Finding Joy in the Heavens

In a recent post, Br. Guy Consolmagno pondered two different questions,”Why does science need God?” and “Why do we need science?”

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One of the telescopes owned by the Vatican Observatory, this one located at Castel Gondolfo – another main telescope is also located in Arizona. By Stefano Bolognini (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons.

We have to ask ourselves, what’s the point? Why do I spend late nights gazing at the heavens, studying stars, planets, and nebulae? Over the years, my love of astronomy has developed out of a search for understanding and discovery, the desire to know the universe on a deeper level. As I’ve explored topics such as cosmology and theoretical physics on an amateur level, while preparing on a professional (or rather, in a more appropriate term, vocational) level, for the priesthood.

Ultimately, both pursuits are the result of a deeper need to know, to learn, and to come closer to truth, albeit from different perspectives. When I do come closer, at the same time discovering just how much further I really have to go, I also discover something more, something unexpected, and something that Br. Guy discovers in his search as well: joy. The search for truth, both from a scientific and spiritual standpoint both lead to joy: we need science to better understand our physical world, and religion helps us to move ever deeper, discovering the foundation of the beauty of our universe.

As Br. Guy states it, “This is not a sort of pantheism. God is not the same thing as the laws of nature. But everything that makes science worth doing, desirable to do, everything that gets us out of bed in the morning to do it, is a pointer toward God.”

In my own journey, the scientific has led to the religious, and the religious has led me to a greater desire to study the natural world: the more I study science, the greater the awe increases in my heart, and I realize how God the Father has created a universe beyond words and understanding, drawing me into an ever deeper desire to study said universe. Indeed, my continued study of science is what led me to religion, and Catholicism, in the first place, helping me to realize not only the necessity of a Creator behind our magnificent universe, but also the necessity of a Savior, and the faithful presence the Spirit in our lives.

You can read the rest of his article over at the Vatican Observatory Foundation blog.

Fr. Jacques, the police, and 11 years a Catholic

“As we have borne the image of the earthly man, so we shall bear the image of him who is from heaven; since the first man who came from the earth, is earthly, but the second man who came from heaven, is heavenly. And so, dearly beloved, we shall not die anymore. Even if we fall asleep in this body, we shall live in Christ, as he said: Whoever believes in me, even if he die, shall live.” -From a sermon on baptism, by Saint Pacian, in today’s Office of Readings

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Père Jacques Hamel, from the Diocese of Rouen

What does it mean to be Catholic, to live a life rooted in Jesus Christ? What does he call each of us to do, to give, to sacrifice? How are we called to love and to show mercy? I have been reflecting on these questions today for two reasons. The first reason begins Fr. Jacques Hamel, a retired priest in France who was murdered while he was celebrating Mass. He was a faithful priest who carried out his ministry, his life, centered on the Faith, someone who parishioners called, “a good priest … who did his job to the very end.” Fr. Jacques lived out his baptismal and priestly call to proclaim the truth to all nations and all people, even if that meant giving the ultimate sacrifice, even to his very last words.

How are we called to love Christ and his people?

This first reason began with Fr. Jacques and continues to my experience in Mexico, although they are very different. Several times I have visited public hospitals with my pastor, Fr. Augustín, and at each one, we were met by delays, questions, and outright indifference. One hospital prevented us from entering for over an hour, while streams of people proceeded past us and through security without a care in the world. Fr. Augustín later told me that many police officers, being an arm of the government, did not like Catholic priests, and tried everything they could to make life difficult for priests, even in the small ways. Fr. Jacques faced down responded to his call in a very defined and specific moment, and Fr. Augustín responds as well, even if in a different way. This was a shock for my American sensibilities; for as much trouble as we have right now in the United States regarding discrimination against those who are not  “with the times”, I would find it unfathomable if someone were to prevent a minister in this manner from seeing one of his people, whether in a public or private hospital.

As shown by these incidents, through our Baptism, we are called to sacrifice, love and mercy.

