Complaining: A Step Off the Path Toward Sanctity

I am ecstatic to share content with you that I have found through my new subscription (I am not paid or under any obligation to share this with you beyond my obligation of God to share His work) from Helena Daily:

How Complaining Undermines Our Faith

“Complaining isn’t a vice because God doesn’t want to listen to our whining. Quite the contrary. It is a vice because it undermines our trust in him and his providence in our lives.”

By Megan Schrieber

With the arrival of the first family grandchild, my Irish father took on the name ‘Grumpy.’ He had a great sense of humor and saw the truth in our accurately coined moniker. My father earned this title after years and years of being a complainer. His most notorious line to displeasing situations was “That’s annoying.” It seemed fairly innocent, but when compounded over and over for every situation that is slightly askew, it became, well, annoying. In each of these moments this simple phrase produced an intentional shift away from seeing God’s grace to seeing the devil’s dysfunction.

Like a bad gene, this catch phrase worked its way into our own family life. My children decided to add the article ‘so’ in order to intensify the meaning. They meant business and each sibling was bound to know his place.

One summer, the term was used so frequently we instituted a “That’s So Annoying” jar.  Each time I heard it, the proclaimer had to throw a nickel in the jar. One offender would just walk by and drop a dollar to have a day filled with 20 comebacks to whatever irked him.

Not surprisingly, the jar did not work; however, it highlighted the alarming frequency of usage which called everyone to action. Happily, I can report that the term has been nearly eradicated from our family’s vernacular.

Beyond just being annoying, focusing on this pithy comment led to the revelation that we were choosing to see a problem instead of God’s presence. Over and over we were fixing our eyes, not on him, but away from him. And in time, it began to erode our faith life. When complaining becomes a way of life, we simply become blind to the redemptive power of God present in every situation. As the vice takes root more deeply, it becomes more sinister. It actually limits our ability to see God’s omnipresence in the everyday, in the mundane, in the predictable.

In our humanity, we tend to use times of complaining as means of ‘venting’ or ‘expressing our feelings’, but what it becomes is simply an excuse to step out of God’s grace. This is not to say that being a faithful person leaves us ignoring problems or irritating situations, but as faithful people we are called to have fortitude and not allow these situations to have an influence in our lives.

The better place to start when we have a serious complaint is to take it to our Father. Letting him listen and reveal how these challenges are opportunities for growth is a simple act allowing us to step back into grace. It is the invitation to God to showcase his redemptive power in our lives. This refocusing reminds us of who is really in charge, and from there we can take our cues as to how to proceed.

There are grave warnings against complaining in Scripture. Exodus makes it clear that the Israelites spent a lot more time looking for the Land of Cana than they needed to because of their complaining. And St. Paul offers us this advice: ”Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generations, among whom you shine like lights in the world” (Phil 2: 14-15).

Complaining isn’t a vice because God doesn’t want to listen to our whining. Quite the contrary. It is a vice because it undermines our trust in him and his providence in our lives. God wants to be present in our lives moment by moment. Complaining pushes him out of our view. Like the Israelites learning the hard way, we get to where God wants us to be much faster if we listen to him instead complaining along the way.

Mindful Media for a Better Monday // Media Attenta per Un Lunedì Migliore

Here are my steps for a better Monday (this is what God has put into my life lately and it has really uplifted my month so far):

  1. Fr. Mike Schmitz wisdom:

Click here to listen to this podcast (in English only, unfortunately) that will explain:

-what gets inside your head will change how you think, talk, act, and ultimately, believe

2. Helena Daily News Source

Among the GREAT things you’ll find on that website (including a daily email sign-up I just decided to join), you’ll find this amazing bridge of the U.S. film industry and a more lasting, meaningful occupation through making mind space to discern and follow one’s vocation:

3. Also wildly interesting: a San Francisco socialite becoming a cloistered Carmelite after having 10 children and having enough shoes to jeopardize all current celebrities’ shoe collections: read here.

4. This is great for this time of year (All Saints’ Day, which is the day built for all of us: we were all created as saints and God yearns most deeply for each of us to be saints): click here for an exorcist’s explanation on life and afterlife.  To be honest, I think that this work is so important that I hope to order the book soon and in the meantime, here is a part of a chapter from the book:

An Exorcist Describes Death, Judgement, and Our Everlasting Life

Heaven, the Kingdom of Love

I wish to include some basic notions of Christian eschatology, which, because of the Resurrection of Christ give a reason for great hope to everyone — in particular, to those who suffer from evil spells. Our life, our earthly pilgrimage, and our suffering are not the fruit of a blind randomness; rather, they are ordered for our greater good and definitive friendship with God.

