Monthly Archives: April 2010

QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM THE 2010 DIVINE MERCY CONFERENCE

4-10-10 Saturday – Divine Mercy Conference @ The Cajundome Convention Center

I’ve decided this entry will be quotable quotes from today.

Fr. Hampton Davis quotes:

“Can’t catch love with a closed heart.” – “You better have some Jesus in You.” – ” Hell…….NO! Heaven……..YES!” – “M-E-R-C-Y. May Easter’s Reality Convert You!” – “We better count ourselves among the sinners, if we ever wanna count ourselves among the saints.” – “If  a soul does not show mercy, it will not obtain my mercy. (Fr. Hampton quoting St. Faustina who was quoting Jesus)” – “If we are merciful we choose heaven, if not we choose hell.” – “Divine Mercy is God’s medicine.” – “If we don’t fill our empty hearts with mercy, something worse will come back and fill it up.” – “A fly cannot enter a pressure cooker. Evil cannot enter a heart full of mercy.” – “To have the title ‘Christian’, and not live up to it, THAT is taking the name of the Lord in vain.” – “C-R-E-A-M. Cash Rules Everything Around Me. The world wants CREAM.”

Dr. Bryan Thatcher quotes (involved with Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy):

“If you pray the chaplet of divine mercy at the bedside of a dying person, I will be there as their merciful Savior. (Dr. Bryan quoting St. Faustina who was quoting Jesus)” – “We resemble God most when we forgive our neighbors.” – “Father, your will be done = Jesus I trust in you.” – “Do what I did; give it up to God, look up to Jesus.”

Imaculee Ilibagiza quotes: (sidenote: She’s a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 that claimed 1 million lives, including her WHOLE family, except for one brother and herself)

“We own nothing. We should thank God for everything. It is all a gift.” – “If we grow our brains, but not our hearts, that’s bad.” – “God exists. He can help you. He is Almighty. He can do anything. If you ask him, he can move mountains.” – “At this moment of crisis, I had to decide which voice to listen to.” – “God heard me, he is real.” – “When you are angry, you are very creative.” – “You hating them does not change anything. If you pray for them, maybe there is hope.” – “The rosary is not just for Catholics or Christians. It is for every human being.” – “If I can forgive, anyone can forgive.” – “If you are conflicted between being kind and being right, choose kindness.”

Marcus Grodi quotes (he hosts the EWTN tv show “Journey Home” and is director of Coming Home Network International and is a former Protestant pastor):

“Proverbs 3:5-6. Look it up.” – “No Catholic ever gave me a reason to ever wanna become Catholic.” – “Sometimes we’re not open to an answer until we know there’s a problem.” – “1 Tim. 3:15. Look it up” – “3 biggest obstacles to becoming Catholic were ignorance of Catholic teaching, prejudice about their beliefs, and bad Catholics.” – “2 Thess. 2:15. Look it up” – “If you throw out the Church, you throw out everything.”

Annie Karto quotes (Catholic musician/evangelist):

“The truth can hurt, but it will set you free!”

Fr. Michael Champagne quotes:

“He is communion and he reconciles.” – “Enjoy the experience of your reposessed dignity.” – “When the priest lifts his hand during absolution, he’s washing you with the blood and water of Jesus. Let that inundate you.” – “Having received mercy, we have to, in turn, be merciful.”

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DIVINE APPOINTMENT NAMED JOSEPH

