Rain!

It is raining!!! Not just a sprinkle, but actually pouring! We woke up this morning to the sound of wet pavement and I am watching and listening to a downpour right now. It will be a lovely day.

Last night we had our web design class, and I made decent progress on my website. I have two of the six pages just about done! I was also able to stay for Adoration after class, because they stopped using incense. I feel bad that they had to stop using it, because it has beautiful symbolism…but am happy because I can breathe. 🙂 When we got back to the apartments, I spent some time in St. Jude’s and then went to bed late. Again.

Next summer there will be two more babies to be around! Our professor’s wife and a classmate are both pregnant. It is awesome to be in such a culture of life and faith as we have here!

So many prayers have been answered lately, hopefully my prayer that my homework gets done quickly will be fulfilled too. But, as I must do something in order for it to happen, I must go. I just had to share my excitement about the rain. 😀

May God bless and our Mother keep you all.

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Another prayer request

Last night, we heard out about a girl who got hit by a car while walking–if I remember correctly, both her legs were broken and she has multiple skull fractures. She was in an induced coma, and they do not know if she will live. Please pray for her.

I wish I could write more, but I have a lot of homework to get done this weekend and then it is time to study for finals. It is hard to believe that in two weeks I’ll be on break! It is crazy how fast this quarter has gone. But, lo, it has…and so I must go back to thinking about Silicon Valley and cubical offices. God bless and our Mother keep you all.

Understanding

Happy Thanksgiving! It seems so strange to say that; I am sitting in apartment all alone, with a few windows open, wearing a short sleeved shirt and in bare feet. Quite different from the chilly days bustling about helping with cleaning and cooking that I have been used to…but I am content. I feel like I am in a time warp, in a different world. Sometimes life in its entirety seems surreal, as though everything that happens is a dream and soon I will wake up and end up in different circumstances. It is quite a strange feeling.

However, in this dream there are many things to be thankful for. First and foremost, for God. For His love for me; for His Blessed Mother. For our Faith; for the Cross and the Resurrection, the sorrow and the glory, the surety and uncertainty in His plan of creation. Then there are all the things that everyone is thankful for: life, family, friends, food, housing, talents, blessings, and so on.

This morning on the walk to Holy Mass, as I was talking with one of the other students, I realized something that I have been striving for that has disturbed peace in my soul. What is it? Understanding. I have an obsession to understand everything, and it drives me crazy when I “don’t know”. We are called to know, love, and serve God; never have we been told to understand Him and His plan. Rather, as we get to know Him, in faith we love; and in love, we are moved to service. As we travel on this path of faith and love, we are slowly given a greater understanding, but only insofar as it will give glory Him. Sometimes we just have to be a child, and listen to the parent’s “because I said so.”

Pray for me, as I try to let go and have the humility to recognize that God did not give me all the talents in the world. Rather, He wishes that I use the ones that I do have to the best of my ability, and He will take care of the rest.

Everyday life / prayer request

Time is passing at an alarming rate. The days fly by, and there is so much to do. I have been here for 8 weeks…next week is Thanksgiving…four weeks until the quarter is over and I will be home for winter break. Only one of the six other girls in the apartment will be here over Thanksgiving break, so hopefully I will get all my homework caught up and can start to study for finals.

I think that no matter where I go in life, I will always be happy to be where I am as well as wishing to be somewhere else. The past week I have been keenly missing everyone and everything at “home”. I miss autumn, with the changing trees and biting air; the country where I can walk around our hill, and have plenty of creation to admire; the hugs and walks with my little siblings; the laughter and fun of home; the peace and joy of Schoenstatt, and all the opportunities to serve the girls there.

However I know that when I go home for Christmas, I will miss everything here. The comradeship among the students, the talks and walks, the pursuit of knowledge and truth, the freedom and responsibility of living on my own (sort of…), the night prayers, singing Latin hymns with male voices, just being around friends. And most of all, the opportunity to attend Holy Mass every day and Adoration multiple times a week.

I was going to write some updates life out here…but just received a phone call from my Mom after typing the above that changed my train of thought. She asked for prayers for a home school family that we know–their little boy died in his sleep last night. He had many health problems when he was a baby, but it sounds like it was completely unexpected. His name was Christopher. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Life is so precious. If we could fathom God’s perfect love for us and recognize, as Professor Barber says, that “He loves us more than we could ever want Him to love us”–then we would no longer fear His plan. May God grant us all that peace.

A blessing

What could be better than spending a hour with Christ? Than opening your heart, seeking His peace amidst the busyness and struggles of everyday life? Than experiencing heaven, and learning how to love?

Nothing, I am convinced. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us Yourself in the Eucharist.

Discipleship in Friendship

We are all made to know, love, and serve God; the fullest expression of that is discipleship with Christ. To follow Christ in His every word and deed shows the greatest love and strength of character of any man or woman. St. Francis de Sales gives us the ideal of friendship by applying Christ’s teaching of discipleship in our everyday relationships.

Every human is in need of community; friendships are a part of life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1879) says:

The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.

Because of the intrinsic desire for communion with others, friendship can either aid in our path towards sanctity or lead our soul to destruction. There is a great obligation to be cautious in our choice of friends. Persons that cause us to either neglect our relationship with God or deliberately lead us away from Him should be loved with charity but not in a mutual relationship.

The Beatitudes give us a full understanding of discipleship. They give us a glimpse of the person of Christ, and thereby provide an in depth example of how we ought to become. If we live the Beatitudes, we will ultimately be living in communion with Christ as His disciples.

St. Francis distinguishes the difference between false and true friendships. Relationships that are based purely on sensual gratification do not deserve the title of true friendship. Rather, they are temptations that distract us from fulfilling God’s will in our lives. The childish acquaintances that depend on outward appearance or superficial qualities will break as soon as a fault is discovered.

Relationships with the opposite sex are particularly prone to develop in this shallow manner. St. Francis calls these flirtations. While not overtly impure, they often lead to impure relationships by giving emotions and natural instinct free reign over the will. By being aware of the temptations and great danger in encouraging such acquaintances, we come to a fuller understanding of the necessity to purify the motive of our actions.

However, there is the possibility of pure friendships with the opposite sex. Philosophers acknowledge friendship to be a virtue; many saints have shown us that it is possible to reach perfection with others. As St. Francis says, “Thus, perfection does not lie in rejecting all friendships, but in entertaining none that are not pure, holy, and sacred.” True friends become one in their pursuit of a goal, together seeking to overcome all failings. Although we must patiently bear our friend’s imperfections, we must never encourage or adopt them ourselves. We must not tolerate sins at all, for a friend’s soul is more precious than their body; and to permit or encourage sin would lead to their destruction.

We become what we love. Friendship is a reciprocal love in which we acquire the qualities of the other person. The purest friendships are built on the common pursuit of virtue; the bond becomes precious because it rests in God and brings us closer to Him. When we pursue friendship in this noble manner, it becomes a reflection of discipleship with Christ and the Church.