12.16.2013

Ready, Set, Go!


The second reading for the Third Sunday of Advent:

“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”

James 5:7-10


At Mass, the Deacon brought to my attention an excellent point… In the Second Reading, James is telling everyone to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Be patient. These people were ready, they were waiting on the Second Coming of Our Lord, so much so, that James told them to be patient. (In a way (to me) that is beautiful - the longing and the desire of Christ’s people for His Second Coming.)

There’s a difference between then and now. Then, they had to be told to be patient, the Lord will come in due time; and now, here we are, not particularly anticipating this Second Coming of Christ, much less giving it any thought.

I started thinking to myself, “What if after Mass, after lunch, after I go Christmas shopping, this Second Coming comes? What would I say to Jesus?” In all honesty, this is what I replied to myself (to Jesus), “Oh, not right now.. Not today, I’m not ready yet.”

What?! Here I am, telling the Man who sacrificed His whole being for me, the Man who is constantly pursuing me, that He needs to wait, because I’m not ready for Him. And yet, He loves me. And yet, He smiles at me.

The sad thing is, even though I realized this, it’s still true. I’m not ready. I could say that a year ago I was ready, but somewhere between then and now, I’ve lacked and I’ve hit the pause button.

My heart is longing to be ready.

So I’m ready to be ready - to hit play. I want to set my goals for holiness and I want to go and BECOME all the Christ desires for me.


I wish not to scare anyone, but to inform you that the countdown has been started for the love and desire He has for His people. You are not excluded from this, and neither am I, rather Jesus longs so desperately for all to see and experience in His splendor.

I challenge all, as I did myself today, - To be ready, to set your goals for holiness, and to go and become who Christ created you to be.



Ready… Set… GO!



God bless. :)



“Lord, strengthen my trust in Your word and my hope in the saving power of Your Kingdom. 
Free me from everything that would hold me back from pursuing your kingdom 
and your will for my life.” 
Amen
 +JMJ.T+


“Strengthen the hand that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, 
say to those whose hearts are frighten: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God,
 he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. 
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; 
then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”
-Isaiah 35:3-6





11.07.2013

Acknowledging Gentlemen


To all gentlemen:

Thank you.

I want to acknowledge you all simply because you are real and you are worthy of it.

Having had bad experiences with guys in the past, I just want to say I’m sorry for considering you all jerks, because that is certainly not the case. I believe that I thought this way because of how I was portraying my body and myself. I realize now that I wasn’t looking for a guy to respect who I was created to be, but just for a guy to be there to compliment the body and the face given to me. This selfishness, of course, attracted selfishness. So I put myself around guys who really didn’t understand what it was to be a true man, and I in return, didn’t understand what it was to be a lady who had desires for affection, but for the affection of a King.

Since those years back, I have full awareness of my worth as a woman and as yall’s worth as men. Believe me, whenever a guy holds open a door for me, does something out of his way for me or compliments me, I am filled with joy. Not just because it’s for me, but also because I’m honored to allow him to do so.  After attending a Theology of the Body Camp, I honestly couldn’t wait to come back and affirm all of those guys for their chivalrous actions. I learned so much over there and met so many wonderful, kind, beautiful. holy guys that I couldn’t possibly say anything negative about the male species as a whole from that point forward.

(I just want to tell a funny, little story. I went to a camp over the summer and it was for quite a few days, so I packed quite a few things. I had this HUGE bag of everything I needed and probably more. Sadly, it came to the point where we had to say our good-byes and head home. After saying all of my good-byes, my friend and I headed inside to get our stuff to go put in the car. Well, I was struggling; the bag was larger than half of me so my girl friend offered to carry it. I politely said something along the lines of, “Girl, I got this. I’m good.” Not a few steps later, this cute guy comes up to me asking if I wanted him to carry my bag out to the car, and I turned to my girl friend, then looked at him, and said, “Oh, yes! That would be great. Thank you so much!!” My friend didn’t realize until much later that I totally rejected her offer but sprung with joy when the guy offered to carry my bags. My friend and I still find it funny. Okay, end of story..)

