Blessed Darkness

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“If it weren’t for the darkness, we wouldn’t see the stars.”

This is one of a collection of random quotes I sticky-noted to my work computer. This past week, it suddenly dawned on me while wrestling with wanting to know everything (meaning particularly The Future, particularly my control over The Future) that maybe that very wanting is why I have to be kept in the dark. Maybe it is so that I learn I don’t need to know everything, and yet it still works out.

Perhaps also though the darkness is a gift. Continue reading “Blessed Darkness”

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What is Womanhood?

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A couple weeks ago in group discussion, a bunch of us girls broached the question: “How do you describe authentic womanhood to someone in a way that doesn’t use religion as the context?”

It’s a valid question for a posse of young adults in a culture where the average girl is seeking the truth but is not open yet to hearing it in terms of “God-creating-it-that-way” or “this-part-of-the-Faith-shows-us-that.” Continue reading “What is Womanhood?”

Prayer Through Action

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Every college student knows life can feel like a mad dash through a fountain of Post-It notes, clothing pieces, event reminders, alarms, and books. Your highschool friend texts you, “How’s life?” Family asks during a weekend Skype, “So what’s this week going to be like?” A roommate questions when you’re finally both in the bedroom at the same moment, “How’s it going today?” There’s usually one answer: “I’m doing pretty well. 😀 It’s crazy as usual.”

Under such circumstances then, how can we be expected to pray without ceasing (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)? Or as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini said: “We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend on material success…but on Jesus alone.” I have been tempted to ask with a smidge of astonishment in my voice, “How does that work?”

Continue reading “Prayer Through Action”

The Hidden Powers of Merlin

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“All of my friends in our group are so smart, and I’m not.”

“You are an artist!”

“But no one can see that,” she pointed out matter-of-factly. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Yes, it does,” I said. “That is your Gift.”

My friend was on the couch and I was washing dishes when our conversation about grades, report cards, and scholarships evolved into that exchange. I plopped on the table to dangle my legs and continued, “It matters because—”

Because I’ve been wrestling with the same experiences myself the past few weeks. The frequent realization of being the friend who starts others out on their journeys and then steps back to freely let them fly, or who steps into someone’s life for a period of time when they need it most and then shifts again to the background as paths race on.

Or the idea of certain film roles—script supervising, storyboard artist, craft services, scoring, production assistant, assistant director—that every film professional knows are obviously not as glamorous or professionally appealing as directing or writing or acting or even as mentionable as producing. Roles that even though they are hidden are indispensable.

That hiddenness, I’ve realized, is the catch. Continue reading “The Hidden Powers of Merlin”

Triumph of Fear?

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A very real fight today is against fear. Why? Fears make us do nothing.
For example a fear of death and terrorism caused many to question whether traveling to World Youth Day in Poland this past week was a smart idea. (Speaking for myself—going to World Youth Day last week was one of the best things I ever did.) You could say the fear was legitimate—we were in Munich during the shooting there and had a bomb scare outside our hostel two days later.

However, we talked about it before we boarded our transAtlantic flight, on the bus, and with other pilgrims in Kraków. The whole point of fear is to get people to do nothing. What is more powerful than 2 million people gathered together with Pope Francis unafraid to celebrate their Faith in Jesus Christ and an apostolate building a world of hope and mercy? We—gathered in John Paul II’s homeland of Poland—had the privilege of being that proof. Had each of us youth been afraid, the world would have thought the Church was dying.

Continue reading “Triumph of Fear?”