Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years Everyone!


As we begin the new year tomorrow, I thought I would wish everyone of you a very Happy New Year and share a short and simple prayer that I wrote for this special occasion. I invite you to please pray this along with me. May God continue to bless you throughout this new year.

Prayer for the New Year

Father of all ages,

We ask you to continue to bless us as we begin this new year.
Help us to remain close to you as we make tough decisions in the future.
Help us also to correct our mistakes that we have made, and improve our imperfections.
Let us remember that you are always near us until the end of time.

We ask through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ who is Lord forever,

Amen:)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!!!!


Hi everyone! Just wanted to post a quick note and a awesome song for the Christmas season! Hope you enjoy it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4FPlNIdQ5A

May you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!:)

John

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!!!!!!"



You know it is Christmas time when you see people rushing around last minute for presents in jam packed stores and stressing out about everything they have to get done around the house before visitors arrive. To the world, this is what Christmas is all about.

This is not what Christmas should be about however. Sometimes people fail to realize what the true meaning of Advent and Christmas is. All they know is what the world tells them. They've forgotten the real reason though.

Advent is the time of waiting. We wait for Christ's coming but people often ask,"How can we spend all of our time waiting when there is so much to do?" Christ has an answer for that. This past Sunday the first reading from the Prophet Micah was a message to Bethlehem from the Lord our God. In this reading, God told us that Jesus would "stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach tot he ends of the earth; he shall be peace."

What comforting words! Jesus shall be peace! During the hustle and bustle of this season, God is asking us to take a break from the stresses of shopping and presents and turn to preparing our hearts for His Son's coming, so that He can flood us with His peace. This is what the Lord promised his people when they were in a dark time during Herod's reign and he is still promising these same words today! Peace is coming. This is just what we need.

A Blessed Christmas Everybody!:)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Your Hands


Just found a beautiful song that I thought I should post! The song is entitled " Your Hands" by JJ Heller. When I first heard it, I was amazed! This song really hit me. The past few days I have been feeling a little down in the dumps. Everything was going wrong in school. I was stressing out about upcoming exams. I was losing interest in my extra-curricular activities and was letting every little thing get me down. I was praying everyday to God, asking Him for answers. I wanted to know why I was feeling like this? What should I do about it? Is God still here with me? How come I haven't felt His presence during this time?

Today my dad was listening to song on the computer as I was getting ready for bed. As I was preparing, I was listening to the lyrics. They were talking about " when the world is shaking, Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands."

I felt like this was what I needed to hear! I felt like this was an answer to my prayer from God. God was telling me that He was still here with me even if I couldn't feel Him. I think He was telling me through this song that when I am feeling low, I am in His hands. He will never leave my side.

What beautiful lyrics! We must never forget these words of comfort. Even when nothing is going our way and we feel out of sync, God is still here and closer to us than ever. This song really made my day. Maybe you will enjoy it too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlL8LayF0uw

God Bless You,

John:)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Feast Day of St. John of the Cross!!!!

Since it is the feast day of my favorite saint, I thought I should post this short but beautiful prayer to him that I found on Catholic Online. Feel free to pray with me. :)

Prayer to St. John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross, in the darkness of your worst moments, when you were alone and persecuted, you found God. Help me to have faith that God is there especially in the times when God seems absent and far away.

Amen

P.S.- I have semester exams coming up on Thursday and I am extremely nervous so if you could please keep me in your prayers, that would be great!

Thank you :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Review!!!!!!!!

Hi everyone! Just finished reading a great new book! The book is entitled "How to Let God Help You Through Hard Times" which is a compilation of many other books on the same subject. This book was very helpful for me because it taught me what to do when I do come upon hard times full of emotional and physical pain. It taught me how to continue to pray through hard times and remember that we are never alone during them. This is a great book for anyone who is struggling or hurting and feel alone. This book teaches that God knows what we are going through and that we must continue to trust in and pray to Him. Here are some beautiful prayers and quotes from this book that really intrigued me.

Love by: Charles Stanley, A touch of His Grace

Love makes us greater than we ever were before,
takes what we have to give and gives back even more.

Love makes us stronger than we ever thought we'd be,
takes the load we have to bear and sets our spirits free.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank you, God, for the people you have chosen to be my family and my friends. They are my guides, my teachers, my angels, and my cheerleaders. Though I may often be in conflict with them, and we fight and argue and say things we will regret, I am blessed to have these people walking beside me along life's path, helping me to grow and become who you created me to be.

Amen


The Mystery of Beauty by: Emily Dickinson

I shall know why, when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.
He will tell me what Peter promised,
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now, that scalds me now.

God's Best For My Life by: Lloyd John Ogilivie


He's there with you now. Trust Him. And then expectantly anticipate that at the right time and in the way that's most creative to you and all concerned, He will intervene and infuse you with exactly what you need. What an exciting way to live!

Measure Your Life by: Wesley L. Duewel

Happiness is fleeting; it tends to depend on the circumstances. Joy can be permanent. It is part of your character. A habit of grumbling and complaining, a tendency to be negative, tells something about the level of your spiritual life. Measure the Spirit's work in your life by your deep abiding joy regardless of life's circumstances.

This book helped me out a lot! Maybe it will help you too! Hope you enjoyed the quotes. Check the book out for yourself. :)

Blessings,

John

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wake Me Up

One of my favorite songs is by a band named Further Seems Forever. The name of the song is called Light Up Ahead. This song is very special to me because I first heard it when I was going through one of the toughest times in my life. This was in 8th grade. I was failing school, messing around in class, not listening to teachers, not doing homework and worst of all I was moving away from God. I hardly prayed. I didn't feel the need. I felt like God didn't care about me and was punishing me by not helping me with my grades. My parents every night during dinner would tell me that I needed to buckle down and work harder, but I never really listened. To tell you the truth back then I never really cared. I felt I could get along in life without good grades in school. So I chose to give up. I chose not to work hard and give it everything that I had.

My parents told me that I better pray to God to help me realize that I need to work hard in school. My parents also took it a step further by telling me that if I didn't get my grades up they would pull me out of this school that I begged my parents to send me to over a year ago. This got me going. I started to work harder and try my hardest in school but nothing was happening. I began to feel that nothing was working. So during this time of stress, I knelt down for the first time in over a year and I prayed. I prayed asking God to help me do the best that I could to work hard and not give up in school. I told Him that I was giving up everything that I had that had moved me away from Him. I told Him that I would no longer mess around in school and give up on my homework if He helped me to get good grades for the rest of the year.

During one of my prayers a song on the radio began playing. It was the song called Light Up Ahead by Further Seems Forever. As I prayed I heard the lyrics of the song, " Take this heart of darkness, I give it up. And all the emptiness, you fill me up. The times I feel like nothing, you bring enough. So I can live for something, you lift me up! And all these bad dreams, I wake up to the light. And when I can't see, I wake up to your eyes. Wake me up!"

These were the lyrics I needed to hear. This song gave me renewed strength to carry on and work to get good grades. The lyrics taught me that I needed to wake up and turn away from not working hard in school so that I would be able to get good grades. It also taught me to trust in God that He would take care of me during this hard time. It also taught me that I couldn't do anything without God and I was wrong to criticize him for my own faults. I knew that He had been trying to help me but I did not open myself up to Him. However, this was definitely going to change.

Slowly I let God back into my heart. Ever since I let Him back in and trusted Him to help me with my grades everything began to fall into place. I began to pick up my grades and work hard in school. Now I pray everyday and ask God to be with me throughout my day helping me to grow closer to Him and continue to pick up my grades.
I must always remember that God is always near me. I just have to want to be near to Him. I must always remember that with God all things are possible. Thank you God for coming into my heart and helping me through my difficult time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s43ZIDSXgw0

Friday, December 4, 2009

Taking a Stroll in the Snow!

Yesterday began as a normal school day. I woke up and went to school, prepared to stay late because of my music ministry rehearsal which I have every Thursday. However on this particular day we did not have practice. I did not know this however until I waited in the music room for a half hour until my music teacher told me that it was canceled. Frustrated that they could not address this over the announcements before I came, I wondered what I should do with the remainder of my time until my mom came to pick me up. When I walked outside I found that it was snowing! This was such a beautiful sight! It was so beautiful that I decided to spend my time taking a stroll in the Seminary Woods which are right in the backyard of my high school.

