Don’t get me wrong, I  love being Catholic. I love the church, the Magestrium, Pope Francis, and our traditions that have survived over two thousand years. One of the issues I do have is that we are loosing young people to the secular media and a relativist world. Our young people are not in the churches, they are online. With that in mind, I compiled a list of my favorite Catholic Media sites that I believe do an awesome job reaching out to young people in the church in efforts to bring them home:

downloadChastity Project

Perhaps I am a little biased in putting this on the list due to my work with them, but they are so deserving of being on this list. The project was started by Jason and Crystalina Evert who work to make resources available to students about the importance of chastity in a world that doesn’t encourage it.

They have traveled around the world spreading their message and run an awesome website where visitors can view their books and chastity resources, as well as a blog where writers (like myself) share their thoughts and reflections on chastity. Their work is so good and their message needs to be heard.

download (1)LifeTeen International

Life Teen is an organization that provides resources for parishes in developing a youth ministry program. I’m a big fan of their site because, like the Chastity Project, they post amazing blogs that cover thousands of topics about the faith. I visit the site and walk away learning something new about the faith.

It’s a great resource, it’s easy to navigate, and they are doing some great work for the rest of the world. It was launched out of Arizona in 1985 and now serves over sixteen hundred parishes in over 31 countries around the world.

imagesSteubenville Conferences

The Steubenville Conferences are headed by the Christian Outreach Office at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. They host 14 youth conferences and 6 adult conferences every summer in which thousands and thousands of people come to hear amazing speakers, a one of a kind adoration experiance, amazing praise and worship, and (of course) an one on one encounter with Christ.

Luckily, the conferences don’t have to end at the end of the weekend. Most of the talks and homilies are posted online for those who don’t have the opportunity to go, or those who need to hear the message one more time. I like watching them when I’m lacking in my faith and need a reminder of my time and growth at the conferences.

Each talk is so fruitful and well done. It’s an organization that has brought and will continue to bring thousands back to the church.

primary_focus_logoFOCUS

Fellowship of Catholic University Students was founded in 1998 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas by Curtis Martin to  evangelize to Catholic college students across the country. College is when most young people tend to leave the faith mostly due to seriously seeking an encounter with Christ.

FOCUS goes to their colleges and universities to change their hearts and and set their faith on fire.

logo-word-on-fireFather Robert Barron’s Word On Fire

I was introduced to Father Barron’s ministry very recently and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite resources for all things Catholic. Father Barron’s church is the media and he works hard to deliver the truth to thousands. He has amazing YouTube videos in which he discusses the church in the most basic terms and what makes him unique from other YouTube Channels, he reads every comment made on each video and tries to respond and answer every question on each comment.

His books are amazing and  his ministry is doing some serious good. It’s a must have resource.

This first year of college has flown by so quickly. Even with it being finals week, I find myself procrastinating by reflecting on what the Lord has done for me since August when I arrived. There is no doubt that I’m going home this summer a different person.I’m very happy and very excited to go home, but there is also a lot of sadness in leaving, especially because I won’t be back on campus as a student until Fall of 2015. What has this city on the hill taught me in the last year.

Gaudete in Via Crucis Womans Household.

Gaudete in Via Crucis Woman’s Household.

1. Naps are a magical gift from God delivered by a chubby naked baby with wings wrapped in a bright red bow.

2. The Office is (without a doubt) one of the greatest sitcoms that graced American cable.

3. It’s really hard to study in the dorm rooms. There are way too many distractions.

4. Always be grateful when the WiFi is running smoothly without many glitches.

5. Don’t be too quick to judge anyone. You never know the kind of struggles they are going through.

6. Family doesn’t end with blood. I have to thank my household sisters for teaching me that.

7. St. Michael the Archangel is one of the coolest saints I have ever met. Get to know him because he is a boss.

8. The same goes for St. Joseph. The man literally raised God. He’s pretty awesome too.

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The Troubadour Staff 2013-2014

9. College has a lot of free t-shirts to offer. And they’re actually really cool and creative (Thank you
Troubadours, March for Life, Gaudete, Last Class Luau, and Student Government)!

10. Colorado has no idea what cold is like. The cold in Ohio literally touches your bones. In Colorado, you go inside when it’s cold and you warm up right away. In Ohio, you go inside, and it takes at least 10 minutes to defrost yourself.