Let us begin, then, precisely from paradise, the final goal and the reason for which we have been created. “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they ‘see him as he is,’ face to face,” (CCC 1023).

Our Faith guarantees that in paradise we shall enjoy the vision of God; that is, we shall become participants in that same happiness that the divine Persons enjoy among themselves:

“The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ” (CCC, no. 1026).

 

A question arises spontaneously: What need did the Trinity have for creatures, for men and angels, when It was already perfect and absolutely sufficient in Itself? The Trinity did it solely out of love, gratuitous and unconditional love for us. The advantage is solely ours: love, joy, and happiness, for all, in paradise.

There are degrees of participation in the joy and love of God. This degree of rank is given according to the level of sanctity each person has reached during his lifetime: the joy of St. Francis of Assisi, for example, will be different from that of the good thief. There is a difference between men on earth, and there will be a difference in paradise.

It is similar to what happens with the stars in heaven: there are those that shine brighter and those that shine a little less. So also it will be with men in the glorious resurrection: all of us shall be resplendent, but each one with a different proportion. Each one will have that maximum of splendor and happiness that he is personally capable of, based on how he has lived his life. Some will have a greater capacity and others less, but without envy or jealousy toward each other.

Indeed, each one will know complete joy. A verse from Dante’s Divine Comedy comes to mind: “In his will is our peace.” In paradise there is no jealousy; each one is in the will of God, and in His will there is peace. Eternal peace is definitive, where each tear, each sorrow, and all envy will be wiped away.

The Souls in Purgatory

Purgatory is the place, or, better, the state to which come the souls that have need of a purification and therefore have not been immediately admitted to contemplate the face of God. This purification is necessary in order to arrive at sanctity, the condition that heaven requires. The Catechism speaks of the souls in purgatory: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (no. 1030).

This article is from a chapter in An Exorcist Explains the Demonic.

We can understand that there are gradations or diverse states in purgatory; each one accommodates the situation of the soul that arrives there. There are the lower strata, more terrible because they are closer to hell, and the more elevated that are less terrible because they are much closer to the happiness of paradise. The level of purification is linked to this state.

The souls in purgatory are in a state of great suffering. We know, in fact, that they can pray for us and that they can obtain many graces for us, but they can no longer merit anything for themselves. The time for meriting graces finishes with death.

Purged souls can, however, receive our help in order to abbreviate their period of purification. This occurs in a powerful way through our prayers, with the offering of our sufferings, paying attention at Mass, specifically at funerals or at Gregorian Masses, celebrated for thirty consecutive days.

This last practice was introduced by St. Gregory the Great in the sixth century, inspired by a vision he had of a confrere who died without confessing himself and, having gone to purgatory, appeared to him, asking him to celebrate some Masses in his favor. The pope celebrated them for thirty days. At that point, the deceased appeared to him again, happy for having been admitted to paradise. One must take care: this does not mean that it will always work this way: that would be a magical attitude, unacceptable and erroneous toward a sacrament. In fact, it is solely God who decides these matters when He wills it through His divine mercy.

On the subject of Masses, it is necessary to say that they can be applied to a particular deceased, but, at the last moment, it is God who destines them to those who have a real need. For example, I often celebrate Masses for my parents, whom I believe in my conscience are already in paradise. Only God in His mercy will destine the benefits of my Masses to those who have more need, each one according to the criteria of justice and goodness reached during his life.

Regarding all that I have said, I wish warmly to advise that it is better to expiate suffering in this life and become a saint than, in a minimalist way, to aspire to purgatory, where the pains are long-lasting and heavy.

The Pains of Hell

The book of Revelation says that “the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev. 12:9).

Why were they hurled down to the earth? Because the punishment they were given is that of persecuting men, trying to lead them to eternal hell, rendering them their unfortunate companions for an eternity of suffering and torment.

How can this drama, which involves everyone, enter into the plans of God? As we have said, the next reason is the liberty granted by God to His creatures. Certainly we know that the mission of Satan and his acolytes is to ruin man, to seduce him, to lead him toward sin, and to distance him from the full participation in divine life, to which we have all been called, which is paradise.

