Thursday, February 24, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (#20)

  1. I've been discretely alluding to turning in an application for a job I am considering... well, I found out this week that I got an interview! Very exciting!
  2. To prepare for this interview extravaganza, I've decided to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit. I've never done a novena before, so it is a new thing for me, but it's been fun so far. If I keep it up, I will finish up next Thursday, which is the day before my interview weekend!
  3. Yes, I am dragging this out, I suppose... but my interview is not a one hour thing, it's a whole weekend extravaganza!
  4. The weekend will be filled with sharing my personal faith journey (which I just did at the Newman Center), individual interviews, group activities, and time for prayer, reflection, and Mass.
  5. If you haven't deduced by now, I am interviewing with FOCUS!
  6. I'm hoping that the interview weekend will be good for my discernment process, that it will be a weekend where I can truly see myself working as a FOCUS missionary or realize that I am called to something else. Throughout all of my discernment, I feel called to FOCUS, but I am hoping that this weekend will be really definitive for me, which is why I am also praying the novena in preparation.
  7. So, will you pray for me while I'm at my interview weekend? It's March 4-6, with most of the interviews happening on Friday and Saturday. I would really appreciate it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Patience: A Call to Holiness

God knows I am not a patient person.

He also knows that I'm onto Him.... "ohhohohoooo boy, am I onto what He is trying to do!"

(Think quick! What movie is this line from??)* 

He throws little tests of my patience my way every so often, and I just give a little grin as I tell God (rather smugly) that I am going to prove Him wrong (as if I could prove God wrong... it's quite laughable) and show Him just how patient I can be...

... and I always end up falling short. Sometimes I last longer than my normal time span, but I almost always lose in the end and get rather frustrated with the person and/or situation, but mostly with myself.

Recently, He's been throwing the same trial my way over and over again. It involves a person with whom I do not see eye to eye on many things, and without going into much detail, I feel a continued lack of respect and courtesy towards what I believe and as a human being in general. Unfortunately, it is not possible to just remove this situation from my life right now, and so the continuous cycle of dealing with this has really started to weigh down on me. I pray about the situation, for patience, and for this person, but I still can't seem to shake it off and I end up letting my impatience and frustration get the best of me.

It was one of these more recent times that I received some very good advice to help me see it all in a different light. God is trying to make me more holy... He is giving me opportunity after opportunity to be saint-like, as we are all called to be.

The readings this past week were exactly along this line - a calling to be holy:

Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)


So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Great. I can totally succeed at this challenge...

But it did get me thinking. God has asked us to do many things... but He wouldn't ask us to do something that was impossible, and He especially wouldn't ask us to do something that He Himself wouldn't do first. One of the infinite number of reasons why "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) was so that He could teach us how to be more like Him. 

So if God is calling me to be holy, to become a saint, through the latest tests of my patience, how did Jesus live this out?

I know that I will often get impatient in intellectual and academic conversations and settings, especially when I am teaching. Jesus was a teacher too, and he had to deal with those Pharisees on more than one occasion. The Pharisees knew the Law and Scripture backwards and forwards, yet they couldn't see that the fulfillment of both of these was standing right before their eyes! Yet, Jesus was patient with them. He continued to point out what was right in front of them over and over again. Even when he started to sound like a broken record, he didn't lose patience with them. This is the kind of patience I need to exude when I teach as well.

Back to the latest test on my patience, which involves the constant battle of trying to stand up for myself while also trying not be judgmental. When I am presented with this recurring situation, I have to pull out all the patience power in attempts to not completely give up and break down. Yet again, Jesus exemplifies what it means to have patience when he had to pull out all the stops in his death. 

God could have come to this world in a time when His death would have been quick and painless - like the French Revolution. Dying by Madame Guillotine? Not so fun, but pretty fast (as long as the blade was sharp, of course). Instead, He chose to come during a time when He would suffer not only a painful death, but one that was long and drawn out. A death that would take hours as his skin was torn to shreds, as he was forced to carry a tree for miles, as he was nailed to the cross and crowned with piercing thorns, and finally as he slowly suffocated on the cross. Dying like this... that had to take a lot of patience. 

I mean, Jesus is GOD. He could have stopped at any time and said:

"Hey guys, this has been real fun, but I'm getting impatient, so I'm just gonna die now so I can save the world. Peace out." 

