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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sharing Your Time

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of time.

Time is one of those things that many people seem to think they have none of.  The thing is, we have so much of it and we just may not be using it in the way which proves best.  Time can be thought of in terms of time management, giving time to proper things, and so many other things.  Sharing your time is sharing it with God, yourself, and others.

In college, I was never very good at managing my time and putting into a day what should be.  Unlike others though, I gave a lot of time to being in campus ministry and sitting around my room when I got really frustrated with my inability to understand and finish homework.  I gave my time to prayer and to doing ministry in the community, but forgot the part that was one of most important, being a student in a classroom.  I realized in my junior and senior year that balancing all the things that were important to me and to my future was something that was much needed to live a less stressful life.  The other thing that came across my mind was that I was spending a lot of time in ministry.  It seemed that I was using that to get to my relationship with Jesus.

One always seems to think that when talking about sharing time, it means with others.  I find that it means sharing your time with God and with yourself as well.  You need to make sure that you are healthy and well, otherwise anything that you will do will not hold the same capacity for your best.  I learned that real fast that taking care of myself was my top priority over the one called being a student.  It was important to take care of me.  How I did that was important.  Obviously, there are the typical things like sleep and eating right and exercising.  The other thing involves taking the time to be with God in whatever way possible.

There is this diagram a friend gave me.  Imagine three circles, a small one in the middle with another around it and yet another around them.  In the middle circle is your relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  In the next circle is your vocation.  In the outer circle is your ministry.  Most people feed their life from the outside going in.  This is what is not good.  We need to take the time making the inner circle, that relationship with God, the most important thing of all.  If we do that, He will guide us in our vocation and our ministry, giving us what our time in life is to be spent doing.  For me, I have been trying to add that personal prayer time into my life more and more.  This comes in the form of liturgy of the hours, rosary, divine mercy, spiritual reading, or just plain being with Christ.  That time is most valuable because it prepares you to do what else your time calls you to do; it gives you the best good spirited way to do them.

In that I have tried to keep myself very open to God’s call through time in prayer and doing work for Him, I have been led to be told what my time in my life must be like.  Everything for God takes on a whole new meaning for one who is told to give religious life a try.  One of the hardest parts is giving time to live in the moment of the possibilities this gives to my life.  I need to take more time to be with Christ and ask what I am to do to make this transition to formation good.  I feel like I am called to spend the time to serve God as His Son’s bride.  Beautiful it is, hard though, to think of my life given to this lifestyle.  It is one that takes all the time of my life to do all for Him.  Wow.

In the end, sharing your time is something that we must all do.  Being sure that you are sharing it in all aspects that are important in life is something that really should be worked on.  We do not need to go far and wide to reach people, though some are called to take that time to do so.  Take time in prayer to know how and where to spend our time, it is so important.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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You Love Me So!

I bring myself back to yesterday while on retreat at the center I work at.  In the afternoon after our free time, we had a reconciliation service, being given the chance to go to confession.  Sure, there are things I knew I could say, but I was not sure how comfortable or ready I was or if I had the words to say.  In the end, I went to confession; thank goodness for me there was another priest, other than the one that I see everyday, hearing confessions.  It was good to have gone and I loved the priest that heard my confession, he had good things to say to help and even a book suggestion to read.  The book is called “Becoming Who We” Are by James Martin.  When I came out and went back to listen to the music and reflect, I started writing a poem and declaration.  This is what came of it.

Over and over again

The same thing I sin

And You love me so

Time again I do run

As far as shines the sun

And You love me so

My mind in evil does stray

Who knows where each day

And You love me so

Satan fights to have me

Going places I shouldn’t be

And You love me so

When I have done wrong

You reach me in song

Because You love me so

Though far I can stray

You tell me it is okay

Because You love me so

When evil enters my mind

The good in me you find

Because You love me so

Though Satan does fight well

I am sent with you to travel

Because You love me so

With You I must be

Where sin doesn’t see

For You love me so

With You I must abide

Running thrown to the side

For You love me so

With You I must think

Evil won’t make me sink

For You love me so

With You I must enter

Satan will not be better

For You love me so

Truly I am loved and I can not allow myself to stray and sin, letting Satan take a hold of me.  The pain I have gone through has been as confusing as ever and it must be conquered however possible.  By other means must I live to fight all that holds me back from what God wants of me in this life.  In preparation to enter into formation for the religious life, I must give everything to the Lord.  He alone can free me and bring me to fully understand the happiness I will find in His plan.  For strength, wisdom, and love I do pray on this journey.

This weekend, as I  have said before, was wonderful for me.  The chance to not work and just be a part of the retreat was exactly what I needed at the moment.  When you live alone, you forget the value of community and just hanging out with people your age who are in some way dealing with something that is similar to you.  I was re-energized by talking to people about my desire to enter into formation (while yes…I still have to finish and turn in the app) with those who asked about my plans for the future.  I also conquer for a brief moment my fear of speaking in front of people about me.  Our presentation last night involved a rotating panel.  Basically, if you wanted to speak, you got up and sat in one of the four chairs in front.  There were four topics that built on each other, timed on each.  I pray that I am able remember the lessons learned this weekend, the good times that were had, and the new friends that I have made.

