Posts Tagged With: weakness

Drunk in church & reflecting on my fast

Sunday – 9:00am – In the back seat of the old gray missionary van on the way to communion services in the ranchos – middle of nowhere, Coahuila, Mexico

Trying to write a journal entry in this van is like trying to build a house of cards during an earthquake. Very difficult to do. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it is kinda difficult. 🙂 But as you can see from the title of today’s entry, I got some pretty interesting stuff to talk about and didn’t want it to slip my mind. It also felt really strange yesterday not writing in my journal after having written everyday for the past 40 days. I can kinda see now how writing is therapeutic and can help you make sense of things a little better.

Now just to clear things up, I was not drunk in church, at least not on alcohol. But there was a drunk guy that wandered into Mass. I’m assuming he was a by-product of the concert last night at the Presidencia. Thankfully he was a very quiet and respectful drunk. You could definitely tell he was drunk though. His breathing was loud and labored. His walk and stance were a little bit wobbly. He weaved in and out of the pews a couple of times and had a couple of different seats before he finally settled on the same one for the rest of Mass. He also stomped his foot on the kneeler a few times. Oh, and at the end of Mass he walked up to the front pew and did a little dance too. To the credit of everyone there, they didn’t seem bothered or overly curious, with the exception of some stares by a few kids. What I felt kinda bad about was my initial reaction. I was worried that he’d be a distraction and that he shouldn’t be in Church. Wasn’t it Jesus that said he came to save the lost? Isn’t that one stray sheep just as important as the other 99? So for the rest of Mass I tried to pray for him instead of keeping an eye on him. Figured he could use my prayers more than my judgment.

Now that I’m a couple days removed from my fast I can also do a little bit of looking back on the experience. At this point I’m thinkin’ mainly of two things: guarding my growth and following my heart. When I think about the fast and all the graces I got during the fast, I’m amazed. The graces of chastity, patience, and perseverance are just a few that come to mind. I’m also thinking how awesome it was to have that sacrifice (hunger) to offer up. Now I’m realizing that I have to guard those graces. I have to continue to look to develop them. I’ve got to continue to look for sacrifices to offer up so that I have ammo against my weaknesses and temptations. Maintain the momentum. Yeah, that’s a good way to sum it up.

I’m also thinkin’ about the whole clarity thing, in regards to my mission post. When I started my fast, I was under the assumption that “clarity” meant figuring out which country I wanted to go to. Never did I think  when I started my fast that it might actually mean figuring out whether or not I would even go back into the mission field. What does seem clearer is that I don’t think I’m at peace with going back out into the foreign mission field, at least not at this point in my life. Maybe later in life, once I’m married? Who knows…. My heart is ready to pursue friendship and see what develops. That’s alot easier to do if I’m stateside. Plain and simple, it’s what I want for my life. I believe it’s my calling and so not only do I want to pursue it, I HAVE to pursue it. I also don’t think it would be fair to mission partners and people that we’d be serving if I had a heart divided between missions and marriage. It seems wise to pursue the vocation of marriage with a single, undivided heart, and then whatever else is next will fall into place.

That being said, I pray for those of you who are also discerning your vocation in life, that you would be patient, persevere, and receive clarity and peace. Please pray for me too as I pursue friendship and ultimately marriage. Till next time, take care and God Bless!

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 27

Day 27 – Saturday – 10/20/12

You know that Bible verse somewheres in the NT, the one that says basically “I do what I don’t wanna do and don’t do what I wanna do”? Well, most of us know that it’s normally interpreted as “I do the bad stuff that ain’t good for me to do, even though I know it’s bad and don’t really wanna do it, and I don’t behave like I know I should and like I want to and know that I need to”. I actually experienced it in reverse last night: “I do the good stuff that’s hard for me to do, and I don’t do the bad stuff that I kinda want to”. I suspect that alot of you experience that as well. You know, wanting to do what you’re not supposed to, but you sacrifice your personal desires for the sake of doing what’s right. That not so easy or pleasant but oh-so-necessary part of being a Christian.

Last night, the devil was comin’ at me hard. He was tempting me, trying to get me to fall. However, by God’s grace and my cooperation with it, I stood firm. Though I could definitely stand to improve in how efficiently and quickly I cooperate with his grace. And so, while the experience itself obviously was not pleasant, in hindsight I’m very happy that I was victorious in that situation. I truly think it’s yet another sign that I’m turning the proverbial corner in my spiritual life. When I think about how hard the Devil tempted Jesus when he was fasting in the desert, and how Jesus held firm, the parallel is a very striking one. Hunger, the very thing that is exposing my weakness, is also what’s making me strong.

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Devil’s Gonna Try To Derail You…………

Monday 6/14/10 – 3pm @ Awardmaster (Lafayette, LA)

There’s this trilogy of books by Catholic author Bud McFarlane: House of Gold, Conceived Without Sin, and Pierced By a Sword (I highly recommend these books). When I read these books (multiple times), I remember the author talking about how when he was working on these books, things would constantly go wrong. He then went on to re-iterate that anytime we strive to follow God’s will, the Devil will try to derail us. Need proof? Look in the Bible at Jesus time in the desert.

The Devil himself came to Jesus to try and derail him. He plays on our struggles, weaknesses, emotions, and impatience to try and stop us from doing God’s work. Lately, I have noticed this in my life. As you may already know, I plan on going into foreign missions this fall. Well, since I made that decision, and especially in recent weeks and months, I have been struggling mightily. The Devil has been throwing these temptations my way, and with quite a vengeance. This actually makes me happy, because it confirms that I’m headed in the right direction. Yet, at the same time it is quite discouraging.

Why? Because we are not meant to wallow in sin. Victory is ours. Christ conquered the power of sin through his death, and gives us the grace to overcome. I was reminded of this today in the confessional. Msgr. Mouton told me, “Sidney, you keep waffling, going back and forth. You have not made the decision to be chaste. Make the decision, and stick with a regimen of prayer and Scripture, and the virtue gained will help you to abide by that decision.”

It was such a simple solution, so obvious, yet so true. It made perfect sense, so, I did it. Praise God for the sacrament of confession, and for his mercy. I leave you with words from the prophet Nehemiah: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10-

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