“You Are So Calm”

“I recommend calm, and calm all the time.” St. Pio

Being calm is a gift from God.

I have witnessed people who remain calm in the craziest of situations. It amazes me how someone can remain calm when all hope is lost.

When I think of calmness I picture many different people.

The surgeon who remains calm when something goes wrong. 

I think of a paramedic, as they continue chest compressions. 

I envision a brother holding back his temper. 

I see a mother remaing at peace when her newly licensed son is driving her around. 

Calmness, to me, is so powerful because it is a virtue I pray for constantly. 

 

Here’s a little story…

 

Recently, I was in the Emergency Room. I was observing a physician for the day who received a call to check on a patient. We were in the patient’s room listening to his complaints trying our best to figure out what was causing the symptoms. The room had three physicians in it, the wife of the patient, and the patient’s daughter.

It had been a LONG day. The emergency room felt like a sauna. I was hungry. I was feeling extremely anxious. My head was spinning. My to-do list was scrolling along in my brain like an instagram feed. I felt every negative feeling possible in this moment.

I was stuck in my head in complete distress when all of a sudden someone started talking to me.

The daughter of the patient with utmost sincerity and said,

 

“You are so calm.”

 

I thanked her for the compliment and soon we left the patient so they could begin tests.

Calm? Me? What? Was she joking? Am I being punked?

This story is a testament that God is working in you even when you do not notice it yourself.

In that situation I felt everything but calmness; however, this was exactly what the patient’s family was able to see.

Is there a certain virtue or quality you are praying about receiving? Is there a part of yourself you wish would begin to bloom?

I encourage you to keep pursuing the goal, even when you feel like you have nothing to show for it.

In the midst of it all, you may be suprised at how much of that quality you actually demonstrate.

“Never be in a hurry, do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

-St. Frances de Sales

 

Advertisements

Faith is not Feelings

Yesterday I read the quote,

“It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross but love.”

The truth is: God loves you with an infinite love. He died for you. He died for you. Let me repeat that: God died for you.

Most days the truth is hard to swallow. We may strive in our hearts to believe the truth of the Gospels, yet a lot of the time you may feel nothing. 

It’s ok to not feel a flutter in your chest when you contemplate the love of God.

You do not have to feel in order to believe.

What matters is constant perseverance.

Repeat to yourself the truths that will set you free.

Jesus died for me.

God loves.

I trust in Him.

I will not be afraid.

I will persevere.

I will never give up.

No matter what lies attack you on a daily basis, we must continue to call upon the truth even if it if they feel fake.

I want to remind you today just how much God loves you. It is so great that it is incomprehensible.

Feelings do not equal faith.

Faith is greater than your feelings.

Faith is freedom.

 

 

Calm in the Chaos

The theme of my life right now is calm in the chaos. 

We live in a world that constantly puts us on edge.

Text messages, homework, tests, emails, to-do-lists, etc.

It is difficult to stay calm when pulled in a million different directions.

Yet, we are called to calmness.

One of my favorite quotes by St. Padre Pio is

“I recommended calm and calm all the time.”

In order to hear the voice of God and do His will, we must be calm.

Trying to live a life on the narrow path while being pulled in a million directions is about as easy as doing math homework in a crowded subway. Sure, it can be done, but eventually, you are going to miss a calculation and end up with a very wrong answer.

Christ leads us to calmness through His words.

He reminds us that in Him we have the rest we need.

I encourage you all today to continue seeking a calm attitude.

You are called to remain calm in the chaos like Peter walking to Christ on the water.

All you must do is have faith.

 

trust creates saints

Trust in the midst of adversity is what creates a saint. 

Trust is a gift and a choice.

It cannot be formed without a constant breaking of oneself.

I find trust to be one of the most fascinating/difficult ideals. 

Alongside with its brother humility, it is fundamental to the life of the Christian.

The deepest trust is the gateway for the grace of faith.

Trusting though magnificent, is extremely difficult.

In the past it felt easy. I proclaimed to God how much I trust in Him. Yet, when adversity came I watched my knees shake and allowed myself to become paralyzed. This was not trust at all.

I think we all have fallen victim to this at times.

We proclaim our trust in God, yet our actions speak otherwise.

We are like Peter before he walked out to Christ on the water. As the trials come we shout to God how much we trust Him, yet we never step out of the boat.

Why is trust so difficult?

We live in a world where we always feel like someone is out to get us. In our social media/email generation we can never turn parts of our life off. I know for me, I always feel like I am forgetting something. As students too, we are primed from a young age to be sure we never forget any assignment or else we will get in trouble. This has instilled in us the habit of wanting to control ever single aspect of life.

We have become a generation of trusting by looking in not by looking outside ourselves. 

Recently I took some board exams for medical school. In the middle of the studying, I could feel another test occurring in my soul.

A test of trust. 

These exams determine a lot. They can really help or hurt me in my process to residency programs (what type of doctor I can be.)

