Posts Tagged With: journey

Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 19

Day 19 – Friday – 10/12/12

Chillin’ out at the local graveyard for our weekly Desert Day prayer time. It is very peaceful and serene out here. Beautiful mountain scenery all around. Sunny day. A few wispy clouds is the sky. It’s a great place to come for some peace and quiet. We began our Desert Day quite appropriately by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a group before splitting apart. Getting to pray the Chaplet, on a Friday, in a cemetery provides a unique and somber opportunity to meditate on my own physical mortality. The principal thought that is coming to my mind is how little I seem to think about it. It almost seems like at times that I forget that I’m mortal, because I get so wrapped up in life here on earth.

But even if I live to some crazy Biblical age of 900+ years, that’s still a blink of the proverbial eye when compared to how old the universe is, how long it will be around after me, and especially in comparison to eternity. And while it’s good to enjoy the journey I can’t lose sight of my final destination, eternity with God. When I think about leaving behind all of the good stuff one day when God finally calls me home (family, friends, loved ones, cherished places, memories, etc…) it’s a little saddening. But then I think about how much greater eternity with God will be, and it gives me hope. Please Lord give me strength to persevere through this life and especially give me strength and comfort to persevere through the gateway of death so that I can be with you forever.

Today I’m reminded again of the awesome parallel with Jesus that I’m experiencing in my own 40 day fast out here in the desert. The hunger, the temptations, the closeness to God. It’s pretty surreal when I really think about it. If I only experience one IOTA of the grace that Jesus experienced during his 40 day fast, I will consider myself extremely blessed. If hunger is any indication of the level of grace I’m experiencing, I’m definitely receiving more grace as the fast continues. And if battling and subduing my will, inclinations, instincts, feelings, and desires is any indicator, then there too I’m experiencing alot of grace.

To end today’s entry, just a few reflections on the Eucharist, the ultimate fulfiller of the ultimate hunger. My physical hunger today is pretty noticeable, because instead of eating a meal split into two snacks (one at breakfast and one at lunch), i’m waiting until supper to eat because we have our monthly community dinner with the other missionaries. (edit: actually, I have to admit that the hunger pangs are pretty intense today.) I think also now that i’m well into my fast, and i’m taking two smaller snacks instead of a meal, my body’s adjusting and feeling the hunger more. So, I decided to do a communion service for one of the old men at the Comedor, because otherwise he wouldn’t receive the Eucharist. I can’t say no to him receiving the Eucharist, especially when I’m able to bring it to him, and especially when I know he really wants it. So besides the extreme privilege of bringing the Eucharist to him, I was also able to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist as my first solid food nourishment of the day.

To be able to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist when you are feeling strong hunger pangs heightens the experience of the Eucharist. It’s pretty amazing. I was equally astonished as to what he said regarding the Eucharist. Once I got there, it was apparent that he had a little bit of chest congestion and a little bit of a cough. He said he wanted to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist, but wasn’t sure if he should because of his cough and he didn’t want to disrespect Jesus by possibly coughing him up. I assured him that Jesus wants to be with him in the Eucharist, and that it was ok to receive Jesus anyways. That Jesus understood his situation, and could even heal him. I was just awestruck by this old man’s way of having so much respect for the Eucharist. If only we all had that same respect……..

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I know what I want

Saturday, May 19, 2012 – 6:20pm – Adoration Chapel @ Our Lady of Wisdom – Lafayette, LA

Just a few thoughts I had while in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament……

I know what I want. I want it so bad I can almost taste it. I see others who have also wanted the same thing and have received it. I try to be happy for them and not let it turn into envy, jealousy, or covetousness. It seems like the time for it is not far off, but it still isn’t time quite yet. I have to keep journeying towards it though. It’s tough to keep going when things aren’t always certain. It’s tough to keep going when so many times before it hasn’t worked out. It’s tough to keep going when you don’t know if your efforts will be reciprocated. It’s tough, for these and for so many other reasons.

Sometimes I wonder if I want it too much. But then I realize that God would not give me this desire for no reason. I really feel like this is the way that I’ll be able to love as much as possible. It’s the way that I’ll be able to identify most with Jesus and the way that he loves. I will suffer through whatever I have to suffer through. I will risk misunderstanding, humiliation, and heartbreak. I will sell all I have, if that’s what I have to do to gain this beautiful pearl. I will not wait until I’m completely holy, healthy, and capable, because I never will be. I will pursue it as I am now, hoping and praying that God will strengthen me where I am weak

And when I obtain it, my heart will be filled with joy. I will receive as much love as I possibly can, because I will be fulfilling the desire of my heart and soul that God has made me for. I will pour out my love like never before, never having to be afraid that I’ll run out, or that it will not be received. I know because of this that new love will spring forth. At this point, I can only imagine what it will be like. I look forward with faithful and eager anticipation to the day when I will know for myself what it is like.

