YOU are loved

*Self-esteem booster alert*

The God of the entire universe specifically and uniquely created you. And then He died for you, literally giving His Body and Blood for you.

“Take and eat; this is my body.” -Matthew 26:26

“Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” -Matthew 26:27-28

Jesus freely laid His life down for us as a perfect, spotless sacrifice, as proof of God’s love for us.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -John 15:13

This doesn’t mean that life is going to go perfectly, but it does mean that life is worth leaving, and nobody else’s opinion of us matters. God’s opinion is the only one that matters, and He loves us with the most pure love in the world.

And the funny thing is, the big thing nowadays that we all are taught in public school is “self-esteem,” which is all about our own evaluation of our worth. That doesn’t always work, does it? “Self-esteem” is not the problem, but it definitely is not the answer: one of the most sad statistics I know of is how much the suicide rate of teens has been increasing, with it increasing at least 3 times since the 1950s. Nowadays, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

What’s awesome about God (among other things) is that He loves us unconditionally. He doesn’t love us because we are good at sports or good looking or popular or Asian or anything. He loves us all, straight or gay, fit or crippled. Unconditionally. Just for being His child, being His creation. You could have just done the worst thing in the world, and He still loves you. And you still have a chance at salvation if you repent. How about that? Seems even more than fair to me. Sounds like love.

“You formed my inmost being;

you knit me in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, so wonderfully you made me;

wonderful are your works!

My very self you knew;

my bones were not hidden from you,

When I was being made in secret,

fashioned as in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes foresaw my actions;

in your book all are written down;

my days were shaped, before one came to be.”

-Psalm 139:13-16

Looking for love? Start by looking up.

No Matter Who You Are

Jesus gave His life for you. YOU.

Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you did, Jesus still loves you. (bonus  points if you caught that)

When it comes down to it, no matter who you are, whether the worst sinner or nearly sinless, Jesus died for you so that you might have a chance at repentance, Baptism, and entrance into His Church. ..Oh yea, and salvation! The first step is recognition of the love of Jesus and then repenting for having turned against Him. The classic example is of the thief who was crucified right next to Jesus and repented in His last moments. Jesus promised him that he would soon be in heaven with Him! As hard as the Christian life might be, a critical thing to salvation is repentance for our sins, as Jesus preached. So remember today to strive for the Kingdom at all times, but if you mess up, you’re still just a moment away from the infinite grace and mercy of God. God is always ready to forgive us, as we see from the parable of the prodigal son and of course in Jesus’ passion and cross. Plus, there’s this sweet deal that Jesus gave us called confession.

YOU Were Made for Greatness!

It is sad that many Catholics today seem to think that they can’t be saints. It is commonly assumed that everyday people can’t be SAINTS. To be a saint, most think, you’d have to spend 5 hours of the day in prayer (and literally talking with God), never sin, live like a hermit, become a priest or nun, never smile or have fun, etc. I could go on.

This is such a major misconception! This is assuming that we all are supposed to become the same– some sort of super pious, strict, lonely, old man/woman who has no friends. Again, this is a major major misconception, that we can see is false by looking at examples of actual canonized saints.

God created us all uniquely. Everyone is different, and this is good! And because of this, we all should have different paths, different lifestyles! But our uniqueness doesn’t mean that we can’t become saints. We are all made to become saints, becoming the unique saint that we were all made to be!

The point is that becoming a saint does not mean being someone else but rather becoming fully who you were made to be! (what Matthew Kelly likes to call the best-version-of-yourself)

We do this by coming to know and believe in God and His son Jesus Christ, to know of His love for us and all people. Then we must follow Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, sharing our joy and living charitably in all that we do. Very very regular people become saints. We all can! We must strive to overcome sin and truly put God first in our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go off to a convent or monastery or change the world.. check out these modern day saints that show us just how real, how attainable sainthood is!

Blessed Chiara Luce Badano

Blessed Chiara Luce, from Italy, died in 1990 at the age of 18, after a battle with cancer for about two years. Can you believe that? She only lived to be 18 and Pope Benedict has already beatified her! What made her a saint was mostly her joy that she shared with others. Even as she was in the hospital in the last year of her life, she looked for ways to cheer up HER visitors. She had a very strong faith and devotion to Jesus from a young age and even offered up her pain for Jesus. But she said that she didn’t want anyone crying when she died because she said that’s when she’d get to be with Jesus.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pier Giorgio is another Italian youth, who died in 1925 at the age of 24. He was active in His faith, was very charitable with what he had, and really enjoyed mountain climbing, operas, and all sorts of normal things. He died from polio, which he probably got from the poor… And after his death it was the poor, the very people that he cared for, who brought his cause for canonization to the Archbishop of Turin! How cool is that!

These are a couple of special saints because they lived such short lives but they lived their lives so well, with such passion and care for others because of their love for Jesus.

Do your thing, serve God, become a saint!

A Love Story

You are loved. You are loved more than you could ever know, whether you realize it or not. The Lord of everything, the God who created the heavens and earth, created YOU out of selfless love. He doesn’t need you. He doesn’t need anything, He is God. But He gave you life, like a Father, so that you could come to love Him in return, so that you could be like “brothers and sisters” to Him. He is gentle, though, He doesn’t force anyone to do what He wants them to do- we have free will, which allows us to love and do the Father’s will. He doesn’t even announce His presence anywhere but in our hearts, in our souls, and even there, He whispers. Even if the very earth is crumbling, in all of the travesties of life, even if we are martyred all alone, He won’t leave us. He asks us to be courageous, to live lives of faith, of hope, of love. He asks us to strive for a relationship with Him. We mess up, though. We often do not live as God created us to, choosing to sin- rejecting God. But as well as we live as children of God in this life, there is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation without the gift of the incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, God becoming a mere human, who bore all of our sins by dying on that cross about 2000 years ago. He died so that even the most hardened sinners would still have the opportunity to repent for their sins and still achieve salvation, like the thief crucified next to Him at Calvary. We all have that opportunity of everlasting life, a return to how we were supposed to live, if we believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, and strive to live as children of God to the best of our abilities, strengthened and nourished by the gifts that Jesus gave us, namely the Church and the sacraments- baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, and finally the Eucharist in mass, where we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord who died for us as a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.

Live joyfully, beloved! Our Father, God, loves us more than we could ever imagine. We are all children of God.

Why Priesthood? Interview a Seminarian: John

Today is the last day of the “Interview a Seminarian” series!

Today we get to hear from John. One of the main points of emphasis with John was how he is so excited to potentially serve his parish, and all of the people of the Church. He is so excited to be there for others and follow Jesus’ example of laying down His life for His people.