Friday, July 29, 2011

Still Catholic, but not Crescent City

This summer has been quite crazy, and once again I have been neglecting the blog. I'm saddened by this because I love writing on the blog, even though I'm never sure if anyone's reading it! Hah. However, in my little hiatus the blog reached 1000+ views! So thanks to all of you who have visited, even if you simply are sitting there and hitting refresh to uptick the counter and my self-esteem.

It is with great sorrow that I announce to the blogosphere that I am leaving the Crescent City. As I have mentioned in previous posts, in May I was surplussed by the school district I worked for last year. I have been looking for work across New Orleans, primarily in the Catholic schools, and nothing has popped up. I tried to make use of all of my contacts in the area, even writing a letter to Archbishop Aymond, whom I know from my time in Aggieland. Even though he's passed on my resume to the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, there still hasn't been any progress to my job search in the area! But it's good to know the Archbishop has my back!

And so I am moving home to Shreveport to live with family until I can find a full-time job. The move is scheduled to occur this Sunday, and I have been packing little-by-little throughout the week to get everything together. I have decided that even though I am leaving the Crescent City, I am keeping the name of the blog... because Shreveport Catholic just doesn't sound as cool! Hah.

I am hopeful that once I move home I will be able to find a suitable job, and I actually have an interview this Monday with an educational program that is sponsored by the Department of Defense! The program sounds really interesting and is right up my alley, teaching kids science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through fun, hands-on lessons. Please say some prayers that my interview goes well!

Lastly I just want to publish a poem I had written some time ago that I came across while cleaning and packing today. If I remember correctly, it is one I wrote on the drive home from Aggieland during the spring of either junior or senior year, perhaps for Easter vacation. And given the way it was scribbled on a random sheet of paper, it means I must have been inspired by the greenery on my drive. It also means it is a miracle that I found it today. So without further ado, here it is!


A Stor, A Ghra, Eirinn!
(O Treasure, O Love, Ireland!)

Never twas such beauty seen
As when the Lord envisioned green,
And placed it here upon the isle
Ensuring Irishmen would smile
As spring comes and winter goes
For every Irishman does know
The wonders He has blessed us with:
The greatest men for kin and kith.
Most of all He's blessed our land
With beauty never dreamt by man.
His goodness though is truly seen
Throughout this land He dressed with green!


Hope you liked it! Please pray for me as I transition to home and look for employment! Also, for all of you Potter fans out there, be looking out for future posts in which I dive into the depths of my sociological imagination and analyze the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The path I've tread and the road ahead

The path I've tread
A few weeks ago, my time as a teaching assistant at ADVANCE came to a close. It ended nearly as quickly as it had begun. Three weeks spent in small-town Louisiana, filled with beautiful reunions with friends, oodles of learning and fun, and those legendary dances. For a bunch of nerds who call ADVANCE home, it was the end of the world as we know it. Of course, the hardest part of it all is saying goodbye and not knowing when the next reunion will occur. Having not seen any of these friends for two years, it's hard to imagine that it could be just as long (or longer) until I see many of them again. But I know I will see them again some day. Don't stop believing it, my friends! [To understand a bit more about how awesome this camp is, check out the promotional video that my friend Vera made at this link: You will need to let the entire video buffer before starting so that it runs smoothly.]

Even though working at ADVANCE was a huge blessing, it was absolutely exhausting! In my time since finishing camp I was able to go home, rest up, and spend some much-needed time with my family. I had another truly beautiful wedding to attend in College Station, and was able to visit some long-lost friends in Texas (where I also got to shoot guns and feel extremely Texan!). Finally last week I returned to New Orleans after a five week hiatus, and it is time to once again face reality. With every ending comes a new beginning, right?

The road ahead
Now comes the hard part, where I have to forge a new path and find myself a job. As I've told many of my friends in the past few months, I've been hoping that God would be extremely obvious about what He wants me to do in the coming months. You know, like giving me a Cheesus, or an image of Mary in a tree

... though I'm not sure what those would mean. Perhaps just a sign with flashing lights and everything. Yes, that would be great! So far though, He hasn't obliged me with that either.

Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to search for a job!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I hear the bells of St. Mary's

It's the height of June, so you know what that means... it's the start of wedding season! In fact, last weekend I had the pleasure of going to two weddings in one day! My boss at the camp where I am working had given me special permission to leave town early Friday evening to head out to College Station so that I could celebrate these marriages with my friends.

And what a beautiful weekend it was! When I arrived in College Station, there was a large group of old friends hanging out at the house where I was staying. It's hard to express the joy I felt seeing all of them together again and simply getting to spend a little while in their presence! God is so good to enable us to have little reunions like these to remind us of how He continually blesses us no matter what stage of our lives we happen to be in.

Saturday was a whirlwind of a day, going to one ceremony in the morning, its reception, and then to reception numero dos that evening. When it comes to weddings--other than the beauty of the actual ceremony and getting to witness the love between the husband and wife--the dancing at the reception is assuredly my favorite part! If you know me, you undoubtedly know that I was dancing to just about every song that played. All total I was likely dancing for about 6 hours on Saturday, and it was glorious! Plus it was just nice to be around people who like country music and know how to dance to it!

Although the dancing was the most fun part of the weekend, what impressed upon me the most about these weddings was really the love that you could tell the bride and groom shared for one another. Having known both couples for the majority of their relationships, it was beautiful to see how much their love had grown and how greatly they cared for their (now) spouses. It was such a witness to the hope that when we keep Christ at the center of our relationships, true love can blossom and flourish. As Father Chris said in his homily at Paul and Lauren's wedding, when we keep Christ--who is selfless love Himself--at the center of our relationships, He will help us to be His witness of love to our spouse and to the world.