4-5-10 Easter Sunday – 10:50pm @ my apartment

Once the pump is primed, once the seal is broken, once you get goin, you can’t stop. That is the way it feels lately with Divine Appointments. It’s one of the few things that I’m OK at doing, so I’m glad God gives me these opportunities. The latest one was named Joseph. I was going downtown to meet up with a friend and I parked at the library. As I was headed towards Jefferson Street on foot, I was approached by Joseph. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should do what I did. Yes, there have been times where people have been robbed downtown. However, I also have to remember that every person that approaches me is God’s child too. If it feels safe enough, then I visit with them. So, Joseph approaches me and introduces himself. He’s very humble in both his tone of voice as well as the way he carries himself. Part of it is probably because he was down on his luck. After all, you don’t approach strangers and ask them for assistance if your luck is good. But I also wonder if he’s humble because of the way people probably treat him and look at him. Even when people have good reason to deny assistance, they tend to do so callously and with little regard as to how they speak to or react to the person. I’d be a bit humble and hesitant if I had been treated that way too. Then when I shake his hand I notice one or two of the fingers is partially shriveled. Makes me wonder how it happened. Softened my heart even more. I guess I’ve just been reminded enough that the poor and downtrodden are near and dear to God. So, by the time we got to the handshake, God had me hooked. As we start talking, I didn’t get much of his personal story or many details on his circumstances. All I got from him is that he was out of money and needed help.

Literally speaking, I have him the last 1 dollar bill in my wallet and invited him to walk with me to the ATM on Jefferson St. As we walk that way, I just tried to engage him in small talk. Knowing what to say wasn’t easy, and I didn’t wanna focus on anything in particular. I just wanted him to talk about anything and feel comfortable around me. A few times he tried to get a few more bucks out of me, but I had honestly given him what I could. He even asked me to give him a ride to the motel and use my credit card to get him a room. I didn’t feel safe enough doing that. So once we got to where he had to turn off of Jefferson St, we stood there and talked a little more. I relayed some info that Martin, my previous Divine Appointment, had relayed to me regarding safe places to sleep downtown and not get arrested. As we parted ways, I asked him to pray for me and that I’d pray for him. All in all, he was a very pleasant person, and as always, I was very blessed by my encounter with him. I pray that I was able to make a difference and bring him closer to Christ. I also tried to encourage him as far as not being afraid to ask for help. Seems like many times we get ourselves into predicaments because we are too proud to ask for help. Hopefully, he can receive God’s grace to be able to seek out the help he needs. Coincidentally I saw Martin later that night and told him that what he shared with me the other night was passed on to someone in need. He was happy about that 🙂 Lest I forget, I spent alot of time over the weekend with my parents and nieces. Getting to do this, and enjoying the small things with them was such a blessing. Get to spend some more time with my parents after work today. Really enjoyed myself and was very blessed by it! Until next time, good night and God Bless!

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WANDERINGS OF AN URBAN MISSIONARY

4-2-10 Good Friday – 10:30am @ the chapel at St. Ed’s in Laffy

Praise God for this glorious day. My prayer when I got here was through everything that I do today, help me to learn from your Passion and Crucifixion. I was so glad to get back here. 2 days ago, as I was headed back into town from mission formation @ FMC, I felt God was calling me to stop at the bookstore and find a new “Burn Book” for the chapel. To briefly explain, back in December of last year, someone bought a spiral bound journal (very colorful) and decorated the front and called it the “Burn Book”, since Jesus’ love burns in our hearts. IT’s basically a shared journal for anyone and everyone who comes to the chapel. Of course it stays here, and as you see fit you can either read and/or write in it. It’s been a tremendous inspiration for me because I can journey together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to see that they are going through alot of the same things that I am. As far as decorating the new burn book, I’ll leave that to one of the females (perhaps the one that created the first burn book) to spruce it up. It’s already nice and colorful, and I scored it on sale at Barnes and Noble for 7 bucks. It could just use a lil something extra. If I see that a month down the road it still hasn’t been fixed up, I might take it upon myself to do so. In other news, I saw Martin again last night at CC’s. He was comin in to get a cup of water and I saw him while I was hangin out with Chris Diesi. He saw me and we said hello and then I introduced him to Chris. We sat and chatted awhile, which on most occasions wouldn’t be a big deal.

