zeal

You have the zeal of God written on your soul.

Every breath is but another chance to dust off your past and begin again.

Life only begins when you take action.

You have a goal buried deep within you.

The only way to reach it is to dig. 

You tell me, “I don’t know where it is buried.”

It doesn’t matter where, all that matters is that you never stop digging.

I want to see your sweat water the tilled dirt beneath your feet.

I want to see callouses on your hands.

I want to see a sun tanned back.

You were not made to be a potted plant, who spreads roots for stability.

Your faith thrives in the unknown. 

Your talents are not yours but His.

The only way to show gratitude is to give them to the world.

Pour yourself out, there is a world that needs many new flowers.

Flowers, that no weather can scorch and no weed can drown out.

Let the zeal sing in your heart like a morning Dove.

Never close its beak.

But uncage the Dove. Allow the change to take place in your mind.

Do not allow the zeal to rest in you, but give it permission to change you.

Every single part of you.

The broken parts and the beautiful parts.

It may hurt.

It may not be easy.

It may sting a bit.

But we aren’t asking for easy.

We are asking for a mission. 

 

 

 

 

Run with my Father

I was sitting at the airport yesterday waiting to board my flight. I was eating God’s chosen food, aka Chick-fil-A.

I noticed a man and his young son (maybe 3 or 4) running. His son was giggling as he chased after his dad.

A couple minutes later I saw them return, but this time they were walking.

The boy had his face glued to a phone screen.

The father then started motioning for his son to come follow him and started running again.

However, the son was not paying attention. He just continued to walk.

The father started waving his son onward and jogging but his son still did not notice.

Eventually, the son looked up at his father, smiled, and started to running as fast as he could after him.

 

As I dunked my fries into some great sauces, I started thinking about how this is exactly like my relationship, our relationship, with Our Father in Heaven. Many times we are on fire for the Lord. We are running after Him with all of our hearts in pursuit of His will for our lives.

However, we all have distractions just within our fingertips.

Our phones, our technology, our work, our up and down emotions, and especially our sins.

All of these, will cause us to act like this boy looking down at the screen and not seeing his father call him to move forward.

The beautiful thing to remember is that God is always before us waving us onward.

No matter how long we stand there walking and not recognizing the path we are on, He will continue to wait for us to start running with Him again.

Friends, I encourage you today to continue running with the Father.

When you catch yourself slowing down, remember the finish line will appear before you know it.

Be steadfast and look upon him for strength.

Run with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.

 

Are you giving it your all?

“Are you giving it your all?”

This question comes up during many different times in my day.

When I’m studying…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m working out…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m at Church…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m talking to a family member…am I really giving this my all?

A lot of the times, this question arises because I am not. I notice that I am losing focus and procrastinating. When working out for instance, I notice myself choosing the lighter weight or taking a different path on the run.

To be honest, this question plagues me.

This might be you too?

There are many positives to being bombarded with this question.

Like, the hope of improvement.

Or, the constant search to be like Christ in virtue and love.

However, the flip side is many vices can dwell in this thought.

When giving it your all, is focused solely on you, it may transform into pride.

As usual, the Big Man Upstairs, gives us an answer to the question.

This is what Mark’s Gospel teaches us:

“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12: 41-44

What can we learn from this?

This poor woman, in her poverty, gave all she had. Notice, the Lord mentions her poverty? We too like this women are poor. Maybe not financially, but what about the poverty of our daily life.

The poverty of focus.

The poverty of endurance.

The poverty of zeal.

Christ teaches us that when we give our all in these moments of poverty, we are giving even more than if we had abundance.

We must remember; however, that our “giving” must be aligned towards Christ and not ourselves.

So when you can’t focus and you just want to put that book down, offer the moment up to Christ and continue reading.

When you don’t want to run that extra mile, offer the moment to Christ and continue running.

When you are having trouble focusing in Church, redirect your eyes to Christ and allow Him to fill you even if just for a millisecond.

Friends, you can give it your all, if you give it to Him.

That’s not my problem

Every morning we awake.

To a table of our problems.

A plate full of dilemmas. Immediately we grab the fork and start eating and eating.

We consume morning, noon, and night. By the end of the month, year, decade we start to see the problems for what they are.

Eventually, we realize…

All we have been doing is eating crumbs, and complaining of how stuffed we are. 

So stop shifting the crumbs around with your fork.

Focused on your own little dish of problems.

Put your silverware down and get away from the damn table.

There are other’s who need your help.

Who need you to help them finish off their dish.

