They Believe…

…Do They Belong?








This Weekend

     I went to Mass this weekend and was listening to the Homily.   I found it incredibly interesting and I have to share it with you.  
    This weekend (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time) the readings were about those who believe but don’t belong.

     The first reading discussed Moses and the camp elders.  Moses had the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and God was going to bestow those same gifts on the 72 camp elders.  So a tent was put up away from the camp and the elders gathered in it and the Holy Spirit was bestowed to them.  Except only 70 guys showed up.  For some reason, Eldad and Medad were still in the camp when the Spirit came upon the elders.  Amazingly, Eldad and Medad still received the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that they were not present with them all.  So the people come running to Moses and go on and on about how Eldad and Medad still got the Spirit – and they are prophesying! – but they weren’t in the tent with everyone else!  They believe, but they don’t belong.  God says: “Oh that all my people would be prophets.”

     The Gospel reading was about the apostle who runs up and tells Jesus: “Guess what we did today?  There was this man who was driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him! But he wouldn’t stop!”  And Jesus was like: “No big deal.  He’s honoring me by driving out demons in my name.”  And if I was the apostle, my reaction would be: “WHAT?!? Are you kidding me?  Here I am, called by you, so I leave my life as a fishermen, become a fisher of men, am ridiculed daily by the scribes and pharisees who think I’m a loser, and will be put to death because of my belief in your teachings.  And this random guy who can drive out demons in your name, your OK with that?  He doesn’t even have to go through 10% of what I go through!  He believes, but he doesn’t belong!”

Application
      So then I start thinking: Wait a second.  Not only Catholics get into Heaven.  So if, say, a Protestant gets into Heaven – what’s the point?  As a Catholic, I follow the Pope, follow ALL of Christ’s teachings, believe in the true presence of the Eucharist, go to Church on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, have to turn the other cheek while the media and the modern world constantly criticizes and makes fun of my beliefs, all for the goal of getting to Heaven.  And other people don’t have to follow that and they still get in? That’s unfair!
   
     So, I continued thinking.  Because, obviously, Christ founded the Catholic Church for a reason.  It’s like a pair of jeans.  (Hey, I am a girl and clothing analogies tend to work.)  Let’s say someone gives everyone a pair of free jeans.  You can pick between a quality pair of amazing designer jeans that fit you perfectly, or you can get a knockoff, off brand that only imitates some of the qualities of the designer jeans.  Which would you pick?

      As a girl, I can tell you that you would be crazy not to pick the pair of designer jeans.  Why?  Because they are the best ones!  They have everything going for them (plus, they’re free, come on.)  Now let’s bring this back to religion.  Christ offers the Catholic Church as the best option.  It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and it is founded by Christ Himself.  Why wouldn’t you choose that?  But sometimes, well, a lot of times, people don’t choose the designer jeans.  Because they fool themselves into thinking that the knock-offs are better than them.  They make them look better and they are cheaper and don’t take as much work to upkeep.

     Why choose the knock off when you can have the real thing?
Not Mine to Give
     Then I looked back on my “That’s not fair” rant.  Who am I?  Who am I to look at God and tell Him who should belong and who shouldn’t?  Who should get in and who can’t?  Nobody.  I am but a sigh in the wind in comparison to God’s eternal presence.

     Why wouldn’t God want to see all of His children gathered in Heaven?  He is the ultimate dad, and it is a father’s wish to see all of his kids around the supper table together.  And who am I to say He can’t do that?  Ultimately, me saying that would be saying that I, a 17 year old high school senior, have indefinably more wisdom that 2,000 years of Roman Catholic Church teaching and indefinably more wisdom that God.  Yeah…not likely.

     He loves all of His children – and I shouldn’t be the one who says He can’t.  

Thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Let me know in the comment box below!  (It makes my day when a comment shows up on the blog!)

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.  

This is Where I Draw the Line
How Do You Determine Boundaries in Dating?

 
 
How far is too far?
     The question of how far is too far to go with your boyfriend/girlfriend has been around forever.  Basically it is asking: “How far can I go without this being considered a sin?”
Yet when you look at this, the question in itself is pretty selfish.
 
