We have a Mother who is waiting to help us. She sees what is going on in our lives right now, she sees the way we are hurting, she sees the way we are struggling, she sees the longing in our hearts. And she wants one thing – for us to find peace. She knows that our hearts are longing for the Lord, but she also knows it is hard for us to come to Him. And so, she is waiting to help us.
I invite you to give her a chance. I invite you to welcome her into your heart. Maybe you have in the past, maybe you haven’t, but today I invite you a new to let her love you. There is nothing to be afraid of in our sweet Mother, she only wants our good. She only wants to bring us to the Lord – who is the Love we are longing for.
I tend to be afraid of the Lord’s love for me, yet I desire it more than anything. I want to share a reflection I had in the chapel the other day that very much helped me with this. I was praying the Rosary and meditating on the mystery of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. I usually struggle to enter into this particular mystery, but this time our sweet Mother interceded for me in a special way. I understood that our Lady was telling me that by nature of my Baptism and Confirmation, I have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. And as in Scripture, as Mary presented Jesus to the Temple in accordance with Jewish tradition, I felt that afternoon that she was presenting the Lord to me, to the Temple that I am, in the same way. I was able to receive the Lord, to receive the love He desired to give me. Allowing the Blessed Mother to be the one to present Our Lord to me was a beautiful gift to me. We don’t have to be afraid, because we don’t have to do anything alone.
In invite you again to give Our Blessed Lady a chance. She desires to help you. Allow her to walk you through the mysteries of Christ in the Rosary, you won’t regret it.
My dear brothers in Christ:
I want to say thank you.
Thank you for enduring loneliness, pain, and rejection. To love is to will the good of the other and your love for the Church is clear in your willingness to endure all things for the sake of your beloved future Bride. You are willing to allow these current struggles for the sake of your future vocation and the souls that you will encounter. You are making sacrifices now and will continue to make sacrifices in your future priesthood that are never seen by anyone other than God. Yet you press on, for the sake of Jesus Christ. What you are doing looks insane in the eyes of the world. To give up marriage and to live celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, to live in a community of other men for years on end before you are even ordained a priest, to receive much rejection willingly… none of it makes sense without Christ. Don’t forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. Don’t forget what’s at stake. What you are doing is not only for the here and now. What you are doing has an eternal purpose. Don’t lose sight of the goal. Christ has called you here and you have responded. Thank you.
And please don’t think you have to wait to love the Church. You are loving Her right now. Every sacrifice, every pain, every difficulty is an opportunity to love Her. As a member of the Church, these sacrifices are huge. We need holy men, we need real men, we need heroes willing to take up their cross. We need you.
Thank you for your yes.
You are not alone. Christ is strengthening you. Our Blessed Mother is protecting you. Your Bride is praying for you.
Love, the Church
Eye contact is a funny thing. Sometimes it can be really beautiful, but other times it can be super uncomfortable. There is just something about it. The other day, I ran into one of the TOR sisters on campus. I don’t know this particular sister very well, I’m not even sure if she knows my name, but when she saw me she looked me in the eyes. It didn’t matter who I was, in that small moment, I was known and loved. All she did was look me in the eye.
Last night we had a mini women’s conference called, “Beloved” here at Franciscan. We heard a couple beautiful talks and then later in the evening we had a holy hour with Adoration. I was so excited for this time of prayer, but when Adoration finally came around, I quickly became frustrated. I was super distracted, couldn’t enter in, and then to add to my frustration, it seemed like everyone around me was having some beautiful and deep prayer experience. And so I did the only thing I know how to do in those moments; I started from the beginning and asked the Lord, “teach me how to pray.”
I heard Him say to my heart, “just look at Me.” And so I looked up at the monstrance, and this time, I saw Him. It still looked like a piece of bread in a pretty gold thing, but for the first time – maybe ever – I gazed deeply into Our Lord’s eyes, and I allowed Him to gaze deeply into mine. The difference this time, was I didn’t look away when it started to get uncomfortable. A few times I wanted to look away, but His soft voice, “just look at Me,” kept urging me on. We just sat there, gazing into each other’s eyes, as He brought healing and peace to my broken and wounded heart.
What I learned more deeply last night is that there is love, there is understanding, and there is mercy to be found in His gaze. Take the leap, and don’t look away.