Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Don't Wanna Fall In

I’m afraid to fall in.

I walked down to the river near my house to find a chill spot to pray and there were no boats in the water so I decided the dock would perfect.  I had a seat, took my socks and shoes off, and let my feet hang over the edge.  With where I was sitting my feet lightly sat on top of the slowly flowing river.  I began to talk to the Lord about how I want to trust Him more…How I want to have a greater faith of His working in every aspect of my life…How I desire to learn more about His will for me. 

As I relayed all these things from my heart to Him I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and my head dropped down in relief.  He didn’t give a clear and radical revelation in that very moment but with my eyes down I started to really notice the water flowing beneath my feet.  I felt the coolness kissing the bottoms of my feet and my mind turned to Peter. 

The Lord asks of us radical things…Radically simple things.  He wants us to love Him.  He wants us to love the people around us.  He wants us to love us in the beauty of His creative hand.  How we reach this level of love, this level of Christianity, is by growing in faith.  I’ve struggled with the term faith at different points in my journey because I feel like it’s so vague I’ll never be able to obtain it, and even if I did, would I realize it. 

I looked back to my feet and asked the Lord for the gift of faith.  I put more pressure down and my feet went under the water.  Dang it.  I was hoping to go for a walk… But anyway, I remained there silently for a time with Him, slowly and continuously handing Him my heart that I may be made more receptive and aware of His love.  It was a peaceful moment, nothing incredibly deep as far as my fuzzy spiritual vision could tell but I got up with a rested heart. 

My feet being soaked by the nasty Rock River water I decided to not put my socks and shoes back on.  I began to walk back home through the parking lot of the park and my eyes were drawn back to the ground.  When I began the walk I didn’t think it was going to be difficult at all.  I thought it’d be a quick 7 minute walk back up the hill but I realized otherwise quickly.  Certain areas of the road were well laid, and the sun had warmed it and it was pleasurable to move forward.  Other areas had larger pebbles that I needed to avoid, because I knew if I tried to go that way I would most definitely hurt myself.  It took a few moments longer but it was necessary.  Other areas seemed to be perfectly okay to walk on but tiny little rocks cut into my feet.  I lifted my feet, shook of the rocks and kept walking forward.  I wanted to turn around and find a different route or stop and put my shoes on to shield myself on the rest of the walk but I knew I should just step forward.  After a few steps of pain, it was gone and the path was clear the rest of the way home. 

The Christian journey to heaven is a difficult one.  I want to have the faith to walk on water…but being as I’m not there yet I know I just need to walk forward and trust Him; when it’s comfortable, when it’s difficult, when I want to turn around, He is leading me and I can walk forward. 

Many of you may be on the right track in faith with high hopes of going to our final home in heaven.  I know how the smallest pains hurt you.  I know how heavy the continual yeses are.  I know how sometimes the destination doesn’t seem real enough to keep walking.  I know how easy it is to fall into being judgmental and prideful.   I trust He is guiding you.  I trust He is guiding me.  The walk is worth it. 

Many of you may be ‘pretty Christian’, you know the Lord and you try to be a good example of love to everyone.  I know how sometimes you don’t feel good enough.  I know how sometimes you feel weighed down by those who seem further ahead in the walk.  I know how you want to take detours for fear the destination of faith may make you empty of yourself in a way that you no longer have clear understanding and control.  I trust He is guiding you.  I trust He is guiding me.  The walk is worth it.

Some of you may have no idea where you are on the walk of faith.  I know how confusing it is to have countless voices telling you a host of conflicting messages.  I know how challenging the teachings of Mother Church seem without a closer look at the source, Love itself.  I know how easy it is to want to pull your shoes on, and shield yourself from the hurt.  I trust He is guiding you.  I trust He is guiding me.  The walk is worth it. 

At this point I may be afraid to get wet but I want to walk, I want to run, I want to see the Father.   We are together sisters and brothers…Together we move forward in faith that no matter the obstacles, the pain, the lack of vision, we can walk. 

You may be beginning a new leg of the journey, with little clarity in what the next few months have in store for you.  You may be lost in the mundane day to day with hope of eccentric joy.  You may be saying “I don’t even know man…”  On all three accounts I just have one thing to say:


Put your eyes on the goal and take a step.    

Friday, August 21, 2015

Life.

I want to be fully alive.

While I was in Mexico, a priest asked me “If you had to tell me what you’ve done in your life in one sentence, what would you say?”

In the moment I gave a sarcastic remark but I’ve thought about this question for weeks…

I’ve studied for years, from shapes and colors to the metaphysical arguments for the existence of God.  I’ve played sports, and had great comradery with brothers from my back yard to the soccer field at the seminary.  I’ve met countless beautiful souls longing to know God more.  I’ve been given so many opportunities that a simple man like me could only hope to experience.

But these didn’t answer the question for me.   

I started thinking about my greatest desire...I want to be fully alive.  But I realized I’m not yet.  It can’t be my one sentence because it hasn’t happened yet.  Yet. 

I’ve always thought that being the man with the answers, or being someone who makes others comfortable, or being a great leader would make me fully alive…

God the Father has been lovingly kicking me in the face.  

I’ve been challenged.  I’ve felt like I’ll never have any answers to help others, let alone the answers to the questions in my own life.  I’ve felt like my abrasiveness can be a hindrance to relationships and so I’m learning to be quiet and patient.  I'm learning to be real.  This time is different than I thought it would be, but I know this journey is the only way to become fully alive.  When everything comfortable is stripped away, like it has been, I’m left with one main thought.

“I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

I want to be fully alive and I finally have an answer I’m confident in giving to my priest friend. 

What have I done so far in my life?  I have loved little and I have sinned much.

There is hope.  

Albeit the phrase that describes my life points to my weakness, I can smile.  It isn’t easy for me to admit that I have weaknesses.  It isn’t easy for me to admit that I don’t have all the answers.  It isn’t easy for me to accept that I can’t do anything on my own worth any merit.  But it also isn’t easy to believe how loved I am.  It isn’t easy to trust in my identity as a beloved son…But it’s true.

A friend knew I was having a rough couple weeks and I was talking to her after mass and she told me to listen to the song ‘Good Good Father’, and the main lyrics are: ”You’re a good good Father…It’s who you are…And I’m loved by you…it’s who I am.”

I am broken as all get out but He’s a good good Father, and you know, even though I’ve loved little He has continually humbled Himself that I may be fully alive.  He gave His Son up to death for me.  He gives me countless sacramental opportunities to return to His heart.  He forgives me.  He revels in me. 

He paradoxically calls me to be crucified with His Son that I may be fully alive.  He not only wants to fulfill that desire in me, but He wants me to find my identity in Him. 

I have loved little.  I have sinned much.  He is a good good Father.  I’m loved by Him.  That’s who I am.   

And that my friends is a life worth living.