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Epiphany in the shower………

10-22-10 – On the swing facing the pasture, back porch of the big house @ Big Woods Mission Base

When I was cleaning up after my morning jog, I was doing some reflecting on things I’ve been going through and thinking about lately. It felt like such an amazing epiphany that I praise God that I remembered it until now. Seems like so many times I’ve had great ideas and things to share but I always forget them and forget to write them down. I hope that I can maybe share this with everybody at High Praise tonight.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking “Get to the point!” so here goes. As I stared going to Mission Formation last year, the Intake missionaries told me that no matter who you are, Intake will change your life. They were not lying, I can assure you. I have to admit that I was not even close to being saintly before Intake started and I still am not. However, I thought I was doin ok. Mostly small issues are what I felt I was dealing with. Boy oh boy, how big the small things turn out to be. Since Intake is an intense journey further towards the Lord, you learn alot about yourself. It’s like being under a microscope and REALLY getting to know yourself and your faults.

At this point, I’ve discerned that my 3 primary struggles are 1.) Laziness, 2.) Impatience, or in other words, failing to live in the present moment and receive it’s blessings without being too focused on the future, & 3.) Letting go of relationships and the desire for them. I already knew that laziness and impatience would give me problems, but I really felt like with out one year singles commitment that #3 would not be a struggle. I was wrong. It continues to be a great struggle for me. Besides the whole weakness of “being in love with Being in Love”, the wonderful missionaries I’m surrounded by make it really difficult too. What I mean is that I’m surrounded by amazing married, engaged, and dating couples. I see how the Lord blesses them through that and it makes me really want that. And then I see the amazing females that God called to FMC and it makes me want it even more. I mean, How can you NOT be enamored with a woman whose inner beauty far exceeds her outer beauty? (though to be fair, I should qualify that statement and say that the outer beauty is still TOTALLY righteous) :]

What makes me really ashamed is when my petty insecurity and jealousy raises its ugly head. When I see people that I admire sharing their genuine love and Christ-like affection with others, I don’t know how to handle it, except by maybe keeping silent and bringing it to prayer. It’s as if they owe their affection to me and me alone. I also seem to have a greater desire for human companionship than I do for companionship with Jesus. How could I do this? Why would I want to be this way? In light of the grace that God offers us, I have no answers to these questions and my selfishness is non-sense. Only thing I can say is that somehow/someway God’s grace will get me through this.

Recently, I was reading a book that Mrs. Genie passed on to me. It’s titled “Prison to Praise”, and it’s a pastor’s testimony of God’s saving grace in his life. But beyond that, what really struck me was what he viewed as the solution to our problems. Let me begin with a key bible verse he used to make his point: “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the spirit…” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

As I’m sure many others have been, I was really confused by this. Sure, praise God for the good, but for the BAD too? That’s ridiculous. That’s insane. That’s being a glutton for punishment. But the more and more I read & thought about it, the more and more it made perfect sense. If I don’t praise God in all things, then I lose my faith and confidence in Him, and start to give power to my circumstances. As soon as I do that, I do exactly what The Bible verse told me not to do. I begin to quench the Spirit. However, if I praise God for everything, it gives him glory, it helps me to realize that he has the power to overcome anything, and thus I begin to unlock his healing power in my life. This is such an amazing revelation to me and I praise God for it.

Another reason I feel blessed to realize this is it will help me to continue to strengthen myself and especially others. If I can’t allow myself to trust God in these “smaller” matters that I’m dealing with, then how can I trust him in bigger things? If HE can’t trust ME  to be faithful to him in these smaller matters, then how will HE be able to trust ME with bigger tasks? What really strikes me is that if I can’t trust God and praise him so that he can get me through this, then how can I possibly go to Mexico next month and minister to God’s children there, whose problems are much worse than mine? I feel like doing that would make me a liar and would diminish the power of my witness.

It would be so much easier to not trust God and not praise him for even the bad circumstances. At least that way things would make a little more sense and I’d at least have a little power I could call my own. But, I know that’s not what I’m called to do. I pray that by God’s grace I can praise him in all things, so that his healing power can flow freely in my soul. I pray that I can humbly receive the grace to “Let Go and Let God”. Lord, walking the straight and narrow path to holiness and salvation isn’t easy, but I know it’s worth it. Praise You Lord Jesus. Amen.

p.s. – It just occurred to me after all this talk of praising and thanking God, that the word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving”. Thank God I’m Catholic! 🙂

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Urban missionary’s spiritual battle ammo for extra graces……..

Thursday 7/22/10 – 3:30pm @ Awardmaster

You know how as soon as you get to work on certain days, that you can tell “it’s gonna be one of those days”? Well this morning certainly had that feel. For some reason, when my coworker asked me a question, I let my impatience mate with my propensity for placing blame and immediately started to get irritable. I noticed after a few minutes that I continued being like this and that I was just AGGRAVATED! Dunno where it came from either. However, something I did which I had not done well with in the past saved me. I prayed and asked for prayer in my moment of frustration. I sent a text message to a friend and asked her to pray for me, explained the situation and that I did NOT want to have a bad day. Listen to what she told me: “Smile though you don’t feel you can and offer it up for someone on your heart. You’re being given ammo for extra graces!” How true is that….. Praise God! I followed her advice and today ended up being a good day and my frustration never got to me. It wasn’t easy “offering it up” but it has made all the difference.

