These Pretzels Are Makin Me Thirsty!

Jesus and the Samaritan woman. A miniature fro...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekends readings were all about being thirsty.

First we meet Moses and the Jews in the desert and they are gettin super cranky.  They have been wandering around the desert FOREVER and are about to start throwing things at Moses if he doesn’t get them some water fast. They were hot and tired and ticked off and lost, and no one was listening to their cries. In the Gospel, we see Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, fetching a pail of water.  Jesus offers her living water which will satisfy her thirst for the rest of her life. If you noticed in the first reading, God told Moses to strike the rock and the living water will flow from it… oh-so-similarly to how the soldier pierced Jesus in the side after He died.  Jesus is the rock. And Jesus is also the living water. And anyone who takes part in this living water will never thirst again.  And the second reading from Romans affirms this by reminding us that by our own standards, it is hard to die for an unworthy person, and yet Christ died for us, even when we shouldn’t have deserved it, because He loves us.  We have to accept this gift of salvation from the God who loved us so much, he died for us while we were still sinners.  Would you die for Joe Schmo off the street?

Jesus satisfies our thirst.

So what are you thirsting for?  What is this thirst?

I think we are very thirsty people.  I don’t think there is much that actually satisfies us.  We keep trying to crowd our lives up with having fancy ‘stuff,’ but we miss the real meaning and purpose to life.  We miss the point that we are beloved children of God, and that God loves us and wants us to shine and be happy and fulfilled.  We think we are going to be happy by having a fancy car and nice house and enough money to “live comfortably.”  We go to college to get degrees to get jobs that pay well, even if we don’t really like what we are doing.  We marry because we don’t want to be alone.  We diet and tan and work out excessively because we want to be beautiful.  We are so restless and unsatisfied because we keep taking in all this stuff that doesn’t quite quench our thirst.

So what are you thirsting for?  What would really satisfy your thirst?

How different would your life be if you believed in your heart that God loves you, even though you screw up a lot?

I know if I really believed in my heart that God loves me, if I really gave in to that living water, my life would not be the same.  I would probably trust God’s plan a lot more.  I would jump in to life guns blazing.  I would tell Mr. Handsome that I thought he was gorgeous and know that even if it didn’t work out this time, it doesn’t mean it will never happen.  I would apply for jobs outside of my state of residence and trust that if God put that desire there for that field of work, God will provide me with the tools necessary to get it done. I will be enough.  I would stop being so hard on myself and I would just forgive myself for the times I am not the person I want to be.  I would be so much happier.  I would feel beautiful, loved, and taken care of.  And I wouldn’t be able to help but share that same love with others.

What are you thirsting for?

Advertisements

God Sightings!

Icon of the Transfiguration by Theophanes the ...

Image via Wikipedia

I have not posted anything in a couple days, and for that, I apologize.  In my defense, my dad messed up the internet and I have not been able to get on the computer that is hard-wired to the internet because it is in my parent’s room and they go to bed while the sun is still up.

So here are some “God Sightings” that I’ve had these past couples days:

1) Mom and I went downtown on Wednesday because she had jury duty and I wanted a vacation from my house/give her moral support.  On the way back to the train station, we stopped by a church to say hi to Jesus for a little bit.  About five minutes in (and some random whispered side-conversations later), I noticed the monstrance, and suddenly it clicked that we were literally in the presence of Jesus, and I suddenly felt all nervous and stuff because I found myself in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and had been making all that noise with Mom.  It made me think, though, about all those times I don’t realize how THERE God IS.  God sometimes likes to hide right in front of my face, in plain sight.  Sometimes I’m just the one whose eyes aren’t open all the way.  Intriguing indeed.

2) Earlier in the day, one of my best friends was telling me a story about a vision she had in Alabama. Of course I believed that she saw it, but also believed she was a little whackadoodle in the noggin, because well, God has never spoken to me in such a crazy amazing way, and if it hasn’t happened to me, then it isn’t possible, of course.  Later in the evening I went to my young adult group at my church and we talked about the transfiguration of the Lord (where Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain and got really glowy and God said “This is my son! Right here! Do you see him?? Do you need a brick to fall on your heads??”).  We were talking about why it is that God chose to reveal Jesus as his Son in such a magnificent way to only 3 people… why not to everybody?  Or why did Jesus insist on keeping it a secret?  And then I thought about the story that my BFF told me, and how I thought she was crazy.  If Peter, James, or John came up to me and said, “Jesus started to glow like he had some bad skin condition and we were really worried at first until we heard a voice from Heaven and saw Moses and Elijah, all of whom said it was okay, it just meant that Jesus is the Messiah,” I would probably say the same thing I said to my friend… that I believed she saw it, but also that she was crazy.  So perhaps Jesus will reveal himself in the way we will understand the best… whether its via the quiet peace in our hearts or a brick falling on our heads.

