25 January 2012

Reflections of Ministry-filled Weekend

This weekend was one of those crazy, busy weekends with what I like to call a "Church work weekend," but the best part was all the little Holy Spirit moments I saw along the way.

Along with being a Youth Minister, I have begun to do a fair amount of chastity talks on the side for the past few years.  This weekend I had another speaking engagement at an inner-city parish to 80 teens!  I was excited to share this opporunity with my honey, Jim as he spoke to the young men, and I to the young ladies.  I think it went pretty well. They listened to what I had to say, asked really heart-felt questions, and it helped that I was able to make them laugh too!  Speaking about chastity and how it is actual what real love is all about is something so important to me, and I really believe in it too.  By the end of the afternoon, Jim and I were already agreeing to do another talk together this spring sometime before our wedding.  It is just so funny how God works in our lives sometimes.  5 or 6 years ago, I would have absolutely hated to do public speaking, and now I am doing it like second nature; just makes me me smile on how God works everything out along the way.

This weekend I also have another great opportunity to do one of my most favorite hting with young people: take them to Washingto, DC for the annual March for Life.  I have been going every year since I was in college, and I just love it so much.  Usually when I have taken teens I take anywhere from 10-15 on this awesome pilgrimage; this year we only had 6, but it again proved to be a powerful and hope-filled experience for them.  The weekend was full of long bus rides, sleep-less nights, but most important great joy and hope at the power of the pro-life movement.  We went to a Youth Rally and Mass on Monday morning where over 20,000 young people gathered for prayer, praise, and lots excitement! It was life a rock concert atmosphere where we all gathered for the same reason, to re-commit ourselves to work for the protection of all human life. 
And then comes the actual March itself.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans from all across the country walk and pray together specifically for an end to abortion.  We listened to Orthodox priests and monks chant in Latin.  We sang praise and worship songs with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  We chanted loudly at the top of our voices.  We heard powerful testimonies of women who regret their abortion and men who regret lost fatherhood.  The March for Life is a time of great hope as we pray and continue to work for the protection of all human life from womb to tomb.
A particular powerful moment for me came as we were leaving from the Supreme Court bulding.  There was a long line on men and women lining the streets from the Silent No More campaign holding signs that read, "I regret my abortion" or "I regret lost Fatherhood."  I began talking and thanking these men and women for their witness here.  SUCH a Holy Spirit moment.

So yes, this weekend was very busy.  And yes I came home totally exhausted.  But more importantly, I came home enriched both emotionally and spiritually from both of these wonderful experiences.
God is so good!

02 January 2012

Reflections on 2011, Hopes for 2012...

2011 was a year full of all kinds of stuff.  By far, the most exciting and happiest time was getting engaged to Jim in August when I got home from World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain.  SO. FREAKING. HAPPY.  Other exciting things included a trip to Rome and then Madrid for WYD 2011 in Madrid with the Pope and 2 million other young Catholics.  Such a joyful celebration of the beauty and fullness of the Catholic faith.
The year also included some sadness and disappointments.  My Gradnpa died on June 2, 2011.  He was a man of great faith, love for family, and had a strong work ethic.  He lives on through our happy memories together, and I look forward to telling my children someday about the humble greatness of their great grandpa.  A disappointment came in not getting what I considered to be the perfect job...but God always has other plans, when things don't go as we want.

I have several hopes for this new year of 2012.  First of all, that God would continue to bless Jim and I both emotionally and spiritually as we prepare to become husband and wife on June 22, 2012.  One of my resolutions is that we would grow closer in prayer together as a couple...the couple that prays together, stays together :)  By reading good spiritual books together, praying the Rosary, and going to Eucharistic Adoration at least twice a week, this will only strengthen the foundation for a holy Christian marriage.  One of our deepest connections is our faith we share, and through these specific ways, I hope and pray God will draw us closer together as a couple.

Jim and I have also decided to start our first "official" family tradition.  Each new year, we will pick a new family saint for the new year to learn about, study, use as a model in holiness, and strive to live out their virtues and charisms.  Being that we are getting married, we are looking at married couples or saints who were married to be our "first official Hubbard family patron saint" for this upcoming year, and are currently searching for our first family patron saint.  Holy Spirit, led us to the right holy men/women to draw us closer to Jesus!

I also have two personal hopes for myself.  Currently one of the books I am reading is "Weightless: Making Peace with your Body" by Kate Wicker.  It is a great book written from a Catholic perspective in how to truly love yourself and your body, no matter your shape or size.  Being that I can be very hard on my body, I am going to really strive to use healthy, positive self-talk whenever I am in front of the bathroom mirror.  God never makes junk, and I think I need to get better of reminding myself that I am beautiful and rare in the eyes of my King; that I need to love the amazing creation he made in ME!  The more I do things like that, I can stop believing lies I told myself about my body.
I am also going to create my daily "spiritual Alamo."  That is the spiritual pratices I will commit myself to grow in my personal relationship with Christ.  This is something I have been praying about for awhile, and I think it is time to commit to certain things each day that will strenghten my relationship with God.

As you start 2012, may you be filled with a renewed sense of hope and joy!
BRING. IT. ON. 2012 :-)

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