Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life's refuge;
of whom am I afraid?...
One thing I ask of the Lord,
this I seek:
To dwell in the Lord's house all the days of my life.
To gaze on the Lord's beauty,
to visit his temple...
Hear my voice, Lord, when I call;
have mercy on me and answer me.
"Come," says my heart "seek God's face"
your face, Lord, do I seek!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I know I promised a blog about marriage this week but work has been kicking my butt. I want to give this post the time it deserves and do a good job, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to push it back a little. It will be written asap.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I'll have some good stuff about marriage next week.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Gift Of Life

This past spring my friend and roommate tried to kill himself. It was only through dumb luck and the fast actions of my other roommates that he lived. At the end of one of the most horrific days of my life, my buddy was alive. He had full function and feeling in his hands and fingers and was ok. Needless to say, this was traumatic for my roommates and I. There was a priest who spent a lot of time with all of us through that day and the following days. He stayed with my hurt roommate, he helped me scrub blood out of the rug, and he was a great comfort to us all. He was in our apartment one day, and I asked him how I could ever thank God enough for what He had done. Despite my roommate’s best efforts, he was alive. Only through the grace of God was he alive. Only because my roommate woke up early cause he had to go to the bathroom. God had given my roommate his life back. In that moment I felt no prayer I could ever say, no charity I could ever do, would be enough to thank God for the gift of life he had given my friend. The priest said very plainly, ‘How can we ever thank him for giving any of us life? What He did for your friend He has done for all of us, given us the gift of life, created us. There is nothing any of us can ever do to thank Him enough. All we can do is try our best and hope that it is enough’.

I tell this story because it shows the biggest and most overlooked gift God has given us: life. We’re living on borrowed time. Our mere existence is a present from God, and eventually God will call us back to him when He’s done loaning us out, so to speak. In an undeniably fucked up world, it can be hard sometimes to see God’s presence. The very fact we are alive to look for it, to me, is evidence enough.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Can Always Pray

I’ve been thinking about prayer a lot lately. Like many of you, I struggle with my faith from time to time. It’s not that I stop believing in God, or seeing his impact on my life, but I don’t feel as connected to God as I should and don’t act as morally as I could. I have been Catholic all my life, and know that is something that will never change. Come sex scandals, gay marriage bans, or what have you, I will never leave my faith. I feel like this yet I still feel distant from God, I feel lonely. I wonder if I am afraid of the intimacy that I know I must share with God. I have trouble going to Mass. I haven’t been in a while. I will get as far as standing at the front door of my house prepared to go, but I won’t turn the knob, and I’ll just go back to my room. It’s something about the public nature of Mass that I have trouble with.

Despite my shortcomings in these areas, there is one thing I will always have: prayer. Prayer is something taught to us as poems that we should memorize and are intended to be said out loud. While this is part of it, the way I pray is much different. I want to say it was either St. Aquinas or St. Augustine who said, “Prayer is raising your heart and mind to God”. We don’t need to speak, we don’t need to think in words, we just need to raise our heart and mind to God and trust that he knows what's in there. A piece of art, a song, time spent with loved ones, they can all make us communicate with God.

Prayer seems like a natural and easy thing to do, but it is something we must practice and learn over time. I find it helpful to pray to certain saints I identify with. St. Michael if I feel I need strength and courage, St. Patrick if I need some ancestor-ly wisdom, and Gabriel if tenderness is called for. Too often I pray to God to ask for something. I forget all the blessings in my life and do not thank Him for them. I try to train myself to see everything He has given me, and to take time to prayer simply to thank Him and to praise Him, and tell Him I trust Him, but I never do it enough.

I have been praying for God to help me be a better Catholic. It was that, in fact, which prompted me to start this blog. A priest friend of mine recently told me:

Generally when we take prayer seriously we begin to take other things seriously, and then things begin to change- not always easily, but truly, and often because we gain the courage and motivation that we need to make the changes we need to. Conversion of heart and soul is an ongoing process and is never completed this side of heaven”.

I hope this was as helpful for you to read as it was for me to write.