3) Last night I received a very disheartening email from my JVC rep saying that none of my potential placements were a match for me.  I felt my heart break, my eyes broke and tears kept leaking out, and I felt those familiar feelings of a hopeless future start to seep in again.  But then, clear as crystal, I heard in my heart the verse that gave me the strength to survive college.  For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  Plans for your welfare, not for your woe. Plans for a future full of hope.  (Jeremiah 29:11).  Those three placements I interviewed for obviously sucked for me.  There’s somewhere better. Or God is a sick, sick man. I’m hoping for the former.

4) I got this amazing massage today.  I literally feel like a brand new woman.  If you do not believe heaven is a place on earth, then you have clearly not received a professional massage.

There are my ‘God sightings.’  Hopefully it’ll appease you until the next time I am able to post… whenever that will be. 

And hopefully you will be able to find God hiding in plain sight this week, too. 🙂

Why I Want to be a Jesuit Volunteer

Street Sleeper 2 by David Shankbone

Image via Wikipedia

When I was in high school, I helped out with the NW Suburban PADS program, which provided temporary shelter for the homeless during the winter months.  As a PADS volunteer, I assisted with setting up the cots and serving meals to the guests.  My favorite part, however, was in getting to know the guests.  Up until that point, my only experience with homeless guys were when I had to awkwardly pass them by on the streets downtown and not make eye contact or give them money (because who knows what they are going to do with the money, right?, and what good would I be doing if I was just supporting their drug and/or alcohol addiction?).  My experience with PADS opened my eyes and heart just a little bit wider, so I could start seeing “the other” as something more relate-able.   I loved talking with the guests and getting to know their stories.  I learned that the people I saw at PADS shelters could be people I see walking around the grocery store on any given weekend.  They were absolutely normal.  Nothing weird about them.

My favorite FAVORITE part of PADS was getting to know S and W.  S and W were both guests at the site, and they were a hoot and a half.  We used to have dinner together and shoot some pool.  S had these crazy coke-bottle glasses that made his eyes huge, and W had amazing stories about his experiences with the Spirit and speaking in tongues.   I used to just hang out and shoot pool with them so much and so late into the evening that the other guests stopped seeing me as a volunteer.  One of the best compliments I had ever received occurred one night as I was getting ready to leave, and I was saying goodbye to S and W and some other new friends when the new guys were like, “Where are you going?”  I replied, “Home” and they looked shocked and admitted that they thought I was a guest.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment in being able to blend in well enough to be mistaken for a guest, and I suppose that is where my social conscience began to form. I realized that the best way to reach out and minister to others is to meet them where they are, and love them for who they are.  Being  mistaken for a guest confirmed to me that I was doing things the right way, that I wasn’t keeping them at a distance, that I was loving them for who they were, where they were.  I also started to get mad that these people were homeless to begin with.  How could such amazing people be without the basic necessities of life?  They deserved food, shelter, clean clothes, and a shower.  They were awesome.  It boggled my mind how we could be living in such a wealthy area, where folks have homes big enough to house at least 100 people in their living rooms alone, and yet the guys I met were living out of their cars if they were lucky.

A couple years later, one summer after my first or second year in college, I went downtown with some of my friends from home.  It was a real spur-of-the-moment thing, and I was mostly excited about having this freedom to go downtown without needing to tell my parents.  When we got downtown we started to wander around, when we happened across a man sitting on a street corner in front of a White Hen.  At first I didn’t even notice him, as he was sitting in a dark corner, wearing dark clothes, and had dark skin, but he made his presence known to us when he asked if we could get him something to eat.  He wasn’t asking for money… he was hungry.  He needed dinner, and he couldn’t afford it.  My friends and I went in to White Hen, and I really wanted to get this guy a sandwich.  Really bad.  But for some reason, I didn’t.  I don’t know if I was afraid of him, or afraid of what my friends would think of me, but I decided to leave the store empty handed.  The man took one look at our empty hands and just said “Thanks anyway, have a great evening.”  I remember this so clearly because I believe I saw the face of God that night.  I am positive that I did.  God was more present in the man sitting on the street corner than I ever felt him in church or on any fancy church retreat.  It was a challenge to make a difference, and I failed.  And I never forgot.

