Preparation

Just a few ramblings…

Lent is coming! Last week I began thinking about how to prepare for the season, and began reflecting about how life is preparation. Each stage of life prepares us for something more, with our goal as Catholics being unity with God at the end of our lives. The “status quo” will not be so for very long.

There is a story that a man came to St. Philip Neri and was telling him about all his plans; St. Philip replied to each of his statements with, “Then what?” Eventually, the man realized that if he took the intermediate goals of his life as the end goal, he would never be satisfied.

My goals fit into brackets–currently they are comprised of mainly school, wedding/marriage, and work. All of them break down into much smaller ones and all include my faith and people…yet it is easy to lose sight of the end goal. I am always busy, often distracted, and constantly concerned on how I am going to get everything done. I am a perfectionist, and “good enough” is never good enough. Although I have learned to temper it to an extent, I must constantly be on guard against these tendencies. If I can internalize the fact that life is preparation, it is more likely than not that my disposition to anxiety would be lessened. My life is preparation, and requires lots of work; but it is only preparation, and will not be judged in isolated acts.

This will be a good lent; definitely a difficult one, but hopefully increasing maturity and love of God. Please pray for me, and you will be in my prayers.

Advertisements

Fall quarter / Prayer request

This quarter has been exceedingly busy. Our professors have not been shy in giving us homework, and as it increases in amount and intensity it is easy to get overwhelmed. I think that in the past four weeks I have broken my own record for how many times I finished my homework a few minutes before class. On Mondays, I meet with our business group for three hours–it is going really well. We have a team of two media students, Daniel & I, and an advisor that has taken particular interest in our business. By the end of the quarter we will have a business plan and presentation as well as a promotional video and a website. Tuesday is full, with six hours of class: three hours on risk management (a general business class), and three hours in our global cultures class. Global cultures is pretty interesting, because we are striving to understand people from other cultures by reading their writings and news and watching films. The past two weeks we have even been corresponding with English students from China! On Wednesday afternoons I have a class on the philosophy of nature, which goes through how we understand the world around us; it is based on Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings, and is both interesting and difficult. On Thursdays I have my last class, which is on Public Relations. I am enjoying this class as well, as but it is also difficult and work intensive. By the end of the quarter I will have a press kit, portfolio, and another presentation for our business.

Our school is really experiencing growing pains right now. Our student body went from about 80 students to 120 students this fall. There is another class of freshmen, as well as the start of a MBA program and a Masters in Biblical Theology program. The rearranged class times have made it more difficult to both go to Mass and eat between classes, but we are (very) slowly adjusting. The school halls are always busy, and it is often hard to find quiet places to work in on campus anymore…hopefully it will get a little better after the seniors graduate in December. Student activities are about the same as usual. About the only difference is that I have been spending more time in the common rooms again, trying to get to know some of the freshmen.

At the beginning of the quarter, I moved apartments. I went from a 3-bedroom apartment with 7 girls into a 2-bedroom apartment with 4 girls. It is really nice–I have enough room in the refrigerator and freezer to go grocery shopping, I can do laundry when I need to, and it is almost always quiet enough to study up here! I am thoroughly enjoying it, and hoping that I don’t have to move in January after the seniors are gone. If I can stay, I will likely not move again until I graduate in September.

A little while ago, my theology professor asked if I would be willing to help catechize a blind lady (Desiree) who is in the RCIA program with our local parish. His wife has been working with her before, but is having a baby very soon and will need someone to take over. This past week was the first time that I actually talked, and it went well. Desiree is a sweet lady, and I think it will be a good experience for both of us.

Please pray for the Cabral family; one of the girls, Alena, is in my class here at school, and her brothers have been in wheelchairs their whole life. Yesterday two of her brothers were rushed to the hospital, and one brother died last evening; as of this point, two of her other brothers are in the ICU but in stable condition. They need as many prayers as they can get in this difficult time…thank you.

What’s been keeping me busy lately

* Daniel! I am very happy to announce that we are engaged, and are planning on getting married after I graduate.
* Summer quarter of school–I am less than three weeks away from finishing. Which means I have a little over a year until I graduate!
* I am on a team that is building video catechetics company–check out our blog for more info: Katholikos
* Choir–we sing for our all-school Mass every Wednesday.
* Cooking, cleaning, and other everyday fun.
* Searching around for available jobs.
* Beginning plans for the wedding.

