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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Call to PRAYER

My dear friends. I cannot believe that as I head off to bed tonight I am looking at a count of 177 sponsors on my sponsorship page. 177!! I am so undeserving of all this generosity and I thank you all sincerely from the bottom of my heart for your support. These are the last 4 days before the OC Marathon, and as the race draws closer, the grace rushes in more abundantly every day.

Today on my 3mi run around my neighborhood I prayed in thanksgiving for YOU, in thanksgiving for how the Lord has answered your prayers throughout my Litany Run training, and I prayed in petition for those answers you're still waiting for. The rest of the day only got better, as I was blessed with another day at my wonderful job, where I am currently helping with preparations for our diocesan priestly ordination mass, coming up in just one month! I serve our diocese in a small way, but our seminarians are always in my heart and prayers, and I can never be thankful enough that I have this wonderful job.

Your donations and sponsorships sent me over $14,000 and 26% of my goal today, my dear friends. This is truly incredible. My rosaries for you grow more focused every day, and I am praying that the Lord is showing you what a gift you have been to me. Some of you I have been praying for since December. Some of you I just met today. But you all mean so much to me, and every anxiety that pops up in anticipation of this Sunday is driven away when I think of how God is working in your life, and how my prayers might be able to bring you joy in even the smallest and most humble of ways.

I beg for your continued prayers in these last 4 days. Please pray that the Lord will send me a few more souls to pray for during my run. And please pray for my patience and good judgement in exercising, as my left Achilles tendon is still a bit inflamed. I am praying that it will heal by this weekend, but trying to mentally prepare to run with it just the way it is.

All glory to God, I don't think I'll be as close to my goal as I had hoped by the end of this weekend. But I have some ideas on how my fundraising will continue after the marathon... so please see my smiling face in your hearts. Pray for each other! You are all brothers and sisters who have supported me so far. Invite others to join the family :D.


God bless you and make you saints!!

Donate here: www.gofundme.com/litanyrun 

DAY 4 - DOUBLE NOVENA for Litany Run

Thank you to everyone who has been joining in on this Novena! I am so thankful that so many of you are praying for each other! 5 DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE MARATHON! God bless you!!!


Day 4:

Novena of the Miraculous Medal through the intercession of Our Lady:


O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession,  manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.  
(State your intention here...)  You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.  Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, so that our every thought, word and deed  may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men.




Novena for Any Necessity through the intercession of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta:


Your ways, O Lord, make known to me.
Teach me your paths. 
Father almighty, 
your ways and mysterious purpose 
are often hidden from us; 
guide me now, I beg you, 
in my sorrow, and by your power 
aid me to know your will. 
May I do it in imitation of Christ, 
our redeemer. 
Amen. 

Action: Consider seriously today how best you can do God's will. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

DAY 3 - DOUBLE NOVENA for Litany Run

Day 3:

Novena of the Miraculous Medal through the intercession of Our Lady:

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession,  manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.  
(State your intention here...)  You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.  Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, so that our every thought, word and deed  may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men.




Novena for Any Necessity through the intercession of St. Padre Pio:

Lord, be not far from me.
Awake and be vigilant in my defense, my God. 
Loving Father, 
you are not far from any of us since in you we live, 
move and have our being. 
Kindly increase my awareness of your presence, 
and take care of my pressing need. 
Christ, our Lord, assures us you will. 
Amen. 

Action: For this day, cast all your cares upon the Lord. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

DAY 2 - DOUBLE NOVENA for Litany Run

Day 2: 
Novena of the Miraculous Medal through the intercession of Our Lady:

O Immaculate Virgin Mary,  Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother,  penetrated with the most lively confidence  in you all-powerful and never-failing intercession,  manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,  we your loving and trustful children  implore you to obtain for us the graces  and favors we ask during this novena,  if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.  (State your intention here...)  You know, O Mary,  how often our souls have been  the sanctuaries of you Son who hates iniquity.  Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin  and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone  so that our every thought, word and deed  may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial  that we may recover by penance  what we have lost by sin  and at length attain to that blessed abode  where you are the Queen of angels and of men.



Novena for Any Necessity - 
Through the intercession of Blessed Pope John Paul the Great

Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me. O Lord, be my helper.  Father in heaven, your love for us never falters  in spite of our sins and failures.  Please show your mercy and care for me  in my difficulty. For the sake of Christ,  our Savior, have pity of me. Amen.
Action: Recognize the image of Christ today in those around you.



Thank you for your prayers my brothers and sisters! Now I'm off to my final Sunday run before the marathon. Join me in a a rosary of the Glorious Mysteries and a Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, won't you? God bless you. Receive Jesus today with a clean heart! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

DAY 1 - DOUBLE NOVENA for Litany Run


Here we gooo! 1 week left until I am biting off my fingernails and worrying about how much sleep I’m not going to get the night before the race! Haha I kid. 

...But seriously.