11. Working out is so much more than just trying to get the perfect body. It can be so much more fruitful and more than just a physical action.

12. Always keep a full stock of White Cheddar CheezeIts, Twizzlers, Mug Cakes, Cheesy Noodles, Annie’s White Cheddar Mac’N’Cheese, Chi Tea, and Cream Pie. If one or all of these things run out, it’s a sad thing indeed.

13. The bookstore’s stuff is so ridiculously overpriced. I got a book for $5.00 on Amazon that was $26.00 at the bookstore. This includes textbooks, guitar strings, luggage, everything.

14. Priests and religious people are wonderful. Believe it or not, they are not all the same. They have their own personalities and funny quirks. Get to know some, because they are awesome.

15. If an opportunity comes your way, do not be afraid to take it and run with it, even if it seems beyond your reach.

16. You are your own harshest critic. I learned this when I wrote my post for the chastityproject.com. I sent it in several weeks before it was posted. While waiting, I decided to re-read it and immediately thought, “I cannot believe I sent them this crap?!” Luckily, people seemed to like it.

IMG_0831

The one and only Father Nathan.

17. It’s not a good idea to procrastinate. Deadlines come and go so fast and you’ll really regret it if you let that happen.

18. Rugby is far more superior than football. ‘nough said.

19. It is very, very easy to over pack. No you really don’t need that extra set of sheets and towels or an entire shelf of books. You do laundry and just stick the sheets right back on the bed, and you don’t have time to read all of those books. Choose two or three and if you (by some miracle) get through them, just raid your roommate’s books! (Chances are they’re not reading them either)

20. Kids grow up really fast. I left for school and came back four months later and my brother was literally a foot taller with a deeper voice and pimples. The heck?

21. Learning how to play the guitar is really cool! It’s become an escape for me and it’s kind of cool to brag about.

22. A year after leaving the high school speech and debate team, I’m very out of practice when it comes to public speaking. I should probably get back on mastering those skills again…

23. You don’t have a come to Franciscan and just be a Theo/Cat major. There is so much more to the school than those departments. The nursing department is amazing and cranks out some really great nurses. The education department is huge and the student in that program do really well. The Communications department is fabulous as well.

With Billy the Elephant

With Billy the Elephant

24. Guys get broken hearted too and sometimes just need to rant. There is no need to be caught off guard if they do. Just be there for them.

25. The social aspect of high school really doesn’t matter in college. Nobody really cares anymore who hooked up with who in high school and who was considered cool and popular then. The world is a big place, and if you’re stuck in high school, you might miss out on how awesome college is.

26. Twenty bucks is a lot of money. If you have a 20, hold onto it and never let go!

27. I am more like my mother than I thought I was when I left in the best ways possible. When I’m stressed, I clean my room. Mom does the same thing which used to drive me crazy, but now I can sympathize.

28. Quarters are a rarity in college. But they are so necessary when doing laundry or getting a snack from the vending machines in the academic buildings between classes. Bring a huge ziplock bag of them every semester no matter how much security at the airport or your friends judge you. You’ll regret not bringing a bag when you are running around campus trying to find a machine that has enough quarters to break your $5.00. (Hint: if you do end up in that situation, go to the vending machines, put your money in a vending machine and hit return change, it’ll return the money to you in all quarters. Magical!)

29. Be thankful for two ply toilet paper. I’m not kidding, it’s one of the things I really, really missed about home.

30. Treat yourself every once in a while. Nothing huge, but you deserve it!

31. You don’t have to go to every event on campus. School comes first.

32. As weird as they may be in the classroom, most professors are really cool and awesome when you visit them in their office. They tend to get bored during their office hours. Visit them if you need help, they are really nice about it and more than willing to help.

A beautiful day in D.C with my bestest buddy.

A beautiful day in D.C with my bestest buddy.

33. You can’t choose your family. Especially not your extended family. Love them for everything they are including the good, bad, and the ugly.

34. It’s okay to do something crazy every once in a while, like shoving balloons up your shirt and taking fake pregnant pictures with your best friend to recreate when you’re actually pregnant or wake up 2:00 in the morning to watch history in the making, when Pope Francis canonizes Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI present.