Inside the woods was warm. My feet crunched the thousands of leaves under my feet. I tried to look for deer, but I saw a lot of squirrels instead. It was fun to watch them bounce around in the piles of leaves on the side of the path I was walking. As I continued to walk, I saw an old man walking his dog. I wondered where he had come from. I had not seen him before. He looked like he could barely walk, perhaps this was why he had a cane. I watched as he trudged up the leave covered hills. I wondered where he was going. Then as quickly as he appeared, he was gone.

Soon it began getting dark. Mist started to roll in from all around me. I decided to keep walking however, because of my desire to sit and pray at the Grotto which was somewhere in the thick of the forest. As I made my way through the woods, I came upon the cemetery that I had passed through many times. It contained all of the graves of seminarians, priests and nuns from years past. I wanted to stop there for a while, but as I came closer and closer I began to grow afraid. I was all alone and I felt scared. The cemetery seemed eerie and creepy. I wondered why this was because in my years that I trudged this path I had never felt this way. The cemetery began to fill with mist as I watched from abroad. As I watched, I began to grow more afraid. Slowly I began to back pedal down the path that I came from. I made my way back out of the woods and walked toward the seminary library where my mom was coming to pick me up.

Yesterday was a crazy day. I pondered why I had felt uneasy while I was in the woods. Maybe my mind was just playing tricks on me. I wish I had had enough courage to brave the cemetery in the woods. I'm sure it would have been beautiful, but for some reason I felt discomfort. Perhaps the next time I stay late for school I can have a chance to go back to the woods and take a quiet stroll. Have any of you ever felt the same way I did?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Surprise!!!!!

Today I am excited to introduce a guest blogger for today's post! The guest blogger is John Howard who is the Webmaster for "A Place to Explore Your Calling to Be A Catholic Priest" website! I so delighted when he asked me if I could post something of his! In this post John tells us about his day, and how he learns that God is always with him throughout the good and bad times. This is always something that we should remember. So sit back, relax and enjoy this fabulous story. :)


"Another day at school, but it wasn't my best. For some reason I hadn't slept
very well, waking up at 2.30am, 4.00am, 5.15 am. When the alarm clock struck at
7.00 am I was already shattered and exhausted from a poor night's rest. When I
arrived at school I counted the hours to going home. I was frightened by
everything before me, frustrated by the continuous demands of my teachers, angry
that my good work wasn't enough - they wanted more! I came very close to
shouting at my teachers. Just how insensitive could they be to the pressures on
me - and then they wanted me to do a charity assembly on Monday. Where do they
think I get the time? Stress is a dangerous condition and I recognized all the
conditions.


At the end of the day, the journey home was not very good. It took longer than
usual and I arrived home wound-up, fragile and not the happiest creature on
God's earth. I had my evening meal as usual with my family and they all
commented that I looked tired, which is certainly accurate. By chance there was
a classical concert on TV (it was Bach's St John Passion) and I decided to watch
and listen. Almost at once the incredible tension of the day vanished like the
morning mist and I was filled with blessings and peace. Jesus who suffered on
the cross and died a horrible death already knew of my problems and
frustrations. At this moment He and I were united through some incredible music.
It was almost as if Jesus had personally said to me "I know John - I've been
there... don't worry".


All this brings me back to the foundation of our faith - Sacred Scripture. What
did the Bible have to offer me? Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all you who are weary
and burdened and I will give your rest". There are times when we leave our
issues to God and just rest. The God who created us will not allow us to be
crushed. Rest in Him!"

-John Howard (Webmaster)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Everyone! Since this is the first Sunday of Advent, I thought I might post this poem that I wrote when I was in seventh grade. I submitted it into a contest, but unfortunately I didn't win, but I did get my poem published in a book! Anyway here is my poem. Enjoy:)

The True Leader

I was walking in the woods one day,
one day to try to find, something about a legend, a legend I wished to find.
It was dark and very frightening, the day I picked to go,
but with my very eyes I saw a star so bright and low.
It gave me such a feeling, so warm, so calm, so healing.
It led into a very small town, a town named after bread,
there I saw a babe, with nothing more than hay to rest his head.
When I saw this simple resting place I felt a sense of shame.
I looked around at his mother and father and asked them for his name.
They kindly gave it to me with such confidence it shook the Earth.
“His name is Jesus!” they said. “A true born leader from his birth!”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Believe Part 5 ( The Final Part of the long storyboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

As we waited in the doctors office the next day, I could help but feel nervous. The doctor's diagnosis would determine whether or not I would play the rest of the year. As the doctor came out after looking at an x-ray, he told me that my leg looked like it had never fully healed from the accident so long ago! He said that it was fractured. Shocked by this news, I asked him timidly if there was anyway I could continue to play the rest of the basketball season. Looking at me with sympathetic eyes told me that I would not be able to play anymore.

At this I became very sad. I was just starting to get into a rhythm during the middle of the season. Now it looked like I would not be able to play the remainder of the season. The doctor proceeded to say that he wanted me to wear a boot on my leg that reached from my foot all the way up to my knee. This would make it hard for me to walk and go upstairs. I would end up having to wear this boot for three months!After the three months were up the doctor had me go for an MRI at the local Children's hospital. After going for the MRI, they told me that they could not see any signs of the fracture anymore and that I should still continue to wear the boot for a couple weeks and then I would be fine.

After the final weeks of wearing my boot, I could slowly go back to my regular activities. My leg felt incredibly light as the weight of my boot was lifted! It felt so good to be able to feel the breeze and be able to run, jump and play! I was experiencing such joy! Even though basketball by this time, was already over I could not wait until next year to come back strong and fully healthy! This had been a crazy freshman year, but I was grateful for everything that had happened. I was grateful that I had not been critically injured during the accident. I was also grateful that I was able to make my high school's basketball team despite all that I had gone through! I was grateful for being able to play as long as I could with the team until my departure.

Even throughout my hardships, I still maintained a positive attitude. I did not let things get me down even when the odds were against me! When I was injured from the accident, I did not let that stop me from going to school the day after and continuing my education. When I went out for my basketball team and was made fun of, I did not give up! I kept working hard and eventually made the team! When I was forced to quit the team due to my reoccurring injury due to the accident, I maintained a positive attitude because I knew I would over come it! I was grateful for my hardships, trials and sufferings because they made me strong! For St. Paul says, " The Lord uses the weak to lead the strong."

Epilogue: The story you have just read for the past weeks that began with my retelling of the car accident that I was in and led up to my being well enough to make the basketball team at my school, was in deed a true story. This happened last year. I assure you that I am fully healed now and am back to my normal life! I hope that I did not scare anyone into thinking that this was something that had just happened. I was just re-explaining the events of last year. Thank you all for your patience as I wrote each story with a "to be continued". I know how much the suspense was killing you!:) Thank you all for reading my stories of my past.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!:)

John

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Believe Part 4

The first practices were brutal. We did so many drills that at the end of them, I just wanted to go home and go to bed! On top of the grueling practices were my teammates constant ragging on me. We were going over plays and I had no idea what was going on! I was so confused. I had never run anything like this before. My teammates, who had played on a summer league for my coach already knew the plays. They were not encouraging or helpful when we ran them. They wouldn't reach out to help me better understand them. Instead they would yell at me, make fun of me and ask if I was retarded because I couldn't get the hang of the plays. The coach did absolutely nothing to help me either. He could see that I was struggling, but he didn't reach out.

This is how most of practices that year went. I always thought that they would get better, but they never did. I began to grow scared of making a mistake, because I was scared of being yell at and humiliated in front of everyone. The coach rarely put me into practices. He didn't teach me, and I don't think he really cared. This was the same in games. I would sit on the bench for games and maybe get some playing time if we were winning and there was 6 minutes left. I tried to work hard and not give up in practice. I wanted to earn more playing time. I realized if I wanted to stay on this team, I had to continue to work hard and continue on fighting for my spot.

