010


I will be joined by a group of delightful young ladies going with me to the Institute on Religious Life. Say a little prayer for all the religious there (from around the U.S.!) and the discerning youth, will you?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I stumbled across this video the other day...the picture quality isn't that great, but the story is worth it!

He is Risen

At my other blog, I'm having a fun contest (of sorts) using multi-lingual Easter greetings!

On a personal note, please say a little prayer that I can recover soon from an all-out cold that hit me the end of Holy Week...not just a few sniffles. It's been rather physically (and at times emotionally) draining. Thanks. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

O, Happy Day

...when a Jewish girl said "Yes" to God, and gave the world our Savior!

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. How many times my mind and heart have dwelled on this eternal scene: the pure young maiden visited by the Father's angelic messenger, asking her to become the Mother of the Messiah.

Mary did not understand how His plan would unfold. Yet she surrended completely and wholeheartedly herself — body, mind, heart, and soul — to the will of the Father. With complete faith, she replied, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). And this response forever changed all past, present, and future mankind.

As you can see, the radiant example and response of our Lady are the inspiration for this blog title as I strive to make them the theme of my life. By her "yes", her "fiat", Mary brought life to the whole world in a bigger way than she ever imagined. I know that my "yes" to God, He can and will use me, too, to bring life to the world in a bigger way than I ever imagined.

The profound mystery and beauty of the Annunciation has evoked many reflective words from Saints and Church Fathers:

"In the town of the Annunciation, our thoughts naturally turn to Mary, 'full of grace', the mother of the Holy Family and our Mother. Nazareth reminds us of our need to acknowledge and respect the God-given dignity and proper role of women, as well as their particular charisms and talents. Whether as mothers in families, as a vital presence in the work force and the institutions of society, or in the particular vocation of following our Lord by the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, women have an indispensable role in creating that 'human ecology' (cf. Centesimus Annus, 39) which our world, and this land, so urgently needs..."

"He chose the mother he had created; he created the mother he had chosen."

-St. Augustine

"The 'yes' spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who becomes disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son."

-Pope John Paul II

And my favorites, from Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter On the Dignity of Women. He mentions the Annunciation no less than 11 times in this letter!

"Mary means, in a sense, a going beyond the limit spoken of in the Book of Genesis (3: 16) and a return to that 'beginning' in which one finds the 'woman' as she was intended to be in creation, and therefore in the eternal mind of God: in the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity. Mary is 'the new beginning' of the dignity and vocation of women, of each and every woman.

Mary's words at the Annunciation — 'Let it be to me according to your word' — signify the woman's readiness for the gift of self and her readiness to accept a new life.

This 'prophetic' character of women in their femininity finds its highest expression in the Virgin Mother of God. She emphasizes, in the fullest and most direct way, the intimate linking of the order of love — which enters the world of human persons through a Woman — with the Holy Spirit.

We see that through Mary — through her maternal 'fiat', ('Let it be done to me') — God begins a New Covenant with humanity."

For more on this Solemnity, visit the Annunciation page at Catholic Culture.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Inspiring Athlete Story!

...Thanks, Robert, for sending me this one!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From Speed Skater to Sister

With the Olympics going on this week, I have seen this neat story in several places!

When Holum placed sixth in the 3,000 meters – one of the most grueling disciplines in the women’s program, a lung-scraping four-minute bust of lactic acid torture – speedskating insiders predicted a golden future and speculated she may not even reach her peak for another decade.
But God had bigger plans for Kirstin Holum. From the website of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal...

"Love is not loved!" St. Francis of Assisi. Throughout most of my life, I was searching for the one true love. The love to fill a void in my heart that the "world" created in me...

...When I met the CFR's , I saw in them such immense joy that I knew could only come from their love for Jesus. "I want to love Jesus radically like they do", I thought to myself.

Back to the article:
“When I give my religious testimony, it is fun to watch the reaction of the kids when I tell them I was in the Olympics,” she laughed. “Their eyes get really big and they start paying a lot more attention. It is a great thing to share with them and it gives me a lot of pleasure to think back and talk about it.

Yahoo news story here.
Kirstin's testimony on the Sisters' website here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


On this feast day of St. Valentine — the "day for lovers" — my heart is full and cherished. I am in awe of the perfect, igniting love of my Beloved...Christ.

