Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Where's Your Weapon?

Often I have heard it said that as Catholics, our best weapon in this world is our rosary. And there must be millions and millions of rosaries in existence today! I cannot even count the number of rosaries I have had in my life. Currently I only know where three are: my car, another in my purse, and one in a dish at home. Others I have lost, misplaced, or beads have broken off of them. But no matter what, when you're Catholic, rosaries always seem to be around.

In high school a few friends and I were told to pray a decade of the rosary a day, and to pray it for our vocations. We did just that. It didn't take very long to say those 10 Hail Mary's after school each day and it united us in prayer. In college I prayed the rosary almost every day. Partly because my friends prayed it before daily Mass, and partly because I began to wear the brown scapular and devotion to Mary is one of the requirements. But since college, my prayer of the rosary has been sparse. Recently I've prayed it more, especially after my grandma passed away. She prayed the rosary at least once a day, if not more! I found that to be quite inspiring.

On Monday night a few friends and I went to a talk on the second secret of Fatima. It was a great talk and I won't go into it now...but the priest closed the talk by saying "pray the rosary daily." And in my head I thought "but that's so hard to do! It's hard to find the time for it!" Well duh! Of course it's going to be difficult! Making time for prayer in general is difficult, but if we want to grow closer in our relationship with God, it is a must. There are a ton of reasons to pray the rosary and unfortunately I don't have time to go into them! But I am making it my "goal" to pray the rosary daily, and to pray it in front of the Blessed Sacrament here at the parish. It will be "easier" to pray it during the day rather than wait until night and be too tired and forget. Certainly there will be at least a half hour when the chapel is free. There are so many things we need to pray for in our world today, and Mary will help us out if we go to her.

Monday, March 26, 2012

You Are God's Original Masterpiece

I have not had an awe-inspiring retreat experience since January 2010, the last full Echo retreat before graduation in July. But this past weekend's Confirmation retreat was amazing. Three young adults who have been helping with youth ministry at my parish put it on, and while I didn't have a specific part, I was still there to partake in the day. What a day it was. God was finally able to get through to my hard head. Yes, the road ahead will be tough. Yes, I'll still get an empty feeling in my stomach from time to time. But God is right here to carry me through. The love He has for His daughter brings tears to my eyes! I will carry on, through this difficult time and with my job.

This is a video we watched on the retreat. It is amazing. Only watch it if you have 15-20 minutes to spare (11 minutes to watch and 4-9 minutes to reflect).

There is so much in my life that I have to work on, but I don't know where to start or even what does need to be chiseled away. That is where I need to go to God. Maybe it will be in baby steps, but baby steps are better than going away from God.

This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I looked in the mirror to see Christ. And I told myself "I am God's original masterpiece." When I said it and started believing it, I had this sensation in my heart that is indescribable. We don't believe that about ourselves, but can you imagine what life would be like if we did?

Today I also made a baby step at work. I went over to the cafeteria by myself to hang out with the 6th grade class while they ate. I didn't wait for my supervisor, I just went. And as soon as I stepped foot into that loud and energetic room, two girls immediately smiled and waved at me. I felt welcomed by them! Aren't they the ones who are supposed to be welcomed by me!? As nervous as I was, I made the rounds, mostly talking about the Hunger Games. But I did it. Baby steps.

The solemnity of the Annunciation was moved to today. How often are we saying yes to God and "let Your will be done according to Your word." Ok God, let it be done! Use me to glorify Your kingdom. I'm ready!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adoration Soothes the Soul

What a difference Adoration can make. During my hour of sitting in the presence of our Lord, I realized that I was being a bit irrational yesterday. Prayer and reflection helped me to see this and calmed me down. Last night turned out to be one of the best nights in five days! I felt so great after my high school bible study!

Aspects of my job might be more difficult than I thought, but everything in my life has lead me to where I am today and I don't think I can give up just because I'm being asked to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone for work. While I internally freaked out about what my supervisor was saying and momentarily thought about quitting, I later realized that God's calling to us isn't necessarily about what's easy and what we don't want to do. If we're trying to follow His will, then there will be plenty of things we won't want to do. I have to continually remind myself that it's not about me, it's about Him.

