Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gotta Have HOPE

On Saturday, November 24th, Dr. Michael J. Feder entered the beautiful kingdom of Heaven. There's no doubt in my mind that he's up there doing cartwheels, playing soccer, and hanging with all his new best friends — Jesus and all those extraordinary saints. He lived an amazing life down here, but he's truly livin' it up up there.

The phrase we've all been using during Coach Feder's fight against cancer is "Gotta Have HOPE." It's on bracelets, it's the name of the nonprofit organization the Feders founded, it's been hashtagged a gazillion times on Twitter, and I'm sure it's been doodled on quite a few notebooks, as well.

In a class at St. Lawrence on Sunday night, John-Mark Miravalle said something that will stick with me forever: "Hope says, 'The best is yet to come.'" This means that we didn't lose hope when Coach Feder passed away... That was when we had the most hope — hope that we are made for more than this life, hope that Coach Feder would be joining John Paul II and all the other saints up in heaven, hope that our true home isn't here.

When I talked to Annelise on the phone tonight, she put it perfectly: "It's a reminder that we weren't made for this world. We were made for our home in heaven." We will ALWAYS have hope because we know that Coach is now up spending eternity with the Big Man, having the best 50th birthday party of all time in heaven.

Without hope, we can do absolutely nothing. Without hope, we can't truly live. Without hope, we live in fear. John Paul II tells us, "Do no be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity." Hope is what allows us to break free from that mediocrity of this world. We have to hope and act. One of the greatest things Coach Feder ever taught me is this: "You'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take." This means that we've gotta have hope and act on that hope, or else we'll get nowhere in life. Coach Feder is a fantastic example of a genuine man who lived out the virtue of hope. And now that he's up in heaven, we can pray through his intercession so he can help us increase this virtue in our own lives.

I know for a fact that we will never ever ever forget Coach Feder and the life lessons he taught us. Because FEDstrong isn't just for this earth, and Coach didn't lose his battle. FEDstrong is FOREVER because we know that he'll spend forever in the VICTORY of heaven with our Lord.

Mike Feder, pray for us.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The End vs CARPE DIEM: Jesus' apocalyptic stories

Yesterday at Mass, we heard the Gospel about the end times coming. But when?? Well, that part we don't know.."But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32) 

Jesus doesn’t give us apocalyptic stories to scare us. He also doesn't tell them to us so that we spend our time trying to predict when He’s coming back… He tells us these stories so that we live everyday to be the person that we've always wanted to be. 

Fr. Mitch celebrated the 9 pm mass that I went to at St. Lawrence last night. His homily really hit me: When Jesus goes apocalyptic, He is not just forwarding the apocalyptic story. He is fulfilling the story.  Jesus is the apocalypse.  He is the unveiling of all things as they really are... There is a point of no return for each one of us, a point where we either become the person we always wanted to become or we don't.”

In Jesus Christ, we are able to see ourselves how we REALLY are. And there is that point of no return. When we've done what we've done, and that's that. 

You know those things in life where we always say, "Yes. I'm totally doing this! ... tomorrow." What if there was no tomorrow? What if today was it? What would you do today? 

Carpe Diem. It means "seize the day." It's the idea that “Hey, TODAY is the day. Not tomorrow. Not two and a half weeks. Not 7 months. TODAY.” And finally getting down to actually becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. As Pope John Paul II said it: "The future starts today, not tomorrow."

Today is your day. 
If you need to forgive someone, do it.
If you need to call someone and tell them you love them, do it.
If you need to reach out to someone to repair are fading friendship, do it. 
It's all up to you. 

Bob Goff, author of Love Does, put it perfectly: "Each of us gets to decide every time whether to lean in or step back—to say yes, ignore it, or tell God why he has the wrong person." God definitely doesn't have the wrong person... He wants you. He wants you and I to be the people that he created us to be. To say yes and become the person that we've always wanted to be. 

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” –St. Catherine of Siena. Let’s freaking set this world ABLAZE. Can you imagine how awesome it would be if Christ came back here to a flaming earth (in a good way!). If every single person here accepted the mission given to them by Christ, He would come back and this place would be like a huge Easy Bake oven that went up in flames…

So, hey, we’re here. Let's live everyday like it could be our last, and become the people that we've always wanted to be. 

Carpe Diem. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The CHURCH is home.

According to the Weather app on my phone, this morning it was 19 degrees. Awesome. So I was freezing my face off walking back from class, and decided to stop in at St. Lawrence for some prayer time before the rest of my day. I take a step into the chapel, and I instantly start to warm up. My ears are no longer frost-bitten. I forget about all the problems, all the drama, all the stress outside those doors. 

So that got me thinking about how stinkin' awesome our Catholic Church is. It's ALWAYS here for us when we need to escape the craziness, pressure, drama, and lamesauce of the outside world. Jesus offers us peace, warmth (literally when it's FREEZING outside), love, comfort, hope, and a place to call HOME. 

So maybe you're feeling a little down or a little stressed. Maybe just take a couple minutes and go find a chapel to sit in and pray. Super chill. Then you can take that peace you find in the Catholic Church back out into the crazy world we live in. 


The Church is always open. There's always a place to call home. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

KOINONIA — Just Do It.

Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity of going on the Koinonia retreat through the St. Lawrence Center at KU. For weeks I had been getting calls from people at St. Lawrence, telling me how stinkin' great it was and how I just HAD to go. So I figured, "what the heck, why not?" And since Koinonia means "community" in Greek, I figured I'd make quite a few new friends form the SLC community, and I mean, who doesn't like making new friends??

So I can't say too much about the retreat or I'll blow all the surprises (and trust me, it'll be way more exciting if you go on SLK17 and don't know the surprises). What I will tell you is that the weekend is full of great talks, prayer time, sacraments, deepening your faith, lots of laughter, singing, dancing, feelin' 22, and so many new friends that you'll spend hours after the retreat trying to friend them all on Facebook. It's pretty fantastic.

The coolest thing that I've noticed about going on retreats is that everybody gets something different out of them. God plans out those retreats like a champ. Everyone is there for a reason. Everyone takes something away from the weekend that might be different from anyone else. Everyone experiences Christ's love in a different way.

Here's what I took away from the amazing Koinonia weekend: That Taylor Swift's music isn't actually that bad... Kidding. This is true, but I took away something a little more deep from the weekend, also. :)

You know that Nike slogan, "Just do it"? THAT is the message that I got from this weekend. After numerous talks from the SLK16 team, God started connecting some things in my head and in my heart that made me realize what I need to do to step up my faith life. And that is that I can't just be a "lukewarm" Catholic. I can't make excuses for not praying, for not showing love to every person I come in contact with, for not putting everything I've got into my faith life.

At some point on SLK16, someone said something along the lines of "YOU are the only thing holding you back from becoming a saint." That definitely hit me. Trying to blame the lukewarmness of my faith on stress, schoolwork, other people, or anything else isn't even worth it because, in the end, it is ME who holding myself back.

Christ is right there. Watching. Waiting. Wanting me to INVITE Him into my life. I can say that I don't have time, that I'm too busy... But He became human to die for me... I think I can give up a few minutes a day to talk with him. This might be a morning where I just want to hit the snooze button one more time, but instead I get up to say Morning Prayer before class. It's the little things. I've gotta just do it.

So if you're thinking about going on SLK17 in the Spring, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. Christ has an amazing experience and an unique message waiting for YOU.

Invite Him in.


St. Padre Pio, pray for us.