Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remembering our Heroes

Happy Memorial Day! Personally, I don't think this holiday gets as much attention as it deserves. Sure, people remember it because they get a day off from work and can have a nice family bbq. And we should be glad of that. But we cannot forget the true significance of this special day. 

Honoring our heroes. 

Memorial Day is a very important holiday. It's easy if we keep the idea of war and suffering out of sight and out of mind. But, our soldiers deserve better than that. We cannot forget that our servicemen and women are putting their lives on the line day after day so that we can say our country is free and safe. 

There are so many ways we can be involved in supporting our troops. Of course, what they need most is our prayers. But, we should also think to send them letters and care packages, or run drives to raise funds and collect items to send to the troops. We must prove our gratitude!

We need to remember our soldiers, both living and deceased, veterans and active duty.

Each one has made untold sacrifices to serve our country. Each one deserves to be honored, remembered, and prayed for. Memorial Day reminds us never to forget. Never to forget all that our soldiers have done throughout the years to fight for us. God Bless Our Troops!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Setting Goals, Keeping Goals

St. Therese: "Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be and becoming that person." This quote should be the motivator behind all our goals in life.

Setting goals and actually attaining them is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Especially when we all have busy lives. New Year's resolutions are forgotten after January 2nd, weight loss goals usually drop off at the sight of the nearest cookie, to-do lists get thrown out without anything crossed off because we finally clean off our desk and we're not really using that list anyway.

Everyone knows it's important in life to fulfill what we set out to do. But that can be hard. Time gets away from us and we get involved in all the short-term things that have to be accomplished. And even those get forgotten too. How many of us leave dishes in the sink for days?

No one needs to be told that keeping a schedule and sticking to a routine will help get your life in order and allow you to get everything done. We've all heard that one before, and frankly I don't really think that's the issue here. Anyone can follow a schedule if they really set their mind to it, and we do follow schedules every day even if they aren't the planned ones. So what is it really that keeps us from reaching long-term goals?

I honestly think you have to really want what you are aiming for. Desires and dreams are a funny thing. We think about them and say they will never happen. We tell ourselves that they are fantasies, that living in the "real world" doesn't allow these desires to become a reality. Excuses end up becoming "valid reasons" and then we end up just going through life settling for less. 

Life is too short to keep saying, well maybe tomorrow. Sure, getting things done that call our immediate attention are very important. We shouldn't neglect our duties pursuing a selfish goal. And our goals in life are not to be "successful" in the sense of the world. We end up being successful in fulfilling a goal when it makes us a better person and makes a difference in the lives of others. And most importantly, when it pleases God and fulfills His will for our lives. 

If that dream of yours is sitting on the back burner, don't let it burn. Move it to the front, and pursue it! God makes us as individuals and each individual has a specific purpose in life that can only be fulfilled by that person. Don't let life pass you by! Become the person that will get you to Heaven. For becoming a saint should be our ultimate goal. 

So, choose one goal and really set out to achieve it. Then when you've reached that dream, live it, and go find another. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Appreciating Mothers

The topper from my parents' wedding cake. The day, in essence, that gave me my Mom.

Mom is a universal term. Everyone has someone in their life to call by that name. Yet, it is a very particular term, because we all call someone very special by that name. And the person who holds that name for us is, as it were, the only one in the world called by that name. 


We could spend our whole life in gratitude to that person, and it would never be enough to truly thank our Moms for all they have done for us. The sacrifices, the love, the care, the unending dedication. Words cannot express what our Moms mean to us. It's the person we can go to for anything. The person who knows us the best. The person who will always be there for us.

Let us be truly thankful for our parents. Without them, we wouldn't even be here. They have given us life, that we may make the most of that life we have been given. This day, Mother's Day, is specifically set aside to remember just how important and special Moms truly are. 

This day may be a difficult day for some people. Maybe your relationship is not the best with your Mom. Maybe you have lost your Mom. Maybe you never knew your Mom. If that is the case, your Mom still remains in your heart. And you in hers. 

And we all have our heavenly mother, Mary. She is always watching over us. Always guiding and caring for us. Our Lady seeks to make us holy and happy, leading us always closer to her Son, Jesus. She is the never-fading star that leads us on our journey to Heaven. 

So, thank you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you to all Mothers out there. Thank you for caring for your children. Thank you for your love. May you truly know how much you are appreciated. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dignity of Work

Many people look upon work as a drag, as a chore, as something to be avoided. That is a natural feeling, especially if your job or work that you do is stressful and overwhelming at times. Everyone counts down the hours on Friday afternoons to 5:00, and they turn around on Sunday night and dread the coming of Monday. 

But if it is man's lot in life to work, then there must be some other way of looking at it. There must be something intrinsically good about it, or rather something good that comes out of it. Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Pope Pius XII established this feast day in 1956 in response to the Communists degrading the human person and his role in the work place. (Among many other things).

Thus, our work does not define us. It may say something about us, and our response to work and how we do it does in a sense define us. But, work is always a means to an end. What is that end?

In the Litany of Saint Joseph, one of the verses is "Model of all who labour, pray for us." Why is St. Joseph a model for workers? Because he labored in the presence of Jesus and Mary and with Jesus and Mary. This is how we ought to work. In the company of our Lord, our Lady, and all the angels and saints. Our work is meant to be a means of sanctification. Everything that we do, especially our day-to-day work, when done for the love of God has infinite value. 

There is a great dignity to work. There is the sense of accomplishment in completing our work, there is the possibility of enjoying the work we do, there is feeling of fulfilling our purpose when we are doing something that makes us better people. But most of all, no matter what the work is we are doing, we can find union with God through it. 

Let us look to St. Joseph who is the "mirror of patience" and "solace of the afflicted" so that, if we find life wearisome and our work difficult, we may instead find patience and consolation in our sufferings for "he who perseveres to the end, he will be saved." 

One final note, He Leadeth Me by Fr. Cisek is an extraordinary book. If you haven't read it, read it. In those pages, Father describes how he found God in the midst of work even in the Siberian prison camps, where he was sentenced to work because of being a priest. And Cisek fulfilled that work to the best of his ability. Why? To please the Communists? To better their regime? Far from it. Father Cisek found in that work a way to please God. To better God's kingdom by using every moment of those days to love Him better and serve as an example to others. Father describes through his own experiences how to find God's will in the everyday moments and the everyday sufferings, even when they are extraordinarily difficult. 

Our work is a means to union with God, for whatever our work is, it has value when done for love of Him.