The mind spins, the cross stands firm.

The Carthusian religious order’s motto goes something like this…

As the world spins, the cross stands firm.

Today I am going to change it up a bit.

As your mind spins, the cross stands firm. 

When everything does not make sense.

When you feel like the word confused doesn’t even do it justice.

When you feel like you keep getting hit by waves and can’t come up for air.

When anxiety, depression, fear, and discouragement attack you from all sides.

The cross stands firm.

As Christians, we must lean on this deep and powerful truth.

God is God and we are not.

God is our light and our guide.

In times of deep confusion and fear, we must listen to the still small voice and trust.

St. Pio said,

The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.

You may feel lost right now. You may feel forgotten by God. However, you must realize that in this darkness is where you will find growth. In this uncertainty, you will grow in virtue and character. Do not waste this chance to be who God made you to be.

Your mind may be spinning a thousand miles an hour.

But friends, the cross stands firm. Unshaken.

Fix your eyes on Him who waits eagerly.

The confusion is a time where your faith will grow quicker and quicker.

All you must do is give the effort.

Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

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.

 

Time to eat!

“I know the demons in the room say it’s more than I can chew but now all I hear is the dinner bell.”

-Jon Bellion

In life, the voices of self-doubt are going to swarm us like mosquitos in the summertime. It is inevitable. I remember reading about a saint who said something along the lines of ….the closer you get to God’s plan for your life the more difficult it will become.

The demons all around us want nothing more than for us to fail. They are aiming at destroying our desire to do God’s will. The more we glorify God with our lives the more they are forced to flee.

Confidence in God is our greatest weapon in defeating the evil all around us.

I love the above quote by one of my favorite artists Jon Bellion. #beautifulmind

I think it does a great job reminding each and every one of us that the voices all around us are going to tell us we can’t succeed. The voices are going to keep pecking at us and make us feel afraid.

These voices are not the voice of God.

The voice of God is reminding us that it is time for dinner.

It is time to show up and live the life God intended for us.

It is time to studying hard for school, to sacrifice for loved ones, to feed the homeless, to visit the elderly, to do His will.

We can and we will do these things.

It is time to drown out all the noise and listen for the dinner bell.

Time to eat! 

 

Found

I looked under the rocks but found nothing there

I looked beneath the sea and through the ocean air

I searched the tree tops and across the jungle floors

I searched the wheat covered fields and behind wooden doors

I went into new towns and across state lines

I walked for miles and miles and saw no signs

I ran marathons in all different directions

I scoured my memory for any recollection

I rowed across lakes and from river to river

I climbed icy mountains and was filled with shivers

I made it through dark caves and volcanos ready to burst

I crawled through deserts dying of thirst

Then one day I felt hope no longer

My legs gave out, my lungs no stronger

I could not look anymore, time to give up the fight

The world told me I was crazy, maybe they were right

I sat still for the first time in years, and listened to the sound

Of Him who was always with me

And never needed to be found.

-nJb

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

humble me Lord, but not yet

Humility is an antidote to so many of our problems in life.

It is the enemy to pride, which causes us so much internal pain.

Pride leads us to be ever fearful. Pride causes us to constantly watch how we are perceived. It prevents us from loving others selflessly. Pride is a telescope pointed at oneself.

Christ shows us that humility is the answer to following in His footsteps.

As He washes the apostles feet, He models humility for us.

It takes a minute for me to wrap my head around. God Himself, washing the feet of humanity.

There is so much love in that thought it hurts.

Tackling pride in a world that constantly tells us to watch our backs is extremely difficult. From the time we are in elementary school we are told that success in school, life, relationships makes us great. We become so afraid of not achieving success and finding stability that we fear so much. This fear morphs into pride rapidly and instead of washing the feet of our neighbor we commit our eyes to only staring at our own feet.

Humility is hard. To be humble is to be a disciple of Christ. There are many ways in which we can go against the tide and find true humility.

1.We can let it go. Any grudges or resentment from the past we can choose to release it to the foot of the cross. Humble yourself in accepting what has happened and choosing love and not resentment. Your focus on your self is just like adding salt to a wound. Give it up to God and choose to live with a selfless joy.

2.Do the small things. Help around the house. Help a friend with something that may be tedious. Don’t think you are above the small tasks of life. Choose to take time out of your schedule to help someone out, even if it is just for a moment.

3.Live with joy. There is a humility found deep within joy. When we are joyful we are filled with a deep trust that God is who He says He is. Though we are small and powerless, through Him all shall be well. Live with joy and prove your trust in Him. Trust that He is God and you are not.

Humility hurts because there is a dying to oneself. 

Out with the old and in with the new.

A new self who chooses to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

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. 

 

Bad times or Your time?

Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well and times shall be good. We are the times: such as we are, such are the times.”

-St. Augustine

 

Life is overwhelming. Most of us have so much going on right now we feel pulled a million and one different ways.

Did I send that email? My test is coming up better study! Why are people being treated that way? Did I forget to call that person back? Why is there so much hatred? 

We can’t seem to catch a mental break. So what do we do? Well I know the first thing I seem to do is blame the times.

Because my head says, “If I blame the environment; it’s definitely not my fault.”

It’s easy to blame the times in which we live for how we live.

Yet, this is not what the Bible tells us nor what our hearts remind us of on the daily.

“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Romans 12:2

Today, I encourage you to not blame the times for where you are at. Focus on using your free will to change the times for the better.

When the world seems unjust; show others mercy.

When the world is cruel; shower others with love.

When the world breeds fear; live with courage.