You, Lord God, have done
many wonderful things,
and you have planned
marvelous things for us.
No one is like you!
I would never be able to tell
all you have done.
Psalm 40:5 (CEV)
A couple of weeks ago, the Catholic Church celebrated Pentecost on Sunday, May 15th. Like most Pentecost Sundays, we were reminded of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the twelve fruits which follow. I enjoyed the reminder and promptly went about my busy life as usual. When I began writing this post, it had nothing to do with Pentecost Sunday, or the gifts or fruits of the Holy Spirit. I simply started by writing about all the things in my life that I recently felt grateful for, and as it turns out, many of those areas in my life coincide with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Makes sense. Gratitude usually comes when one has received a gift. Now I see that I have received seven very meaningful gifts. I feel blessed, as if God has leaned over to kiss the top of this silly girl's curl-laden head, placing upon it a heat that feels like tongues of fire.
|"L" is for Love!|
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of understanding which can only happen when we join together in communion.
I have always had a wonderful circle of friends. My best friend Jenny has been a source of joy ever since we joined forces in the 5th grade. (We knew each other in 4th grade, but we didn't like each other. She thought I was trying to steal her best friend and I simply didn't like her haircut. Just goes to show that jealousy and vanity can be overcome!) Jenny has always been a model of strong faith. Her passion continues to inspire me even from miles away. My lovely friend Vanessa and her generous heart first helped to foster my love for the Spanish language and culture. Eventually, she became a great support as I pursued the joy that is my religious vocation. My fabulous friends Erin, Christine and Chanelle have contributed to my life as a dancer and as a Christian. Our late-night talks and silly shenanigans could never be replaced. My new bestie
My role as a mentor is one that I have sort of grown into over the past couple of years. I didn't know how important it was to create that boundary of authority until I realized what my classroom looked like without it. I know I still have a lot to learn, but as my third year of teaching comes to an end, I can see how the clearer lines of authority have strengthened my role as a mentor. Instead of my students coming to talk to me about drama with peers, now they talk to me about the deeper joys or sorrows that are taking place in their lives. Every time one of my students fell apart this year, tears streaming down her face, and she chose to bring that to me, I felt like the big sister God knew I could be. I felt like my students trusted me, but I knew that all along God had trusted me. God had trusted me to love them this whole time! I feel so honored that God would place such tender and fragile hearts in my care. That I would be one in a handful of people who gets to guide these girls along this part of their path still fascinates me. And yet, they are not the only ones who gain something in the process. They teach me on a regular basis how to be more relaxed, how to be more responsible, and how to be more generous. Seeing them stand up for themselves
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of receiving and giving counsel, especially when it comes in the form of a child.
Some of you may know, and some of you may just be finding out right now, that I really enjoy shopping. Seriously, it's one of my favorite things to do. Lately shopping online has been my preferred method since it saves me time and I'm able to find items that are difficult to find at the store. I've also been trying to change my shopping habits because of what I have learned concerning production behind the items I purchase. It started with a documentary I saw a few years ago called "The Dark Side of Chocolate". Ever since then life as I know it has come undone. To think that my purchases contribute to child slavery around the world; or to deadly working conditions in developing countries; or even force field workers to endure harsh chemicals in our own country; it makes me yearn for change. And how else will things change if I don't? So here I am now, browsing Etsy for organic cotton shirts; spending money on fair trade food and household items; using everything I have until it falls apart; all because I like to shop but saw a documentary that demanded I do things differently. It makes me happier actually, knowing that because I buy and promote brands like Alaffia, two or three women somewhere in Africa have healthy, stable jobs. It's not easy, and it costs more, but if I'm going to spend money I'd rather it go to individuals who need it rather than to large corporations who seek it.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of knowledge and for those who help bestow that knowledge upon us in their creative and varied ways.
|Art by Katherine Skaggs|
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of fear of the Lord, which is strengthened and nurtured through love.
This year has been one of the easiest and happiest of my religious life. Having a few years of experience behind me, most of what I accomplished this year was like putting a cherry on top of a cake. Of course, that cake first had to be mixed together and baked in just the right way so it wouldn't come out lumpy, raw, or burnt. That means if this year was the cherry on top, the years before were the hard years of mixing and measuring. During those times I thought I'd never make it. I said to myself, "This is it, the cake is going to topple. The fun is over." But even then I stuck around. Even when I thought the world as I knew it was coming to an end, I didn't give up. I attribute that to God's grace. God always seemed to place people and events in my life exactly when and where I needed them. If I needed someone to talk to or commiserate with, I had someone. If I needed to be reminded as to why I joined religious life, a vocation event always seemed to remedy the issue. I still have at least three years remaining in discernment, but I sure am glad that I've stayed put for the past six. I'm glad, not because this year was easy and I'm glad I made it to this year, but because instead of believing that I shouldn't have to work to be a part of something I love, or that I shouldn't have to stay in a commitment if I'm "unhappy", I'd rather do the work that strengthens me than avoid the work and remain weak.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of fortitude, even and especially when it blooms in the midst of adversity.
This post would be incomplete if it did not include my family. Without them, my vocation to the religious life and my current state of peace would not be
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gift of piety and for those family members who teach us how to believe in ourselves.
Come Holy Spirit
Fill the hearts of your faithful
And kindle in them the fire of your love!