Friday, July 27, 2007

From the Inside...

“They try to understand me from outside. But I can only be understood from inside”
JPII

I was born in Mexico City but when I was 2 years old I moved to Oklahoma. I lived there for 4 years and then went back to Mexico City. I was raised in a Catholic family and went to an Opus Dei school from 3rd grade to high school. Except for 9th grade when I lived in Auburn, Alabama and went to a public school.

Given that I live in Mexico City, in a mainly Catholic environment, I tend to take for granted so many things. I became aware of this in 9th grade when I went to a public American school and realized that Catholics were a minority. This experience helped me grow in my faith as I started to study more about the Catholic Church and its teachings.

After a year I went back to Mexico and to my comfortable Opus Dei environment were everyone thought more or less like me and I never really found a challenge that made me question my self and what I believed.

This remained so until my senior year in high school when I started dating a guy 6 years older than me. We would constantly engage in discussions about ethics, philosophy and sometimes even about theological subjects. We could never really conclude this talks because I had something he lacked: I had faith. I believed, something he simply couldn’t understand. For obvious reasons, this relationship didn’t last long, however some doubts had been planted in my heart.

I started to question many things I used to believe as certain. I realized I wasn’t sure about anything and I felt I had no one or nothing to rely on. I kept everything I felt inside and locked myself in my own world. I grew away from the Church and from my family. No one knew what was really going inside of me because I wouldn’t tell anyone.

I lived my life day by day without really knowing what I wanted, or more, what God wanted from me. I finished high school like this and went into college. I entered a college in Mexico City and I am currently studying International Relations. During my time of doubts I still went to Mass and to Opus Dei formation but it didn’t have any effect on me. I would just go without thinking about it or really feeling anything. I didn’t want to go to school and I didn’t want to be with my family either.

I hadn’t been to confession in quite some time because I didn’t feel like I needed it. I didn’t commit mortal sins, but I wasn’t doing much good either. I was stuck, I felt numb, I was lukewarm. My world started to crumble before me, and by the grace of God I felt the urge to go to confession. I realized I had been holding anger in my heart and was unable to forgive and forget. I knew I had to tell someone what I was going through. When I was inside the confessionary I felt Gods’ love and his infinite mercy. I was overwhelmed and simply started to cry. I told the Priest the deepest desires of my heart and of course he understood perfectly. And the greatest thing was that by going to confession I opened once again my heart to Jesus.

Now I know that in order to be truly understood by others we have to open our hearts to them. But most of all we have to open our selves to Jesus and allow Him to transform us. He knows what truly lies in our hearts and is waiting for us to come back to him.

Now I find my self once again longing for the Eucharist and constantly seeking Gods’ mercy through confession. I once again assist joyfully to school and I am in great terms with my family.

Let us pray that we may all have the grace, the strength, and the will to persevere in our way to sanctity.

-Maria Teran

Friday, July 13, 2007

Living in a New World

This entry is being posted "posthumously." Pat wrote this before he entered the Dominicans, and we're just now getting the chance to put it up (that's what happens when you don't have the Internet for a long while). Enjoy!

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So the time is close at hand when I am going to leave the world and enter the rest of my life. On July 6, I officially begin my postulancy with the St. Joseph Province Dominicans. While this time is quickly approaching, I have had a great deal of time to reflect on my future thanks in part to my participation in the walk thus far.

One amazing thing that I've come to understand a lot better is that through my entrance into the Dominicans, it is not so much that I'm leaving the world, but rather that I'm entering into something so beautiful. My future is now beginning moreso than the current stage of my life is ending. Thus, when I leave Washington, DC to fly to Providence, RI, it won't be so much that I'll be leaving, but rather that I'll be arriving. There's a shift in the mindset that's required to really understand what I'm trying to say. It's all about trying to find the joy rather than the sorrow of this new stage in my life.

This is what the gift of self is about. It is giving that we receive. So too is it with giving away one's life to the Church as a priest or religious. Through the offering of one's life for the sake of the Kingdom, you begin to step into a new look at how heaven functions. Through your denial of self, you begin to understand what you are to receive in the end. Now, being that I haven't entered yet, I can only speculate about this, but I would venture to believe that this idea is true, especially since it's a main force behind John Paul the Great's Vita Consecrata and his section on "Celibacy for the Sake of the Kingdom" in his Theology of the Body.

Moreover, this principle extends to others as well. By a family member or a friend celebrating the entrance of another into religious life, they get a chance to actually sample heaven as well. Through their denial of their desires to spend time with the person, they come to more fully understand just how God is the goal of life. Through their sight of the person entering for a life of communion simply with God, they too get to experience God and come to more fully understand that heaven is all about union with the Lord. Thus, their gift of their own desires over to the Lord also allow them to receive a great grace – a better understanding of heaven, of the Eschaton!

So please pray for me as I continue to prepare for my postulancy, and join me in this gift of self. Please offer your desires to spend time with me over to the Lord so that you too might come to an even more beautiful understanding of the religious life and of heaven.

In Christ and St. Dominic,
Pat

Into the depths of Christ's love

In the past I have often wondered about how many of the saints contemplated
the Passion of Our Lord and found such peace in their meditation. For me it
was often difficult to reflect on His suffering, to witness in my mind the effect
of my sins upon my Lord; it brought upon me both a feeling of guilt and of great
sorrow. I believe this was good in so much as it would cause me to flee from sin
that I might not hurt His Sacred Heart.

