Posts Tagged With: prayer

Long Time No See. Oh mylanta, how things have changed!

Howdy y’all.

It’s Sid here. Been awhile since I’ve written. It usually only happens when I’ve got alot of material, or feel inspired, neither of which has happened lately.

Since I last write y’all, life has changed a bit for me. Since January, when I was still with Family Missions Company, I started working part-time in outreach & evangelization at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville, LA. Sometime during the spring, my pastor, who is also the chancellor at our parochial high school, Vermilion Catholic, referred me to the principal there. They needed a part-time theology teacher & campus minister. Figuring my background in seminary, youth ministry, and missionary work was a good foundation, I went ahead and interviewed and got the job.

After I got the job I realized it would be very hard to try and stay affiliated (which also means obligated) with FMC. Before things could get awkward or stressful, and while everybody still loved everybody, I decided to process out of FMC. This means I am now an “alumni” missionary, with formal or official ties to FMC, and no obligations. When my work schedules permit, I try to attend prayer meetings or other functions they have going on.

Y’all please pray for my ministry at the church parish and at the school as well. And please prayerfully consider continuing to support FMC through donated time and prayer and donations.

Β 

God Bless,

Sid

aka – Mr. Sid

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my first ever teacher pic on the day they took school pictures.

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nice little note left on the board by some of the home ec students after they

cooked me breakfast in first hour one day. I think I’m gonna like teaching here πŸ˜‰

Β 

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New Year reflections on love and life from a Cajun Catholic missionary

Sunday, January 13, 2013 – Noon thirty pm – Mom and Dad’s house – Lafayette, LA
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a journal entry, and I was startin to feel the itch. My impetus for this particular entry is my friendship with Anne. One of the things I really enjoy about our friendship is that I’m learning so much due to all the talking and discussion that happens between us. While Anne is the only one privy to all of the background stories and discussions, I still want to share these “gems” with y’all.
-“I want the whole truth & nothing but the truth, along with an undivided heart.” Perhaps just as bad as lying is failing to tell the whole truth. Yes, in telling partial truths you can literally say you are not intentionally lying to somebody. You may not even be desiring to lead them astray. But if you don’t give them the whole picture then you bear responsibility for when things go wrong. Related to this would be loving others with an undivided heart. Nothing’s worse than trying to have a discussion with someone who is distracted. If someone does not pay attention to me when I’m trying to have meaningful discussion or interaction with them, if their actions don’t prove to me that I’m important and that they’re focused on me, then I feel gypped. Same thing applies to loving others. If you only seek to fulfill the “minimum requirements of love” (as if such a thing even exists) then you are not going to be able to show that the relationship and the person are important to you. My advice is to do what you have to do, and then do more. The extra effort will be worth it.
-“What’s not a big deal to you may be a big deal to someone else.” We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences in life. Inevitably your outlook on certain issues will be different than that of those whom you love. That’s why you have to be considerate and take into account what your loved one has gone through, in order for you to be sensitive to how things affect them. A simple joke or a seemingly small issue for you could be something that touches upon a very sensitive area for your loved one. And because you love them, you have to be prepared to pay attention to these small things and act accordingly or avoid them if at all possible.
-“A small deal can become a big deal, in both good ways and bad.” As I stated in the last paragraph, small things that are not heeded can create problems. But it also works for good. A simple note, a quick hello, a little hug, or a meaningful compliment can make the day of the one you love.
-“Daily personal prayer time is a must, no matter how many other spiritual things you do.” Imagine trying to run a car on fumes. Or sustaining a friendship when virtually no meaningful communication exists. That’s essentially what you’re do to your relationship with God when you don’t pray. Aside from that relationship suffering, you also won’t be able to get what you need to live your life lovingly for others. The same can be applied to your relationship with your loved one. Without communication, your relationship will wither and die. And if you don’t relate to God daily in prayer, then you won’t be able to relate to your loved one in the way that you need to.
-“The ugly truth is better than a pretty lie.” Sometimes we are scared to reveal unpleasant truths about ourselves or our pasts for fear that the other person will stop loving us. If they do stop loving you, then it was not the right kind of relationship. However, chances are that they’ll love you anyways, because they can see through the imperfections. But if you hide truths from them, or if you lie about something (even if it’s in a seemingly innocent or protective sort of way) in order to make yourself look better, then your relationship’s foundation is weakened. A pretty lie is still a lie. But an unpleasant truth honestly and freely revealed, is still the truth. Doing that will help you to build trust with the one you love and it will help you to be vulnerable in a way that is good.
-“Loneliness and stress can be cruel masters or great motivators.” Loneliness and stress are two of the leadings causing of people doing dumb stuff. It’s because they focus so much on the problems of loneliness and stress as well as the by-products of these two things, that they lose sight of the solution. Sure it’s easy to wallow in misery and self-pity when stress and loneliness are knockin’ at your door. But just imagine how much better things could be if you allowed these two things to motivate you instead of torment you. Instead of seeking wordly things that will never fill the hole in your heart, allow loneliness and stress to motivate you to do charitable works, or to pray more, or to seek the company of others. If you do this not only will you grow, but your relationship with your loved one will grow as well.
-“Love is a choice that is worth your time and effort.” Sometimes love feels great, both literally and figuratively. But our modern culture lies to us when we are tricked into believing that love always feels good. Love is sometimes hard. Love is sometimes painful. Love is sometimes confusing. It doesn’t just happen. You have to choose it. Yet it’s always worth it. And what is love? Love is doing right and growing closer to God. If you want to show your loved one that you truly care for them, then do right and help them grow closer to God.
-“Trustworthiness and vulnerability go hand in hand.” You cannot trust someone if they cannot open up and be vulnerable with you. On the other hand, you cannot be vulnerable with someone if you cannot trust them. It’s kinda like the chicken and the egg question. I’m not sure which has to come first. I just know you gotta have both.
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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 40