But, I know that for however many times God puts him in my path, I’m called to be Christ-like and help him however I can. But it’s so easy to focus on “Lemme buy something for him”. How often do I actually tithe my time? So yeah, it felt good to sit and chat with him. Since me and Chris were about to leave anyways, me and Martin walked over to Albertson’s to get him some food. He only asked for 2 sandwiches and some chips, which humbled and inspired me. He, a homeless man who’s out of work, only asked for what he needed and nothing more. Now do you see why I like Divine Appointments so much? 🙂 After we left Albertson’s, we headed back to my car, and I bid him farewell. Though, I didn’t pray with him this time, I did give him one of my rosaries. I told him that even if he’s not Catholic or doesn’t remember the Our Father or Hail Mary, he could still hold the rosary and it would help him calm down and focus while he prays….. He’s in town until the beginning of May, so hopefully I get to see him again before he leaves. Speaking of leaving, I need to leave and head downtown. My  nieces, Haily and Hannah are in town for the Easter weekend, and I’m going meet them and my dad downtown for lunch. Need to stop @ Nikki Soileau’s to get her and load up her wheelchair so she can come have lunch with us. Praise You Lord Jesus for the blessing of Divine
Appointments, as well as friends and family. Help me Lord to trust you more, and to have the courage and strength to make the choices I need to make so I can love you more. Help me to persevere Lord! St. Francis Xavier, patron of missions, pray for us!

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DIVINE APPOINTMENT NAMED MARTIN…………..

Sunday 3/28/10 – 6:10pm @ Ms. Laura Lahaye’s house by Cathedral

I just commented to Ms. Laura how God gives you opportunities to grow when he knows you need to work on something. I was just at CC’s 15 minutes ago, and one of the things I journalled about was being docile to the promptings of the Spirit. Within that area of growth is the need to recognize and fulfill divine appointments, as well as having the courage to pray with others. So, as I’m leaving CC’s, a guy named Martin catches my attention. He very politely asked if I had some money or could buy him some food. I said “Brother, I don’t have any cash, but if you follow me over to Quizno’s I’ll treat you to some dinner. He happily obliged and followed me over. I knew as soon as we started talking that I was staring Jesus in the face, and that this was a divine appointment. How could I possibly say no? I couldn’t, so I didn’t. 🙂 We met up @ Quizno’s, ordered him some food, and chatted things up while waiting for his food. No big details of life were revealed, it was mostly small talk. But I was blessed by his presence and friendliness, and also blessed to have this opportunity. It dawned on me while we were still inside, “Hey! I said I didn’t have any cash, but I’ve got a bowl full of change in my car!” That “bowl” was the cardboard change bowl that CRS (Catholic Relief Services) distributes during Lent to collect money for the poor. So I told Martin, “I got some spare change for you in my car, if you wanna follow me out once you have your food.” He was real nice and thankful at the idea, and followed me out to my car. I handed him my CRS bowl of change, and told him “Just do me a favor man, and say a prayer for me, I need it like everybody else.”

Again, he was nice and agreed and we chatted a bit, and he told me “God Bless You”. But, then I did something that’s hard for me to do and that I rarely do; I asked him if he’d like to pray, and he graciously accomodated me and accepted. I prayed a quick prayer, partially b/c I was nervous, partially because I was embarrassed, and partially because I didn’t want him to think I was trying to beat the Bible into him in 30 seconds or less. While I could have done a better job at the prayer, it was such a blessing anyways. After we prayed, I bid him farewell, and let him know that if he ever saw me again and needed anything, to let me know. He more graciously responded “Maybe next time I see you I can treat YOU to dinner.” My heart just about melted with joy and love when he said that. Why do I mention all this? Because I have to. I can’t witness God’s works and not be a witness. I had just journalled about docility to the Spirit, divine appointments, and praying with others. And then BOOM!, as soon as I walk out of CC’s, he blesses me with that encounter. I guess I don’t want to boast about what I did. I just wanted to witness to the fact that God knows our needs, and he hears and answers our prayers. He knew that I needed an opportunity to do those things, he know that I was struggling with loneliness and lack of trust in his ability to bring me fulfilling relationships, so he blessed me with my encounter with Martin. Praise you Lord for blessing me through my brother Martin. I pray that I sufficiently did your will and that Martin is now able to help bless others that you bring into his life. Amen! Glory!