Once I started recognizing that there are guys out there who are seeking holiness and purity in todays world, I started striving to be modest, to be polite to guys, to let them know that it’s okay for them to hold doors open for me, and to be the woman Christ is calling me to be so that you can be the man Christ is calling you to be.




Not also is it a huge witness for men to be chivalrous, but to be chivalrous in holiness. I can’t tell you how much my heart warms when I notice a guy that likes to have his Rosary with him everywhere he goes, a guy I accidentally interrupt praying in the local Adoration Chapel, sitting by a guy in the line to Confession, noticing he has on the chain that represents the consecration to Jesus through Mary etc. but importantly, a guy who truly finds his worth in Christ.

I’ve noticed that all of the gentlemen I have met and got to know are so sweet and by their actions and words, you can see Christ shining through them. (Not say they had everything spiritually figured out and were perfect, but simply that they were striving.) There is just something especially beautiful about a guy who is faithful to Christ. I can tell you, there could be the “perfect looking” guy standing in front of me, but if his heart isn’t concerned with Jesus’ heart, I would in no way be attracted to him. There is just something that turns off automatically when I see guys disrespect God, others, and themselves by his words and actions. I don’t know what it is that does that to me, but I call it a blessing.

So once again, I thank each and every one of you men who have heard and responded to the call of Christ in a way that gives us women, witness to faithfulness and goodness. And through the witness that you bring, I hope that we (as women) will respond in a way that can help increase holiness in men by respecting your mind, heart, and soul through our purity and modesty. “We must practice modesty, not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions”, according to Saint Alphonsus Liguori.

May God bless and Mary protect.


                                                                                      Sincerely,
                                                                                   A Young Woman





Dear Lord, today I especially thank you for all of my brothers.
I pray that You will bring them desires for Your heart 
and that you grant them protection from things that could harm their purity.
I pray that they may receive strength, hope and satisfaction from their calling to be "a man of Christ." 
Amen
+JMJ+


"One's pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor."
- Proverbs 29:23






St. Joseph, pray for us!







9.04.2013

Marching for the Unborn, or for Me? Experience 2 of 3


Now I know it's been awhile since the March, but I still want to share with you the blessings Christ gave to me during my second time at the March for Life. Hopefully I will be able to go next year, but more hopefully I wish there would be no need for a next year! 

Getting to the point…


I was SOOOOO pumped up for this March For Life. Things would be so much different now that I got to experience the Mass fully, I was ready. I had my bags packed for 2 weeks before the March and had the countdown for it and everything. To say the least, I had no hesitation waking up that morning to get on that bus. (Maybe because I didn't go to sleep.. just kidding, I slipped a few hours in there.)




(Hahah, just a funny picture from the Smithsonian Museum from the March)


The March was absolutely amazing but rather than share the places we went and what we did. I want to share about the things that touched my heart greatly on that trip. 



Let me start off with...

- The Sacrament of Confession


The Sacrament of Confession is such a gift from God and through this Sacrament on the March for Life I was able to fully love again. Love Christ, myself, and others like He calls us to do. But before that, I was failing miserably at truly loving and it was frustrating me because I KNEW I needed to love but I just didn't feel like it or anger got the best of me. I was struggling a lot in my relationships because I wasn't loving, and of course it was affecting them (others) negatively too. I could see it and I didn't like it, but I had no want to change it. It was too much of a struggle to even try to love, it was so much easier to just give in to anger. But Jesus - through the Sacrament of Confession - let me experience His mercy, His forgiveness, and His love. He helped me to fully love again through Him. It was awesome. I couldn't wait to go home and give my brothers a kiss.

