You Are Flammable

It is both a terrifying reality and a wondrous opportunity when we come to know that we are flammable. Everyday we have the capability of burning with love and kindness or with destruction and hate. We can choose to carry a fire that spreads ferociously into the hearts of those we love. This flame eradicates darkness and showers the world with warmth and light. We are also capable of infecting the world with a fire, which has an end goal of covering everything with a cloud of ash. 

Being on fire hurts. Because when we are on fire, we are allowing ourselves to wither, our pride melts away, and we are transformed into who we are meant to be. St. Catherine said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Yet, it is so easy to seek to be a log our whole lives: safe and hidden. 

There is a holy fire ablaze within each of us. There is no need to harness it.

Let our love be boundless. 

“In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us.”

St.Catherine of Siena

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Love is the energy

I have yet to find the perfect balance. You know, the balance between just enough caffeine and having my hands turn into cell phones as they vibrate from the tremors.

 

 

I honestly don’t even know why I drink the stuff. Well, for the “energy.” I guess thats one way to see it. Or maybe its just that I’m addicted to the feeling of the warm coffee in the morning.

Energy. Getting things done. Moving forward with work. It’s freaking tough.

Sometimes, life can just get drab. Yes, I like that word “drab.”

In these drab moments it’s hard to pick ourselves up and move forward. It takes so much effort to see the end goal in sight. Our legs become beams of lead and our eyes seem to drift off away from precisely what we need to be doing.

How do I get more energy?

Where is my zeal? 

Why can’t I get this done now?

These are questions I ask myself and I am sure you ask yourself. We get so frustrated in ourselves because the tasks we need to finish are not getting done. Our goals, our future, our responsibilities are in our hands and we are not succeeding. Discouragement comes next. Then maybe a social media break or two or three. It’s a vicious cycle.

This is a common problem I have noticed in my life. It shows it ugly face when I am focused on myself in my tasks. When looking in I have zero energy. Meaning, when My schoolwork, and My tests, and My homework need to get done I lose all the zeal. There is no love in the task. It just feels like a waste of time.

However, when changing the focus, it becomes easier to focus.

This is a simple habit we can develop when studying for exams, doing homework, or really anything.

 

We need to put love into everything we do and the energy will come.

It might be as simple as offering up the pains of your studying for a family member or a friend as a prayer. If you are a healthcare student, it may be thinking about all the patients you will help in the future.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Dorothy Day. It may seem intense at first but really meditate on the truth of it.

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”

Friends, it is time to rid yourself of the lie of discouragement. Focus on the love in the task and offer it up as a prayer. Do not be hopeless, but in all that you do exude zeal.

 

100 words to fill you with zeal.

I know life is hard. But know, you are built to break down walls. You were made to conquer with love. I know you are sad. But you have joy resting in your veins and peace sleeping in your mind. You are strong. Braver than a front line soldier. You face your day with a sword made of trust and a shield crafted with confidence. The morning sunrise is your battle cry. The night stars are your spectators. You plant flowers of compassion and shout echoes of empathy. Today is not your day. All days are your day. Go now.  

 

*Follow me on Instagram @n.J.bellacicco

 

 

Pool Noodle

Days ago, I had a huge lab examination for anatomy class. Like any typical college student I procrastinated. You would think after four years I would learn. Nah, it obviously makes life more exciting. However, it was about 1 in the morning and I was exhausted. I had stayed up really REALLY late almost every night the week before and gotten up really REALLY early.

Why?

Cause college.

Anyway, at that point I still had a lot to memorize for anatomy, but I knew I could not absorb anything. I was dead tired. I laid down in my bed and set my alarm to 5:30am.

I had no choice. Wake up or do bad on the test. As a pre-med student, I would wake up. However, because I had gotten so little sleep I knew waking up would be nearly impossible. I would be fighting a battle against my flesh that I was not expecting to win. Getting up when you are exhausted is like going into a battle and the only weapon to your name is a pool noodle. I am sure you will confuse the enemy, but after a few seconds you are toast.

So, I sat in bed and thought, “I can’t do this. Only God can do this.”

I prayed fervently for a few minutes asking God to help me get up on time the next morning. I prayed that God give me the strength and courage to get out of bed and tackle the day. Towards the end of my prayer, I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up. I had forgotten of my prayer the night before. What time was it? I felt so great. Was I supposed to get up early? All of the “just woke up” thoughts were flooding my mind. I was delirious. Quickly, I sat in bed thinking. Surely I missed my alarm and got a great (but way to long) night of sleep. Now, how am I supposed to learn all this material in such a short time?

