Monthly Archives: October 2015

God’s will is my will… well I try…

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Time goes by way too fast! This time last year I was on my way to my first mission house in Haiti. It was in Cap Haitien which meant we had to drive from Port-au-Prince. It was a long drive and I wasn’t feeling too well either. I get car sick…. not a good thing….

I actually didn’t know I got car sick until I went to Haiti so I never took any precautions when it came to that.

My first impression when I got out of the airport in Haiti was ‘man there are a lot of people here’. I was nervous and even scared because I was in an unknown place pretending like I knew exactly what I was doing. Thankfully I was travelling with a religious sister and she actually knew what she was doing because she is from Haiti. She kept taking my hand so I wouldn’t get lost.  She gave me a great sense of comfort and belonging. She knew what she was doing and I trusted her. What a great example of trusting God’s will for us. We should trust that God has a plan for each and everyone of us. We have to try our best to know of it and try to follow it. We are not in control of our own lives but how many times have I tried to control things in my own life?

The answer is WAY TOO OFTEN! When we try to control our own lives we forget that there is a Power much bigger than us. We forget that we have a purpose and we forget that we are the result of a single thought of God. If God stopped thinking about us we would cease to exist.

In my life, I often try do things my own way and forget that I should be doing God’s will and not my own. Last Sunday the youth ministry committee organized an afternoon of games for the youth. Inside I was feeling like it wasn’t going too well. There are things that I wanted to change but then someone came up to me and said ‘thank you for not being a control freak’. At first I was really confused because inside I really wanted to change everything because I didn’t feel right. But like someone famous once said….I actually don’t remember who said it… but they said ‘be comfortable with being uncomfortable’.

In this moment I realized that I was trying to control this event and I was taking God out of it. I had a hard time accepting that but it has also taught me a lot.

This whole week I have been struggling a lot with God’s will and my own will. I want to do things but then God says no. Or I don’t want to something and God says ‘ hey you get up and pray’ or ‘stop wasting time on the internet and call a friend’.

Often we see God’s will as something we don’t want to do but we have to do it just to obey Him. Well it’s not always like that. Sometimes God’s will is calling a friend and just having a good conversation. Sometimes God’s will is spending time in silence.

All this to say that God’s will isn’t easy to follow but so worth it. We have to trust that God will protect us and guide us as we journey closer to Him.

How many times have you ignored God’s will?

-My Catholic LIving

The routine of prayer at mass…

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So, I often talk about travelling and I figured I would give you a small idea on how big this archdiocese actually is. This year we have hit rock bottom and are using every single penny… mapofdiocese-smlwait a minute… pennies don’t exist anymore…. we are using every single nickel to survive and to serve our different communities. Even though we are going through this, we are receiving many graces. Graces that we wouldn’t receive if we weren’t so deep in the hole money wise. We are finding much joy with the little we have. We are finding new ways to work with the communities.

There are 46 communities and only 14 priests (and apparently two more on the way). That being said we are having more and more lay services. At first I wasn’t too keen on attending lay services but the more I went to them the more I saw the beauty in them. A lay service isn’t a mass but it’s gathering as a community to pray.

How often do we go to mass and not pray? It’s too easy to get into the motions and say the prayers that we just learned by heart. I’m guilty of that and I would think that many of are as well. But having a lay service breaks that routine because I’ll admit, it’s very different. But different in a good way because it really encourages the parishioners to get involved. Lay services can’t happen if people don’t volunteer their time.  This is important because it gets people involved and the more people who are involved the better is goes.

I would imagine that most people reading this have never been to a lay service and that’s ok but just don’t makes the same mistake as I did. Please don’t condemn them, this is a necessity in some communities.

We live in a world of first impressions. Don’t let that get in the way of living a holy life. When is the last time  you condemned something without getting to know about it?

-My Catholic Living

What the heck is Youth Ministry?

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I was asked this question many time. A lot of people think youth ministry is about playing games with the youth and somehow filling the pews at church. Oh and it definitely has to be a volunteer job because no one could do that for a living…

It makes me laugh inside when I hear that. I guess I have a different perspective on youth ministry than most people.

Whoever we are or wherever we are in life we are all CALLED TO BE MISSIONARIES and our mission is to SHARE THE LOVE OF GOD with the people we encounter. That being said we are all called to do youth ministry but what exactly is that? It’s not about filling the pews but rather inviting the youth to deepen their relationship with God. Inviting is the key word here.

(In my conversion I talked about a single invitation that changed my life.)

I was probably invited 100 times to deepen my relationship with God but it was 101st that made the difference in my life.

It’s also about getting to know the people in the community. What’s the best way to get to know someone? It’s through the community, through the schools, the parish, the family, friends and most importantly by building a relationship with this person. The same is true with God. How do we encounter God? It’s through our community, our school, our parish, our family, our friends and most importantly by talking to Him. This is true for everyone whether you’re an elder playing bingo, a mom with 3 kids, a senior in search of the love of his life or a 2 year old playing with dolls.

