+ J.M.J.A.T. +

Sunday, March 28, 2010

O will of God... so difficult at times!

Do you remember being denied some desire as a child that would have resulted in a moment of instant gratification in a pure and innocent way? For example, mom and dad might have said no to a big ice cream cone before dinner, or a hot dog at a fair even though you already ate lunch, or an ice pop from the ice cream truck in the summer (Interesting, isn't it, that all my childhood memories of being denied something I really wanted center around food... I wonder what that means!).

I feel like a spoiled child of God right now! I know what I want... that forbidden ice cream cone. However, I also know that I am going to be denied it and I just don't want to go along with it. Sometimes God's good will is like this. When I feel this way, this temptation to have something, I think of the grace that God is showering upon me to conquer my will in even a very small way. These days, however, God is asking me to conquer my will in a much harder way. I am not very strong in this. I am quite stubborn and very logical... so I think I'm always right. Oh, Lord help me.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I am in need of the prayers of His faithful in these days. I would be very grateful if you would remember me in prayer as I try to do His will in a difficult situation.

Hopefully I will be able to write a little more often soon. God bless you!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The City

Without sharing exactly where I live, I will say that it is probably the best city in the United States of America (I bet that's what everyone says!). What can I say? I'm partial! Today, I had a doctors appointment after school. It was a beautiful day outside. The temperature was up in the seventies and the sun was shining. I rolled the windows down in the car and as I was driving I looked at the beautiful faces of all the people stuck in the traffic of pre-rush hour. I could see the beautiful river to the side of the different ramps and freeways I was taking. It was just so wonderful, so full of life, and so full of history.

When we had our school book fair a few months ago, one of the sisters saw me looking intently at a book called "The Art of Freedom." She bought it for me and put it outside my bedroom. I was so grateful for this beautiful testament to our country's character. As I was looking out the car window though, the scenes I saw were much more vivid than any of the artist's visions of our country.

As I passed a homeless man, he blessed himself as I gave him the little money I had with me. When I was sitting at a red light, the man going the opposite direction saw my habit and waved and wished me a good day. As I drove past the seminary, where I have studied and many of my friends have, I felt a joy at our spiritual heritage. God we have been so blessed!

I did not grow up in this city - but around it in the suburbs. I don't know sometimes if the kids I teach realize how lucky they are to live in a place with such a strong Catholic identity and such a beautiful historical tradition. The spirit is amazing.

What a life-giving day! Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.

John Paul certainly had it right with this quote. Right now I am noticing a lot how hard it is for youth to grow up in the atmosphere of our world right now. I am only in my twenties so I am not too far removed but I see even more now as a teacher.

There are so many things bombarding them all the time from sex to drugs, to revenge, to hate, to addictions, to family issues. There is just so much! My heart aches for them as I look into their eyes when they share with me that their dads have been in jail since they were a year old. What do you say to that? I really don't know except to love. John Paul had it right. As the family goes, so goes everything else. I pray each day that I can maybe sway that family influence when it is negative in another way, that these children of God know that they are loved, appreciated, and worth everything in the world.

Sometimes in school I just think how can they even learn in class? How? When they go home to chaos and inattention. They feel like they don't matter and of course, they react to that in their behavior. I just wish there was some way to take their pain away from them.

We have been having some problems at our school these past few weeks with the attention-grabbing, vengeful behavior of some of our kids. As I have thought about it I can see that they have nothing to fall back on. They seem to be stuck in this cycle of bad decisions. Please pray with me that our youth can find a way to live in the presence of God and dedicate themselves to following His will for each of them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


On Monday, I ran all day long. You can probably tell I haven't blogged in the past few days, but Monday was especially packed. I won't go through the whole long thing but I didn't get back to my bedroom at night until nine o'clock (I'm really not a night person). When I got back to my bedroom, I sat down in the chair for a few moments to gather my thoughts before getting into bed and falling into a quick coma! While I was sitting there I realized I was smiling. It wasn't because I had a wonderful day and it certainly wasn't because I felt wonderful - boy was I tired! - it was because I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Everything that I do each day seems to be important to God. It is amazing because even the little things matter. I went to a boring meeting on Monday night... but I did it with love. I don't always succeed in doing it with love but on Monday God moved my heart in that direction and I am grateful. Every time things get difficult, He lets me know that I am where I need to be.

These past few days have been difficult ones, with many transitions and many difficulties but I still know that the Lord is with me through them all. He is so good to me. Someone asked me recently, amid the difficulties I have been experiencing, why do I keep going? It is all because of Him. Many times I doubt that He is there with me or that He will take care of all the practical things - but I know that He always does.

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children." -Deuteronomy

I am a teacher. I hope that I do not forget the reason - ever - for my profession as a teacher and my vocation as a religious. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I have not been posting too much because my grandmother is sick and a dear friend of mine in faith has been having a difficult time. Please pray for both of them, for healing and peace. Thank you. If there is anything that anyone would like me to blog about I would be happy for suggestions!

God bless you!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well, it has been a whirlwind of a day. This morning I slept in and went to school early... I know, that sounds strange but we had a later schedule because Father came to say Mass for us in the evening so we didn't need to go to the six-thirty. The day went by so quickly. Sometimes there are just days that anything that can go wrong does... today was one of them! Actually, this whole week has been kinda like that!

The students went to Confession today which is wonderful, it does throw a little kink in the schedule though. Don't get me wrong, I love being part of preparing them for and providing the opportunity for them to receive the sacraments. It does get a little stressful though! Strangely enough I found myself about seven hours later in Church doing the same exact thing for the CCD students. I realized again that apostolic joy in bringing others to Jesus.

In between these two scheduled times for confession, we had Mass in the convent Chapel, which I love! First, because it is awesome to have Mass said in the same structure in which you live. Second, because it is an opportunity for the sisters to celebrate the Eucharist together. And third, because the Eucharist is a central element of our community spirituality.

Something was different today though. As many of you have probably experienced, the sign of peace has been changed because of the swine flu outbreak. Today, the ban was lifted, and Father made a little joke about being able to shake hands again. We all laughed and as I looked into the eyes of my sisters at this joyful and new experience, I realized how united we were. In the silent moments after this outbreak of joyful laughter, I thought of God's goodness to me.

In a day that was filled to the brim, God offered me this beautiful little moment of purity and joy. I can't help but wonder how many moments during the day I missed that were also gifts of renewal and refreshment.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prayer, Work, Community

We always say the three main staples of religious life are prayer, work, and community life lived in the context of the evangelical counsels. But, boy, does it take a lot of practice to get these three things down! Sometimes the balance is exhausting. It is also rewarding.

Life never moved as quickly as it does for me in the convent. This morning feels like it happened years and years ago! I love the quote that I have frequently heard from my community's history, "A busy day in the life of a religious is one long canticle of praise." Well, it certainly doesn't always feel like a "canticle of praise." I can see though the moments that make these days filled with God. The child who just wants to talk, the Sister who needs a friend or someone to share in her work and joys, and making the time to spend in prayer with the Reason for it all.

As I reflect today on my day I realize how many interactions I have had that have been saturated by my relationship with God and I am so grateful that He is with me all the time! There are usually no moments to question, to reflect on what to do in the moment - so it is the preparation that counts, it is the fueling up in prayer that makes God come to life in the world each day. If I didn't pray each morning before I began my work - it would be meaningless. I am just so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to spend myself in His service.

Now, after this probably meaningless little post, which probably doesn't make sense, I am going to throw myself into my bed and start all over again. It is a thought that although I am exhausted excites me in a way I have never been excited before. Thank you Lord for this life!