Please don't hate me for sharing this ;)

Please don’t hate me for sharing this 😉

35. Don’t put off laundry. You’ll regret it when you have to do four loads to get it all done. It eats up those quarters!

36. Don’t let your earring holes fill in even a little bit because it really hurts to re-pierce them when they are partially closed.

37. Appreciate the opportunities you have to go off campus. They are rare when you are a freshman, but much needed.

38. You don’t really know stress until you get to college. When I think about it, I was never truly that stressed in high school. College takes stress to a whole new level.

39. Get to know the history of your school. It’s cool knowing it’s story and gives you a greater appreciation for it as a whole.

40. Drink lots and lots of water. You feel better when you do. I was never good about drinking water as a kid, but now I think it is the best stuff in the world!

41. Don’t be afraid to do things for you. I spent a lot of time wondering how my decision to go to Washington for a semester next spring instead of back to Franciscan would affect my relationships with my friends and the activities I’m involved in. It took a friend telling me to go to Washington for me, not for anybody else, to ultimately decide it was what I should do.

42. Keep your computer updated with all the latest programs because after a while, it will get mad at you and not want to connect to the internet and you may not be as lucky as I was to have nice IT people who are willing to fix it at no charge.

Knocking on doors

Knocking on doors

43. Having a boyfriend in college or looking for the “MRS” degree isn’t everything. What I really need is someone who is able to keep up with me, my schedule, and my weirdness.

44. Playing sports is actually really, really fun when you have the right people playing. Go Weapons!

45. Franciscan is not that different than other colleges. We’re just all Catholics with Christian values and morals. There are the hippies with the long skirts and hair who wear rosaries as ankle bracelets, that guy that always has a guitar who knows every Matt Maher song by heart, the Matrix wannabes, the extremely pale girl who is always in the library, the guys who never leave the gym but don’t appear to be doing a lot of working out, the guy with the ponytail, the girl who is involved in literally everything, the girl who always has snacks, the RA who takes their job way to seriously, the guys who always seem a hungover, the guy who doesn’t study or work hard but is still somehow able to graduate with honors, and so, so many more. I could have a lot of fun making a list.

46. You family’s lives will go on without you home. They’ll miss you a lot, but they are still going to take an awesome vacation to Florida without you, but it’s okay, you’ll get live an entire semester in Europe without them. Love you guys!

47. Be weary of your actions. You never know who you maybe hurting.

48. Do something you wouldn’t normally have the guts to do. For me, that was praying outside of an abortion clinic. It was really hard spiritually and emotionally but I am so glad that I went the few times that I did and wish I did it more often.

49. You meet friends in some of the most unexpected ways, whether it be while beat writing endless Student Government meetings for the Troubadour or while filling out applications together at the job fair, you just never know.

Cuties <3

Cuties ❤

50. Finally, I learned the most about myself. I learned that I am a risk taker, I like surprising people and myself with what I can do, whether it be writing a story in a couple hours about a fire scare in an academic building without an adequate amount of training or resources or leads; writing a post for a blog known around the world; making the decision to leave everything I know and live in a new country for a whole semester; surprising someone I love with 50 cat facts all over her side of the room; praying outside of an abortion clinic; fearlessly knock on strangers doors to promote a political candidate. Even the choice to leave my family and friends in Colorado to live in Ohio (of all places) without any inclination what the Lord was calling me to do with my time in college was a huge risk. People are different here, the air is different here (literally), the lifestyle is different. But I’m glad I decided to make the move.

I’m going to miss Ohio like crazy next year. I’m spending fall semester studying in Austria, then taking an internship in Washington D.C. for the spring semester, which means I won’t be walking around as a true student at Franciscan for a little while. I admit, it makes me sad thinking about that because this hill is my absolute favorite place in the whole world. This year has been long and difficult. Many temptations have risen that I haven’t had to face before and a lot of insecurities resurfaced. However, the Lord blessed me with such amazing opportunities that I will be forever grateful for. If you were to tell me a year ago everything that has happened this year, I would find it difficult to believe. Never in a million years did I think I would go to Austria so soon, write a blog for one of my favorite organizations, win writer of the year, or make friendships that will last a lifetime. I wouldn’t take back a single moment of any part of the year. Despite the stress and the struggles I wouldn’t want to have any of them any where else.

