Vocation Friday

God has given me an amazing weekend! My heart was filled with love and joy, and I felt His presence throughout the events of the past few days. He is always with us, but I treasure those times where I really feel that He is with me.

I was so full of squee today that I am sure that I was annoying to the people around me. I just wanted to hug everyone. I didn’t, but the impulse was there.

Some of my thoughts from the day:
“I have amazing friends.
God loves me.
I don’t need anything beyond what I have, and still he gives me more. :)”

I am excited about maybe being able to go to the upcoming diaconate ordinations. I don’t yet have the same love for the diaconate as I do for the presbyterate, but I’m hoping that perhaps this ordination will help me expand my love for all ordinati. 🙂

About lunchtime, I had these thoughts:
“God allowed for the existence of peanut-butter topped cinnamon sugar toasted bagels.
God is my friend. :)”
It was mentioned that God also allowed for marshmallows and their fluff (which I wholly despise and reject as the source of all evil), so I had to note that God does permit for bad things to happen, sometimes. Quite obviously, marshmallow fluff is not of God. 🙂

Then, the Holy Spirit had me do something I had not intended to do.
See, I have a vocation as an intercessor. God has given me a particular person to pray for, and I pray for him daily. Beyond daily, really, almost constantly. 🙂 Because he happens to be a priest, I took one of those Chalice of Strength books a while back because it contains many prayers specifically for priests, and I thought that might be helpful to me. I noted at the time that there was an organization with which you could register as spiritually adopting a specific priest and they would send you biannual newsletters and suggestions for ways in which you could pray for the priests and the priesthood in general. I decided not to do this. This is a job that God has given to me and I felt that I didn’t need the recognition of having some sort of “membership” to give authenticity to this. I wasn’t doing this so as to be part of a community or anything, but because God wanted me to do it. I did not feel at the time that God was calling me to this organization.

Earlier in the summer, as I was taking a walk, I felt God speaking to me about the angels and encouraging me to ask them for their intercession, particularly as it applies to my vocation in praying for my one particular priest, and in general for all priests. Okay. I kind of noted this at the time, but as more time passed, I hadn’t really incorporated this into my daily prayers. I let it fall off the plate.

During lunch, I pulled out my Chalice of Strength book (which I don’t do all that often, really), and the little flyer in the back fell out. So, again, I read about signing up with their organization to spiritually adopt a priest. I, grudgingly, went to their website and took a look – highly skeptical of the website’s ability to make me interested in their program.

However, when I got there, my mind was changed. The organization was called “Opus Sanctorum Angelorum,” or “The Work of the Holy Angels”. Hmm. Angels.

As I read more, their program is really there to support you as you pray for priests, with the help of the angels, which is basically the message that I have been getting. They were an anonymous organization, so that I wouldn’t be recognized in any way – which was important to me. I just want to do God’s will. I began to realize that maybe God wants this for me now. To help me be a better intercessor.

There were two choices: you could (a) either submit a name of a man whom you already know as someone who you would permanently spiritually adopt or (b) ask for the name of someone for whom you would pray for a year, and at the end of the year, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, you would get the name of a different person. You could request a priest, bishop, seminarian or a man discerning his vocation.

Well, God already gave me one person, and I felt that he was definitely permanent, so I submitted his name for that. By doing that, I did not feel in any way that this “legitimized” my calling to pray for him, since I felt that I already had all the legitimacy that I needed – that this was a true calling for me to be his intercessor.

As I was on the website, I kept looking at it. There was something more for me here. I had one permanent, adopted “child” already. But there was something about this yearly program. So, after some prayer, I decided to enroll in this program, too. Since it is only a year commitment, I saw it as more of a “foster parent” arrangement. 🙂

So, in a way, I am expecting. Similar to a pregnant woman looking forward to the birth of a new child, I am waiting to be gifted with a new child of my own – to love, care for and, most important of all, to pray for.

With this new commitment, I anticipate being asked to give more of my time and myself for their benefit. I pray for strength and grace to truly be able to act as a good intercessor on their behalf and to follow God’s direction. I pray for the grace to become more holy, so that my prayers may be more efficacious for their good. I pray for them, personally, and for their vocations. I pray for all of us that we may answer God’s call anew every day and, as is written in Ephesians, to “live a life worthy of your vocation.”

As a final bonus to my Friday, Fr. Acervo is giving a talk “On the Priesthood.” My day could not get any better! 🙂 I love God! 🙂

Just Another Walk Around the Block

During dinner, I felt like talking a walk. It’s getting late, about 9:30 pm or so, but it would be nice to stop by the playground and swing on the swings for a bit before going to bed. So, I grabbed my iPod and left the house. As always, even as I am dancing and running and walking my way to the park, my mind wanders.

I have someone whom God has asked me to intercede for, to care for, and to love as He loves, so as to learn love as He loves. No small task, but one I cherish. God doesn’t burden you with vocations, He blesses you with them. As my mind is wandering, it wanders over to this topic — which is really not that surprising to me.

Would I protect this person?
Yes, of course, from everything I can which is harmful.

Would I give my life for this person?
Absolutely.

Why?
Because it is my job. To care for this person. And my caring does not stop at my prayers.
I am willing to do whatever God asks of me.
And God is good.
If God truly asks that I lay down my life, it is His.
Without question.
Without hesitation.