I am excited to see the fruit that the Lord will bear through the marriages of these couples that He brought together Himself! Pray for all who are married, engaged, or discerning marriage! And to my dear friends, Lauren & Paul and Erin & Mike, rest assured of my prayers. May God bless your marriages abundantly and keep you always in His tender care.

An Irish Wedding Blessing
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall softly upon the fields.
May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one antoher trip a smile from your lips,
A twinkle from your eye.
And when eternity beckons, at the end of a life heaped with love,
May the good Lord embrace you with the arms
That have nurtured you the whole length of your joy-filled days.
May the gracious God hold you both in the palm of His hands.
And today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Teacher heaven

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently working at a summer camp in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I worked here in 2008 and 2009 as a teaching assistant for Algebra I, but this year I'm switching things up and working in the geometry classroom. Even though the kids have only been here since Sunday, already it seems like we've been here a week!

Sunday was move in day for the students, so starting around 10am, all of the staffers reported to the parking lot to begin moving kids in. We have 151 campers this year, and there was scarcely a moment when we didn't have a trunk or suitcase to lug up 3 flights of stairs in 100 degree heat! After about 6 hours, 5 water bottles, 4 gatorades, and likely buckets of sweat, I finally had finished my move-in duties.

One of the things that I love about my job here is that I get to work so closely with a small group of students. There are 14 in my class and this enables me to get to know their personalities and mathematical abilities rather quickly. I'm also in the classroom with them for more than 100 hours throughout the program, so of course I'm going to get to know them super well! I also get to work closely with an RA group in the dorm, and even though I don't have to, I enjoy going to dinner with them and visiting with the guys when they are in the dorm. Already I've probably met about three-quarters of the boys in the program and am remembering now how good I am with names. I think it really makes a difference to them that I go out of my way to get to know them and check on them.

Of course, I love this job because it reminds me how much I love learning, teaching, and working with students. It's a satisfying feeling to work with nerds, help them to embrace their intelligence, and reveal to them that being smart actually is pretty cool. ADVANCE is a place where everyone can reveal their true selves and be completely accepted, even with all of their eccentricities. Hah. In fact, that's what people celebrate here!

It's funny too, because the preeminent eccentricity of my personality that presents itself here is that I am "the Catholic guy." No, not "The Catholic Guy," for you Sirius/XM users. Hah. Just myself. I guess it's pretty cool that my Catholicism is such a part of my identity that people recognize it so quickly! As usual, my Franciscan cross necklace and St. Padre Pio/St. Francis of Assisi key chain spark a lot of questions. Oh, and the rosary ring on my key chain. I even pulled out the rosary from my pocket to explain it a little bit to someone who asked.

And what a great blessing to be able to answer such questions without fear of losing my job! This whole year working in public school I felt like I had to stifle this essential component of my identity. And finally, rather than feeling stifled, it is again celebrated! I think that after this year of teaching I probably needed ADVANCE more than these campers.

Having spoken to my mom the other night, she was excited to hear that I was back to sounding like her "Ben." I'm afraid that all of my stressed out, frustrated phone calls home were quite stressful for her as well. But as I told her last night, ADVANCE is like teacher heaven. Yes, TEACHER HEAVEN! During a meeting with the RA group with which I am working, the boys were getting a little talkative while my roommate, their RA (who is also my cousin!) was talking. I used my "strong voice" and said, "Boys, what is the first rule of respect?" They quickly got quiet and someone responded, "Don't talk when someone else is talking," in a sheepish, little "Oops I got him mad" tone. I LOVED IT. And I actually had to work extremely hard to hold back tears of joy that children were finally respecting me! I'm not used to that after this year. It's so refreshing to see when discipline works.

Several of us on staff have worked in education, and our Assistant Director is so happy to have us here so that we can experience the joy of teaching again. I'm still not sure what God has in store for me this fall, but I know that "God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,

who even at night directs my heart.

I keep the Lord ever in my sight:

since He is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

even my body shall rest in safety. (Psalm 16:7-9)

May we all trust in the Lord who keeps His promises!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer already? Thank the Lord!

So you know what I do when I get really busy? I stop doing some of the things that I love to do... including writing. Poor choice. I feel like I've neglected the blog so much! But I am back and hoping to write more frequently in the coming months. Perhaps my summer posts will make up for lack of spring posts. Unfortunately this one is going to be a little bit of everything since I am catching up on the last few months of my life.

First, a few prayer requests:
  • Please continue to pray for my sister, who is recovering from her heart attack. She was only in the hospital about three days, and has even gotten to go back to work now... but prayers never hurt!
  • I have a friend who will be going on a mission trip to Africa in about a week. Please pray for her safety and that God would use her on this trip to bring others to Him.
  • My roommate and I are looking for a third guy to live with us because our other roommate is leaving to study to become a pastor next year. Pray for him and that we find a new roommate who will uphold and strengthen us in our lives as devoted Christian men.
  • Please pray that God will lead me to the job he wants me to have for the next year (or two). On the last day for students I found out that I was being affected by the Recovery School District's teacher surplus and would not be working at my school again this coming year. This complicates things quite a bit, but allows me the freedom to consider where God could best use me (and speak to me) in the coming year. I know He has a plan for me, I just need to trust that He will reveal it to me!
Despite the fact that I wasn't offered a contract for next year, the start of summer itself has been quite a beautiful time for me. Not only was the weather in New Orleans great last week, but two really good friends of mine got to drop by for a visit that first weekend of summer! We were able to venture out to Mid-City and enjoy the beautiful weather at Bayou Boogaloo music and art festival, which turned out to be really awesome and totally free! I have certainly discovered that I need to make better use of New Orleans' amazing festivals next year. Perhaps I should schedule the rest of my life around them...

By the way, congratulations Sean and Rebecca on your recent engagement! I can't wait for the wedding!


