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Who Are You Not To Be?

I took this picture July 2009 of Denali Mountain (to those outside Alaska, it is casually known as Mount McKinley).  It was one of the most breathtaking moments of my life!  There was but one cloudy and rainy day and we were able to see the mountain every day except the last day as we were leaving.  It was a blessing that this was the case when we were there and the people said living there, it is a rare occasion to see the mountain.  I spent a good amount of time staring at it, contemplating.  Like I said previously, it was a blessing indeed and if I could have stayed and watch it forever, I would have.  To be in God’s wonder and awe was absolutely beautiful.  I was led into this prayer I was not even fully aware of existing in me!  This is what I want with my life, to live life in such grander and have such amazement filling me.  As well, to know that God sees that same beauty in me that I see in that mountain.  I see the following quote to relate to this experience.

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  –  Marianne Williamson

Who are we not to be great?  No, not in the egotistical way that many people may be drawn to see this as.  We are children of God born so that we may show God’s glory to everyone.  This is not just in some of us, but in all of us.  God believes in us otherwise He would have not put us in the world with such responsibility.  I found this quote, author unknown: “Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that God doesn’t believe in you!” This is something that we can really think about with our lives.  By taking the strength found in God, in Christ, we can let our light shine out for others to see.  When we let our light shine, we allow others to do the same thing.  It is truly amazing how this is, when one person’s happiness can feed another person’s happiness.

When I talk to people about wanting to enter religious life with the Salesians, to God-willing become a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, FMA; there is something special that happens.  My excitement and smiles shine from me like more than ever, and it bounces off those I talk to and back to me, re-energizing me and reminding me of what makes me happy.  While, as I have mentioned before, I have yet to finish and turn it the application, knowing that there is hardly a thing standing in my way at this point makes things so much better.  When I finally get all the paperwork in and hear back, I can only imagine the feeling that will fill me.  It is like that of staring into the wilderness at Denali.  The awe-struck wonder that almost took my breath away in such beauty that I wish I could live with always may be found in this place, this life, that I am pursuing.

Isn’t it glorious?  Who am I not to take this step forward and follow the path it seems God has given me?  Who am I not to try and find where God’s light will shine the best in me?  Who am I not to follow Christ and be His disciple?  I am a child of God and I am going to live as so!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Photos

 

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Testify to Love!

I am a lover of Christian music as it really livens my spirit up and give God His praise due to Him!  This song is a statement of intent of the way I want to live, testifying to love!

Testifying to love is something I have tried to do my entire life and have longed to do my whole life to come.  Here is another look at the lyrics.

All the colours of the rainbow
All the voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out,
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation
Lives to testify!

For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take, will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys,
From the rivers to the seas,
Every hand that reaches out,
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace,
Every simple act of mercy,
Every step to kingdom come,
All the hope in every heart will
Speak what love has done!

For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take, will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love

This is what I want to live to do: have love, be love, show love, feel love, share love, and just have the love of Christ, son of God, felt in the Spirit, in my life.  There is a burning desire as I have talked about before, to love and do great things; I want to do more in the world.  I feel so many things!  Today I saw God again, in the sky once more, in its glorious splendor of wonder and awe.  It gave me the hope, as well as the love.  It makes me want to crank up the praise and worship contemporary christian music and just dance beneath the stars without a care in the world and so much love in my whole being.

The biggest challenge for me always was finding the place that that love is supposed to abide through me.  My passion was drawn to being a camp counselor as well as working/making any and every retreat I could get my hands on.  It was there that the love of a family that I have come to adopt was instilled in me.  They have helped me grow and learn, especially the Riverbend TEC community/family.  From there I left to be where I am out east, doing retreat work in every form.  While I feel like I can put my love there, there has still been the challenge to be truly myself and show the love that I feel deep down.  It is in traveling the journey I am on to, God-willing, enter formation for religious life that I hope this love that burns within me will be let loose.  The Salesian sisters have shown me a great love and passion for who they are, what they do, and God whom they live for.  It makes me smile and everyday I think about what this potential future can hold for me and it is hard to live in the moment, as well as fill out the rest of that darn application.