Then there is hell, the state in which the demons and the condemned are distanced from the Creator, the angels, and the saints in a permanent and eternal condition of damnation. Hell, after all, is self-exclusion from communion with God. As the Catechism states: “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves” (no. 1033). The one who dies in mortal sin without repenting goes to hell; in an impenitent way, he has not loved. It is not God who predestines a soul to hell; the soul chooses it with the way [the person] has lived his life.

We have some stories about hell that, because they are taken from private revelations or experiences, do not bind the faithful, but, nevertheless, have a notable value. I have spoken on more occasions in my books and in my interviews of the experience of St. Faustina Kowalska, who in her diary writes of her spiritual journey to hell.

It is shocking.

Stories and visions like these have to make us reflect. For this reason Our Lady of Fatima said to the seers: “Pray and offer sacrifices; too many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and offer sacrifices for them.”

Being in the kingdom of hate, damned souls are subjected to the torment of the demons and to the sufferings they reciprocally inflict on one another. In the course of my exorcisms I have understood that there is a hierarchy of demons, just as there is with angels. More than once I have found myself involved with demons who were possessing a person and who demonstrated a terror toward their leaders.

One day, after having done many exorcisms on a poor woman, I asked the minor demon who was possessing her: “Why don’t you go away?” And he replied: “Because if I go away from here, my leader, Satan, will punish me.” There exists in hell a subjugation dictated by terror and hatred. This is the abysmal contrast with paradise, the place where everyone loves one another and where, if a soul sees someone holier, that soul is immensely happy because of the benefit it receives from the happiness of another.

Some say that hell is empty. The response to this affirmation is found in chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel, where it speaks of the Last Judgment: the upright will go to eternal life and the others, the cursed, will go to the eternal fire. We can certainly hope that hell is empty, because God does not wish the death of a sinner but that he convert and live (see Ezek. 33:11). For this He offers His mercy and saving grace to each one. In the Gospel of John Jesus says: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23); thus He insists on our continuous conversion supported by the grace of the sacraments, in particular the sacrament of Penance.

Returning to the question of hell, whether it is empty or not: unfortunately, I fear that many souls go there, all those who per­severe in their choice of distancing themselves from God to the end. Let us meditate often on this. Pascal said it well: “Meditation on hell has filled paradise with saints.”

The Judgment on Life

The Catechism speaks of the particular judgment: “The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith” (no. 1021).

And further on it adds: “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation” (no. 1022). Then it adds the criterion with which this judgment will occur, taken from the writings of St. John of the Cross: “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”

The first thing that I would emphasize is precisely this last: the final criterion of our judgment will be the love that we have had toward God and toward our brothers and sisters. How, then, will this particular judgment occur?

At times, I run into persons who are convinced that immediately after death they will meet Jesus in person and that He will give them a piece of His mind for some of their dolorous affairs. Frankly, I do not think that it will happen like this. Rather, I believe that, immediately after death, each of us will appear before Jesus, but it will not be the Lord who will review our lives and examine the good and the bad each of us has done. We ourselves shall do it, in truth and honesty.

Each one will have before himself the complete vision of his life, and he will immediately see the real spiritual state of his soul and will go where his situation will bring him. It will be a solemn moment of self-truth, a tremendous and definitive moment, as definitive as the place where we shall be sent. Let us consider the case of the person who goes to purgatory.

It will involve the sorrow of not immediately going to paradise that will make him understand that his purification on earth was not complete, and he will feel the immediate need of purifying himself. His desire of acceding to the vision of God will be strong, and the desire for liberation from the weight of the pains accumulated during his earthly life will be compelling.

The Last Judgment: It Will Be Love That Will Judge Us

Let us end with the universal judgment:

The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he de­termines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. (CCC, no. 1040)

This is one of the most difficult realities to understand. The Last Judgment coincides with the return of Christ; however we do not know the precise time it will occur. We know that it will be preceded immediately by the resurrection of the dead. In that precise moment, the history of the world will definitively and globally end. The Catechism again specifies: “In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare [cf. John 12:49]” (no. 1039).

The essential question is: What is the concrete rapport that each man has with God? As I have mentioned, the solemn response is found in the Gospel of Mathew. The saved and the damned will be chosen on the basis of their recognition or rejection of Christ in the infirm, in the hungry, and in the poor (Matt. 25:31–46). Two essential elements emerge from this. The first is a division, a schism, between those going to paradise and those going to hell, between the saved and the condemned. The second regards the manner in which this judgment will be accomplished — with love. God’s Commandments and every other precept are summarized solely in one commandment: “[L]ove one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

We can easily understand that this command is addressed to each human conscience in every age, including those who lived before Christ and those, who today, as in centuries past, never heard anyone speak of the Son of Man. Therefore, the finale of this stupendous passage is the beautiful passage from Mathew: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).

