The Space Between

As a child, I couldn’t have imagined the complexities and complications of my twenty-seven years of earthly existence. I had a very active and developed imagination too! As the Jesuits would say, “Life is a Journey.” After eight plus years of Jesuit education, you master the reflective, meditative tone while reminescing on the journey of life and God’s will in one’s life. Many times on this journey, I feel that I slipped into the Space Between.

St. Augustine Quote

Not only the title of an iconic Dave Matthews Band song, but a literary explanation of the middle ground, the grey area, the limbo land, the space between, etc. Etc. When an unexpected turn in an important relationship transpired, I felt thrust back into that space in between. One moment the world finally made more sense. The darkness abated, and the light shone out a bit brighter. The fears and anxieties dimished while hope and joy grew. Someone finally chose me and accepted me as I was. Then life shifted course yet again.

Yes, I trust in God. But saying I trust in God and trusting God are two separate concepts. I’m practicing the latter.

When discerning my vocation, I always felt in “the space between.” As an elementary school child, the obvious vocational path to the outside world was religious life. I spent time at convents and with dynamic religious sisters. But I knew from an early age, no religious order would accept me with my chronic physical health conditions. I spent quality time around religious orders because I recognized the intrinsic beauty and importance of consecrated life regardless of whether that was a viable vocational option for myself.

In my adult life, when religious sisters recruit me for discerning consecrated life, I can smile and laugh with gratitude while thanking them for their kind invitation. Or I ponder quietly and wryly smile when they ask whether I’ve asked God for physical healing. Mhmm.

For similar reasons that would prevent my acceptance into consecrated life, these reasons follow me into dating relationships and the vocation of marriage. These reasons cast an additional layer of gravity on the vocation of marriage and prospect of biological children. At times, I feel at odds against the vocation of marriage too. To find a man, especially an orthodox practing Catholic man with depth of character and virtue, willing to embrace those odds and grow together in love beyond those odds provides a natural filtering method. I’m attempting to sound charitable.

Some may mention the generous single vocational option which I live now. The Spirit still seems to be moving me in a different direction. Jesus, I trust in you.

Today I feel like I’m floating yet again in that space between. The certainites and possibilites of yesterday don’t exist or not in the same manner today. The hope of tomorrow gleams. For now I’ll float on the ocean of God’s mercy. Hoping and trusting the boat will be guided to safe havens no longer adrift in the space between.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary Novena

#HolyFamily #Nativity
Photo Credit: The Nativity Story

Please, join me in praying the nine Day Novena to St. Jospeh, Husband of Mary. The novena already started through PrayMoreNovenas.com. Mea Culpable for missing the novena start date. However, St. Joseph’s Feast Day occurs on March 19th and the novena invokes a powerful intercessor.

http://www.praymorenovenas.com/podcast/day-1-st-joseph-husband-mary-novena-2017

March 19th marks my brother and sister-in-law’s sixth wedding anniversary. Yes, my brother and his wife were married in the Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. What an amazing wedding date! And a wonderful reminder to all of us to pray for the intercession of St. Jospeh, husband of Mary. He is the model of human fatherhood: a provider, a leader, and a protector. A devout, virtuous, and humble man God chose to watch over the Holy Mother and our instrument of salvation, the child Jesus.

May we ask for his intercession in our relationships, marriages, families, and children. May we all receive the grace to be a Holy Family. And may we all have the grace and blessing of dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer, pray for us.

AMEN.

St. John Vianney, Pray for Our Priests

st john vianney
St. John Vianney

My friend and I recently finished praying the Novena to St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests and seminarians. From his childhood during the French Revolution France, which forced he and other Catholics to worship in hiding, or deserting the Napoleonic army, to his academic difficulties in seminary, St. John Vianney exemplifies patient perseverance. Known as the Cure of Ars, Father Vianney dedicated most waking moments of his life to the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners. Sometimes he spent up to 14-16 hours in the confessional. A dynamic confessor, Father Vianney is amazing reminder of the vital importance of the sacrament of reconciliation in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. His Feast Day is August 4th.

Each day the novena reflected on an aspect of St. John Vianney’s life and ministry outlining a theme to reflect and ask for the grace to be transformed and informed in whatever our respective vocations may be whether priest/religious, married, or generous single.

  1. Complete Trust in God
  2. True Love of Neighbor
  3. Horror of Sin
  4. Confessor of Souls
  5. The Real Presence
  6. Exquisite Purity
  7. Desire for Heaven

At the conclusion of the novena (thanks to praymorenovenas.com,) the daily reflection challenged the participant to express gratitude to a priest for their service to the church and remind us pray for seminarians and priests. Why? Because as Catholics, we believe in the power of intercessory prayer and that we live in communion with each other. Our prayers matter. Our prayers shape lives. Encourage vocations. Provide courage of conviction in moments of doubt or confusion. And remind each respective vocation that we can’t have one without the other. We are part of the Body of Christ. . . . the Vine and the Branches, etc. Furthermore, priests whether they live in accordance or not, have a tremendous obligation and responsibility to the Church, the members of the Church, and leading by example. Jesus Christ is epitome of the priestly vocation, an example that our priests are called to strive for. And, therefore, need all the prayers they can get. May we all strive to emulate Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the words of St. John Vianney & St. John Paul II:

“St. Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest — always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.”

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

“The priestly vocation is essentially a call to sanctity, in the form that derives from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Sanctity is intimacy with God; it is the imitation of Christ, poor, chaste and humble; it is unreserved love for souls and self-giving to their true good; it is love for the church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because such is the mission that Christ has entrusted to it.  Each one of you must be holy also in order to help your brothers pursue their vocation to sanctity.”
St. John Paul II, (Rome, Italy, October 9, 1984)