Browsing Category

Encounter

Encounter

Osmotic Pressure

January 25, 2018

“The Church communicates truth through a method best described as osmotic pressure: it is by remaining within, by living within the ecclesial community that, almost by continuous osmosis, these truths penetrate the membrane of our consciousness, day by day, in an incalculable way, enabling us to attain that certainty and clarity of truth which we need to face life.” (Luigi Giussani, Why the Church?)

There is something astounding about this thought. The thought that a church could be passed along for thousands of years through community in the most passive of ways stops me dead in my tracks.

This community I call my faith was built on sharing experiences together. Just the every day life kind- a shared meal or a much needed coffee date. Sure documents and teachings are important but… sharing is even more important.

So often I feel like I am too busy to even shower every day, let alone make the time to find Christ in the people I surround myself with. Stopping to think about that today, I have to wonder… if Peter or James or Andrew or any of those crazy people who dropped everything and followed Christ didn’t have time for community experiences… would we even have a faith today?

This kind of smacked me in the face. Just as I was starting to think I should become a hermit for the next year or so, I am reminded that not only do other people experience the truth by being with me, I experience the truth by being with them.

And when I find goodness, truth and beauty in my every day life, I am able to face the good, the bad and the ugly that comes at me each and every day.

That seems worth it to me. Whats a couple extra hours taken out of my only free night of the week? Sure I could be binge watching Homeland (an awesome experience in it’s own right, don’t get me wrong) but I also could be encountering beauty in the people that I call friends.

I am going to work on finding that balance- between self care and friends. If anyone knows how to do it, please let me know! 😉

Encounter

Christianity is a Love Story

January 17, 2018

“Only Christ gives meaning to the whole of our life. Fr. Giussani always kept the eyes of his life and of his heart fixed on Christ. In this way, he under- stood that Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism, Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event.” (J. Ratzing- er, Homily at the Funeral of Fr. Giussani, February 24, 2005, in The Work of the Movement, p. 297)

Christianity is a love story. What a powerful statement. This person came to us, lived with us, breathed with us, died for us, and brought us new life because He loved us.

It is so easy to make Christianity about rules and regulations. And though I hate to say this, it is so easy to make Christianity a popularity contest. Look at how well I follow the rules. Look at all the things I do. Look at how good of a christian I am.

But this misses the point entirely. Jesus didn’t come to be the most popular. On the contrary, he was quite the opposite. Not only was he born on the outskirts of town, but he was from the super out there parts… Nazareth. *shudder*. I mean… I’ve never been there but from what I gather, he wasn’t really the coolest kid on the block. He lived an ordinary life. Learned a trade from his adopted father Joseph. Then went out and hung out with people. He talked to them. Welcomed them back into his parents home for dinner (probably). Walked with them. Listened to their sorrows. Mended their broken hearts. Healed their weary souls.

This is the point. Jesus met people where they were at, and loved them. These encounters changed them, and made them want to tell everyone to come and see what this guy was all about.

I want to be like that. When I should be doing chores, I want to take the phone call of the friend in need. When I want to be watching netflix, I want to open my doors and welcome people to share in my family, in my small community located in the back corner of the condo complex that their GPS won’t be able to find. When I don’t want to wake up early, I want to rise and make my morning an offering for someone else.

I want everyone in my life to come to know Jesus because they have spent time with me. This is the true spirit of Christianity. A living, breathing, encounter that brings each of us closer to Christ with each dinner, cup of coffee, or letter written.

I want this Christianity.

I want this love story.

Encounter

Pressing Pause and Resetting

January 11, 2018

“Maybe in this period I did ‘everything,’ but I lost myself. This ‘everything’ without Christ is emptiness. In fact, just as He gives everything to me, so He asks everything of me. I realized that I was living Christianity without Christ.” (Davide Prosperi, Page One: At The Beginning It Was Not So!)

Do you ever have the feeling something was written exactly for you, in this exact moment that you are living?

This line from Page One is that feeling for me. For the past year I have gone to mass every Sunday, even gone to mass a couple of days a week if I can swing it. I have purchased multiple journals, I read daily reflections and attended a bible study. I volunteered at a youth group, started picking up holy hours all over the place and went through the motions of what I believed a “really good Christian” should look like.

But as I went through these motions, I started to feel dead inside. I am exhausted. I am burnt out and I most certainly have been living Christianity without Christ. That sounds like an oxymoron. You can’t do that… can you? I thought the same thing, but upon reading this small part of this article, I realized that is exactly what I have been doing.

