Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So I've decided I need to blog but have a million ideas and can't seem to decide on one main thing. So Its time for another random rant.

1. I'm completely and totally in love. Mary Beth is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am beyond excited to see what God does in our lives. I'm learning so much about myself and coming to experience a peace in my life I have never felt.

2. I'm loving school more than I thought I would this semester. Its been tough but somehow I'm finding a grace to get things done and I am not nearly as stressed as I have been other semesters. My Thesis is coming together and It is looking like I should be completely done with it in a few weeks.

3. I'm slightly nervous about the future. I'm really hoping that I'm back in Wichita this fall. I'm praying and trying to stay open to other possibilities but my heart keeps being drawn back there. It is going to be completely different than the first time but I'm really feeling called. I just pray for patience while the whole job thing gets figured out. Also pray I can help find Mary Beth a job if I get a job there.

4. I'm getting really excited about another summer of Totus Tuus. I've interviewed some amazing people thus far and can't wait to see who ends up teaching for us. I'm also super pumped that Drew Maly, Clay, and Brett are all applying along with the fact that Josh is coming back.

5. My family is coming to town to go skiing this weekend. I'm really excited for that and the fact that they get to meet Mary Beth.

6. Mary Beth's parents want to meet me so they are flying us both down to Austin, Texas for a weekend in March to meet them.

7. Mary Beth and I are taking a road trip to Wichita for Easter. I am incredibly excited to have her meet everyone there.

8. I've been working on my practicum helping developp curriculum for a small group discipleship youth ministry model with Jim Beckman, Steve Nepil, and Dave Merrick. This has been amazing. All three of them are amazing men who are so knowledgeable and it is a huge blessing to get to work with them. Especially with Jim. This guy is a stud when it comes to Youth Ministry. He has seen and done it all and it is incredible to be able to learn from this guy.

9. This is going to be a really tough Lent but I'm excited for it at the same time. Get your game faces on!

10. I've been feeling incredibly greatful lately for all the amazing people in my life God had blessed me with. I have a loving family, incredible mentors, and the most amazing friends a guy could ask for. I'm becoming increasingly aware of how amazing this is. God has truly blessed me and I am not always as thankful as I should be for all these people.

Ok so that was a lot of randomness. I have some political rants and some deeper stuff to reflect on but I'll save that for another day. I figure I would just keep this one positive and thank God for all the great blessings going on in my life right now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Battle Within

Over the past week I was assigned to read sections from The Confessions by St. Augustine. This is the second time I've read it, but this time I didn't have to read the whole thing in a week so I was able to read it slowly and in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The last time I read it the thing that stuck out to me the most was St. Monica and her perseverance in prayer for the conversion of her son. This time, as I continue to reflect on conversion in my own life what has really stuck out is St. Augustine's genuine disgust and horror for the sins of his past.

Sin is an interesting thing. Whenever I commit it I definetally find myself feeling horrible about it and running to confession. But on the same token I always find myself drawn back to it. The devil, the world, and the flesh have a very interesting way of making it look so stinking attractive. Yet the result is always the same, instead of giving me some sort of joy or pleasure it ends with feeling horrible about myself and standing in the confession line. It amazes me how much Augustine hated sin once he had his conversion. And this guy had seen and done it all. He had this amazing internal struggle and fought with God and himself in a way that I think most of us can relate to. The difference is once God got a hold of him there was no more sitting on the fence and when God won, Augustine gave him his entire life and never looked back. Granted it took him a while to get there but his conversion is one of the most fascinating conversion stories I've ever heard. I guess it is because I feel like I can relate to it so well.

How many of us have "conversions" and yet there is still a part of us that wants to cling to that old way of life? I know I struggle with it. I wish I could say I have eradicated all the sins that I struggled with from before my conversion. But that is not the case. I still fight the battle every day. Sin still looks attractive. Yeah I know its wrong and I dislike sin, but I don't HATE it the way Augustine did. The interesting thing is though I HATE it in others. When someone I truly care about is making poor decisions and struggling it tears my heart a part. It kills me and I pray my butt off for them, much like St. Monica did for Augustine. I sometimes think to myself man if it sucks this much when one of my teens from Wichita or here in Denver struggles how much is it going to suck when I have my own kids and they struggle with sin. Which makes me think, how much more does it upset God when I sin then. If I can be in that much pain over someone who isn't even my son or daughter because of the sins they struggle with, how much more is God hurt over what I do. It is easy to feel pain over the sins of others, but I need to look at myself the same way.