The Fear Paradox

Fear has been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reflecting on how much of my life is not “lived” because I am afraid. The interesting thing about fear is that we may not even notice when we are being fearful. It has us chained and yet we do not even realize that our hands are tied and our feet are bound.

I don’t like that idea and I am sure you don’t either.

What gets me a little bit more worked up is the very fact that fear is not of God.

Constantly in the Bible and by the words of really wise spiritual leaders that fear is in fact from the devil. Fear is preventing us from doing the will of God. It is the devils greatest tool. How many times are we told to “be not afraid.”

We are told constantly.

Of course we are human. We are subject to fearful emotions, battles of the day, pain and misfortune. However, is there a choice to be afraid?

While reflecting on fear I thought of St.Mother Teresa’s quote,

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

 

What about the paradox of fear?

By fearing loneliness, many of us hide away creating our own prison cells.

By fearing hurting others, we avoid those we love and hurt them by mere omission.

By fearing failure in our classes, we are paralyzed and do not study, leading to failure.

The evil in this world is using fear to cause us to create our own downfall. The demons cannot harm us. The devil has no power over us. However, evil is constantly seeking to manipulate our free will. Evil is doing everything it can do to cause us to destroy ourselves.

You will feel afraid. 

Just like Daniel in the lions den.

I am sure the lions did not just leave him alone down there.

I’m sure they still growled, still showed off their shiny teeth.

I’m sure they walked around him and sniffed him pushy him back with their noses.

But through it all, Daniel trusted in God and waited.

I encourage you all today to stare fear in the face. Allow it to growl and shout at you. Let it whisper lies into your ears. Allow it to show you the doom.

And in the midst of it all….puff out your chest.

Smile.

Rise up.

The Lord is here. He is ever present. You are His child.

Be not afraid.

Walk upon the water during the storm, keeping your eyes ALWAYS fixed on him.

 

 

***Thank you all for your constant support. If you want to get notified when I post be sure to follow this blog 🙂

5 Things Changing My Life

I wanted to talk today about a few things I have started doing that are changing my life for the better.

1.The Practice of the Presence of God

This is based off of the work by Brother Lawrence. Basically, I have constantly been reminding myself in the present moment that God is with me right now. RIGHT HERE AND NOW. All so often we live in the past or the future. Many saints describe this and talk to us about the very fact that God’s grace does not cover our “imagined future” that is why it seems so scary!

My favorite quote:

St. Augustine said,

“Trust the Past to God’s mercy, the present to His Love, and the future to His Providence.”

 

2.Inner Mortification

When people talk about mortification they focus on fasting. However, inner mortification can be very powerful in drawing you closer to the will of God. Basically, I have been focusing on imaginal/memory mortification. What this means is when you catch yourself day dreaming or making up scenarios in your head you recognize it and stop yourself. Stop yourself before you get stuck in your own mental hole. This could be about something stressful like a test at school. When you notice yourself getting lost in doubt and confusion, stop, take a breath, and refocus on living in the present moment with God. You can also do mortification with memory. Many people have a past that is filled with fears and sadness. When you catch yourself living that moment over again and again, recognize it, give it to Jesus, and refocus on what you are to be doing in this moment.

3.Morning Prayer

Wake up. Stretch for a second. And then get down on your knees in front of a picture of Christ you admire. Open the Bible up. Pray the Jesus Prayer. Simply talk to your Father. Ask for guidance, protection, courage, trust, all throughout the day. I can assure you even a brief 10 minutes will change you forever. When you feel bored, when you feel like your prayer is futile, stay there longer. Pray even harder.

4. No Phone till later

Don’t touch your phone in the morning. Pray. Shower. Get dressed. Each breakfast with no external stimuli. Sip your coffee with God by your side. We are so prone to distracting ourselves constantly. We are prisoners of our own minds. Use your morning as a foundation for the rest of your day.

5. Notice Sorrow and Smile

When you catch yourself obsessed with the negatives, recognize it. Don’t get upset about it. Then smile. Think of the positives in the moment. Think of what you are grateful for. Think of how you can serve God in the moment. Think of those you love. Think about how you can be a light instead of a darkness for the world. Do this every single time. Every time. Flood your mind with the thoughts of God. This is a major component in your spiritual battle. The enemy wants nothing more than to discourage you on your walk with God.

Try these 5 out over the next few weeks and let me know how it works out for you. I have a feeling, actually I know, God will send you a wave of peace and security. Love you all.

Fighting the Prayer Battle

If you read any quotes, books, or stories about the saints you will see a common theme.