My thoughts were immediately interrupted by the sound of my alarm.

What was going on?

I jumped out of bed to shut it off and looked at the alarm.

5:30am

I had woken up a minute before the alarm went off. I felt way to amazing. It was unreal.

When I was in the shower I continued to think about how refreshed I felt.

I never. ever. ever. felt that great. My pool noodle this morning had turned into excalibur.

Immediately, I remembered my prayer from the night.

“Wow,” I thought. “God is so good!”

I then had a smile on my face that nothing was going to take away.

God is always with me.

God hears my prayers.

God understands.

God He….He listens. 

However, a few seconds later a few doubts started roaring in my mind.

The human body can do crazy things.

Maybe, you just trained yourself to wake up at that time. 

Maybe, you just weren’t that tired. 

Maybe, you ended your sleep cycle at the perfect time.

Maybe, it was a coincidence. 

The smile that was on my face began to fade. Why was I having these doubts?

This experience reminded me that it is not about having the doubts but if we listen to them. If we treat them as important.

I remember reading a quote from St. Pio. He discussed the idea of having thoughts as being at a train station. Everyone is going to see the doubts and fears like trains at a train station. However, the difference is whether or not you hop on the train.

Friends, today I encourage you to understand that doubts are not a defect in your faith. We will all have them. However, it is important to decide not to hop on the trains but rather remain in the train station. One day a train will come that will lead us to paradise.

In conclusion, it is very easy to discount the workings of our Creator. The devil is active in the world trying to worry us and lead us away from Christ with doubts and deception. It is important to remember that the way in which we look at a situation determines everything. Faith is not going to be easy. Sometimes, it may feel like all we have is a pool noodle to fight against the doubts we have about ourselves.

I remind you that what you may see as a pool noodle may very well be an excalibur in disguise.

 

 

 

 

Above My Bed

     A few years ago my Mom gave me a framed print out of one of my favorite Bible verses.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7* 

One day I decided to take the verse out of the frame and tape it to my ceiling right above my bed.  My intention was to wake up every morning to that verse being the first thing I saw.

However, that was rarely the case. Most of the time I would wake up then immediately hit snooze….then I would hit it again…and again. The other day I was so tired I kid you not I hit snooze every seven minutes for over and hour…yikes. On certain days I would wake up to the verse and read it quickly with no reflection.

After reflecting on this verse the last few days I realized my error. I had forgotten the power and the truth that floods this verse.

 Have you ever been called a coward?

To me it is one of the worst things a person can call me. Why is that?

To me a coward is someone that allows their fears to overpower their faith.

To me a coward is someone that gives up easily in any task.

To me a coward is someone who is lukewarm.

Christ tells us specifically that being lukewarm in faith is the absolute worst. Ironically, I have noticed that the problem with being lukewarm is that you don’t really notice it.

What do I mean by this?

Well, when you are sitting in a hot tub you notice the heat. You feel great. It is similar to the zeal you receive from the Holy Spirit. You just know that everything is right with the world. When you take an ice bath you know what you are doing. You feel the cold.

However, to be lukewarm is a scary thing. In lukewarm water sometimes you do not even feel like you are in water at all! Have you ever been in a room temperature pool or even the ocean? Sometimes you just stop noticing the water around you.

Why does this matter in regards to the verse? The Bible verse I am discussing today reminds us that God did not give us a Spirit of cowardice/ lukewarmness. We must remind ourselves continuously that we are given a spirit of power, love, and self-control.

I have reflected on the three gifts God gives us when we look towards Him. Power, love, and self-control all require ACTION. They all require the individual to remember who their Creator is and to always seek Him above all else.

Power reminds us that with God we have nothing to fear. Power reminds us that with God our strength is renewed. Power reminds us that with God we can and we will be brave.

Love reminds us to see the good in others everyday. Love reminds us to care for our neighbor. Love reminds us to find joy in serving others.

Self-control reminds us to form virtuous habits. Self-control reminds us to humble ourselves. Self-control reminds us to always keep our eyes fixed on Christ.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up.

I will feel exhausted.

I will not want to do the homework that will be due in a few hours.

I will not want to tackle all of the day’s anxieties.

However, I will look up to my ceiling.

I will take a deep breath and read the verse word by word.

I will put my feet on the floor and say confidently,

“With Christ by my side, I will not be a coward.”

 * I understand there are many different interpretations/translations of this Bible verse. This is my favorite translation, so I decided to use it.