Day 40 – Friday – 11/2/12

What’s that you say? It’s day 40 of my 40 day fast? THAT MEANS MY 40 DAY FAST IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aoiejhanvclknasl;kfjgv;oairejhjgf;ncv’kjao;riehfanv;lknasfdoitaonc v;lakjhgoiag;ona;lxknv;oaijgf;ja;jkgfa!!!!!!!!a;isjv;lakngfajd;fljk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I think I’ve got a hold of myself now. πŸ™‚ It’s crazy to think that this is the end of my 40 day fast. I didn’t think it would go by so quickly. Neither did I think that it would be as amazing of an experience as it was. But I guess your first time doing something like this will always be memorable. Today was a pretty good day. Had a couple of cups of coffee this morning before heading out to pick up one of our home visits to go to the local cemetery to decorate family members’ graves for All Souls Day. We also went so that we could attend Mass in the cemetery. Lemme tell you somethin’, you ain’t seen nothin’ until you see All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) in Mexico. I’ve never seen more flowers (real or artificial) in my life! And the cool thing is, it’s not some sad or mopey occasion. Here, it’s a celebration. People decorate the graves. They hire mariachi bands to serenade them and their dearly departed family members at the gravesite. They bring food, usually some of the favorite food of the deceased, and have lunch at the gravesite.

After Mass ended I came back home and tackled the table covering project. One of my benefactors sent me the money to buy new material to cover our tables with. Today was the first chance I had to actually get it done. Probably took me at least 3 or 4 hours. Now, I’m sure that I was slightly overboard on some of the things I did to make sure they were measured, cut, positioned, and then secured as best as possible. I was also just moving slow. There was no rush, not much going on tonight, so why hurry? Once it was done I was uber happy. The dining rooms and kitchen look alot better. To break things up a bit and to give myself a rest, I made a few trips to the grocery store. Since I can start eating 3 meals again tomorrow, I had to make sure I had some breakfast ready. One of my mission partners also gave me some pesos as his contribution towards the table coverings, even though it was all donated. So I ended up buying some absolute essentials for the house: coffee, creamer, and sugar! πŸ™‚ After I was done with all that, I headed across the plaza to the church parish for a little bit of adoration. Did night prayer and was in the process of reading a book when they told me they were about to lock up, so I came on back, and here I be.

