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Introduction…Narrow Gate

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” -Mt. 7:13-14

Throughout my life, journaling has been a form of prayer for me. Most entries are meant to be something that could be prayed with in church. Many entries were written from the heart while face to face with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration.

In the last few years, I have found that journaling is not the best way to pray for me. It can easily turn me in on myself without turning me in towards Our Lord present in my soul. Other times it keeps me from turning out of myself to consider what others are thinking.

Because of this, I journal only moderately now, so I can talk less and try to listen more to God and to others (through silence and reading).

Lest this journal entry turn into a diss on journaling, I will say what journaling does do for me.

Journaling is the most accurate means of reflecting on where my soul and heart have been, what I struggled with, what I’m currently struggling with, and where I’m headed. It is incredible for self knowledge.

When I type or write out what I am thinking, I realize the good within that comes from God, my own duplicity, and how much of what I think and feel is not actually what I believe or know to be true.

Coffee?

So today I didn’t drink coffee in the morning…

I slept in, so I didn’t need it, but I have a couple notes:

To the line of people behind me at Dollar General:

I do not know why I turned and waved and smiled to you all before leaving. I have a vague idea but no real explanation to give.

To the man at Meijer that picked up the shelf of Reese’s I knocked over:

I am sorry that you had to do this. I was not paying attention as once again I was looking at the line behind me.

To the woman in the drive through window at Taco Bell:

I did not mean to try to give you my phone, it’s just that the money was in the wrong hand. You did not seem amused by that, but it was not intentional which is why I was taken aback and tried to recover by mentioning the value of a phone being greater than $2.14. That made it worse.

And to the woman I mentioned the landmark comment to…it would have been funnier if you knew me….

All this is to say that maybe I need to give this “no coffee in the morning” idea another chance, because you never know what tomorrow holds.

First Black Friday…

I just had my first Black Friday shopping experience, (at least that I remember). A few notes from my experience.

1) Most people want to shop.I should have guessed this one, but with Thanksgiving and excitement in the air I was in a socializing mood until a somewhat awkward encounter.

2) If you have a tendency to clean when you’re stressed, be mindful. This coping skill is better suited to the home. I definitely left the store better than I found it, but the risk of sparking confusion in employees and customers has to be considered. 😕

3) When overwhelmed or losing your peace, go to the bathmat section. This is an important place to regroup when overwhelmed, because it is low traffic area.

All in all, I’m not sure my temperament fits for high energy shopping. I left the store empty-handed, but I learned a lot about myself and maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

Life in Christ

29 years ago, my parents brought me to Church to be baptized and my life in Christ began.

Baptism is easy.

It takes a matter of minutes, doesn’t require a lot of planning or witnesses, and it’s free. For me, since I was less than two months old, there was no anticipation, no pressure, no conviction, no memory, and no good feelings after. In fact, I could have cried or slept from beginning to end and no-one would have cared. (these are perks for a baby but I’m not recommending this behavior if you’re baptized as an adult.)

What is my point?…Baptism is easy; Living a life in Christ is not. Living your baptismal promises is hard…it’s painful, and at times it feels like God is displeased with you, the world is against you, or you are on your own.

Right now, we live in a world, a country, and a time when chaos really seems to reign. We’ve lost a sense of what it means to pray through difficult times, and since we’ve taken things into our own hands, we’re starting to see some negative effects.

What can we do? We can turn back…daily…hourly if needed. Baptism is not about being “part of the club.” It’s about accepting the cross, and growing into the idea that suffering has meaning we’ve forgotten about, and joy has a depth we rarely consider.

I’d like to encourage you.

I know that many of my friends are unsettled with the idea of religion, unhappy with the Church, or perhaps starting to think that it’s time we just do things on our own. I understand the mentality and I’m not going to hide that it’s a struggle to be faithful.

When we look around we don’t necessarily feel like we are in an era of hope. But I truly believe that the same grace that God gave us at our Baptism, will sustain us if we endure, grow, love, and suffer for a short time. There will be an abundance of life…eternal life. I’m holding on to that hope, because through Baptism I’ve become a child of God, and I have a brother who “for the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.” -Heb. 12:2

This sounds nice, but it doesn’t take away from the struggle. I need prayers. You need prayers. Let’s pray for one another, and hold on to hope through the grace of our Baptism.