Good Enough.

Lately, I’ve really been struggling with the idea that I’m not good enough, no matter how hard I try. A couple of days ago I wrote a letter to my brother who identifies as transgender and as far as I know, he doesn’t believe in God. I guess it’s not necessarily that he doesn’t believe in God, but he doesn’t have faith in Him and sort of rejects Him.

I wrote him a letter because I think that he thinks that I don’t love him or want to be around him because he’s transgender, and that I condemn him because of it, which isn’t true at all. I love my brother deeply and I just want him to know that he is still good and capable of being loved, and in fact, he still is loved.

In this letter I quoted the book of Genesis when it said, “God looked at every thing that he had made and found it very good.” I then continued to tell my brother that I said that because when God created him as male, God saw that it was good, and that he was made that way for a reason.

I feel so ridiculous for saying these things to my brother when I struggle with self-esteem and the thought that I’m not good enough. But that part of scripture in Genesis really speaks to me : I am good. God made me, and he made me good. I am enough. Even when I feel that I’m not enough: not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, I am still enough for our Lord and Creator, and that brings me comfort.

It reminds me of the movie The Chronicles of Narnia The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Lucy wants to be looked at as beautiful like her sister Susan. And she practically wants to be Susan, but Aslan comes to her and says that by wanting to look like her sister and practically be her sister that she is wishing herself away and he says , “You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.”

That’s my problem and I’m going to also say that it’s my brother’s problem. We doubt our value and we’re running from who we are supposed to be. I run towards Christ, but even though I know he sees me as being good enough, I don’t accept that, because I want to be accepted by every one else, when in reality that doesn’t even matter. Jesus Himself says, “If they hate you, know that they hated me first.”

My brother on the other hand, seems to run as fast as he can away from Christ and wants to be like everyone else, he too wants to be accepted by the world and wants to be someone other than the one God created him to be.

To sum it all up, Christ accepts you, Christ wills your existence and loves you unconditionally, and in the end, that is all that matters.

Taste and see the Goodness of the Lord

This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to go with some friends to Benedictine College in Kansas. I stayed with the Regnum Christi house while at Benedictine, this is a journal entry I wrote while there:

“Benedictine College is so extremely beautiful. I feel that God is pulling me here. It feels like home, even though I’m out of my comfort zone. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt something so strongly deep inside of me as I do right now. I know my parents might not fully support this decision, but I feel that God wills it, and if He wants it, I want it too. There are so many Catholics here. They are passionate about their faith and have such a great love for Christ. Staying with the Regnum Christi girls, praying with them, talking about Jesus, and just loving each other brings me such extreme joy and hope. I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person and a young Catholic woman just by being here, and knowing that it was God’s will that I got to experience this. It’s given me so much more depth not only to my love of Christ, but to my life in general. This whole weekend, I’ve been surrounded with the love of these girls and I felt Jesus pouring out His love over me. I’ve come to know and realize the Father’s love because of this wonderful experience. I also got to sit in on a New Evangelization class, and it was amazing. We talked about Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel – Evangelii Gaudium. I’ve never read it before, but now, I want to. It was so beautiful how passionate the teacher was about the faith, and not only teaching it, but helping the students spread it. I enjoyed the class so much that I could’ve listened to the teacher talk for hours. I feel like my friendship with the girls I came with has deepened so much too. I’ve come to realize that our friendship is so genuine. I’ve realized that they don’t just hang out with me because they have no one else, but because they choose me. That makes me think of the priest’s homily at Mass on Saturday at Benedictine. He talked about how God doesn’t need us – He wants us. He chooses us. That is true love. This weekend, I’ve encountered Christ so much. I feel so extremely loved by being surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially at Benedictine. I think that’s why I feel so drawn to go there. I feel so wanted and loved. Praise God.”

In case you couldn’t tell, this weekend was such a life changing experience for me. This weekend, I also realized that I need to stop seeking a relationship (boyfriend) and just be satisfied with Christ. At Mass on Saturday night, one of the music ministry girls sang a song that I later found out that she wrote herself, that was about the prayer by St. Anthony of Padua: Be Satisfied with Me. It goes like this:

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone. To have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me. With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone. Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united to another until you are united with Me. Exclusive of anyone or anything else. Exclusive of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing…one you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you. You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you. Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry, don’t look around at things others have gotten, or that I have given them. Don’t look around at the things you think you want. Just keep looking off and away up to Me, or you’ll miss what I want to show you. And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful that you could dream of. You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment to have you both ready at the same time. Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me, and the life I prepared for you. You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with me. And this is perfect love. And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love that I offer you with Myself. Know that I love you utterly, I AM God. Believe it and be satisfied.”