So at the end of my 40 day fast, I have no choice but to retrospect. First thing I think about is all the “commitments” I had for the 40 day fast. Most of them having nothing to do with fasting, but all of them having something to do with self-control or making myself better. Less computer time. More guitar practice.
Diversify prayer time. I think I just got too caught up in trying to add on all these extra commitments, thinking that they could just ride on the coattails of my main commitment, and I’d be able to get them all done. But it was kinda distracting too. Next time I do something like this, i’m just gonna have my fast and that’s it. Otherwise I’ll lose focus on the most important thing, the fast itself.

In regards to my main commitment, the fast itself, I think I did ok. Didn’t do bad, but could have done better. I learned alot about self-control and honesty. Many times I found myself trying to get around the rules by either having snacks, spreading out my meal to lessen the sacrifice of feeling hunger, or eating a ton of food for my one meal so that I was fuller (less hungry) for longer. Another thing I was blessed with is a better perspective on how hungry and poor people feel. Now that I know the anxiety of hunger on a whole new level, I think I’m gonna be more in tune to the poor and ways that I can help them. My prayer intentions for the fast were: 1.)For an increase in humility, 2.)For an increase in charity, 3.)For clarity in discerning what next year will look like for me, 4.)For our Intake missionaries, 5.)For my sister and nieces, and 6.)For our presidential election. I think time will tell how much I succeeded in numbers 1 & 2. But I do think that I was blessed in those areas. As far as #3 is concerned, I definitely think I have more clarity now. Numbers 4-6, well, only God knows how those were affected. But I know that prayer works, and that God is a mighty God. And maybe I’ll never know in my earthly life what the effects of my prayers were, but when I get to heaven, then it will all make sense.

All in all, it was a great experience. A perfect way to prepare for all of the visiting missionaries this month. And a perfect way to end the year.

p.s.- Decided at 10:45pm that at midnight, when my fast ended, i’d celebrate by eating a bowl of cereal. Had to be the longest 75 minutes of my life.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 38

Day 38 – Wednesday – 10/31/12

I’d like to start my entry today with a quote from a song that someone passed along to me. “Happiness don’t drag its feet. And time moves faster than you think.” I like this quote. Scratch that. I REALLY like this quote. At first I wondered “do I like it so much because of the person that sent the song to me?”. Yes, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a reason I like the quote and the song. But, as I thought about it, I realized I like the song and especially this quote, because it very accurately reflects what I think and feel. Happiness indeed, don’t drag its feet. Why? Because it’s a good thing and it’s meant to be. Why should it be put off? Now don’t go gettin’ all nit-picky on me. Just take what I’m sayin at face value, for what it means, and you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about. And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered in life, time definitely moves faster than you think. So, what I take it to mean (at least to me) is that if happiness don’t drag its feet and time ain’t slowin down, I gotta go for this blessing. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, you remember that nap I told you about yesterday? You know, that REALLY good nap where I was dead to the world? I’ve re-discovered what happens when you take a nap like that too late in the day. You end up restless at 4am, walkin’ around bundled up in the freezing cold and prayin’ a rosary! πŸ™‚ That’s what happened to me this morning. Well, the nap was the main culprit. But also, I had an earlier bedtime than I normally have. I think too that because of our daily schedule here, even when the day is really full, it’s never one that is physically demanding or exhausting. So that trifecta came together in the perfect mixture I guess. It’s kinda good though. Early in theΒ  morning when the air is cold like this, it’s really crisp and refreshing. The prayer intentions that I offered up during my rosary made my early morning sleeplessness worth it. The other night I was telling someone that my style of relationship with God is to step out in faith and have the Lord guide me as I go. However there is nothing that can replace the security and assurance that comes with prayer. I know that the best thing I could do for the people that I love and are on my heart and the things that are on my heart, and the best way to be as close to them as possible (short of being physically present) is to lift them up in prayer.