Slowing I began showing improvement. I began to run the plays to perfection. I was working hard to show that I could do what the coach wanted me to do. Slowly my teammates stopped ragging on me. I began to earn my coaches respect. He began to put me into practices more and I started to get more playing time! He decided to start me in some games! Every game I played in I wanted to make the most of them! I would score, pass, grab rebounds, and run fast during my playing times! I was doing the absolute best I could! I was showing my coach that I was not a waste, but that I could play!

Everything was going great for me. I was showing the true player I could be. One particular day, my coach decided to have an early morning practice. That meant that my mom had to drive me to school at 5:00 in the morning because practice started in an hour. This practice was something that changed my life forever. From the start of practice, I began to have sharp pain in my left shin. This was the shin that I got hit on by a car in an accident earlier on that year that had caused me to be in a wheelchair for a week.

After practice my shin was throbbing. I told my mom about it when I came out of school that afternoon, and we made a doctors appointment for the following day. I was nervous. I was wondering what the doctor would say. Is this something really serious? Am I just exaggerating? Was it growing pain or maybe even shin splints? Will I be able to play basketball anymore? All these thoughts and more ran through my mind. I had no idea what to except. I was completely at a loss for words.

(To Be Continued)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Believe Part Three

The second day of tryouts approached and I was geared up and ready to go! After school, I went down to the locker room and quickly got dressed. As I got dressed I prayed again for God to give me the grace to do my very best and realize that that was all that I could do. After praying I hurried up to the gym with renewed confidence. This second day of tryouts turned out great. I worked hard, hustling, shooting, jumping, diving, blocking shots and passing. Best of all the other kids trying out were leaving me alone! It felt good to play and not have anybody yelling at you and making fun of you. I was doing the best I could do!

After the tryouts were over, the coach came and told us that they will now be deciding who would make the team. The told us to go back down to the locker room and change. Then they would go into a room and call each one of us in to tell us if we made the team. I was so nervous. When I was waiting for my turn to go in to the room, I over heard some of the kids talking. They were telling each other that they wouldn't care if they didn't make the team because otherwise they would be having practice everyday after school. When it was my turn, I was still very nervous. It felt like I was going to confession because it was just me and the coach in the room. When I went in, the coach asked me what my name was. As I told him he looked down at his list. Then he looked up at me and told me that I had made the team. He told me that he and the other coaches liked what they saw from me. Then they gave me a list of what time practices were at. He shook my hand and congratulated me.

After coming out of the room, I was so filled with joy. All of the hardships that I endured with the other kids trying out and the car accident earlier in the year didn't matter now! I had overcome them! I was so happy! Now that I had made the team, I was ready to help the team out in any way that I could. This was one of the best days ever during my Freshman year. I had worked so hard to make the team, now I had to continue to work hard to find my place on it. This was my time to shine! :)

(To Be Continued)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Believe-Part 2

"The moment has come," I thought as I made my way through the locker room after school. As I came to my locker, I tried to calm my nerves. I took out my basketball shoes and put them on. As I did this, I began to pray. Actually it was more like stuttering then praying, because of my nervousness. I prayed to God that I would do the very best I could and to not be afraid. I made my way through the locker room again and went upstairs to the gym. All of the others boys that were trying out were already there. The coach then entered and told us all to gather around.

" This isn't grade school basketball anymore," he said. "This isn't you and your buddies going out and playing in the backyard. This is high school basketball. Everything is different. The players are bigger, faster, stronger and better. So, your going to have to work and play faster, stronger and harder. Now lets get started with layups."

As we got started, I couldn't help not feeling a little intimidated. I had never had a coach like this before. This was going to be very new to me. As layup drills ended, we started on other shooting drills. These drills were extremely hard! I had never done these before an they were so complicating. I was struggling to keep up with the rest of the guys who were trying out. There were 32 of us all trying out. Each one of us knew that the coach could only take 17 kids. Many of these kids who were trying out were already on the coach's summer league team, so there was no doubt that they would make the team since they already knew the offense. I felt like I was at a big disadvantage. I didn't know the coach, the offense and now the drills.

On top of this, the kids were not nice at all. Whenever I did something wrong, they would all gang up on me. They would shout out insults at me and the coach did not say or do anything about it. This went on the whole practice! These kids would throw me bad passes when we were doing passing drills and then yell at me why I couldn't catch the ball! After practice was over, I felt terrible. I felt like nothing. I just wanted to give up and quit.

I told my mom in car ride home about what had happened. She reminded me of what I had told her weeks before tryouts, " I don't care if I don't play much, I just want to make the team." She then said that I should just use everything that had been said to me as motivation to make the team. She told me to give it all I had to make the team. She was right. I couldn't let my dream of making this team be ruined by these kids. I had to continue on. I had to fight to make it, and that is what I was going to do. I was going to fight for a position on this team. When we came home, I felt much better. I felt my confidence coming back again. I knew I could make it if I worked hard at it and didn't let the other kids get me down. I was ready now to give it all I had. I was ready for one of the toughest fights of my life.

(To be continued)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pardon the Commercial Interruption!

Taking a step back from my freshman story telling, I decided to add on the Chocolate Heart's Meme "Praise", by sharing my day!

Today started off with me singing with my church choir at 11 o'clock Mass and then going to watch the Packer game after. I am very sorry to report that they lost.:(
After a quick lunch, my family then headed off to Holy Hour at the Seminary. Holy Hour consists of the reciting of the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Prayer for Vocations, and Adoration! It was simply beautiful!

After the Holy Hour, my mom then drove my friend Jerry, my brother Justin and myself to one of the greatest places I have ever been to, The Barn! My friends who were at the Seminary camp for those who are thinking of the priesthood the past two years with me, invited us to come to their house and their Barn! The Barn is a gigantic homemade play place right inside an actual barn! It has foam pits, trampolines, basketball hoops, dirt bikes( which I rode by the way), ATVS, mats and swinging ropes. On top of that, the Barn is built on a huge piece of land! It has to be almost 10 football fields long! That being said, of course we ended up playing a football game! After the game, my friends Deacon Matt Widder and Fr. Sean O'Connell came to have some fun too!

One of the most memorable parts of the night however was not all of the playing, but it was what we did after we played. After getting all nice and sweaty, Deacon Matt took all of us aside talked with us. The topic that we talked about was Celibacy. He talked to us about how we as priests will be called to be celibate. He told us that it was very hard for him when he was growing up, to tell people that he wanted to be a priest. When he told people about this desire, the common response was, " Well that means you won't be getting married." And that was very hard for him because at some points in his life he felted strongly about being a priest and about being celibate, and at others he felted weak about these thoughts. It hurt him to know that his friends would be married and have children and he wouldn't be able to do those things.

As Deacon Matt began to grow up though, he began to realize that celibacy is true sacrifice! You are giving up the chance to have a family! He realized that this sacrifice would be hard and it would hurt, but if sacrificing something does not hurt or is not hard, then it is not a true sacrifice at all! Look at Jesus on the Cross when he died for our sins. He was sacrificing His life for us, and it hurt Him so much! However He was strong enough to go through with the sacrifice.

Another thing Deacon Matt realized as he was growing up was that even though you can not get married, as a priest you are technically married to the Church and the congregation are your children. So in a sense, you do have a family and you are married!

This gave all of us a lot the think about. We have learned so much from my friend Deacon Matt. He has helped us throughout our discernment process. I am so grateful to him.

Please keep Deacon Matt in your prayers as he will be ordained a priest this May

This was one of the greatest days of my life, and I wouldn't change a minute of it.
Thank you for letting me share my day with you!

John:)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Believe Part Three of A Day I Will Never Forget

My week in a wheelchair passed so quickly! When I felt ready, I could begin doing regular activities again! It felt so good to be outside and active! The first thing that I wanted to do when I was able to go outside was go out and play basketball!
I am a die-hard basketball fan and player.I played it all throughout grade school and I absolutely loved it. Now, after homework is done, you can bet that I will be outside shooting around in my backyard.