This is a major wake up call for me. I need to be encountering Christ each and every day, and honestly? It makes so much sense that this is what I am lacking. I have been so focused on helping others to find Christ, and letting him use me as a vehicle for that encounter, that I have forgotten to encounter Him myself.

School is stressful. Work is a lot. But this weekend, I am going to try to get back to the basics of this thing we call christianity. That is the whole point of this blog isn’t it? To seek beauty in the common, to find Him in all things, to make my life real and full and lovely.

This weekend will be about slowing down. Finding His love in my cup of morning coffee. Feeling his presence as He helps me to make the time to do my homework, and spend time in the office and do all of my laundry. Establishing a routine and practicing self care so that I am in a good place mentally, physically and spiritually. This weekend is going to be a reset.

I don’t want to live Christianity without Christ any more. I want to find Him in all my great big adventures, and in all my mundane everyday tasks. And I hope that in finding Him in everything again I can better serve Him and follow His plan for my life.

There are so many things that are unknown. But there is so much peace in knowing that He has it all under control, and all I have to do is find Him.

Cheers to the long weekend, and to rekindling a sense of Him in your life.

Encounter

When Life Ceases to Sing

January 3, 2018

“It is easy to recognize when the fire that comes from Christ no longer burns: the weight of daily life makes it evident, and life ceases to sing.” (Davide Prosperi, Page One: At The Beginning It Was Not So!)

This line really took my breath away. How often do we feel like we are just in survival mode? Between school and work and trying to have some semblance of a social life, my life has become what seems to me, mundane. How is this so?! I did all of these tasks before, and felt fulfilled and happy. But now I feel as if I am constantly trying to find something else to make me feel fulfilled and happy.

Maybe if I bullet journal. Maybe if I add some body hacking workout routine. Maybe if I take up calligraphy. Maybe, maybe, maybe. And I continue to try all these new things, hoping that something will re-spark the song of a life well lived inside of me.

But maybe I am looking in all the wrong places to start up the song again. The rest of this section of the article talks about how God brings us back to His path when we are trying to find joy in other things. It’s not that these other things are bad, it’s just that they are not the things that He wants us to find joy in.

This year, my resolution is to be where my feet are. To learn how to embrace this current moment, rather than constantly prepare for the next moment.

I am going to try to go back to finding joy in the path that Christ has laid out for me right now- going to work, then going to school. Trying my best to keep my house presentable enough to open my doors and share the love. Doing my laundry once a week. Writing letters to the people I love.

School, work and family are my life right now. And that is a beautiful thing in and of itself. I don’t need to be anything other than exactly who I am supposed to be.

And being exactly who I am supposed to be will help my heart to sing once more.

 

Encounter

A Useful Life

December 27, 2017

“I believe that our stature as human beings makes us desire a useful life.” (Davide Prosperi, Page One: At The Beginning It Was Not So!)

This sentiment truly struck me to my core. As I approach the halfway mark of my first year in my mid twenties, I find myself wondering, not infrequently, if I am living a good and useful life.

Last night was the first time in weeks that I got a really good night’s sleep. I didn’t wake up to blow my nose. I didn’t wake up to cough because I hadn’t blown my nose. I slept through the night. I awoke feeling refreshed and, like I could totally take on the day.

This morning I realized that over the course of the past year and change I have been in survival mode. I have been so busy that I keep neglecting to take care of myself. Sure, I am fed, showered and made up… but one can only live on coffee and Too Faced Mascara for so long before they realize it’s not gonna last.

I use to have this great big desire to do good things, and help other people to encounter Christ in their every day life… but I can barely encounter Him myself because my brain and my body are so tired I can’t even keep up with my laundry on a regular basis.

So as the new year approaches, and I start to think about all those resolutions I want to make, the first has to be getting back to this desire for a useful life. And I am going to spend the next few days in the Florida sunshine, with my family, trying to figure out what kind of resolutions will help me get back to this ultimate desire.

Hit me with all of your best tips for self care, and increased sanity- especially those of you in grad school or who have survived this process!

 

 

Encounter

I Choose Freedom

October 12, 2017

“At a time when people are talking a lot about freedom, we witness the paradox of it’s absence. And what is even worse, we have settled for living without it.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Freedom. This is a word I hear a lot lately. With each passing day, another news story pops up, begging me to pick a political side, choose a freedom that totally annihilates the freedom of the person on the opposite side of party lines.

I look to my friends who are married and not doing the MBA thing, and I wish myself to the freedom of not taking classes any longer.

I wish myself to the freedom of reading a book for fun, or watching a television show without having to write a paper at the same time.

I wish myself to the freedom of designated prayer time, that doesn’t brutally disrupt my precious few hours of sleep.