 
Now Sit Back and Listen to Story…
   There was once a daughter of a king who lived in  a kingdom far away.  She was absolutely beautiful and was now eligible for marriage.  Three young men had expressed interest in her hand and her father, the King, gathered the three together for a test on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
   “I want to see how each of you could protect my daughter.  While riding on your horse at a gallop, how close can you get to the cliff without going over?”
     The young men whispered amongst themselves and the first man stepped forward.
   “Sire, I can get your daughter one foot away from the edge of the cliff without falling over.”  The King nodded, and motioned for the man to ride.  Urging his horse into a gallop, the young man quickly approached the edge of the cliff, and skidded to a stop.  A servant ventured forward to measure the distance between the cliff and the rider.  Indeed, there was one foot between them and the edge of the cliff.  There was applause, and the young man dismounted and bowed, proud to show how well he could protect the princess.
     The second young man stepped forward, puffing up his chest in pride. 
     “Sire, I could easily get only six inches from the edge of the cliff before stopping.”  The King motioned for the second man to ride.  Sweat dripping from his brow, the young man hurried his horse along until he came to where he believed he should stop, and the horse slided in.  The servant once again rushed over and lo and behold, there were only six inches between the horse and the edge of the cliff.  The crowd broke into incredible applause and eagerly turned to the third young man.  He confidently walked up to the king, leaving his horse behind.
    ” Sir, it would be my first duty as your daughter’s husband to protect her from all harm.  I would try to keep her as far away as possible from the edge of the cliff because I love her and I could never put her in harms way.” 
   The King and princess smiled at each other.  The King reached for the young man’s hand.
   “Young man, that is the correct answer.  You have won my daughter’s hand.”
 
 
And Now Your Wondering…
   What does this have to do with anything?  OK, look at it this way.  Your boyfriend/girlfriend may not be your future spouse.  They may be, but they might be someone elses husband or wife in the future.  If this is true, and you are called to the vocation of marriage, then somewhere out there is your future wife or future husband.
    You wouldn’t want your future spouse’s current boyfriend/girlfriend to do anything with them to compromise his or her purity. 
     So you shouldn’t do anything that would compromise your current boyfriend or girlfriend’s purity.  Wouldn’t it be amazing that, at their marriage (if they do not marry you) that their wife/husband came up to you and thanked you for protecting their bride/groom’s purity?
 
 
If you really love me
    If your really love your boyfriend/girlfriend, you want what is best for them right?  What about what is best for their souls?  Look at your current physical involvement with them and ask these questions:

   – Is what I am doing right now something that is leading my  
     boyfriend/girlfriend closer to God?

   – Is this something  I would be OK doing if Jesus was sitting
     here?

   – Is this a Heaven decision or a pleasure decision?

 
 

Learning from example:   Reading an article from lifeteen this week, this was the quote that stuck with me: “Learn from the world’s first couple: Adam and Eve. When your desires become more attractive than your partner’s salvation, eventually you’ll fall.”
 
 
Thoughts or comments?  Are you committed to purity in your relationships?  Let me know below!
God Bless,

Chloe M. 

True. Love. Sacrifices.



 

      I consciously gave my life to Jesus when I was 14-years-old. I didn’t know all there was to know about the faith (still don’t) but I knew a few important things: I shouldn’t steal stuff, I shouldn’t lie, I should go to Church every Sunday, and I should save sex for marriage. So I made a commitment to stay a virgin until I got married.




     Sounds noble, right? Well, in the spirit of full disclosure I must admit that at that age no girl had even remotely desired to sleep with me. I was the freshman in high school who shows up and you wonder who let the sixth graders in. Girls didn’t find me attractive and I didn’t like them much either (being a fan of a lot of D&D and fantasy books, my ideal woman was an Elven princess who knew karate and was good with a knife – a standard most 13- and 14-year-old Catholic school girls don’t live up to.)

 
 
 

     As time went on, I did attract some girlfriends (playing guitar helped) and I entered the exciting world of male/female romance.

 
 
 

     How did I do? Not well. My sincere apologies to those who had the misfortune of dating me.

 
 
 

     The biggest thing that hindered positive relationships for me was I understood virginity but hadn’t a clue about chastity. Chastity is the virtue of sexual purity. I might not have had sex – but I wasn’t sexually pure either. And so I really made a mess of things, hurting myself and the women I dated.

 
 
 

     A turning point came in 1994. I had just graduated college and was dating a wonderful Christian girl. I had it in my mind that she might be THE ONE and we had even entertained some conversations about marriage. We both loved the Lord and prayed together but were clearly confused about the chastity thing.

     Then I went to a conference where I heard a speaker give an amazing talk about what chastity really was. It was not a restriction – it was a gift! God desires us to live in purity so we can have the greatest expression (and experience) of love. As I looked back on my life, I realized how things were at the worst when I was at my most unchaste. Chastity was there to protect beautiful relationships, while sexual activity confuses and destroys them.

 
 
 

     I was thrilled to hear the truth. I felt so liberated! They passed out Chastity Pledge cards and I hastily filled one out, putting my name and the date on it. I got an extra one for my girlfriend, bought her a copy of the talk on cassette (yes, that’s what we used back then) and mailed it to her with great excitement. She also loved the message and we committed ourselves to a pure and chaste relationship. I was more convinced than ever that she was THE ONE.