Without the missions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church would not be what it is today. The two of them, with help from God the Father, began and grew the church from the wreckage of Original Sin.

thThe Catechism of the Catholic Church defines mission as “the work of initial evangelization and establishment of the Church in non-Christian lands” (CCC Glossary). Christ and the Holy Spirit jump started the mission of the church, establishing it and working through individuals to help it grow. Their missions, while separate, have one ultimate goal; to bring people back to God.

Jesus’ mission is to save people from their sins. It’s the meaning of his name, which is “God saves” in Hebrew (CCC 430). His name not only identifies him, but it defines his mission and the ultimate purpose of his life, crucifixion, and resurrection. In the gospel of Matthew, the archangel Gabriel appears to St. Joseph to announce the savior’s birth stating, “[Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Christ’s mission was made very clear to his parents from the moment they knew about his coming.

Another name that identifies God the Son, is Christ which means, “anointed” (CCC436). It is through this name that Jesus holds the office of priest, profit, and king. “‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power,’ ‘that he might be revealed to Israel’ as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest in him as ‘the Holy One of God'” (CCC 438). In other words, because Christ was anointed by God, he will save Israel from its sins with the Holy Spirit as his guide.

holyspiritandchristJesus accepts his mission of suffering at the hands of the Romans, death on the cross, and rising from the dead at his baptism in the Jordan. The father rejoices in his Baptism and acceptance proclaiming, “This is my beloved son; with whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21). The heavens opened and the Holy Spirit fell upon him, following this occurrence and forty days of ruthless temptation in the desert without food or water, Jesus was ready to begin his ministry.

John the Baptist declares him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world at his baptism noting that it is Jesus who should baptize him instead. In this action, John reveals that Jesus is a silent lamb who “allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes” and will relieve them from the chains of sin (CCC 608). For Jesus came “not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

The Holy Spirit’s mission is ongoing because it is through him that the church is the way it is. He entered the Apostles forty days after Jesus ascended into heaven, then sent them out among the nations bringing them the truth, proclaiming the gospel and the mission of Christ. It is through the Spirit that the most holy trinity is revealed to us (CCC 244). It was the Holy Spirit the prepared the people of Israel for the coming of Jesus in the through the many covenants which were made to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David in the Old Testament and now through Christ in the New Testament.

PentecostHe was played a very significant role in the birth of John the Baptist, whose mother was elderly and unable to bear children so that he may “prepare a people fit for the Lord” through Baptism (Luke 1:17). The Spirit entered the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to conceive Jesus, as well as the womb of St. Anna to immaculately conceive Mary. It is the Holy Spirit’s mission to bring us into a communion with Christ who saved us from our sins, and to prepare the way for his second coming.

God the Father linked Jesus’ and the Holy Spirit’s missions in the most perfect way. The two are “distinct, but inseparable” because it is Christ who is a physical, visible image of God, but the spirit who reveals to the individual soul that Christ is God (CCC 690). Without the Spirit, it is very difficult for us to have faith and impossible to know God. Since the day the Lord created the Earth and until it’s end, where God sends his son, he will “always send his Spirit” (CCC 743).”The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father’s Spirit since his Incarnation – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah” (CCC 727). Together, they are one, neither mission is complete without the other.

This mission is completed through the Catholic Church as a whole, which is the “Body of Christ” and the “Temple of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 737). The two work through each other as the Spirit seeks men with all of his wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, wonder/awe, in order to bring them closer to Christ, preparing them to follow him.

Mission has played a crucial role in the church since her beginnings. It was through the missions of the Holy Spirit and Christ that the church was created. Both missions are separate and unique to each parties of the trinity. Jesus was sent to the earth to save man from their sins, and the Holy Spirit is sent to prepare the way for Christ and aid is in better knowing him. Their missions are inseparable and incomplete without the other.

Okay y’all. I’m about to get sentimental. So last week was a tough week. I had a lot of tests and assignments due. I didn’t get a lot of sleep. A lot of things were happening and among those things was that I got into a huge argument with my best friend. After all of the hugs and tears, we made up. In the midst of all of that, I wrote this with no intention of showing it to anybody. But here it is; 55 reasons she is best friend, my soul sister, and my person. Find your person, because it’s awesome. Love you buddy!