Getting to work on my own schedule the past week was such a nice change of pace. I was able to clean my room, give away a bunch of old stuff, and work on my certification portfolio. Also, Sean started teaching me guitar, so I got to begin each morning practicing my skills (or lack thereof) on the porch. I think I've gotten pretty good at those four chords, but perhaps I need to add to my gig bag. I have been working on learning the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and one of my roommates taught me a portion of "Shelter" by Jars of Clay. Of course, I didn't have much time to work on this because I had to complete my certification portfolio! It was a behemoth to produce, but when I finally finished at 4am Tuesday, I was glad to truly have the first year of teaching behind me. Thank God for that!



Crazy story. My little brother graduated from high school last Saturday. It's so hard to believe that the last of the Williamson clan is going to college! One of the honor graduates had a beautiful reflection on a poem by Linda Ellis called "The Dash", which talked about how important it is that we live our lives to the fullest and make sure that we spend our lives doing what really matters -- loving those around us, committing ourselves to work worth doing, and recognizing the beauty around us.

Anyway, I'm so proud of my brother! His graduation also afforded me the opportunity to see a lot of family that I wouldn't have otherwise seen... so thanks for that kiddo! It was great to be home, but the time was all too short because on Wednesday I had to report to my summer job in Natchitoches. It is great to be back at camp and have so many old friends to reacquaint with, but I was hoping to have a little bit more time to spend with my family before having to report to work.

Regardless, here I am at ADVANCE! We as a staff have been preparing for the arrival of the students the last few days and the dorm is really starting to come together. I am excited to meet my new students and residents and anxious to reunite with my old kiddos. They all come on Sunday, so tomorrow will have to be a day of rest!

For about the next month I will be here... so I will temporarily be the "Itinerant Catholic!" No worries, the Crescent City still lies in my future though! I'll be back in late July! And I'm certain God has great things in store for me in the coming year!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What a month!

I cannot believe it's been over a month since my last post! What a month it's been! As much as I would love to recount everything wonderful (and not so wonderful) that has occurred, I'm going to have to keep it brief right now because of school tomorrow.

I wanted to write a quick post asking for everyone's prayers. If you saw my status on facebook, I mentioned that Friday was a particularly hard day for me and my family. The last few weeks of school have been extremely stressful and Friday was one of the worst for me. Luckily I only have 4 more days with students, plus 1 with teachers... and then SUMMER!

However, the main reason I want to ask for your prayers is for my family. As I was arriving at school Friday morning of last week I got a call from my Dad, who was calling to tell me that they had to take my sister to the hospital in the middle of the night. After a long period of time and having run several tests, the doctors discovered a blockage in one of her arteries. She apparently had a heart attack!?! This still weirds me out severely because of how healthy my sister is. She is doing much better now and is in a normal room at the hospital, expecting to get released tomorrow, however it's still been a hugely stressful event for all of us.

Please pray for her healing and well-being and that I can make it through this last week of school fairly unscathed! And hopefully when summer comes I'll be able to post more frequently as I had before.

Here is a prayer for health and healing that I found online at Feel free to pray it with me in the coming weeks:

Prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick
Virgin, most holy, Mother of the Word Incarnate,
Treasurer of graces, and Refuge of sinners,
I fly to your motherly affection with lively faith,
and I beg of you the grace ever to do the will of God.
Into your most holy hands I commit the keeping of my heart,
asking you for health of soul and body, in the certain hope that you,
my most loving Mother, will hear my prayer.
Into the bosom of your tender mercy, this day, every day of my life,
and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body.
To you I entrust all my hopes and consolations,
all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life,
that all my actions may be ordered and disposed
according to your will and that of your Divine Son. Amen.

p.s. Please also pray for all those who are facing flooding as the Mississippi River continues to rise, especially those whose homes will be destroyed as a result of the opening of the Morganza Spillway, which will save the city of Baton Rouge and my own home in New Orleans from horrific flood damage at the expense of many others. Click here for the latest updates on flood warnings for the New Orleans area.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

LEAP testing

Dear friends,

Please keep my students (and myself) in your prayers this week as we complete our state testing known as LEAP/iLEAP. For my 8th graders in particular this is a high-stakes year, meaning that if they don't pass they can't graduate and move on to high school. I can only hope that I've taught them something this year!

Also, I will be reading the iLEAP aloud to a group of my students and am really NOT looking forward to that. Hopefully my voice won't go out and I won't have to invalidate any tests. Again, prayers are certainly needed!


Peace be with you

Life is filled with so much noise.

Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise. Think about all the noise your life is filled with: from the moment you rise to the moment you lay your head down again at the close of day. It's quite overwhelming when you truly consider it.

I have found in particular that my life this year has been filled with more noise than the average person's... mostly because I deal with screaming, squealing children all day. And no, I don't teach kindergarten, I have the middle schoolers. Things can get so crazy with them sometimes that I find myself simply wanting to say to them, "Peace be with you." I even find myself raising my hands up to try to calm them as I imagine Christ calmed the raging sea. He was much more effective than I. But it truly has become my prayer for them that their lives (and our classroom) will become more peaceful.

Ever notice how much of your life is filled with noise? Ironically, oftentimes we even surround ourselves with more noise to try to find some peace. How often do you turn on the TV or flip open the computer or turn on the ipod whenever you have a moment of silence?

Sometimes it takes being immersed in silence to really understand the extent to which our lives are besieged by noise. For example, on Friday evening after Mass and Stations of the Cross I got home and was simply waiting for a friend to arrive so we could go hang out. Both of my roommates happened to be out at the time, and as I made a quick dinner and was waiting for my friend, I almost turned on the TV, but I realized that there was such a perfect silence in my house that I didn't wish to ruin it. It really was beautiful! It was so arresting and dramatic a change that my friend even commented on the peacefulness when she arrived.