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FORGIVE ME LORD…………..

Sunday 3/28/10 – 5:00pm @ CC’s Coffee on Johnston St.

I’ve been meaning to write in my journal for the past five days, but God kept presenting me with opportunities so I kept delaying it. I wanted to write about confession. I’ll spare you the details, but Tuesday I was in need of the sacrament of Confession. I couldn’t make it to noon confession @ Wisdom, so I tried going to Fatima after work, but the priest couldn’t make it. I know priests are busy, and he probably had a good reason, but this really frustrated me. It’s happened several times before. If it’s that much of a problem to be there, then don’t advertise that you will have confession at certain times on certain days. Anyhoo, so I pass by Wisdom on the way to Ms. Laura’s to see if I could catch Fr. Chester for a minute, but he was out on the road going to an appt. My chances for going to Confession were not looking too good. After our Coreteam meeting, I go back to Wisdom, catch the end of the Tuesday night Mass. I talk to one of the staff members to see if there was any chance I could pull Fr. Chester aside real quick to hear my confession. Instead of some nice, charitable, generic, non-commital answer that would encourage me to make the decision myself, she came at me with a stiff-necked response of “there are scheduled times when the priest is available.” No Duh!!!!! You think I don’t know that? Again, I didn’t expect her to ask the priest for me, but at least have some kind of decency and compassion in the way you respond to me. For God’s sake, I’m trying to restore a connection of grace between my soul and God.

You better darn well make that more of a priority of yours if you work for the Church. At this point, the disappointment was really starting to set in. Then I get the idea to go to the Community of Jesus Crucified to see if Fr. Frey or Fr. Champagne were there. Surely, they, of all people, would be available. Well, as my luck would have it, neither one was there. They were out and about on other priestly duties. At this point, I had just about resigned (consigned?) myself to not receiving the Sacrament. So I’m headed back home on Pinhook Road and I pass by St. Patrick’s. I see a car at the rectory, so I pull in to see if the lights are on. Sure enough, they are. For a split second, I ponder whether or not to disturb the priest. I decided that a slight inconvenience on his part is worth it, if on my part, my soul is restored to God. So, I knock on his door, and after I explain my situation, he mutters something about the situation being ridiculous (not joking, wish I could say I was) and then talks about how he just heard confessions for 2 and a half hours at a penance service, which was “scheduled to give people the opportunity to receive the Sacrament.” Well you know what, I couldn’t make it. Furthermore, ministry doesn’t always happen neatly on our own schedule. Sometimes *GASP!* you have to answer a knock on the door at night, after you’ve already returned home and become all comfy and relaxed. To the priest’s credit though, he allowed me into his house, heard my confession, and absolved me of my sins. As I finally achieved my goal of restoring my soul to God, I reflected on how I got to that point.

I deliberately chose to separate my soul from God by my selfish action. But I knew right away that I wanted to restore my soul as soon as I could into God’s grace and life. As I was making my attempts to go to confession and failing, I wondered if I was being impatient, and maybe if I should just wait until the next day. However, I realized that I can’t stand it when I’m separated from God. I also realized that we are never guaranteed our next breath, and that I might not live to see another day. That being said, I didn’t want my last day on earth to be one that was marked by giving up on trying to reconcile my soul to God. That’s why I drove all over town and went through all that trouble. And you know what? It was worth it. There’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING like experiencing the burden of sin being lifted from your soul through the sacrament of Confession. I felt like that whole series of events mirrored 2 separate bible passages. One was about the woman who kept after the judge to grant ruling on a decision she was seeking. She kept after him to do it. Finally, even if not because he desired to do it, he granted her a ruling because of her persistence. The other bible passage is Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In other news, I feel like God continues to bless me as I journey towards my vocation as a foreign Catholic lay missionary. Right now I’m trying to live my life by learning to love where God has me at the moment. He is using this time leading up to my missionary training to teach me about patience and obedience.

