Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Encounter

I really mean to update more frequently, but that last post I thought I had posted last Tuesday, when I wrote it, but for some reason it didn't get up there until today. But do read it if you're interested in the Nacogdoches CL Family Vacation.

As for college life and classes, it's all going very well and much more smoothly. I'm getting the hang of things and feeling more at home, though being away from home is still hard. But thank you all for all of your prayers and letters and everything--none of it has gone unnoticed.

This morning a group of us from UD went to an abortion clinic in Dallas to pray, and it was an amazing experience. With the excitement of school I had forgotten how much I love going out and interacting with other groups of people, like this, or at the Lord's Diner, or Abstinence Education over the summer. Even if just for one encounter, making the effort to be a presence is always worth it. You never know who you might meet.

Today at the clinic there was a young man carrying a little boy, maybe 2 or 3 years old. The young man was with his girlfriend, or sister, and the boy was apparently his son or nephew. But he was clearly distraught, and came to stand with our group for a while, as the young lady he came with was inside the clinic. He just stood there listening to us, maybe even praying with us--I couldn't tell--holding the little boy, and he became emotional as he talked to one of our sidewalk counselors. He stood there until the end of our rosary, and then went to his car to wait for the young lady.

I don't presume to know his story, or what stuggles he is going through with the girl and the young boy, but I do know that as he stood there with us, I was praying for him, and his family, and for the strength he needed to do the right thing. It's encounters like these that slap you in the face, in a way, and make you seriously question everything you think you know. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone has is worse, and when God grants you the grace of encountering those people, you are forced to re-examine your life, and thank Him for all the blessings He has given you, in particular the blessing of being able to meet these people.

Something I've learned that I think everyone should realize is that no event ever arrived without surprise, and an element of the unknown. Were the Jews expecting their God to become a man in the womb of a fourteen year old girl? Were they expecting Him to be born in a stable and grow up in the working class? Were they expecting Him to suffer and die a criminal's death? None of them expected this, and yet it was the greatest event in history. So we should learn to expect the unexpected, or at least be open to it. Events more often than not come to us as surprises--we do not expect them. But if we are open to them, they can be the greatest graces or encounters of all. Every event in our lives has a meaning, because they come from Christ, who is the Event of History.

Even when I am given these events, these encounters, I am always surprised by them. Because who would have expected to see Christ in the face of a young man at the abortion clinic? And who would have expected to touch the head of Christ on a sleeping three year old boy? No one expected it, but it happened, a great event of today. And that is why every day is precious, and why every moment should be lived fully, because we live for love of something happening now: the love of Christ, which is all around us, if we let it be.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Search of Certainty

So for some reason this did not post last week when I wrote it, so it's kind of old, but I hope you enjoy it all the same.


This past weekend (Sept 2-3) I was blessed to be able to go on the CL Family Vacation in Nacogdoches, Texas. Emad and I left at 5:30 am on Saturday (he drove down the night before) and we got back here (UD) at 2am on Monday.

As with any CL vacation or function, I was overwhelmed by the complete charity of these people that love the presence of Christ in each person, and even if I only see them once or twice a year--or even if I am meeting them for the first time--I feel such a deep connection to them. They become my best friends, because of our connection in the person of Christ, in our community, in this amazing friendship guided by destiny.

So the main thing I took away from the lessons was the concept of certainty, that is, having a certainty about your life that you find in faith; faith in a person, in Christ and in the people who show us Christ.Having this certainty means being able to say, “Yes, this is what I desire; what I want.” But in order to do that, to be able to say that, we first have to be fully aware of our desire. Our “I” has to be set in the right place, desiring happiness, justice, and freedom. Without this desire, the presence of Christ will not matter to us, even if He were to appear right in front of us.

To live, we need this certainty, but in this life, certainty is one of, if not the, hardest things to achieve. I my own life right now, I am greatly struggling with finding certainty. Adjusting to college life and academics has proved harder than I expected and initially realized. What the lessons on the vacation showed me was that to have certainty, we must recognize our desires. To recognize our desires, we must be fully aware of our “I”, our heart, and use it to judge reality. In judging reality with our heart we live that reality intensely. Once we can discern what is truly in our heart from what the world tells us is in our heart, we see Christ, and in Him we find the certainty we need, and the hope that does not disappoint.

Also, through the people we love we realize a deeper need for an infinite love, and in that infinite love, we are able to love people more deeply, with a love for their destiny, which is the same as our own.

Don’t be afraid to start at the beginning, to start with the desires of your heart. It is a risk—following rules is much easier—but only if you go deeper into whatever you are doing will you find the Mystery who gives us certainty, hope, and love.

God Bless.