The thing with sin is its not easy to overcome. Thank God for His infinite mercy which I cling to everyday. I know I've had a conversion and truly strive to live for Christ but I have to remember that conversion is a daily process. I hope and pray that I can get to a point like Augustine that sin isn't something I merely dislike and try not to commit but something I LOATHE because it offends the one I call my best friend, Jesus.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Ode To Those Who Have Shown Me Christ

This weekend back in my home town of Rockford, IL there will be another Kyrios Retreat taking place. Kyrios 35 to be exact. For those who are not familiar with Kyrios, it is a parish retreat for teens. Kyrios is in many ways responsible for the man I am today.

This morning on my drive to work I was praying and reflecting on my life and reflecting on the conversion moments in my life. In this year of St. Paul I've been thinking about conversion a lot and how greatful I am that God showed me his face in a way that forever changed me so many years ago. But with that comes a general sense of incredible gratefulness for the people God used and placed in my life to show me who He was.

It was January of 1996 and I was a mess. I had had a huge falling out with my friends at school. I was lonely and miserable. At the time I was in confirmation class that was meeting at the Hoffman's, Russ and his wife Helen were our leaders. In that class was a friend from middle school, J.P. Meyers. Ironically enough I had ditched him in middle school because I thought I was too "cool" for him and he was too much of a nerd. Russ had a huge impact on me and had opened my heart to things of the faith in ways I hadn't been before. Because of him I was ripe for the taking. J.P. invited me to come to High School Youth Group, what was then Peer Ministry at the Parish. Even though I had been a jerk to him in the past he extended the invitation and I accepted it. We became friends again for the rest of High School and the first couple years of college. We lost touch after wards but it was merely a loosing track of each other, not a falling out. Thank you Lord for Russ and J.P. whereever they are.

Like I said I accepted J.P.'s invitataion and showed up. I was instantly welcomed into the group. At first I thought all the praying was wierd but the fact that they welcomed me with open arms and invited me to start hanging out with them outside the group instantly showed me there was something different about them and I wanted it! Those first few weeks I became friends with MaryJo, Giz, and Amy. They welcomed me in and showed me Christ in such a subtle way, simply through their welcoming spirit. Thank you Lord for MaryJo, Giz and Amy!

As the months went on I got more involved and met more people. I found a community and then that summer I eventually made a Kyrios. It was Kyrios #7. I met Mary Garbe, now Doestch who to this day is one of my best friends. I met Melissa who became part of my family and I part of hers and had the honor of reading at her wedding last summer. I met Mike. We hated each other at first but now has become one of my best friends. I met Brianna and Nicole. I don't know where they are these days or even if they believe in God anymore but they are a big part of why I'm Catholic today. I met Bill and Dave and a whole mess of other people that became examples to me of Faith and challeneged me to always live my faith and persevere. Most importantly I met Christ. I encountered the person of Christ in every one of these people and powerfully experienced His love in the Sacraments. Thank you Lord for the Kyrios community, especially Melissa, Mike, Mary, and Bill who continue to be a huge source of support for me.

I spent the last two years of High School actively being a part of the Peer Ministry team and continuing to grow in my Faith. Len and Colleen became huge mentors for me. They challeneged me to grow and taught me how to give talks, challeneged me to pray and even made me ask the hard questions. To this day I will never forget the day I was talking to them and told them I really wanted to study Theater and was dead set on it. They turned to me and asked me if that was what God wanted? It forced me to take that question to prayer and really ask Him. Turns out it wasn't what He wanted. I largely thank God for His work through them because it was them answering God's call to be in ministry and develop Kyrios that is the reason I am where I am today. Lord Thank you For Len and Colleen!

There are so many more people I could thank God for putting in my life. I'm sorry if I didn't mention you but know that everyone from the Kyrios community has a special place in my heart and always will.

Today I am hundreds of miles from Rockford. I haven't served on a Kyrios in almost 5years but every time one approaches I pray for it. I may not always write a prayer letter for them but I do pray because I would not be who I am without Kyrios and Holy Family Youth Ministry.

As Kyrios 35 approaches I will be praying and ask all of you to pray this weekend as well because who knows how many lives will be touched and changed in the way mine was 13 years ago.