During my 8th grade year, schools had two kinds of teams. One, the A team, which is like the varsity team for grade school, and the other was the B team, the team that everyone else who didn't make the A team would be on. I was on the B team both my 7th and 8th grade years. Not once didn't I make the A team.

Last year( my freshman year), I was determined to change all of that! I was willing to work very hard in order to make the team. Every night after school I would be shooting around at our families' homemade basketball hoop. I was certain that was going to make it.

However as the months progressed leading up to tryouts, my hopes and dreams were nearly trashed. Kids at school were telling me that I would not be able to make it. They told me that I was not good enough to make it and that I should just save myself the embarrassment and just not tryout. On top of this, I was still regaining my strength in my leg after that terrible car accident. One time at a youth group meeting, I told all of my friends that I was trying out for my high school's team. A junior from my school who was in the youth group too, interrupted me while I was expressing my dream and told me that I was never going to make it and that I should just give up. Again my dream was shattered. I was completely heart broken. I began doubting myself, wondering if I should even try out at all. I began forgetting to practice every night after homework. I began to feel depressed. I began to lose all hope.

The week before tryouts however, I began to somehow gain back my confidence. I realized that I had a good enough chance as anyone to make the team. Throughout the week, I frantically tried to get back into shape in time for tryouts. I knew that if I planned to make the team, I would have to give all that I had. I knew that I could hold nothing back. I knew that nobody could take my dreams away from me. I had to take my dreams and run. I had to take my dreams and turn them into reality.

- To be continued

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Day I Will Never Forget- Part Two

The ambulance arrived at the hospital and I was immediately wheeled into a room. There the doctor looked quickly at my leg and told me that they were going to do a quick x-ray. I was then wheeled down the hallway and into the ex-ray room. The two nurses that would be conducting the x-ray were not very kind and helpful. They did not try to help me onto the big table that I was supposed to lie on for the x-ray, so it was extremely difficult for me to make it from the stretcher that I was on. After lying there for sometime during the x-rays, the nurses helped me back onto the stretcher and then wheeled me back to my room.

My mom was also in the room with me and was calling all of our family members to gather together for an emergency rosary for me. My mom and I waited in the room for hours. We both did not know what to expect.

Finally the doctor came back in and told me that it was just a severely bruised bone and that nothing was broken. What a relief! I have had so many broken bones in the past! The doctor then proceeded to say that I should stay home from school tomorrow and that I should be in a wheelchair for a week so that I wouldn't have to put pressure on it.

After stating this news, the doctor left and an nurse came in with some pain medicine. Then she asked me if I had enough strength to see if I could walk a little bit on the leg. As I stood on the floor and tried to walk on my leg, excruciating pain came! After about five minutes, I was back on the hospital bed almost out of breath. The nurse then repeated what the doctor had said and told me that I would be out for a day of school and them I would be able to go back the following day and use a wheelchair if I needed it. I was relieved that I did not have to stay over night in the hospital! I was so glad to be going home. On top of that, I was glad that the nurse said I didn't have to go to school!

Then I was helped out of the hospital bed and into a wheelchair to be wheeled out to go home. When I got home my brothers and sister were worried about me huddled around and asked if I was okay and if I needed anything. They all were very kind to me.

As night fell, I was finally able to relax and go to sleep. I began dreaming about the accident. As I dreamed I began to start worrying about my leg. Would my pain go away? What will the kids at my school say when I come in a wheelchair? Will I ever be able to do the things that I love? Will I ever be the same? Finally, exhausted from worry, I drifted off into a deep and pain-filled sleep. As I slept my doubts faded away. I knew that I was okay and that my leg would heal soon. It seemed that all my problems and troubles had disappeared. However, I had no idea that they were just beginning.

( To be continued )

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Day I will never forget

( A true story that happened to me last year)
"Hey Justin, wait for me!" I panted as I rode my bike up one of the biggest hills I had ever been on.

My brother Justin and I were riding to a friend's house. I saw that Justin was almost a block ahead of me, as I attempted to cross a busy street. As I began to cross the street there was not a thought in my mind that this ride would change my life forever.

As I saw the green light in front of me, I began to proceed towards the crosswalk. I was about a foot off of the curb, when all of a sudden, "Bam!" A car coming to the corner to a right turn on red, smashed into my leg! I flew through the air and landed onto the cool concrete in the middle of the street. My already throbbing leg that was hit, now fell onto my bike which landed on the ground on top of me.

Immediately, I started to panic! I was in shock, but then again who wouldn't be? In terrific pain, I tried frantically to get up and pick up my bike. A middle aged woman who had witnessed everything, got out of her car and told me to stay down. She then told me that she was going to call "911" and my parents to tell them what happened.

As soon as she said this, I heard by brother's voice, "John! Are you okay?!" Then the woman began to ask my brother what our phone number was. As my brother began telling her, she began punching the number into her cell phone and started telling my mom what had happened. Just then a young girl who had been driving the car got out and rushed over to see if I was ok. Having seen that I was badly hurt, she went over to the side of the road, and with her mother, they cried together.

In a flash, a police car arrived on the scene. The police officer began making his way across the crosswalk toward the frightened and bewildered teen driver. Almost out of nowhere I heard a voice frantically call out my name, "John! Oh No! John I'm here!" It was my mom, just getting out of the car with my younger siblings. When she got near, she told me to re-tell the whole incident. With every detail that I could remember, I saw my mom's facial expressions change. After she had heard my story, my mom expressed to me, how deeply sorry she was for what had happened. After a short while, my mom made her way over to the young girl who had been driving the car, to assure her that everything would be okay, and that we were sure that it was an accident. My mom also added that we would be praying for her.

At that moment, the blaring siren of an ambulance pierced the silence, as it seemed to descend upon us. The men inside rushed out to ask me what happened, where I was hurting, and also to warn me that they were getting the stretcher ready for me to climb aboard. Being in a great deal of pain, I could barely slide over to meet the stretcher on my side. When the men began to put me into the ambulance, they asked my mom if she wanted to accompany me. Without hesitation, my mom answered yes. Once she got into the gigantic trunk, we took off for the hospital. It would definitely be a ride I would never forget.

As we sped down the street, a multitude of thoughts passed through my mind. I began wondering if I would be able to walk properly again. I also was wondering what the doctor would say about my injury and how serious it was. Lastly, I began contemplating how my friends would react when they would hear about the accident. The drivers of the ambulance said it did not look to serious, but none of us really knew how this incident would truly change my life.

(To be continued)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Prayer for All Saints Day!!!!:)

Since All Saints Day is today, I thought that I should post the Litany of the Saints, a beautiful prayer that asks the saints in heaven to pray for all of us here on Earth. Please pray with me.:)

Litany of the Saints

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Saint Michael,
Saint Gabriel,
Saint Raphael,
All ye holy angels and archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
Saint John the Baptist,
Saint Joseph,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
Saint Peter,
Saint Paul,
Saint Andrew,
Saint James,
Saint John,
Saint Thomas,
Saint James,
Saint Philip,
Saint Bartholomew,
Saint Matthew,
Saint Simon,
Saint Thaddeus,
Saint Matthias,
Saint Barnabas,
Saint Luke,
Saint Mark,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
All ye holy disciples of the Lord,

We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst spare us,
That Thou wouldst pardon us,
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate and all orders of the Church in holy religion,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring back to the unity of the Church all those who have strayed away, and lead to the light of the Gospel all unbelievers,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors from eternal damnation,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

True Freedom


I recently read a book called The God Who Won't Let Go by Peter Van Breeman. One of the chapters in the book dealt with true freedom. It was so beautiful that I thought that I should post an excerpt and prayer from it. Enjoy!

At a Berlin Catholic Convention of 1980, a doctors wife shared with the audience how she came, in a very personal way, to inner freedom.

" The life of a mother is one great adventure. Not a day goes by without surprises. One such adventure that changed my own life and that of our family considerably I want to share with you. I am the mother of five children who are now twenty-one, nineteen, fifteen and nine years old. I am a very happy mother now but that was not always so. There was a time-not so long ago-that I was very unhappy. I realized that I was not able to help my children in their problems. We did not understand each other anymore. The children withdrew from my husband and me. The situation reached a point that psychological stress affected my health. I experienced heart failure; during the night I could hardly sleep. The atmosphere of our family was extremely tense.