But he didn't. He had to endure the entire weight of all of the world's sins before he could expire... and he did it with patience and humility.

I don't know about you, but when I put all of that into perspective, I think I can handle a few tough strains on my patience. While they may still be difficult at times, I have to remember to see the good that God is trying to bring out of the situation. He is trying to teach me to be holy like He is holy, perfect as His son is perfect.

*So this little line comes from one of my favorite movies... if you guessed Princess Diaries 2, then you are a winner!

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (#19)

Check out our hostess!

  1. You know it's been a pretty low key week when I don't think I'm going to be able to come up with 7 things to write about in my quick takes...
  2. Fr. Gary Thomas (The Rite is based on the book written about his journey to be an exorcist) came to speak to us this week. I made sure to read the book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio before going to hear him speak. The book sheds A LOT of light on exorcisms, the Devil, and spiritual attack. I recommend it if you're looking for more information on exorcisms.
  3. I've gotten motivated the past couple of days to do some intense literature searching to get going on my two major papers for the semester. Put down one in the win column for Liesl!
  4. Now if I could only muster up some motivation to study for my organic comprehensive exam... strike one in the win column for procrastination. We're 1-1 now...
  5. I re-discovered this SNL skit. If you are up on pop culture with the Edward vs. Jacob debate, you will find it highly entertaining. I am mostly entertained by the fact that they are in science lab and have a planarian drawn on the board. 
  6. I am eating some chocolate as I sit here and write these... mmmm mmmm good!
  7. I submitted a very important application for a very important job position that I am considering for the near future. I'm praying that I can further discern if this is the right path for me!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm addicted.

It's official. I've become such a Catholic Answers Live addict that I even had to make a label for it on this blog!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that bad.


On a more serious note, I will listen to the podcast on my commute to and from campus many days. This afternoon, I listed to Abby Johnson's interview from early February and she spoke about her change of heart in the life movement, the details behind Planned Parenthood, and how she's converting to Catholicism!*

*Can I just point out that it seems like lots of really sweet pro-life people are converting/have converted to Catholicism? And by "lots", I mean Lila Rose and Abby Johnson, of those that I know... I'm sure there are lots more. But does anyone else see a trend??!!?? I do.

Anyway, everyone needs to listen to this interview. It provides so much insight into how Planned Parenthood works - from someone who used to be high up in the organization - especially about the lies they tell everyone and the way they train their staff so they can earn more money. I think my favorite part is when she totally dished it out to a caller who couldn't see anything "wrong"* with the latest Live Action stings... it was EPIC.

*I mean, did this caller see the same videos that we all did... because I think you'd have to be blind and deaf to not realize that there is something wrong going on there...

To make your lives easier, I've provided the link for you. You're welcome.

Click me to listen online or right click and "Save as..." to download to your computer!

Now, I just need to get my hands on a copy of her book! The library doesn't own it yet... epic fail, libraries of Northern Virginia, epic fail.

7 Quick Takes Friday (#18)

  1. I write these Quick Takes as I sit in my Thursday evening class... I'm totally gonna win the prize for most attentive student EVER!
  2. This week, I found two parishes near my apartment that have Perpetual Adoration. I checked out the chapel at St. Michael's and it's AWESOME! I was there for about 45 minutes and there were probably about 20 people in and out during my time there, mostly old ladies. I really am amazed how they are able to get adorers signed up 24/7! Anyway, I found them through my diocesan website, through the Mass and Adoration search bar. Check out your diocese and see if you have a chapel nearby too!
  3. I shared my personal faith journey with the students at our weekly dinners at the Newman Center on Tuesday. It was a good experience for me to reflect on my past, present, and future, and organize it in a logical manner. I think a lot of the students were able to relate to a lot of my journey. 
  4. I think eventually I will have to write an ode to my Friday morning students... because I love them that much. 
  5. When I was tutoring high school students last year, I did a lot of praying for patience and it was amazing how much more patient I have become. So I think I need to start praying for patience again in dealing with those lovely Friday students.
  6. Speaking of patience, one of the girl scout moms told me a few weeks ago that I have the "patience of a saint"... I laughed so hard. Probably the wrong response, but I have never been described as having the patience of a saint. Or really any patience for that matter! I think maybe I've just become really good at holding my lack of patience inside instead of just taking the scissors from the girls and cutting the paper for them myself!
  7. I have decided that I really like British shows. Mostly Merlin, but I got hooked on Downton Abbey as well. I think British humor just tends to be a bit dryer and weirder at times which is pretty much how my sense of humor is too. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for us!

