dcsimg Faith 101

Epiphanies:

Faith 101

  • Living Word: My New Journey with Prayer

    Nov 14, 2014


    By: Corinne DeLucenay, My New Journey with Prayer

    “For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

    -St. Therese of Lisieux

    College years are the years that “you find yourself.” You figure out who you are, and what you stand for. At least, that is we what think and are told. In reality, it is just the beginning of getting to know yourself. After graduating in May, I found myself learning more and more things about myself daily that I didn’t realize before. As I am transitioning in this new stage in my life, my eyes are open to a new perspective of seeing myself and others.

    One of the things I thought I would have figured out in a more graceful manner is my prayer life. I thought, “Yay! I actually have more time now, it won’t be difficult like college sometimes was.” This is so very wrong. Even though, I, at times, struggled with my prayer life during undergrad, it was still easy to take a walk across campus to a chapel, or somewhere serene. Now, I have realized, that I have to make more of an effort. Not only do I have to find have a place, but my bigger issue: find the time. Somehow, during my time at Marian I could find some time. Even during my crazy hectic semesters or when I needed to have my little revamp on my prayer life, I found the time for prayer.

    Now, there seems like there is not enough time in the day to fit everything. This is not a new feeling, but it is felt in a new way. Not only do I have to pay attention to my own time, but I also have to pay attention to the time to those around me in my community. I live with four others, and it is such a beautiful experience. I learn something new every day. Living with four others, now I have new challenges. Along with balancing my work schedule, I have to balance community time and personal time. I admit, I am definitely still learning, and I tend to choose community time after a day at work. This leaves me with little time to be intentional about prayer and other things. I do not get too bent out of shape because, I see community time as a time to grow in my faith, and I know the Lord is speaking to me through them. I see it as one form of my prayer life that is prominent.

    I take my “difficulty” in truly setting time for intentional prayer throughout my week, besides Mass, as the Lord letting me know that is a choice. It is a choice to follow Jesus Christ. How humbling is that? The omniscient God has given me the opportunity to choose Him, each and every day. This not only means that I say “Amen, I believe,” but that I make sure I foster our relationship, by coming to Him in prayer.

    I see it as a privilege that the Lord has called me to live a life of holiness. Since it is my choice to have a prayer life, I must work at it. Like many choices or decisions in life, it is not always easy. It takes time and effort, and you truly have to be committed. I have chosen to follow through with this commitment, allowing myself to falter.

    In this new time in my life, there is so much room for growth and adventure, this includes my prayer life. In choosing to work on my prayer life, I feel the Lord calling me to be creative, to find new ways to encounter him each and every day. This call has had me to take initiative to find a Spiritual Director in my area. I have only had a couple of meetings with my new Spiritual Director, but I have already experienced the fruits of it. I find this particular part of my Spiritual life to be crucial. I am in such a searching time in my life, so to have someone mediating the Holy Spirit is such a blessing. I try to take time a few times a week to reflect on Scripture, pondering on the Lord’s Word in Lectio Divina. I do this to try to take time to truly listen to the Lord, and try to drown out my controlling thoughts on my life.

    A new devotion to Mary has been brought to the surface, and I give Marian some credit to this. Many things led up to this, and looking back, it is quite obvious. Mary has been a prominent presence in my whole life, not only due to my Catholic faith, but in so many other ways. Because of this, I have chosen to consecrate myself to Mary, and have new found appreciation devotion to Our Mother. Through this I have become closer to Jesus, and learn more about her. It has added a new dimension to my prayer life that is beautiful, and challenges me as a daughter of God.

    In the ways I am trying to enrich my prayer life, I am constantly fumbling. I either miss my opportunity for a good prayer time choosing something else instead, or I rush through my prayer like it is a chore. When these moments happen, I try to pause and take time to talk with the Lord. I try not to worry how short or long my prayer time is, and let him know that I am in this relationship for the long haul. I am still learning. When I stumble, I often remember the words of St. Therese: speak to the Lord from the depths of my heart, even the simplest of cry, whether sorrow or joy, is showing God you love him. That is what I am attempting to do: showing God that I truly do love him. 