Today begins my DOUBLE NOVENA for Litany Run! Thank you so much to everyone who has already contacted me saying that they’d love to join me in these nine days of prayer, which will end on race day – May 5th.  God bless you! Here are the prayers:

Day 1:
Novena of the Miraculous Medal through the intercession of Our Lady:

O Immaculate Virgin Mary,  Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother,  penetrated with the most lively confidence  in you all-powerful and never-failing intercession,  manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,  we your loving and trustful children  implore you to obtain for us the graces  and favors we ask during this novena,  if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.  (State your intention here...)  You know, O Mary,  how often our souls have been  the sanctuaries of you Son who hates iniquity.  Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin  and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone  so that our every thought, word and deed  may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial  that we may recover by penance  what we have lost by sin  and at length attain to that blessed abode  where you are the Queen of angels and of men.


Novena for Any Necessity - Through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.   Heavenly Father,  you know all things,  and nothing is hidden from you;  in your kindness come to my aid in my present distress,  and grant my humble petition.  In Christ's name I beg your help.  Amen. 

Action: Do a kind deed today for someone you meet. 




That's all folks! Stay tuned for updates on my final week of training and for the novena prayers each morning. God bless you! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Double Novena for Litany Run!


Friends! The 10-day countdown is on!! Litany Run is a week and a half away, and SATURDAY morning I will begin a double novena in thanksgiving for all of my sponsors, and in petition for the intercession of Our Lady in helping me get my student loans paid off in time to enter the monastery by this fall. I warmly invite you to join me in this novena. Each day I’ll be posting the prayers at litanyrun.blogspot.com, as well as on facebook.com/litanyrun and sending out links via Twitter (@jennraegarza). I call this a “double novena” because I couldn’t choose just one set of prayers… I loved these both so much! Plus they’re both short so you can pray they both in one go and don't have to worry about setting aside more than about two minutes :D. Or you can choose to pray one of the two if you'd like! 



Novena #1: I invite you to pray with me the Novena for Any Necessity – through the intercession of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Padre Pio and Bl. John Paul the Great… and please add your own intentions to this as well! These prayers will be posted directly to FB.

Novena #2: In my blog will also be the Novena of the Miraculous Medal – since Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is the primary patroness of my run and my endeavor to enter religious life. Please pray with me for each other, for my vocation, and for more holy vocations to the Catholic Church.

Thank you for your prayers my brothers and sisters… now I’m off to run 8 miles for you! Oremus pro invicem (let us pray for each other).


AMDG

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's days like today


It's days like today when I am truly grateful for the wonderful education I've had over the last couple of years. For the last few days I've been experiencing a bit of Achilles Tendonitis. But thankfully my time int the world of fitness gave me a decent background in being able to understand the absolute necessity for recovery time, and just how to stay in marathon shape while I recover.  I still own enough fitness equipment to be able to perform strength alternatives to stay in marathon shape while letting my feet heal up. It also helps that my wonderful parents decided to install a pool into their backyard some 12 or so years ago, so that I can swim as an alternative to running. After a few seconds of pondering imminent death by hypothermia... my body got used to the chilly mid-April water and I was fine. I should be good to be back on the road tomorrow, which is wonderful - because I'm doing an interview with the county newspaper and they'll be getting a few shots of me doing my training run for the day. Please pray that it goes well!


  
These flowers brought the
Divine Mercy to mind.

Late Sunday evening I returned home from a beautiful weekend trip to St. Michael's Abbey - home to the Norbertine fathers who founded the community of nuns I'll be joining. What a blessing that they're only about 20 minutes away from where a dear friend lives in Orange County. I was able to spend most of Saturday praying at the Abbey and talking with several of the priests and novices, and also had time for a lovely little trip to the mission in San Juan Capistrano, where I prayed for the intentions of all my sponsors. I visited this mission once before - about a year and a half ago. It is probably my favorite one (thought I haven't visited them all... and very much hope to visit a few more before entering.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out whilst listening to an audio recording for this particular area of the mission (a small chapel dedicated to St. Peregrine), that they have daily mass at 7am! I will be attending mass there the friday before I run my marathon. What a blessing!
Where I prayed and left many of your prayer intentions with St. Peregrine, especially those who have asked for prayers for cancer sufferers. 

At St. Michael's Abbey the novice master Fr. Ambrose Criste, O.Praem. was so generous in showing me around the non-cloistered areas of the Abbey, and obtaining permission for me to have dinner with the priests. Oh how honored I was after dinner, that Father Abbot Eugene Hayes, O.Praem.  - the superior of the Abbey - introduced himself to me and made me feel very welcome. Soon after that I met Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. - who is the director of the Institute on Religious Life. He also allowed me to speak to the entire community of Third Order Norbertines, novices and affiliates at their monthly meeting on Sunday. How wonderful to now have so many names and faces of the Norbertine family in Orange County in my mind! Now when I enter, I will be able to remember these beautiful and holy people's faces when I pray for them.