So now I have been accepted as a Jesuit Volunteer, and I am in the process of being placed somewhere.  And I am doing it because I never forgot W and S, and I never forgot the way God himself stared at me outside of the White Hen that summer evening.  It isn’t right that we pay athletes and celebrities millions of dollars a year just to entertain us, when there are so many people out there who can’t afford food.  It isn’t fair that I live next to a neighborhood made up entirely of mansions for small families, when there are so many people who have to suffer cold night after cold night.  It isn’t fair that our own church leaders are so busy sitting around debating stupid things about what it means to be Catholic, rather than going out and living the Gospel message and being love for every person, right where they are, no matter what kind of sticky wicket they find themselves in.  Because I don’t care what these people may have done to get them to the point of living on the streets, I don’t care if it was their fault or just bad luck… every single person deserves to be treated like a human being.  No one deserves to live outside with the dogs.  Not a child of God, nosiree.

So I want to do a year of service because I want to help people.  I want to spend the rest of my life making up for the fact that I did not feed Christ a turkey sandwich that one night.  I want to do the best that I can to ensure that each person I encounter feels loved and validated as a human being.

Because if not me… then who?

All My Single Men..

The Dating Game

Image via Wikipedia

…Where are you, and why aren’t you at church? Seriously. I’m tired of looking around, finding a cute Catholic man at Mass, only to see a ring on his left finger. What the heck.

Furthermore, if you do not have a ring on your left hand, why the stink aren’t you doing something about it? I am cute, sweet, hilarious, and have way too much awesome for my own good. I am a catch.  Stop being stupid and start asking me out on dates.  Put on your big boy pants and do it.  

It is really frustrating to be single in the suburbs.  Especially when religion is a deal breaker.  Especially especially when the suburbs are full of young families, and attractive men at church are more than likely a giant mirage because they’re all taken already.  Especially especially especially when said attractive men at church are walking along so you smile and bat your eyes and then they start yappin at their 3-year-old to stop running down the hallway. Especially especially especially especially when they look super cute and then you realize they are in the seminary/already a priest.  Swing and a miss.

Pardon the fact that I am about to sound like a closed-minded bigot… but I want a Catholic man. I want someone to share that important part of myself with. I don’t want some frou-frou “kind of” Christian who goes to church when life sucks. I want someone who might be a little afraid to ask me out because he knows God is my Father, and if he read any part of the Old Testament, he’ll know how smitey God gets when God is pissed… but he’ll still have the cojones to take some action because God never appreciated laziness.   I want someone who will treat me like the princess I am (because darnit, even my name means “God’s Princess,” not that that has developed into some kind of princess complex or anything.. ahem..).  I want someone who will go out and change the world with me, and who will make any work God’s work, whether it’s bagging groceries or doing ministry work.  And if you are at church at least once a week… if not more… on your own accord, I’m pretty sure that that shouldn’t be a problem for you.

I mean come ON, man.  You might not be in the bar for some liquid courage, but you have the freakin BLOOD OF CHRIST in you. So what the heck are you doing cowering in your stupid church pew. Get the heck out and say hi.  You don’t even need to ask me out in the first 5 minutes. Just say “Hey. My guardian angel kept nudging me to say hi because he thinks your guardian angel is cute.” I will laugh, and I will be putty in your hands.

And okay. Lets say we aren’t at Mass. Say we are volunteering/at a discussion group/at a Bible study/at adoration/walking around aimlessly searching for our soulmates.  Say the blood-o-Christ is not coursing through your veins. Womp-womp. Man up. God is still present. And God is still a bigger confidence boost than booze.  And seriously… I am a church-going, God-loving young lady.  I am not going to embarass you if I’m not interested.  I know how smitey God can get when God is pissed.  I will treat you like the child of God you are.  Unless you are overtly creepy and make my “psycho man senses” tingle, I will not blatantly ignore you.

So DO IT. Just ask me out already. No more thinking. Just do. No more “waiting on God’s will.” You’ll be waiting forever you pansy.

Fortune favors the bold. The early bird gets the worm. Shit or get off the pot.  Just Do it. DO IT.