Today should be a good day, even if just for the fact that Albert is back. Adds some extra energy to our daily life at the house. We have our last two home visits that we’re gonna do for the week. I’ll probably try and do some more preparations around the house. I can’t really do much cleaning yet, because I don’t want to sweep and tidy up the areas now, only to have them get dirty again before the group arrives on Tuesday. Gonna wait as late as possible to do that. Man, what I really need to do is consolidate my personal stuff in my room. It’s very spread out, which is I guess what tends to happen when you have a room all to yourself. But with 25 people coming next week, and 35 more coming the week of Thanksgiving, I know that I’m either going to be sharing a full room, in which case I’ll have to make my stuff very compact and also share shelf and closet space. Or, I might even have to move to another room. We’ll see. All I know is that I gotta do something with all that stuff. 6pm Mass is in the plans too. There’s no good reason not to go. Besides, how can I resist getting to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist? πŸ™‚

And I hope they have volleyball again tonight, cuz I’m really starting to enjoy it. I played again last night and had alot of fun. Got to see a few people I know, play some volleyball, andΒ  just get out of the house. It’s nice to get away from the house and refresh yourself sometimes. Something as simple as the cool outside air and a game of volleyball can do that. I also have to get something ready for an errand I’m running in Saltillo tomorrow. Among other things, I plan on going to the Cathedral for All Saints Day Mass, and for my one daily meal I think I’m gonna pay a little visit to Domino’s. πŸ™‚ I’ve been craving it ever since my last visit to Saltillo to pick up Albert. Thursday is also the last chance that I’ll get to go to Saltillo on my own before the group gets here. Friday is All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) and I wanna be here in town for the Mass in the local cemetery, and to be able to experience whatever other types of festivities that go on during that time. I’ve also gotta be focused on all the things I need to help out with to prepare for the group (put new coverings on table, clean, organize, etc….) Also, once they arrive, and even when we go to Saltillo as a group, there’s not as much freedom or flexibility to wander around Saltillo on your own. Gotta orient yourself toward the group, know what I mean?

As far as my fast goes, I’m pretty excited about that too. After today I’ve only got two days left. And while in some ways I’m ready for it to end, it’ll also be bittersweet. Not that I like the feeling of hunger, but it’s something you grow accustomed to. It gives you something to offer up and helps you to sharpen your spiritual focus. It also gave me the chance to look alot more carefully at what exactly I eat and how much I eat. But like I said, I’m ready for it to end. Ready to get back to a normal schedule and way of life. I’m ready to be able to step back from the experience, recover, get a “bigger picture” perspective as I do some retrospection, and move on from there.

p.s.- I don’t understand how, but for some reason I felt really good when I got up at my normal time this morning. Decided I wasn’t gonna let myself sleep late just because of last night. I knew that getting up early as normal might mean I’d be a little tired, which I definitely was right when I woke up. But after getting out of bed and going on my morning walk I felt great! πŸ™‚

p.s.s.- Another thing that’s really great about early morning walks in cold weather is the nice hot cup of coffee that was waiting for me afterwards. Truly a piece of heaven in a cup.

p.s.s.s.- Random fun fact: As I was doin’ some more laundry, sippin’ on my mornin’ coffee, jammin’ to my favorite country singer Josh Turner, I did me a little country hoe-down jig. Only cuz I knew no one was watchin’. It’d take a mighty special person to get me relaxed enough to do that in front of them! πŸ˜€

p.s.s.s.s.- Another random fun fact: Misunderstood some of Josh Turner’s lyrics as sayin’ “pickle mess” instead of “big ole mess”. Though, I suppose that “pickle-mess” sounds like somethin’ that charming country folk would say, like maybe when Mawmaw Billy-Jo accidentally uses baking soda instead of sugar to make her apple pie and when she tastes it says “aw shucks! them thar neighbors is comin over fer dinner tonight and i’m in a pickle-mess cuz i ain’t got no apple pie I can serve ’em!”. Hyphenated names is just somethin’ that country folk do, and if yer a girl named “Jo”, you gotta spell it without the “e” cuz only boys named “Joe” spell it with the “e”.