It was actually a surprise to me when I found out the Third Order would be having their monthly meeting the same weekend I was visiting. Even more of a delightful surprise during their holy hour to see their Juniors (children of Third Order parents who are prepared to take the next step in entering the Third Order for themselves - they seemed just shy of being teenagers, from what I could tell...) approach the altar to be vested with the White Scapular. But more than I can express, what a grace to be invited by Fr. Gregory, to approach the altar with them and receive the scapular myself! 

I must admit I was a little shocked when, after the first few lines of the formal vestation prayer, Fr. Gregory paused and told the entire community how it had just occurred to him that there were future Norbertine canonesses in the room. From my seat in pew at the very back of the church, I knew that he was prompted to say this by seeing me there, but I thought he would stop at the suggestion that any of the young, unmarried women and girls present should discern a vocation to the religious life. That suggestion was immediately followed, however, by his announcing that there was a current aspirant to the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph present in the church, and then inviting me up to the altar with the Juniors. Perhaps some of the people there thought this had been previously arranged... but it hadn't! I actually didn't know they were planning to have a holy hour until just ten minutes before it happened, and was going to be fully satisfied with the opportunity to spend some time in the presence of Our Lord exposed on the altar. But He had something even more special in mind.

I happened to end up kneeling directly in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the center of the altar, and  This spontaneous invitation for me to participate in the vestation of the White Scapular meant more to me than Fr. Gregory will know... unless he reads this post :). I have actually been wanting to begin wearing a scapular for several months, but have never been presented with an occasion to have one blessed or felt particularly compelled to seek out such an occasion. But again, it is no surprise that God's timing is perfect. Fr. Gregory approached each of us who were kneeling before the altar, placed a scapular around each person's neck, laid his hands on our heads and said the following:

"Receive, Sister, this white scapular, in order that you may clothe yourself with a greater increase of God's grace, and that you may be worthy to walk in white with the Lamb, Who liveth and reigneth with God the Father in unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end."


Except that when he got to me, after the word "Lamb" he added the words, "as your spouse one day." And I got a nice healthy dose of reality and grace all rolled into one. You see, the reality that I will someday be a consecrated bride of Christ in one of the most ancient religious orders in existence... comes in waves. Being called into the Order of Premontre is rare, beautiful, demanding, and is accepted with consideration of an incredible amount of responsibility. As Canons and Canonesses Regular,  the members of my future order are charged with the responsibility of keeping the Divine Office throughout the entire day - praying for the salvation of souls. St. Faustina, in her Diary, writes that the Lord said to her that on the day of judgement He is going to require many souls of her. She took this to mean that if she were to carry out the Lord's request, she would be held accountable for many souls who were otherwise unable to recognize and accept the Mercy of God. This is what is asked of contemplatives. 

By accepting the Lord's invitation into the Order of Premontre, I would be accepting the responsibility of striving to pray without ceasing - for the salvation of my Christian family in the world, as well as those who do not know God or have rejected Him. This is what it means to be a bride of Christ. If we are to follow the Church's teaching on marriage and the essential functions of a family - we know that it is the responsibility of each person in a marriage to work unceasingly for the good of their spouse. To continually die to themselves and sacrifice much with a view toward fostering holiness in each other. My Lord has already done, and continues everyday to do what is best for me, and may He save me from any future occasion of suggesting that I do not have every reason to express my gratitude - through living a life of self-denial for the salvation of souls and for His Glory. 

The scapular is an outer sign of an inner devotion, (well actually, if you wear it correctly it's not really supposed to be an outer sign for others to see), and the time will come when I will have to remove it in favor of a larger one :). But upon receiving it I truly felt a certain wave of the Holy Spirit rush over me as I entered, even in a small way, into solidarity with the Norbertine community - both lay and religious. I feel closer to them now. 



As an update on my finances - praise the Lord I am now down to $41,945!!  I was able to raise $260 over the last five days and, as promised, will be sending $85 of that to the Hern family of northern California - whose little boy was hurt during the attack at the Boston Marathon. I don't have an update on his health status yet, but I assure you I will post about it here when I do. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to pray for my effort to contribute to this cause and help his family. Perhaps I can convince a lovely grandparent to donate $15 and make Litany Run's gift to the Herns an even $100 :). 

I am now TWELVE DAYS AWAY from the OC Marathon, and getting really excited! Please please please share my story with EVERYONE you can today. I have had people of all different backgrounds give to Litany Run so far... Catholics, other Christians, agnostics, some Jewish brothers and sisters, people who have fallen away from any faith at all... and even self-proclaimed atheists! Praise God... you never know just who is going to feel called to help. Thank you for your continued prayers, my friends. Please know that I am keeping you locked even more tightly into my prayers as the race draws closer. God bless you! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

LitanyRun for BOSTON

ATTENTION:
Brothers and sisters, please help me spread the word about this online event. From now until Sunday, 4.21.13 at 10pm, I will be sending 1/3 of what I receive at www.gofundme.com/litanyrun
to a family in Northern California whose 11-year-old boy was badly injured during the bombing and has already had to undergo multiple surgeries. He is the son of one of our Knights of Columbus. Please spread the word and consider making a contribution by April 21st, 2013.