But this means that it’s important to build good healthy relationships with the youth. We have to be vulnerable and hopefully they will be vulnerable with us. We have to show them love. A lot of youth these days are in search of love because they don’t get enough of it at home. (Love is a tough thing to find and I still struggle with it) But if we show love to these youth they will most likely feel more comfortable with us and will be open to hear what we have to say. ”They don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” I try to live by this but it’s not easy.

Sometime when we share something it feels like others aren’t listening or paying attention. I can honestly say that I once gave a ‘what is confirmation’ talk. And the whole way through I felt like what I was saying was useless and leading no where. These youth had so much energy, they couldn’t stop talking and moving. (I don’t blame them because it’s not easy to sit and listen at that age… oh the good ol’ days) But we have to trust that God has already planted the seed of faith. We can only water it and offer it sun. After this really frustrating retreat all the youth were heading out and the loudest of youth came up to me. I was actually really nervous because I though he would make this comment about wasting their time but to my surprised it was the complete opposite. I will always remember this youth because it was the first time a youth had actually thanked me to take time out of my day to come and talk to them. I was greatly touched and shed a few tears. I waited ’til all the youth were gone to tell the team and when telling them I shed a few tears.

This was a good reminder that we are doing God’s will and not our own will. We don’t always see the fruit of our ministry but we have to trust that God is working in them even when others or themselves don’t see it.

What I concentrate on my ministry is the love of God and the love of others. Which again can be put in two categories: physical and spiritual. Under physical we have sacraments and service and under relational we have fellowship and prayer.

We need all 4 of these in our life. How do we get closer to God? It’s with prayer and sacraments. How do we get closer to our neighbors? It’s with service and fellowship. I might talk more about this in another post.

Youth groups need volunteers, someone to do the planning, the leading, making the snack (snack are important), the media stuff and so much more. Many people want to volunteer but never know what they could do. If that’s the case just ask them what their gifts and talents are. If they are good at playing music, ask them to lead a song or two. If they are good with computers, ask them to set up for the well anticipated movie night.

We all have gifts and talents and God wants us to share them. How are you sharing your gifts and talents with others?

Friends?

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Friendship is such a strange thing when I really think about it. Deep down I can befriend anyone since it’s a choice. We choose our friends by our differences and similarities.

For example, if Billy likes to skate and George likes to skate they have a common interest and might become friends but Billy also likes video games and Louis likes video games. Then, Billy and Louis could become friends. BUT that being said now Louis and Billy have a common interest, George. This just shows that we can be friends with people whom we would never think we would befriend.

That doesn’t mean we have to take friendships for granted (which I do too often). I made a few friends in my life journey, great friends and because I had Facebook I would take the friendship for granted. Just because I saw pictures or read what my friends on Facebook were doing it doesn’t mean that I have this closeness. What is lacking? What I think is lacking is real communication. Why not pickup the phone and talk to them? Why not go out for a coffee? At first it was a bit weird when I was not used to it but in the end it was really encouraging.

When speaking in person there is a closeness that can not be reached by chatting. We see the other person’s emotions and feelings. We hear the different tones in their voice, something that is lacking in chats or texting.

I’m not against chatting and texting but I think it should be a mixture of both, real conversations and chats.

When I was in Haiti I was lacking communication with my friends back home and yet struggling with keeping my friends in Haiti. I relied on Facebook to stay in touch with my friends in Canada but we would just chat. This went on for a few months until I noticed that this was actually affecting my mood.

I started skyping with my friends, I admit that it was a bit odd at first but when I came back I had no problem getting back into the way of things and hanging out with these people. I think if I wouldn’t of skyped with them during my time in Haiti I wouldn’t of had the same closeness I had with them when I came back

Have you heard of the five love languages? Well if not here is a quick overview. There are five main love languages: gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation and acts of service. I am a very strong with physical touch which mean that hugs are important to me, that is a way that I feel love. I couldn’t care less about gifts but I do have a friend who’s main love language is gifts. This means that I do put in the extra effort to include that into our friendship. Granted it’s not easy but it’s soooo worth it to see his smile. And he is not into physical touch but when he gives me a hug when we meet up it brings me so much joy. We have to think of others before ourselves. It’s not easy but who said life would be easy? Papa Francisco said to go out into the world and make a mess. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Friendship is just like any other relationships, it takes compromise. The reason we befriend others is to lead them to heaven. It’s the same thing between a married couple.

When is the last time you did something for a friend even though you did not want to?

A long fruitful week (just ignore the procrastination part)

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I had such a good week last week. It started with me procrastinating and sorta organizing a youth retreat. On Tuesday I had a long conference but it was really interesting because it was all about youth ministry and how we can engage more youth. And finally on Wednesday I left for a different community to lead a youth retreat. I had not really prepared for this retreat because I wasn’t inspired. It’s hard organizing something when I’m not inspired. The theme for this retreat was ‘precious in God’s eyes’. Before heading out I made sure I had a few resources on my laptop so if I had nothing to say I could always put on a clip.

The first evening I talked about my conversion and how I made my way back to my faith. I had no idea I was going to go in so many details. Personally, talking about my past brings a lot of healing and it’s also showing the youth that people do change. These youth asked many good questions, questions that I had growing up but was too stubborn and prideful to ask. I’m so happy that I could answer them with examples in my life.