To tell you the truth, that prayer is the most beautiful and comforting thing I’ve ever read in my life. I feel like everything that I experienced this weekend has been tied together. I feel that my relationship with God the Father has deepened and that I know His love for me as His daughter. I feel that I came back from Benedictine knowing God the Father better than I’ve ever known Him. And that in order to love another, I have to be satisfied with Him alone, and I feel like He keeps satisfying me more and more. Because of this, I don’t even have the desire to seek a romantic relationship anymore.

When I got home, I told my parents, and my aunt who happens to be staying with us about the class that I went to and how much I loved it and told them how I felt like God was telling me that Benedictine was where I was supposed to be. And my aunt (who is not Catholic) pretty much says that it was great that I loved the class, but how is that even gonna happen? How are you going to be able to afford that school? It’s great that you’re passionate, but you can’t have that. I held off the tears and went to my room and prayed to Jesus, “Jesus, why don’t they understand that I feel like this is your will for me to go here, and that it’s where I’m supposed to be. And that if it is your will, it will be. Why can’t they realize that I feel that YOU want this for me?” I sat kneeling on the floor sobbing to Jesus just asking Him why no one was being supportive since I thought that was what He was calling me to.

My mom came in and we sat down and I talked to her about the weekend and how good the Jesus has been to me by allowing me to experience this college and these beautiful people who were so much like me. I told her so sincerely, “Mom, Jesus has been so good to me.” Immediately after I began to sob even harder than I had been before and just kept saying “Jesus is so good, I know His goodness. I know His goodness.”

The Lord is SO good to me. Praise God. Praise God.

Matthew 25:40

One day I was driving around Quincy ( a town nearby to mine). At that period of time for at least a month up until then, I had been experiencing a feeling of emptiness inside. At that time I didn’t understand why I felt that way, because life was going great, and I had a great relationship with Christ.

As I was driving down Maine Street, the song, “Do Something” by Matthew West came on:

I woke up this morning, saw a world full of trouble now. Thought how’d we ever get so far down? How’s it ever gonna turn around? So I turned my eyes to Heaven and thought, “God, why don’t you do something?” Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of people living in poverty. Children sold into slavery. The thought disgusted me. So I shook my fist at Heaven said, “God, why don’t you do something?”

He said, “I did, I created you.”

Right as that last lyric played, I was passing Catholic Charities.

I felt God telling me, “There. That will fill your emptiness. That will show you your purpose. Go and serve me through others. Be a light of my love for them.”

I felt God nudging me to go into that building and volunteer, so that’s exactly what I did.

After that day, I stopped going for a while, but a passage from Matthew kept popping into my head:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”

The upright will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?”

And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, when you did this for one of the least of my brothers, you did this for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

When that verse popped into my head, things started to click into place better. He wanted me to serve Him through others, so I started volunteering again.

One day in particular, there was a woman with what I assume was her granddaughter, who was probably only 3 years old. When I saw this little girl, I knew that what I was doing was important, I felt like I was needed, and I had found purpose in my life. In this 3 year old, I could see the child Jesus. This really opened my eyes and made me want to do more for these people, and their children.

The Baltimore Catechism says that man was made to know God, to love God, and to serve God. I knew God, and I definitely loved God, but I forgot I was supposed to serve Him too. I knew God was telling me to serve Him by serving the less fortunate around me. When I realized this I immediately started volunteering again. I have gained such a deep love for the poor. I have such a desire to tell them about Christ, and His love for them. And I pray that through my service to them, that they can see that.

There are people out there that are struggling. Really struggling. Our brothers and sisters are struggling to provide and feed their families. I see it every day. In the people I see, I know that we should be offering them more. Not more food, but more knowledge. More love, more compassion, a listening ear. We should be telling them about how Christ and His Church has influenced and transformed our lives, and how He loves us so.How even in the midst of struggle, of suffering, of hardships, He is there reaching out to us. He has such a deep love for us, and wants nothing but our love in return.

We need to be missionaries of the Gospel. I’m not saying that you need to go on a mission to some 3rd world country to do this. I’m saying that you can be a missionary, you can be an example of  Christ to the person down the street, next door, or even a random person on the street, you can tell them about HIm. Nothing brings me more joy than talking about Christ and His Church and what I’ve learned. I want to share that with others, so they know how truly good He is, and so they can come to love Him the way I do.

Please pray that I have the courage to tell more people about Christ and His love, and that I may continue to try to be a light in this dark world.

You’re in my prayers as well.

Pax Christi ❤

Called to Dwell.

My absolute favorite thing is to go in to the church at night when all the lights are off and all I can see is the sanctuary lamp burning. In that quiet moment, I know He is there. Listening to me, wanting me to come to Him with all my pain, and suffering, and anxiety. Wanting me to lay it all down at His feet.

It’s a weird thing, because usually I’m scared of the dark. But Christ is the light of the world, so why should I fear the dark of night? That sanctuary lamp tells me that Christ is present with me in that moment. And not only that, but I feel different when I’m there. I feel His love, and mercy, and presence.