    1.Prayer is always the answer.

And also.

    2. Prayer is not easy.

For many of us we understand #1 but we have great difficulty implementing it into our lives #2.

 

Hopefully, my story can give you hope and allow you to keep persevering in prayer.

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I remember sitting outside of my university’s science building a few years ago. I was talking to a friend and asking for some guidance on prayer.

Our conversation went a bit like this:

Me: I’m having some trouble praying. Like I want to pray, but when I do, I don’t feel right.

Friend: What do you mean?

Me: I want to pray but I almost feel restless whenever I do. I feel this deep unrest, and it makes me not want to pray. 

This was a few years ago and it did not get any better. It got so much worse.

Whenever I prayed, I was restless. I felt uneasy about myself and almost felt more unsafe. I felt intense guilt.  I didn’t like it one bit. I felt like a horrible person for it.

Why when I try to draw close to God do I feel horrible?

My folded hands were almost a stimulus for my anxiety.

This “feeling” took a gun to my prayer life. Over the past few years, I prayed a lot less. My nighttime routine seemed to fade away. Praying the rosary became a less frequent occurrence. Even during Mass, I resisted finding a quite place in my heart to talk to God.

My lack of prayer was not apparent. Looking back, I realize this now; however, it was very camouflaged.

Instead of prayer, I would use other “stimuli” to capture my attention. I would jump into the world of social media. I would post funny things in group chats. I would watch a lot of useless youtube videos.

I was constantly distracting myself from this earthly unrest by not living.

Well, this all took a turn the over the last few weeks.

After much reflecting on God, reading about the lives of the saints, going to Mass often, Christ-centered conversation, and more reflection I realized what was going on.

I lost the fact that I was just a human. A human jailed in the flesh, constantly being attacked by the devil. Prayer would not always come easy. The devil wants nothing more than to take us away from our King. The devil wants to destroy our relationship with Christ.

“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41.

So I decided to prayer. I decided to lose my life in order to save it.

I decided to feel the horrible unrest. I decided to feel the guilt and the lack of peace.

I decided to do this all for Him. I decided to fight this battle against the enemy and praise my Lord Jesus Christ even if it did not “feel” correct.

And you know what happened.

Last night, I was praying the rosary.

And out of nowhere, I was hit by a deep peace.

Whenever, I am hit with despair and distress I am inclined to pray. I am drawn to let the Lord know what is going on in my life.

St. Padre Pio once said,

“Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.”

And he is right. My soul was gasping for air the past few years. Each time it got a breath,  I allowed “my feelings” to drown me. I let the voice of the devil and the unrest placed in my heart to stop my lungs from working.

If any of you out there have had a similar experience or are going through a similar one, I encourage you to pray.

Pray even when you have insane doubts.

Pray even when you don’t want to.

Pray even when you feel won’t be heard.

Because prayer is a fight.

And the good news is.

Christ has already declared victory.

 

 

 

Cause Love

There is someone out there that you love.

Whether that be in a romantic way, familial, or brotherly.

There is someone, who you will sacrifice for every day. A person you are willing to do anything for just because they are who they are.

Here are a few example you might relate to:

-A child who studies really hard day and night because he or she loves his or her parents. 

-A girlfriend who drives hours to surprise her boyfriend.

-A mother who doesn’t sleep in to make sure her children’s clothes are ironed.

-A friend who calls you even though they are having such a busy day

Love makes us do crazy stuff. Crazy awesome stuff.

Love is the energy. Selfless giving fuels us.

Last night, I thought a lot about love. I thought about how easy it was for me to understand what it means to do things out of love for those in my life I care about.

Like my parents, my cousins, or siblings…

 

Then I related this thought to Jesus.

And everything got a little simpler.

Do everything for the love of God.

Jesus is our Lord. Jesus is our best friend. Jesus is our father.

Yet, sometimes we forget we can do everything because we love Him.

If we change our intention, we will change our mindset.

By doing this, I can assure you motivation will take you over.

A great book on this topic is the book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

Highly recommend, it is also super short so it can be read pretty quickly.

In this small book, Brother Lawrence talks about falling in love with God’s Presence and having it take over your life.

By constantly being aware of God’s love, the world changes.

The darkness may still be around us, but we can more easily focus on the light.

This week let us focus on loving God the way we love the important people in our lives.

If we do this, we can do the impossible.

 

 

I Cried for a Different Reason

I am 23.

Jesus has been my Lord and my Savior since my earliest memory.

I was raised in a family that valued going to Mass every Sunday.

Every. Sunday.