Nothing is impossible through Christ, even loving when it seems like it's a worthless cause. It was just so refreshing and it gave me a new heart to love others. Now of course I went home and tried my best to love and then, of course, I fell away and gave in to anger and failed time and time again to love like I always do; but something so important with Reconciliation is that it's always there for those sins that will always come back. Jesus is there ready to make new His beloved. 

Numerous amounts of people don't go to Reconciliation because "I just say the same sins over and over again. I don't see the point" or they go and say the same sins but aren't truly sorry for those sins that they've committed again. Reconciliation is for those sins, too!!! 

I always see the Sacrament of Confessions is that push in the race to Heaven. (Just to give you a mental image) Here you are, running with all of these sins burdened upon you, struggling not to stop and then when you go to Confession, Jesus takes all of these sins off of you so that you may better run the race, and as to run the race with Him by your side. It's that push start that He wants to give us over and over again, so that we may finish the race with and through Him. (Let us run the race and never give up - Hebrews 12:1) That's the way I see the Sacrament.






But on the other hand, Monsignor Berggreen used an extravagant analogy describing the Sacrament of Confession. Say you have a baby that makes a dirty diaper, you are going to change the diaper even though you know that the baby will dirty another diaper. You won't let the baby sit in it's own filth. Same with Confession and those sins you commit over and over again. Even though you know you will fail and do those same sins ,because yes, we are human, it is important that you go to Confession and make known that you are still going to strive to not do it and that you are sorry and disgusted with the sin. It's so much more freeing when you are made clean again then just sitting in the filth of sin. 

(Whoa, sorry I didn't mean to go so much into this Sacrament. Couldn't help myself, I guess.)




- Priests are like super heroes

If most of you haven't realized, priests and seminarians have to be the most beautiful men! Including all those holy men called to marriage, but priests have a very special place in my heart. 

On the March they had this final Mass and they called forward all Priests, Deacons, Seminarians and anyone else in the priestly order. I can't tell you how many men walked down that aisle. I was seriously overwhelmed with happiness seeing these men and having them as such a huge witness to Christ's promise for us and His Church. And how lucky the Church is to have these wonderful men to serve Her and the community! I can't even put into words how thankful I am to all priests and those who live their life fulfilling God's will for His Church. And yes, priests are people too and they are not perfect at all… that is why it is SO important for us to pray for them that they may be Christ-like in everything they say and do. I could only imagine how difficult but fulfilling it is to be married to the Church. 


Yup, that happened^



These Holy men are so very important to the Catholic Church because without them there would not be the Church and the Sacraments. Now of course, it is through Jesus that we have the Church and the Sacraments, but through the Priest (in persona Christi- in the person of Christ). 

St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said:

"Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, 
think of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Now, they are still humans and have the same inclination to sin as we do, so they aren't perfect(like I've stated above). When a Priest may make a mistake, instead of talking to others about him, pray for him. We all go through hard times and I could only imagine what it's like to be a Priest and have a rough day. The reason I say this is because the Church relies on him to make the Sacraments available to us and that, in itself, is a huge duty and gift to attain. So please pray for the men who have (and will) lead us to Him.

Getting to the "Priests are like super heroes" part… I honestly believe that. How can I not?! They have responded to a call from God, greater than themselves, and have given themselves to God and to His Church. I love how you can just go up to a Priest and ask for Confession and they are all for it, because a part of their vocation is us. They are the minutemen for the Church! Ready to bring Christ and His Sacraments to others in a minutes notice. They are a witness to Christ faithfulness to His Church. Although, I say the collar resembles the cape ;)






So with all of this said, let us pray fervently for the increase of vocations to priesthood, for all of the priests, and for all to come to know, understand, and love the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as it was created to be.


May God bless and Mary protect.