Bpatism

August 13, 2005

Which brings me to the second reason that I am reflecting on all of these questions: today, I celebrate 11 years since my Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion in the Catholic Church, taking Saint Benedict as my patron. So I am brought to consider how I have lived out that baptismal call in my own life: where am I called to love, to sacrifice, to show mercy? How am I called to give glory to God in the things that I say and do? Although I have discovered some answers, I am still searching, as I am sure many of my Christian brothers and sister do as well. After all, I don’t think most of us have it completely figured out!

As I look out the window onto the cityscape of Mexico City, just 16 days before I return to the United States, I have come to realize though that it is in the everyday interactions with people, here in Mexico and back in the U.S., that I am called to live out the love of Christ. I do not know if I will ever face situations as difficult or profound as Fr. Augustín or Fr. Jacques. After all, in the words of of St. Thomas More in A

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11 years later, after institution as an Acolyte

Man for All Seasons, “this is not the stuff of which martyrs are made.” But as I continue preparation for a different type of calling in my life, the next step of which will be my Pastoral Year, I know that I, and all of us, are called to live out each day molding our lives to Christ. Sometimes we will fall, but then we must return to Him, recognizing that His mercy is ever-present, and that we are called to spread that mercy in our own lives and in the lives of others, something that I pray I will do faithfully when I am, Lord willing, ordained a priest. The Lord knows that since my baptism I have fallen many times, but it is my hope that through the faults and messiness of my life, Christ may work through me and through all of us to bring His message to the world.

Please pray for me, for all your seminarians, priests, and religious. Know that you remain in our prayers as well.

Sancte Benedicte, ora pro nobis.

A Naomh Pádraigh, guigh orainne.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros.

Aventuras: Visitando el Asilo de Ancianos (Visiting the Nursing Home)

 

Last night, we had the privilege of visiting a local Catholic nursing home, just 15 minutes walking distance from the seminary. I’ve been in quite a few different and very fine nursings homes in the United States, including my service in an Alzheimer’s care facility back at the seminary during the last school year. Taking these experiences into mind, I had certain expectations, but those expectations were quickly thrown out the window.

This particular nursing home, run by around 25 religious sisters and many support staff, houses approximately 120 residents. During our tour and visit with the staff and residents, we were greeted with open arms and had some terrific conversations. As the tour progressed, I was struck by the facilities: when one thinks of a nursing home, images of a quasi-hospital environment come to mind, one that is often very stark. Not so here: it felt like home; it didn’t feel like a nursing home. Going through the different sitting rooms and dining areas, I noticed the personal touch given by the sisters, as well as the comfortable environment in which the residents were able to live, with quality furnishings, always-available amenities, and pleasant surroundings. And as you can see in the pictures below, the chapel is bigger than many churches I have visited!

Does this mean that nursing homes in the United States are somehow deficient? Certainly not! We can provide excellent care to our seniors during these crucial years of their lives. There is, however, a difference in the way the two cultures approach the issue of senior care, I think: I felt as if the residents here in Mexico were much more integrated into life, rather than what can sometimes be see as being set aside. This nursing home, or asilo de anciano, even treated us to a dance that some of the residents had been rehearsing for an upcoming fiesta! It was truly an active and lively place! Some moments with residents that will remain with me for a long time:

  • Alicia, who was very interested in where we were from and hearing about our background and work in the United States. A wonderful lady with a great sense of humor!
  • Refugia, who, according to the sister, is currently 117 years old (even checked with my professor to make sure I heard her correctly). While I do not doubt the veracity of her claim, the current verifiably oldest living person is 116. Whether or not the records are incorrect or Refugia simply does not have the records any longer does not matter: this wonderful lady was clearly full of life and blessed us with her presence!
  • Nina, with whom I had the longest conversation, all in Spanish of course (God bless her for her patience with my burgeoning Spanish skills). She had actually lived in the United States for many years, and had some comforting words as I continue to learn Spanish: “When I came to the U.S., I knew three words: hello, thank you, and hamburger. If I can learn English, then you will learn Spanish just fine. You will be a terrific priest!”

When we were done visiting residents, the staff did what any Mexican family would do when you are invited to their home: they fed us; in this case, some delicious deserts and cold drinks.