p.s.s.s.s.s. – Last random fact, I promise: Today, I literally stopped and smelt the roses. We’ve got a yellow rose bush growin’ in the back yard garden of our mission house.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 33

Day 33 – Friday – 10/26/12

Definitely felt the hunger pang this morning when I woke up, even though they gave me a small snack at the rancho prayer meeting yesterday afternoon. As I was heating upΒ  my coffee I made sure to offer it up and mentioned a few prayer intentions, because I knew that after I drank my coffee it wouldn’t be as much of a factor. Today looks to be a good day. At 11, me andΒ  Luis are headed out to one of the nearby ranchos to do a communion service. Then at 3, us and all of the mexican missionary families are going to a pecan orchard for our community Desert Day prayer time. I can almost guarantee you that we’ll be back before Mass, so I’ll take a shower and head to Mass once we get back. And tonight I really hope they do volleyball again. Hopefully it’s not a tournament either. It’s been fun the past few nights watchin’/playin’ volleyball. I just wish I’d have started doing this sooner during my time here, because I think I could have enjoyed it alot more and really gotten into it. Oh well, better late than never.

So the other thing that’s on myΒ  mind right now is time. Specifically, how fast or slow it passes. Even more specifically how fast it seems to go by when you’re really enjoying yourself. Why is it that 2 and a half hours seems like 10 minutes? 3 hours like 30 minutes? Wouldn’t it be more logical for God to make time pass more SLOWLY when we’re enjoying ourselves? It’s the only factor that keeps something that’s 95% awesome from being 100% awesome. The only thing I can surmise is that it makes us more appreciative of the time we do have in these kinds of situations.

Before we left for Desert Day, I ended up going on a thirty minute trek around town looking for floss, only to come up empty-handed. As I was leaving one of the stores, there was a blind beggar guy sitting on a crate outside. I’d seen him before, and I’ve even given him some money. But I didn’t give him any this time. I felt bad, but I still didn’t give him any money. I told myself that all I had was big bills and no small change. Well, maybe I was supposed to give him a big bill? Maybe I was supposed to buy something at the store so I could make change? Who knows….. All I know is that he was Jesus personified, and I passed him by. I hope my conscience keeps convicting me of this and similar situations, so I can be more generous with the poor.

In other news, we did end up doing volleyball again tonight. The winning team from last night brought their discada packet that they won to cook at the end of tonight’s friendly volleyball games. Discada is basically meat and vegetables that is cooked on a round metal disc. If it’s cooked inside in a kitchen, then normal pots or pans are used. The tradition comes from many years ago, when field workers would use one of the round metal discs that were used for tilling the fields, turn it horizontal, and use it to cook the meat and vegetables. I’m assuming they’d clean the metal disc before they cooked on it. πŸ™‚ Anyhoo, the discada was delicious, and even though I’m still on my fast I didn’t wanna be rude and turn down the hospitable offer for some food. AND, i was really really hungry too! πŸ™‚ Volleyball was fun too. I originally wasn’t gonna play cuz I definitely didn’t have the right clothes, and was wearing my leather/tire sandals. After the second invitation to play (they didn’t have quite enough people for a third team) I decided to play. I wouldn’t be bored, and the time would pass by quicker. Like I said earlier, it also gave me the chance to have some GOOD food.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 32

Day 32 – Thursday – 10/25/12

Accidentally overslept this morning. First of all, I forgot to reset my alarm after my nap yesterday. Also, I put it inside my nightstand instead of on top, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to hear it anyways. Oh well, it’s still a good morning. I think because I got a little extra sleep and am well-rested, and because God is good, and because we have beautiful clear blue skies, the sun is rising, and because there’s a nice cool refreshing breeze, I’m just happy. As I was watering the houseplants I remembered that I finished a book yesterday and get to start a new one today, and I ended up singin’ a little song and doin’ a little jig! πŸ™‚ Dorky, I know. The book I’m about to start is published by The Pontifical Council For The Family and is entitled “The Truth And Meaning Of Human Sexuality: Guidelines For Education Within The Family.” Looks to be very interesting and hopefully will give me guidelines and tips for when I have my own kids one day. I found it on the bookshelf here at our mission house. The next one is actually a small booklet on what the Church teaches about stem-cells, and then after that it’s a book called Mexican Martyrdom.

