Author’s note: the following is taken from a witness talk I gave in high school to a group of my catholic peers at an eXaLT adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Alright, so we’ve probably all heard the common saying “Home is where the heart is.” Pretty cliche, but let’s run with it. Although I’m going to revise it just a little and say, “Home is where the heart belongs.” Because to me being lead home is a matter of priority. Luke wrote in his gospel:
Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is there will your heart be. (Luke 12:31-34)
So we have to choose to build up these treasures in our eternal home; we do this by simply living our faith. But this is usually harder than it sounds, right? Let’s be honest, when someone asks what you’re doing on a friday night most of us usually say something like work, or listening to music, or I’m going to hang out with friends. How often do young people like ourselves say I’m going to spend my friday night praying at church? For me, I occasionally have to look at my life and try to figure out what is really helping me achieve that eternal treasure Luke wrote about. If we successfully narrow our lives down to only what helps us, then we can be really excited! Because this should be our goal, going home, getting to heaven. God leads us there, by giving us everything we need to become holy. And I hope someday I’ll be able to say as St. Paul said,
I have competed well; I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
And I pray: Lord guide my heart and make me holy. Lead me where my heart belongs, lead me home to you. Amen.
Have you ever wondered where life will take you? I have, a lot. At times I have even dared to declare where I will be at certain points in my life. Here’s where humility must come in. You see I find that when I assume that my life will take a certain course and plow on heedless of my surroundings, things rarely follow my strict plan. Often I will get thrown onto a completely different route. And that’s okay, because I am learning to accept it with humility.
That being said, what are we if we do not have hopes and dreams? These are good things, and often we need a set plan in order to reach them. But we must be aware that there could be better things that we never hoped to dream for, or maybe there is a different way we must take to get to our dreams. The key is humility and openness to the unseen. Right now, that’s my day to day plan.
In my very first post I wrote about transferring from my little community college to a full university. I truly thought that that was the form my new beginning was going to take. Yet, after a considerable amount of prayer and several strong nudgings, I have withdrawn from the university. Yeah, that’s right, Joe has turned a new course. Away from my ideal school and the logical next step to my dream career. Why would I do this? For starters for now I still have the goal of someday serving in the National Park Service. But maybe the path there will be a little different than I expected. This decision makes very little sense, yet very importantly, it brings me peace. Though it does bring with it a few concerns, did I make the right choice? Should I have taken the more direct path to my dreams (the one that included earning my bachelor’s asap)? This reminds me of the well known poem by Robert Frost:
It’s hard to describe just how much I’ve always loved this poem. One of those beautiful writings that every person can say it was written for them. Frost illustrates a valid point with all of us. That we can never know what our other choices could have brought. And as several people have told me recently, it does no good to look back and wonder; for we are always beginning, and we must look ahead to see where this road is taking us.
They don’t seem to rain from the sky; they rarely appear carved in stone, nor have I ever had one mailed to my doorstep. No it is my observation that new ideas come from courageous souls who are willing to question the norm Some people don’t like the way that I face problems. You see, I’ll start with the idea that no one else wants to acknowledge and run with it. Often I risk appearing the fool (I usually am), but it’s more of a fundamental thing for me.
In everything, I prefer trial and error over easier ways. I refuse to be one of those people who do things simply because that is what’s expected. I will fail and I will grow. Because I seek my unique purpose in all that I do. Someday, when I’m long gone, I hope that they remember me for more than what I did or didn’t do. Maybe they’ll say that Joe made an impact by being himself.
Last week we celebrated the feast of the transfiguration of our Lord. It got me thinking about my own life and the times I’ve been up on the mountain top. Often it happens when I go on a retreat, or spend time in Adoration, or maybe I made a really deep connection with a friend. There are definitely moments in my life that I have stood in awe in the splendor of God. And much like Peter, James, and John I don’t want to leave that moment and step away from the beauty of the glorified Christ.
Our task is perhaps somewhat easier to accept than the apostles’. For we have not only seen the transfigured Lord, we have also seen the risen Christ. And now that Christ is risen we are called to proclaim what we have seen. Yes we must leave the mountain top, but that doesn’t mean we have to leave behind the joy that we experienced there.