I am so thankful for my time at the nursing home. These sisters and residents have been a true blessing, and have provided a wonderful example of charity, compassion, and faith, an example that will help to inform and shape my future ministry. I truly think that both cultures can learn something from each other when it comes to senior care, combining the quality of medical care with the ideal that seniors are valuable, contributing members of society; in fact, I have already seen this integration take place in many places in the United States.

We must remember that it is our duty as Christians to uphold the dignity of all persons. That means remembering their worth and treating them as such, never forgetting the inherent dignity that each individual has at every stage of life. Please keep the residents, staff, and sisters in your prayers!

I have attached a few photos; there aren’t many since we were busy talking, and I haven’t included any with residents due to the need to preserve privacy.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros!

Aventuras: New Sights, Full Immersion, and Thank You

Now that I have arrived safely in Mexico City and gotten settled here at the seminary, started language courses, and become acquainted with the surrounding area, I thought I would provide a few “snapshots” of my first week and a half:

Lunes – 6 de Junio

It’s been a long day! My flight left Sacramento close to midnight, and I didn’t get any real sleep on the plane, so it’s been about 36 hours since I’ve had some good rest. All that said, this city is amazing! As soon as we got off the plane and into the car, we took in the sights and sounds of Mexico City. This summer holds a lot of fun, surprises, and growth! But first, sleep!

Martes – 7 de Junio

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I am now officially a student of La Universidad Pontificia de Mexico, or The Pontifical University of Mexico, which is about a 20 minute walk from the seminary. Here at the university we will take all of our language courses, after being assessed and sorted into appropriate classes. The campus is stunning – it seems to be a mix of modern university and old-style pueblo. The grounds are immaculate, and our new professors seem ready and eager to help us learn.

Viernes – 10 de Junio

Today is laundry day, but not just any laundry day – I ventured out to a large supermarket to buy laundry supplies with a few of the guys. It was a terrific chance to use my Spanish skills. All in all, a good trip. Well, until I realized that the “soap” I bought was actually fabric softener, realized of course after I had started the load! Oh well, back to the drawing board, and back to the store!

Sabado – 11 de Junio

13427730_10153839868369022_5875260542306651394_nToday we went to the Museo Nacional de Antropología, or National Museum of Anthropology. There was so much to learn, we felt like we hit only the very tip of the iceberg! Looking through the eyes of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Spanish, one gets a taste of the depth and breadth of the story of the Mexican people. If only we had about another week to spend here. I wouldn’t mind coming back to Mexico in the future just to study the history itself, visiting the ancient sites and getting to know the people even further. I am certainly looking forward to the various excursions we have planned this summer…

Domingo – 12 de Junio

Today, we visited la Parroquia de San Augustín, a beautiful church here in Tlalpan, the district of Mexico City that will be my home for the next three months. They have masses almost every hour on Sunday and they are ALL packed! We also had a chance to attend mass here three days ago, and the priest invited us back to the sacristy. Words can’t do it justice, so I will try to get the pictures posted soon!

Lunes – 13 de Junio

Today I started reading a book in Spanish called El Hobbit. Have any of you heard of it before?

Oh, and la venganza de Moctezuma is a real thing. (Edit 15 de Junio – So far 4 of us have encountered Señor Moctezuma. I got off fairly light so far, but prayers would be appreciated – some of the guys seem to have been hit hard).

Miercoles – 15 de Junio

Have I mentioned the weather here yet? It’s absolutely gorgeous. The temperatures are a bit on the warm side, but comfortable. Rain is frequent, usually in the late afternoons. My favorite part, however, are the nights: for the past several days we have had some pretty awesome thunderstorms, which are great for falling asleep to. The sounds of the weather at night, mixed with those of the city, have helped me adjust nicely to this new environment.

(Don’t tell my mom, but you should have seen how soaked we were the other day coming back from the bus after a short trip to OfficeMax – it was great!)


So, this first several days have been packed. They keep us busy – all told, by the end of the two months of classes, we will have had over 180 hours of coursework in language and culture. Then in August, I will be sent to a local parish to serve for one month, at the end of which Bishop Soto will come down to visit me and the other Sacramento guys. I can’t wait to take what I am learning here back to Sacramento to put to use in our diocese! I will try to organize and post pictures soon.

