Monday, February 20, 2012

Lenten Resources

Alright, here are some awesome sites with ideas for Lent.

St. Mary's (A&M) blog - everything you ever wanted to know about Lent

"Creative" ideas on what to give up for Lent

"40 Ideas for Lent"

This year I will be giving up the Snooze button. It is going to be so stinking hard! I tried to make a new year's goal of getting up around 8am every day (working parish hours allows me to go in at 11 or noon some days, so why would I not sleep in!?). Well, I haven't done the best at keeping that... but giving up the snooze button will be quite a sacrifice, and what better time to start it than Lent. I also plan on making sure I start the day with prayer. I have several options for this, so I'm not sure what exactly I'll choose to start the day.

Happy Lenting everyone. Let this season change you. Do something more than give up candy, that's not much of a sacrifice. Strive for holiness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is Love?

It's Valentine's day, so it's only fitting, right!?

"What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more."

If you watched the video, it's more like "What is lust?" And unfortunately today, those two "L" words get mixed up too easily. And if people think they won't get hurt with love, then they have a false notion of what love truly means. I might even argue that one doesn't know true love until they experience some sort of hurt or pain from it. We're human, so sometimes we say and do stupid things that hurt those we are closest to, usually without meaning to hurt them, of course. It doesn't always have to be hurt, it could be the sting that comes from missing someone. Whether they are in a different state, deployed in a different country, or have moved on from this world to the next, missing a loved one can hurt. Whatever it is, it always hurts more when it concerns someone we love.

Love isn't a feeling, it's a choice we make every day.

Obviously we should celebrate love every day, not just on Valentine's Day, and of course there are a lot of people who pass it off as another day, saying they don't need a special day to tell someone they love them. While this is true, I think February 14th offers us a great opportunity to reflect on love and celebrate the love that we do have in our life. We don't always tell our loved ones how much we care, whether they are significant others, spouses, or even friends. It's also a day to celebrate God's love. How easy it is to forget the love of our Father. Maybe there is a reason why Valentine's Day falls so close around Lent (and during Lent in some years). Those 40+ days give us a great opportunity to reflect on the love that God has for us and how we can attempt to give even a portion of that love back.

So whether you show your love today with gifts, words of affirmation, or simply spending time with those you love, let it be from the heart and include God in all you do.

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything."
Pedro Arrupe, SJ (former superior general of the Jesuits, 1917-91)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday Surprises

Last night at youth group we did the "Self-protection" lesson that we're supposed to give once a  year. We usually focus on the internet in some extent, and last night was about cyberbullying and revealing too much and then I brought it all back to how we can use technology and social media as tools to evangelize. At the end of the night I handed out paper cell phones for the high school youth to write prayers on; the catch was that they had to be 140 characters or less and were supposed to be about technology, either thanksgiving or asking for help to use it for the greater glory of God.

As I was walking around the tables, taking the "cell phones" that were done, I saw one guy wrote on his "Jesus help me." Short and sweet. I saw it and connected it to the shortest verse in the entire bible: Jesus wept. I asked the boy if he knew what the shortest verse was and proceeded to tell him. And then moved on to the next table.

As I looked at the prayers today, one really caught my eye. At the same table with three-word-prayer guy was our autistic student. He's high-functioning, but I usually don't count on him to do the activity. His cell phone prayer was also quite simple, and yet profound. He must have heard my conversation with the first guy, because this was on his cell phone:

How quick we do forget those words. And with everything going on in our world, especially our country today (HHS mandate, Planned Parenthood/Komen fiasco, everything else), I'm sure those words are still true. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I want to write

I want to in, professionally. I've been thinking a lot about my current job and the thing I like to do most is put together my own lesson plans and bible studies. And let's face it, there aren't a lot of Catholic bible studies for teens out there (unless they're hiding, and in that case, they need to come out, come out wherever they are!). So I told the bf that I could write and put together Catholic youth bible studies! I'm working on the Book of Job right now for my Wednesday night high school bible study. I have one resource from Loyola Press (Six Weeks with the Bible: Job), which is fine and dandy, but some of the questions do not pertain to youth.

Yes, I enjoy putting these things together, but it's also time consuming. If there were good bible study programs out there, it definitely would make my job a lot easier. So maybe I can make it easier for others...some day. Turns out there are a TON of Catholic publishing companies! I guess I just need to write more, which always seems to be such a problem due to the lack of time. If I had a netbook I could carry around everywhere I went (or I guess even a tablet would do), then I could write down all my ideas and form things from there. Would anyone like to be a benefactor to me and gift me one of those awesome devices!? I would dedicate books to you and you'd also be on my daily prayer list. I think that sounds awesome. :)