Dear Lord, thank you for the desires of the Truth and all that the Truth holds within.
 I thank you for Your Priests, and I ask that you may grant them mercy and love.
 Keep close the Sacrament of Confession within the hearts of your people 
and help them to always strive the holiness that you are calling us to. 
Give us the strength and courage to give ourselves to others,
 so that we may lead others to You.
 I love You. 
Amen
+JMJ.T+


"Rejoice in your hope, 
be patient in tribulation, 
be constant in prayer."
 -Romans 12:12



5.30.2013

Purity - What's the Point?


Let's go ahead and talk about purity. (I'm being inspired.)

The definition of purity - freedom from immorality especially of a sexual nature. How funny, freedom! We think of freedom as no curfew, doing whatever you please, maybe doing whomever you please. But it has the total opposite effect on you. (I'll talk about that later.)

Anyway.

Purity is freeing us from the one thing we should detest the most - sin. Purity is so beautiful and to strive for purity of the heart, body, soul, and mind is the best way to ever achieve the goal! It's always hard to not fall into the temptations of this world since it is everywhere...

For example, way back in 8th grade my friend came over to sleep at my house and we were watching a cute movie then decided to go outside for a while. We stayed outside till around 8 or 9 (I don't really remember, it was dark) and we wanted to come in and play the Wii. So I turned on the TV and right in front of my very young eyes was PORN. It was only 8 or 9 (my brothers go to bed later than that) and it was the same channel we had on that aired the cute little movie that we watched just a few hours back (which was not porn.) I started thinking about how if my little brothers were to turn on the TV and see that, they would have been more terrified than I was! Now of course, we screamed and started frantically pushing buttons on the TV trying to erase that from our eye sight and memory, so it didn't stay on that channel for long. 

BUT SERIOUSLY? Everywhere you turn there is some type of pornography/porn. Just in commercials for TV shows, ads on the internet, bill boards in the mall, MOVIES. It may not be the full blown porn but certainly has the power to put guys and girls into the state of temptation to lust.






So, what is the point of purity if it is so hard to maintain it?

-First, being pure is not lame. 

My purity is something I treasure, it is something my brothers can look up too, my husband can treasure, and my parents and all those who love me would appreciate. One of my most treasured items is my purity ring. Sometimes I look at it and smile, knowing that Christ has my heart, my everything, and through Christ my purity could not happen. I also think of my husband, my future kids, and all the blessings that will come with saving my virginity until marriage.





 Now just because I am a 'virgin' does not at all mean that I am 'pure'! You can still be labeled a virgin but still have struggles with your purity through your mind and body! Lustful thoughts, porn, oral sex, masturbation, hooking up, whatever else there is without doing the complete action of sex(in terms of pre-marital sex) - are all taking away from the beauty of purity and all that it holds within.  I know - it's hard to stay pure in today's world and to even want to stay pure. 

Even if you are not a virgin or if you are but you are not pure and desire to be pure - look to Jesus and His Resurrection! Jesus is where the healing begins. "BEHOLD, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5). No one is an exception to purity. We are all called to it!







Also, just to throw in there. Even when you are married you are called to be pure! Purity doesn't stop at marriage. 



-Second, it is a sign of respect for God, myself, my husband,  parents, his parents, and anyone else who is in my life or will be. 

We are the temple of God - "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself." (1 Cor. 6:19). So whenever we stay pure in heart, mind, soul, body we are allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in His temple, it's what we were created for! The Holy Spirit was meant for us. (Yay Pentecost!) When we do this out of respect for God, we are also doing it out of respect for all of the above. 

We are respecting our selves enough to realize that we weren't made for this lustful world to overcome us - we were made for MORE. "I have come, so that they may have life, life to the full." (John 10:10). We were all made and created at a price and we should cherish that enough to cherish ourselves and the beautiful gift of our virginity. 


We are respecting our spouse by waiting for them alone! By keeping yourself pure all these years for him/her. I mean in no way am I perfect, but I am so thankful that I have not put myself in a situation that would harm my virginity. How special it will be on that day whenever we get married and exchange rings that I could tell my husband "I am giving myself to you, and only you. No other man before or after you. YOU!" And then let's say you are called to religious life, well PERFECT! You can give EVERYTHING to Christ. No need to throw away your virginity if you are called, better the reason to protect it! How beautiful to enter the gates of heaven a Virgin of Christ!