I definitely need more silence in my life. I've noticed this for some time now, and really began to actualize it on Friday, when I finally made the conscious decision to turn off my radio on the way to work. I also want to get away for the Triduum and immerse myself in silence for a few days. Right now the plan is to take off work on Holy Thursday so I can spend some time in silence and prayer to prepare for Easter. Hopefully that will all work out! Say some prayers for me that it does!

My friend Brittni told me today about a book which I look forward to reading by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr entitled Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. What was most striking from our conversation was the idea that people who have a better self-awareness are more peaceable people. Looking at the lives of the saints, we can see that they had a deep knowledge of themselves and that above all, their self-knowledge was and is founded in the humility and wonder of knowing who they are in Christ. I believe this is the source of true and lasting peace and joy, and it is something we must all be mindful of every day. We must let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

When Christ greeted His disciples after the Resurrection, He said to them:
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)
I pray that on this Sunday you'll be able to find some time to devote to making place for silence in your life, so that the peace of Christ may find its way into your heart to dwell.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April's fool

Note to the world: children are horrible at making April Fool's jokes. And if ever you teach at a public school in New Orleans, the students will make these ridiculous comments all the day long. Of course, thinking about fools and foolishness made me recall what Paul had to say to the Corinthians:
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)


"We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honorable, but we without honor." (1 Corinthians 4:10)
So every time my kids make me feel like a fool, whether it is because I fall for their stupid April Fool's joke or because they are throwing little balls of paper into my hair, I can try to remember that somehow this foolishness on my part is helping me to be more like Christ. I can only hope and pray! So this April may we all be fools for Christ!

Unity of Hearts
Speaking of being more like Jesus, I was really excited about the fact that today was the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! ...and that it was the first time I've been able to go to Mass on a first Friday in a very, very long time. To top it all off, I was not only able to go to Mass but Stations of the Cross as well. This must be why Lent is my favorite season! It even beats out Fall.

As I have understood it, the main reason for the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is to increase fervent love and adoration of Jesus, especially in respect to His ardent love for us and the suffering He endured for our salvation. Immediately following this day we honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was so enjoined to the Heart of her Son that she led a life of perfect and heroic Christian virtue. It is for this reason that the Church encourages devotion to her and her Immaculate Heart... that she truly gave herself over fully to the Lord, and the fruits of this were seen in her life. For this reason we who deeply desire unity with Christ are encouraged to image her as she so perfectly imaged Christ and united her own heart to the Heart of Christ and the will of the Father.

About a year ago as I contemplated this mystery, I was praying a series of novenas for a friend, and had chosen to pray a novena to the Holy Spirt, another to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and (saving the best for last) a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Because of my own particular devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, I searched continually for a novena that would speak to the mysterious union of Mary's soul with that of Christ's... yet I found none. So after months of searching and praying I felt God was telling me it was time to create one. What could be more beautiful than a prayer to Jesus and Mary asking that we could grow closer to Christ and more perfect in His graces? And so was born the Novena of the Communion of Hearts.

The novena which I compiled finds its source in the Spirit, scripture, and several novenas to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts which I had been praying at the time. I found myself pulling from a great number of resources to create this one unified vision of what it means to enjoin your heart to Christ. I hope that in sharing it with all of you, my friends, it may prove to be efficacious in your spiritual lives and truly help you to surrender your heart to Christ as Mary surrendered her heart to the Lord. Any fruit which is borne of this novena is of the Spirit alone as I was merely an instrument in His hands.

I hope that in praying this the Spirit would move your heart to continued conversion and deeper communion with the Heart of Him who redeemed us. I plan to begin praying this prayer daily on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, so that all through Holy Week I may meditate on this and be drawn ever nearer to the Heart of Christ. Please join me and invite others to do so as well!

Without further ado, here is the prayer:

Novena of the Communion of Hearts
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Full of love to all who call,

Overflowing with mercy and graces,
In this humble prayer I ask You
To grant me the grace to love You
With all of my heart,
All of my soul,
All of my strength
And all of my mind,
And to truly love my neighbor
As You would have me do.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Meek and humble of heart,
Make my heart more like Thine own.
Perfect my impure heart
And help me to be holy
For the glory of Your name,
That others may see Your faithfulness
And come to know that You are
The way, the truth, and the life.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place within the wounds
Of Your Piercéd Heart
My joys, my sufferings,
My hopes and my fears,
Trusting that one day You will
Deliver me from my present affliction
And unto the promised land,
The new and eternal Jerusalem,
To live with Thee forever.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
May You always be loved and adored
In the most holy Sacrament of the altar
And in all the tabernacles of the world
Both now and forever.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Draw me ever nearer to Thee.

Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Loving mother of the Church
Your heart was open to the call of the Lord
And you faithfully gave Him your “Yes,”
That His will might be done in you.
Pray that I, too, may hear the voice of the Lord
When He calls out to me
And that I may be filled
With His Spirit of courage
To fervently cry out, “Yes, Lord!
Be it done unto me according to Your word.”

Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Meek and humble of heart,
The intimacy of union you have with your Son
Is beyond my comprehension,
Yet I desire for myself that same unity.
Pray that I may, by your example,
Seek to make my heart perfect through His graces
And to hold all these things,
Pondering them in my heart.

Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
As your Son suffered the pain and humiliation
Of His passion, crucifixion, and death,
You suffered alongside Him,
For it was foretold by Simeon,
“A sword will pierce your soul also.”
Pray that in my sufferings
I may be assured of the presence of your Son,
Jesus Christ, by my side through it all.
May I trust in His promise forever.

Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
May you always be honored
As the mother of our Lord and Savior,
And may we your children cling to you
And always beg your faithful intercession.

Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Pray that I may draw ever nearer to your Son

I offer You, O Sacred Heart of Jesus
My whole heart—all that I am—
And ask that by the intercession of
Your mother’s Sweet and Immaculate Heart
My offering may be purified
And brought to Your heavenly throne.

I ask also that You would hear my cry
And extend Your graces to me for the following intention:
Grant my prayer, O Lord, if it be according to Your will,
But if what I ask for should not be granted,
May I receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul
And will aid me in participating in Your divine plan.
May I ever seek to praise You
And place all of my trust in You,
Merciful and loving Savior.

As I echo the words of Your mother,
May my heart be drawn through her Sweet and Immaculate Heart
To Your Most Sacred Heart
And there find its dwelling forever:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior
For He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blesséd:
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
In every generation.
He has shown the strength of His arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
And has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel
For He has remembered His promise of mercy,
The promise He made to our fathers,
To Abraham and his children for ever.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

We all bleed...


As I was driving home today I looked at the display on my radio and it said the name of the song was "Bleed Red." Immediately I thought this must be a mistake, because who bleeds red? We all bleed maroon, right?

Apparently not according to Ronnie Dunn. Good song though, about how we can all share in the same experiences and sufferings, that we all come from the same stock. We're all fallen, so let's do our best to realize it and live together in peace!

My favorite lines from the song:
Let’s say were sorry, before it’s too late, give forgiveness a chance/ Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands/ We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way,/ We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red
So keep that in mind if you're ever faced with a stressful situation where you find it hard to forgive or see the good in another. We're all sinners, we all need forgiveness and each other's love and compassion. It will do you some good too! "If you are angry, let it be without sin. The sun must not go down on your wrath; do not give the devil a chance to work on you" (Eph 4:26-27).

I'll leave it at that tonight and save the longer post for tomorrow (as we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus!). And of course for all you Aggies out there I'll leave you with the song I was thinking of on my way home. For those who are not Aggies, at least it's a nice waltz! We bleed maroon!

Man I wish I were at the Hall right now!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A sturdy shelter

A few days ago I was looking up a song on youtube, and in the "suggested videos" box it listed a song by Jars of Clay. If you know me well, you may know that I first fell in love with Jars of Clay when I heard them sing from their album Redemption Songs, and actually in the span of about two years I think I saw them in concert three times! I think.

The song that youtube suggested to me, however, was not from this album but from their most recent one entitled "The Shelter," which I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of buying. Well, Providence must have played a part in youtube suggestions in that moment, because hearing "The Shelter" was exactly what I needed to reflect on this week. Jars of Clay has posted on their website a video explaining what the song means to them, and according to the guys, "Shelter was born out of an old Irish phrase that says, 'It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.'"

I approve of the Irish-ness.

Throughout the song, a chorus echoes the words "In the shelter of each other/ we will live/ we will live." What a beautiful reflection on the shelter that God has given us in each other and in the Church! I am truly thankful for the shelter that God has provided me here in New Orleans, the friends and family who have enabled me to make it through this very trying year. Without them, the storm of this life would surely have beaten me down. In reflecting on my own shelter, I am reminded of the words from Sirach 6:
14 A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
15 A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
16 A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
17 For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.
Indeed the Lord has placed so many faithful friends in my life that this shelter He has built around me is a bit more like a fortress than a mere lean-to! And praise Him for that, because the storm outside is ravaging my doorstep. The lyrics of the song continue to speak to me in this place:
May this place of rest in the fold of your journey
Bind you to hope
You will never walk alone
If there is any peace
If there is any war
We must all believe
Our lives are not our own
We all belong

God has given us each other
And we will never walk alone
So if you're ever feeling alone, give a friend a call and give this song a listen. May the hope and the peace that this truth has given me speak to your own heart in times of trouble.

Give the song a listen here. Then continue reading!

In examining the Jars of Clay website, I have discovered that they are going on tour, feating special guests Derek Webb and Audrey Assad! You have no idea how excited I was about this. They are coming down South in the first week of May to play shows in Niceville, FL (Rebecca!); Lake Charles, LA; and Jackson, MS. I desperately want to go to the show in Jackson (because it's on a Saturday and is the closest one to New Orleans. So who's in? We can go ahead and buy tickets now on the website! Prices range from $25 to $35.

I also want to share with you this incredibly joyful song which I found posted on the Jars of Clay website, featuring MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Matt Maher, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Afters, and Lecrae (you’re welcome Mr. Brian!).

Monday, March 21, 2011


At community group last Wednesday we discussed humility. What is humility? What does it look like? How do we gain it? And what would the Church be like if we were all more perfectly humble? It was a beautiful topic to discuss, especially since the Lord has been moving greatly in many of our lives to show us true humility.

Anyhow, we started off by reading 1 Cor 4:6-7. Paul beautifully reminds us that all we have is truly a gift from God: "I have applied all of this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?"

What is humility?

Because of the nature of our group, we got right to the particulars: defining the word humility. So we looked first at the root and origin to come up with a working definition: from the word "humus" meaning earth, we said that humility is--in a sense--being grounded in reality. Humility is about recognizing who you are: both your lowly origin and faults and your divine source and the gifts that flow forth from your Creator. Humility is also about recognizing who others are, and who we all are in relation to God. We are from the earth--from dust to dust--and yet from God's hands.

What does humility look like?

It was then important for us to differentiate humility from humiliation... and even from self-deprecation. Because we as humans tend to put so much stock in the work we do, often giving it over-importance, we came to realize through our discussion that humility is in great part about finding worth not in what you do, but in who you ARE in Christ. It's about truly being humbled by our own limitations but realizing that despite these difficulties, we are still inherently worth something in God's eyes.