I prayed much. One day I prayed to the Lord, " Lord you alone can help. Tell me what I have to do!" And I received the answer, " Give me back your children. I have entrusted them to you for a while so you can accompany them. But now, give them back into my hand. Don't you think that I can guide them better than you?" And that was what I have done-with much pain and deep joy. Each child I individually gave back over to the Lord, with his or her weakness and faults, charm and love, hopes and dreams.

How much has changed since then! I am no longer afraid , no matter what happens to my children. If they go along paths which I do not understand, I still am sure: they are held in God's hands. All shall be well.

Something else has changed as well: our family life! Parents and children have found each other anew. Now, during the weekends, our children come home from college not just to get their laundry done, but they look forward with joy to our being together, to our sharing with each other, our experiences and conversations. It seems to me that the Lord has given me back my children in a new way. Thanks be to God!"

How beautiful that this woman experienced freedom! It was God that gave her this freedom! She realized that God wanted her to give Him her children for a little while so he could take care of them. In this way, He transformed the children. Slowly they became part of the family again. The mother obtained freedom by letting God in and help her struggling family.

This is a good message for us because we need to do this also. If something is bothering us and is keeping us from peace and freedom, we should hand over all of our troubles and stresses to God. God wants us to come to Him so that He can free us of our burdens. He has done it so many times already. He set the Israelites free from bondage in Egypt and most importantly freed us of our sins by sending His Son to die on a cross. God wants to us to have freedom both inside and outside always. We should not be afraid to ask Him for help.

Let us say a prayer for God to deliver us from whatever is troubling us-


Prayer for Freedom

By your truth, Lord God, You set free every person imprisoned in himself or herself. To freedom you have called us and to become men and women in the image and the spirit of Jesus Christ. We beseech you,give us the strength that His life has first provided, give us the openness that He has prepared for us, make us receptive and free so that with you, we may live for this world, today and everyday, forever and ever.

Amen:)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy World Priest Day!:)


Since today is World Priest Day, we must pray that all priests continue to do God's work here on Earth by serving all of us! Please remember to tell them how thankful you are for all the wonderful things they do.

Speaking of priests, a priest that is very dear to my family, is coming to my parish to speak to the youth in our community. My parish is starting to get a new youth group going. We had one last year that I participated in but it was only active for sometime because it was run by college students who were graduating at the end of the year. This year however, the youth group is revived! The adults who are helping plan this group's functions, have invited the rector of the seminary Fr. Don Hying, whom my family knows very well to come and speak to our youth! Now this is truly what being a priest is all about! He is truly doing the work of God. He is being put on the spot, not to mention being very busy everyday. He is also not really being given any real topic to talk to us about except for "getting the youth more involved in the life of the church!" The fact that he is taking time out of his busy schedule to come and talk to our youth is just awe-inspiring! Being a priest is all about doing things for others, whether our not you have enough time to do it!

Jesus loved the children and He loved to teach them! This is what the priest is supposed to do. In the past, the youth of our parish have not been active in our church. They are rarely seen at Mass and at church functions and if they are, they are not always happy to be there. The priest is called to teach about God and to bring people closer to Him by using the word of God that he is on fire with! This is what Fr. Don is doing! He is teaching us about God's love and how we can make a difference in our church by being more involved in it!

So I ask for your prayers for Fr. Don especially, amongst your prayers for your priests. Please pray that he has the courage and wisdom to talk to the youth of my parish, so that we may be able to make a difference. Thank you!:)

Please say this prayer for priests with me-


A Prayer for Priests

In this Year of the Priest, O God, we ask Your blessing on those You have called to priestly ministry. May they, above all, be faithful and passionate followers of Your beloved Son, Jesus.

May they be compassionate, as Jesus was, toward all who seek spiritual comfort and forgiveness. May they open wide their hearts to all in need of Your merciful embrace.

May they be teachers, as Jesus was, steeped in Your Word and teaching, on fire with it, and breaking it open for all who are hungry for Your holy and transforming Word.

May they be prophets, as Jesus was, speaking courageously for what is right and true, proclaiming Your kingdom to all in need of Your grace and giving voice to all Your children, especially the poor and marginalized.

May they be prayerful, as Jesus was, hearts burning within them and set upon You above all.
From rising of the sun to its setting, may they be the voice of praise and thanksgiving, and of faith, hope, and love to all in their care.

St. John Vianney, beloved priest of God, pray for us, and for all your brother priests.

Amen:)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gospel Reflection on Mark Chapter 10: 32-35



I just posted this new reflection on A Place to Explore Your Call to be a Catholic Priest website!
Feel free check it out.




Gospel Reflection


One of my favorite Gospel stories from Mark is about James and John approaching Jesus about their seats in Heaven. They say; “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus replies, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give, but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

The ten other apostles became indignant at the brothers. Jesus then says, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:35-45)

This Gospel account speaks to all of us in a very special way! Just like the disciples, we always feel like we have to jockey for position in high places. We feel the need for power. We have a desire to be better than everyone else around us. James and John were concerned with power! They wanted glory! They asked Jesus about this, and His answer was not what they expected! Jesus told them that yes they would be able to drink from the same cup that He was, and be baptized with the same water, but He told them also that in order to have power and glory, they would have to go through pain and suffering. This truly reflects the saying that with great power” comes great responsibility! Before you gain power, you must prove that you are worthy of it. Jesus would not be the true Son of God if He did not fulfill the responsibility He received from His Father! “ You who wish to be great among others will be the servant among them, and whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all!” This is exactly what Jesus' mission was! He has come down, not to be served, but to serve! Being the slave of all meant that He was ridiculed, beaten and gave up His life for us on the cross. Only after He rose from the dead was He glorified!

Another message in this Gospel is this; do not try to out do each other! Do the best that you yourself can do! Do not try to gain power over your brothers and sisters! Be humble and modest! This however is strange in our world! It is strange because all over the world people are trying to prove that they are better than they really are! They try to be popular, smart, cool, funny and powerful. “When the disciples had heard Jesus' reply to James and John, they became indignant!” They became jealous. They wondered why they had not thought of asking Jesus first. We get so wrapped up in our desire for power that we lose the person that God made us to be. Therefore, we should only strive to be the best that we can truly be. We should not try to be better than we are. We can only do our very absolute best and that is all!

Early in the school year, I was struggling with Spanish. This was my second year of taking the class and I still couldn’t get it. I began to get discouraged. I wanted to give up. I just wanted to quit. I thought I would end up failing the class and have to drop it. I found out that I was trying way too hard. I realized I had to work really hard and do the absolute best I could. At the end of the first quarter, I ended up getting a C+! I turns out that doing the best I could was good enough. This is just what God wants of us.

People all over the world are ridiculed because they are not smart in school or in the work place. Some people are only trying to do their best. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone is perfect. So when you see someone today who is trying very hard to do their absolute best, but is not yet reaching a goal that they want to accomplish, tell them this, “Thank you for doing the best you possibly could.” That may be what they needed to hear. That is what Jesus is trying to tell us, to do the absolute best that we can, and nothing else.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!:)



Yes!!!! Today is my 16th birthday! What makes it even more special is that it is my golden birthday! An interesting fact about my birth date is that I was born on the day of Pope John Paul II's Installation! This is one of the reasons why I was named John Paul. :) Birthdays are always one of my favorite parts of the year! Does anyone feel the same way? I don't just like it because of presents, or cake, or treats. I like birthdays because they are times when I am able to spend time with my family who love and care for me and who brought me into this world! I am so glad that I was born, because if I wasn't I would have never found God! I would have never been able to become close to Him. I am so grateful to Him, because He gave me life and breath through His Son's death and rising! He gave me the chance to live with Him in heaven! Truly this is the best birthday present I could ever ask for!

Almighty and Ever-Living God,

We thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and gain for us eternal life.

