Draft Being Published: October 2015

It is stunning, and in many ways even beautiful, how time flies.

I know (in ways I can’t speak to a public blog audience) of where I was in October 2015.

I will forever talk about that time of my life as painful because it is a type of pain that most people will never take the path to finally face. A revealing of Christ, which makes you realize everything you’ve never been to the world, to your loved ones, to yourself, to God, above all else.

There was profound pain in my heart that was new, seemed hopeless, and made me feel like my life was no longer my own.

I had always been so blessed, but in that time I watched my dear friends keep moving, climbing upward in their lives…and I was just watching them climb a forest while I sat on the ground. Stagnant and cold.

Life feels stagnant and cold here in grad school more often that I would like to admit. However, looking back at my heart that was so shattered, I am feeling tears to imagine that place in my emotional life.

I know God is faithful even if I can’t feel peace as often as I would really, really like in my life now.

I look around to those I love and I see that I do get peace from God that others have never known, yet here I am investing substantial time into considering all that I lack. I claim that this is a piece of striving for excellence: to know one’s faults inside and out.

However, to know one’s tendencies may be a better route. I tend to react to positive reinforcement. Criticism from others, especially the ones that matter most, bring me back to 2015. I take it so seriously that I feel I will never be enough. If only we could take out our criticism and through prayer invest that into a kind suggestion, a gentle way to help the other person, or even more simply, an understanding and acceptance of their imperfect humanity. That is what I need most from those around me. It would be best to give it back to the world while I recognize my need for it, too.

This is not what 2015-me would have wanted to see of her future: a focus on criticizing one another, speaking of ‘focused on anything that isn’t perfect, nothing being good enough’, or ‘look at me, trying to sift through emotions imperfectly, often even sinfully in allowing emotions to overcome me, and this is handled nonchalantly overall when there’s weakness to be addressed by creating new positive goals and achievements, and now I am a team so this must be shared with one another.

‘She of 2015’ would have wanted to know how to make that pain bearable, and the answer does not lie in expecting changes in fellow humanity- instead, loving them despite the pain they can’t see. God does see my heart in that He even created it. I don’t make stuff up for Him, and what would life be without Him to help sort out what only He holds the ‘owner’s manual’ to?

She (me of 2015) would have wanted to move out of that place of lacking deeply the things that were all around her, if only gratitude could be recalled moment-to-moment.

I happened to be in Peru at that time in October 2015. God knew I needed that time. I started going to daily mass out of desperation for meaning in my days. I had to learn the mass in Spanish. I had found this ‘answer guide’ of the Spanish mass to post years ago, but I’m posting it now. Now that I have friends like Brittney, Lauren, Caroline, Abigail, Hannah, Jordan, Liz, Yesslin, Ella, Gianella, Antonella, etc. to celebrate mass with me as such:

Entrada y saludo inicial.
S: En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.
R: Amén.
S: La gracia de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el amor del Padre y la comunión del Espíritu Santo estén con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.

Acto penitencial.
S: Para celebrar dignamente estos sagrados misterios, reconozcamos nuestros pecados.
R: Yo confieso ante Dios todopoderoso y ante vosotros, hermanos, que he pecado mucho de pensamiento, palabra, obra y omisión. Por mi culpa, por mi culpa, por mi gran culpa. Por eso ruego a Santa María, siempre Virgen, a los ángeles, a los santos y a vosotros, hermanos, que intercedáis por mí ante Dios, nuestro Señor.
S: Dios todopoderoso tenga misericordia de nosotros, perdone nuestros pecados y nos lleve a la vida eterna.
R: Amén.
S: Señor, ten piedad.
R: Señor, ten piedad.
S: Cristo, ten piedad.
R: Cristo, ten piedad.
S: Señor, ten piedad.
R: Señor, ten piedad.

Gloria. (Domingos y días festivos).
R: Gloria a Dios en el cielo, y en la tierra paz a los hombres que ama el Señor. Por tu inmensa gloria te alabamos, te bendecimos, te adoramos, te glorificamos, te damos gracias. Señor Dios, Rey celestial, Dios Padre todopoderoso. Señor Hijo único, Jesucristo, Señor Dios Cordero de Dios, Hijo del Padre; Tú que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad de nosotros; Tú que quitas el pecado del mundo, atiende nuestra súplica; Tú que estás sentado a la derecha del Padre, ten piedad de nosotros; Porque sólo tú eres Santo, sólo tú Señor, sólo tú Altísimo Jesucristo. Con el Espíritu Santo, en la gloria de Dios Padre. Amén.

Final de la oración.
S: Por Jesucristo… que vive y reina por los siglos de los siglos (otra versión: Por Jesucristo nuestro Señor).
R: Amén.