Before closing, I would like to say thank you to all of you who support your seminarians and priests. There are so many I could mention by name, but that’s simply not possible… My family and friends, especially my parents, whose love and encouragement have been constant… My home parish and diocese, especially my pastor and my Knights of Columbus council, without whose steadfast support I would not be here… And most of all, Almighty God for leading me and the other Sacramento seminarians forward in this wonderful life. To Him be the glory!

Please know that you are in all of our prayers daily. ¡Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros!

Aventuras en México: Time for Immersion!

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By Microstar [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In just a few days, I will say goodbye to the ol’ U.S.A. for three months while I travel to Mexico City for language immersion at Seminario Hispano de Santa Maria de Guadalupe. This time promises to be full of grace, adventure, and many surprises, although I will certainly miss everyone back home!

The trip will consist of two phases, essentially. During the first part of the trip, I will be living and studying at Seminario Hispano, taking classes in Spanish as well as Hispanic ministry. During this time, my brothers and I will have a chance to visit the sights and sounds of the city, as well as many landmarks throughout the area, such as the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the ancient pyramids of some of Mexico’s original inhabitants. The second phase of the trip will find each of us in local parishes, exercising our new-found (and hopefully refined), language skills as we work alongside priests and laypeople of the Archdiocese of Mexico in order to continue our learning and growth.

While I will keep my own personal travel  journal, I hope to share some of the experiences here as I discover more about, and immerse myself in, Mexican culture, beliefs, and language. When I am able to, I will post them here with the title “Aventuras,” providing a few “quick takes” of my travels and experiences in a place so rich with history, tradition, and faith. Feel free to drop me a line sometime, and know that you all remain in my prayers. In the mean time, please pray for my brother seminarians and me as we begin our adventure in Mexico.

¡Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros!

On the passing of Mother Angelica

“The sun and all the stars cannot compare with the beauty of one holy soul.” -Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA, founder of EWTN

Mother Angelica

If there is one thing I hope to express with this blog, with as much as I love astronomy, it is the above sentiment given by Mother Angelica; if there is a second, it is the fact that we are all on a journey to becoming that holy soul, a journey that has twists, turns, hills, and valleys. That’s OK. Mother Angelica experienced that in her own life too.

Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN, passed to her reward this Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. Today she was laid to rest in Alabama, her home for almost 60 years (you can read the homily here).

If it were not for Mother Angelica, I probably wouldn’t be a Catholic, much less in seminary studying to be a priest.

About the same time I was first considering the Church after stumbling into a Catholic bookstore, I also discovered the Eternal Word Television Network. The first show I saw on this strange Catholic T.V. network (who knew Catholics had bookstores, much less television stations!) was, you guessed it, Mother Angelica’s famous call-in program. By this time she was in reruns, as she had experienced a severe stroke three years prior to my discovery, but her points were no less relevant. In fact, I have found that the more I have watched her over the years, the more I see that she knew what she was talking about, and could foretell where our society was heading.

So I watched as much of this old nun on T.V. late at night as I could, as I didn’t want my roommates discovering my secret (let’s just say they weren’t fond of Catholics). Mother Angelica, in her straightforward, no-nonsense, and humorous manner taught me about the faith. Along with the catechism lessons I was receiving at the time, and with the many books given to me by the aforementioned bookstore, Mother Angelica imparted to me a foundation in the faith I will cherish to my last days. She was truly a Godsend in my life, and the lives of many others, teaching us about faith, hope, love, beauty, and the value, and necessity, of sacrifice. She taught us about trusting in God, radical obedience, and keeping our hearts open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. In other words, she taught us about being followers of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Mother Angelica, for so readily responding to the Lord’s call, and for following Him in all things, no matter what the cost. If, in my vocation and life, I can emulate your example even by a fraction, then it will have been fruitful. May you come you come to rest in the peace of Christ, and hear those words which we all long for: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter now into your Master’s house…” Thank you, Mother Angelica, for being that beautiful soul, for outshining the sun and all the stars.

Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen.

You can find more about Mother Angelica, including writings and video, at EWTN’s memorial site.