Throughout the process of intense studying, I didn’t really have anyone to rely on. Sure, I had my family and my fiancee. But come test day, it was God, me, and the computer screen. And deep down I knew that truth.

Have you ever had a moment in your life where you felt fully alone?

These moments, where control is impossible, is the moment for trust.

Trust is unique because it is only built in our souls when times of struggle come.

Struggle and suffering is the concrete that builds the brick wall of trust.

Trust is built in trial; therefore, we must not waste our trials with anxiety and distress.

This does not mean you must not feel anxious, scared, upset, sad etc. You will of course feel these emotions. You are in fact human. To be immune to feeling these emotions you would cease to be human. However, the choice to remain paralyzed is ours. The choice to choose trust is written on our souls.

How can we show Christ how much we trust in Him?

When the storms are rough, we do not run away, rather we run into the rain. 

When the tears fill our eyes, we carry on and let them water our trust. 

When anxiety consumes us, we move our quivering limbs step by step. 

To trust in Christ is to show our Lord how much we love Him.

To trust is to acknowledge that Christ is the Truth.

It is that simple.

Trust is a prayer which the world can witness daily.

It is cracking the egg from the inside only to witness the beauty of a new life.

It is time we crack the shell of control and become saints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rewind Kind of Mind

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.

-St. Mother Teresa.

Lately, a lot of my posts have focused on not allowing the past to impact your future. The idea of letting go and moving on is so fascinating mostly because it is so difficult. 

 

robert downey jr sigh GIF

Recently, I just took one of the biggest tests in my medical school career.

9 hours and 400 questions later I walked out of the testing center feeling like I had been wandering through a desert. I was super thirsty because I was dehydrating myself (barely any pee breaks). I was hungry. My eye sight was all blurry from staring at a bright screen all day. Most of all….I felt lost.

desert GIF

My mind started doing that rewind thing it likes to do. A feature that I am sure many of you can resonate with.

What was that question again? *Quickly Googles topic and face palms*

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Right. Wrong. 

My rewind mind took over and I started googling my little heart out…only to be hit a whole lot of wrong choices.

DANG IT. DANG IT. DANG IT.

So naturally I started mentally screaming at myself.

“Why did you pick that you KNEW that was wrong….gosh come on you just reviewed that…..WHY…”

The test was over but my mind and body had not realized it. I was struggling so hard to break the vicious cycle that my rewind mind was salivating towards.

Just look up onnnnne more. Come on

will smith rewind GIF

In that moment there is a choice, a choice that I am still working on, to allow yesterday to not stay in yesterday and to begin to live in the present.

I read a quote from St. Faustina this morning that talked about her desire to live in present. In the present moment that is where we find God. It seems like common sense to recognize that we cannot change our past nor control every aspect of our future. Yet, the human condition makes it appear that we can. This is a daily choice we must strive to make.

It is time to not turn back the clock.

Friends, I encourage you today to live out the quote St. Teresa once said. Yesterday is gone. GONE. Tomorrow has yet to come. We have ONLY TODAY.

 

It is time for you to begin. 

 

He will take care of it.

Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62

 

Choices are a part of life. They can free us or they can enslave us. Choices can bring us peace or anxiety. What we choose ends up shaping our mind and hearts. Our habits are formed by our minute by minute choices.

At first this seems pretty frightening.

We often ask ourselves, “Why can’t I change my choices, why am I so stuck.?”

The beauty of Christianity rests in the mercy of Jesus Christ.

His mercy overcomes our past choices and allows us to put our hand to the plow and never look back.

Life is very good at making us turn around.

We check everything…. think over all our past mistakes….ruminate on our interior struggles….

Christ tells us that we cannot be fit for the Kingdom of God if we look back, because through this decision we are allowing the fear to become our focus.

By focusing on fear we are paralyzing ourselves. Our God-given gifts cannot be utilized. Instead of doing good we become idle.

If we are to be fit for the Kingdom, we must trust that by focusing on Christ everything will be taken care of.

By no means is this an easy task, but it is a necessary one, if we are to grow closer to holiness.

I encourage you to set your hands on the plow today.

Whatever the plow is for you.

It may be your responsibility as a father or mother, a student, a member of the military, a  priest, a teacher; whatever it is…

Fulfill your obligations with love.

Grip the plow tight until your knuckles turn white.

Strive to glorify God through every minute of your life.

When you feel the temptation to look back in any form.

Move forward and trust that Christ will take care of it.

Because He will.

He will.

He will.

He will.

I am going to keep repeating it until it breaks through the barriers we have set up in our minds.

If we have confidence in Christ miracles will happen. 

If we trust in Christ our lives, though difficult, will have an interior peace. 

If we keep our hands on the plow, we will bring the light of Christ to a very dim world. 

 

When you hug God

You walk towards Him.

He reaches out His arms to embrace you.

You lunge forward and hug Him with every ounce of your being.

Your fears melt. You are eternally safe.

Yet, you feel a sharp pinch on the side of your head.

You notice a thorn from His crown is hitting you.

