Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thy Kingdom Come...

“It began in that hour, and of this “kingdom” there will be no end. Thus you remain the midst of the disciples as their Mother, as the Mother of hope. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”
-Pope Benedict XVI (Spe Salvi, 50)

My friends, may the Lord give you His hope!

This past weekend I was on a glorious silent retreat. Yes silent. It was wonderful to turn off my phone, put down my school work, and spend some intense quality time with our Lord. The theme of the retreat was hope. Reading and praying over Pope Benedict’s encyclical was very fruitful and inspiring. Also very timely, for at the moment I went into silence for the retreat the noise was still loud about our new president and his first couple of days in office. It could have been a coincidence, but I see it as God’s providence!

Last week was historic and for many a time to rejoice. But if you are like me, the transition to a new president brought a sense of frustration and even disappointment for what the future may hold. Elections have consequences and we will see really soon what the true outcome will be. But after a weekend of prayer and reflection I hope we all can consider a different way of looking at this new challenge.

The “change” promised by our new president is evident in his plans. We are all concerned about his radical support of abortion, which is probably the most notable. There will be other things that affect our lives and policies that will that will upset us and we must do our part to stand up for life and our beliefs. But will every move and every decision made by our new leader define the way we live? Will we let his agenda control us? Will we allow it to take away our peace and passion for our faith and what is right? I hope not. Because I can tell you one thing, I will get tired and worked up really quick if my life is consumed with President Obama.

Christ is our HOPE!

“The true shepherd is one who knows even the path that passes through the valley of death; one who walks with me even on the path of final solitude, where no one can accompany me, guiding me through: he himself has walked this path, he has descended into the kingdom of death, he has conquered death, and he has returned to accompany us not and to give us certainty that, together with him, we can find a way through.” (Spe Salvi, 6)

While praying, it hit me. “Of His kingdom there will be no end!” (Luke 1:33) It was kind of like a spark that put in perspective this new world we find ourselves in. As much as our culture might change and as heart breaking and challenging it might be, Jesus will have the last word. As the cross and resurrection have shown us, HE wins…end of story.

Now this might not do much for us as our country and world for that matter are still in the fascination mode. But when you find yourself worried, frustrated, and wondering what is going to become of us, remember Luke 1:33. Write it down, put it on your mirror, make up a song about it, or do whatever it takes to remember that the Kingdom of our Lord cannot be conquered. The end is decided and with great hope it is up to us to fight the battle of truth and love. Jesus knows our struggles, He walks with us and we can be certain that He will see this through.

Let us turn to Mary who is our hope and guide to her Son. May she give us great confidence and hope as we strive to live for Jesus and the salvation of souls.

Mr. President, the hope you speak of is not yours to give. We pray you find the true hope of Jesus and that He becomes your way, truth, and life. We are praying for you…

God Bless You,

In Mary,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not So Ordinary...

Welcome to Ordinary Time. Wow, how exciting does that sound?! Christmas is over, the baptism of the Lord was this past Sunday and today, when the priest processed in for Mass I was thrown off by the green color of his vestment. Where did the time go?!

For most of us, the transition into ordinary time is quite painless. However, this year, maybe it would be good for us to look at ordinary time a little differently and see how the beauty of this church season can make a difference in our lives. In reality, this season is far from ordinary. You with me?

Looking at my own life I am surprised how God works. Over the years I have somehow garnered up this expectation that the way God reveals himself to me is going to be in a drastic, life changing and mighty way. While it is true that God works in this way, it is the experience of most people that God doesn’t come with mighty trumpets, or in powerful storms but through common and everyday happenings. Sure we read Scripture stories where God showed His great power or we hear stories of miracles that have changed peoples lives, but how much do we miss when our expectations are different than what God wants to reveal to us?

The great news is that God wants us to live His providence in every moment, especially the ordinary moments when His presence is ever near. The Church gives us the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter to form us, help to grow in faith, and to convert our hearts to that of Jesus’. The Church also gives us ordinary time to reveal that Jesus continues to give us the same call of conversion and repentance in every season and everyday of the year. What a call!

What does this call demand from us? Something quite extraordinary. In the shadow of Advent and Christmas, the call of ordinary time demands a response to the promise that was given to us by Jesus in the manger - the promise that was foretold by the prophets and the promise that threatened Herod and the society of the day. My friends, it is just not enough to put the manger scene back in the box for another year and act as if just another Christmas season has come and gone. That is exactly what our culture is doing right now. The lights are coming down, the stores are changing out their Christmas items and most people are just moving on. If we have fallen into this, how much we have missed yet again this year!

Ordinary time is a time to respond to the promise given on Christmas. It is a time to make Jesus the center of our lives and recommit to living the lives that Jesus and the Church call us to live. There is nothing common about this response or way of life. At school it could be just a simple smile, being more grateful, working harder in class, including those who are on the outside, or quitting the gossip that ruins friendship. When we respond to Christ in the manger it could be forgiving someone, making wholesome social decisions and even choosing to respect and love our parents and family. How great is this season of ordinary time! How great is the call of our Lord to be anything but ordinary in our response to Him becoming a child for us! What is ordinary time going to be like for you this year?

Take some time to reflect on this new Church season. Sure we miss the romance of Christmas, but let this new season captivate your heart and respond to the Lord in His love for you.

Green is the color and ordinary is the name, but if you respond to our Lord this season, it will be anything but ordinary.

God Bless You,