  • Whole Life: Christian Leadership

    Nov 07, 2014


    By:Sr. Jeanne Hagelskamp, S.P.
    Associate Professor, Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership

    “When through one person, a little more love and goodness, a little more light and truth come into the world, then that one’s life has had meaning.” This quote, which we used on our parents’ memorial cards, embodies the essence of Christian leadership. This may sound soupy or mushy, but my siblings and I did, indeed, consider our parents quiet, ordinary Christian leaders. No, they were not famous, they never attended college, they struggled their entire lives to put food on the table and clothes on our backs, and to give us the very best education we could want for ourselves. They were faithful to prayer, they gave of themselves unconditionally to us and to those in need, and they taught us to stand up for what is right and just. They lived the words of Micah 6:8: “What does God require of you? Nothing more than this: To act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with Your God.”

    Another way of thinking about Christian leadership is to consider the words of our very own Indiana Saint Mother Theodore Guerin: What must we do to become saints? Nothing extraordinary, only that which we do every day—only do it for his love. This challenge seems easy enough—in fact, if we aren't careful, we might tend to “let ourselves off the hook” if we ignore the last phrase. Now I'm not one who often puts words into Mother Theodore’s mouth, but I confess that I have taken a particular liking to changing one solitary word—so that it reads “What must we do to become saints? Nothing extraordinary, only that which we do every day—only do it with his love.” To say we do it “for his love” is challenge enough, making God’s love our sole motivation. However, to do it “with his love” sets forth a challenge or imperative to aspire to love as God loves and to allow our lives to be driven by that same call to love. In a very powerful way, it is the call to leadership that is expressed by the prophet Micah. We are called to live our everyday lives, always aspiring to do it with God’s steadfast love—God’s Providence—empowering us.

    What would it mean to walk through our day, doing all that we do with God’s love? It seems to me that that is precisely the mission that Jesus undertook when he walked this earth. As he went about his work (and play!), in many ways he lived an ordinary life—but he lived it “to the max,” always seeking to understand what God was calling him to do in any situation. He lived each day, always seeking to share with others God’s passionate/compassionate love. Time after time, as he went about his business, he went out of his way to be with the most vulnerable. He didn't just “help them.” It wasn't a one-sided thing. Rather, he invited them into relationship with him -- he rubbed elbows with them, invited them to the table to share a meal, and let his compassion and love overflow when they were hurting. This “loving tenderly” wasn't just about “doing for,” but rather about “walking with”—and staying in relationship with—the most vulnerable. And that, for me, is a part of Christian leadership.

    But Jesus didn’t stop there. And honestly, this is the part that I believe that I personally (and many of us) struggle with as I try to be a Christian leader. Jesus was not afraid to “throw the zingers” that would challenge the status quo or “call out” injustice. He was, indeed, an unrelenting voice for the voiceless—and not just when it was convenient… not just when the price was right. He was a champion for those oppressed by unjust systems—and he clearly knew the cost of speaking up and challenging wrong. Yet he did it, time and time again, and never did he stop to measure his words because of fear of the price it might cost him. Over time, he knew that others had had enough of his “revolution” and were seeking for a way to kill him. Nonetheless, he continued to reach out to those shunned by others and to stand up for the rights of those most oppressed by the system.

    I think all of us would probably agree that Jesus was an extraordinary Christian leader. He is the model for us of doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way with God’s love as his driving force. No doubt, none of us will ever be able to love so unconditionally, inspire so passionately, and challenge so intensely…but we ought to aspire to it. In the meantime, if each of us could choose our very ordinary path of Christian leadership, doing nothing extraordinary, but rather acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly with God’s love each day, then, indeed, a little more love and goodness, and little more light and truth will come into the world… and our lives will certainly have meaning.