Liturgia de la Palabra
(Final de la 1ª y 2ª lectura)
Lector: Palabra de Dios.
R: Te alabamos, Señor.
(Lectura del Evangelio)
S: (Al inicio) El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Lectura del Santo Evangelio, según San…
R: Gloria a ti, Señor.
S: (Al final) Palabra del Señor.
R: Gloria a ti, Señor Jesús.
Profesión de fe: Credo. (Domingos y festivos).
R: Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, Creador del cielo y de la tierra. Creo en Jesucristo, su único Hijo, nuestro Señor, que fue concebido por obra y gracia del Espíritu Santo, nació de Santa María Virgen, padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato, fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado, descendió a los infiernos, al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos, subió a los cielos y está sentado a la derecha de Dios, Padre todopoderoso. Desde allí ha de venir a juzgar a vivos y muertos. Creo en el Espíritu Santo, la santa Iglesia católica, la comunión de los santos, el perdón de los pecados, la resurrección de la carne y la vida eterna. Amén.

Presentación de las ofrendas.
S: (Pan) Bendito seas, Señor… será para nosotros pan de vida.
R: Bendito seas por siempre, Señor.
S: (Vino) Bendito seas, Señor… será para nosotros bebida de salvación.
R: Bendito seas por siempre, Señor.
S: Orad, hermanos, para que este sacrificio, mío y vuestro, sea agradable a Dios, Padre todopoderoso.
R: El Señor reciba de tus manos este sacrificio para alabanza y gloria de su nombre, para nuestro bien y el de toda su santa Iglesia.

Plegaria eucarística.
S: El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Levantemos el corazón.
R: Lo tenemos levantado hacia el Señor.
S: Demos gracias al Señor nuestro Dios.
R: Es justo y necesario.
S: (Proclama el Prefacio correspondiente al día).
R: Santo, Santo, Santo es el Señor, Dios del universo. Llenos están los cielos y la tierra de tu gloria. Hosanna en el cielo. Bendito el que viene en nombre del Señor. Hosanna en el cielo.

Después de la consagración.
S: Éste es el Sacramento de nuestra fe.
R: Anunciamos tu muerte, proclamamos tu Resurrección. ¡Ven, Señor Jesús!

Final de la plegaria eucarística.
S: Por Cristo… todo honor y toda, gloria, por los siglos de los siglos.
R: Amén.

Rito de la comunión.
(Recitación del Padrenuestro)
R: Padre nuestro, que estás en el cielo, santificado sea tu Nombre; venga a nosotros tu reino; hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día; perdona nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden; no nos dejes caer en la tentación, y líbranos del mal. Amén.
S: Líbranos… esperamos la venida gloriosa de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.
R: Tuyo es el reino, tuyo el poder y la gloria, por siempre, Señor.

Rito de la paz.
S: Señor Jesucristo… vives y reinas por los siglos de los siglos.
R: Amén.,
S: La paz del Señor esté siempre con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: Daos fraternalmente la paz.
(Según sea la costumbre, se intercambia un signo de paz con los más cercanos).
R: Cordero de Dios, que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad de nosotros (se repite dos veces). Cordero de Dios, que quitas el pecado del mundo, danos la paz.

Comunión de los fieles.
S: Éste es el Cordero de Dios… invitados a la Cena del Señor.
R: Señor, no soy digno de que entres en mi casa, pero una palabra tuya bastará para sanarme.
S: El Cuerpo de Cristo.
R: Amén.

Rito de conclusión y despedida.
S: El Señor esté con vosotros.
R: Y con tu espíritu.
S: La bendición de Dios todopoderoso… (todos se santiguan) descienda sobre nosotros.
R: Amén.
S: Podéis ir en paz.
R: Demos gracias a Dios.

I remember that I thought others couldn’t see my worth or value, so I became focused on my exterior self. I took a lot of photos of myself, and I promise that in the process of reviewing every single one of them, I could have pointed out at least 5 huge pieces of how I was ugly and not good enough.

Every day I woke up feeling rejected and unwanted and the battle began to fight for knowing God’s love despite pain.

I tried to control something by obsessing over myself. I thought I looked horrible. Photos below will show you who I was talking to every day in the mirror to tell myself I needed to keep losing weight, try to fix my first wrinkle, not smile too much because my jawline isn’t strong and my teeth aren’t perfectly straight.

IMG_3129.JPG
2015 image: one of so many selfies trying to determine my worth from my exterior reality of myself

God has relieved me from a great amount of this, but too much still stays with me, and now it manifests itself in seeing these images and realizing I was very beautiful on the exterior, and now that I have less time to care for my exterior self, of course I feel bad about myself sometimes when I let that eat me away. Now I know that I was beautiful for my exterior (wait for it, at the end of these photos I get to tell you how much this matters- hint: this has not part of my value in God’s eyes, He who knows me best):

IMG_4334IMG_4286IMG_4258IMG_4221IMG_4205IMG_4087IMG_3975IMG_3974IMG_3880IMG_3720IMG_3751IMG_3753IMG_3755IMG_3849IMG_3868IMG_3700IMG_3629IMG_362712011143_1052222101475794_7668269418590126671_n[1]

And now I am beautiful because I am the daughter of God. If that means recognizing a beautiful exterior (or still struggling with this), so be it- may I just know God’s plans a little more through the sanctifying struggle and never give up. Thanks be to God for being created in His image. In this way, I know I can be beautiful, as we each can become by knowing God’s plan for us:

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

 

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