I wish myself to the freedom of time set aside each day to do chores and always keep my house in the tidy order I like it in.

This is me, every single day of my life. If only I had more time. If only I had less to do. If only, If only, If only.

And suddenly I have settled for living without freedom, always just assuming it will come with the next phase of life.

But there is freedom in the small sacrifices. There is freedom in gratitude. There is freedom in letting go of the comparisons and the preconceived notions that freedom looks better on the other side.

Moving forward, I am going to choose freedom. I will get up, just a little earlier to make time to pray. Heck, I may even try to pray at night too (wouldn’t that be something?!). I will complete just one chore a day. Maybe tackling a little at a time will help with the overall tidiness I so long for. I will read for fun at least one night a week, even if it is just a few pages. I will try to write my paper before watching that show- keeping my priorities in line, and being overall more effective. I will be grateful that I get to go to school to pursue this degree that I know I will ultimately love.

But most importantly, I will make sure to Thank God for each and every trial, and the continuing opportunity to sacrifice that He has given me, rather than constantly lamenting my “lack” of freedom. I will choose to live in the freedom of every good and perfect gift that has been given to me at this moment.

What is holding you back from choosing freedom today?

 

Encounter

Disillusioned With Reality

June 28, 2017

“Disilusioned with reality, with the church, and with themselves, they expereince a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like ‘the most precious of the devil’s potions’. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)

Wow, wow, wow. You know, I always thought Pope Francis was cool but this- this is a whole new level. Even me, the person who volunteers with the parish youth group, goes to daily mass as often as possible and loves Reality can become disillusioned with it all.

How many times have I asked myself: Am I good enough to do this? Do these people even want me to be a part of this? Is it all worth it?

I constantly have to tell myself YES.

Because an encounter with Reality is worth it every single time. If just one more person can live more fully alive, then this is all worth it.

Have you encountered Reality? Do you want to share it with someone else?

Encounter

A Museum of Records

June 21, 2017

“Without freedom, the life of each of us could become a museum of records of old times.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

This line is striking to me. This freedom that has been given to me allows me to choose to press forward in my quest to always encounter reality.

Freedom was a gift given to me so I can live more fully. It allows me to have a life that is vibrant and full of color. It allows me to be me and eliminates the boring categorical life I once lead.

How can I help others to embrace this freedom? How do I help others to encounter reality? Sometimes it is easy- a cup of coffee, an afternoon walk. And sometimes it is really difficult.

But each day I try again in the hopes of always inviting others into this freedom that I’ve found in this true encounter with reality?

How do you invite others into this freedom?

Encounter

Reality, Evident

June 14, 2017

“Reality makes itself evident in experience.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Words could not speak deeper to my soul. One of my greatest strengths and simultaneously my greatest weaknesses is my reliances upon that version of reality. You see, seven years ago I met these people who all seemed to be SO alive. They lived and breathed in a different realm than I did. They had experienced Reality, and they were always trying to remain in that realm.

I started on a journey all those years ago, to also live in this wonderful state. Sure, reality also produces difficult times but the feelings, emotions and reactions are pure.

In some ways this encounter with Reality is my greatest strength. I’m fully present and fully alive- feeling the good, the bad and the ugly. But it is also my greatest weakness, for when reality is based on experience, feelings can be hard to forget, and it can be hard to work past hurts.

I struggle to find the balance between experiences shaping my reality and letting things go, giving one more chance and ignoring past experiences… you guessed it! I go off experience every time. This is what I know. But I also know that forgiveness is a beautiful ting, and trust can be restored.

Patience is everything in this delicate balance. I hope and pray to one day know how to do both: live fully submersed in reality and also live in a state of always forgiving so that others can encounter Reality with me.

How do you encounter reality?

 

Encounter

Life is Beautiful

June 7, 2017

“Life is beautiful because ever day theres an opportunity for a relationship with the Mystery, and everything can become a challenge to discover it and receive that something more for yourself.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Once again, a sucker punch to the gut. Recently, I have found myself despairing frequently. Nothing seems to be working out the way I had planned, and my self esteem seems to take a beating more often than not.

Each day I plaster on a smile, try to look cheerful, and usually pretend to enjoy where I am in life. But deep down I am sad because I just can’t catch break.

My mom is an absolute saint. As I cry she listens, and constantly reminds me that I have a GOOD life. She challenges me to rediscover the good, truth and beauty in my life, and for that I am very grateful.

Her patience and love allow me to come to a closer encounter with Reality, something I so very badly need.

Do you have someone that helps keep you grounded in reality?