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Our hardships are our lessons to share with others

When I was in high school I was very aware of the many invisible things that could effect a teenager.  There were days that I felt I was just going through the motions, but I had hope that one day things would be, different.  I was extremely fortunate that I had great friends to distract me.  However, I was great at hiding the things that ailed me.  I can recall clearly one day in AP History, my teacher asking  me if I was OK, that he’d noticed I was looking fragile.  I admitted that I had lost weight but I blamed it on my busy schedule, you know all the extra running around.  I learned to smile, even though sometimes I wanted to cry.  I had broken my relationship with God when my grandparents passed away within months of each other.  I questioned how a mighty God could take away our loved ones and put us through trying times.  One of the things that also helped was a journal with a good and old friend of mine that shared a similar way of life.  You think you’re alone but if you’re lucky you find out you’re not.

I’m reminiscent today because of Daphine Glenn Robinson’s short story, Invisible Girl: The Suicide Journal.  Melissa, the owner of the journal, has a different story than mine.  We’re both familiar with the screaming, the slamming, the occasional scene of violence and the uncontrollable tears.  As I began reading, I had to put it down several times.  Its hard, when you think you’ve forgotten a memory, to only hear or read something that brings it rushing back.  Once I reminded myself of where I was now, no where near where I was at 15, I couldn’t put the book down.  Her story unfolds quickly, and you feel like you’re right there with her.  Pleading with her to have faith.  Faith that things do get better.  But more importantly, faith in God.  He never gives us anything we cannot handle.  Our hardships are our lessons to share with others.  This is what Invisible Girl does.

If I didn’t have that friend in high school, to journal back and forth with, to share my woes; I wish I had read this book then.  Out of all the hundreds of books I read in my youth as a child, I wish I had it to read then.  Unfortunately the topics of this book are not the casual topics you’d bring up at a party or at the cafeteria table.  The topics are raw and leave you feeling unnerved.  Nonetheless it is a topic that should be discussed, must be discussed, because it is realSomewhere someone is experiencing it right now. 

These past few weeks I have been teaching Catechism.  If we do not see something, does it exist?  Yes.  This is what we call faith.  We believe because of faith.  “We can know God in a much deeper way by means of faith.  In a much deeper way because in this instance it is God himself who tells us who he is, what he has done, what he has given us, what he promises, what he teaches, what pleases him, what he wants from us. … Through faith God revels himself, allows himself to be known, and manifests himself.  Furthermore, God does this because he wants to and because he loves us.  God speaks to us in order to tell us what he is like and to tell us how we should be; and since he speaks to us, he tells us his Word, the Word of God.”…Carlos Miguel Buela, Catechism for Youth.

I ask you on this Soulful Sunday to be mindful of your friends.  Sometimes they might be going through an ordeal they can’t speak of, either out of fear or because its not something you bring up in casual conversation.  All you can do is make sure they know that you are there for them, that you love them and that God loves them to.

The Word of God, yes, on that note I leave you a reading from today’s Holy Mass to let it marinate the rest of the week.

Heb 4: 12-13                          [God’s Living Word]

God’s word is penetrating and sharp.  Nothing is hidden from God, and all must render an account to him.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and Sisters:

Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to who we must render an account.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

Let it marinate!

Until then,

PS: To find out more works of Daphine please visit her:

Daphine Glenn Robinson 

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What feeds your soul?

IVE Youth Festival 2012

The last couple of months have been a little hectic.  I’ve had the honor of chaperoning a few of the youth retreats at my church.  I find it to be a blessing in disguise.  In my youth, I never participated in such events.  So it was almost like getting a second chance for having missed it the first time around.  It’s a wonderful thing to see so many young people, from all different walks of life, come together and have such strong faith.

My niece and I, IYE Youth Festival 2012

Each morning started off in prayer and every day ended the same.  Those days were the most tranquil!  To start off the day with God and listen to the word.  The mass flowed as if it were rehearsed for months.  Each voice harmonized to sound as one.  Of all the masses I have been to in my life, it had never sounded more lovely. 

I got to know the group at a more personal level.  I listened to their opinions, watched them take in the days, saw them bond with each other and get to know new people.  With all that goes on in the world, its comforting to know that we can come together in Christ.

Girls Summer Camp 2012

The girls at the Summer Camp taught me that I can rise to a challenge of being an adult, commanding respect and earning trust.  I hope my fear never showed.  Teenage girls can be scary.  This experience reminded me how impressionable our young girls really are.  Saying the right thing can carry them on a natural high towards victory against an opposing team and saying the wrong thing can crush them in an instant.  Our youth needs role models, to push them to reach their potential, to tap into their creativity, to stand up for their individuality, and to encourage them to travel the road less traveled.  We must feed them hope.  We must plant seeds of success.  We need them to understand that they can do anything they set their minds to do. 

Pit Stop driving back from Girls Summer Camp 2012

I was fortunate growing up to have teachers and role models that did just that for me.  I hated it at the time, because I was young and that’s what you’re supposed to do at that age.  However its the one thing that has always stuck with me, NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CANT DO SOMETHING.  I hope that I am able to send that message out to the youth I work with.  Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.  Anything is possible with Christ.

They all started the weekend reluctant and by the retreat’s end no one wanted to leave.  It touched my heart and blessed my soul to see such a sight.  Its amazing what opportunities arise when you open your heart and mind and allow yourself to take it all in.

Today’s mass centered around one basic idea, “Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.”  It’s in reference to riches.  “…For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.  Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality…. (2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15)

While I do not currently posses the riches that would allow me to give to others as I would like to, I have been blessed at the moment with free time.  That for me is currently in abundance, so it only makes sense that I might give that free time towards volunteering to persuade young minds into doing grand things with their lives.   Whatever you have an abundance of, please share it.  I have discovered this past year that volunteering feeds my soul and that to me is priceless.

So tonight I leave you with this, What feeds your soul?

Until then