I started visiting Christ every day before I went into work. It became something I craved and something I couldn’t get enough of. And I still can’t. I sit in His presence and I don’t want to leave Him. His love sings to my heart and my soul is at peace.

Jesus calls us to truly dwell in His house.

I can truly say that when I am with Him, in the presence of the Eucharist, I am home. That’s why it’s so hard to leave, because why would you want to leave home. It’s where you’re understood. It’s where you’re loved and appreciated.

I offer up my prayers for those doubting the true presence, I’ve been there. But I can tell you:  He IS there, and in such a profound way. You just have to open your heart and let Him in. Let Him love you. Let Him mend your brokenness, because He will. And He wants to.

How lovely is your dwelling place.” -Psalm 84

Drawn to Our Lady

About 4 weeks ago, I started praying the Rosary everyday. I never really thought about having a relationship with Mary until then, but after a while, I noticed something: I noticed that I saw a lot of pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I even had someone give me a necklace with her picture on it. I didn’t think I was connected to her in any way, until I was given the necklace, and someone told me, “I was told you have a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, so I want you to have it.”

I didn’t know that I had a devotion to her, but it was then that I realized that I truly did, and she was revealing herself to me in a specific image: Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Lately, I’ve also become very passionate about life, or being anti-abortion. I just thought that it was because March for Life is coming up, and I’m planning on going.

I was curious, so I researched who the patron of pro-life was, little did I know that it was Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image I had been somehow seeing everywhere.

I also learned about Juan Diego and his story.

Juan Diego was a Mexican man who lived around 1531, during this time in Mexico, people were offering human sacrafices, mainly being infants to pagan gods. On December 9, 1531, he was headed to Mass. As he walked on Tepeyac Hill, he began to hear beautiful music, and he saw a beautiful lady, who called his name, “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” He approached and she said, “Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, the true God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of Heaven and earth. It is in my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will manifest, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live in this united land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, and of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and I will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities, and misfortunes.”

She told Juan Diego to go tell the Bishop of her desire for the church. The Bishop declined to build a church, so Juan went back to Tepeyac to tell Mary. Mary instructed hin to try again. So, the next day, he did. Although this time it was more difficult to see the bishop, Juan Diego prevailed, and the bishop once more listened patiently. However, the bishop asked him to bring back a sign from Mary to prove the story.  Again, Juan Diego reported the matter to our Blessed Mother, who told him to return the next day to receive the sign for the bishop.

On December 11, Juan Diego spent the day caring for his sick unlcle. He asked Juan Diego to go and bring a priest who would hear his confession and administer last rights. On December 12, Juan Diego set out again, but avoided Tepeyac Hill, because he was ashamed that he had not returned the previous day as Our Blessed Mother had requested. While making his detour, the Blessed Mother stopped him and said, “Hear, and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, let nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?Mary reassured Juan Diego that his uncle would not die; in fact, his health had been restored.

As for the sign for the bishop, Mary had told Juan Diego to go to the top of the mountain and pick some flowers. He went up to the hill which was dry and barren, a place for cactus and found roses like those grown in Castille, but foreign to Mexico.

Keep in mind that it’s also the middle of winter.

He gathered them in his tilma, a garment like a poncho. He brought them to Mary who arranged them and said to take them to the bishop.

Juan Diego proceeded again to the bishop’s house. After waiting a while for an audience, he repeated the message to the bishop and opened his tilma to present the roses. The bishop saw not only the beautiful flowers, but also the beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The bishop wept at the sight of the Blessed Mother and asked forgiveness for doubting.

December 9 marks the feast day of Saint Juan Diego and December 12, marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

That has got to be my absolute favorite story. It really hit me when it said,

“Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, let nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?”

The reason it hit me so hard when I read it was because I have been dealing with depression, and two ill uncles. I have also been somewhat discouraged about myself, and worried that Mary isn’t answering my prayers.

Also, when it said, “ Here I will demonstrate, I will manifest, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live in this united land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, and of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and I will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities, and misfortunes.”

I have been seeking her. I have been seeking her and imploring her everyday. By praying the Rosary fervently, a lot of my suffering has diminished.

Also, she is the patroness of the unborn, and I feel like she is calling me to stand up for the unborn and to be their voice.  I know the Catholic Church already teaches that we should do that, but I feel like she’s talking directly to me. Recently I got in a debate with a fellow Catholic about aborition. She talked about how she felt that abortion was okay, and that it wasn’t a big deal. I was outraged. I explained to her that you cannot be Catholic and pro-choice. It’s a contradiction, and the Church doesn’t contradict herself. I cited in the Bible and Catechism of the Catholic Church where it talks about abortion/ killing not being okay. I took that as a sign that I should attend March for Life.

 And please pray to our Blessed Mother, she is so powerful.

Totus Tuus