-Third, purity frees you from sin! 

It is a virtue(chastity) - a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person. God did not create purity to just add to a things we shouldn't do. He created it for our own happiness, our own holiness. St. Augustine said, "Lust indulged became habit, and habit unresisted became necessity." St. Augustine knows just how horrible it is to fall out of purity but how beautiful it is to be freed from those things. When you are pure, you are not bound by the sin of lustful thinking etc. You are freed. I can't explain just how beautiful it is to see the pure goodness in things out of your own purity! 




The world tells you that  if you are a virgin by senior year or more terrifying - if you haven't hooked up with anyone by then, then apparently you  just haven't lived the "life". Which is completely irrelevant to living a good life. I haven't had sex or hooked up with anyone and I DO NOT regret it either. I thank God that I have even more to give to my husband, including my first kiss. Yup, it's true!! And guess what?! I haven't died yet. ;) I am completely free and through my actions ( or no actions) I am not bound to a person who has taken something valuable from me. Through Christ, in Christ, I find my comfort and joy and in Him I am completely satisfied. He guides me to live my life PURELY and through that I am not looking for worldly pleasures. I am free.




- Fourth, Why not stay pure? 

I mean nothing bad could ever come from staying pure. It's one of those things that if you practice it, you lose nothing but are able to gain a hundred fold! That is one reason it's a virtue. Purity bears fruit within it. 


"Purity prepares the soul for love, and love confirms the soul in purity."
 - Cardinal John Henry Newman


And even if you are not in a pure state and haven't been for a while there is always always the chance to dedicate your life and purity back to Christ and to your future husband(like I've stated above). Every new day is a day to live for Christ, and you can always choose to turn away from bad habits. It's hard, certainly, but through Christ nothing is impossible and He desires nothing but the best for you. Desire the best for yourself. You'll come to realize that this kind of freedom is not one easily to be lost when given at such a price. 




I'll give you a few ways that will help protect your purity.
  • Always pray.
  • Don't put yourself in any situation that would most likely end up harming your purity.
  • Girls -Put some clothes on. You are of much of the sin as the guy is who is lusting after you. Guys - just don't go to the mall. (Just kidding) Look away and think about your future wife. Perfect time to pray for her too:) Also, pray for the girl who isn't respecting herself and others.
  • Let it be known to others and yourself. Wear a purity ring if it helps you remember how precious your purity is to Jesus, others, and yourself.
  • Stray away from stupid magazines, tv shows, movies, internet sites - whatever it may be. Think about that person who is advertising themselves as someones daughter or son. Make up a name for them. Like Patrice or Mike? It helps with the realization that they are humans too.


May God bless and Mary protect.








"O Heart infinitely purer than the hearts of angels, the source of all purity,
 imprint on my heart a very special love of purity
 and a vivid horror of all that
 is contrary to it."
Amen
+JMJ.M+


"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me."
- Psalm 51:10








St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

5.11.2013

Do You Think I'm Beautiful?


Do you think I'm beautiful? 

No really, do you honestly think that I am beautiful?? 

^ I struggled with that question for a long time and to be honest, I still do, but I don't think about it as much.  Now this is something I KNOW that every single girl has asked herself as well as others. I know that I have asked my mom and dad that question countless times and even though they always told me yes it was never good enough for me. Even if my friends, a stranger, or some guy told me that I was beautiful it would bring a smile to my face for about 30 seconds but it always went away because I didn't believe them. I couldn't believe them. I couldn't look in the mirror and see my worth and my unique beauty, all I could see was every little thing that was "wrong" with me. I would look at every girl and recognize the beauty that they possessed and believe that somehow, I didn't have what they had. 