On the Boston Marathon and Our Just Reward




Its more than a day since I attempted to begin writing this post and I still can’t think of anything to say that can begin to describe how I feel about the tragedy in Boston. There probably isn’t a whole lot I can say that hasn’t been said already and the fact that this is a blog about an upcoming marathon makes little difference. All I can do is give you a condensed account of what went through my mind in the hours and day following this horrific event. One of my first thoughts was “what would I have done if I had been one of the runners about to finish the race?” And since then I have continued to wonder, “How are those runners dealing with this?” 



I’m not talking about the poor souls who were at the finish line and literally felt the impact of the blasts. I have no doubt that their reactions were of pure terror, confusion and instantaneous grief – and for that they remain at the heart of my prayers. There are no words to express the sorrow and compassion I feel for all the people who were hurt and who were close enough to have heat and shock from the bombs forever burned into their memories.

No, I’m wondering about the runners who saw the explosion from a few dozen or hundred yards away. The ones who were passing their final half-mile. The ones who were a mile away and were stopped just after their hearts’ excitement was ignited by that final mile marker. I’m talking about the runners who were three miles away from the finish line, already celebrating the achievement of a life-long-goal they could all but see on the horizon. A goal that they would never reach. I’m talking about those who were running their final six miles after trying to get into the Boston Marathon for years. Those are the people I wonder about.

What was meant to be a video of victory and achievement.


There are a ton of different reasons people may have been running this race. Charities, supporting various causes, in memory of loved-ones, in protest to injustices, for the satisfaction of well-rewarded self-discipline and accomplishing something you never thought you could… the list goes on. When faced with grand-scale tragedy in the past I have often utilized the phrase “I can’t imagine...”  and I continue on with my prayers and condolences for the victims and families without having to imagine. But this time I can imagine. And while my heart breaks for those killed, those injured, those forever scarred in any way – my heart also breaks for those who may have poured out everything they had into this race, and never crossed the finish line. What a tremendous disappointment it would be to enter the final leg of the race and feel the relief of the home stretch, only to have the road blocked off just as I was about to accomplish something I’d dreamed of for years. And more than that – something that I am now doing not really in pursuit of victory over my own self-will or body, but ultimately in pursuit of victory over evil. What would I have done if, after promising you all for the last few months that I would pray for you for 26.2 miles, my race suddenly came to an abrupt and premature end? Well, I suppose my only option would be to keep right on praying.

Its sobering times like this when we are faced with the reality that there are things in this world bigger than our selves. Real evil exists and we have a responsibility to fight it – not with superficial words of opposition toward what we perceive as popular and trending injustices of the day, or by the glorification of a good-deed done once a year for a cause which has needs that go unmet year round. Rather we fight real evil by placing steadfast faith and unalterable trust in the One who is capable and inclined to execute all necessary justice, and all deserved mercy. And by continuously carrying out His will accordingly through our works.

Medal given to Boston Marathon runner
 Laura Wellington by an
anonymous finisher. 
It’s the little works of mercy we do, when the love of God and compassion for his beloved and suffering children are infused to fluidly into our daily lives, that really make a difference. Tonight I was privately and quietly grieving for the runners who, after months and possibly years of hard work and training, didn’t get to finish their race – when I came across a short story written by one woman who was ½ a mile away from crossing the finish line when she heard the bombs and had to stop. Walking alone some minute later,  after the relief of contacting her family via phone, a fellow runner asked her if she had crossed the finish line. When she responded that she hadn’t, he immediately removed the medal from his neck, placed it around hers and said, “you are a finisher in my eyes.” 

I couldn’t help but be thankful for this man’s compassion and imagine that if someone had reacted with that level of kindness and selflessness toward me in my hour of distress, I could never have expressed my gratitude. But then, someone did do that for me, didn’t they? 

My Lord created me and died for me, surpassing all manifestations of compassion that man could ever assume by an unfathomable margin. He has been ever at my side through thick and thin. Even when I have felt lost and all has seemed hopeless, He has remained unwaveringly near and accessible. More often than not He has approached me with arms wide open even before I’ve thought to reach out my hand to ask for help.

I suppose, in the end, the way those who didn't finish will deal with this... will have little to do with dwelling upon however much the Boston Marathon they didn't run. It will have everything to do with recognizing the path that now lies before them, and the race they are called to run for the rest of their lives. This is not a race run in the viewable company of thousands wearing race bibs and neon shoes. No, the runners in this race are united, but each is required to run alone. And this is not a race where the course is mapped out so that one might know exactly how to train to get the desired results. No, this course is often unpredictable with many steep hills and deep valleys that sometimes seem to stretch one forever. This is a challenging course which calls for more strength an endurance than anything that man could map out on his own. And this is not a race which ends in the glory of a photograph taken as the finisher is donned with a beautiful medal that will be hung on a wall. No, this race ends in the glory of eternity in paradise, as the finisher is donned with a crown worthy of an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God, that will be hung in a mansion prepared by Christ according to what the finisher has earned by his deeds. 

