religion

Pursuit to Perfection

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” You therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48″

I was always confused by the concept of perfection. Why is it that God calls us to be perfect when perfectionism only leads to self reliance and pride? I began looking at what the world says about perfection. Generally this involves the altering of our physical appearance to fit an accepted style or body type. It is also hiding our difficulties, character flaws and sinfulness to avoid reflecting on the depths of who we are and who were called to be. Basically, we want to be noticed. We want acceptance. We want to be loved.

I guess by calling us to perfection, God is really just calling us to Himself. He’s asking us to strive for the Perfect goal; His own heart. We should want and desire to be perfect, but this means acknowledging our tendency to sin (concupiscence). Failing to do this results in over scrupulous judgments on ourselves and anxiety in our imperfect spiritual life. Not only is this unhelpful, but these unrealistic expectations might push us away from the faith.

img_3882Even the greatest saints were sinners. They experienced habitual sins, trials and temptations. They didn’t achieve “perfect status” on earth, but they lived for He who is Perfect. These holy men and women knew that perfection will not come from our own actions, but through the action of God in us. This is why they were humble, vulnerable, enduring persecutions, embracing their weakness and taking up their crosses.

I suppose another wonderful paradox of the faith. When we truly strive for perfection, we let down the walls of pride, fears and insecurities. Perfection is accepting our littleness for the sake of God’s glory to overshadow us.

 

just a little longer

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The visitation of Mary to Elizabeth in the bible is an incredible story. Directly after finding out that she had conceived the Son of the Most High, Mary was already embarking on a three months stay with Elizabeth. This life changing news did not immobilize Mary, but rather propelled her to evangelize and share the good news.

I am quite struck by Mary’s trust and strength in the Lord. Especially in regards to leaving Joseph, who stayed back in Nazareth. Imagine; being visited by an angel, carrying the Savior of the world in your womb, being engaged, and not fully understanding what God is asking of you. Now, add in the fact that Mary was separated from Joseph for these first three months. She was without the man she loved and planned to marry. No skype. No whatsapp.

 

Mary had faith. Incredible faith. She trusted in the Lord completely. She didn’t have the ability to confide in Joseph, she was left to wonder and ponder all that had happened in her heart. Similarly, Joseph was without his fiancee. He too was faced with the absence of Mary in the most complicated time of their relationship.

As I am in a long distance relationship, I am learning so much about love and patience. As it says in Corinthians 13:4, Love is patient. Of course, this is not always easy. There is a lot times where I resent the distance and wish time could hurry up.

All of this said, I want to learn from Mary and Joseph. They were a holy couple, even before they married. They sacrificed their time together for the sake of the Lord’s plan. They were able to accept the distance with humility and trust. It’s such a beautiful witness for me. Long distance isn’t easy. But, when we make space for the Lord in our lives; becoming a tabernacle for him, he will give us the strength to go on. God only gives us what we can handle. He gave Mary and Joseph the grace in those months. He will grant this to all couples who are asking for this too. Mary and Joseph- Pray for us!

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Chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist 

” In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ” Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:39-42)

Mary Mother of Emmanuel

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In this time of advent, we prepare as Mary did, to welcome Jesus. Through the Annunciation, Mary was accepting all that would take place in the life of her Son. His birth, childhood, mission on earth, miracles, persecutions, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension into heaven and sending of the Holy Spirit. Mary always endured these moments with perfect faith, hope and peace. I share this poem as a prayer of thanksgiving to Mary for her YES. By her openness to the Holy Spirit, she contributed to the redemption of mankind by giving life to Emmanuel; God with us.

Will we come to the humble cross,

And kneel at Mary’s side?

To contemplate this gruesome loss,

Our Savior who has died.

In silence do we bear the pain?

Submit to greater love.

To know this Lamb who has been slain,

Was sent from up above.

With eyes of Mary, let us see,

That light and hope remain.

His body hung upon the tree,

Will come to life again.

Oh Perfect Hope and Loving Heart,

Come to our aid we pray.

To never leave nor to depart,

But guide us on our way.

To you our Mother, Queen and Guide,

We give you all we are.

Into your heart, let us abide,

Most Holy Perfect Star.

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Tiny D vs. Biggie G

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With a title like that, I feel it would now be appropriate to :

a.  Share some crazy rap lyrics that I’ve written

b. Post a photo wearing a gold dollar sign necklace

c. Insert a few 2Pac references/quotes

Hopefully it’s not too disappointing for you, but I will  have to leave the gangster rap to Drake and his boys… perhaps one day the Holy Spirit will inspire me to rap.. oh man, that would be something else!

 

Actually, Tiny D and Biggie G have to do with a classic and famous story. One which might take you back to your own childhood. It is one of the most exciting bible narratives I heard when I was little; David and Goliath. It was always so impressive to imagine this young, tiny David facing the big and well known warrior Goliath. David, lacking weapons and experience was simply armed with courage in the Lord. When all things were going against him, David clung to his trust in God. He even has the guts to say the following, ” You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down…” 1 Samuel 17:45-46

Only a few verses later, David slingshots a stone into the forehead of his opponent, ultimately defeating the infamous Goliath and saving the people of Israel from destruction. It’s an epic story of how an unshakable faith, trust and confidence in God can bring about miracles.

This song below is actually what motivated me to write on this theme. In particular, I was touched by the following lines,

” So no more listing the reasons why I am unqualified. For you to use me. So come and use me”

“I will go where you lead. I will not be afraid. You are all that I need. You have called me by name”

 

We are the Tiny D! We are often up against so many giants; believing lies about ourselves and our worth, facing addictions, injustice, corruption, relativism, individualism, scandals, sinfulness. We may be tempted to believe that we are inadequate, incapable or unprepared for battle. Perhaps we are struggling to believe in the plan God has for us.

Despite these feelings, the Lord calls us to action: to stand up for our faith, advocate for truth, be the light, speak life. It takes courage, guts, faith and trust. We can’t do this alone. I know I have a few big giants in my midst. I don’t want them to rule my life. Instead, I want to pray for a faith like David. A crazy faith in the God of the universe who is always victorious, even against all odds. We might be the youngest, the most unexperienced, only armed with a few stones. But this is enough. He has given us everything we need in his Son. Let’s start praying for each other and keep this melody in our hearts and on our lips:

 

       “I will go where you lead. I will not be afraid. You are all that I need. You have called me by name”

only You may shine

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Jesus in the Eucharist,

You are who I need.

Loving is not possible,

Less you take the lead.

All you are, you give to us,

Love and life and peace.

Teach us what it means to trust,

Faith to never cease.

Dwell in me, and I in you,

Sacred Heart Divine.

So that when I leave this place,

Only you may shine.

 

             Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament