Monday, December 19, 2011

Beautiful History

I heard a speech made by Lance Berkmen of the St. Louis Cardinals. He said some things that really got me thinking.

Many times in life, I'm super specific in my prayers. I approach God with a box, and in that box I place my limited vision of what I think will ultimately bring Him glory and give me happiness.

In 2005, when Lance played for the Houston Astros, he was playing against the Cardinals in the NLCS. Houston was leading the series 3 -1 going into game 5 in Houston. Lance is a professed Christian who, before the game, prayed that if he had the opportunity he would get a hit to help his team win the game. In the 7th inning (I think), Lance got a hit that gave the Astros a lead. His prayer at that point involved a little bargain. He promised God that if they held onto the lead and won the game leading to the first World Series appearance in Franchise history, he would give God all the glory in the post-game press conference.

Well, all was well until Pujols came up to bat with runners in scoring position. He crushed a hanging slider for a crowd silencing home run. The Cardinals won the game. (But not the series....shhh...we won't talk about that part.)

Fast forward to 2011. The Cardinals defy all the odds and are playing in the World Series. Down 3 games to 2 in the series Lance knew that it could all come down to one of his at bats. But his prayer was different this time around. Instead of praying that he make the big hit, he prayed that if he were in the position to make a huge difference he would be calm and able to focus on the at bat.

At one point in the epic Game 6, it did come down to one of his at bats. He says that when he was up there batting, he felt completely calm. He was able focus so that he could do what he had to do to keep the team alive. He did. At the rest of the season's story is beautiful baseball history.

God didn't have to make Lance get the perfect hit. He just had to grant the grace of focus.

That's what I want in my life. God doesn't have to give me the specific things that I see as valuable. All I want is the grace and peace to focus on His will. All I want, when the big moments in my life come, is to be focus enough to hear His voice and calmly use the gifts He has given me to follow His will.

If I can do that, maybe, just maybe, the rest of my life will be beautiful history.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Give Me Jesus

"All I know is I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong."

I can identify with these words. I can connect with the pleading behind them. I have felt the sentiment expressed.

It's a fairly easy one for me to connect to...when life isn't going well.

When things are falling apart around me, when I'm feeling weighed down by the weight of things, I get the sentiment. Just takes this. Please, take these things, and give me Jesus.

It makes sense. Take away all of the things in my life that hurt me. Take away the things that cause me to worry.  Take away the suffering. Take this world, and give me Jesus. Give me love itself. Give me the source of all happiness. Give me the eternal bliss of the Heaven for which I was created.

I think though that I don't live the same trusting hopefulness for Heaven when things are going well. When good things are coming my way. When I'm living joy here on earth, I'm far less inclined to say "take this. I only want Jesus."

But isn't that what we are called to? Is that not what God asks of us? Shouldn't we long for Heaven even when our life in this world is good?

We are called to gratitude of course - called to thank God for His blessings and to be alive in them while we are here. But at every moment we should be able to honestly say I'm not home yet. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong.

We should always want Heaven, want Jesus, more than anything on earth - more even then the very best things on earth.

God can have it all in my life. Even the good.

I'll give Him everything I have so that He can give me everything.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meant to Be

Sometimes in life, things just make sense. Things just fit. They're just right.

Sometimes God even blesses us with indications of His will. He showers us with blessings and grace-filled moments in which we know His loving plan.

Some things are just meant to be.

What I seem to have learned is that even the "meant to be" things do not belong to us. There is no guarantee that they will ever be seen all the way through.

Everything - even the things God obviously gives - belongs to God. They are His gifts to give and take away as He pleases.

He does not do this randomly at a whim. He does it intentionally, with the greatest good and highest level of happiness for us in mind.

When we say He can have our lives and that we want His will above our own, we have to be surrendering everything. Even the good He has given.

Maybe something really honestly is meant to be. But it is the truly abandoned person (the happy person) who knows, believes, and lives the fact that it always only belongs to the God who gives and takes away.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Daybook: Advent


(December 3, 2011)

Outside my window... So far I'm not minding the cooler temperatures. I think snow would really help me feel more like it's "time" for Advent. Right now the weekend forecast is warm, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

I am thinking... about this post on being gay and Catholic. It's an article that kept appearing on my Facebook news feed, and I kept ignoring it. So glad I finally clicked. It is an excellent perspective on living out the Church's teaching on homosexuality and offers a courageous example of laying down even the hardest things for the grace and blessing that is the Catholic Church. This life is really not about you. (Don't feel bad though, it isn't about me either.) It's about something so much bigger and better.

I am thankful for... real, honest surrender.

I am wearing... PJs! That is so often my answer here. Right now I'm just giving my breakfast a chance to digest before I go for a run. The PJs thing won't last much longer.

I am creating... a place in my routine for more of God.

I am going... to have to visit Denver soon. My friend graduates in May, and I really can't let her have lived there for 2 years without me ever visiting.

I am reading... Lot's and lot's of Advent and Christmas things. (Speaking of Advent, I'm so happy to be praying the St. Andrew Christmas novena again this year.)

I am hoping... that my heart really does change during this season of preparation.

I am hearing... nothing. Which is strange because it is not early on a Saturday morning. People are awake and around...I guess I just can't hear them. Oh. Wait. A leaf-blower just started up somewhere outside...

Around the classroom... I am the proud teacher of 17 holier-than-they-were-last-week second graders. First Reconciliation was this past week. Fr. said they were "well-prepared." Yay, God! I love watching Him pour His grace over children.

One of my favorite things... Caramel Brulee Latte. Starbucks. I cannot get over how great it tastes. Seriously.

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