Fact: On July 16, 1908, the first four missionary Salesian Sisters arrived in New York City. They settled in Paterson, NJ, to begin their ministry with the children of Italian immigrants.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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A Song that Strikes at the Core

This weekend I am able to be participating in a retreat rather than having to work them.  It is the Young Adult Retreat and the theme is based on Discipleship.  While I do not have much to say now at this point, I wanted to share this song with you.  It is not a part of the retreat but it is very close to what I feel when I am telling people about entering into formation with the Salesians.  Also, I just really love this song.  Have a listen!

Last night I was telling one person in particular about next  year and she was asking me a handful of questions.  I realized once again the smile that crawls across my face as I am sharing this deep part of me.  It is a total reminder to myself that this is really what I need to be trying out next year.  God does amazing things in amazing ways!

Fact: Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Dedication to the Church, seen especially in the person of the Pope. Pope John Paul II, who himself attended a Salesian parish, and his great love for the young, bring to life Don Bosco’s words, “Young people must know you, love them.” “

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2010 in Inspirational Music, Living Salesian

 

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God is There

Through the sun that shines in from far away

And the birds chirping that do stay

There is God on that glorious day

When the rains fall from the broken shy

When we are not sure those tears will dry

There is God as we are questioning why

In the things that seem ever so small

Like the passing of a little bouncing ball

There is God in the midst of it all

There are those moments we wish to forget

Even though the past has been surely set

There is God with you I am willing to bet

When the joy runs wild and off we go

Our prayer seems to run so dry and slow

God is there calling you back you know

Through the fears that hold us back

Like all our dreams locked in a sack

God is there to give you a courage pack

In the pondering of what is to come

When you feel like you have gone numb

God is there to guide you with a hum

Days do come and leave us really thinking

Whether we are swimming or down sinking

God is there to help us find the linking

When it all comes together out of a messy pile

Then we see where we are supposed to travel

God is there waiting and bearing a great big smile

– Yours Truly

Fact: Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Friendship with Mary under the special title of Help of Christians. As a woman, wife and mother, she understands the inner workings of the our own journey through life, as well as that of the people to whom we minister.”

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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Briefly Standing on the Shore of Contemplation

Standing in the dark on the beach, wind piercing through my layers, sound of the waves against the shore, the few minutes let out much emotion.  I found that the warm tears fall from my eyes, heating my face from the cold wind, where but a small representation of the world that lives inside.  They fell for the good, they fell for the bad, they fell for the sake of needing to fall.  For whatever reason that they fell, they felt good to fall.

Being in the piercing wind brought me close to God.  It struck to to core of my being and it ran through my bones.  Such as it is when one lets God into their being and lets Him guide one through ones life.  Maybe I am not a hundred percent there, but in me that wind caused such a shutter that emotions ran out.  At that moment of deep piercing I longed to just be filled with the courage to take head on without worry the plans set forth to me.  Where that complete courage may not be here, the prayer came out of me wishing for it.  Staring into the ocean so many things were there.

It seemed that the water running as far up the shore as possible represented life for me, in the brief moment there.  Life in man different ways of thought shot through me.  One could jump right in all bundled up and go until there is no more left and disappear.  One could go far enough, feel the bitterness, then back away.  One could hear the life it can bring if looked at right, taking the experience of a couple minutes with them.  The path life could go, my life could go, gave many paths to think about.  How easy it could be to disappear at that moment, yet how much easier it was to wipe the tears and walk back into the life I am living.  Sure, frustrations pose there moments in life, but if life were smooth, where would be the adventure.  God wants us to lean on Him.

My thoughts adrift they did go to religious life.  Freaking out is part of the game.  As the water crashed to the shore I thought of all that could go right or wrong.  Who am I to be called to live the life of a sister?  Where does all that I had hoped for and love in my life that can no longer be go to be released?  While there it is so fitting, while away it falls apart, and there on the beach so many things happened in that piercing wind.  Only God knows the deep depths of my heart, if only I could allow myself to go there, through the pain and sorrow, through the things I wish of my life, to what He wants of me.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Creative Corner

 

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A Lenten Prayer for Guidance

A Lenten Prayer for Guidance

What is it Lord?

What do you want of me?

For giving of food is not enough,

but then do you wish me to do?

To be closer to you I do long.

To go to the desert with you I want.

How shall I do this?

Where can I go to hear your voice?

In prayer I can land,

by the hours of the varying sorts.

Lord guide me to you,

God give me the strength to do your will,

Spirit move in all my being,

So that I may give of myself what you wish.