I believe he’s also teaching me docility to the promptings of the Spirit. There have been so many opportunities in the small, normal, everyday circumstances for me to be a missionary. Sometimes, I’ve responded well, sometimes I haven’t. It feels like I’m doing an ok job in giving of my time and money. I’m not doing a good job of praying with others or having personal prayer time for myself. Being a missionary at work is really hard too. How the heck do I be Christ-like in a place I don’t want to be, and neither do I feel called to be there. However, even if it’s not my permanent calling, it’s where i’m called to be right now. And that means I need to be a missionary there. I know that’s what God wants, and if Jesus can do what he did, then surely I can receive graces his sacrifice to do the difficult things in life that I must do. I praise and I thank God for working slowly but surely in my life and helping me to grow and become a better person. I thank God for the many small victories and countless blessings in my life. I pray for the grace to be able to give my life to God and live on his terms and not mine. I pray for the grace to be able to TRUST him. Gosh, I know this sounds random, but I really do miss the people that were on the trip to Mexico earlier this month. Lord, help me to let friendships and relationships develop under your guidance, according to your plan, and on your timeframe. Thank you Lord for the many blessings of my life that have helped me to grow closer to you. Help me to bring others closer to you. Amen! Glory!

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IT’S GONNA BE A ROUGH LANDING

3-14-10 (continued)

How can i go back to normal everyday life when I’ve seen how much of a blessing life as a missionary can be. On the other hand, I know exactly why I have to go back to Lafayette. I have to grow in patience and obedience until the time is right. So these next few months will be filled with fulfilling my obligations in the “real” world as well as preparing myself to enter foreign missions. Now I know that nothing is impossible with God, and that I can get through these next few months. I’m really looking forward to beginning to learn that I’m a missionary for Christ no matter where I’m at. I’m looking forward to continuing with Lifeteen Ministry @ Cathedral.

I know that I will grow in love for my family and friends. And of course, I am definitely looking forward to being as involved with FMC as possible. Hopefully I can keep in touch with my fellow missionaries, both short and long term. Joe and Brooke’s wedding is coming up this friday, there’s mission formation every week, and then of course there’s the Come & See weekend in June out @ Big Woods. All in all, the next few months will be challenging, frustrating, long, exhiliarating, rewarding, and most of all BLESSED. Gotta go now, this time for good. Think I’m gonna pray a chaplet of Divine Mercy during the flight. Lord Jesus, help me to grow in love and charity. Help me to always be ready and willing to give of myself for the sake of your kingdom. St. Francis Xavier, patron of missions, pray for us. Missionary family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us. Amen!

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STILL AT 30,000 FEET

I was also blessed and inspired by my fellow short term missionaries. The energy of the university students re-energized me. They jumped right into the mission and were a good example to me. The married couples who were among the group of short term missionaries were also wonderful people who helped me to learn and grow alot. And as someone who aspires to be married one day (God willing), I was particularly drawn to the beautiful, holy, Catholic young women in our group. In a perfect mix of inner and outer beauty, I saw all the things that I hope God blesses me with in a spouse. I saw a love for others, a love for missions, joie-de-vivre, and so many other things. **To be continued later today….. we’re approaching Dallas for our landing and i gotta put my stuff away.**

Okay, I’m back. At gate B-10 in Dallas waiting to board my flight to Lafayette. I didn’t realize it at first, but when I arrived here, the time change had gone into effect. That meant instead of arriving in Dallas at 5:15 and boarding my plane at 6:45, I landed at 6:15. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any checked bags to slow me down. Got through customs very quickly and arrived at the gate with two minutes to spare. **Gotta go. boarding the plane**

BAck again….. waiting on the flight to depart from the gate. As I was saying, I was blessed with great young women to fellowship with. Whether one of these women is my future wife, or whether it’s someone else, I was most blessed by their presence. Next on my mind is what is gonna happen now that I’m going back home. One part of me has no idea how I will survive the next few months until Missionary Intake 2010 with FMC in September. I want to be in missions so badly and it’s something I really feel like I’m called to.

