Can you think of a time in your past when your life got significantly better?
I remember mine well: it was a hot August day, and I stood outside the freshmen dorms during the first week of classes at the University of Nebraska. I felt nervous, excited, and ready to run away all at once. It was my sophomore year, and I was about to invite total strangers to join my Bible study that didn’t exist yet.
Despite over a year and a half after his election, the praise for Pope Francis continues from people of all sorts of backgrounds. The media, the public, and the members of the Catholic Church continue to hang on to his words and his actions.
Pope Francis has the amazing knack for preaching while embodying this preaching with his own life. He is not simply a great marketer for the Church; he is a model of evangelization for us that we can learn a lot from.
Mission trips. Maybe they sound cliché. Maybe you’ve been there, done that. Maybe you’re thinking, Why travel half-way around the world when there’s plenty enough to worry about in my own backyard? Maybe you’re right—but before you decide for sure, take a minute to read why you should go on a FOCUS mission…
So many times over the past week I’ve sat down to write about beauty, but instead my mind kept turning to the international horrors going on across the world and the unspeakable suffering that our brothers and sisters now face. It’s hard to think about beauty when evil seems to reign and graphic images fill our newsfeeds, especially while knowing that those images represent a daily reality for so many.
Persecution. Death. Disease. War. I found myself wondering, Is there anything good happening anywhere in the world right now? Doubt is heavy. Despair, heavier.
A good friend described to me her own battle with doubt this week: “I pray, and it’s quiet.”
Why the silence from Heaven? And what role can beauty possibly play when all goodness seems to have been driven from our world?
The hype, the fame, the pressure – sports provides it all. When this high school football team, De La Salle, stood at the tip of the longest winning streak in American sports history, it all became too much. At the same time, though, it was never about the winning. What coach Bob Ladouceur cared most about was forming high school kids into men. Life is what mattered. Community is what mattered. For athletes, these lessons can be hard to hear through all the noise.
All right, baseball fans: this one’s for you!
Well, actually, it’s for everyone. Because I like baseball, I just fell in love with Stan Musial. When I told a friend about this “Lessons in the Art of Living” series, he suggested Stan “the Man” as my next feature. As I researched, the more I was amazed at the life of this great man and player. He had 3,630 career hits (still forth in MLB history), and when Musial retired after the 1963 season, he held 17 major-league records, 29 NL records and nine All-Star Game records.
But one thing confused me. Why hadn’t I heard his name like I’d heard many others? Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth….It seemed as though his accomplishments were comparable, but there was one thing Stan didn’t have that everyone else did: drama.
The arts flow out of people moved by an encounter, a revelation of the beauty of the universe and the overarching reality of things. When we have been struck by beauty, then artful creation is a natural response. Not because it accomplishes something practical – but simply because our souls were made that way. We respond with acts of worship that reflect in some small way the infinite beauty, glory and splendor of our beautiful God.
I've had this conversation far more often than I would have liked to in the past few years but it's a conversation that should be shared. I think it should be shared so that women who can relate to one of these struggles feel validated. I also think it should be shared so that women who can't relate to one of these struggles don't forget that these are real struggles.
I found myself sitting in the middle of my room, violin in hand, staring at my Manhasset music stand. The stand had become a dear friend over the years, but as I looked at the page that lay on its matte surface, the notes stared mockingly back at me. Rows of the black, daunting dots sat silent on the page. My “creative being” no longer responded to the sweet notation of my favorite composer, Saint-Saëns.
I am looking for stability, for peace, for clarity in this world. I am looking for God. That is why I create and why I look for beauty. Each day I comb through bookshelves for poems, notice wildflowers, savor color, compliment people on their lovely attire. This searching, a search for beauty and meaning is at its core a search for God. Beauty is an anchor to hold me steady in the waves of wind and rain here in the Pacific Northwest.
Please ensure that popups are allowed in your browser so that we may verify your email address.
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.
We want the FOCUS blog to be a place where our audience contributes to the conversation. We‚ve created this form as a way to reach out and hear from you. You can use the form below to do three things: 1.) Submit a topic that you would like to see discussed by our featured bloggers. 2.) Submit an idea you have about writing a blog post for the FOCUS blog. 3.) Submit a full blog post for us to consider posting on the FOCUS blog. Thank you for your time and effort!