I'll be posting more later, hopefully some quotes from a book I'm reading called Surrender by Fr. Larry Richards. But for now, I must get ready for our staff meeting we have in 20 minutes.

Here is a great reflection on Finding God's Will. It was posted by Fr. James Martin today and is an excerpt from his book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.

BTW, just wanted to thank you all for reading this blog and all my crazy thoughts that go with it. Feel free to leave comments whenever you would like, feedback is nice. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoughts on "Chick Flicks" and Chivalry

Thank goodness for The Office! It was so nice being able to sit at home without thinking of being alone, laugh, and even snort-laugh at some of the things Jim and Dwight did. I think Season 3 might be my favorite season. 

Last night I ate dinner with Jeremy and Megan and we hung out at Panera Bread for 2 hours. I was also doing quite well at that time. I was able to talk a little bit about stuff, although we didn't talk much about the break up. That's ok, I just needed friends to hang out with! But when I got home I had no idea what to do with myself. I was trying to think what I would have done anyway (since Ross is back home w/ the fam). After some quick journaling I decided to watch The Office. That show could cure anything. :)

On another note...I've been thinking about romantic comedies and prince charming. I'd like to possibly develop these ideas more, but for now here are my preliminary thoughts.

Romantic comedies are great, I'm a total fan of chick flicks. But at the same time, they can bring up thoughts and feelings that don't necessarily correlate with the real world. I remember watching two chick flicks at the beginning of my senior year of college with my roommates. After watching them I was quite bummed out that I didn't have a boyfriend. I didn't really date at all during college, but there were times when movies would stir up thoughts and feelings of wanting that "love" that was portrayed in the movie. I was (mostly) fine about being single, but those movies had me almost craving a romantic relationship.

So on that thought, do romantic comedies give us false hope?! There are even fictional characters in the movies who say they wish their lives were like the movies. In almost every chick flick, everything works out in the end, which is probably why we love them so much. It would be sad if the girl ended up broken hearted and alone, no one would want to watch that! I think that these movies can give positive hope and false hope. Those of us who are called to marriage do have a love story of our own; maybe you're in the process of it now, or maybe it hasn't been written yet. For those of us not in a relationship right now, God has His reasons and we can't just give up hope.

On the other hand, these movies portray love that isn't always based on real or moral values. But somehow the guy and girl "fall in love" and often the guy has to fight for the girl. Oftentimes he goes after her, perhaps chases down her taxi (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), flies to a foreign country and takes a horse to stop a wedding (Made of Honor), or gets a whole group of people to do a flash dance in Grand Central Station (Friends with Benefits). Reflecting on all of that makes me think that maybe Ross was right, maybe he doesn't love me (as a boyfriend would love a girlfriend) because he's not fighting for me or our relationship. And then again, maybe that's not true at all because I'm basing this off of chick flicks! (By the way, guys, this is a small insight into how the female brain works and how we might have a tendency complicate and over think things).

Regardless, women want a man of chivalry. We do want that guy who is going to fight for us, who is going to treat us like a princess, who is going to be our prince charming. Unfortunately the idea of "prince charming" is often shot down in our modern society. We shouldn't want that ideal because that man doesn't exist. It's something that Disney made up and our "prince charming" will not come riding up on a white horse or be dressed in shining armor. And...I'm not certain about this, but men probably see the term "prince" and think "pansy."