My only small sacrifice of the morning came when I realized I had no creamer for my freshly brewed coffee. Small thing, I know. But when coffee is a vital part of your morning routine, creamer is quite important! No worries though, cuz my coffee was fresh, hot, and had a little sugar in it too. Got to do a communion service at the nursing home and at one of our home visits. After that we made our rounds to the other missionaries’ houses to let them know that Desert Day prayer time is tomorrow at 3. It’ll be our last chance to do one as a group before the other missionaries arrive in November. Gonna do lunch at Rita and Gallo’s house, and then go with Raul and Marta to one of their rancho visits. Not sure if we’ll get back in time for Mass, but no biggie if not, because I got to receive the Eucharist when we did our second home visit. πŸ™‚

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 31

Day 31 – Wednesday – 10/24/12

Well I decided to sleep in an little bit this morning, and not get up for my morning walk. Stubbed my toe on Monday night, and I need to let it heal up anyways before putting on my running shoes. I also knew that today being “office hours” in the morning, would likely mean that I’d have a slow morning, since not many people come to the door. Ergo, I’d have time to do my reading and prayer at a leisurely pace. Man, for some reason, the coffee milk I had this morning was GOOD. Maybe it had somethin to do with the fact that I put three spoonfuls of sugar in it! πŸ™‚ Probably just gonna do various little small chores around the house today, eat me some lunch a little later on. We have a prayer service at the chapel in the neighborhood behind our house. It’s at 5pm this afternoon. We didn’t have many people show up last week, even though we told them the day before so they could spread the word. We even had Albert, who’s super good and going door-to-door and inviting people, make his way around the neighborhood while we waited in the chapel. I think we had about 5 or 6 people show up. But what I remembered for the bazillionth time, after I got over my obsession with numbers, is that if only one person shows up, and is touched by the Lord through us, then it’s worth it. So today, I doubt we’ll have a big crowd, though I’m sure we’ll have at least one or two people show up. We’ll do like we did last week: open up with a few songs and a prayer, preach on the readings of Mass that day, close in a prayer, and another song or two. We want it to be over before afternoon Mass at 6, so that not only we can go, but hopefully we can encourage them to go. There’s no substitute for receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

The hunger pangs have been hittin’ me pretty good the last few days. The one constant has been eating my daily meal at lunch time, and not having snacks at any other time of the day (except for my morning cup of coffee). So, I’ve been having some good stuff to offer up. I’m still struggling a little bit to be able to see Jesus in the people we serve. However, I did notice this morning when a lady came by to ask for medicine, that I didn’t have that normal resistance or impatience or feeling of discomfort that I’ve felt pretty strongly in the recent past. Slowly but surely, I think God is molding me and helping me to progress. We ended up not having the medicine she needed, and me and my mission partner’s funds are SUPER low (please say a prayer for that), so I wasn’t able to help her out with the meds. Another area to improve in, was that I didn’t pray with her. Sure, I was nice to her. Sure, I checked on the medicine thing. But I didn’t pray with her. I’m always telling people that the main charism of our missionary community is evangelism, yet I struggle to live that out. I always tell people that if we bring them material relief, but we don’t help them to have a relationship with Jesus, then all is for naught. And then I don’t pray with the people as much as I should. Need some help to improve in that area too.

Went to the volleyball court earlier tonight. It’s right next door at the presidencia. When I went two days ago just to watch and visit, I was asked twice if I wanted to play, but I didn’t have the right shoes or clothes. So today, not wanting to have a boring evening at the house, I decided to go to the volleyball court, and go prepared. Ended up playing for about half an hour and I really enjoyed it. My team won a few games, so evidently I wasn’t half bad! But I also think that I was the one providing comic relief to everybody, which I was glad to do. As long as people are smiling and having a good time. πŸ™‚ Came back home, read, prayed a rosary, and did night prayer. Settling down now for a relaxing evening…………

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 30

Day 30 – Tuesday – 10/23/12

Yahoo! I’m 3/4 of the way through my fast. One thing I’ve discovered over the past 3 months of various types of fasting, is that it makes the time whizz by! Maybe because you always have some kind of schedule that you can count down, and mark the progress. Who knows…..