And I did.

And when I was younger I was not the most fond of it. I remember my mother telling me, “When you are older, you will appreciate it.”

In college is when the appreciation grew. But first I turned a bit away. The nightly prayers my family fostered in me, which I always said before midnight, seemed to be less important when I was talking to a girl. I still went to Church, but my prayer life suffered. In college I used a lot of excuses. Whether that be my workload, my sleep schedule, etc. I told myself that going to Church on Sunday and reading theological works (which I love to do) was enough.

Over the past year, my prayer life has improved, but not because I necessarily chose it. Circumstances changed, and I was on my own. I hit a lot of walls and Christ was my only hope. I spent a lot of nights crying, hoping my tears would drown out my problems. I never before understood Christ’s experience at the agony in the Garden; however, I was given a little glimpse of it.

As a Christian, I cannot firmly believe in Jesus if I do not acknowledge all the evil.

Last week, as I wrote in the old blog post, I dealt with a spiritual battle.

A battle I had never experienced before.

Doubts about my faith literally were like canon balls to my gut.

My faith felt like it had become a single dew drop in the desert.

I was freaking petrified.

So in this, I continued to do what I thought was necessary.

I went to Mass.

I read and read and read spiritual books.

Hoping to discern an answer to all my woes.

At the end of the week, with the help of my Christ-filled girlfriend, I came across a passage that allowed me to look back and see my issue.

Matthew 10:39 ( a passage I had read tons of times before this moment)

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

All this time.

The past 23 years.

I was doing nothing but try to find my life.

I was doing all I needed to do in school in order to get where I needed to go.

I was talking to all these girls to try to make a future family for myself.

I was trying to find answers to all my anxieties, fears, and dreams to build a secure life.

And all this finding was leading to nothing but loss.

So, what to do next?

Lose my life? What does that look like?

It looks like a whole lot of prayer. Prayer is turning your mind away from your physical body outward. It is an escape through conversation with God.

It looks like a whole lot of trust. Trust that all this bad God is using for my good. Trust that Jesus Christ is mercy itself.

It looks like a whole lot of love. Small daily sacrifices for others. Self-love by forgetting myself. Loving God with a continuous overflowing heart. In every moment loving God for the moment.

Friends, I hope this small post can have a giant impact on your heart.

Let go of YOUR life today and allow God to fill it with His grace and mercy.

Pray, trust, and love.

Cultivate a relationship with Christ.

If you do this, your tears of fear, uncertainty, and doubt will turn into tears of utter joy and love.

You will begin to cry for a different reason.

Feelings and Spiritual Battle

Have you ever found yourself having an amazing week?

You are super at peace with the world?

However, almost immediately desolation strikes.

Out of left field. 

You find yourself on a spiritual battlefield, and you are totally not prepared for it.

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When this happens, you start to grapple with feelings.

When this happens, you start to doubt during prayer.

When you talk to others, you feel no purpose.

When you think about yourself, all you can see is evil.

These moments are difficult. They are waves the devil uses to try to drown us. These moments are storms that seem to never run dry. Rain keep coming. Lightening and thunder keep blazing. You are struggling to stay afloat.

In these times, the devil uses your feelings to consume you.

You Feel scared.

You Feel like you messed up.

You Feel guilt.

You Feel the weight of your own humanity.

It is extremely difficult to not listen our feelings when they are at the forefront of our minds.

So what do you do?

You pray, but the doubts persist.

You keep moving forward, but the sadness keeps striking.

You take action, but you still feel the weight of the water around you.

Evil’s greatest tactic is consuming us with feelings of guilt. We are paralyzed by it. It causes us to only look within. The selflessness we teach as Christian’s is so much more difficult.

This is precisely why you must persist.

No matter how you “feel” keep persisting.

Matthew 7:7…”knock and the door will be opened.”

In this passage Christ did not tell us how long we must knock.

When you start to knock you may feel hopeful that the Lord will open the door.

But after a month of knocking you may start to doubt his mercy.

The Lord and the apostles constantly remind us to persist, persist, persist.

Have hope in the Lord’s plan. Always.

So when you feel like the most unbelieving person ever. Keep praying.

When you feel like you messed up. Keep striving to do good.

When you feel guilty every second. Keep being selfless.

When you talk to others and feel worthless. Keep loving others.

Friends, I encourage you today to keep knocking. Knock until your knuckles bleed. Knock as the world shouts “you are crazy.” Knock when thoughts of doubt, despair, and guilt consume your mind.

For when the door is opened.

It will all be worth it.