  1.       We are two imperfect people who have refused to give up on each other.
  2.       We spend a lot of time laughing about what messes we are.
  3.       We are okay with silence. We don’t feel the need to fill every second with words.
  4.       She’s the one that my future spouse has to really win over.
  5.       She is literally my therapist, and probably the best one I’ll ever have cause she’s unafraid to tell me if I’m just being dumb.
  6.       Our Snapchats get uglier as time goes on. They tend to get grosser and uglier as time goes on.
  7.       We act like an old married couple. We are not afraid to  carelessly bicker, and when we really are mad, we can’t stay mad for long because we have important stuff to tell each other!
  8.       We are not embarrassed to cry in front of each other.
  9.       We make room for each other in the other’s life, even when life is crowded and busy.
  10.   She is able to ferret out my secrets when I really want to talk, but can’t quite bring myself to do it.
  11.   Our favorite nights are staying in with each other, watching Once Upon a Time, and just being together.
  12.   My parents ask about her when they call.
  13.   I’m as needy as heck and she tolerates it. I could yell PAY ATTENTION TO ME and she actually will.
  14.   We have code names and words that are not subtle at all when we use them in conversation and when our conversations are so infused with them we actually sound insane.
  15.   We’re Facebook friends with each other’s families.
  16.   We’ve stopped keeping track of who owes who what in terms of money borrowed it’ll probably even itself out eventually.
  17.   We know what the other needs when they are upset (chocolate and cheesy parodies of Frozen songs).
  18.   We live in different states while school is on break, communication is tough, but when we get back, we’re still as weird and dysfunctional as ever before.
  19.   You bring your problems to me and let me help you solve them
  20.   We are dangerous together because when out and about because we feed off each other and just spiral into insanity.
  21.   There are a few things lurking in my past and you’re the only one who knows about them- but you don’t hold them against me.
  22.   We knew we were going to be best friends as soon as you met. You still don’t know how or why. We really are nothing alike
  23.   Sometimes you give me tough love when I really need gentle love- but I know that’s because you’re worried about me.
  24.   We take pride in each other’s accomplishments.
  25.   We’ve hit a few rough spots, but with love and patience we smoothed them out.
  26.   The good, the bad and the ugly- we’ve been through them all and we’re still friends.
  27.   One hug from you is worth 10 from any other friend.
  28.   You never get clingy, but you don’t mind if I occasionally do.
  29.   Sometimes you don’t have time for me. That might make me sad or hurt for a while, but hey, you’ll be back. The same goes for me.
  30.   You always know the right thing to say.
  31.   We pray for each other.
  32.   You laugh at my horrible jokes.
  33.   You send me encouraging texts and messages at critical moments and I send them to you, too.
  34.   Sometimes we’re under a lot of stress and we snap at each other. Look, these things happen between friends. We get past it.
  35.   You know my dark side and I know yours. No judgments.
  36.   We don’t look alike and we don’t sound alike- but we think alike on all the important things and that’s what counts.
  37.   When I’m procrastinating hopelessly, you give me the push I need to get going.
  38.   When people talk to me and they understand that you’re the exception to the confidentiality rule.
  39.   Almost all of our college stories start with “So this one time, Hannah/Sarah and I….”
  40.   No topic is off limits, no boundary has gone uncrossed by the duality of our fierceness when the other is hurting.
  41.   Occasionally we get sentimental and tell the other how we’d be alone/miserable/dead without them. Probably not often enough.
  42.   It’s cliche but we do actually do reference our wedding speeches for each other or how our kids will grow up together.
  43.   We are able to glance at each other in a group conversation and when we’re finally alone we start saying I knew what you were thinking, Is that what you were thinking? OH MY GOD YES THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING!!!!
  44.   We know each other’s favorite songs by heart.
  45.   If I’m way out of line, she’ll tell me. If I’m doing a good job, she’ll tell me too.
  46.   We consider words such as jerkface, poopface, meanypants terms of endearment.
  47.   While shopping we see things that the other person would like and yell at them to come. We find things for the other more than we find things for ourself.
  48.   We share food.
  49.   We are comfortable with judging each other.
  50.   We know the other’s salad toppings.
  51.   We tell each other every little, pointless, dumb thing that happens in the day because somehow everything means something and for some reason, the other really does care who you were sitting with in lab and what offhand comment Harold made in Ethics. Essentially, we talk about basically nothing all day and yet it’s always fascinating conversation.
  52.   We always understand each other, even before we tell the other what’s wrong. We’ve to developed  this telepathic understanding of each other, and that’s what makes us inseparable.
  53.   The things that we laugh at would make no sense to anybody else.
  54.   No one else gives me the total attention the way she does when I have a problem or just need to talk.
  55.   No argument or disagreement would ever end our friendship.