And so now my brothers and sisters, in the wake of this tragedy, I pray that we all are reminded of our call to sanctity. Let us be mindful of the responsibility we have to respond to this call through living out a larger-than-life, out of this world pursuit of holiness. A magnificent marathon of good will toward a finish line filled with souls won for the Lord. We are called to pour out our hearts and our very lives in an effort to win God’s children for His Kingdom. Let us be mindful that the road to eternal life is long and difficult, requiring much discipline and sacrifice. Let us give all we can to completing the task He has set before us. Let us run so as to win the prize. And if we endeavor to finish the race, He will see that we receive our just reward.



May the Lord bless you abundantly, and make you into saints. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Angels, for Protection #BostonMarathon

August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send thy holy angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe.

Most holy Mother, send thy angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us.

All ye holy angels and archangel, help and defend us. Amen.

O good and tender Mother! Thou shalt ever be our Love and our Hope.

Holy Angels and Archangels, keep and defend us. Amen
 

Mediocre Peanut Butter


Alright enough with the boo-hooing already… let’s get down to business! My marathon is less than THREE WEEKS away! Yesterday’s 20mi run was crazy and awesome.





I woke up at 3:45am and threw down some iced coffee and a slice of toast before the Office of Readings and Angelus. I thought I’d have time for Morning Prayer as well… but it took me longer to tape my feet up this week. Still trying to get the hang of that.

Out the door at 5:25am. I deposited my water bottles in the bushes of various random houses along the first four miles. Gatorade bottles and Clif energy shots (which I will be using on race day, so I started to train with them some weeks ago) were left in front of a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the wall of the church hall at Mile 2.5. Thus, I ensured my hydration and sodium/potassium fixes for the day’s course.

I think I got in about 6 rosaries, a Divine Mercy chaplet, and about a hundred Memorares. I thought I would be rather out of shape, since I ran less than my planned distance for this past week – opting instead to try and let my feet heal. But oddly enough, I actually felt like this 20mi run was much easier than last week’s 18… as far as muscle fatigue goes anyway. But I think it was mostly due to my body just easing it’s way into shock somewhere along the way. I was exhausted but pumped during the last 4 miles… because I hadn’t been experiencing too much irritation in side my shoesies… and was proud of my apparently well-executed tape distribution. Well I came home to discover that my feet did not look as good as they felt… and my runner’s high has long since worn off, lol. But in the end… I lived. Praised be Jesus Christ! The rest of the day was just as amazing, as I hobbled around doing various things like:

-Eating the best mediocre peanut butter & banana sandwich of my life
-Passing out Litany Run flyers and chatting with people from my home parish before and after morning mass
-Finally getting to say Morning Prayer and Daytime Prayer around 12:30pm
-Mashing up avocados and hard-boiled eggs together
-Attending Latin Mass and praying Evening Prayer in a tiny adoration chapel
-Being invited to dinner by an awesome family – where I grubbed on chile verde. Cuz I’m a Mexican.
-Randomly attending an Ike Ndolo worship/Holy hour and chattin with a few old friends.


Needless to say, I ate much things. And it was good.

*** 

Now I enter the final stages of training before race day. The longest distance I’ll run between now and May 5th will be 9mi... which just means that I’ll have more time to pray for you in front of the Blessed Sacrament instead of on the road, my friends! We came really close to the $10,000 this weekend – just $150 short! God is so good! Perhaps I you will help me pass that mark by the end of the day? What a glorious sight it will be!

For now, I’m off to my morning prayers and then mass (today I am offering my mass for everyone who has so kindly sent me prayer requests even though they can’t afford to help me financially. Please know that I wholeheartedly welcome these emails and messages… and encourage you to contact me with prayer requests even if you can’t sponsor me!)… and then a voice lesson with my home parish priests! Yes, I am still tutoring them in Englishpronunciation. What a gift to be able to use my education to help the Rogationists – a religious community whose apostolate it is to pray for and promote vocations!

On top of my continued training, this week I am spiritually preparing for my first visit to St. Michael’s Abbey this coming weekend. The Abbey is the home of the Norbertine priests whose idea it was to establish a women’s community – the founding fathers of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph! I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to make a mini-pilgrimage down to Orange County and pray with them just two weeks before the race. I’ll also be doing my Sunday run on or near the actual race course this Sunday :).

Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to try and spread the word about Litany Run. The clock is ticking and I would love to fill much more of my upcoming marathon with your prayer requests. Please help me by sharing this with someone today! 

1 Corinthians 9:27

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A humble plea


One thing I ask of the LORDthis I seek:To dwell in the house of the LORDall the days of my life,That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORDand contemplate his temple.
 


21 days away from The OC Marathon and I’m getting ready for my longest run EVER in tomorrow morning. 20miles and more than 100 people to pray for, so far. I can’t believe its only three weeks away! I’ve been training since January and it all feels like its coming to a slow end, as I look toward the coming weeks of shorter runs before race day.

