A few weeks ago, my son and I spent the majority of our Saturday watching 6th grade basketball games. I was proud of him for sitting through 3 out of 4 quarters and then was startled and pleased to watch him play with the gentlemen sitting in front of us or the woman beside us. We were seated right in the middle of our St. Regis fans and I was so touched by how gracious everyone was to my squirmy toddler. But then on the drive home, it struck me... we were part of a community. A real brick-and-mortar, bone-and-blood community of people. And I don't think this is a feeling many of us experience any more.
We seek out community in online spaces like groups of Facebook, feeds on Twitter, and through other platforms like Instagram and SnapChat that make us feel like we're really there seeing (while also making us feel terrible because we're missing it). Although social media has its time and place, it cannot replace the deeply rooted need we have has humans to seek and create community. We were not designed to function alone; God created us to be communal and understood that about us intrinsically when Jesus was sent to institute a new church, focused on love rather than laws.
Amidst a time of crisis in our universal Church, I can see no better remedy than to seek out and develop deeper, more rooted communities within our home churches. This is not a time to pull further away from the Church (despite disillusion with the clergy and other leadership); it is time for the lay people to reinvest in their communities. Our parish priests will come and go but we are our parish, not the just man saying Mass on Sundays.
I won't claim to have all the answers because truthfully, I'm not the best at making friends quickly (but really, are any of us?) I can tell you this though... in every situation you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or left out, odds are there is another woman feeling just like you or worse. Bearing that in mind, I want to encourage you today to be bold in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, and intentionally seek out those who, just like you, are starving for holy friendships, iron that sharpens iron, that will feed will help you feel connected and loved, all while returning to the Father. Don't fall for the tricks of the Evil One, taunting you with your own insecurities and flaws. Boldly, bravely, walk up to the woman also sitting on the edge and hold your hand out to her, just like Jesus did for His beloved friend, Peter time and time again.
You got this, sister. God did not intend for us to go through life alone. We've been blessed with a community of believers because God knows so well through the experiences of Jesus, that humanity needs one another's support and love to make this difficult life that much better.
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It has been months (literal months) since I last posted. I don't believe in excuses, but the explanation is actually very simple. I needed to rest in the Lord and step back for a bit. In January, I realized how long it had actually been since I had last posted and I was so disappointed in myself until I took stock of everything that had happened in the last six months...
Started a new job, weaned my son, had an early miscarriage, house-hunted, moved, finished my last college course for my education degree, was offered and accepted a youth ministry role, and even began prepping for my education certification exam
That's a lot for anyone! And here I was, trying to pull out the words to share and guide people to God without even having a good prayer routine in place! Truthfully, I was out of water to give anyone and needed to take time to seek out God and refill my own soul before trying to fill another's. I've written some here and there for Blessed Is She and for work (hello, parent newsletters, Week of Christian Unity posts, Faithful Fridays, and Caitlin Shepard+). But mostly, I focused on renewing my prayer routine and just being with God, rather than trying to share about God constantly. Even Jesus needed a break from the crowds occasionally (boats, deserts, etc.). Now, I'm no Jesus and I don't minister to thousands, but I also know that sometimes we need time just with God.
The truth is, whether its inconsistent or scheduled, I love to write. I'm back and feeling inspired yet again to create beautiful content that glorifies and serves God. Alleluia!
So, here's what's new for me while I've rested with the Lord that last few months...
My word of the year is "Celebrate" which pairs perfectly with my desire for more liturgical living in my home and classroom. I'm slowly making my way through Kendra Tierney's Catholic All Year Compendium and I love it. Her writing is engaging and witty. You could literally read the whole thing, cover to cover if you wanted to or use it as a life-resource to flip through when scheduling what life is going to look like over the next month or two. I'll be writing more about the impact her book has had on me later, so keep your eyes peeled.
My focus for 2019 is to continue to develop the virtues of humility and self-control. I began focusing on them this past Advent and have realized, paired with Matthew Kelly's Resisting Happiness that these two virtues are ones that are underdeveloped in my own life. I will be sharing more about this later on too.
Finally, my saint of the year is Blessed Sara Salkahaze, the only modern-day Hungarian saint. She was a World War II era woman and although there isn't a ton about her, she has become a part of my litany of saints each evening. I've been saving her, so to speak, for Lent and will definitely dive more into her and what she can teach me then!
Alright, now I'm curious! What's new for you? Word of the year? Saint of the year? New way to pray that you're loving? Let me know in the comments below.
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