Why I Write

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Free Writing
Tags: , ,

I’ve always loved writing. I don’t know what it is about it that I enjoy. I’m just able to communicate better on paper than I do with my mouth. My hands can keep up with my busy mind better than my lips ever could. I feel less afraid of being judged or saying something stupid. It’s a way for me to feel heard, even if no one reads what I write.

In kindergarten and 1st grade, my best friend at the time and I would sit in her basement and think of stories to tell. I would write them down, and she would draw the pictures. We would come up with these elaborate stories and spend hours brainstorming agreeing and disagreeing. Sometimes we would act it out.

Once we wrote a story about two young girls who got lost in a magical forest. It didn’t have much of a plot, however, we would go into my backyard where there were a row trees for us to explore in, then decide where the story would take us next.

I like telling stories, whether they are true or made up. Stories are how we connect with people. It’s how we get to know them. When making new friends, you tell them about your past experiences, that’s a story, more importantly, your story.

Telling someone your own story about your past is probably one of the best ways to tell someone you love them. It means that a sense of trust has been established and they are almost sharing a piece of themselves with me. I value that, which is probably why it’s often times so difficult for me open up and talk about myself. It takes a lot of time and an established sense of trust.

Sometimes, I like being a mystery too.

However, I never saw myself being a journalist until my senior year of high school. I wanted to be an author who writes long and elaborate novels that would land on the local book shelves. I wanted to go to college and major in Theology and Catechetics, graduate and get a job as a youth minister and be a freelance writer on the side until I had my big bestseller and I could quit my job and write.

But then I discovered journalism, in the most random way possible. I was okay with this sudden change of plans and joined the school newspaper. I could talk to people, learn their stories and opinions and not have to share mine. It’s okay for me to ask stupid questions for the sake of wanting a quote and gaining knowledge on something I would otherwise have no interest in.

I did an article on Franciscan’s new core. My interview with the VP of Academic Affairs ran almost an hour long, not to mention the other interviews I did with other faculty and students at Franciscan. That article gave me a new perspective on the core. I still despise it, but I understand why it was created and appreciate the education that I am getting.

I did an interview with the father of a young family who is an alum of Franciscan and won a national contest. In the middle of the interview, this man requested that I turn off my recording device and be off the record to tell me the story of how he and his family struggled economically, living with his wife’s parents with their kids struggling to afford diapers, and how sense winning the contest, they moved into an apartment and he found the courage to start his own business and be successful, allowing his wife to stay home more often with his their kids.

I was touched. He told me this story to because he trusted me and wanted me to better understand the impact that the contest had on his family to write the article with a new respect.

I write because of those moments. To hear the stories of how people got to where they are now. I write to find where people are most vulnerable and try to find a beauty in it. I write because often times the unknown stories are the best stories. I write because sometimes I’m too much of a coward to use my actual voice. And that’s okay.

It’s very rare that I know what I’m doing. Most of the time, I completely wing it and write whatever comes to mind. Rarely do I have a plan. I’m not patient enough to have a plan. Planned writing seems to concrete. It’s the free flowing writing where the best material comes. It’s why I hate editing my own stuff.

Above all, I write because I love it.

Fun fact of the day: Out of the billions and billions of people that have lived and died in the world, there are only two people who are truly without sin. They are literally Mr. and Mrs. Perfect who never do wrong. They are like that person in high school or college that you kind of secretly want to dislike, but they are so awesome and nice that you physically can’t. You sit and wonder, “Is it just me or do they just not have a bad day?”