If each man — apart from his religion, his culture, his epoch, and any other circumstance — has loved his neighbor, he has also loved the Lord Jesus in person. Any rapport with our brothers and sisters in any locality, any age, or any situation is, all in all, a rapport with Jesus Christ in person. Each human creature who achieves fulfillment in his human relationships is, at the same time, relating to God. For this reason, the love of neighbor is the fundamental precept of life. John the Evangelist helps us to understand that we cannot say that we love God, whom we cannot see, if we do not love our brother, whom we can see (cf. 1 John 4:20).

The love that will judge us will be the same love that we have (or have not) practiced toward others, the same love that Jesus lived in His earthly experience and taught us in the Gospels, the same love to which we are entitled through the sacraments, through prayer, and through a life of faith. The ability to love comes from grace, and it is much reduced in those who do not know Christ; and even more so in those who know Him but do not follow Him, a choice that assumes a serious sin. Indeed, Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

On the other hand, in announcing the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis reminds us that the other fundamental aspect of the question is that the love with which we shall be judged will be the Love of mercy. “Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us.” This mercy, he says, “is the bridge that connects God and man and opens our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”

God’s compassionate glance and His desire to live in total communion with us opens our hearts to the hope that each sin and each failure inflicted on man by his great enemy, Satan, will be looked upon with the eyes of a loving and accepting Father. Therefore, let us live full of hope, because we know that, even in the difficulties of our life’s journey, God will wipe away all the tears from our eyes. On that day “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Amorth’s An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angelswhich is available from Sophia Institute Press.


To finish, I will leave you with the final flower still blooming in our rental house’s garden in late fall- my roommate and I have learned more about St. Therese of Lisieux through this opportunity to speak about her impact in this world and her sign, the rose:
fall 2018 kirkwood.jpg

A Breakfast Favorite: the Smoothie // La colazione preferita: il frullato

Sometimes, you finally make a smoothie SO GOOD you must share it right away:

 

-1/2 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed

-1/4 inch of fresh ginger, peeled

-1/2 packet of unsweetened acai fruit

-1/2 to 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

-1 T Cacao powder (NOT cocoa powder…very different in nutrients)

-A sprinkle of stevia powder

-1/2 cup frozen strawberries

 

Blend and serve with your favorite nut butter on the side! Even more tasty if you add two dark-chocolate covered macadamia nuts given to your by that sweet friend Claire (all the way from Hawaii)! Great memories to cherish over a great smoothie bowl…even if the color concerns you (dark green), the taste will allow you to know it’s worth the off-putting color of the smoothie- it’s a good one, I promise!!

A volte, finalmente fai un frullato SO GOOD, devi condividerlo subito:

-1/2 mazzetto di spinaci freschi, sciacquati

1/4 di pollice di zenzero fresco, sbucciato

-1/2 pacchetto di frutta acai non zuccherata

Da -1/2 a 1 tazza di latte di mandorle non zuccherato

-1 T Cacao in polvere (NON cacao in polvere … molto diverso nei nutrienti)

-Una spolverata di polvere di stevia

-1/2 tazza di fragole congelate

Mescola e servi con il tuo burro di noci preferito sul lato! Ancora più gustoso se aggiungi due noci di macadamia ricoperte di cioccolato fondente regalate da quella dolce amica Claire (proveniente dalle Hawaii)! Grandi ricordi da amare su una grande ciotola di frullato … anche se il colore ti preoccupa (verde scuro), il gusto ti permetterà di sapere che vale il colore del frullato che spicola, è una buona scelta, lo prometto !!

Amando a Dios: al Diario

Amarás a Dios sobre todas las cosas…

– ¿Creo todo lo que Dios ha revelado y nos enseña la Iglesia Católica? ¿He dudado o negado las verdades de la fe católica?

– ¿Hago con desgana las cosas que se refieren a Dios? ¿Me acuerdo del Señor a lo largo del día? ¿Rezo en algún momento de la jornada?

– ¿He recibido al Señor en la Sagrada Comunión teniendo algún pecado grave en mi conciencia? ¿He callado en la confesión por vergüenza algún pecado mortal?

– ¿He blasfemado? ¿He jurado sin necesidad o sin verdad? ¿He practicado la superstición o el espiritismo?