Kokeshi, Rope-making, and Creativity

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”
― Joss Whedon

I recently ran into a video of a Japanese doll maker, courtesy of ; it was a fascinating look at one man’s craft and the intricate work in which he engages with his hands. Take a look (and listen):Mental Floss

You can learn more about the Kokeshi dolls here at the original article.

This reminded me of a field trip I had with some of my students last year, when I had the privilege of accompanying several classes for an overnight excursion to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento. While at the Fort, we all role-played particular roles: the students were assigned specific backgrounds and identities, and had the chance to learn various trades that were prevalent at the time of John Sutter. The teachers and parents taught these trades, and for our part, we had various identities too: I was a Catholic (go figure!) immigrant from a large family who barely made it over Donnor Pass. In addition to my role, I was also a rope-maker, and taught the students how to make good (or not so good) quality rope. Somehow, I imagine my 19th century counterpart had just a little bit more skill than I did after my 30 minutes of instruction.

In any case, while we were there, I was talking with a dear friend, a fellow teacher, about the various trades in which we were employed at the Fort, and she made an astute observation: we were not made for sitting behind a desk; as human beings we need to be doing something. As teachers, we were blessed in the fact that we had active days, interacting with many people, even though there were certainly times that we had to sit at a desk and grade papers, but we both agreed that it would be very difficult to have a typical desk job.

The point, however, was this: no matter what our occupation, we must still be allowed to create in order to be truly fulfilled. Human beings are naturally creative creatures, whether we are participating in the creative aspect of procreation in union with our spouse and in concert with God, or if we are “creating” in terms of physical trade or crafts, or even more abstract ventures such as writing or art. to flourish, we must be allowed, and seek, to participate in the creative nature given to us by God.

Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and what is He? He is the creator, the one who brought our entire cosmos into being. If, then, we are made in His image and likeness, then we are naturally creative beings. Does this mean we create like God ex nihilo, out of nothing? No, of course not. But in some way, we still share in that creative nature: at fundamental levels such as procreation, or in more abstract forms such as art, music, writing, hobbies, and even in mundane everyday work. We are driven to creativity, in whatever form the Lord has blessed us. All throughout my life, I have seen evidence of this drive towards creativity: my dad was a florist, my grandfather was a frame-maker and craftsman. I myself enjoy writing, even if I am a bit verbose. Creativity is present in occupations and skills that one would not normally expect to be considered “creative”: my sister, a physical therapist, must examine patients and using her knowledge, form treatment plans that best allow her patients to thrive. A friend who is a massage therapist does the same, as does a close friend who is a nurse in the Navy. Teachers create all the time with their students. Priests must grapple with the mysteries of God, discerning how to present them to their people, begetting spiritual children, and  helping their communities grow closer to Him.

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I think He did a pretty good job… By BlaiseThirard (Own work) Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0

Some people find this share in the creative outside of their jobs. Hobbies are an excellent example, even some hobbies that some may consider more far-flung: my own interest in astronomy allows me to participate in the creative aspect of God both through observation and the consideration of particular astronomical questions. My grandfather continues to cultivate bonsai plants, and many of my friends create through music. Even at a more basic level, our primary vocations, whether single, married, ordained, or consecrated, draw us into the life of the Trinity, sharing in God’s love and in His creative force.

In whatever way we are called to be creative, we must take joy in our work, seeing the action of the Father, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, through the grace of the Son, present in our lives and vocation. How are you called to create?

On the Unknown, Trusting in the Lord, and Thanksgiving

As many of you know, I left seminary and withdrew from the Diocese last week. The decision was not easy, nor did it come lightly or without a lot of prayer and reflection over the last several months. My reasoning and the promptings of the Spirit which led to that decision are contained in the note I linked to above, so I won’t rehash everything here. I reiterate, however, that I am at peace, and feel joy about the coming days, months, and years as I discover the Lord’s plan for my life.

This time of transition though has me in a state of reflection, and rightly so, since I was in some sort of formation for almost five years, counting my time at Franciscan University and my leave of absence. A lot needs to be processed. Much of this reflection also looks ahead: finding a job, finding an apartment, living life in the world, so to speak. Wondering what, or who, the Lord will bring into my life. All of this brings me back to some favorite words I posted on Facebook the other day, by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

The unknown, especially in our society, remains difficult to grasp, and brings fear into the hearts of even the most resolute individuals. Goodness knows this is true for me, and I am only a Hobbit trying to find his way on this road that goes ever on! After all, we have access to the sum of human knowledge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the internet and personal gadgets throughout most of the world. We have become used to finding answers instantaneously.

