Wednesday, August 10, 2016
SPIRITUS Team 8 begins arriving this weekend and Brian, Brianna, myself and the staff are preparing for their arrivals. It's hard to put into words the life that this building fills with when we are all together, it truly is an incredible thing to behold! I can't wait for retreat season to begin and to serve our church in such a beautiful and necessary way. Please keep us in your prayers!
Jesus, we trust in You! Come, Holy Spirit!
Friday, May 6, 2016
King David was an amazing man of God; He fought for God, slayed giants for Him, and united the Lord’s people to Him. All this said, I say that His most manly accomplishment was writing the psalms and pouring out his heart for the Lord and growing in relationship with Him. Some of my favorite shows the absolute vulnerability he had with the Lord. We can unite our souls with his sorrows and joys when finding forgiveness and falling deeply in love with the Lord when praying with the psalms! He also teaches us that we can speak and even sing what is going on in our souls and be vulnerable with the Lord. As for myself, I find I connect through praise and worship and with songs of praise as well. I can pour out my pain or joy through the words and notes that with the Holy Spirit become a beautiful prayer of the heart. Over the past couple of years I have had many opportunities to develop and fall deeply in love with the Holy Spirit by leading and even on my own, doing praise and worship. SPIRITUS has given me both the time and helped motivate me to become a better musician and lover of the Lord by discovering this Charism that the Lord has given me!
One of my favorite things about Wisconsin is simply being surrounded by so much beauty. I love the outdoors, and I really enjoy spending our prudent days of self-care exploring the beauty all around us. Some of my teammates and I love hiking, so we have gone over to places like High Cliff quite a few times to adventure through the woods. Or other times some of us took the trip over to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, another stunning area of Wisconsin. Or I’m even recalling the nights that we spent at Camp Tekakwitha back in August, where I could look up at the sky and see more stars than I’ve ever seen before in my life.
We are surrounded by all these breathtaking masterpieces created by God, and we so often take these little things for granted, everyday wonders like the sunset that go unnoticed. But God is so present in this beauty, and a lot of the time it is by exploring His incredible creation I feel closest to Him. Because this beauty truly reflects His glory. No matter how many times I see the sunset, no matter how many times I look up at the stars or watch the snow fall all around me, God never ceases to impress me. To bring my attention to these simple yet so profound works of art because He knows they make me smile. In the middle of a hike, I often take a minute and pause just to listen to the silence, hearing nothing but the birds or the rustling leaves, a symphony so beautiful because it was written by God Himself. Or when I get to the place with the perfect view, I just stop and soak it all in. And as I feel the wind rushing around me, hear Him whisper in it “See all this that I created? You are even more precious to me.” Nothing can compare to the feelings of amazement and wonder, and all that overflows me in these moments is gratitude to God for such beauty and for the opportunities to meet Him in His creation. Because throughout my time with Spiritus, I have certainly encountered God through the students on retreats, through prayer, and through my teammates, but another way that I am increasingly coming to experience Him is by just going outside and appreciating the nature around me. And something as simple as that is a prayer in itself.
When you going SPIRITUS there are a lot of things that we as team members get, clothes and a water bottle and a community that becomes family, but the one thing you do not get is a job description. When I signed up to join a core of young adult retreat ministers I had and idea what that meant, but I have never been much of a person for big moments, I really prefer to be behind the scenes. So the spot light of witnessing on retreat ministry has really been pushing me out of my comfort zone. Every big moment on retreat is a real struggle for me, and so the idea of getting up and talking in front of an entire congregation to spread the mission sounded kind of mortifying to me. I couldn't see the way to have small moments in a big parish, but as much as I have loved the interactions with students on retreats, some of my favorite moments of this ministry have been the one on ones I have had with people of all ages in the gathering spaces of churches throughout Wisconsin.
Friday, April 29, 2016
These past months have been an amazing journey; a journey with community, a journey of faith. Here at SPIRITUS, we are so blessed to have an incredible network of support aiding us in our communal journey, as well as our individual faith journeys. Above all, I believe that SPIRITUS helps form our faith in such a way that we can better live it from the heart as opposed to the head. Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said that, ‘the longest journey a man must take is the 18 inches between his head to his heart.” As evangelizers, it does not suffice to merely know about our faith. We must also develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as gain insight into how God is working personally in our lives. In this way we begin to make that transition from living our faith in our head to living our faith from the inside out, from our hearts.
Even missionaries have off days. I think the weather of winter was seriously starting to get to me as blue skies and warm breezes began to remind me of my freedom-seeking desires to be outdoors and the overflowing happiness I receive from the simplicity of nature.
On top of that, my life routines became just that…routine. And the hum drum became even more accepted as “just life” as I started to stay up a little later, eat the extra cookie, and avoid that conversation I knew I needed to have with a friend…you get the idea. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been there? Ergo, I had to make some changes.
I confess, I didn’t find this picture till just now so I didn’t explicitly use this method on myself but I did pray with these very things to solve my dilemma. I was craving a fuller life and not achieving it in a way that met my expectations. Truth bomb, doing “holy things” (whatever that means) is not enough to be happy. I know I already knew that and I think you do too but my actions told me some part of me was still missing the point.
So here is my two cents. Have you reevaluated what makes you happy recently? Are you seeking it? Are you settling for less? Now is the perfect time for me to rediscover my Lord, my Happiness, again in human things like hikes and above all in spiritual encounters like adoration. “The glory of God is man fully alive.” (St. Irenaeus) As I dive back into a real life of joy and happiness I hope you may find the courage to do the same. To God be the glory!
Peace in Christ, Theresa