Mary ant the Baby Jesus

Mary and the baby Jesus

Person numero uno, is my dearest confirmation saint, Mama Mary. Here’s her dirty little secret, she still suffered and had bad days. The woman carried Christ for 9 months in her womb with threats of being stoned or exiled looming over her head. She also had to watch the same child suffer and die the most painful death known to man. Jesus hung on the cross for over two hours, not to mention the hours of watching him carry the cross out of Jerusalem and watching him be beaten and humiliated by the Romans before he was sentenced to death.

The second, of course is Christ, who had a really bad day. I won’t go into detail of exactly the suffering he went through, but many theologians would argue that God chose to die on the cross during that specific era of history because it’s designed to be painful and long. The Romans found satisfaction in their victims suffering.

I’ve been Catholic my whole life and if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that being Catholic doesn’t always feel very good. You see these saints and expect to see them dancing around a daisy field, hand in hand with God and everything is peachy all the time. We are persecuted, we are tempted, we are tried. Being Catholic is about over coming that with God in sight.

How do we overcome those sufferings? The main think that has to be done is that we have to know who God is. The journey to the Lord is the longest journey that you will ever take in your life. For most people, it takes a lifetime. I’m still working on that journey. There are good days where I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress and then days in which it feels like I’ve taken 20,000 steps in the wrong direction.

You could be a platinum member of every airline in the world and it’s still the hardest. I’m pretty sure climbing Mt. Everest is easier than the journey to Him.

But y’all, he is there with his arms wide open and ready to love you. He isn’t leaving you hanging, waiting for you to find him. The only thing keeping you from him, is you. Learn to accept him. Accept that He is real and alive and he loves you

genie-lampOne of the things that you have accept is that God is not a Genie. You can’t rub a lamp and expect him to grant all of your heart’s desire. Don’t treat him like a Genie. I tried it, and I’m here to tell y’all that it doesn’t work. He’s not a genie, he’s a lover who is only going to give you exactly what you need. He loves you so much, and sometimes, in order to grow closer to him, suffering is necessary.

When you were little, and you got a scrape, you ran home to your mom to kiss it and give you a band aid. The same thing works for God. Run to Him with all your scratches and bruises and He will kiss it and make it all better. The difference between someone who goes to Heaven or to Hell is that the ones who go to Heaven are the ones that say, “I need you, Lord. I can’t do this without you.”

Jesus is calling you to him and begging you to stop running away. He is screaming, “I know your sin; I understand your sin! I know it better than you do! Let me fix it and make you whole again!” Your sin is not too big for God. You have not seen him flex. The only sin that the Lord can’t forgive, is the one that you don’t ask forgiveness for.  No matter what you’ve done, you are not your sin or your failures. You are the sum of the Father’s love; what makes you is God’s love.

He sees your potential more than you do. He cares more about you than anyone else in the world. He thinks about you more than anyone else.  The Lord makes over 4,000 promises in the Bible . Imagine how many more he has made to each and everyone of us that aren’t documented in the Bible? One of the things He promised is that  He will not give us a pain He knows we can’t handle and overcome. He promised that when He died for us. Because He died, we don’t have to endure the same pain and suffering that he did. It’s okay to get angry at God.  He can take it and give you peace.

1003285_10151697209994742_96657247_nBut forgiveness is crucial on this journey. Because of forgiveness the person I was before is not the person I am now. It’s not the person I have to be anymore. Y’all I am endorsing the Jesus thing, I tried the Jesus thing. It works.

You can run from God. You can be the fastest runner who wins all of the Olympic Gold medals, but God can run faster. You can play hide and seek, but the Lord has had thousands and thousands of years playing hide and seek with sinners and you will loose that game. Go to confession, get your sins out in the open. People are so afraid to got to church, but  Church is not a museum for saints; it’s a hospital for sinners. You will not shock the priest because (believe it or not) he’s a sinner too.

After word vomiting all of that onto you guys, I leave y’all with one last message. If you are going to take one thing from this post, take this:

Only Jesus can turn a mess, into a message;
a test, into a testimony;
a trial into a triumph;
a victim into victory.
He is worthy to be praised.

Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media by Eugene Gan

Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media by Eugene Gan

I want to get one myth out of the way before I begin answering this question: The media is not bad. I think many Catholics have the wrong idea that the media is corrupting the youth and will forever change society for the worse. I may by biases when I say this as a young person and a Journalism major, but that idea is false.

