While on pilgrimage in Assisi, Italy, the home-place of St. Francis, our tour guide described the importance of steeples on Francis’ journeys. The story goes, when Francis would see a steeple in the distance, he would lay facedown on the ground in the direction of the steeple and adore the precious Body of Christ, reposed in the tabernacle of that church.
Lent wasn’t as life-changing as I dreamed it would be. Aren’t the disciplines we practice for Lent supposed to change us in some way? Shouldn’t my life be different when I reach the Easter season? Even if I fulfilled what I set out to do during Lent, I am often tempted to go back to “life as usual” afterward.
These words are some of the scariest in the world to me. Perhaps because I am in business of helping people. Perhaps because I am a people-pleaser. Perhaps because I am a perfectionist. Regardless, when people are upset with me, it hurts me and stresses me out at the deepest of levels.
I don’t normally hold grudges. I’m usually a pretty easy going person overall and it takes a lot to offend me in any lasting way. That being said, when I am hurt or offended by someone, the result can be a deep-rooted and very nearly permanent disposition of vengeful and malicious indignation towards that individual. The last thing I wish to do is bless the insolent, rotten scoundrel who so wrongfully wronged me; especially if they see no need to ask for my forgiveness. Yet that is exactly what Jesus tells us to do!
Through the years, my dad has helped me purchase and maintain all of my cars. He knew how to look beneath the surface of a car for any issues before I bought it. He changes the oil, knows when I need new tires, and can figure out what's making that funny noise. I, on the other hand, am clueless when it comes to cars. I can drive a car for days before I notice a tiny abnormal sound that my dad would have heard instantly.
Thirteen years ago, I went on my first ever retreat. I didn’t sign up, my parents signed me up. And my friend’s parents signed them up. We drove down to a basilica in Carey, Ohio and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with my faith; I had attended Catholic grade school and high school for my whole schooling life. I knew a lot about Jesus, but I didn’t know Jesus. At this Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) Retreat in 2003, I began an incredible relationship with Jesus and His Church. I was not the same person driving to the retreat as I was driving home from the retreat. I am who I am today because of TEC.
I teach grade school music. It is such a blessing, but at times very difficult. Recently, I was really struggling with one of my classes. I was getting very frustrated with all the talking, joking around, and negative attitudes. Not to mention, we weren’t getting much accomplished. I did not like the kind of teacher I was turning into during that class, but I didn’t know what else to do.