-Yours Truly

When Lent comes around, a lot of people first think of giving up food as a default, but think nothing of the other things that on can give of themselves.  I do not undermine the importance of giving up food or facebook to some people because for some it really does provide a roadblock to seeing Christ.  For me, I do not see food or things on the web to be a hindrance to my life, living with Christ in me.  My focus comes in many forms of prayer and reflection.  As to what exactly I will be doing, one does not need to know unless on a must tell situation (like stepping out from work and other related things).  Look at this reading for today, Matthew 6:16, 16-18.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

When we are so used to being in community in the Catholic Church, sharing in our faith lives with others, this is somewhat an odd concept.  We share in miracles that have occurred, in ways that the Spirit moves.  Then there is the Lenten season.  I see this as a way to take into us Christ, more than any other moment in live that we would do so.  We take ourselves into the desert and dig deep into ourselves.  God is calling us to be in solidarity with His Son and know the love that is there for us.  I strive to be mindful of what I am being called to do each day.  I wish to continue to prepare myself for formation to be a sister as I feel God wants me to do.  Lord, whatever you want I will strive to do.

Fact: Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It is He who fires our soul with a love that compels others to Him.”

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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Let Go and Let God: Letting the Spirit Move You

I want to start today by sharing with you a little poem that I received when I made my TEC retreat during my freshman year of college.  It has always given me much to think about each time I read through it.  Today I felt the urge to read it again and reflect once more upon the meaning.  It is called “Let Go and Let God.”  The author is unknown, as many people claim to have written it.

As Children bring their broken toys

with tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God

because He was my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him,

in peace, to work alone;

I hung around and tried to help,

with ways that were my own.

At last, I snatched them back and cried,

“How can you be so slow?”

“My child,” He said, “What could I do?

You never did let go.”

Letting go of things has been, and I am sure will be still, one of the hardest things to do.  It is not even just the good things that we seem to have a hard time letting go of; it is the bad things as well.  Why, in either case, can we not let go of things that hold us from what God really wants in our life.  For me, hard times came into my life and although I know not the complete source of them yet, but I was unable to fully give them to God.

It was not until that Riverbend TEC #224 that I hit a point where I could not handle it anymore and lost control of my emotions.  Die night when time for confession came and I was sitting staring at Jesus, the tears did come.  They flowed harder than they had in a long time needless to say, which led to some good conversations with a leader on my team.  In short, she asked me if I would like the team to pray over me the next morning, and I ended up agreeing to it.  As well that next morning, another leader of my team approached me (little did I know at the time that he was to be praying for me that weekend) and asked if I wanted to receive the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.  After much debate, my heart said just do it.  My close friend was working on another team, but had known what was going on as I asked to see her.  She ended up coming the the anointing that day; more tears were shed as it happened and I was prayed over again.  Powerful as it was, I hit the draining of a lifetime.  I was completely exhausted and somehow made it through the work of the weekend in one piece.  The following story is my close friends recapturing the weekend.  It is quoted exactly from what she wrote.

Once Upon a Time…

There was a friend.
This girl longed to go outside. But she was trapped in a cage.
This girl wanted to run. But she lost energy.
This girl wanted to cry. But the tears had dried up.
This girl wanted many things. But she could not get to them.

Then there was me.
I didn’t want to go outside. But felt compelled to and did anyways.
I didn’t want to run. But I spent a long time on the swing-set anyways.
I didn’t want to cry. But it was uncontrollable and unstoppable.
I didn’t want any of these things. But I could get to them.

There is not a much stronger bond than that of friendship. The closer the friends, the stronger the bond. This story is true. The Spirit took time to move me into different places I would normally shy away from. I don’t quite understand what happened but after lining up time lines/actions/wants there is no other explanation. Like one of my favorite songs says, “God is great, People are crazy”.

I hope that others will learn when the Spirit calls, listen. Even if you don’t know why, or what it is asking. Follow. You never know what a difference it can make in someone else’s life. Or in your own life.

How is it that someone who can not see me feel what I could not feel or was not allowed to feel due to the work that I had to do?  The spirit moved in us and it was the only way I made it through without leaving, not to mention the amazing community that I was surrounded by.  What does any of these two things have to do with each other?  It was this experience that letting go and letting God take what was hurting in me was something I tried even harder to let myself do.  Sure, I still struggled and I do even now.  Things that affect your life so greatly stick with you, it is what you do with them that makes the difference

As I am preparing myself for entering into formation, I think often back on this time.  It was a point in my life where some things were starting to change.  Sure, I was about to spend more time than I had in four years at home, which for me can be hard at times with the differing views and thoughts on stuff.  Even with that, I felt more ready to battle things; despite how exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually I was.

Given the place that I am in right now in life, I think about this often, as I had mentioned.  How does most recent TEC experience link back to my first TEC experience?  The difficulty I went through reminded me again of how I need to continuously let go and let God.  Holding on to those pains does not help me achieve God’s plan.  Preparing for formation, I often think about if these things of the past will come to affect me again, but then I realize that that thinking only hurts me.  You see, I need to constantly be giving everything and every moment of every day to God.  This was, He can take it all and return it to me in the form of love in what His plans for me are.  These are the thoughts of the day.  Remember to always let go and let God, be open to what the Spirit moves you to do, you never know what will happen in life.

Fact: The mission of the Salesian Sisters, Priests, and Brothers is to educate young people, especially the poor.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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