 
 
 

      Six months later we broke up.


     Sexual activity is like a drug and when we got off it we realized that there were things about each other that were downright annoying. I was thankful to realize this, at least in my mind. But my heart was furious. I desired love. I thought she was THE ONE. And that stupid card blew it!

 
 

     18 months later, I’m dating another girl with bright blue eyes and curly hair. I finally understood with her what it meant to have a chaste relationship and I wished I had been that way with every relationship I had! One day, after a few months of dating, we were praying together when I opened my bible and the Pledge Card fell out.

 
 
 

      Though I had not forgotten my commitment to be chaste, I forgot the card was there. I remember feeling embarrassed to see it. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t embarrassed about my commitment to chastity – this girl had the same commitment. Maybe it was because it reminded me of her, THE ONE. I signed that card thinking it would bless and protect the relationship I had with the girl I thought would be my future wife. Instead, it destroyed it.

 
 
 

      My new girlfriend picked up the card and it looked as though she was going to cry. She reached in her bible and pulled out her chastity pledge card. “Look!” she said. I nodded. She had a Pledge Card, too. Lots of people had.

     She could tell I was missing her point. “Look closer,” she said, handing me both cards.

 
 
 

     I looked at them. They weren’t just both pledge cards, they were the exact same card. From the same conference. On the same date.

      When I was in one corner of the room, committing myself to God and my future spouse to stay pure for my marriage, she was in another corner of the room, pledging the same thing.

 
 
 

      We were married a year later.

 
 
 

     “Our God is a God of faithfulness. Yes, I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future full of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 


 

     When we give Him the most intimate parts of our lives, He gives us His most intimate blessing. So, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”(Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

     I share this personal story with you to give you hope. God has an amazing plan for your life. No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God can get you on the right path to the fullness of life He has planned for you.

     Had to share this story with you from my daily devotional today.  What a cool way to remind those who will be called to marriage that their future spouse is out there – and to pray for them.

     Let me know what you think in the comments below!

God bless you all,
Chloe M. 


Amused or Offended?

Dear readers, I am wanting your opinion.

Are you amused or offended by the above picture?

I went to Target tonight and saw this notebook.

I think I am offended simply because these women are not single.

They are “taken” by the most amazing spouse – Christ Himself. 

It is disheartening when our culture places these incredible women who have responded to God’s call to religious life in a position where they are the end of jokes.

Thoughts? I would love to know in the comment box below.
God bless,

Chloe M.

                           I Am Who Am
                 God’s name and significance


Labeling God

     In bible study this week, we were discussing Moses and his encounter with God in the burning bush.  When Moses asks God how he should introduce Him to the Israelite people, God says, “I am who am.”  Which, in the words of Fr. Barron, “Tells Moses absolutely nothing.  It was like saying ‘stop asking stupid questions. My name isn’t important in this situation.'”  God isn’t this or that. He isn’t bigger than anything we can think of, or stronger, or smarter.  He isn’t bound by our human system of superlatives.
     He….is.


Labeling
     When you know someones name, you have a sort of control over them.  You can find their phone number in the phone book, you can look them up online, you can even stalk them on Facebook (you know you do it.).
     When you can label something, and put a name on it, it is easy to stick it in a corner and forget about it.  Pause.  Rewind.  When we knew who God was when He came down to earth, Jesus, we were able to label him and stick him on a Cross.


God conquers labels     That is where the amazing mystery of the 100% divinity and 100% human nature comes in to play.  Because Christ was able to conquer death on the cross and rise from the dead (see post I am who I am because of the Resurrection) and also conquered any label we can put on God.
Grasping at God     When we think about all of this too much we find ourselves grasping at God, similarly to Adam and Eve eating the fruit so that they could become like God.  We can’t grasp at God mentally or physically – His ways are beyond our ways and His thoughts beyond our thoughts.  When we stop trying to grasp at and label God, we find we have to time to fall in love with our Creator, which is what we were made to do anyway!
Any thoughts?  Let me know in the comment box below – it always makes my day hearing from my readers!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M. 


What You Want….

….and What You Need.



     St. Philip Neri said:


Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast”

     When you pray for patience, goes God give us patience, or does He? give us opportunities to be patient?  When we pray for charity, does God give us charity, or does He give us opportunities to be charitable?