God is so good! …This quarter has proved to be much less stressful than the past two; it is a breath of fresh air. It is hard to believe how fast time flies, but I am coming to appreciate every day as it comes. I am realizing my brokenness and need for dependence on God, and praying that I may do His will in all things. It is a struggle, and I keep thinking that I am going to come out on top one of these days. Then I realize that I have the rest of my life…and just pray that I can continuously grow closer to Christ and bring others closer to Him.

May God bless and Mary keep you all.

Busy and happy

On June 10th, I finished the first quarter (of three) of my junior year of college. I am more than half done with my degree, and as we go the time seems to speed by even faster. I was really stressed for most of the quarter because of all the work that we had—even more than the senior class!—but lived through it and am looking forward to getting my grades. I think that I did well…much better than I expected.

It seems like no matter where I go or what time of year it is, I am always a carrier of busyness. When I found out that I would only be working about 10-12 hours each week for the three weeks I was home, I figured that I would have a restful break in which to get a lot done. I guess I did get a lot done, and it has been fairly restful, but the organized plan that I had in my mind was entirely thrown off.

Even amongst some difficulties, there are many things to be happy about right now. Daniel was able to come home with me for more than a week—we had some good times, including helping my family rearrange some of the bedrooms and fixing and painting the walls in the boy’s room. We helped chauffer my siblings to their activities (the two youngest to Vacation Bible School, one of the middle ones to his tractor safety class), went to a few of their baseball games, and visited my grandparents.

Since he went home on Tuesday, I have been getting a lot of things done that I have been procrastinating on for awhile due to a lack of time; hopefully now I can get some of the reading done that I was planning on before I leave this coming Wednesday. Then we start our new quarter on the following Monday. There is never a lack of things to do or people to see.

I feel strangely confident about school right now; it could be just because I am not there right now, but I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I am even more looking forward to finishing my schooling and moving on to the next stage of my life. Although I am not so optimistic to think that everything will be peachy keen all the time, I am looking forward to continuing to grow and mature, as well as have a family to raise children to be saints for the Kingdom.

I have many plans for this coming quarter, and will be trying to break habits that I have had at school. Please pray for me, as I know that it is going to be very difficult; however, I really want to do it. It will help me live my current vocation to the fullest. May God bless and Mary keep you…until I write again!

Reflections

This past Tuesday, we had a retreat day here at school. Fr. Martin came from Miles Christe, and gave us a few talks and led some meditations. The day was just what I needed! Because of the retreat, classes were moved around; Daniel’s class began at 8am (it is usually 9am), so I got to the school early. I spent an hour in the Blessed Sacrament chapel before my theology class, which was from 9-12. The retreat started with a nice lunch, followed with talks, a group discussion, and meditation. There was adoration and confession for about 2 hours…I couldn’t be there for Exposition because I can’t breathe around incense, but spent the time praying. Then we had Mass and dinner. Father stayed over the scheduled time so that  everyone who wanted to go to confession could go–the retreat was scheduled to finish at 7pm, but there was still a line for confessions until about 8:30pm! I had one of the best confessions that I remember, and then finished off the day with a few more minutes in the chapel while waiting for Daniel to finish his evening class. Although I still have a lot of work to do and many things hanging overhead, the bit of rest and reflection was spiritually refreshing and I am confident that I will get through it all. May God bless and Mary keep you all.

Europe and goodbye

Europe was both fun and exhausting. There was so much that we had to do, places to go, work to be done that I was very glad when it was time to return home. On the way to Dublin on the 28th of February, we had a layover in Chicago–my family drove down, and we got to visit for a couple of hours. The first week, we enjoyed the slower life or rural Ireland. It was really pretty–a lot of green, a lot of rain, and quiet. The stars were visible (when it was not raining!) and there were good times with others on the trip. We went to daily Mass at a parish that was a five minute walk away, visited a few surrounding towns, talked to locals for a report we have to write (including two nuns at the Convent of Mercy!), visited a castle, went to the beach (it was in the 30’s and windy, so no swimming!), enjoyed some local food, and did LOTS of walking. Saturday morning we got up early, finished packing, and caught the bus at 7am to start our trip back to Dublin, so that we could fly to Rome.