– ¿He faltado a Misa los domingos o días festivos? ¿He cumplido los días de ayuno y abstinencia?

… y al prójimo como a ti mismo.

– ¿Manifiesto respeto y cariño a mis familiares? ¿estoy pendiente y ayudo en el cuidado de mis padres o familiares si lo necesitan? ¿Soy amable con los extraños y me falta esa amabilidad en la vida de familia? ¿tengo paciencia?

– ¿Permito que mi trabajo ocupe tiempo y energías que corresponden a mi familia o amigos? Si estoy casado, ¿he fortalecido la autoridad de mi cónyuge, evitando reprenderle, contradecirle o discutirle delante de los hijos?

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Brittney’s Career Tips: Part 1

Hello people of Julia’s blog! My name is Brittney and I have known Julia for three years! We met on a retreat in college where Julia was the leader of my small group and since then I can call her one of my very best friends. Graduate of the University of St. Thomas, I work in marketing for an electronics part’s manufacturer. Today I am going to talk about how to nail that interview you have coming up and the best way to get a recruiters attention with your resume and LinkedIn. I’ve had my fair share of interviews and job so am semi-qualified to be writing this post. Feel free to keep reading to land WHATEVER job you want including that dream job!

Interviewing:

Suzy Welch. She is a legend. Wife of Jack Welch, business executive and author, Suzy is very knowledgeable when it comes to knocking the socks off of your interviewers. I suggest watching as many videos from her as you can to take in her techniques. The videos are also short, sweet, and always less than 2 mins. A summary of a few tips I have learned from her:

  • Do not let your guard down too soon especially in the 2nd This means keeping it on professional basis – do not ask the interviewer where they live or what they are getting for lunch. These sorts of things.
  • Don’t go in to the interview to answer questions, go in to have a conversation. For example: “What is your weakness?” you may respond, “My weakness is public speaking and something that I have never been good at naturally but am taking an online class to improve my skills.” Don’t end there proceed to ask/say, “I’d love to hear about what kind of public speaking this job involves.” Explain your tactics, then ask a question and converse like a colleague.
  • Be an energy giver. Pour your energy into others and always leave people feeling invigorated. How often do you initiate events for others? Pizza lunch, weekend hiking trip, holiday gathering. Also, when was the last time you call up someone just to encourage them, with no agenda? Be the one who pours energy into others’ success. (this tip is to think about for after getting the job as well)

Looking for some inspiration on how great you can be?

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Waiting to Learn From God: Knowing 1% More of His Ways

358 days ago, A and I had our first date after exchanging emails for a few weeks while I was away in Spain and France for a grad-moon (I coin this term now: the big trip you take before your life becomes consumed for 2.5 years from a medical graduate program).

Around that time, I wrote down these words of encouragement:

notes

Today, we celebrate the result of many of our decisions made to turn toward God and allow His work to come first. Our cooperation got His work to where it needed to be- imperfectly as we make our lives- all the same giving full effort (and tons of errors, mistakes, and sin that needed to be considered and forgiven by Jesus in between).

In December 2016, I was finalizing my termination of discernment of the religious life with the inspiring religious sister that had woken me up to the possibilities of bravery and listening first and foremost to Christ’s voice for my life. These months led to a stronger conviction and action to get daily mass into my schedule, much more participation in Pro Ecclesia Sancta activities (the AMAZING group to which I was discerning- their work is outstanding and maintains an excellent tradition of service and integrity to the true, theological meaning of Catholicism), had I not been open to all forms of a vocation to Heaven, I would not have made it here to find my vocation and wait all the time it took for God to set up life in such a beautiful way despite so many problems, and sins, I create during any given day.

(I still have a special place in my heart for PES, learn about them in St. Paul, Minnesota- although they are originally from amd founded in Peru: https://vimeo.com/219465322 )

On that very same day as my morning meeting to finalize my decision to move forward with a vocation of marriage, I received a call of acceptance from the grad school I had loved the most.

Months later, I was getting nervous about this new grad school idea and I had been going on dates with a couple of fantastic men that respected me and grew my God-given faith, hope and love by their example, but I couldn’t find the person with whom my heart belonged to cheer each other to Heaven.

I was definitely about to eliminate a months-old account on a Catholic dating site and again try a more ‘regular’ dating style- I did live in a great city with tons of young adult events for faithful Christians seeking Christ in the life of a layperson.