Now I'm not saying this to make you pity me but rather to show you how real this issue is between all girls and that you are definitely not going through this problem alone (or didn't go through this alone.. whatever your situation).

In our society we are shown how we should look, act and dress just to be under the category "beautiful" or better yet - "accepted". And the sad part is, is that we actually believe what they say rather then believe in ourselves and what Christ says about us. We try so hard to be skinny enough, to be pretty enough, to have the perfect look, hair, clothes, EVERYTHING. 
-(By the way if you look up beauty on google or any search engine you will find all of these women who have been airbrushed and are advertising make up. Sorry society, you got it all wrong. So sad.)-


Dove understands how messed up "beauty" is.

Why do we try so hard to obtain all of these things and for WHO? is the question. I believe that we think the ONLY way for us to become beautiful is in the eyes of others and then we will start to believe that we are actually beautiful. But that's totally the opposite way around. We first have to look at ourselves as beautiful and worthy - and that's only made possible through the eyes of Christ. Once we acknowledge our unique beauty,  we look at others, and instead of seeking our own beauty in them, we start to find their true beauty and realize how precious they are to Christ, as well as your own self. 

Why do we even bother to maintain all of those vain things anyway? I mean just look at the religious sisters!!! They are completely gorgeous and they don't even try! They don't wear make-up, their habits are not revealing (other than revealing their true identity), the only man they rely on is Christ, and they can light up a whole auditorium with just a smile. The only approval they seek is that of Christ and they find it and are completely satisfied. They are filled with Christ-like beauty and joy, which is contagious, and which you can also obtain. 




Now this is just crazy. I went to Imagine Sisters Facebook page to look for pictures of sisters and I was like, PERFECT, A picture with true beauty. AND LOOK WHO IS IN THE PICTURE! If I'm not mistaken, the one in the middle is Sr. Fleur de Carmel. WHAT?!?






So here it is girls, the perfect example of true feminine beauty - MARY. There are many ways as to why but the one aspect of Mary I always strive for is her 'yes'. Just to give everything totally and completely to God and trust in Him is beauty beyond compare. When you do that, you understand your worth and beauty in Him and don't need any reason to look further. 






If only we could see ourselves the way Christ sees us. (I couldn't imagine…) 

I encourage all women to look upon the gifts they have been given and not on the flaws. I saw this quote about how we are all beautifully flawed, and it's true. Our flaws are what makes every individual unique, therefore beautiful and their own. We should cherish that and rejoice because of God's unique way to love us individually. 







Maybe you would take this more to heart if a guy wrote this, I know I probably would, but a guy didn't. I mean all of this with my heart and soul. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Go no further, Christ thinks you are beautiful:) Just look:



"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." - 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:30


"Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." - Psalm 43:5

"He has made everything beautiful in it's time." - Ecclesiastes 3:11


I know it is hard to live a modest, beautiful, and becoming life in this society but Jesus has overcome the world and so can you. Something I'm personally doing to help myself see beauty is stop wearing make-up. I only wore mascara but it's crazy just how much I relied on that tube of black gunk to make me pretty. Don't get me wrong, I'm still trying to get accompanied with it and it's hard. I feel like I'm naked when I go out in public when I don't have my make-up on. Maybe its weird to you, but I believe that doing this will help me look at MYSELF in the mirror and see beauty (not with the help of make-up).  Maybe I look like the ferocious beast or maybe I look like cute little Maggie (get it?) but at this point in time, I don't really care. I know that Christ has made me beautiful, as with all women/girls/young ladies, you just have to accept it. ;)







I just found this video today while searching for things to put on this post and found it very appropriate to share. She also has a blog called True Beauty if you go search for it. She has video documents on matters such as these, also. Her name is Lisa Chan and is trying to get the world to identify themselves in Christ. So glad she is doing something about this :)




May God bless you abundantly and may you find rest and peace in Him.

+JMJ.T+