Thursday, March 6, 2014

Christina Returns to Blogging, 4 Monts Later and with a Sense of Mission!

After making futile attempts to blog over the past four months and getting discouraged, I am hopeful that tossing this one pebble into the water will cause a ripple effect with more to come. This little pebble I toss in today is of a spiritual nature, because that is where a lot of my personal growth has happened lately. And perhaps that is the most appropriate place to start after all, as it is what brings the other ripples of my life into being and sets them into motion.

After a six-week study at my church called "The New Evangelization" series by Fr. Robert Barron, we were each posed with the question, "Why am I Catholic?" and invited to find an image (photo, art, film) that would capture our answer. While there are many reasons I could give on why I LOVE being a Catholic, many elements of the Creed, the Church and tradition that I love, and many reasons I could give for staying in the church, it seemed to me that there had to be one above the rest, one that would encompass everything.

Two days later, I was sent this image, forwarded to me from my grandma, because she said she thought of me when she saw it. I read it as words coming from the Lord's mouth in answer to my questions lately regarding the direction my life is taking.

You see, this young man on the mountaintop (my favorite landscape!), who stops to take in the immense and a beautiful world around him on his pilgrimage (see backpack) is like me, and the spirit and theme that comes forth on this blog. Here I am walking, step by step, over the mountains, through the plains, up to the heights! Walking, on a God-given mission, to use my talents and gifts to inspire and change the world. You see, I don't have to search out a mission or make one up but rather just discover what indeed it is.

Being a Catholic from the cradle is not so much about me choosing God, as it is He choosing me and baptizing me into a mission from the very beginning. (Yes, I do choose God every day in ongoing conversion, but that is the continual and active acceptance of his invitation.)

Faith is learning how to follow Jesus Christ in this mad and beautiful dance through life. In the best and purest moments, I'm letting him draw me close, my hand trustingly in his, my heart close to his, feeling his strength leading, his frame protecting and guiding, his feet going where I’m going, with me every step of the way. Other times, I’m only connected by the fingertips. I’m spinning out there on my own for a time, until he catches me back to him again, and we share glances that express our sheer joy of being in the dance together, of moving in sync and anticipating each other’s moves and responding with grace and beauty and power.

Is it no wonder that I love to dance? “The glory of God is the human being fully alive” (St. Irenaeus). And I see that all around me when I’m ballroom dancing. It's one of those rare and heavenly experiences where so many different people collide and are caught up together, laughing and dancing to the same beat. For it’s the same song stirring our hearts; it’s the same image stamped into our being; it’s the same grace working in all of us. 

“You’re like grace in motion!” exclaimed a stranger to me once when we were dancing.

Hmmm, grace in motion....that's what swept an ambitious, hard-working and driven young man named Saul off his horse one day, and, blinded by light, he heard a voice calling to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Grace in motion was how Saul turned his life around that day and suddenly saw, with eyes of faith, his true mission in life was not to wipe out Christianity but to evangelize the world with the Gospel and to save souls. He'd found the answer he'd been hungering after. "You said to me that you wanted to find your mission in life, let me remind you, you do not choose a mission. You are sent on a mission." - Matthew Kelly

Just think! What mission is God inviting you into? And are you ready to take the first step - with Him?

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