  • Living Word: Do unto Others

    Nov 07, 2014


     
    By: Jimmy Cox,
    Everyone has those sins that they struggle with and I am no different. Recently as I was quietly pondering over a retreat reflection I am giving, I came across two pieces of scripture that related well to my reflection story. I decided writing about this for the blog made the most sense. In addition, for a long time I have felt God was helping me to work on this particular sin; judgement.

    Luke 6: 31-33, 35

    Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.  But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and give, expecting nothing back.

    I am a quick decision and impatient person. In addition, the love for my family and friends can make me irrational as I imagine it can for a lot of us. The situation involved my family and one person in particular who I felt had wronged my family and I multiple times. The challenge was this person cannot exactly remove themselves from our lives. In this scripture, he would be my enemy. While I have tried to pray for him and pray to God that I am going to change, I would be lying if I said my attitudes toward him had shifted. Every time I feel like I am making progress, something happens that makes me revert.

    I have struggled to love those that are my enemies, who do wrong to my friends and family. I believe in terms of sin, this is the most challenging. However, it relates to one of the most fundamental principles that Christ taught us. Christ endured pain and suffering from so many people, but while he was dying on the cross he asked his father to forgive them. It was the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate expression of love. If Christ can forgive and love those that wronged him and give us salvation, then we must work in our lives to love those that are our enemy and that would see us suffer. Then we are truly living as God called us to live.

    Just think what would happen if the world practiced love more? We have so much war, hate, jealousy, and anger out there. We try to fix it while failing to realize that the only thing that fixes it, is loving one another the way God wants us to. My challenge to you is to practice love more. Ask for forgiveness for those times you have failed to do so. Sit down with those who have wronged you. Talk to those whom you would rather not. Most importantly, work to forgive these people and yourself. I know I still am.  

  • Faith 101: All Saints

    Nov 03, 2014


    By: Andrew Thomas '15, Seminarian at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary

    As people living in a community we love special days! Especially days to commend or draw attention to events, people, or objects. To name a few: Feral Cat Day, Superhero Day, Friendship Day, Groundhog’s Day, and Square Dancing Day. I know you might not think these are real days, but check out this website. So wouldn’t it make sense that of all these days we ought to have a day to celebrate the people that followed Christ with such passion and love that their whole life glorified God? For all of those who said “yes” keep reading. For all of those who said “no” keep reading.

    It just so happens that we have a day to celebrate the people that glorified God through their lives; we call it All saints Day. All saints Day is November 1 (November 1 also happens to be “Go Cook For Your Pets Day”). While the date has moved several times throughout the tradition a day dedicated to saints has been around since 411 [1] . So why…?

    Well for all of those grammar gurus reading this blog post I bet you noticed that I did not capitalize the word “saint” in the paragraph above. And I promise I did that on purpose. Because there are two different types of saints; Uppercase ‘S’ Saints and lowercase ‘s’ saints. The distinction is that Saints have been Canonized, which means that Catholic Church as affirmed that these people exemplify living for Christ. The Church holds them up to say, “hey look these women and men are role models in holiness.” Lowercase “saints” are all those in heaven. The Church knows that they cannot possibly hold up all the holy dead in the world, so they take a select few. Now that a distinction has been made we need to look at why.

    The Church respects that fact that Saints have exhibited “heroic virtue.” Canonized Saints have lived in total fidelity to God’s grace and lived out God’s will in their lives to the highest of standards.[2] The best way I have ever heard it explained was by my Grandma. She told me one time, “how do we live this life of holiness if we don’t have someone to look up to?” Saints are there for the purpose of praying for us, for our holiness and the holiness of the Church in the world.

    Just as I have a picture of my great grandma Rose I have a picture of Saint Joseph. I ask both to pray for me in the tough times because they lived seeking Christ and found him. They are my teachers and I can’t give them an apple, so I give them November 1. I hope that they accept this one day as a way to thank them for all the days they look out for me. Both Saints and  saints are there for you and the whole Church, so what saint do you thank on November 1?



    [1] Catholic Encyclopedia

    [2] CCC 828

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