Another thing that has been a blessing for me is the development of new missionary-minded friends. There are three in particular that God has brought into my life and they are a TREMENDOUS blessing. When I was discerning the priesthood, one of my best friends who was also on that path was my rock. I could level with him about anything even the nitty gritty, and it really helped me on my journey.  The same holds true with these three. I feel like I can level with them about anything relating to my journey into missions. I feel like I can ask them for prayer. Whenever I talk with them, my heart is full of joy and contentment because I know that our faith is what brought us together, and because I know they have a heart for missions. They have not been in my life for very long but I am thankin’ God right now that he blessed me with their presence, friendship, and guidance. At this point I’m pretty sure that one of them will definitely be with me @ Intake and another probably  will be there too (don’t know for sure yet, since the application was just faxed in today).

In other news, I gave a missions talk at the Lafayette Men’s Ultreya last night. The moment I confirmed that I was doin the talk I knew I needed prayer. Had my amazing missionary friends (and some others) prayin’ for me and the talk was AMAZING! You coulda heard a pin drop these guys were so riveted to what I was sayin. They ate it up and even asked some questions afterwards. Was blessed to get some contact info to add to my mailing list. What really humbled me though was how they lifted me up in prayer both before and after my talk. The feeling of being blessed by this was simply overwhelming. God is good to me through the people in my life 🙂 Oh  yeah, Mr. Jim Whittington, the leader of this group, told me that he’d try to see if any other area Ultreyas would like me to talk as well. Anyhoo, I must be going. Gotta figure out some things for the Word of God conference this weekend in NOLA. I leave you with this verse, the story of my life: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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I want to find myself……….

Tuesday 5-25-10 – 8:00pm @ Adoration Chapel at Our Lady of Wisdom Church in Lafayette, LA

Lately, as I’ve been reflecting on my successes and failures, one particular verse has come to mind. St. Paul says in Romans 7:19 “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” This describes with great accuracy my current spiritual journey. I feel like I have grown immensely over the past 10 months I’ve even been journeying towards what I believe is a call from God to be a lay foreign missionary. I’ve experienced God’s marvelous mercy through the sacrament of confession, and I’ve been blessed by the prayer and fellowship @ FMC.

Now, it’s not that I have sinful pride that causes me to think I am ever or should be perfect. I know I’m going to be a sinner with imperfections. However, as I’ve aged, I’ve come to expect more from myself. Problem is, that’s not necessarily what I’m getting. While I do encounter moments of grace, I still feel like i’m stuck in the same ‘ole sins, and that I’m not able to overcome them. I want to overcome them so I can start working on other imperfections. My theory though, is that I will discover who I am when I go into missions. I long to be able to find myself. Once I know who I am and who I can be, I believe that I can really grow, and learn, and make progress. Lord, grant me patience, humility, obedience, courage, and perseverance. Please Lord, also take care of my family, especially my parents and my sister.

Lord, in my absence, fill their hearts and liveProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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with an abundance of grace. Thank You Lord Jesus for your love and your mercy. Amen!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – MENDING FROM BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS

This first part of my 12/14 entry is 1 of 2 pages. Some of it may not seem like it has anything to do with my missionary journal, but i can assure you, anything that has anything to do with my personal growth (or lack thereof) is relevant to my missionary journey. Also, NAMES have been omitted to protect the privacy of others.

12-14-09 Monday / 6:15am @ CC’s Coffee on Johnston St

News to report! For the first time since we broke up back in the end of July, me and (name omitted) actually talked on the phone for at least 15 minutes and had a real conversation. It was a really huge blessing for me. Just knowing that we could talk as friends and knowing that life was treating her good was a good thing for me. The low points of the conversation were A) if felt at times a bit awkward and forced b/c it had been so long since we had talk and b/c the last time we talked for more than 30 seconds on the phone was when we had the “break-up” phone call, & B) I realized I’m still getting over her. It’s not like I WANT to not get over her, it’s not like i WANT to wallow in self-pity and regret. I truly don’t.

I want to recognize the blessing that it was and be able to move on. Sometimes I even feel like I idolize this problem (as I’ve done with other problems) by focusing so much on this “being unhealed” and struggling with it, that instead of receiving healing and moving on I end up using it (the struggle) as a way to hold on.

Back to positives, she asked again about my discernment of joining FMC for Intake 2010. It felt good to have a friend ask about me going into missions. Not to sound egocentric, but I love the opportunity to talk about it and share with others. It helps me to get excited and also by talking about it, it helps me to further discern and evaluate. The main points I touched upon were that A) I didn’t want to work at the shop and take it over, and B) going away on missions would help me to let go in faith and trust that God, on his time, will bless me with the desires of my heart. Last night we didn’t have a lifeteen meeting, and since I had seen my fellow coreteam members Friday and Saturday night for the Christmas parties, I decided to go to 6pm Mass at Wisdom.

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