But the unknown should not be something we are afraid of. The books and rooms that Rilke refers to contain great treasures. Some of them contain heartache, others contain joy, still others burst forth with peace, while some contain an unquiet that will startle our souls. But they are all great and fabulous treasures.

How do we open these books, or unlock these doors? By approaching the Great Unknown, the One who is all at once the Unknown and yet is closer to you or I than any human being could possibly be. We have fear of the unknown, but by relying on Him, by allowing Him to teach us the language of the book, or provide the key to open the the door, that fear vanishes; it must vanish, if we truly rely on Him.

I know, easier said than done…

I suppose my point is this: yes, life has unknowns, something that I have become quite cognizant of in the last two years. Those unknowns, however, need not frighten us. Their mystery is something to be lived and cherished, to be turned over, as everything else, to the One who walks with us, leads us, and even carries us through all our lives.

Well, enough of all that rambling! I also wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all those who have walked with me these past years, and who continue walking with me into the future. The grace that He has given me through you all has been a great gift in my life. I would list all of you here, but there are way too many to count, and remember! (I’ve tried… I just spent the last hour trying to list everyone. You should try it sometime for your own life. A very humbling experience, to be sure!) Just please continue to keep me in your prayers, especially for a job, new apartment, and another special intention. Know that you all remain in my prayers as well.

Pax et bonum.

Say Yes!

“The saints were not abnormal beings: cases to be studied by a ‘modernistic’ doctor. They were — they are — normal: of flesh, like yours. And they won.” -St. Josemaria Escriva

I often look at the example of the saints and wonder to myself, “How in the world can I live up to Francis? Or Benedict? Or St. Therese? Or Pope John Paul II? Or St. Josemaria? Or, or, or…” What I forget though, and I think many others forget this as well, is that the saints were normal people. Think about it: St. Jerome, one of the most prolific scripture scholars in the history of the Church, got up in the morning like anyone else, and probably had an established routine that consisted of little quirks and habits, just like we all do. In fact, knowing his personality, Jerome  probably wasn’t the most cheery fellow in those early hours. Mother Theresa rode in cars, trains, and planes. St. Francis walked on his own two feet, doing the literal work of rebuilding the Church with his own two hands. Blessed John Paul II dealt with aches, pains, and later in life tremendous suffering, just as so many other people do throughout the world. So what’s the difference?

They said yes. Yes to Grace. Yes to His plan. Yes to joy, abandonment, suffering, and the unremitting fulfillment that comes from following God alone. They weren’t perfect. Some were cantankerous. Others had bad habits. Still others were forgetful, or had other flaws that undoubtedly grated on peoples’ nerves. They came from all walks of life. They were normal people, just like you and me.

But along with all of that, they were open to the action of Grace in their lives.

So how do we find what we are supposed to say yes to in the first place? How do we follow Grace? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?! But you know what, even in my stubborn hardheadedness, I have found that it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Saying yes can be as simple as the kind act of opening a door, helping someone in need, doing some unseen act for the benefit of another. These smaller “yeses” will help when it comes time to give a bigger yes, a bigger commitment.

So meditate, ruminate, and mull over St. Josemaria’s words above. Remember that the saints were sinners just like you and me. Just as the saints were all sinners, flawed human beings, we all have the capacity to be saints. The road may be tough, but He is always there with us. I will leave you with some words from Fr. Paschal Cheline, a Benedictine monk and beloved mentor from Mount Angel Seminary:

“Get on the road, where you know it is (and you know the conclusion) and don’t get off. Now, you may rest a awhile, you may go to this side or that side a little bit, but don’t get off the road because you know that road is leading you where you want to go and where you should go. If you get off the road, which could happen, well, get back on! Don’t let your life fall apart! Grab your life and live it! I think that’s what God wants and I think that’s what holiness is.”

Pax et bonum.