Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Turtle Power

Our God is SUCH an awesome God.

Today is the Day 1 of the 33-day preparation for Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the way of St. Louis de Montfort. That’s if you’re following this year’s liturgical calendar… which places the Feast of the Annunciation (consecration day) on April 8th. If you’ve never heard of this consecration, I encourage you to check it out with all my heart! Consecrating my life to the Lord through His Mother was the best decision I’ve ever made thus far, and I don’t think it’s going too far to say that if you decide to do so too… your life will change drastically for the better.  As I begin this month of preparation to renew my consecration, alongside some of my closest friends and thousands of others around the world, I am so humbled by the many blessings that are so evident at this important time in my life. I know that Our Lady’s arms are wrapped tightly around me, my family and my friends.
Sunday’s run was the toughest yet – just one mile short of my longest distance, which was the half marathon I ran almost one year ago. On top of the 12mi I ran, on what has now become a comfortably familiar loop around a park near my house, I also did this week’s long run blind. I’ve said elsewhere that I would like to spend one full day completely blind before I enter the monastery. Well, quite do this run without any sight at all… but pretty something pretty close…

This is what I see when I take off my glasses. Yes, really.
Yeah... I don't kow what that's a picture of either.
By the grace of God and through the help of some very special people, I have scheduled an appointment to have corrective surgery on my eyes on March 14th. This is such a blessing. Because I will eventually be taking a vow of poverty, I cannot continue wearing contact lenses once I enter – and because my prescription is incredibly high, wearing eyeglasses causes me to have some pretty severe headaches most of the time. After much deliberation about whether I should spend my life offering these headaches as an additional sacrifice for the salvation of souls, I’ve come to understand that it would be more wise of me to make every effort to not be distracted during prayer – and headaches would inevitably elicit distraction. So I will have my eyesight corrected in order to reduce the amount of time I’ll need to wear glasses once I enter (bearing in mind of course, that I will inevitably need reading glasses at some point in the future). And in preparation for my surgery in just over a week – on Friday the surgeon asked me to remove my contact lenses so that my eyes are in their most optimal condition by the 14th.
Watch out... Here I come!
Which means… I’m wearing glasses right now! They are rather uncomfortable, so I take them off whenever I can… rendering me legally blind but at least headache-free. This is what I did during my run on Sunday! Since I know the loop so well, I wasn’t afraid of tripping over anything. So I happily removed my glasses and ran my 12mi a bit out of focus. It was strangely liberating. The elimination of this second bodily sense – sight – along with the absence of sound – running without music – provided room for further withdrawal from the world during this run. Even while I’m praying during my runs, I usually find myself at least a little distracted by the beauty of nature that surrounds me. It’s a blessing to live in an area where I can run outdoors – but God’s lovely creations often momentarily steal my eyes and mind from concentration! It was a grace to draw more deeply into prayer for the world and for my sponsors, without a clear sense of sight this past Sunday. Next Sunday’s long run will be the same, and I will ask for your prayers as I attempt to surpass my longest distance. My first of two 14-milers is up next!

The last two days have been filled with prayer and fellowship with friends – new and old. And thanks to the modern miracle of Facebook – I heard about the universal call to prayer for the cardinals, which was scheduled for this morning at 8:00 PST. So after mass I went to a chapel I visit every day to join in prayer with my brothers and sisters of the Church Universal. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful church in the area – and sadly one of the least visited. I knew I would be alone, and so I took the opportunity (as I am doing more and more often lately) to chant the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. To my pleasant surprise, the prayer book (with Gregorian notation!) that they were using in St. Peter’s Basilica at that exact my moment was available online. So I chanted Vespers at 8:00am for probably the first and last time in my life J. Moments of solidarity with the whole of God’s Church, like this morning’s, have been more prevalent over the last two weeks. Of course the situation that initiated this growing sense of unity was painful, and continues to be so as the loss of our Holy Father is still fresh in our hearts. But as the election of our new pope draws nearer, it’s beautiful to see catholic so united in prayer for our bright and glorious future!

Now that I’ve announced my entrance date to my family, friends and anybody who happens to bless me with their presence on this blog – word about my vocation has started to trickle out into my local community. The sweet old ladies at daily mass are hearing whispers about the young girl who wears the veil and giving me a different kind of warm smile during the peace offering. People are asking my parents if what they’ve heard is true. I get little messages here and there about how people are praying for me, and even a few about how others are starting to unplug during their morning jogs, and pray instead of listening to music! How beautiful! This is all so encouraging and I thank God for the blessing of such positive reactions toward my desire to follow Him into a life of prayer as a religious sister.
The fundraising itself is a bit slow-going, but I know I am still only a few weeks into this effort! Right now I am in the middle of contacting various Knights of Columbus councils throughout the country – notifying them about my desire to enter reiligous life, and about my BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE –  to get at least one sponsor from every state in the U.S. by March 25th. God willing, some of these brothers in Christ will respond and perhaps I will eventually be praying for KofC councils all over the country! Things are getting busier at work, and I’ve recently taken up some extra projects and prayer commitments. So promoting Litany Run is getting a bit tough and there haven’t been any new sponsorships at in just over two weeks now. But I know that the Lord will provide me with a way to get new sponsors in His own perfect time. Right now I am praying, and ask you to join in prayer with me – for perseverance through this effort. And that the Lord will keep my heart strong even if the money doesn’t come in as quickly as I am hoping it will.

Not my will, O Lord, but Yours be done.

May the peace of Christ be with you, the Lord bless you abundantly, and the Holy Spirit guide you to become a saint.


Totus Tuus



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