The media is awesome. Its is an amazing tool that can be used to bring the world together and better the Catholic faith, is used correctly. Even Pope Francis agrees,  calling social media and the internet “a gift from God“. If the Pope says so, it’s most likely true.

So what is the mind set that Catholics can use in order to use media the right way to better themselves and the church? Dr. Eugene Gan, a communications professor at Franciscan University, very kindly put a book together that identifies this mind set.

After reading dozens of doctrine about the media dating back to when the media was born, he was able to narrow it down to seven keys. The following only comes from what I’ve read in his book, I did not come up with any of these. It’s strictly from the Catholic church.

1. Balance

Do not rely on only one organization for your media entertainment. The point is to look at a variety of outlets in order to see various mind sets.

In news, look at a variety of angles to get the truth in reporting. No matter how much a news organization claims that they aren’t biased, there always will be a little bit of bias, it’s impossible to avoid. Look at various sources to figure out what is going on in the world if you want to get the whole story.

2. Attitude Awareness

Attitude awareness means to stay informed and on top of news and media. Listen for the message that are being presented. When looking at media, try to identify the perspective and agenda that the media maker has. Seek the message that is being shown.

For example, car ads try to sell cars by promising a particular lifestyle. Usually there is a man looking a little like James Bond in the car  wearing a really nicely fitted suit driving on an open road at top speeds. He pulls up to a valet and dramatically tosses them the keys while and attractive woman stands to the side oohing the man and his car. What kind of lifestyle is the ad promoting? They are essentially saying, buy our car and you’ll get the girl and a life of luxury.

3. The Dignity of the Human Person

All media should reflect, uphold, and enhance dignity. Pope John Paul II said that the “goal of all technological progress is to make man more human“. Media should enhance one’s understanding of culture and what makes humans unique.

For example, the movie Bella is the story of a man helping a woman find her worth and preventing her from aborting her baby. It enhances the dignity of both the woman and her child.

4. Truth-filled

The media can help convey the truth about God and humanity.  Truths are that God exists, redemption is possible, good and evil exist, and that there is a moral law. Keep in mind that the media can be truthful, but not accurate. An example of this is the Chronicles of Narnia. There is no such thing as Narnia, but the books reflect Christian morals.

5. Inspiring

Media should enlighten and raise questions among its consumers. Inspires people to transcendent lives and point our way to heaven and good. It should inspire people to pursue virtue and develop a relationship with the Lord.

For example, the 1946 holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed inspires its viewers. The movie is about a young man who struggles to see his importance and is visited by an angel, who shows him what the world would be like without him. It teaches people their importance and inspires them to appreciate the people around them.

6. Skillfully Developed

Media must be well done with the latest technology and talented crew in order to get people’s attention. The problem with a lot of movies and books that Christian organizations come out with is that it’s not very well made. The script is cheesy, the graphics are off, and the acting is so-so. It doesn’t matter how good the message is. If it’s poorly made, no one is going to pay attention to it.

Mumford and Sons had really grasped this key. They play very good music that is unique to them that people love, but also has a good Christian Message.

7. Motivated by and Relevant to Experience

Media should reflect our feelings, thoughts, and actions. People tend to relate to messages that tell stories. Stories touch the heartstrings and force people to listen and understand better than straight facts. It’s why sitcom shows tend to be more desirable than news shows, because a sitcom tells a story rather than presents facts.

This sounds like the most cliche example, but it’s the best example in my opinion: Jesus told parables. He was preaching to audiences of thousands. He could’ve said that the father is forgiving to all sinners, but instead, he told the parable of the Prodigal Son, who stole his inheritance from his father, fell to a life of drinking and gambling, then went home to his father who welcomed him with open arms and celebrated his return home. The story got people to listen and understand.

So that’s all 7 keys? Think it’s easy to remember all of them? It actually is! Gan was clever and came up with a really cool acronym to remember all of them. Put all the first letters of the keys together and it spells BAPTISM.

Balance
Attitude of Awareness
Person (Dignity of)
Truthfilled
Inspiring
Skillfully Made
Motivated by Experiance

Mind blown by that acronym? I was…