God loves me.
Whatever death, pain, suffering might come my way, God can handle.
I just need to get out of the way of His healing.
God loves me.

Nothing else matters.
He has me.
He loves me.
I trust Him.

This is a fight.
Truly, we are the church militant, right? There is danger. There are threats. We need to be strong. We need to protect each other.
He is asking if I will fight for this person that He gave me.
Absolutely.

The best part.
I am not alone.
He’s not asking that I do this alone.
Angels.
Seriously. Angels are in this fight right alongside us.

My Lord, my love, I am here.
Take whatever You want.
Use me however You want.
Help me to do Your will.

I am not afraid.
God loves me.

Not bad for a walk, eh? 🙂

The Blood of Christ

A friend e-mailed me, asking if I would serve as Eucharistic minister this weekend in her place, which I gladly accepted. I arrived early to sign up for a spot, but when I arrived, all the “bread” positions were taken (why they call it “bread” and “cup,” I have no idea, because we only go up into the sanctuary after consecration, so shouldn’t they be “Body” and “Blood” positions?).

I have only ever given out the Body of Christ, and ever since that first lecture in RCIA when Fr. John was speaking about dropping the host or spilling the consecrated wine, I have been terrified of doing either. I am still concerned when holding the Body of Christ, but, as a non-liquid, He is less . . . wiggly . . . in this way than the Blood. That, and I have nightmare daydreams about little kids grabbing the cup from me and spilling.

When I saw that I would be doing a “cup” position for the first time, I was kind of freaking out. After all, it wasn’t my choice to be a Blood minister. I had thought that eventually I would choose to try being a Blood minister (okay, there’s gotta be a better term for this) . . . you know, when I was ready. I told several of the other Eucharistic ministers with me that this was my first time — looking for reassurance. They were all very nonchalant about it, so I was left unvalidated in my fear. Adding to my sense of unease was the fact that I had been listening to the Bible on CD on the way in to church, and I was in the middle of Leviticus, where they are talking about splashing the blood on the altar. Which I really didn’t want to do today.

I was doubting my abilities to adequately protect Him until He was safely consumed and united with the faithful. Silly me, right? I mean, obviously, Jesus can take care of Himself. But, you know, I worry anyway. So, I was praying about this — trying to ignore my fear and trust that God wouldn’t have anything bad happen.

Then came the homily. Our associate pastor was the one celebrating this Mass; however, our pastor came out to tell us of a situation in the archdiocese which has recently become public. As I reflected on the matter, I was made even more aware of the significance to me of being the one who would be providing access to people to the Blood of Christ. Because it is the Blood of Christ which washes away our sins and effects our reconciliation with God. True, that we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus under either/both species; however, it is a stronger sign (for me anyway) in drinking of His Blood.

I felt, particularly at this time, that it was a time where everyone affected — our parish, the archdiocese — needed to be immersed in Christ. It was a time for reconciliation, healing, and most of all, for love. Whatever the truth of the matter, there are two people directly involved — both of which are hurt — and many other people indirectly hurt. This really hits home demonstrating the devastating effects of sin and how sin is a community affair — not limited to the involved parties.

I pray for God’s will to be done in regards to the situation, for His healing hand to be on the minds and hearts of everyone affected, and that the Holy Spirit works within us all so that we can love, show love and be love to all those who need it — especially in this matter. I pray that this will not divide us as a community. I pray that we will continue to have faith and trust, and leave the judging in His hands.

I do feel that I have a particular vocation, and it sometimes expands in scope, and I believe that in this case it includes this situation. Please pray for my compassion, empathy and strength, and the capacity for rendering whatever aid God asks of me.

So, I felt blessed to be able to participate in this way, in this specific Mass, being entrusted with the Precious Blood of our Lord. Somehow, it all tied together perfectly for me in a way which confirmed to me God’s presence. As was very recently pointed out to me, I am in His hands always — and that goes for every single one of us.

Sorry to be so vague.

— In His Love

Vocations – A Reflection on the Single State of Life

I think the single life is a state of life which is not often recognized as a vocation in our culture today. Too often, it may be seen more as a state of pending — waiting to determine if I am called to marriage or to consecrated life, instead of as an authentic calling on its own. I bought into this and was waiting myself, until I realized that God calls me all the time, and that I am currently in a valid state of life. And that I had better start responding. As a single, I do not have the same ties on my time, resources and attention as married couples. I can travel on pilgrimage. I can be that substitute catechist. I can be on parish council. I can volunteer at the various fundraisers. I can sponsor events. I can help out on a moment’s notice. Parents are the primary educators of their children, but in some ways, singles are the primary educators of their peers. I am living in the world in a way in which religious are not and I have potentially more free time to attend lectures to deepen my understanding of the faith and have greater access to a wider population of people. There is an expectation of a married couple to be more responsible, more religious, and in some ways more mature than a single. This, I find to be a great challenge for me to step up and attempt to be a good example of what it can be to live a good Christian life as a single. God is not waiting to call me, so why am I waiting to respond? If my state of life changes, then I will respond in that capacity at that time, and serve in the new role which God has called me to fulfill. He is calling today and I am answering today, with all the flexibility, resources and time that I have currently as a single, able to live my life entirely for others.

— Published in the OLGC Bulletin, March 22, 2009 🙂