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WRAP UP AT 30,000 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL

Sunday 3/14/10 – Approx. 30000 feet in the air, aboard American Airlines flight from Monterrey, Mexico to Dallas, TX

We’d need to go back into my journal to verify, but i think this is the first journal I’ve ever done while flying on a plane. The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, and all is good. It’s a bittersweet happiness though as I head home after a week of amazing mission work in General Cepeda, Mexico. The realization that I may never see the people I encountered this week until we get to heaven, is, well, a little tough. I fell even more in love with the people of General Cepeda. I feel in love with and was inspired by my fellow missionaries.

**random side story: As I was boarding the plane, I saw that a pilot was among the passengers. A question I had always wondered came to mind. Wouldn’t distance travelled be less if planes flew at a lower altitude? The answer is yes and no (according to the answers he gave me). If planes lifted straight into the air like a helicopter, the distance would be greater as the altitude increased. However, planes ascend and descend at a gradual rate, changing the actual distance travelled. Another aspect of the equation is that at higher altitudes the air is thinner and provides less resistance, ergo, less gas is burned.**

Back to my regular entry: Of particular inspiration to me among the people of General Cepeda were the native missionary families like Tonio and Mari. In spite of their relative poverty, they give of themselves and their family as missionaries to their own people. They are generous and supportive as co-laborers with the FMC missionaries. Their example as missionaries and as a married couple was very inspiring. I kow, without a doubt that God has blessed them and is using them in a powerful way.

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DESERT DAY – PART 4

Once again, I felt God telling me to come before him in prayer in front of the Tabernacle while they prayed for her. Now I know that many people have already discovered the power of praying in the presence of the Eucharist. I reveal nothing new in that regard. But I felt like I got to do so in a way that really brought the reality of intercession and prayer to life for me. The crazy part is, I could go on and on about all the revelations and blessing I’ve received on this trip, but I’ve only got 10 minutes left before I have to return to the van. As I sit here, I’m under the shade of some bushes by the side of a beautiful little stream. The sun is bright, the sky is beautiful, the breeze is blowing, and I can hear the sound of the water flowing past me. It is so utterly peaceful and refreshing out here.

I feel blessed beyond belief to be here at this very moment and to have this time to be with God. Someone commented earlier today that God blesses different people in different ways. At this moment, as I sit in this spot, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is using all of these surroundings to bless me and shower his love on me. Well, the car horn is honking so I gotta head back. Praise you Jesus for this time of prayer and renewal. Please give me a heart of love to continue growing and serving you. Alleluia! Glory! Amen!

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DESERT DAY – PART 3

At the very moment I got to the front door, Maddie Dold was right outside and told me about a girl they had met at one of the ranchos who happened to be in town. Turns out, Maddie and Mandy had prayed with this girl and connected deeply with her at the rancho a few nights back. So last night, Maddie & Mandy, at just the right time, encountered this girl outside and got to talk with her, as well as give her some food and clothes. As Maddie is telling me this, she asks me to come and pray with them. I said yes, but told her that I felt like my prayer would be better if I went up to the chapel and prayed in front of the Tabernacle while they prayed with her.

So as I was doing that, they were praying with this girl and her family. As I was praying, I remembered Maddie telling me earlier that they were homeless and slept outside alot. Realizing that I didn’t need my sleeping bag as much as they did, I ran outside and had Mandy tell them to wait. I ran back inside and rolled up my sleeping bag and brought it out to them. I know it wasn’t much of a sacrifice on my part, but it really felt like I did a good thing. Then, to top it all off, this girl and her family thanked me and gave me a hug. The fact that in spite of their horrible situation they still were able to share love with others was amazing to me. These people, especially the young girl (her name is Alicia Guadalupe) were so beautiful and I was immensely blessed by them. Later that night, during prayer time, Maddie and Mandy shared the story with everyone. Towards the end of her sharing, Maddie confided in us that she was having a rough time in her spiritual life and got quite emotional. She asked us to pray over her.

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