stop planning, stop wishing…

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
Fulfilled and content with being loved by me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with me alone.

Discovering that only in me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow me to give you
The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you.

You just keep watching me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry
Don’t look around at things others have gotten
Or that I have given them
Don’t look around at the things you think you want,
Just keep looking off and away up to me,
Or you’ll miss what I want to show you.
And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful than you could dream of.

You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with me.

—St. Anthony of Padua

A Taxing Mission

Ask yourselves, young people, about the love of Christ. Acknowledge His voice resounding in the temple of your heart. Return His bright and penetrating glance which opens the paths of your life to the horizons of the Church’s mission. It is a taxing mission, today more than ever, to teach men the truth about themselves, about their end, their destiny, and to show faithful souls the unspeakable riches of the love of Christ. Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much of you, it is because He knows you can give much.

— Pope John Paul II, The Meaning of Vocation

Rediscovering Catholicism

I just finished reading Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I’m not writing a book review. I love reading, but that’s totally not my thing… so I won’t even try. What I WILL do is comment on some of the awesome things I picked up the first time through! I didn’t know you could get a free copy here, but I’m glad that if you can’t afford to purchase a copy, you can still get your hands on it.

This book is full of questions and challenges for WHY we aren’t the people we ought to be. Of course, that’s a question we’re always trying to answer. But especially as the Catholic Church, where is our vigor? Our zeal? Our passion? It’s something that I have been struggling with for almost 9 months now.

Sometimes, I felt like Matthew Kelly was taking thoughts right out of my head… as if we had just spoken and he had recorded what I said on paper. Sometimes, his perspective is something I wasn’t seeing.

“Holiness brings us to life… it elevates our emotions. Holiness doesn’t stifle us, it sets us free. Holiness is to allow each moment to be all it can be.”

“The surest signs of holiness are an insatiable desire to improve oneself and an unquenchable concern for unholy people.”

“There is nothing more attractive than holiness.”

Wow. Maybe that’s old news for you, but in my journey… coming from the the community where I grew up and the Church as she interacted with me up until last summer, this is big news. I have said it a billion times since moving back home: I don’t feel like anyone ever called me to holiness here. No one called me to be the “best version of myself,” as Kelly puts it. No one made it so simple!!

“If you went into an ice cream store and there was no ice cream, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” If you went into a chocolate store and there was no chocolate, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” The mission of the Church is to share the Gospel, and to teach, challenge, and encourage people to become more like Jesus Christ. So how is it that we can belong to a local church community that goes on year after year with almost no outreach to the unchurched in the area, and with very few people really becoming more Christ-like (i.e. working to be holy!), and yet think there is no problem?! Let me tell you, if this describes your church community, “There’s a problem!!”

I suppose what it really comes down to is whether or not we sincerely believe that knowing and following Christ is the best way to live. I suspect that, on some level, most Catholics don’t. Because if we did, we would most likely be more excited to share it.

What an achievable, easy thing to do. It’s not new age. It’s not complicated. It is exactly what the mission has been from the beginning. Be holy, as Christ was holy! Then WHY is it so difficult? Why have our communities forgotten to keep working towards holiness?

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