Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Last night I was working at the midnight mass at my church. Part of my job involves going up into the old choir loft to count the number of people present. To make the counting easier I usually wait until everyone is seated before I count. And while I standing up there, I was struck by the shear power and awe that only a group of three hundred people can invoke. And as I watched this congregation coming together to celebrate the mystery of Christ's birth, something hit me. This is what Christmas really is. Not the presents, or the food, or the shopping. But the gathering and celebrating the sacred mystery. And it was wonderful to think that people had been assembling like this for almost two thousand years to listen to these same words and sing these praises. It was at that moment that I realized that even though everyone who celebrates Christmas celebrates it differently, it is this moment that draws us together and demonstrates parts of our common humanity. For as we celebrate the Word made flesh today, in what more appropriate way can we do this by gathering together in joy! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be Faithful in Small Things...

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies" -Mother Theresa

So Christmas is fast approaching and I am currently snowed in with nothing to do. So I thought, why not write. Be faithful in small things because it is them that your strength lies. For me, this message is of profound importance. I do not have any great visible skills. I'm not great at sports, at art. I don't play an instrument or star in the play. What I tend to do is less noticeable. And it is because of this that I find this message so profound. My strength does not lie in the large, visible things that are so valued in our world. It lies in the small things. And so every time I go off to do something, knowing that I will probably not be rewarded or noticed, I think of this quote. And with that, I am able to continue onward.

This message can also be applied to the wider world. As a people, if we can focus on the small things that make us up instead of the huge people we try to be, we might be able to be more successful. For as humans, we are all crafted through our experiences. The small things that define us. And it is in them that all our strength lies.

strength |stre ng (k)θ; strenθ|
1) the quality or state of being strong

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Happy Third Sunday of Advent! For most people this is not really a big deal, but I find this one of my favorite days of the year. It is called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin gaudeo which means to rejoice. It is supposed to be a day of rejoicing for the Lord's coming. But I find it an especially powerful day to remind myself of what I should rejoice about in my own life.
For a lot of people Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is mainly of season of preparation. For some people this means buying presents and putting up decorations. But for me it is a time to prepare my heart and mind. (And to buy presents.) We spend so much of our lives going, going, going. And even more during the Holiday Season. Maybe that is why I find it especially important to slow down at this time of year and consider all for which I am grateful. (And I know that's what Thanksgiving is for, but there is never really a bad time for it.) And there are so many things; my family, my friends, and all the people who have made me who I am today. So thank you all. Thinking about all these things, I can't help but be joyful. And so I REJOICE!

rejoice |riˈjois|
1) feel or show great joy or delight

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Beginning of Love...

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be themselves, and not to twist them to fit our image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton

I know I've been doing a lot of quotes lately, so I promise this is the last for now. This quote is amazing. And it holds such a deep truth. More often then not people seek out someone who is as similar to them as possible. And while this has certain advantages, it makes buying food easier, it doesn't truly allow us to experience life as fully as possible. What we should make an effort to do is embrace those who are different and love them for themselves.

When I look at my friends, I find it hard sometimes to not look for parts of myself in them. This can be very hard to avoid because as humans most of us look for validation of ourselves in others. And we sometimes think that by making others like us, that we are better. But when I look at what makes my friends truly unique, I am often amazed at the depths that human beings can hold. And when I think about, if I try to twist them to an imagine, try to fit them into a category, I can not. Because they have wholly different views, experiences, and talents to draw on; and by fitting them to any image I have they loose a large amount of that 'self.' And that they're no longer the people I love, but instead some creation of my own.

This is not to say that we can't help people become more, but we must be careful to work with their own materials, instead of ones we create. So as loving people, living our daily lives, we must be watchful of how we love and that we don't twist others to fit our image.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

May His Angels Guide You...

"...and may his angels guide you through the stars towards peace..." -Michael Donnay

So here is one of my quotes, as my mom is fond of saying, one of my famous 'one liners.' But I really enjoy this one because it ties together two really interesting themes. The first is that we are sometimes are guided through our lives by different people (Angels, if you will.) These are the people who we aspire to be, whose lead we take, and whose ideas we cherish. These are the people who lead us to the stars. And peace. So take a minute out of your day and thank your angels for all they give you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

To Satisfy His Deep Need...

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. Lily Tomlin

So yeah…this one doesn't really need an explanation. But teenagers (including me) could learn that it is sometimes okay to complain. Because if you don't complain to someone, somewhere, some-when (I know its not a word!), then you will end up bottling up all of you rage and frustration. And we all know how that turns out. So even though it might be hard, talk to people. That's why we have language, to communicate! (Mainly to complain, though.) So please just remember, complaining isn't always bad. So COMPLAIN! (Just not to me please!…..Kidding!….maybe….)

complain |kəmˈplān|
1) express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We do not Exist for Ourselves...

"We do not exist for ourselves." - Thomas Merton

Okay. I know what you're all going to say: This is so cheesy. Well, so what. I find this idea elegant in it's simplicity. We do not exist for ourselves. How true. From the first moment of our lives we serve a higher purpose. As humans, we have the unique ability to choose from many paths where we want our lives to lead. I often find myself, as I'm sitting around with my friends, wondering what they will do with their lives. For some of them it is easy; the Dan is going to be a chemist. (He's got it all planned out.) But for others it is more challenging; I can't tell you what Allie is going to be. But through all of them I see one pattern. They are going to live to serve others. And that it what we are meant for, to serve others through our gifts. Try it, just once as we move into this season of giving, use your gifts to help someone else.

exist |igˈzist|
verb [ intrans. ]
1) have objective reality or being