We got into Rome late on Saturday night (March 7th), and found our way to the bus station. From there, we made it to the convent we were staying in a roundabout way. Even with the help of a nice local girl who spoke a bit of English, we got off the bus at a stop too late, and had to wander up and down the street trying to find where we were going. A few queries later, we finally found it–it was about 10:50pm, and the convent is locked every night at 11pm. I was a little paranoid that we were not going to get there in time…spending a night in a completely unfamiliar country, with a different language, in a large city, in a not very safe environment made me really nervous. It did not help that I was on the worst day of a head cold, and felt terrible physically. God provided, though, and we made it there, got a room, and were able to get a significant amount of sleep.

On Sunday we went to St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus, and then had a bit of free time. With his permission, we followed around the gentleman who put most of the details of the trip together for the day to get our bearings on the transportation system and such in Rome. We enjoyed a full Italian meal (one of two the whole week…other than that we ate cheap pizza and home made pb&j sandwiches) and then made our way over to the Roman Forums (the old city). We were pleasantly surprised that women got in free that day–apparently it was national women’s day in Italy! It was enjoyable and very interesting to see the old buildings. We also went into the prison where Sts. Peter & Paul were held before their martyrdom. After all that, we made our way back to St. Peter’s for Holy Mass at 5:30pm. Later that evening, the remaining part of the group joined us from Ireland, and we had our official meeting which kicked off the week.

Forgive the following names…they are a mixture of English and Italian. The ones I remembered the English names of, I wrote…but my schedule had them in Italian so that we could find them if we got lost while there. 🙂 Throughout the week we visited the four major bascilicas: St. Peter’s (multiple times), St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul Outside the Walls. We also visited many other churches: St. Peter in Montorio (The Tempietto), St. Cecilia and St. Maria in Trastevere, St. Sabina, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, Sistine Chapel, St. Maria degli Angeli, St. Maria della Vittoria, St. Susanna, St. Peter in Chains, St. Praessede, St. Clement, Il Gesu, St. Ignatius, St. Maria Sopra Minerva, the Pantheon, La Maddalena, St. Louis of France, St. Ivo alla Sapienza, Piazza Navona, St. Augustine, and St. Maria Del Popolo. Other sites included Piazzale Guiseppe Garibaldi, the Holy Stairs, the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, and the Vatican Museums.

Finally, we got up early again on Saturday to start our journey back. Our flight from Rome to New York was 9.5 hours, and then we had a 5.5 hour flight to Los Angeles, California. We were exhausted and very glad to get back. Now we are finishing papers and such, while enjoying spring break. On the 30th, we will start into a new quarter…I am getting back into the swing of things.

If you made it through the rest of the post, I congratulate you! Now I will explain the “goodbye” part of the title. I have enjoyed blogging for the past few years. I hope that through it I have been able to impact others lives in a positive way. However, since I have come to school I do not feel like I have been doing it justice. I wish I could post on here more, and sometimes it becomes a point of stress because I feel like I am obligated to keep it up, and I don’t even know if there are many people who read it. After thinking and praying about it for awhile I think it is time to say goodbye, ate least for now. If I get inspired to write something, you may see a post or two–but until I graduate in September 2010, so much of my time will be consumed by school that I doubt there will be much. I want to use the time I have spent on here to build up my prayer life, foster personal relationships, and pursue what I discern is God’s Will for me. Please keep me in your prayers, and feel free to browse through previous entries. I hope there is something edifying that you can receive from them! May God bless and Mary keep you all!

Lent, finals, Europe

Time has gone so fast! To be honest, I forgot about my blog for awhile. The past few weeks have been a flurry of getting assignments done, studying for finals, and getting ready to go to Europe. A few days ago, I realized that Lent started today, and began thinking about that. I am so scatterbrained that I am not going to attempt a long post…but thought I would post to ask for prayers for my last two finals, a safe trip to Ireland and Rome (and back!), and a blessed Lent. I will be praying for you all!