Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Rose for a Rose

My mom and I began a rose novena to St. Therese 9 days ago.

Rose novenas to St. Therese have been a family tradition for some time, see my mom's post about it.

Anyway, we began the rose novena and my mom got her rose almost immediately. I, on the other hand waited. Normally the novena last 5 days but if you do not receive a rose, you can extend it to 9 days.

So I waited patiently for St. Therese to come through. "She'll come through, the little stinker," my mom assured me.

So, meanwhile I have been having a pretty difficult time, wanting to get away from my job, friend problems, neighbors who blare music until 4:30AM, the works. I have been feeling pretty beat up.

This morning, on the 9th day, as I was parking for BART and walking to the station, I saw something pink in the middle of the road. "That's my rose!" I thought excitedly. And sure enough, it was a fake rose in the middle of the street, looking just as battered and forlorn as I have been feeling.

I could not help but think, "Man it figures I would get a beat up rose." I considered the possibility that St. Therese was not happy that my mom called her a stinker :)

But I think St. Therese, in all of her wisdom was sending me a message about suffering by sending me a rose that has taken a few beatings.

In fact, it reminded me of a passage in her autobiography:

"I had offered myself to the Child Jesus to be His little plaything. I had told Him not to use me like a costly toy which children are pleased to look at without daring to touch; but as He would a little ball of no value, that He might throw to the ground, toss about, pierce, leave in a corner, or else press to His Heart if so it pleased Him." - St. Therese, Story of a Soul

So with the image of the ball and the battered but still beautiful rose, I wait for God to send me some signals about what He wants from me and how He wants me to serve Him. For now, I think He just wants me to embrace the suffering that I am feeling as a way to grow closer to Him. And the thing is - I love Him so much, I figure it will be worth it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Recovering & Reworking

Since I returned from Mexico I have been taking a good look at my life, where I am headed and where I want to go. I have been in a transition phase for some time now, evaluating what lies ahead and what God is calling me to in my life.

In some ways this time has been very beautiful. I have made wonderful, good and faithful friends. I have entered a new career and challenged myself in the corporate world. I have become active in my church. I have my own apartment or "haven of tranquility" as my brother David calls it. I have been learning to live alone and build my own life that is not dependent on anyone else but myself. It has been a really good time.

But I am feeling it is time to move on. I am not sure in what sense I mean this, maybe physically, maybe a change of jobs, maybe a change of career and life direction. I am a bit frustrated with my current job, I am no longer satisfied with just intellectual challenge, I need to be spiritually challenged. I want to serve God full time.

My friend Mike was accepted into the Franciscans and will be moving to Portland in September. Today I saw him and he is full of the grace of God and the buoyancy that comes when God is leading us to the next big step in our lives. I can't say I was not a bit envious.

My constant sense of being on the verge of something new in my life but having no idea what it could possibly be is difficult. But I also am trying to have trust in God and in His plan for my life - that is far more wonderful than anything I could possibly imagine.

I would like to ask for my friends and family's prayers during this time. All of you are so important to me and beautiful examples of what it means to live in God's will. Please pray that I find my way to the path He has laid out for me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Return from Mexico

Settling back into life, American life.

The life of so much more than we need materially, and so much less than we need spiritually.

I went to Mexico to learn about the life of poor people.

I learned about the life of the rich.

Rich in faith, family and love for each other and God.

Learning nothing from me, I learned everything from the people I met.

- Giving what little they have generously and without thought to what they would gain

- Intimately in tune with the liturgical rhythms of the church, like the blood that flows pulsing to their open, kind hearts

- Service to their community and to the Church at the center of the meaning of their lives, their priorities are exactly where everyone's are meant to be

As the Mayan people I met say - Kolaval

Thank you.