Help us to be your servants and to live the life that You wish us to live. Help us to always remain

close to You. Give us the strength to avoid the many temptations that try to steal away our place

in Heaven with You. Lord, let us feel Your presence in every situation we are in. Help us to be

able to Live with You in Your beautiful kingdom.

We ask this in Your name,

Amen:)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall is here!:)

Wow, it has been so cold lately here in Wisconsin! Fall came so early this year, but I love it! I love the way the leaves crunch loudly under my feet. I love breathing in the cool air as it blows the leaves around me on blustery days. I love to rake up leaves and then being able to jump into them with my brothers and sisters. Fall is so beautiful. :) Do you love it as much as I do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQjfMe2Zy1g

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Call Story :)

Hey everyone! A place to explore your call to be a Catholic Priest is posting teenager's call stories! I just recently posted mine! Come and check out all of these beautiful stories of accepting God's call! You can look under "Our Stories" on the homepage. When you get to this section go all the way down to the "newer stories" link and my story is second from the top! Enjoy!:)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

God gives us everything, what should we give him in return?

Offertory


With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, shall I come before Him with yearling calves?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my first born for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly, walk humbly with your God.



Text: Micah 6:6-8
Music: John Ness Beck



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jesus in New York!:)

Here is a great video that I found on a fabulous website started by teens my age discerning God's call to the priesthood started in England. The website is called "A place to explore your calling to becoming a Priest" I encourage everyone to visit this website! Even if you are not thinking about Priesthood, please visit and leave a comment and keep all of us in your prayers! Here is the video link that I found on it! Enjoy:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgSyW9qS-Qw

Monday, September 28, 2009

Great Weekend!:)

This weekend had to be one of the best I have had in a long time! In the morning, our family went to the Seminary to participate in the second annual St. Vincent De Paul Walk for the Poor! It was so much fun! It was great to do something outdoors in the short-lived beautiful weather! The walk took us along the cool lakefront. To pass the time, we all talked about the exciting events that were coming as the day progressed. After the walk, my family and I packed into our car, and headed off to my little brother and sister's football and volleyball games! They both did great!:)

This weekend was a fantastic way to spend time with my family! It was great to give up our time to help out those that are needed by giving a donation and enjoying each other's company on the walk as well! I wish every weekend was like this! Thank you God for giving us a beautiful day in which to do good for others! Help us to always serve you even during the most dreadful and darkest days of the year!

A quick prayer request for my mom! She is starting a spiritual motherhood apostalate! In this group, my mother will assign other women that join, to a priest. During this assignment, the women prays for the priest she has been assigned in her daily prayers. She will be his spiritual mother! What a beautiful thing to do! My mom is so excited about this.

Just recently, my mom and I went to a local church that had talks about confessions. This was a beautiful service! What was even more beautiful was what happened after. Afterward, my mom met the man behind the whole gathering! She told him about this apostalte she wanted to start. He in turn gave her his card and told her to call him. When she called him, she got a wonderful response! The man told her that he was 100% behind her idea! He told her that he would contact our Bishop with whom he was very good friends with! He told her that he would help her get this idea going! My mom was so happy! She couldn't believe that she was about to do something that would greatly affect our diocese! I am so proud of her! I ask for your prayers for her, that God helps her to get this motherhood apostalate going! Thank you!:)

God Bless,

John

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Random Act of Kindness at a Time

Spanish class has continued to be a struggle for many of my classmates including me. Slowly we have begun to understand more and more thanks to all of your prayers!:) One fellow classmate of mine however has been having quite a lot of trouble in this class. He is a junior, but has no experience prior to taking this language. Even though he is a grade older than the rest of the class, he is often picked on by the other kids in my class. All of this teasing, and no experience have taken a toll on him. I see him become quieter and quieter each day, sinking deeper and deeper into his chair. All of the teasing has begun to hurt his grades too! This happens a lot, and many times I have had to stand up for him. I have become his only friend in the class.

Just today he told me that he was thinking of dropping this Spanish class. This did not surprise me one bit that he was thinking of this. However, I told him that I have been in the exact same position that he is in right now. I told him that I am there for him. I also told him that he is not the only one struggling in this class, because many of us are! I wanted him to know that he is not alone. I told him that I am struggling with Spanish also, but I am not giving up, and neither should he! I told him that I will help him to better understand the language. This way we will be learning together. Another thing that I told him is that if he is having problems with teasing, that he should go to the teachers and tell them what is happening. This way he doesn't have to tolerate any of the teasing anymore.

I feel that I am called to serve and help this boy, as we are all called to serve those who are in trouble. We are called to be friends to the friend-less. We must stand up for one another. We must show kindness and love to one another. There was a good movie that I have watched recently. It is entitled " Evan Almighty". It is so wonderful that I feel the need to watch it many times. In this movie a man wants to be able to change the world, so he asks for God's help. In the end, God tells him how he can change the world just by "demonstrating one random act of kindness at a time!" How true and beautiful this is! We all have a chance to rid the world of hate, ridicule, war and evil, and this is the way to do it!

Throughout each Spanish class I help him to better understand the things that we are working on. I sit with him and talk to him on the bus ride home. I tell him that I struggle also in Spanish, but together we will learn and be able to understand this difficult language! Please keep me, my friend and every single one of the kids in my Spanish class as we work on understanding Spanish, and how to change the world, using " one random act of kindness at a time".

P.S.- The choir I am singing at church practiced a song tonight that I think is appropriate for this post! It is called "Where There is Love" by David Haas. I could not find a link to this song, so I posted the lyrics instead! Enjoy!:)

Where There is Love


Where there is love, there is God.

The love of God has gathered us together: Alleluia

Love is patient, love is kind,

Never jealous, never proud,

Never seeking for one's self,

Love never leads to anger.

Love is gracious and forgiving

Taking no delight in wrong

Love rejoices in the truth

Love will endure

Many things will pass away,

There are but three things that last;

Faith, Hope and Love;

The greatest of these is Love.


Music and Lyrics by David Haas

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh Lord Open my Lips and My Mouth Will Proclaim Your Praise

Today was my school's monthly All-School Mass! Since I am in the choir, I was asked to sing a solo! Despite my nervousness, I prayed to the Lord to help me to sing his praises to the best of my ability. Sure enough, God heard my prayer and helped me to sing my best for Him! One of the best parts about being able to sing today, was that my mom was in attendance!( Thanks Mom!):)

However, what came next was much better! A boy that I had met at school last year named Max who had been thinking about being a priest too! Max had to get up in front of the school and talk to the Juniors about how they should be good role models for us next year after Mass! What really struck me was that he shared his thought of becoming a priest with the whole school in his speech! This was so brave and so awe-inspiring! I wish I had the courage to be able to do that! Max is such a good role model of how I want to be! What a great ending to a great Mass! God Bless you Max and may God always be with you and help you continue to discern your call to the priesthood! May all of us continue to pray for those who are discerning as well!

Below is the song that I sang for Mass today!:) Hope you like just as much as I do!:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkEQGYApkVU&feature=related

Friday, September 11, 2009

Spanish....Ugh!

Not even a month into school, the unexpected happened! My Spanish teacher whom I have had since the previous year, was let go along with 2 other teachers. This teacher was very nice, easy to learn from, and I had just started getting you to her style of teaching when this happened!

Now I am faced with a problem. Since my teacher was let go, I have had to move to a different Spanish class. Even though it is still the same level that I was at, I am having trouble adjusting to my new teacher's way of teaching. In my old class I had been accustomed to hearing Spanish, and then hearing the translation in English! My new teacher likes to teach the whole entire class in Spanish! This is extremely hard for me, because I hardly know any Spanish, even though this is my fourth year of taking it.

Everyday I become more and more confused. I come home from school, and plead with my mom to let this be my last year of Spanish. However I realize that to be a priest, I have to serve others! By learning Spanish, I will be able to better serve those who naturally speak it! I hear stories from friends of mine at the seminary, about how they were called by the Archbishop to go down to the Dominican Republic and live there with a Spanish speaking family for 3 months, and they didn't know any Spanish!
So I realize that I must keep going on with this difficult language in order to be able to serve Christ, by serving others! However, I still am struggling with it, and I still get confused a lot.