So last night a friend of mine gave me a Bible verse, Phillipians 2:12-18. I can’t remember if she got it during her prayer time or at Mass. It’s a very missionary-themed verse where St. Paul encourages them to be faithful and that their faithfulness makes him proud. For that matter, ANY of his letters will be missionary-themed. But what I really liked about it was the reason why she gave me that Bible verse. She said it reminded her of me (because I’m a missionary) and wished me a happy World Missions Sunday. It may seem small, but it really touched and encouraged me & made me feel special. The cool thing is that she wasn’t the only one. It happened several times with other friends too, and each time it made me feel special.

Another noteworthy thing happened yesterday. On the weeks following communion service Sundays, we have 2 more rancho chapel visits on Monday, and throughout the week we have all our normal home visits. Besides bringing the Eucharist to the rancho chapel visits for communion services, we bring it to most of our home visits to offer communion services in case they didn’t get to go to Mass (as many of them are old or infirm). So yesterday, we brought the Eucharist with us, in one of those little gold containers, to both home visits and both rancho visits. We ended up not doing a single communion service, due to various reasons. And so I was tempted to think that we wasted our time bringing Jesus with us to all those visits. But then I said to myself “Hey wait a minute! We may not have consumed the Eucharist, but we were in the physical bodily presence of Jesus Christ for both home visits and both rancho visits. How awesome is that?!? So it was obviously still a very blessed time of relational ministry. πŸ™‚

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 26

Day 26 – Friday – 10/19/12

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own.” Came across this verse in morning prayer. It seems to be a theme that God is trying to teach me during my fast. No explanation needed, because the verse is pretty straight-forward. Just powerful though, and on point.

And look, I realize haters gon’ hate. But I am not afraid to admit that I was listening to Rascal Flatts and Taylor Hicks as I was walking to my Desert Day spot here at the local cemetery. Why? Well, it would have been a long, boring walk without it. I also just wanted to feel mo’ happy, and that kinda music makes me happy. πŸ™‚ Kinda ironic though that I’d wanna play happy music on the way to a cemetery where i’m supposed to quiet myself and be all meditative and listen to the Lord. I’m such a STRANGE creature. Lord, you really did break the mold when you made me. Desert Day was supposed to be in the mountains @ Tejocote today. But late last night Luis was asked to bring some people to Saltillo today in order to take care of some property papers or whatever at the courthouse. So I’m doin’ Desert Day solo. I really hope he gets back early enough so that we can do our rancho chapel visits to Tejocote and Dos de Abril. We’re nearing the end of our “good-bye” week as a team of singles.

Stayed up a little late last night talking to a friend on Skype, but it was worth it. I really enjoyed our conversation. So, naturally this morning I was a little tired, but managed to get up at my normal time for my morning walk and routine. Had that vital daily cup of coffee with me as I started my morning prayer. (I thank the Lord everyday that he invented coffee). I enjoy morning prayer in community, but when I know it’s just me for morning prayer, I enjoy that too. I don’t have a schedule to worry about, and I can take things at a more leisurely pace. Looking forward to some good prayer time here before we hit up the ranchos this afternoon. Pretty cool thing happened on the way here, twice. I passed up two guys and for a split-second, when I looked at them, I saw Jesus. Not literally, because the guys looked the same as I’m sure they always do. But I just had a strong sense, a realization, that I was looking at Jesus. Maybe because these guys looked a little destitute, and Jesus has a heart for the poor. It was an awesome experience. One of my prayer intentions the past couple of months has been to see Jesus when I see the poor. I’m thinking that prayer is being answered because I have this fast and voluntary suffering to offer up. Maybe the fast is what I need to be able to starting opening the eyes of my heart, so that they can control the eyes in my head, so that I can see Jesus reflected in everyone I see, especially the poor and those to whom I’m sent to serve.