You are enough for me.
My Maker, my Savior, my Sanctifier...
My Lover, my Lord, my Light...
My King, my Sweetness, my Fire...
My everything.

You are enough for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sisters on Oprah — Available Online

I knew the Dominican Sisters of Mary would do a great job, but I think my expectations were exceeded... Oprah remained amazingly positive, and it's apparent that she's rather in awe! The sisters are genuine, articulate, and totally on their feet in answering some challenging questions. Praise the Lord for this powerful opportunity to give witness to His love!

(This is Part 1 of 4: View the rest by clicking the thumbnails brought up at the end of this segment.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sisters on Oprah!

What a combo: Oprah Winfrey and...the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. I think the neatest part is this:
The show featuring the sisters will air on Tuesday, February 9, 2010. The same day happens to be the congregation’s 13th anniversary. The coincidence is “amazing, as they did not know this when they chose the date -- but God did!” exclaimed the vocations director.
My other favorite quote:

“We agreed (to be on the show) because it will further understanding of Religious Life,” she added. “The Catholic Church is alive, well, and thriving as is authentic religious life,” she added.

There are some behind-the-scenes filming photos on the sisters' website.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Gift of Peace

I just have to share briefly my joy and gratitude for the peace — real, inner peace — that our Lord restored to me during the Christmas Season. During Advent, I was blessed to be at a Mass where the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was offered. Although in years past, this was given only to the dying, it is now available to anyone suffering in body, mind, or spirit.

This was the beginning of such consolation and healing for my heart and soul — graces that continued throughout the Christmas Season. Such a change from the heaviness and weariness of a few months ago...thanks be to God. He restored hope and anticipation of my vocation instead of hesitation and frustration. I am once again excited to see where He will lead!

In the last few months my family started the process for domestic infant adoption, and I can see that this may be one reason among many that the Lord did not reveal the community or the green light yet... Perhaps He is giving me a chance to get to know and bond with my (hopeful) new baby sibling before leaving.

One of my Christmastime graces was meeting a young sister who sat in front of me at Mass on December 26th. I was drawn to, but did not recognize, her gray and blue habit, so I approached her after Mass to meet her. We had a great visit and I learned about the Servants of the Lord and their mission To Evangelize the Culture. Sr. A, whom I met, lives in their D.C. House but her family is from my hometown, and she was home visiting for Christmas (I admit I was intrigued that they are allowed to do that!). She willingly provided answers to my questions about her order, and I left the meeting with excitement and the hope to learn more.

Well, the Holy Spirit gave me the opportunity when I went to the March for Life on January 22 and stayed in the area a few days extra. I kept bumping into sisters from this same order! I was able to go to their Juniorate convent for a brief but wonderful visit. All I learned about their order, charism, and apostolate is very attractive, and the visit left me with an entirely different sense than my retreats with the Dominicans. I was able to kneel before the tabernacle in their small chapel and confidently, joyfully offer my heart, saying simply, "I trust You...lead me!".

I hope to get to know the "Servidoras" (as they are known in Spanish) better, and we'll see where the Lord leads with this one! Onward for the adventure...abiding in His merciful heart. +

Yesterday: Presentation of the Lord and "World Day for Consecrated Life"

I learned last night that it was the 14th World Day for Consecrated Life. How fitting and beautiful to celebrate this on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord!

Today I'm reading Pope Benedict's homily given yesterday on this theme. Here is my favorite paragraph...

Consecrated persons are called in a particular way to be witnesses of this mercy of the Lord, in which man finds his salvation. They have the vivid experience of God's forgiveness, because they have the awareness of being saved persons, of being great when they recognize themselves to be small, of feeling renewed and enveloped by the holiness of God when they recognize their own sin. Because of this, also for the man of today, consecrated life remains a privileged school of "compunction of heart," of the humble recognition of one's misery but, likewise, it remains a school of trust in the mercy of God, in his love that never abandons. In reality, the closer we come to God, and the closer one is to him, the more useful one is to others. Consecrated persons experience the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God not only for themselves, but also for their brothers, being called to carry in their heart and prayer the anxieties and expectations of men, especially of those who are far from God.

There is an inspiring related post on the Faith and Family blog, too.