You feel a pain in your side.

You feel just a bit of the lance which pierced Him.

Your feet resting on top of His, begin to sting.

At the touch of the nails driven into His feet.

Your hands holding His become red.

The burn of the nails in His hands, melts into yours.

The tighter you hug the more of His pain you feel.

You begin to know God and His love.

Yet, you call it suffering?

My friend, this is a gift.

To walk the way of the cross with God.

 

Surrounded by Darkness

When I was young, my brothers, sister, and I would use our snow days to build snow tunnels.

My dad would get all the snow piled up along the sides of the driveway and we would start digging at one end. We would take turns getting deeper and deeper into the tunnel. We would use little hand shovels and other times we would use or feet to try to kick our way through.

This would take all day long.

I can remember being in the tunnel. Dark, cold, and jammed against the walls. I could barely do anything but slightly move my arm to clear away some snow. Inch by inch we would chip away doing all we could to reach the other end.

The picture is so clear to me. When after hours and hours of work. I would scrape away some snow with my gloved hands, and see a small beam of light. I would dig faster and faster and eventually I would squeeze my body through and make it to the other side.

Then I would go inside and have some hot chocolate. Celebrate the victory.

As I reflect on this I recognize that for most of the tunnel building process, I was surrounded by darkness. All I could do was continue to do what was necessary to finish my mission.

Maybe this is where you are at today?

Life feels hopeless. You feel like you are not making any progress forward. You feel weak. You feel like the tunnel is too long and you are not going to have the strength to continue.

It is okay to have those feelings. It is okay to be upset with where you are at and how little you feel like you are moving forward. It is okay. It is actually quite human.

But I encourage you today to focus on the goal you have. The goal that you are chipping away with day by day.

Focus on a goal, that feeds you with hope.

Hope in God’s plan for your life.

Hope in yourself.

Hope in the impact you will make.

Friend, if today you are surrounded by darkness. If you feel the walls of the tunnel falling in on you. I beg you to keep digging. Even if it is only with a tiny motion of your hand.

I promise you, the light will break through.

And in that moment, there will be no need for hope.

Only thanksgiving.

 

 

I Don’t Understand

One of life’s most difficult struggles is acceptance without understanding.

There are many things in our lives going on right now that honestly don’t make sense.

Why did I mess up in this class?

Why did he or she break up with me?

Why do I have mental illness?

Why do I have cancer?

The list goes on and on…

Abandoning ourselves to God’s will is the key to the Christian life.

We all seem to wish God’s will aligned with our will.

Basically, we all want understanding.

If I’m going to suffer through x I want to know the reason for it.

As Christian’s we plead to God with anxious prayers.

Show me a sign Lord.

Help me to understand.

Let me see why.

And most times we feel like an answer does not come.

The reason being, God is telling us to trust him.

Like an infant trusts a father to pick them up and carry them, so must we trust Jesus in this way.

It seems so passive, so simple. Yet, I believe abandonment is more active than we realize. We must continuously choose to let go of our will for our life and trust the flow of God’s grace.

This takes some grit.

So keep moving forward without a clear understanding.

That is OKAY.

If you seek His Kingdom above all else, everything will fall into place.

This is a promise.

You Can Run and Bleed at the Same Time

I just started my run.

My test was in a few days.

47 chapters of material.

Yes, 47.

My head was full of a lot besides medical jargon.

Emotions of stress, anger, frustration, flooded my veins.

So, naturally it was time to blow off some steam and run.

Run fast.

Towards the start of my run, I could feel the adrenaline pumping.

Then all of a sudden.

Ouch.

I didn’t know what happened. Did I trip?

Why  was  I on the ground?

I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood. My right elbow was scraped pretty clean. My right knee had a gash as well.

What do I do now?

I had a choice at this point. Should I finish the two mile run, or head back home which would take a minute or two?

Keep going. 

So I did. And I ran the two miles.

As cars passed me, they watched a guy running full speed with blood dripping from each limb.

When I finished the run, I noticed how the blood dripped across the ring on my right hand that is the three theological virtues, “faith, hope, love.” It was a reminder that in order to live a Christ like life we must make sacrifices.

One of the coolest moments I had during this run was the message from God,

You can run and bleed at the same time.”

I have a bad habit.

I seem to notice the blood in my life a lot. The wounds, the scars, the trauma, and the fears become my focus. Because of this I stop running (living presently). I focus so much on the blood in my wounds that I end up not achieving my goal. I allow the suffering (bleeding) of the day to take lead and cause a pause in my pursuit.

I am sure many of you experience the same problem. Our wounds become our identity and our only reality, so we forget the importance of the path we are on. We allow the devil to consume us in an inner dialogue that prevents us from loving those around us in the present moment.

I want to encourage you to not let the suffering of this life deter you from running the race.

Focus on Christ at the end of your journey and the pain will start to disappear.

Sure, the wounds may still be there.B

But these are wounds only Heaven can heal.

When the focus changes…

so does your heart.