What is man? – guest post

As I was pulling into my neighborhood tonight, I was struck by how deserted my street looked. Granted, it was just a little past midnight, and my neighbors were asleep. Something about the desolation of my street was still off putting. Then I realized it was because it didn’t match the radiance of the moon light tonight.

 You see, this full moon is special because it is the last of 3 supermoons we’ve had this summer. Supermoons are extraordinary events in and of themselves, but this one was especially wonderful because the moon looked positively alive. As if it could breathe and move and dance. Maybe it’s because I’ve been anxiously anticipating this night for two weeks. Maybe it’s because my heart is already filled with joy after spending time with dear friends. Whatever the case, as I pulled into my driveway, the moon seemed to beckon me, as if inviting me to keep her company, just for a little while. Though I was tired and it was late, I just had to oblige her kind request because it would have been a shame not to be an audience to the dazzling show she was giving. Here she was, shining and vibrant, with no one to adore her lovely dance across the clear skies.PhotoGrid_1410374603044

 So I sat on the steps of my front porch and watched on with amazement and wonder. The night sky looked darker than usual because only the brightest stars could feature in her show. No clouds dared to hide her magnificence. As I sat there mesmerized and completely enjoying this silent conversation with her, my ears were made aware of the other audience members: crickets and cicadas. Even a wandering cat soon joined us. I smiled to myself as I heard the trees joining in the chorus with their soft applause as the wind danced through their leaves.

Then I had a thought. All around me creation was putting on this delightful show, and all I had to offer was my devoted admiration for the beauty of it all. I felt small and insignificant, but not in a bad way. I was reminded of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 8, in which the psalmist glorifies God  in His splendor and says, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” Who am I that God should grant the grace of this experience to me?  What have I done to deserve this heart-filling joy, this gift of adoring God’s creation around me? Looking at the moon, I could see God. Hearing the songs of the crickets and cicadas, I heard His voice. I felt His touch as the night breeze tickled my skin. Truly, God is everywhere, and His Spirit dwells in His creation. I am left simply and utterly awestruck and speechless when I reflect on His power.
The beginning verse of Tom Fettke’s Majesty and Glory of Your Name came to mind:

When I gaze into the night sky and see the works of Your fingers
The moon and stars suspended in space
Oh what is man that you are mindful of him?

If you have not heard this beautiful hymn, I encourage you to listen to this rendition of it.
Or simply read Psalm 8.
Or both.
Let the glory and splendor of His power fill you with wonder.

– Garcia


Human Hands and Human Eyes

“The affection a human heart bears for another lessens as it multiplies the objects of its love, just as a river loses its fullness the more it divides itself into little streams. But with God there is no decrease of love with the increase of objects loved, any more than a voice loses its strength because a thousand ears hear it. Each human heart can break His Sacred Heart all over again; each soul has within itself the potentiality of another crucifixion. No one can love as much as Our Lord; no one therefore can suffer as much.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

I could write this post about a great many people in my life, most especially my parents. But my parents are the very fiber of my being, so my existence speaks to their importance, both in my life and in the way God affects people through them. 

If you had told me ten years ago what my life would be like today, I don’t think I would have believed you. That’s a cliche idea…people say it all the time. But really, the wonders of God know no bounds. He works in the smallest and simplest of ways, moving our hearts with human hands and human eyes. I recently started my first job out of school, and it’s not something I ever guessed I would be doing, but when Lisa (my boss) called me to talk about the position, I felt my heart glow. She was sincere and open and so filled with a charitable heart. Communicating as a human being, interacting in a sincere way with someone matters so much more to me than the substance of what’s being done or discussed, and she embodies living in that way. She always has time in her day for what every one around her needs. She empathizes without a thought. I’ve never met someone who can be with people where they are better than Lisa can. It’s pretty near impossible to be in a bad mood around someone who is so positive and joyful. 

I am more than happy to go into work each day because I know that even if my day has begun unpleasantly, Lisa will come in, smiling and ready to work (even if her five year old decided midnight was just the right time to begin her day). Lisa doesn’t let how she’s feeling affect the way she treats the people around her. She’s so Christ-like that I can’t help but feel Christ’s joy when she’s around. God just continues to bless me, doesn’t He? (Did I mention I’m marrying my best friend two weeks from tomorrow? Yeah, blessings on blessings.) I love how God uses us as instruments to show His love and pour out His grace. Life is so great!!! 