As an aside, the regional directors of Teach for America visited my classroom on Thursday during my absolute worst period. I had to smirk at the irony of this visit immediately following our discussion about humility... and how God was really pushing me to internalize this concept! Hah. It's easy to see--and I will readily admit--that the only way I've made it through this year is because God has shown me that my worth is not derived from the work I do, but from who I am in Him. Every day I am humbled as I realize once again that certain things remain out of my control... and I have to give it all back to Him again.

How do we gain humility?

In talking about humility, we realized there is not a lot we can do to grow in humility. We realized that it's truly a God-given grace. Despite being able to impose little humiliations (mortifications) upon ourselves, there's nothing quite like God smacking it to us.

Being the ever-curious individual I am, I had to look up what the Church has to say about humility. So naturally I ventured to Here are the best snippets I found from the site, and it makes far more sense for me to post them in their original form than to attempt to rephrase and explain them when already they are so clear and concise!

Humility as a gift of the Spirit

Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others. According to this meaning no man can humiliate another, but only himself, and this he can do properly only when aided by Divine grace. We are treating here of humility in this sense, that is, of the virtue of humility.

Humility as virtue

It [humility] removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace according to the words of St. James: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Faith is the first and the positive fundamental virtue of all the infused virtues, because it is by it we can take the first step in the supernatural life and in our access to God: "For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Humility seen in the example of Christ and His Saints

From the example of Christ and His Saints we may learn the practice of humility, which St. Thomas explains (Contra Gent., bk, III, 135): "The spontaneous embracing of humiliations is a practice of humility not in any and every case but when it is done for a needful purpose: for humility being a virtue, does nothing indiscreetly. It is then not humility but folly to embrace any and every humiliation: but when virtue calls for a thing to be done it belongs to humility not to shrink from doing it [Emphasis added].

St. Thomas on Christ’s Humility

“Though the virtue of humility cannot attach to Christ in His divine nature; it may attach to Him in His human nature and His divinity renders His humility all the more praiseworthy, for the dignity of the person adds to the merit of humility; and there can be no greater dignity to a man than his being God. Hence the highest praise attaches to the humility of the Man God, who to wean men's hearts from worldly glory to the love of divine glory, chose to embrace a death of no ordinary sort, but a death of the deepest ignominy" (Summa Contra Gent., tr. Rickaby, bk. IV. ch. lv; cf. bk. III, ch. cxxxvi).

And what would the Church be like if we were all more perfectly humble?

So it seems in all of this that humility is 1) a God-given virtue 2) which helps us to receive all of the graces God wishes to shower upon us, 3) and even helps us to be courageous in answering the call of virtue to righteousness. So much for equating humility with “meek” in the “submissive” and “mild” sense! Finally, 4) the most perfect example we have of humility is in the life of Christ--fully God yet fully man--who came down from Heaven as a lowly infant to take on human flesh and indeed to take on all the sins of man, dying a most wretched death. How greatly He humbled Himself for our sakes!

Christ as the perfect example of humility

As Paul tells the Philippians in chapter 2:1-11:

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God became man? Whoa. And we as Catholics believe that He not only humbled Himself to come in the infant flesh at Bethlehem, not only to die a wretched death upon the cross, but that He continues to humble himself each and every day to come in the Eucharist and be our very food! The depths our Lord will go to reach us in our lowly estate!

Mary as the perfect example of humility

As if the Lord had not blessed us enough He gives us His holy mother as a shining example of what it means to live a life of perfect Christian humility. You may say, “but we already have a perfect example in Christ!” And indeed, He is the prime example. But Mary’s life and love serve as a witness to the very life and love of Christ and show us that perfect Christian humility is attainable! She helps us to see that any normal human can attain sanctity if we open ourselves to the will of the Lord and let His light pierce our darkness.

If we look at the fiat of Mary, we see that it serves as the perfect pattern of humility. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word."

Not, "Behold, I could be the handmaid of the Lord" or "I guess I'm the handmaid of the Lord," but I AM the handmaid of the Lord. She rightly recognizes that she is His and His alone, and that it is good and right that she is His servant. In saying "Be it done unto me" she acknowledges also that the work that He would do in and through her is not something she could do herself. It is not something she can do alone. She must instead open her whole heart to His perfect will so that His Word may take effect in her life.

So what would perfect humility mean for the Church? What would it mean if we all more perfectly imitated the example of Christ and the example of His Blessed Mother? For one thing, we’d see a Church in which we are all more open to receiving God’s graces and more open to doing His will. We’d see a Church full of redeemed sinners who are living in right relation with God. We’d see a Church that is more courageous when it comes to doing what righteousness calls us to do. And we’d see a much healthier, holier, more unified Bride of Christ. If we as the Church lived in perfect humility, we would be the perfect Bride for the perfect Bridegroom.

Prayer and song of thanksgiving

A ministry I was involved in during college spent an entire semester focusing on humility and introduced me to the beautiful prayer below, which I was able to share with my friends at community group on Wednesday. Take a moment and pray it yourself! Then check out this website with more interesting things to say about humility.

Litany of humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled...
From the desire of being honored...
From the desire of being praised...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted...
From the desire of being approved...
From the fear of being humiliated...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes...
From the fear of being calumniated...
From the fear of being forgotten...
From the fear of being ridiculed...
From the fear of being wronged...
From the fear of being suspected...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I...
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease...
That others may be chosen and I set aside...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...

-- Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

We ended the night by singing this song by Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot. "Your Love is Strong" ...which so beautifully goes back to the gospel reading I wrote about in one of my earlier posts - about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field - why do you worry?