But I know that it’s not coming to an end. Race day is still on the horizon and I have no doubt that the marathon will be the most physically challenging thing I’ve done in my whole life (and lets consider that I used to work in fitness and let fellow trainers put me through all kinds of torture). Not only because I’ll be running 26.2 miles, but because over the past few weeks I have really started to approach the more physically challenging parts of running through seeking solidarity with the saints who went through physical trials. And thinking about how much sacrifice the Lord sometimes asks, of those He makes strong enough to be able to bear it, can be quite scary and intimidating. I don’t know what I’ll experience on the day of the marathon, but I can say that up until now God has only been revealing Himself and His mercy more and more as my training becomes more challenging.

Of course my marathon has transformed into less of a fundraising effort recently, and more of an effort to gather prayer requests even from people who aren’t able to support me financially. God has placed you in the depths of my heart, my friends, and I want to pray for as many people as I can. You know by now that this is how I want to spend my whole life. But I continue to need your help. Please understand how difficult it is for this poor, incredibly proud sinner to ask for this kind of assistance. And I feel at this point that my twitter and FB posts are just getting annoying. I do so earnestly apologize for anyone who has been fed up with me talking about my race in recent weeks. But where the sponsorships seemed to be on an incline for a short time, it now seems as if interest in my effort is dying out.

I am praying for the strength to persevere, and for charity in my heart, because you, my friends, have told me yourself just how much my running this race means to you. My heart burns for the desires you hold deep within yours, and I am praying the Lord will give you peace through all of your own trials, even if He is asking you to accept heavy crosses that sometimes seem too heavy to bear. Oh how I wish that money had nothing to do with my running this race. Truly I do. I wish that I could run solely for your intentions and cease this horrible plea for financial aide. But this is my cross, and if the Lord should ask me to endure it for five, ten, even twenty more years before I am free to finally give him my full “Yes,” then I will continue running with such fervor that all demons which plague the world will cower and hide when they hear the sound of my sneakers coming down the street.

I know that the Lord is with me. He dwells in the depths of my heart and I need only to quiet my mind to see Him firmly planted at the root of my being. But I am human. And I worry sometimes. And I have fear sometimes. And I feel lonely sometimes. Please, my brothers and sisters, I beg you to pray for me as I draw more deeply into this experience of trying to trust completely in the Lord – that He will someday allow me be free of this worldly obstacle of my debt. I long to spend my life offering perfect prayers for you and all your needs. But I must be free to do this, which I am not yet. 

If you are reading this, and have not yet felt moved to contribute but think you might soon… please, I am asking you to do so now. It is 4:30 on Saturday afternoon and I am so close to the $10,000 mark, which I was hoping to reach by the end of this week. Please don’t wait any longer my friends! These next three weeks are so crucial, and the more support I have, the more others might feel moved to contribute to a worthy cause. And I ask you to trust me, my faithful brothers and sisters, that while I am an incredibly unworthy servant of the Lord, your gift to my vocation is a gift to Him. You are helping me give my life to Him – so that He can make me worthy of serving Him for your sake – and that is a worthy cause.

Lord give me strength to embrace your timing. Your timing is perfect. I know I must wait. 





May God bless you abundantly, and make you true saints. I ask Our Lady to give you peace. To give us all peace. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

25 DAYS TO GO!!!

Benedicite my friends! Today seems to be a very amazing and special day. No doubt Our Lady, whose Feast of the Annunciation was yesterday, has had her hand on Litany Run this week! Thanks be to God I was able to make quite a substantial payment on my student loans this week, and am officially down to a total of $45,975.93 left to go! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
 
The number of views on this blog also just passed 2,000 this morning. Thank you for sharing LitanyRun.com and leading your friends, family, and community to read more about my journey on this blog. I seriously can’t express how much your support through prayers and sharing my story have helped me.
 
This weekend the meter at gofundme.com/litanyrun passed 15% through a generous gift from someone from my home diocese, what a blessing! I think through your prayers, support, and the intercession of Our Lady and the saints, Litany Run might be able to pass the $10,000 mark by the end of the week. If you know anyone who could possibly help me achieve that, please tell them that I’d like to inviteeveryone who sponsors me between today and Friday to send in an extra prayerrequest, and I’d love to add them to an additional mile of my run!
 
Other awesome things since my last post:
 
1.)    Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati’s 112th birthday was this Saturday. He is the patron future-saint of Litany Run, and my friends and I celebrated by renewing our baptismal vows, as was suggested by www.frassatiusa.org.
2.)    Divine Mercy Sunday – I ran with the Divine Mercy Chaplet this morning… 18 miles around town! Then cantored at my home parish before joining a great friend for a Rosary walk and Traditional Latin Mass at St. Anthony of Padua in Fresno. A beautiful homily given by Fr. Baca!
3.)    Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord – I attended mass and then adoration at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Clovis – where I renewed my consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then recorded an interview for Immaculate Heart Radio which will air in San Francisco and Reno this coming weekend!  Dinner with my amazing friends who also renewed their consecration to Our Lady yesterday =). Also it was my boss (the diocesan vocations director)’s birthday!  
4.)    Today we celebrated Bishop Ochoa’s 70th birthday at work, AND Fr. Dan was given a belated birthday cake too J. Much chocolate.
 