I was 90% ready to eliminate my account, but there was one lingering message I thought I wanted to know more about the person who had kindly sent it, so I messaged back…it was that message that dropped me into the many situations that answered each A and I’s prayers by a sweet, loving, caring, prayerful relationship.

A is the love of my life, and it took God to find A and recognize his importance in my life: so many quiet, faithful decisions guided by mental prayer, spiritual guidance, and confession with priests acting on behalf of the real living presence of Jesus’ mercy for us.

Once you found him, once he takes you to morning mass at your childhood parish and takes you back to that Mud Lake park bench where you sat during your first date, and gets down on one knee to my WILDEST surprise (he had been ‘planning on Labor Day’ for some time now), and you enjoy those minutes alone in a park and share your first dance as an engaged couple…once you have been blessed by these moments forever imprinted in one’s mind, you get to celebrate with those who love you and support the process of prayer and blessings around us– but enough with words, let’s share smiles:

picmonkey first photo couple engaged 072118.jpg
Our first photo as an engaged couple in Mud Lake Park (West St. Paul, MN): July 21, 2018

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Past Musings: 2016 ‘Super Senior’ College Student

Back in 2016, I started writing a blog post that was never finished and never published. However, to look back at that draft is to bring the concerns of that time alive again; let me share with you what they were-

  • Wanting to see more people sanctifying themselves in the world.
  • “In a certain sense, these final two difficult Accounting classes are already a part of my calling in occupational therapy; they allow the undergraduate degree necessary to continue to grad school.” (I was just trying to consider anything to get me through a final semester I was not externally motivated to complete. In this sense, it was a blessing because I had to pray more to find my strength in God to give everything the most work I had to offer).
  • “So much ‘extra’ to work on aside from classes and work: perfecting Spanish grammar, vocabulary, English vocabulary, and Math skills, GRE studying, EXADEP studying, more volunteering under U.S.-licensed occupational therapists, three more pre-requisite classes (Abnormal Psychology, Anatomy, and Physiology), re-locating either my state or to a U.S. territory, likely studying within a new culture and language.”
    • At this time in my life, I was considering an OT master’s program in Puerto Rico accredited by the U.S. OT educational program organization. Though family members did not want to see me go due to the Zika virus current there, I stayed in the Midwest for many reasons ultimately. However, the subsequent year was one of the hardest for Puerto Rico: terrible devastation via Hurricane Maria, and a financial crisis that had overtaken much of the presidential campaign which was to only worsen after the state of emergency and long process of re-building infrastructure. I pray especially for all individuals affected, because although I want to be with them to care for whatever needs remain, I realize that this would have most definitely halted or negatively impacted my schedule for studies. Once again, God shows his faithfulness in my life: a plan I did not even want from the outset was the plan that is getting me far closer to the deepest desires of my heart. God sees the whole picture that I cannot- I am human and my imperfection can limit the understanding I have of the extent of reality and my surroundings beyond earth- it can even limit someone’s ability to recognize that their is our God and how much Love he gives us through his teachings and us respecting them- difficult as they may be for ALL of us! This brings me to my favorite book of the year so far:
518LU5KFeFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Made For Love by the (now famous) priest in Duluth, Minnesota: Fr. Mike!

I highly recommend that ANYONE and EVERYONE order their book here. This guy can clarify a lot in relatively few pages. (No, I am not paid or influenced ahead of time for this post- except by personal experience alone!)

To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that. -St. Theresa of Avila

2015 Archives Part 3

From the October 2015 archives-

  1. If you need an argument to start writing down your thoughts and journal a bit about your life, the UMD Newman Center 10/5/15 podcast (‘As If Your Life Matters’) at 18:00 minutes explains some crazy reasons for doing so! Other reasons to listen to this podcast:
    1. Relationships and Excellence are meant to last. MANY other things in life aren’t. “Am I living as if my time matters…concerning relationships and excellence?” We are all producing results from our life decisions, so will it pass away, or will it endure, even if you’re the only one who knew about your choices when no one was looking…but you chose Excellence and maintaining healthy relationships out of your sacrifices?
  2. Real faith isn’t a feeling. It’s based on the fact that Jesus conquered death.
  3. What does God want to be true for me in 5 years? (*You need a vision but you also need a plan).
    1. Primary relationships, relationship with God
  4. Focus on relationships now: HP, girls in Minneapolis, my family
  5. In the moment of integrity (when it’s hard to show up on time, or do the right thing), do I maintain integrityy?
  6. There are no ordinary people (St. John Paul II seeing God in every person he met).,.