(Side note: humility is currently in the top 20% of searches on

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Being transfigured in Christ

At Mass today the Gospel recounted one of my favorite stories from the life of Jesus: the Transfiguration. This passage is special to me for a multitude of reasons, the foremost of which is that it was this image of the Transfiguration that we employed on so many youth retreats that I was a part of at my home parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The story of the Transfiguration lends itself wonderfully to this because the experience that many have while on retreat is similar to that of Peter (and presumably James and John as well). We are told that Peter said to Jesus,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He had been led by God (in the person of Jesus) to a place of intense communion with Him, where He saw Christ more fully than ever before--indeed, in all His glory. It was on that mountain that Peter came to a deeper understanding of who God is, because God had chosen that place and time to reveal something intimate about Himself to these disciples. But then almost as quickly as the experience had begun, it was over, and Jesus charged the three to go and tell no one.

Likewise, it's easy for us to say, "It is good that we are here, so let's stay a while!" And indeed, it is good to be in that place--that moment--with God, for He called us there in the first place! But He also calls us to return to the world. Christ does invite us to remain with and in Him, but we must realize that we have a mission in this world and that Christ is calling us to share His love and life with all the world.

So despite our deepest yearning to build an encampment on the mountain of God, we are sent. Indeed, the very meaning of the word "Mass," where we are called to an intimate communion with God, tells us that we are "sent." Unlike Peter, James, and John, (who were told to go and tell no one about the vision until the time of the Resurrection) we get to leave and immediately start telling everyone of the wondrous vision that God has revealed to us. As we leave this place of revelation, we are being sent to carry the message we have received to the world and to truly let it transfigure not only our own hearts and lives, but the hearts and lives of those we meet. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."

Let us pray this Lent that the Lord would reveal Himself to us in new ways that will bring us to greater discipleship and propel us with force into the world He created, to transfigure the world anew.

These are the reflection songs we used on those beautiful youth retreats:

Life is a beach

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to the beach in Mississippi with 6 great friends. Turns out the beach is not too far from home, and much to my own surprise I rather enjoyed the beach! This was the first time I'd been in maybe 8 years? We're hoping to make this a regular occurrence.

This past week was pretty hectic and unfortunately I didn't get to write very much. I managed to eke something out on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I began writing a new post on humility, but it's quite a behemoth of a topic so I want to give it due time to produce. After a long day at work on Thursday I was blessed enough to meet the Aggie Catholics who had come to New Orleans for the spring break service trip. Even though I didn't know many of these Aggies, our conversations about Aggieland and St. Mary's served as a beautiful reminder of why I loved Texas A&M so much! Since it was St. Patrick's Day and my new friends could tell I had Irish blood pumping through me, they made me show them how to Riverdance. Please note that I am nowhere near as good as Michael Flatley.

Again, I'm currently working on a post regarding humility which I hope to put up soon. Until then, enjoy this EWTN article about the tradition of the St. Joseph's Altar which continues to run strong in the Archdiocese of New Orleans! Does your church do anything similar?

Also, enjoy one more video. How could you resist this one?

p.s. Friends, we need to get a boat. That is all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jam session

It turns out being a teacher is not nearly as much fun as being a teacher on Mardi Gras break. My prediction held true!

The last two days have been absolutely exhausting. I forgot how much it drains you to stand up all day, walk around the classroom 14,000 times, and yell at random students who are off task (and by random I mean about 95% of them). I'm really at a complete loss for what to do with them, but I continue to try stepping off on the right foot every day and getting the work done that will help them to succeed. It's really up to them to accept my help.

Despite all of my frustrations with work, the late-night praise and worship jam session with the roommates that is currently emanating throughout my living room seems to make it all better. At least in these moments we can find peace and solace in the familiar tunes of late nineties/early aughts singing praise and worship to our Strong Tower.

Always remember, friends, "God Will Lift Up Your Head."

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Tonight as I prepared for my inevitable return to work, I got extremely pensive. I started listening to Audrey Assad. I also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. That actually turned out to be a great success!

But my biggest mistake in procrastinating tonight was looking back at old facebook photos. Confronted with so many happy memories with friends who are now physically (though certainly not emotionally) distant, it made me dread going back to work that much more. One of the hardest parts of moving to a completely new city was leaving all of the family and friends I know and love. In fact, Christmas break was bittersweet because I was able to see so many people I loved, but I knew that our time was going to be so short!

Don't get me wrong, I love the people that I've met here in New Orleans and could see myself living here for quite some time, but I find myself at once longing for a return to days past and yearning for a future with some real substance, some real stability. It's a confusing place to be. But at the same time I realize that God has me here for some reason, and that He'll bring me to where I need to be as well. He just wants me to work on patience. And a lot of other things while I'm at it.

I just want to badly to be "there" already! Does that make sense to anyone?

While you're here, check out Audrey's song, "Restless." Pretty much explains where I am right now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Disturbing behavior

The makers of this video weren't exaggerating when they said it contained "disturbing behavior." Some of the things said and done in this video were entirely shocking to me. Yet they really get to the core of the problem with the modern mindset regarding personal freedoms and "what is best for me."

What are your reactions?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The power of symbols

One more post for the day and then I promise I'm done. Hah, I'm sure that next week when we're back in school I won't be able to write as often, so I might as well get as much of my thoughts out right now as I can!

Tonight as I was walking around my neighborhood talking to a great friend and former roommate from college, I stumbled upon a car that had a window decal which I particularly loved. Quite the austere decal, it simply read "AMDG." Despite its simplicity, those four letters hold a lot of meaning for me. In fact, I was even wearing a shirt at the time that has the same acronym on the back of it - my Team Manny shirt, for those who remember that awesome day!

This got me thinking about the power of symbols, which I'm sure my friends who are English teachers (and also those who are sociology majors) will appreciate. We as humans have the tendency to inject a lot of meaning into otherwise mundane
things. For some who are reading, AMDG might possibly be only four obscure letters of which they can't discern the meaning (without the aid of google). For others who have been introduced to it before, they realize that it stands for "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," a Latin phrase meaning "For the greater glory of God." Still others might realize it is the motto of the Society of Jesus (aka the Jesuits). Yet these meanings don't even begin to address the deep personal meaning that my experiences have invested in those four simple letters.

