Monday, February 25, 2013

Open my eyes, Lord.

It's no secret: I have some serious vision problems. 

Through my eyes, anything that's more than 5 feet away from my face is blurry. It's a bit of a problem. So I wear contacts. But right now, I'm working on getting a new pair of glasses. They're kind of important.

When I don't have my glasses on or contacts in, I'm totally out of it. Putting on a pair of glasses gives a me a new perspective. It makes everything more clear. It gets me in the zone.

But do you know my favorite zone to be in? The spiritual zone. I flippin' love this zone. I wish we were in the spiritual zone all the time. And the best news is... WE CAN BE. 

Fr. Curtis gave a homily yesterday that was all about that — those spiritual zones or "spiritual peaks." He was saying how in the gospel, we saw Jesus's transfiguration... from the ordinary to the extraordinary. And that's exactly how our lives can be too. If we put ourselves in a Christ-filled atmosphere (setting aside time for prayer, attending a retreat, going to daily mass, going to a great Catholic camp, etc), God can transform the ordinary in our lives into the extraordinary, where we can experience "spiritual peaks." 

Getting in these spiritual zones or peaks is all about our preparation, and God's grace. We have to meet Him half way by putting ourselves in a place to receive the grace, mercy and love God has for us. It's just like putting on a pair of glasses. Once you put them on, you can see so much more. 

It makes me think of that praise and worship song: "Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see Your face. Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see." 

Unfortunately, my glasses aren't really going to help me see Christ. We have to open our HEARTS to see our Lord, and experience all of the extraordinary things He has in store for us.

Open our eyes, Lord. Help us to see Your face.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MASS and KU Basketball

As KU students, Jayhawk basketball is a good portion of what we live for this time of year. The tradition, the suspense, the excitement... We're all in.

One of the craziest traditions we have at KU is camping at Allen Fieldhouse for basketball games. Every day leading up to basketball games, we all get in our camping groups, sign up for time slots on big Google Calendar spreadsheets, and devote hours and hours everyday to camping out in Allen Fieldhouse just so we can get in and get a good seat. We'd do just about anything to get into the building.

When game-day finally arrives,  everyone is ready to go. We're all decked out in our KU gear — sporting our basketball jerseys, reppin' our crimson and blue necklaces, many girls have a sunflower in their hair, and dozens of "punny"basketball signs are lifted enthusiastically into the air, trying to catch the camera's attention. Everyone is fully engaged.

Of course, our favorite parts of the games are when Ben McLemore slams in a crazy dunk or when Jeff Withey pulls out a huge block. The crowd goes CRAZY with emotion. Jumping up in excitement, stomping our feet, sitting down and standing back up to distract the other team's free throw shooter, and eventually waving the wheat. Everything we do has a purpose, and we do it all with insane enthusiasm.

Kansas basketball games are a huge deal here. We love 'em, we get prepared for 'em, and we thrive in the CRAZY atmosphere of Allen Fieldhouse.

But there's an event that's even more FANTASTIC, more exciting, more meaningful, and more important than KU basketball games... The holy sacrifice of the Mass.

What if we prepared for mass and were as enthusiastic about mass as we are for Kansas basketball games? Let's take a look at this...

If we all truly understood just how beautiful, precious, and amazing the Mass is, we would be camping out in front of the church days in advance, just to get inside to be with our Lord. We would be dressed in our nicest clothes to show our love and respect for our Savior who's waiting inside for us. We would actually mean everything that we say and do during the Mass. And we would be SO prepared, mentally and spiritually, by the time we got in there to be with and receive Jesus.

Wouldn't that be crazy awesome??? I'm gonna answer my own question: Yeah, it would.

We might not go at it quite like that, but there are definitely a few ways that we can focus on changing our approach about Mass. Here are a few things we can all work on so we can get the most out of the Mass:

1. Check out the readings BEFORE going to Mass.
If we know what's going to be read, we'll be more like to pay attention, instead of dozing off.

2. Do some kind of studying about the Gospel before Mass
Mark Hart's "Beyond Words" videos on are super helpful in better understanding the Gospel reading and learning how exactly it relates to our lives today.

3. Bring your joys, intentions, and sacrifices to the altar at Mass with you
There's that part of the Mass when the priest says, "Pray, my brothers and sisters, that OUR sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father." OUR sacrifice. Not just the priest's. All of our sacrifices. Christ wants us to bring all our joys, all our sorrows, all our everyyyything up to the altar, and turn it over to Him.

4. Dress to impress (Jesus).
I know that I'm terrible at this, and really need to work on it... Jesus is a King, in fact, He's THE King. And we should definitely try to look our best for our King. Classy and modest (because modesty is hottesty).

5. Understand and actually mean what we say and do.
There is SO much awesomeness packed into the mass, and there are so many things we say and do. All of these things have meaning — even every time we stand up, sit down, kneel, or anything... It's all for a reason. We can all work on being enthusiastic about everything we say and do, and actually meaning the prayers we say and the songs we sing.

Hopefully, if we all put some of these things into practice, we can turn our parishes and campus centers into places full of teenagers who are FIRED UP about going to mass and getting involved. And if you really wanted to camp out all week for a spot at mass, you'd be my hero.

(Wouldya look at that, it even rhymes... sort of.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Short quotes... BIG IDEAS.

During the month of January, I've been keeping a list of some fantastic quotes I've come across. Some are hilarious, some are super deep, but they're all inspiring and can teach us a lot. So here's the list I've compiled. Enjoy them, share them, live them. :)

"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness."
— Therese of Lisieux

"Want to see a miracle? Plant a world of love heartdeep in a person's life. Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens." — Max Lucado

"Don't love people the way that Hallmark says to love people; love them linebacker style, in a full contact way." — Bob Goff, Love Does

"We are reminded that love does things. It writes letters and gets on a plane. It orders pizza and jumps in a lake. It hugs and prays and cries and sings." — Bob Goff, Love Does

"Feel your heart being moved and do something about it." — Fr. Scott at Mass at SJA

"Saints are not freaks or exceptions. They are the standard operating model for human beings." —Dr. Peter Kreeft

"Transforming people one at a time is at the heart of God's plan for the world." —Matthew Kelly, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic

"Every family needs a cornerstone of prayer to pray for the family, now and in the future... In each generation, each family needs at least one of these men and women of faithful prayer to guide and protect it." —Matthew Kelly, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic

"To love another person is to see the face of God." —Les Miserables

"God loves us too much to compromise on our happiness." —Leah Darrow

"Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love. How you lived, how you died. Love and sacrifice." — for KING & COUNTRY

"The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness." —Pope Benedict XVI