I know that working with Lisa right now is right because it makes me feel closer to Christ every day, and that’s what every good thing in your life should do. She inspires me to be all things for all people, to be Christ for others in every moment of my life, to live a joy observed! Praise be to God! Alleluia! 

I hadn’t mentioned yet that she’s a mother of two beautiful girls, which is of course her most important role! For your viewing pleasure, here is an absolutely adorable picture of Lisa’s absolutely adorable family:


Getting to This

My friend Carolina sent me an interview with Pope Francis discussing marriage. Much of it struck me, but in particular this quote:

“And this is it, getting to this: making each other grow together, the one for the other. And the children will have this heritage to have had a father and a mother who grew up together, becoming – through one another – more man and more woman!”

The reason it struck me is that my relationship with Tim has been such an opportunity to grow in holiness, for us to grow together, and our children will certainly have that heritage. My friend, Derek, recently wrote a really great post on humility. It’s something I struggle with as well, and I was so certain before meeting Tim that I was mature and ready for a profound relationship, that being in a relationship centered around Christ, so long as the man I was with was the right man, would just be intuitive to me. Maybe the occasional struggle and strife, but they’d be so little they wouldn’t really matter, right? If you’re with the love of your life, nothing can rock the boat certainly. Needless to say, I was offered a little (or one could say rather large) slice of humble pie, as Derek would say. It has been so much harder…and so much better than I ever thought it would be. Learning to communicate with someone in a way that expresses things that might be hard for you to express and that takes first and foremost the other into account has been so much more of a struggle for me than I ever thought it would be. I’ve always been good at communicating, so pridefully I assumed I’d be just awesome at communicating with someone I loved deeply. Again, humble pie. I’m so grateful to you, Sweet Creator, for this opportunity to grow with Tim. Thanks for the humble pie.

I’m slowly learning that communicating isn’t just about listening and being able to put things into a nice little word package. It’s about letting yourself be vulnerable, coming to understand that someone’s else’s heart can be as fragile as yours, discovering that understanding is more important than being understood.

I don’t remember the exact moment when it struck me that my parents are just like me, but I remember it quite revolutionized my thinking. I realized that they’re still growing and searching and that they probably feel a whole like they did when they were 25. The reality of my relationship with Tim is reminding of this fact. We’re helping each other grow now and that isn’t going to stop once we start having gray hair (or no hair in the case of Tim) and a gaggle of children and a house and goats and probably even when we have grand-kids. We’ll still feel lost sometimes; we’ll still be learning patience and humility, and we’ll probably still feel a whole lot like we do right now – excited and joyful and maybe a little scared sometimes. Papa Francis is just so right – what a gift to be able to pass on to your children that you grew up together, that you learned what it means to be a woman and a man of God from one another, through the struggles and the beauty! What a gift to be able to say to your children that your husband helps make you more of a woman every day.

I am so filled with joy to have the opportunity to become more of a woman and more of the woman God calls me to be through the lovely vocation of marriage and through God’s beautiful instrument, Tim. May He lead us to holiness through one another and through His Son!


Little Life

Hi, my name is Maria. I am a daughter of God, created in His most beautiful image, and in exactly five weeks, I am marrying my best friend. My life revolves around my Roman Catholic faith and my deep love of Christ, and I intend on using this medium as a means of reflecting on spiritual and theological topics which are of interest to me and as a means of working out the reality of my life in the context of seeking fervently to do the will of God.

This is my first real attempt at maintaining a blog, so bear with me if it takes me a while to get comfortable.

I thought it would be nice to write about the little life which recently found its way into mine. So some days ago, Tim (Husband-to-Be) stumbled across a baby squirrel on his way to work. She was dying and abandoned, cold and stiff. We have since discussed with both one another and many others in our life the moral obligations pertaining to finding a small creature of God, dying, alone, and unable to sustain or protect itself. Regardless of whatever moral obligation there may be, I am very glad Tim chose to turn around and pick her up!

He put her in his shirt to warm her while he worked. When I awoke to a picture of her, I just had to come see her. I have always been a Franciscan at heart (my mother refers to me as her little Francisca), and I am very grateful to my Sweet Creator for endowing me with such a sensitivity in so far as it involves animals.

Anyway, we decided to name her Penelope. We wanted something that would be related to Ithaca, where we found her. Penelope and Odysseus live in Ithaca, thus Penelope. She has since then made it to the top of Dix Mountain in the Adirondacks, along with our precious pup, Molly!

Peace be with you all!