Yep, still a superhero.
Remember this guy?

I mentioned him in my Quick Takes a few weeks ago as being my saint for the month of January. I've decided to keep him on for February as well, because we need a protector in battle more than ever, along with all the angels and saints in Heaven with our Lord. We are in a battle for every soul on this earth, and the more obvious it becomes that we are fighting against evil itself, the less people seem to believe in the source from which that evil stems.

I just saw The Rite with a group from the Newman Center, and this movie - being the top grossing film in the country this past week - has caused a lot of discussion about exorcisms, sin, the Devil, God, and the Church. While it definitely lacks accuracy in some of its Catholic aspects - like why they felt the need to make the main character a seminarian learning how to be an exorcist as opposed to an actual priest - its main point is one on which we can all agree.

The Devil is real.

Our society has become fascinated with sin in all forms, so much to the point that we ignore its source - which is exactly what the Devil wants. The less people think about him, the more easily he can take over. As Fr. Lucas stated in the movie, "Choosing not to believe in the Devil won't protect you from him."

The movie is intense and horrific at times, and my hope is that despite its theatricality, people will start to listen to that voice inside their head - "What if this is real?" We cannot believe in God without acknowledging the existence of the Devil. My hope is that if society starts to truly realize the existence and potential of the Devil and his power, that they will likewise start to not only believe in the existence of God, but to answer that yearning for His presence in our lives.

Let us join with Pope John Paul II when he asked us to call upon St. Michael the Archangel to help us in this spiritual battle:
"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: 'Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power' (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Friday, February 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (#17)

  1. I think regular readers will get that I am a fan of Catholic Answers Live by now, but I listened to a great one on Mormonism this week. I learned so much I didn't know before, about spirit brothers and changing doctrine... oh goodness. I can understand how many Protestants believe that they're trying to be the true faith by (incorrectly) going back to the way the early church was in separating from the Catholic Church, but by having that you can change doctrine in your doctrine... how can you even claim to be the only true faith? I would like to be enlightened on this topic. (Right click on the Mormonism link and Save As... if you want to listen to it on your iPod or download to your iTunes).
  2. For those of you who haven't seen these videos yet, be sure to check them out. Lila Rose alluded to these videos she had coming out when I heard her speak at FOCUS conference and she said they were BIG. Well, she was right. Let's see if the law officials actually do anything about it this time...
  3. I just had one of those starts to my Friday morning. You know the one where I have to treat my 18 and 19 year old college students like first graders? Yea, that one. To me, it's pretty simple. You don't talk amongst yourselves when I'm going over a quiz or lecturing on material. If you're going to talk, don't talk loud enough that I can hear you. Well, not only did I have to say that I would break up this "talk fest" - which they thought was *hilarious*, by the way - if I had to, I then had to say when I turned back to the chalkboard and they started talking again that just because my back was turned didn't mean my ears stopped working. Any ideas on how to earn more respect from them without going all first grade teacher on them? I didn't have issues with this last semester at all.
  4. I saw The King's Speech yesterday and it was really good. I highly recommend it. It's easy to see why it's been nominated for so many awards, and Colin Firth totally deserves to win, as does Geoffrey Rush in his supporting role. It also throw some great history into it as well. Check out the trailer:
    *Note: For those of you worried about the R rating, it's because Colin Firth's character drops the F bomb multiple times in a row - it's one of his methods for getting words out - see, he doesn't stammer when he curses. Otherwise, it's a clean movie!
  6. I have a lot of things that I need to get started on that aren't due for awhile but will quickly start to pile up... but I'm finding it difficult to get motivated. Any ideas?
  7. Has anyone seen The Rite yet? I got a free pass and will probably go this weekend. I would post the trailer, but I feel like this post is already so YouTube heavy...
  8. It's the weekend! On the to-do list this week: finish up an application, write a lab report, pick a topic for my presentation, clean like a madwoman, go through my old clothes and find stuff to give away, hang out with some friends, and sleep. Whew. 
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