 
Sunday’s run was my longest distance ever. I didn’t do a long run last week because of Easter, so it this week was a bit more challenging. But was encouraged by the incredible amount of love and support I’ve received over the last few weeks, and dedicated much of this run especially in petition for all of the graces forwhich people forget to ask. This was an incredible aid, especially in the last three miles when I had been feeling irritation in places where I taped my feet for several miles, and was quite ready to be finished. I spending my first 16 miles on the big loop around town, I ran the last two in the park and asked Litany Run’s patron saints let me feel their presence as much as possible during those final loops. I thought about all of the people who have never heard of Jesus and have never experienced His Divine Mercy, and I prayed for awareness that on race day I will be running another eight miles on top of what I did this week. I’m looking forward to it.
 
I woke with a prayer of thanksgiving this morning – my heart ready to take on an easy five miles. Unfortunately my feet were not in agreement. I’ve been pretty good about preventing blisters as much as possible, and draining/treating carefully the ones that pop up anyway, so far. But this morning one of them was not looking very pretty. Determined to get the miles in despite my clearly poorly conditioned soles, I laced up. It only took about two steps before I acknowledged that it wasn’t going to happen. Much as I wanted to go on my rosary run today, I need to keep in mind that I’m gearing up for 20mi this coming Sunday, before tapering off for the last couple of weekend before the race. I need to do what I can to make sure I’m ready to serve the Lord as best I can on what will be the longest distance I run before May 5th. So I unlaced and got in some plyometric/calisthenic work instead. I was a tiny bit discouraged, but knew I was making the smarter decision by not running today. Please pray that I’ll be ready to get back on the road by Wednesday!
 
We’re now only 25 days out from The OC Marathon! I’ve added a countdown clock to the homepage of LitanyRun.com, as well as an easy “Donate” button which takes you to my personal Paypal account… for anyone you know who would be more likely to help me out without having to go through any extra steps. All the gifts that I get through that account will be added to my GoFundMe page manually. Thank you for your amazing support, my friends. Please continue to share Litany Run with as many people as you can!
 
May God bless you abundantly during this continuing season of Easter. I am praying that you will become saints!
 
 
AMDG

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Countdown is on!


Hello again! How did April 5th creep up on me so quickly?! The OC Marathon is now only 1 month away and Litany Run is kicking into high gear!

I woke up just in time to pour my coffee and pop in a piece of toast before going on air with Wake Up Louisiana. The good folks over at Catholic Community Radio were kind enough to let me share my story with them for a few minutes just as my future sisters over in Tehachapi were lining up to enter the chapel for Morning Prayer. When I hung up, I joined the community in prayer (from my own little corner in my own little room) and gave thanks for the opportunity to share Litany Run with a few new listeners down south… and for the invitations I received to be on a couple more radio shows next week!

I hit the concrete around 7am for my 5-mile-Friday run, setting out on a path I’ve now run countless times since my teenage years. From my house to a park in the neighborhood which has a loop that comes to about ¼ mile, and back. I know this route very well and could probably do it with my eyes shut. Actually… I practically did do that a few weeks ago. When people ask me where I train and I answer “On a loop around a park near my house” most of the time the reaction I get is, “I hate loops,” or, “Oh man I just can’t do that.” Perhaps the idea of running the same route over and over again is unappealing to most people. I suppose it used to be that way for me, too.

But these days I feel differently. In training for Litany Run for the past 2.5 months, there have been very few times I’ve chosen to run somewhere different from either this park, or the 4 mile loop from my house to the church and back. The repetition in these routes actually give me comfort. Knowing almost exactly how far I’m running each time (even without the use of my GPS) allows me to focus more intently on the prayers that I offer in thanksgiving and petition for all of my sponsors’ needs. I have truly begun to feel the presence of Litany Run’s patron saints as I go through each mystery of the Rosary and ask these holy people to guide me, and to run with me along my path! Repetition may seem dull to some people, but for me it is a relief. And there hasn’t been one training run yet where I haven’t felt the presence of our Blessed Lady, and been comforted by meditating on her sacrifices, and those of Her son.

This week has taken me deeper into prayer for parents – especially those who make tremendous sacrifices for their children, which often go unappreciated. When I think about how Our Lady must have felt as Jesus was experiencing his Agony in the Garden, what could have been going on in her mind during His Passion, and how much strength is must have taken for her to not only stand there and let it happen, but to do everything she could to be as close to Him as possible – all the way up to Calvary… well I wonder if I would have had the strength to do the same for my son if I were in her place. She knew from the beginning that she would experience great sorrow, and she said “Yes” to God anyway.