And so it occurs to me that there are symbols all around us that not only have their own "intrinsic" societal meaning (that which has been invested in it by groups of people) but also have a deeply personal meaning to the individuals whose experiences have animated that symbol with a more external, individual significance.

So I pose my first question(s) to my "readers" (whomever you may be): What are your favorite symbols and what special meaning have you invested in them? What implications does the meaning of this symbol have on your life? And how is this different from what another person might see in that symbol?

Please post your responses below in the comments section, and I will divulge more about a very important symbol in my life in a future post!

Catching up on my reading

I have been working throughout the break to catch up on my reading of the blogs that I "follow." I say "follow" in that really that just means that I am subscribed to them on google reader and after about a month's hiatus I try to make it through all of them.

Anyhow, I was reading a post on Millennial Catholic (which I must have heard out about through Mary's Aggies) that offered a reflection on the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago. I remember thinking at the time how pertinent this passage was and is to my life right now because in it Jesus addresses the human tendency to worry. Through a lot of beautiful imagery and analogies, He essentially says, "Don't worry about it, yo! God provides for those whom He loves. And He loves you A LOT." My favorite line is this:
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
~Matthew 6:26. Read the full passage here.
What really struck me about Millennial Catholic's post, however, was a few paragraphs in which it addressed what is called "functional atheism" by an author named Parker Palmer.
Functional atheism “is the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with me. It is a belief held even among people whose theology affirms a higher power than the human self, people who do not understand themselves as atheists but whose behavior belies their beliefs! Functional atheism is an unconscious belief that leads to workaholic behavior, to burn-out, to stressed and strained and broken relationships, to unhealthy priorities. Functional atheism is the unexamined conviction within us that if anything decent is going to happen here, I am the one who needs to make it happen."
This was most striking to me, I believe, because I see it taking hold of a lot of people in my life. Honestly, it's even taken a hold of me some this year as I struggle with the difficulties of being a first-year teacher (and a teacher in New Orleans at that!). It's easy to think that everything depends upon me, because in a great part the success of my students does depend upon my work in- and outside of the classroom (and also because that's kind of what Teach for America teaches us corps members -- see Academic Impact Model, addressed briefly here).
But I have to remember that there is One who is above it all, and that in truth, I must place all of my cares on Him and trust that He is doing what He wills in my life--so long as I let Him.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holding on to what matters

Tonight was the first meeting of a community group that I was invited to join by my friend, Alex. This meeting was truly a blessing. I had talked to Alex before about how--even though I feel I have gained plenty of friendships here in New Orleans--I felt I was still lacking a Christian community that would challenge me to grow and keep me focused on what was important.

And that is exactly what we discussed tonight: focusing on what is important. We read a few key passages that deliver that message, one of them being 2 Corinthians 4:16-18...
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner man is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
We talked a good deal about how suffering can be very fruitful for our spiritual growth, but one of the most phenomenal images I recall from the evening was when we began to talk about the weight of God's glory and power. God truly is the fullness of being, the height of all perfection, and His power exceeds all knowledge. What is great about the Christian story, we realized, is that you always know how its going to end... because as we've been told before "The battle has already been won." And the image that was painted for us was that of the final battle during the end times: Previously I have always imagined an epic battle scene with angels and demons and humans all fighting to the death, but what we imagined tonight was how the weight of all God's glory and power is so great that as soon as He arrives on the scene, everyone's knee bends and all fall down in worship of the Lord. Imagine that: instead of an epic battle lasting days and months and weeks, it is all over in less than a moment as soon as God arrives.

We also looked at Romans 8:19-21, which says, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God." And from here we get to what this post is really all about: holding on to what matters. It is important to remember in everything we do that all is futile if it doesn't bring us or others closer to Christ. We can let our lives be consumed by the things of this day or our worries for tomorrow, or we can focus on what really matters. All else is transient, but what is eternal--what is lasting--is what truly matters.

As we delve deeper into the season of Lent, may we be reminded to cling to Christ in all things so that we may truly find that we are holding on to what matters.

Christening the blog

I write this post on my new blog after having considered beginning a new blog for several weeks. Though it is past midnight and no longer truly Ash Wednesday in my time zone, the beginning of Lent is what finally convinced me that I should begin this project.

I have tried on many different hats when blogging before. There were the days of Xanga, where I rambled on incessantly about every menial thing my days included; there were the days of the "Sapient Sap" which hopefully have been somehow erased from the annals of the interwebs; and then there are the two (yes, two) posts I made when I first began teaching last year. In each case, these blogs never took off because my heart simply wasn't in them, and with time I lost interest and prioritized other things before my writing.

But they always say to "Write what you know," and though I'm relatively new to New Orleans, there is one thing that I know quite a bit about, and that is being Catholic. I have always been Catholic, and because of the wonderful family and opportunities I have had throughout my life, have been able to grow quite a bit in my understanding of the faith. Essential to this growth was my formation throughout college at St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A&M, and it was there that I began to see my Catholic faith as not only a belief system, but a way of living life. I look back on the words I wrote in my last semester as I prepared to start a new phase of my life:

I’m leaving with the knowledge that our faith is more than merely a history, creed, or religion: it’s lens through which I view the world, a lens which enables me to praise God for the glory He has created and to see how He is calling me to serve. And this is something I can take with me wherever He leads!

It is a beautiful reminder not only of where I have been, but what along my journey has led me to this point. And I hope that in writing this blog, I will be reminded time and again to have faith in the Lord to bring me where I am meant to be.