     I am reminded of a song by Laura Story, “Blessings.”  (I would put it in this post, but my computer is being stubborn – look for it later on during the day when the computer decides to cooperate!)  In the song, she talks about the fact that God wouldn’t be a loving Father if He just gave us virtue.  He loves us, and so He wants to see us grow and mature.  I love these lyrics: “All the while, You hear each spoken need, Yet love is way to much to us the lesser things,” and “What if the trials in this life are Your mercies in disguise.”  

     What is God doing in your life to give you opportunities to grow in virtue?  He is giving us what we need, not necessarily what we want.  Why?  Because He is a loving Dad and just wants to see the best for His kids.  It’s like the situation with my little sister.  She wants to stay up later, like the “big” girls, because she is now getting older.  Yet instead of just granting her more privileges because of her age, Mom and Dad allow situations to arise in which they can observe her maturity.  Even if it is just observing her interactions with her siblings day to day, she is proving her maturity (or sometimes lack of) by her actions.

     Usually when something goes wrong in our life, we like to sit down and say: “Why God?  Where are you? And why can’t I feel your love right now?”  And this is easy to do, believe me, I know because I do it pretty often.  Yet we have to get into the habit of seeing God work in mysterious ways.  His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  He has such a beautiful plan for our life – better than we could ever imagine – and all we have to do is trust Him with our lives.

      Sometimes we sell God short.  We fail to realize that He created our very souls! How could He not have a beautiful plan?  Our plan and our will for us is typically not allowing us to be the best version of ourselves.  When we turn it all back over to God, our lives will blossom.
     Have you seen God’s blessing in disguise recently?  Let me know about it in the comments!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.  

     

Our God is not Dead
He’s Alive! He’s Alive!

As I’ve shared before, last week I went to a Matt Mahr concert.  Of course we sang his song “Christ is Risen.”  I love that song, very much.  The really neat thing was that we sang it during the Eucharistic Adoration Procession.

It really hit me as the Eucharist passed by me and I was singing “Oh, death: where is your sting? Oh, hell: where is your victory? Oh, Church: come stand in the light! Our God is not dead! He’s Alive! He’s Alive!”  It used to be that I only thought of the Resurrection at this point.  And, although true, that isn’t what this song is about to me now.
Here the Romans thought they had killed Christ and their problems were done.  Then Christ rises from the dead, defeating death by death itself.  And He doesn’t just go up to Heaven.  In fact, He comes down to earth in the form of bread and wine.  And as I was singing those words, Christ was right there!  Veiled by the appearance of a consecrated host, but He was there! 

Christ is alive.  You can see Him everyday in Eucharistic Adoration.  Someone shared the story of St. John Vianney with me: “In the parish that St. John Vianney was parish priest of, there was an old man who came into the sanctuary of the Church and would sit in front of the Eucharist everyday.  St. John Vianney finally had to say something to him, so he asked the old man why he was there everyday.  The old man pointed to the Eucharist and said, ‘I look at Him.  And He looks back at me.'” 

The Romans didn’t win.  The persecutors didn’t win.  Because I, 2,000 years later, am worshipping Christ in the Eucharist…because He is not dead. 
God Bless you all,

Chloe M. 

Living NOW:
Not letting your future vocation take front seat to what you already are blessed with.




You don’t know what you’ve got….’till it’s gone
     Our family dynamics are changing.  I am looking into a job, college classes, and discerning God’s will for my life, both future and present.  My next youngest sister is learning to drive.  My third youngest sister is two inches taller than me.  The next sister is growing up on me.  The little kids keep getting bigger and bigger everyday.  My baby sister is already five and half months old.  Where does time go?

     I was talking about this to my Mom, and she was saying how much I should love where I am NOW.  And she’s right – I spend a lot of mental time in the future, planning what I think should happen.  I had once been told that God’s desire for me to discern my future vocation should never take precedence over my current vocation.
     One day, in the not-so-far future, as I sit in a dorm room, studying, I’m going to wish I was back at home, surrounded by loving siblings, (even though they err on the loud side), caring parents who are there to help me, and access to something that heats up food besides a microwave.  Yet I have to stop.  I have all those things RIGHT NOW.  And I don’t appreciate them – and I won’t fully until they are gone!


A Quote for Perspective:

     Padre Pio says this: “Be content to obey, which is never a small thing for the soul who has chosen God as his portion. And resign yourself to be, for now,  a small hive bee, able to make honey.”    
     Hmm……buzz, buzz ~ looks like we really need to “bee” focused (pun intended) on God’s present plan for our lives.

      Look at the birds of the air. They don’t worry about a thing and they have a pretty good life.  This is what we must strive for: content peace in God’s love for us now.  Content peace in God’s plan and love for us in the future.  

Are you “bee-ing” content in God’s plan for your life now?  Let me know in the comments below!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.