Whether you call him your Prince Charming or just your future husband (or perhaps your current husband/boyfriend/fiance), that should be the man we seek. He might not be dressed in armor of metal with a face mask, but he can still have armor of virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit. He might not slay dragons, but he will fight for you and stand up for you when others try to bring you down. He'll also fight for your love. Chivalry is more than just opening doors for women. It's about treating her as a princess, whether she is your sister, your mom, your girlfriend, your niece, or your wife. It's about respect, honesty, and loyalty. And every now and then, if you need to kill a spider for her, go for it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings

I have way too much on my mind to be able to blog about just one item! And frankly, I don't even know where to begin with listing the thoughts, but I suppose I'll start in chronological order from the day:

  • Persecution of the Church
    • The bf has been blogging about this and it's a legitimate concern. I haven't even shown him this outright attack on the church:
    • The Church has undergone many attacks in the past and still stands today. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it...this can give us hope in what looks like a grim age for the Church.
  • Increasing our effort to teach the truth on sexuality and marriage
    • Pope Benedict told some U.S. Bishops that we must better explain the teaching on sexuality (and marriage). You can read more here:
    • There is so much I want to read on this topic/issue/teaching so I can be better versed in explaining Church teachings, especially to youth and young adults. There is so much to read that it becomes overwhelming!
  • "Winning" the fight of the "new mandate"
    • I just read an article that claims we're winning the mandate fight. I would agree with the article that all we hear about is the "war on women" and how people disagree with the Church. But strong Catholics are out there and we know it's not a war on women! Get your heads out of the sand, people! It's about love and freedom and getting to heaven. :)
  • Funfetti Cookies
    • My friends and I have been watching the Catholicism series put out by Fr. Barron and Word on Fire. (PS: It's awesome). I'm thinking of making some Funfetti cookies, but I've used 1 cup out of the cake mix I still have in my pantry. I'm going to attempt to cut the recipe in half (which is super easy, involves cake mix, oil, and eggs) and hope they turn out!
  • Focus
    • I feel so distracted today and feel like I have ADD! But I think that's most days... I have a million thoughts running through my mind. I'll start one project at work, but then move on to something else because I don't want to lose those thoughts. But, oh wait, have to read this blog! Or figure out what to make for dinner! I've had this e-book up in my browser for several days now, but haven't read it. It's called "Focus" and it's aim is to help people focus. If only I can find the "time" to focus and read the darn thing.
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you have found the day productive and also hope you have found something to think about from these wandering thoughts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Lorax - A Review

As a last minute decision after dinner on Saturday, the bf and I decided to catch the 10pm showing of The Lorax. I knew two things about the movie before the lights dimmed: it was adapted from a Dr. Seuss book and Taylor Swift was the voice of one of the characters.

The original book was published in 1971 and tells the tale of the Once-Ler, a faceless man who only cares about expanding his business and making more thneeds. In order to do so, he wipes the land clear of all truffala trees, which in turn forces the animals to evacuate and find a new home. The Lorax is a creature who speaks for the trees and tried to stop the man from his horrific actions. Apart from being a children's story, some people say the story is about: capitalism, consumerism, sustainability, and environmental issues. The bf didn't care for the movie because of the "environmental agenda." Sure, that might have been part of the movie, but I think it has deeper meanings.

As all movies based on short books do, it was true to the original story, but gave more of a plot with background information and extends the original ending. Besides the Lorax and the Once-Ler, another main character is Ted, a teenage boy trying to win the heart of a girl named Audrey (voiced by T.Swift). Audrey somehow found out about about "real trees" and Ted does everything he can to acquire one for her. As in the book, the Once-Ler gives him the last seed of a truffala tree and Ted is to plant it in the middle of town. The antagonist of the story, Mr. O'Hare (who has made a fortune selling air to the people of Thneedsville) hates the idea of a real tree being planted (for obviously reasons). There is a great comical chase through the plastic city, where Ted never loses sight of the seed and why he's chasing it down.

That scene says everything. Almost everyone is against Ted at that point, but he tries his hardest to capture the seed so it can be planted. He could have given up. Maybe Audrey would still like in the end, since he did try to plant the seed. But he didn't give up. And before he was able to plant it, he had to convince the townspeople why it was so important.

This is what I came away with after seeing the movie: Stand up for what you believe in and never give up in your fights against the world. People can be blinded by worldly views, but if someone exposes the truth, then maybe there's a chance others will change their minds. Right now the Catholic Church is going through a lot of trials and persecution for the things we believe in (i.e. the HHS mandate and our stand against contraception). We can't lose heart. Perhaps we just need to follow the words of Dr. Seuss:

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."