Nighttime update: Luis ended up getting back early afternoon, sometime before 1. I had just arrived back at the house from my Desert Day prayer time when I realized he was already home. Second day in a row that I was pleasantly surprised that a Saltillo trip went much quicker than expected. We left for our two rancho chapel visits (Tejocote and 2 de Abril) around 3:30ish. At Tejocote we had a good crowd. As usual no men showed up, but we had at least 15-20 women, and a few kids too. We knew that they might bring a little something for all of us to snack on, but I was surprised at how much they brought. As with everyone else we minister to here, they aren’t rich, and could justifiably save the money spent on the food they brought for a myriad of other legitimate needs. And though the crowd at 2 de Abril was much smaller (5 women), proportionately, they brought just as much. These poor people are putting on a clinic on how to be generous! It’s humbling too, that they’d do it for us. I know God has me here, but I don’t think what we do is all that special. But as insignificant as my work seems to me at times, these people appreciate it. And if these humble and generous people appreciate it, and if God loves these poor people as much as I’m taught that he does, then it follows that whatever we’re doing here as missionaries must be something good

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 24

Day 24 – Wednesday – 10/17/12

Had another opportunity to practice self-control last night and this morning. I continue to explore the cooking side of myself in little ways. Earlier this week I bought some peanuts because I wanted to make homemade peanut butter. Well, besides the fact that it is not as easy as I thought it would be, I also didn’t account for my hunger making it really hard to resist eating it. πŸ™‚ You’d think I would have learned by now. But I did sample a little bit last night and this morning and I’d have to say that I’m very pleased with the outcome. It’s not like what you’d buy in a jar obviously. I simply shelled the peanuts, stuck ’em in a blender, add a few spoonfuls of cooking oil for moisture and creaminess and voila! Only thing i’ll do different next time is maybe add slightly less oil and put some sugar too. And If pecans weren’t so much work to shell, I’d do pecan butter. But I promise you I do not have that kind of patience, especially not when I’m on a fast. It’d either be torture not being able to eat the pecans, or I’d be so dang hungry that I’d eat the pecans as soon as they were shelled. Alas, that’s the biggest dilemma I face in life right now, which means I’m VERY blessed.

To revisit what seems to be a constant theme of my fast, I continue to learn about areas that I need to work on, and I continue to be humbled by the generosity of others. What seems to be most on my heart at this point in my fast, is my somewhat negative tendency towards selfishness and self-preservation. I use things like “fairness” and “being broke” to try and justify my behavior. Seemingly little stuff like not sharing my personal stash of coffee or sugar. But my mission partners, probably unbeknownst to them, continue to humble me and teach me in these small ways. Me asking Luis to hold off on doing his usual email/internet stuff so I could watch a UL Ragin’ Cajuns football game on a live video feed. And he did it! I can’t say with certainty that I would also have done that. Albert, before he left earlier this morning to go to the States for a few weeks to do some fundraising (say a quick prayer for that), bought some Mexican coffee for me since he knew that we were almost out. Again, it seems small, but God is using these small things to powerfully touch and move my heart. And I know Albert will be back in a couple of weeks, but I’ll definitely miss him. We enjoy the energy and friendliness that he adds to the mix here.

And unrelated to the fast, but I just feel like talking about it, is my recent decision to rejoin CatholicMatch.com. It’s basically a relationship/dating oriented website for Catholics. I did it for awhile last year, and was taking a break. But I decided that I needed to give it another chance. It’s a great way for the Lord to be able to introduce me to like-minded Catholic women and to be able to enjoy their company, form friendships, and possibly more. I think too that this time around I’m a little more patient about the whole process, and a little more mature and realistic in my expectations and how I go about doing it. So far I have really enjoyed it. Having great conversations that I really, really enjoy, and I can see for sure that I’ve at least got some new friends already. We’ll give it some time and prayer to see if God blesses it to go any further than that πŸ™‚

Came across an AWESOME quote from Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) an encyclical by Blessed Pope John Paul II that I’m currently reading. “In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditioned fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, and even in the most difficult situations.”

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