The second evening went a lot different than the first evening. We watched a clip that stirred up many different emotions. Both the youth and the parents were touched by this clip. It was about working through our brokenness and how we all have something special to offer. Again, I could speak about this for a while because I do realize how broken I am and I know that everyone I encounter is broken inside. It’s our fallen nature that makes us this way. Going through 12 steps has taught me so much on how to deal with my brokenness and struggles. I was really happy that I got to share so openly and that they also responded.

I hope and pray that these youth keep journeying closer to God.

On Friday I left bright and early to go to the big city which is about 5 hours away. It was a really nice quiet drive. I stayed in silence for about 4 hours and finally I decided to listen to the radio. Politics, politics and more politics that’s all they were talking about. I couldn’t take it anymore so I turned off the radio and stayed in silence. This time of silence made reflect on my life and where I am heading. Am I doing God’s will? Am I doing my own will? Where will I be 5 years from now? All things that I thought about. These are important questions but I don’t really have answers. I have to trust that this is where God wants me and not worry about where I will be in 5 years.

When I finally made it to the city, I visited 2 people who have the same job as me but it different archdiocese. These people were really encouraging and gave me more resources. I hope to further collaborate with them.

This is my post for today. It’s nothing too interesting but it’s what I did. My next post will be about how I confused my whole family during the weekend. I surprised them after not seeing them for almost 4 months…

-My Catholic Living

Struggling alone isn’t easy

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We live in a world where we try to find quick fixes to everything, well that doesn’t work with everything. Sure it might seem like it works in the beginning but after a while a quick fix can cause more damage than how it was before it even broke. I say that because sometimes we think we do something that will fix all our problems but really we are just making it worse.

I will be honest, I struggle with an addiction and I have struggled with this addiction since I was 11. At the time I knew it wasn’t right but I kept doing this thing. And it took me years to realize how far gone I was because of this habbit. When I finally realized all the damaged it had done to me I tried stopping cold turkey. It would work for maybe two days and then I would break down and indulge even more than I would before. It was a vicious cycle.

Thankfully I joined a twelve steps group. This group made me look deeper into myself and discover the root of my problem. Also admitting that I am completely powerless and I can’t control my life was a big life changer for me. After reaching step twelve I felt so much better about myself even if I was still struggling with this addiction. I was struggling but I did have a bit more control over the temptation.  I had to put more effort into it. I stopped attending meetings because I thought that when I was done step twelve I would of been healed. Boy o boy I was wrong.if-god-didnt-forgive-sinners-heaven-would-be-empty-bible-quote

I had to humble myself and approach someone else for help and I did. This time I didn’t just admit to a priest about my faults but I told some of my closest friends. They did not react like I thought they would. Instead they were open about their own personal struggles in their lives. This brought all of us closer. It’s when we share our deepest struggles with others that we really get to know them.

Like I have said before, we all have our personal addictions. Some people have worse ones but either way admitting our addictions isn’t easy. I suggest that if you are reading this and struggle with a really unhealthy addiction please take the first step and tell someone. Stuggling alone isn’t easy, let someone help you carry your cross. It won’t be easy at first but it will be much more rewarding in the end.

I still struggle with this addiction but now I have a support group, people I can call when I’m in temptation or just need to talk to. And I will struggle with this addiction for the rest of my life. I am in recovery and will also be in recovery for the rest of my life as well.

Don’t be afraid to face your fears, recovery is a long road that seems impossible but it’s NOT impossible. We are all strong and we can all overcome temptations. Just believe in yourself.

-My Catholic Living

Life vs. Work

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I have such a hard time balancing my work life and my personal life. Many things have been going on in my personal life and it has been affecting my work life. But I have also had the reverse, my work life being busy and it would affect my personal life.

Sometimes I just need to take a break and think about neither my personal life or my work life and just pray. Pray that God will help me become a better person and also understand my purpose better so that I can better server our Lord. I find that if I don’t pray I get more easily overwhelmed by what is going around in my life. If I take time to ask God if this is what He wants me to do and wait for His response things always go better and I don’t need to stress of them.

I’m still learning what being a coordinator of youth ministry means and it means more to me now than when I first applied to this job. When I applied I was more excited about working with aboriginal youth because I really like their culture but now it means more. It means understanding their culture and seeing how God is already working in their lives even when they can’t see Him.

I have this great analogy and I don’t know if I said it here before but here it is. Before we were even born God has planteIMG_1050d a seed of faith in each and every human. This seeds becomes a tree if we take care of it. Sometimes we have other people taking care of our seed (parents taking care of their kids growing in the faith). But at a certain point in life we have to start taking care of our
faith, we have to take care of our seed.  As a youth minister part of my job is to journey with people, together we get closer to our God. If I don’t give enough water to the seed, it will die. If I give too much water to this seed it will also die. That is why we have to find the just middle of how much we share with others.

I hope that made a bit of sense.

Well I had a busy weekend and should get ready for bed. Good night 🙂