“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” –Luke 2:34-35.


Parents give up so much for their children. I hope that I can begin to show greater gratitude toward my parents for all they’ve done for me, for the short time I have left with them. If I am called to follow in Christ’s footsteps, I am called to treat my parents with as much dignity as He did for His mother. And more than that, if I am called to follow Our Lady when I enter the cloister and begin my journey as a spiritual mother, how much more am I called to imitate the incredible love she had for her Child?  To sacrifice all of my comfort and she did when she watched Him die? To suffer all that I can for the salvation of souls, because this is what the Lord has called me to… and I have said “Yes.”

God grant me the strength to love all Your children as a mother loves her children. For You fulfill the greatest desires of my heart, and I wish to give my everything for You.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

And now time to catch up. Or - A very Norbertine Easter




Okay okay I know! Its been Easter for 5 days and I haven’t posted yet. STOP PRESSURING ME! Just kidding. Benedicite my friends!! I hope you’ve been having as glorious and Easter as I have. I do not, however, wish upon you the decrease in muscular endurance that I have experienced.

Taking Holy Week off from running was a good choice for my feet, which were in dyer need of some recovery time. And for my soul! …which was bountifully nourished by the quiet of the monastery and opportunity to chant the ancient Gregorian liturgy with my future sisters. My legs, on the other hand, have been reaping the consequences of those recovery days since I hit the road again early Monday morning.

I did a bit of hiking while visiting my future community in the mountains last weekend, but not enough to maintain the stamina I had been building up until the Triduum. This week’s runs have been challenging. Thankfully the progression of the Divine Mercy Novena and some beautiful prayer requests I’ve recently received have combined to inspire and motivate me even on days like today – when I had an 8-miler to take care of in some less-than-desirable weather. By the grace of God I got it done, and am now looking forward to tomorrow’s breather at 5 miles, before taking a rest to gear up for my 18-mile long run this Sunday!



I must apologize that I did not take the initiative to snap many pictures of Holy Week at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph. I was too distracted by Jesus! (The Altar of Repose was actually set up inside Bethany House – where I sleep when I visit… so I had Him in my living room all weekend long. It was great.) Except for this one of me with Mother Mary Augustine, O. Praem., which was taken just before we said goodbye on Easter Morning:

You should pray through the tiny Lady for the other two ladies in this picture.


I won’t go into too much detail about the events of Holy Week at the monastery. Suffice it to say that it was the most beautiful Triduum ever, and if you ever get a chance to visit and experience it… DO. Each morning we woke for Tenebrae by candlelight at 3:30am, and continued our days with much meditation, adoration, and the indescribable beauty of the Divine Office. Abstaining from all food and drink apart from coffee on Friday, (by my own choice… not a tradition of the sisters’), something I’ve only done once before, was also a challenging yet fruitful decision. Having not taken any food after about 3pm on Holy Thursday, by the time we finished the Good Friday service that afternoon I was already feeling a bit weakened. I remember thinking that having no food or drink would be impossible for a human to maintain for 40 days and, when I rhetorically asked a friend, “How the heck did Jesus do it?” I was snapped back into reality by his resoundingly concise answer, “He was God.” After a brief day and a half of solidarity with the hungry Jesus, as well as with all the poor souls living in poverty even now… I was thankful for my toast and yogurt on Saturday morning.

The seven readings at Easter Vigil were all done in Gregorian chant, just as everything else had been all week. It was breathtaking, of course. And also comforting that several of the readings were done by novices, perhaps symbolizing the catechumens who were coming to the Church all over the world that night – and the necessity for zeal and participation by all those young and new in the Church.

Clearly a picture of Advent, but a rare view from
inside the cloister, just the same!
The consecration of the Holy Eucharist at Easter Vigil is the community’s high point of the liturgical year, as it really is for the entire Church Militant. Turning the lights back on, ringing the bells again, and receiving the Body of Christ just after the stroke of midnight… were like a renewal in spirit and an unveiling of the Lord’s ultimate Gift to us, welcoming Him back as if He had been absent for a very long time. How very present Jesus made himself that night! And how very very thankful I am to be looking forward to my future in this ancient order which gives such solemn reverence to Him in the Eucharist and through their lives. If think you can top the beauty of the Norbertine liturgy please, invite me to where I can experience that! I would welcome something more reverence-inspiring, but I’m just not sure it exists =).

The race is one month away!! This week the income of sponsorships has steadily and significantly decreased and I am now looking for new ways to get the word out about Litany Run. Over the last few days I’ve contacted as all of the Catholic radio stations whose email addresses I was able to obtain. Now just praying for responses! I’m also writing up a blog post to be published at MyYearOfFaith.com on April 19th, so God willing that might increase traffic on gofundme.com/litanyrun a bit. Please keep me in your prayers as I enter into the final 5 weeks of my training, and sponsorship crunch time!


May the Lord bless you abundantly. I am praying that you will become saints!


Totus Tuus
AMDG