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.


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.


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,


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?

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?


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