A joyful spreading of the Gospel.

Last night I kicked off the new series my young adult community is hosting, “Forming Our Hearts for Mission.” We’re speaking on how to evangelize in our daily lives, based on Pope Francis’ wisdom in Joy of the Gospel.

I spoke about the joyful spreading of the Gospel through a renewed encounter with God. It was quite humbling for me. I was someone who didn’t even know what evangelization was nine years ago. And then once I learned what it was, I was someone who ran away from it because I knew I’d fail. And now I work for a Catholic ministry of evangelization and I am constantly reminded about how much I still have to learn.

God is funny sometimes. I love the ways He constantly reminds me that “His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness.”

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Hola, Papa Francisco.

I, like many Catholics, remember where I was when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was named the 265th successor of Saint Peter. I sat in a work meeting with anticipation,  compulsively checking my phone for any sign of news from Rome. Although I had my “re-conversion” in 2007 with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI and I had a special love for Pope John Paul II because Polish, this moment in history felt new and exciting. This was the first papal conclave I cared about. I knew I would be meeting the first Pope I could claim as my own. He would be the first Pope I’d follow from his beginning. The first Pope in whom I would see a shepherd chosen by God instead of just a cultural icon.

When I got word our new Pope was elected, I was filled with a joy and comfort I couldn’t articulate. We learned he chose the name Francis. Oh, how I loved St. Francis. I had my moment of re-conversion in a Franciscan Friary. My grandmother was a third order Franciscan. Franciscan spirituality greatly influenced, and still influences, my faith life. I knew this would be a man from whom I’d learn and who would inspire me to go deeper in my relationship with God. That night my friends and I celebrated the only way we knew how… with prayer and cake.

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Pope Francis has inspired me, just as I knew he would. From his love of mercy to his joy for evangelization. From his profound and prophetic words to his simple gestures of love. Naturally, I was excited when I found out he would be coming to the United States. When I found out there was a ticket to the Papal Mass in Washington DC with my name on it, it took everything in me to refrain from a fangirl frenzy.

My friend, who invited me and was also excited to be there, referred to our tickets as the “cheap seats.” I referred to them as, “Ohmygosh I can’t believe I’m at a Papal Mass.”

Continue reading “Hola, Papa Francisco.”

And so I’m working on trust.

I struggle with believing God trusts me.

Do I believe He is good? Yes.

Do I believe He works and speaks through His people? Absolutely.

Do I believe He trusts me to do His work, in all of my sin and brokenness? Um… yes?

I struggle with doubt and shame and unbelief. Sometimes I feel as though I have a Holy Spirit shield. And not the good kind of shield, like a “protected by the Holy Spirit” shield, but a shield that prevents the Holy Spirit from working through me. And it is in those moments, the moments when I’m most struggling, the Lord comes to my rescue and reassures me that, yes, He does hear me, yes, He does trust me, and, yes, He does love me.

On Wednesday I was asked to be on a prayer team, which I’ve done many times before. But here I was struggling with doubt that the Lord could work through me and I’m asked to be on a prayer team. I asked my prayer partner to take the lead, but she suggested, “Why don’t we take turns?”

Okay, so I wasn’t off the hook.

“Lord. Help me get out of the way, pleeease. Work through me, pleeease. Give these wonderful people the words they need to hear, pleeease. Please.”

A woman approached and we began praying. Suddenly the word “renewed” popped into my head and the following thoughts happened:

Renewed? …What? Renewed what? Wasn’t I talking about renewal with someone a few days ago? Wait. Why can’t I concentrate? Lord, clear my mind of distractions. Zeal. Zeal? Renewed zeal? Renewed zeal. What? Why is my brain putting random words together right now? Wait. Should I say this? Lord, is this from You? If it’s from You, let me know I need to say it.

(I told y’all I struggle.)

Anyway. I shared the word with her and we continued praying.

After prayer, with a tear in her eye, she showed me a page in her notebook from earlier that day.

Pray for zeal.

Isn’t it cool how the Lord works? How He can use the same situation to speak in two different ways to two randomly connected people? To one, He heard her prayer for zeal. To the other, He heard her desire to be trusted.

St. Paul says it best in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

“But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

And so I’m working on trust. I will trust that He loves me. I will trust that He hears me. I will trust that He works through me. I will trust that I am strong in my weakness for the Lord’s grace will give me strength.

 

This post is part of the #BISsisterhood Link-Up: Trust.BIS Sisterhood