Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love of my life

Today I remembered when I fell in love for the first time. I have been in love for almost 2 years now. It may not have been until today that I realized that it has only been less than 2 years. I remember where I was, who I was with, what was around me, it was a great moment. I thought that I had been in love before this moment, but reflecting now I know that I had never been in love before this moment in the spring of 2009.

I was in Mankato, MN with about 15 others. Some of them were already in love, some may have fallen in love there when I did too, and others may still not have yet fallen. I had just returned from an amazing mission trip to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We had a mission team of over 20 people and everyone had a great spiritual experience. It was a Tuesday night in late March and for the first time I was going to Eucharistic Adoration. I had heard of Eucharistic Adoration for about 6 months at this point but I had never gone and really didn't get it. It was advertised as something like this........"If Jesus was in town would you visit Him? What if I told you Jesus is here and He's here every Tuesday night?" Finally, I had to go and visit Jesus and see Him for myself. I remember being hesitant at first. But then we started singing and all of a sudden I was looking right at Jesus. And how could anyone stare at Jesus, sing the lyrics to these songs, and not feel something inside? Or not feel Jesus present?

I remember going in hesitant but by the end of the night I looked so closely and intently at the Blessed Sacrament and I sang so hard, with such passion and love that I knew Jesus was in that room with us. That was the first time I fell in love with Jesus. I didn't miss another Tuesday night in Adoration that semester and Jesus has been just as present each time after that.

I felt that same love last night and it was as if it were the first time again. We had an event on campus tonight called "Pack the Chapel" a priest gave a homily, and then we sang and praised the Lord. And for whatever reason my love for Jesus really just struck me. I stared so deeply into the Blessed Sacrament that all the light in the chapel seemed to disappear and the only light I could see was the light that was emanating from the center of the monstrance, like I had tunnel vision. In this moment that I was experiencing this I just gave thanks to God and really thanked Him for putting me here now, it is such a great feeling to be at peace with where you are and to have so much trust in God. Isn't it crazy to think that when for just a second you can stop loving Jesus, but He never (never!) stops loving you!?!?!

Some don't believe in the practice of Eucharistic Adoration, others think it is unnecessary, maybe they're right. I will happily go through this (adoration and believe that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist) the rest of my life and risk being wrong. If I get to the gates of Heaven and Jesus tells me that He was not present in the Eucharist, fine I still had Jesus in my heart. But what if I stop going to adoration or believing in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, get to those gates and Jesus tells me I was wrong and that He is present, isn't it worth the risk?

As I finish this post on the day of St. Padre Pio's feast day I ask for his intercession and prayers. And may we all strive to be as selfless, loving, and holy as St. Padre Pio. St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Pray for us.

You're in my prayers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend and after

The first week of classes came and went and led right into the long Labor Day weekend. And for us missionaries it meant a labor less weekend. The freshmen moved in the Thursday before, the 26th. We helped students move in to the dorms from noon until 4pm, during that time we met a ton of students and invited them to a volleyball tournament we planned for that evening. That night we had over 100 students join us at the volleyball courts, over 60 played, while the rest enjoyed some freeze pops and cheered on the competitors.

Friday night we hosted a root beer float party and gave away over 225 floats! This was a great time for us to get to know some of the students that we helped to move in as well as meet some new students. The fun and free weekend ended on Saturday night when we hosted a pizza party, we had 40 pizzas! The students loved it and we were already recognizing some faces and getting to know a lot of students.

Classes started the following Monday and for Melissa and I, my Varsity Catholic teammate, it was a big week for us as we met with several of the coaches as well as their teams. By the end of the week we spoke to 8 teams, there are 14 total. With each team we shared with them how we came to be missionaries, our experience in collegiate athletics, our foundation in faith, and how we are on campus to serve them. The response from the coaches and students has been overwhelmingly positive.

Since talking with the teams that we have we've each met with a few of the student individually and have seen them around campus. Several times since I have been here I have thought back to this summer when I told my family and friends what I would be doing on campus and how it seemed like it would never get to that point in time. But finally those things are happening, and I absolutely love it. Staying centered in Christ and being encouraged by others through Christ has been crucial for me to stay positive. Thank you all for the prayers, please keep them coming, and know that you are in mine!!