I think what I need to do is pray and continue to work hard! Please pray with me, and for me, and I in turn will pray for you in whatever you struggle in! Thank you!:)

God of all languages,
I ask you to hear my prayer.
Please help me to better understand this language that I struggle in.
Help me to better understand what the teacher is saying, and what I say also.
Help me to remember that I need to learn this language in order to serve others as a priest.
Please be near me.
Give me the courage and strength to continue on through learning this language.
Let me never give up.
Help me to be able to learn, in order to serve.

Amen:)

Friday, September 4, 2009

I love this!:)

This is one of my favorite poems of all time!:) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Footprints in the sand

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.


Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.



When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.


He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.



He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.


This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:


"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."



The LORD replied:


"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

written by Carolyn Joyce Carty

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hurray!!!!!!!:)


Tomorrow is the St. Francis De Sales Seminary's Annul picnic! Last year I attended this picnic with my family and we all had a blast getting to meet Archbishop Dolan at his house, and have dinner with him! We also had a chance to meet the seminarians, some from the summer camp that I attended the past year, and others that I had never met before! There are raffles to participate in, chances to catch up with old friends and make new ones! Finally, just being outdoors and on the edge of the cool seminary woods makes the whole experience even better!:) Please keep me and all of those who are discerning God's call, in your prayers! You are all in mine!

Thank you!:)
Also this link is to a great song that really inspires me! Feel free to check it out!:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAVHeVDML5k

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pray for the Outcast and Abandoned

A reoccurring thing that I see at my school is that many kids are left out. Kids are picked on a lot. They are teased and made fun of, and also in some cases ignored. These kids end up being left out of many things. When they try to make friends or talk to someone, they are just downright ignored. Many people in my school only want to hangout with people who are like them or are cool. They don't want to be caught dead with someone that others consider, uncool, nerdy, stupid and even ugly.

This is situation at my school and many others all over the world, has been around since Jesus' time. In fact a good example of this is Jesus healing the lepers! The lepers were the outcasts. They were considered ugly, dirty, filthy and stinky. They were driven out of the city. They were ignore and made fun of when they came to the city or the gate. However, Jesus looked passed this! He befriended them! He healed them! He accepted them!

This is exactly what we are supposed to do! We are called to respect everyone and accept everyone! We are called to be Christ for others! Christ accepted everyone that was different, so why shouldn't we?!!! God calls us to love our neighbor! What some people wonder is "who is my neighbor?" God's answer to this is.....Everyone! We must love everyone, just as God loves everyone, no matter how dirty or uncool they are! We have love the same!

Another good example of how we should love one another is St. Peter Claver! He became a missionary and teacher to the slaves imported. They needed friends! They needed someone to feel their pain with them! They needed someone to love them!St. Peter is a great model for us in this situation! We must love one another also!

This prayer was taken from Common Catholic Prayers.com. This prayer is for all who suffer rejection and are outcast.

For Those Who Suffer



For those who suffer,

and those who cry this night,

give them repose, Lord;

a pause in their burdens.

Let there be minutes

where they experience peace,

not of man

but of angels.

Love them, Lord,

when others cannot.

Hold them, Lord,

when we fail with human arms.

Hear their prayers

and give them the ability to hear You back

in whatever language they best understand.

Amen

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We are in one in Christ! :)

Yesterday was my school's " Welcome Back" all-school mass! One of the readings that particularly interested me was from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians. In this reading, St. Paul talks about how we are called to be "one body in Christ." Then St. Paul goes on to say, If one part of the body is injured, the whole body suffers. This is so true for us in today's world, especially while in the middle of President Obama's term. President Obama is not leading us in the way of Christ. In fact, he is leading us in the opposite direction.

President Obama is just one part of our body, but if one body part is injured, the whole body is injured! Therefore we must pray for him that he realizes what he is doing, and then leads us back to the way of Christ. As one nation we must stand together and united, and this means that when one separates, we should all help that one part come back to the way of truth!There is a quote that I think is perfect for this post. " Together we are one, separate we are none!" This is so true! We must stand be one! So in conclusion of this post, I want to post a prayer that my friend Judy at BENMAKESTEN sent me the link to! This prayer is entitled Catholic Prayer for the Nation taken from Catholic Online

Catholic Prayer for our Nation

God our Father,
Giver of life,
we entrust the United States of America to Your loving
care.

You are the rock on which this nation was founded.
You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to
life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your
people.

Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation´s
leaders.
Open their minds to the great worth of human life
and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.
Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in
seeking
and doing Your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate,
Patroness of our land,
grant us the courage to reject the "culture of death."
Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Thank you! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First day of school recap! :)


Well the first day of school was much better then I expected! In fact it was great! I got to see all of my old friends and make a lot of new ones as well! My classes this year are so different compared to last year, not to mention harder! ;) Then again it is only the first day, so I'm sure I will learn to love them! :) Thanks be to God!

This year, my English teacher is having all of us start blogs! Since I already have this blog, my teacher told me that I could just add this one to my account. Although this new blog is strictly for English class, my profile for writings of a boy discerning God's call pops up. This creates a problem for me because I will have to get up in front of the class and present my blog to my classmates. I have not let any of my classmates know about my desire to be a priest because of the great deal of teasing I endured, so I'm feeling kind of apprehensive. I don't know what my friends and classmates will think about it. I guess what I need to do is not feel ashamed of my vocation, pray and know that God will be with me no matter what! :)

This prayer was taken from the Catholic Youth Website-


Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood

Most merciful Jesus, who didst bid us pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest, on bended knees, we beseech Thee to send down the Holy Spirit on the Christian youth of our land to inspire them with the spirit of sacrifice, to give them courage to leave all to follow Thee.

Spirit of piety, arouse in them zeal for souls; O Spirit of fortitude, give them strength to break all earthly bonds; O Spirit of counsel, guide them into the priesthood; O Spirit of knowledge, make them realize the truth of the words of the Holy Scripture: “He who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins”; O Spirit of wisdom, point out to them the vanity of the world and the nobility of Thy service.

Amen.

Thank you! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to School Tomorrow :(

Here it is, the most dreaded day of the year has finally arrived. I attend St. Thomas More High School. We begin and end the year early, so it has its ups and downs! I just want to ask everyone who reads this post, to pray for me that use the talents that God has given me, to do my very best throughout this year!

This prayer was taken from Catholic Youth Online. Please feel free to join in with me! :)


O Lord God and Heavenly Father, bestow upon us the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that enlightened by Him, we may understand aright and may keep in mind all that we may learn, and may both begin and end all things well, to Thy glory, and in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.



Thank you! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Loyal Friend and Visitor Award! :)


My friend Karinann at Daughter of the King has awarded me as a loyal friend and visitor on her blog! Thank you again Karinann! :)
So I would like to give my own " Loyal Friend and Visitor Award " to Brian from A Book about Everything. Brian writes such beautiful and inspiring posts and helps encourage me to continue blogging! Please feel free to visit his blog and keep him in your prayers! Thank you so much for visiting my blog everyone! :)

Also, I would like to add a big thank you to Esther from Catholic Mom in Hawaii for giving me the loyal friend and visitor award as well! God Bless You!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Driving! :) ( Jesus take the wheel)



Last week was my last class of drivers ed! So this means I get to start driving with my temporary license! Yay! My Mom and my Dad have taken me out driving everyday the past two weeks! I am constantly learning more and more each day!

The song " Jesus take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood is perfect for me right now and I often pray this! These words give me comfort and they ease my nerves!
These words should give all of us comfort because we need Jesus to take the wheel in all of our lives, but not just during driving. We ask Jesus to take the wheel during our many struggles and storms that we deal with everyday. He always hears and answers our prayer.

Please pray for me each day as I go practice driving! I will pray for you also so that Jesus " takes the wheel" and helps you overcome whatever struggles and trials you go through! :)

God Bless!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Spreading God Word!

