“I don’t even know why I’m praying for this anymore,” I told my spiritual director between sobs on a cold winter morning. “It seems like every time I pray for something really big, God says ‘Thank you for your prayers, but that’s not My will; please accept this.’” I sat there perplexed, not angry or hurt, just perplexed, wanting to understand what was so difficult to grasp.
There is a legend from the Orient about a traveler making his way to a large city. One night he met two other travelers along the road: Fear and Plague. Plague explained to the traveler that, once they arrived, they expected to kill 10,000 people in the city. The traveler asked Plague if Plague would do all the killing. “Oh, no. I 'm only going to kill only a few hundred. My friend Fear will kill the others.”
e·van·ge·da·ting 1. Attempting to date a non-Christian of the opposite sex with the intent of converting them to Christ, sharing the Gospel. (UrbanDictionary.com)
What was it like to be right in the center of everything during the papal election? Read an account from Fr. Jim Chern, a FOCUS blogger, who was leading a pilgrimage in the midst of it all!
Now that I've caught my breath a bit - it's still somewhat unreal that 16 hours ago we met the new Pope - or rather, our new Holy Father Francis.
Every man longs to leave a legacy, to make a difference in the lives of others. What legacy has Pope Benedict left behind? What message has he left for us?
Eight years ago, the world cast him off as a shy, uptight rule enforcer. It doubted that young people could connect with a rapidly aging, theological conservative. It probably could’ve picked a dozen popes better for our liberal-minded, freethinking society than the 5’7” white-haired Cardinal Ratzinger. Well, needless to say, the world was wrong.
The former pope, Benedict XVI, is 85 years old. He is from Germany. His garb has been known to include red shoes, a giant gold cross, and a tiny hat. For the past eight years his entire life has been scheduled from daybreak to dark. His most recent gig was to shepherd a Church of nearly 1.2 billion people.
What are you giving up for Lent?
A few weeks ago I stared at my computer as a Facebook status altered my perception of reality. “Three weeks until Lent,” it said. “Three weeks,” I thought, “and I have no idea what I’m doing!” Soon after, I began to hear murmurs among my fellow church members. “What are you giving up?” asked one. “What are you doing for Lent?” asked another. I even heard a long list of Lenten sacrifices read off by a family friend: “Cold showers, sleeping on the floor once a week, doing some type of service each week...” This was followed by a discussion of how many sacrifices were okay to give up and when it became too much to actually be able to follow.
I freaking love Les Misérables. I love it to the point of obsession, and I'm not alone. The new movie is on track to become one of the top-grossing musicals in North American history. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Victor Hugo's masterpiece is too full of truth, goodness, and beauty for anyone to resist. It speaks to the soul's desire to rise above suffering, follow a higher cause, and live by love. Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, it does not follow love-crazed creatures from the netherworld with glitter issues.
Singles Awareness Day (S. A. D.), Cat Lady Day, Still Living in Mom’s Basement Day... you know what I’m talking about. For many who are unattached, Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder of their single status, as if Facebook didn’t highlight that enough.
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
For FOCUS, this means meeting college students across the nation where they are and challenging them to examine the meaning and purpose of their lives. Through personal relationships and friendship, we offer college students the true peace and fulfillment they seek in the good news of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic faith, inviting them to answer His calling in their lives.
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