I read this on a board in a local youth ministry building. It truly touched my heart and I thought who doesn’t know you are there? Why do you feel like no one knows your there? I just want to say I know you are there. To every student I have I want you to know that I know you are here. If anyone ever made you feel like you were not there, not known, not understood, overlooked, or less than a person, please know that you are noticed, accepted, loved, and wanted in this world. God made you for a reason part of that reason is to be loved and give love. I want you to know that God knows you are there and you are loved.
Yesterday was my first class back in my new course. I truly enjoy reading, learning, processing, and then sharing in an open forum with my classmates. We discussed rules, morals, ethics, spirituality and so much more. We discussed how people get caught up in the rules and forget the bigger picture. How everything should lead us back to the example of Jesus Christ in the scriptures. That our choices not only effect our lives but others as well. When we love someone we want to please them. As children we wanted to please our parents, and hopefully we still want to. As children of God we want to please our heavenly father by following his example of unconditional love. We don’t want to follow the rules because they are rules. We want to labor with Jesus Christ in the vineyards of our own lives, sowing the seeds of his good news. Praying that the love we are given by God will fill our lives and we in turn can love others as fully as we are loved.
Being Christ like is not just following the rules and looking like Jesus Christ, but following his life, example, and becoming his disciples in the world today.
How do you see this picture? Do you see it as a beautiful blue sky with a cotton pulled cloud lightly floating above your head? Do you see it as a potential rain cloud that will soon ruin a beautiful day? Do you simply see it as no big deal?
We all come from different experiences, backgrounds, and mindsets. The other day in class a student presented what I perceived as a breathtaking picture of a sunset. One student said, “It’s just a sunset.” I was blown away. I asked him if he saw the beauty in the picture. He did not. It’s so easy to only see from our own perspective, that is how we see 24 hours a day. However, we need to realize people have come from so many different places, people, families, and ideas. To feel true compassion for others we must learn to walk outside of ourselves and start to understand their position in life. Are you ready to see from a different perspective? Take the time to do this and you will understand your fellow man better.
So, how do you see it?
Next semester I will be teaching a course to my juniors, Christian Morality. I joke each year with the parents, “How am I supposed to teach your teenage children morality?” I am currently taking a Master’s level class, “Christian Spirituality, Morality, and Ethics.” It has really enlightened me about this subject. It turns out I am not that far off base with my initial reaction to how I am to teach teens about morality. Our morality, deliberately choosing right or wrong, is based on our experiences, knowledge, and influence from others (people, family, and religion).
One of the questions I had to answer was what formed my morality. I really had to ponder this question. I decided that my upbringing by two parents who lived a very loving, and Christ like life, along with raising me in the Catholic Church, which means I went to church weekly, went to a Catholic School, and prayed daily with my family, and alone, all influenced my morality. The sacrament of Reconciliation also influenced my choices to do right or wrong. As a child it probably influenced me out of fear of punishment to do the right thing. But when I think back to moral dilemmas they were based more on the example that was set by my parents. My parents were loving to one another, they were kind, not sarcastic or negative. They gave to charities, they talked about God, prayer, and lived a life that was authentically Christ like. I wanted to be like my parents.
Another huge influence on my morality was and still is my personal relationship with God. I have known God since I was a little girl. I have talked, and walked with him daily my entire life. I always knew if I choose wrong he would take me back. But I did not like to tempt that idea by doing wrong. As a child I wanted to please him. As an adult I not only want to please him I want to give others the love he has given me. To make morally bad choices means that I will hurt people and I have no desire to hurt others.
I am so thankful that God chose my parents for me. I will be eternally grateful for being raised in the Catholic Church and having the opportunity to know, serve, and love God from a young age. I believe these are the elements that have formed my morality. What do you think formed your morality?
The purpose of attending church weekly should not be simply to fulfill an obligation to a rule. Yes, there is a rule, in the ten commandments, to keep holy the Sabbath. However, the real purpose of attending church weekly is to aid your growth in your relationship with God, and in turn with humanity and creation. Church is filled with people who are searching for God’s graces, and when they have acknowledged those graces they share them with others. Church is filled with different types of prayer to bring one closer to God.
Today, take the time to pick some flowers for your wife, girlfriend, mom, sister, grandmother, or a good friend. If you can’t pick any, spend a few dollars and surprise someone you love with a beautiful bouquet. The colors, fragrance, and thoughtfulness will make someone you care about happy today!
Yesterday, a few of my students presented their creative prayers. I am so proud of them. They have really thought through some of these prayers. One took the time to hand craft pearls that had little tags for each person to write their unique talent on and put in a sea clam. He talked about how it takes a long time to become a pearl. Another person used a cool board, tiny clothes pins, and the idea of posting, like the students do on social media, our thanks to
God for the blessings in our lives. However, the one that touched my heart the most so far was not one that looked crafty, sparkly, or very prepared. She asked that everyone write a single word on a piece of paper. She then exchanged the papers and everyone created a prayer based on that word. She then said, it is not always easy to talk to God. It’s difficult to start the conversation. Using these different words is like having a conversation starter. What touched me was how honest she was when she said, “It’s not always easy to talk to God.” I guess because I have always had a close relationship with God I take for granted how easy it is to talk to God about anything. My student reminded me that we are all in different places on our personal journeys of faith. I, as a theology teacher, and a child of God, need to remember this. I don’t just teach my students, they teach me as well.
One of the best parts of being a parent is attending my children’s sporting events. My daughter made the JV and Varsity soccer team at her high school. We have already attended a handful of her games. My two younger boys are running cross country. I truly enjoy watching my children do their best in all aspects of their lives. They enjoy sports so much so that it is a joy to watch them. It is an honor to witness them accept challenges, face adversity, and not back down.
Amazing lessons can be learned on a team, from the coach, as well as from experience of playing a sport to the best of your ability.
Transforming our will to the will of God will bring each of us eternal happiness.
You may be wondering how that works… If we are truly made in the image and likeness of God for a purpose to be in relationship with ourselves, others, creation, and God then it only makes sense that we fulfill the purpose of our existence. God is love so he wants nothing but goodness, and love for our lives. If we can give our lives over to the purpose for which it was originally created then it serves to reason that we would be happy.
Unfortunately, we are a bunch of control freaks that don’t want to give our will over to God’s will, or plan for us. People have said it a million times, “if you want to hear God laugh then tell him your plans.” God has a purpose for our lives and when we open our hearts, minds, spirit, and lives to following that purpose then both “wills” align and everything flows into place.
Here is your call to action; pray, listen, and search for God’s will, then let it become the will of your life. When you are leading your life with purpose you will find eternal happiness.