Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Break Musings and Updates!

Happy Tuesday! 

While I take a quick break from my homework, here are some random blurbs about life lately: 

It's Spring Break!!!!!!! And I've been loving it. Absolutely loving it. On Saturday, my husband and I woke up before 5 to take some friends of ours to the airport. On our way back to Steubenville, we started talking about food. Because food is wonderful. And we discovered that Biscuit World opens at 5:30, so we got to spontaneously enjoy a fabulous breakfast (with much coffee) on our way home. If y'all haven't been there, Biscuit World is a heavenly fast-foodish place, where they serve huge, delicious food portions at inexpensive prices. Anyways, after we got home, I had some time to read St. Faustina's Diary before we attended 8 a.m. Mass. After Mass, I finished the Diary (why don't I wake up before 5 more often? So much productivity and fun!)! See more on this below.  

St. Faustina's Diary is crazy amazing!!!! It took me just over a year-and-a-half, but I read and prayed with the whole thing. I completely recommend reading the Diary all the way through. It is so epic! On that note, here's a really awesome excerpt from the Diary (I didn't have time to get it on the blog yesterday). The bolded words are the words of Christ, in case you weren't aware of that. This part of St. Faustina's Diary would, in my opinion, be awesome for a middle school or high school prayer service. I mean, how many times have we said--or thought--the exact things that the soul says in this excerpt? 

                                                Conversation of the Merciful God
                             With a Despairing Soul.

                Jesus:  O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair.  All is not yet lost.  Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy. 

-- But the soul, deaf even to this appeal, wraps itself in darkness.

         Jesus calls out again:  My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father. 

--  In the soul arises this reply:  “For me there is no mercy,” and it falls into greater darkness, a despair which is a foretaste of hell and makes it unable to draw near God.

Jesus calls to the soul a third time, but the soul remains deaf and blind, hardened and despairing.  Then the mercy of God begins to exert itself, and, without any co-operation from the soul, God grants it final grace.  If this too is spurned, God will leave the soul in this self-chosen disposition for eternity.  This grace emerges from the merciful Heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand (83) God’s effort; but conversion depends on its own will.  The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.

My omnipotent mercy is active here.  Happy the soul that takes advantage of this grace. 

Jesus:  What joy fills My Heart when you return to me.  Because you are weak, I take you in My arms and carry you to the home of My Father.

Soul (as if awaking, asks fearfully):  Is it possible that there yet is mercy for me?

Jesus:  There is, My child.  You have a special claim on My mercy.  Let it act in your poor soul; let the rays of grace enter your soul; they bring with them light, warmth, and life. 

Soul:  But fear fills me at the thought of my sins, and this terrible fear moves me to doubt Your goodness.

Jesus:  My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does – that after so many efforts of My (84) love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness. 

Soul:  O Lord, save me Yourself, for I perish.  Be my Savior.  O Lord, I am unable to say anything more; my pitiful heart is torn asunder; but You, O Lord…..

Jesus does not let the soul finish but, raising it from the ground, from the depths of its misery, he leads it into the recesses of His Heart where all its sins disappear instantly, consumed by the flames of love.

Jesus:  Here, soul, are all the treasures of My Heart.  Take everything you need from it. 

Soul:  O Lord, I am inundated with Your grace.  I sense that a new life has entered into me and, above all, I feel Your love in my heart.  That is enough for me.  O Lord, I will glorify the omnipotence of Your mercy for all eternity.  Encouraged by Your goodness, I will confide to You all the sorrows of my heart.

Jesus:  Tell me all, My child, hide nothing from Me, because My loving Heart, the Heart of your Best Friend, is listening to you. 

Soul:  O Lord, now I see all my ingratitude and Your goodness.  You were pursuing me with Your grace, while I was frustrating Your benevolence.  I see that I deserve (85) the depths of hell for spurning Your graces.  Jesus (interrupting):  Do not be absorbed in your misery – you are still too weak to speak of it – but, rather; gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments.  Strive for meekness and humility; be merciful to others, as I am to you; and, when you feel your strength failing, if you come to the fountain of mercy to fortify your soul, you will not grow weary on your journey. 
Soul:  Now I understand Your mercy, which protects me, and like a brilliant star, leads me into the home of my Father, protecting me from the horrors of hell that I have deserved, not once, but a thousand times.  O Lord, eternity will hardly suffice for me to give due praise to Your unfathomable mercy and Your compassion for me.

(Diary of St. Faustina, #1486)

Studio Ghibli makes my heart sing. Over the weekend, I picked up The Cat Returns from the library, and we watched it with some friends who are stuck on campus for break. I love this movie. It's really amazing. Even if you don't like cats, you need to watch this. It's short, sweet, hilarious, heartwarming, and just plain awesome. Make sure that you watch it with the English dubbed track, because Studio Ghibli is awesome at that (and one of the main characters is voiced by Cary Elwes. You know, Westley, from The Princess Bride. Which is another reason why you must see this film). 

Food is good. Sacrifice is good. God is funny. On Saturday, I totally had the baking itch. Classes were out, I didn't feel like working on homework, and I had a cookie cookbook from the library. So I made deliciously awesome caramel cheesecake cookie bars, which were fantastic. Then, a couple days later, some of my friends and I decided that we would do a sacrifice of "no cookies" for a week. Very funny, God. But it's really great, for I need to get better at sacrificing. 

Friends are marvelous and a blessing! One of our friends had a birthday party on Sunday, so we spent the afternoon eating ice cream cake and learning how to play "Bang!" Three people "died" before me, but I definitely would re-do some things next time I play. 'Twas a delightful game and afternoon! 

Such a good game!!!
Lent is awesome. I decided to do a  bajillion small fun things for Lent, which of course resulted in me picking so many things that I can't keep track of them all at the same time. But Lent has still been really awesome; I'm focusing a lot on silence, spiritual reading, Divine Mercy, and doing small sacrifices sporadically throughout my days. 

And, being a good student, my homework is coming along. Slowly, but surely. Because sometimes, paper projects (or non-paper projects) are due right after break. And even though I don't feel like working on these a lot, I've been dedicating myself to them a little at a time. I've also had some chunks of quality time with my thesis, and I'm very excited that I'm about a third of the way through draft 1.5. Because I never finished my first draft completely before I started revising it, ergo, I'm working on an in-between draft. 

I'm also getting pumped about creating an NFP presentation to give for some friends of mine. I am a big-time believer that single women should have opportunities to learn about using NFP to know about their bodies and fertility. So, over break, I'm going to put together a little talk to give after break for some of my female friends. That way, they will have some tools to learn more about themselves and how God made them. 

Oh yes--and one of the best parts of break? WARMTH! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love snow. But, when the ground has been covered in snow from January onto March, and it's been freezing, even I want the snow to move on. A lot of us have gotten a little stir-crazy on campus, because when it's super cold outside, you're less inclined to want to leave your apartment, dorm, etc. And one of my friends has noted that when the weather is nice, FUS turns into a "Catholic Woodstock," with Frisbees flying, barefoot students traipsing across the grass, students pretending to study as they sit on wooden benches and talk with people walking by, and students sprawled out while strumming their guitars. So...I am very excited and hoping that the warm weather will continue to come and stay for my final two months as a student here. 

I should probably get to some more homeworkish activity before evening Mass. Have a beautiful day! 

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