I must love now with all I can and do now what is needed to be done so that I may continue to love with all my heart, through the love poured out on the cross!  For as long as I will live, I will testify to love.  I will be a witness in the silence when words are not enough.  With every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above.  For as long a I will live, I will testify to love!

 

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A Moment Beyond the Moment

Standing on the back steps, I look out to the sky.  There is something in its beauty, with the breeze brushing by, that draws me to the mystery that surrounds us all.  I am looking at history, millions of years of history staring back at me in this present moment.  At that moment of connection, the history becomes now and the now looks to history for the future.  Life lives in looking up to the sky.  For me there has been always something beyond what we see in this beauty.  While what we can can see may be as beautiful as any, even what one may say is ugly, there is another form of beauty in that beyond the physical sight.  I was drawn to want more of what I was feeling in that moment.  Everything that has been holding me down for a brief moment flew out of me and I was able to be right there in that moment looking beyond the moment to feel a presence calming me.

My whole life I have wanted more than what I was surrounded with.  Sure, there have been some amazing moments that I will never let go, but there has been a drawing for something else.  Now, with something that could potentially lead me to discovering that thing that I wish for even though I am not sure what I am being led to, I am being put to a challenge.  Of course, I still have to make this official that I am to be entering and I understand not to be so set in something because it could change, but I have felt happier than ever.  The smile runs across my face.  When I was first talking to Jen and Elfie in the bathroom at NCYC, I had no idea where it would go.  These two aspirants led me to this place in life I would have never thought I would be at.  The feeling that went over me when I made the connection between what m life was then and where it could go was astounding.  The same feeling I get when staring into the sky, walking in the bluffs, strolling the beach, and anything of that sort.

Today I sit here with conflicted increasing feelings.  The more sure I get of trying out the path of religious life with the Salesians, the harder it gets and the more afraid I become.  It is hard to be in a place now where interaction with  my friends is none and the job, though I absolutely love it and the people I encounter, is not fulfilling me to what I know is out there somewhere to do so.  Deep in me, when I close my eyes, I see someone beautiful.  This person is truly happy, something I have not always been.  This person is dancing and singing and loving.  This person wanders in the wonder an awe of God’s creation, though humanity slowly takes it away.  The person has the ability to stand in front of people and share herself with the world, the sorrows and trials, the joy and miracles, and this is something I never had the ability to do.  I want this person to come out of me and be there, as God wants me there.

Life with the sisters is something I am beginning to feel is one of the few places that will allow me to e who I truly am an desire to be.  Those that I have met and the little I know of them have already taught me so many things.  There is this peaceful, caring, fun-loving feeling to being there with the sisters.  No matter what God does with me in formation, it will be an experience that will bring out in me so much.  I can not wait for the day I get my application finished and turned in and I hear back.  God willing, I will enter into a world that is so amazing!

So when I looked to the sky tonight, I felt something.  There was a hope that filled in me that no matter how hard things were, how hard they are now, or how hard they may be; will always be there when I look to the sky and the beauty that surrounds me.  Stars glimmering, moon beaming, trees crackling, water crashing, breeze blowing, and whatever else may be bring me to learn so much.  It is a reminder of all the things that have been forced into hiding that are ready to break loose!  This moment brought me beyond the moment and I pray that God continues to reach me in this way.  I also continue to pray that God leads me in ways that are pleasing to Him!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Reach High For The Heavens

When the world seems to be closing in

And you are not even sure where to begin

There are people running all around

And your feet are not steady on the ground

Tears are rolling down your stain-streaked face

And all you want is get out of this place

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

———-

 When the road has been laid out just for you

And you think it is something you can’t do

The fear of the unknown fills you up

And you are not sure you can drink that cup

Being lost is all you have ever known

And the seeds of confusion have been sown

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

———-

When you see your life as it should be

And the potential there you do see

The chance is there for some change to come

And you may see the good you’re from

Smiles have the chance your face to appear

And what was confused can now be clear

———-

Reach high for the heavens

Reach high for the heavens

God will be there

Holding out His hand

So reach high for the heavens

– Yours Truly

Fact: When you type in “Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco” into a google search, you get about 15,300 hits.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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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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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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