But I have perhaps discovered, or rather learned, a deeper meaning
behind such contemplation. This is found in the mystery of Christ's
great love revealed to us in every moment of His agony and death. It is
this love which gave Him the strength to say "Not my will be done but
Yours" and to die for those who sin against Him. It is this love which
was written upon His naked back by the scourge of the whip.
He spoke of it in His heart as His persecutors humiliated and uttered
insults against Him. This great love fell to the ground in drops of
blood and quenched the earth as the crown of thorns burrowed into His
Sacred Head. It gave Him the strength to pick up the cross and
patiently bear the weight of our sins. He would not let go of this love
even as His clothes were torn from His flesh, for it was stronger than
the nails that wounded His hands and His feet. It is this very love that
enabled Him to forgive His persecutors and to give to them His own
beloved Mother. And it is this love which flowed from His side as He
was pierced by the sword. It first came from the water that surrounded
the core of His heart, His last defense. This water poured forth from
His body that it might fill our empty souls and cleanse them by its
saving grace. The sword then struck the very heart of Jesus as He gave
to us His entire self. His blood flowed down into our souls that He
might inebriate us, that He might sanctify us. Our Lord said to us
"There is no greater love then this, to lay down one's life for a
friend." This act of love He began before He even reached calvary and
this act of love He completed as He spoke the words "Father into your
hands I commend My spirit." It is this love which He desires to give
to you and it is in this that one finds a more profound meaning in
contemplating the suffering and death of Our Lord.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yes, I’m Mexican!

My name is Blanca Lopez, I’m 19 years old and yes! I was born in Mexico City, I grew up in a catholic family and I have been in a catholic school all my life.
Actually I’m in college, Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, studying Nursery, and yes! It’s a catholic college from the Opus Dei. (The Opus Dei is another story that I will tell you later.)

I’m sure that as you read this you are wondering what I’m doing here far far away from my home, well that’s a long story but in summary it’s because I’m crazy hahaha, just kidding, I’m here because God wants me to be here.

In spite of growing up in a catholic family and having been in catholic schools for all my life, more or less two years ago I had a crisis of faith. With the help of my friends and of the people that love me I was able to find a new way of seeing the beauty of the Catholic Church.

I must confess that it was until the day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, last Friday, that I realized the love that Jesus has for us, for me!!! That day I had the opportunity to be in intimate communication with Him. It was amazing how I started talking with Him like if we were best friends, actually He is my Best Friend. As I felt my heart full of true love all I could do was cry!

Being a part of the Missionaries of the Eucharist has been an unforgettable experience because it has contributed to my spiritual formation and is helping me to discern my vocation. So I ask you, the person that is reading my post to pray for all the missionaries and for me so we can all find our paths.

Meeting this amazing group of people has been incredible, each of us has their own story but they all coincide in one thing: GOD!

I’d like to use this space to thank all the people that made this trip possible, especially my parents and family without their support and their understanding I wouldn’t be here! Thanks to all my friends who supported me, especially Maria, who is with me in this amazing adventure! Thanks to Lacy that was who put me in contact with the Missionaries of the Eucharist. But most of all thanks to God!

Thanks for all the blessings you give me every day!.
JPII said: “Don’t be afraid”, now I repeat to you “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid to talk with Him”

Blanks!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our Visit with Msgr. Reilly

Here's a little video of us with Msgr. Reilly. He's so lovely. Please pray for him and all the great work that he does.

- Maeve



If you can't see the video, click here.

And so it continues...

I've written so many entries dealing with "And so it begins..." that this one is quite outside of the norm. But, I wanted to take one last chance to spread the beauty of the teachings of Holy Mother Church and the Theology of the Body before I enter the Dominicans in a few days. So please enjoy the video. My apologies for the continuously changing background and the glare on my glasses. Without further ado...

In Christ and St. Dominic,
Pat



If you can't see the video click here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Desire for Beauty

The Desire for Beauty

The question arose as to whether or not at the root of a woman's desire to be beautiful there is a deeper good that has simply been distorted. A woman's desire to be beautiful is a physical manifestation of her desire to be loved. As Deus Caritas Est reveals erotic love, or self-seeking love, is not in and of itself disordered. Instead Pope Benedict claims that erotic love is good and a necessary part of the full conception of love. On speaking of love His Holiness explains that that love which fails to possess both erotic love and agape love is an impovershed love. We must remember that this real love loves the whole person. Our bodies are an intricate part of our being and so love of another's body is not necessarily bad. For a man to tell a woman that she is beautiful is not a sin. The sin lies in the tendency of our society to stop here, to stop at the body so that the body becomes a mere object rather then an insight into the understanding of the person as a whole. Woman has a natural inclination to desire to be beautiful because at some level she realizes the importance of the body as a part of her very being and something that is to be both loved and respected.

Her desire to be physically beautiful may also be a desire to express the beauty of her soul. As theology of the body teaches us we use our bodies to express ourselves. This is not merely in our interactions with each other but also in our very bodies themselves. The body's natural appearance may not necessarily fairly represent the beauty of the soul but how one takes care of the body and one's desire to be beautiful may reflect her person within. Beauty is that which is ordered and so a desire for beauty is a desire for order. In today's society it is difficult to understand the desire to be beautiful in such a way because of society's distortion of the idea of what beauty is and why one desires it. So often people desire beauty in hopes that they might win the affection of another not because by their person as a whole but purely by means of their physical beauty. In doing so they objectify themselves by using the gift of beauty as the sole means to win the heart of another. Often enough this superficial desire is satisfied but this is where the affection ends. As a result the woman's deeper desire to be loved for who she is, body and soul, is left unfulfilled.

Maeve O'Doherty

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.