In this post I would like to place a very quick lyric from one of my favorite songs! The song is entitled " The secrets in telling " by Dashboard Confessional! Here are my favorite lyrics from the song!-


" There is a secret that we keep
I won't sleep if you won't sleep
Because tonight may be the last chance we'll be given
We are compelled to do what we have to
We are compelled to do what we have been forbidden"

I decided to post these lyrics because I think they truly reflect on what we feel compelled to do with our lives, that the world does not want us to do. From my prospective, this song is talking about our mission as Christians, although I don't think this is the songs true subject. I think this song is talking about praising, worshiping, and loving God, and preaching His good news! However, as these lyrics state, the world forbids us to be close to God and to preach His word to the world!
However, God pulls us closer to Himself every time we begin to fall away from His side. God is like a magnet! No matter how far we fall, we still are attracted to Him and so we are bursting, itching and urging to tell the whole world that we become compelled to telling everyone about Him by living the way He wants us to! We become compelled to God, and doing His will! We should all be like this! We should all be compelled and attracted to God, like a new born baby is to its mother! So we should as God to help us become attracted to Him, and not to the world! We should ask Him for the strength to deny the world, and preach what it forbids, which is Gods word!

Please pray this prayer with me for strength to resist the world, and live for God-

Eternal Father,

Help us to be your servants, and to do what you ask of us, even if the world forbids it! Give us the strength and the courage to place our trust in you. Help us to open ourselves and allow Yourself into our hearts, so that we feel the need to share this with the whole world! Lord attract us to yourself, and take us from the world!

We ask this in your name!


Amen!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Doing things for God's glory alone!

I recently attended an all-night vigil with my mom at St. Francis Seminary. The many events at this vigil were; mass, adoration, an outdoor procession and a chance to listen to speakers talking about vocations! The rector of the seminary, Fr. Don Hying, gave a beautiful homily! Since this vigil landed on the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Fr. Don incorporated one of his quotes, " Only for God's glory," into it. I think that this is a perfect quote to live by. So many times in our lives, we do things for ourselves. We begin to forget the real reason why we do things in our lives. Sometimes we begin to do things just to gain attention, to get publicity and popularity.

We must remember that we are to be doing things not for ourselves, but for God! We must give praise to God in what ever we do. We must do things, so that when others see them, they see God's good gifts that He has given us! We must remember who gave us our gifts and oppurtunities to use them for giving Him glory! :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Recommendation and Quote! : )

I have been reading a book that was recommended to me by a friend from the Seminary Camp I attended this year, and I want to recommend it to you! The book is entitled " I Believe in Love" by Pe're Jean du Coeur de Jesus O'Elbee. This book was specifically written for someone on a retreat, and for someone learning how to better understand God's love for us! To conclude this post I would like to end with some of my favorite quotes from this book! Thank you!

" If you have loved like this, you must love in return, give love for love. I have loved you, you must love. These are the words of Christ to us. " I have given you my heart without reserve; I have put no limit on my love, you must put no limit on yours."

" Oh how beautiful it is, how encouraging, that the weaker we are, and the more we feel our weakness, the more this power of Jesus, if we are united to Him, is ours!"

" I assure you, we are bathed in love and mercy. We each have a Father, a Brother, a Spouse of our Soul, Center and King of our impotence, like that of our little children, with an inexpressible gentleness watching over us like the apple of His eye, who said, " I will have mercy not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the just, but sinners!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jesus takes all of our worries away!

I occasionally altar serve at daily mass on Fridays. I love being able to help the priest and be close to the Blessed Sacrament. I am usually very calm and focused during mass, but today for some reason, I constantly worried about everything during mass. I worried if I had put enough hosts in the bowl for communion, and if I had put enough wine into the pitcher. I was beginning to panic. Then during communion, as my lips touched the cup full of Jesus' blood, I was filled with instant calm! I realized that Jesus was taking all of my troubles and worries away from me! Jesus calms the storms in our lives, and fills us with peace! Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer for Private Bowe Bergdahl

The American Military yesterday condemned the Taliban for releasing a propaganda video that showed a captured soldier pleading for US troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The Pentagon named the private as Bowe Bergdahl 23, from Idaho. A 28 minute video of Private Bergdahl was posted on the Internet, showing the soldier in good health, but saying he was scared and was missing his family. It is believed to be the first time in two years that a US serviceman has been captured in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Taliban said the video was dated July 14, although it is impossible to verify the date. The military in Afghanistan has been distributing leaflets calling for the return of the private, who said he was picked up by the Taliban after falling behind while on patrol. Last week, Mawlavi Sangin, a Taliban commander in the Piktika province, the southeastern area where Bowe went missing on June 30th, said " we are holding the soldier and would kill him if the US applied pressure to find him. Afghani and US troops have been searching for Bowe for two weeks and offering a reward for help. Locals have told them that the Taliban was planning to smuggle the soldier across the border into Pakistan, but ruled that out because of US missile strikes and Pakistani bombing attacks against military targets in the area.

" I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner," Private Bergdahl says in the video. He is dressed in loose Afghan clothing, appearing with a shaved head and a light beard, drinking tea and eating-but he is clearly being directed what to say. " I have a girlfriend who is hoping to marry. I have my grandparents. I have a very,very good family back home in America," he says, and then a voice off camera prompts " miss them". The soldier then continues: " And I miss them everyday that I'm gone. I miss them and I am afraid that I might never see them again and that I'll never be able to tell them I love them again. I'll never be able to hug them." Later the voice prompts " Any message to your people?" Private Bergdahl then adds: " Yes. To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here who know what it's like to miss them: you have the power to make our Government bring them home. Please, Please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time, and our lives. It is America who has that power."

Private Bergdahl's Father, Bob Bergdahl said yesterday: " We hope and pray for our son's safe return to his comrades and then to our family, and we appreciate all the support and expressions of sympathy shown to us by our family members, our friends and others across the nation."

Because of this article, I decided that it would be necessary to post this prayer that I wrote, asking for God to watch over Private Bergdahl and that he his released and returned home safe and sound.


Please pray this with me-


Lord,

Watch over your servant Bowe. May he feel Your loving presence during these dark times. Help him to grow in faith and trust in You. Help him to know that he is not alone because You are right beside him. Father, please return Private Bowe to his home safe and sound so that he may continue to do your will and give you glory forever and ever. Amen

Please feel free to include an Our Father, Hail Mary and a Glory be shortly after reciting this prayer.


Thank you

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Favorite Song and lyrics! :)

Here's another great song that I decided to post again by the band Lifehouse! This song is called Storm! I decided to post the lyrics to this song just because I think they really portray to us and our lives. In our lives we face many hardships, trails, sufferings and struggles which can also be called "storms" in our spiritual life. During these we must remember that the one that we should turn to for help and guidance is God! I think that this song is pointing out just that! It is pointing out that we need to put our complete trust in God during our "storms" because He is our comfort, our strength and our help! God is always with us! I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do! Thanks again! :)

Storm


How long have I been in this storm?
So overwhelmed by the ocean's shapeless form
Water's getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I could see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
And everything will be all right
And everything will be all right

I know you didn't bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down
Barely surviving has become my purpose
Because I'm so used to living underneath the surface

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I could see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
And everything will be all right
And everything will be all right

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Favorite Song and lyrics :)

I want to share with you, the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by a band called Lifehouse. The song is entitled Everything! These lyrics are very special to me because they help me realize who the center of my life should be, who is God! God should mean "everything" to us! Although the song may have many different view points, I still like to think of it as a song of praise to God! So I hope you enjoy these lyrics and hopefully check out the band for yourself! Thanks!:)

Everything


Find me here
And speak to me
I want to feel You
I need to hear You
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place
Where I find peace again

You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting
You are the life
To my soul
You are my purpose
You're everything

And how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would You tell me how could it be
Any better than this
(Ahh Yeahhh)

You calm the storms
And You give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won't let me fall
You steal my heart
And You take my breath away
Would You take me in
Would You take me deeper, now

And how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would You tell me how could it be
Any better than this

And how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would You tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
Everything, everything...

When how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Oh And how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would You tell me how could it be
Any better any better than this

And how can I stand here with You
And not be moved by You
Would You tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Would You tell me how could it be
Any better than this....