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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bishop's 8th Annual Pro-Life Banquet

This evening I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Bishop's 8th Annual Pro-Life Banquet.  The funny thing is... I originally wanted to go until I found out that the date conflicted with another Catholic event I frequent (The Shepherd's Cafe)....on top of that, today is also the first marching competition for my high school band, of which I'm currently an active volunteer for when I'm not volunteering at my parish.  I was conflicted up until a week ago on which of the three events I would, I wish I could tri-locate.

(insert Padre Pio meme)

But, I guess God really wanted me to be at the banquet because one of the adults from our Respect Life committee approached me randomly last week offering me a seat at his table for the banquet.  Apparently, one of our resident Hispanic sisters at our parish wouldn't be able to attend, so I was invited to take her place.  And I did.  And I'm grateful for the opportunity!

I've never been to the Bishop's Pro-Life Banquet before so this was all new to me.

My first observation upon arriving was...that it felt weird coming to the Hyatt Regency at D/FW Airport for a Catholic event that wasn't DCYC.  The only other times I've been to this venue was for DCYC.  I mean, the same large room was used, but set up for dinner.  Same base level used.  But instead of a bunch of Catholic youth running around to different booths in the lobby of the base level, there were a bunch of adults dressed nicely carrying adult beverages (definitely not a youth event, haha).  

My second observation was that yes, there were youth running about--youth from my parish!  Since a good handful of them are part of our diocese's Youth For Life organization, they were enlisted to help out in various capacities for tonight's banquet.  Small Catholic world.  Wasn't expecting to see them.

I got to mingle around with other adults from my parish.  Yes, with red wine (praise God I'm Catholic!).  After some mingling and brief looking around at the silent auction, I sat down at my table.  The crazy part about my table is included my pastor and his wife (he's an Episcopalian convert), Bishop Vann was at a table next ours, and right behind me was the stage.  Cool!

To get the night started, John Rhadigan of local sportscasting fame, provided his master of ceremony services.  Yes, he sas giving some Rangers updates throughout the night.  He apparently is a TV anchor for FSN and has done some other sports host-related jobs.  Cool stuff.

During dinner, they had musical entertainment involving a piano player and later a mariachi band!  I approve, being the band nerd that I am.

It was kind of funny because Bishop Vann finished his dinner rather quickly only to get up and be a social butterfly in talking to the many people in attendance during dinner.

John Rhadigan came up again after dinner to introduce Fr. Jim Pemberton of St. Bartholomew's in south Ft. Worth.  He provided some humor with stories and then started going on about how we must be the light in the darkness in regards to the culture of death that we currently live in.  For added effect, when he talked about darkness, they actually dimmed the lights.  He brought up Bishop Vann to speak and he reiterated being a light in the darkness, and Bishop talked about his reassignment to Orange County, CA.

After Fr. Jim Pemberton, John Rhadigan came up again to start a live auction.  They auctioned off a cool painting similar to this:

...this is from the Sistine Chapel where God (right) is reaching out to Adam (left).  But the picture auctioned off has a baby fetus on the left, with God reaching out with His finger.  Cool.  

There was a local Catholic painter who donated this beautiful crucifix that he painted in a particular Byzantine style to be auctioned off.  And he also painted a huuuuuuuge painting of the Annunciation not based on any particular style but his own.  Beautiful pieces of art, but I didn't take pictures because...I was front row and that would have been awkward.

Next up was a video presentation from the Youth for Life.  I think all but one of the youth giving interviews were from my parish.  A lot of them talked about their Pro-Life Boot Camp from the past summer and the importance of being pro-life.  That was really cool to see.  I love seeing my parish represented through the witness of our youth taking action in the greater Church.

After them, John Rhadigan had our keynote speaker come up.  Dr. Thomas Hilgers is a ob/gyn who discovered, researched, developed, and promoted NaPro Techonology, which is a method in addressing women's reproductive health by getting to the root of the problem rather than putting a band aid on women's health issues through prescribing the birth control pill and other such negative solutions.  He's also the founder of the Pope Paul VI Institute where they research reproductive health solutions and teach medical professionals how to be Catholic doctors as well as educate women on how to utilize their fertility services.

Dr. Hilgers explained his story of how he got into being a doctor specializing in women's reproductive health from a Catholic perspective.  I think the essence of his talk was that to be pro-life, we have to remember that fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization results in the death of many embryos before a successful pregnancy occurs.  And that the solution to many women's reproductive and fertility issues can be solved via the methods that he has researched and practices (particularly NaPro and Creighton model).  He covered a lot, including statistical information.  In addition, he touched on faith and science because those two things seemingly contradict each other, but to be Catholic is to be a lover of faith and reason/science.  One thing I found surprising is that he mentioned that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is pro-contraception, pro-abortion, etc.  You would think that people in that profession would be more open to other ideas besides those that harm a woman's health...but...that's just the crazy world we live in.

Following Dr. Hilgers, Bishop Vann came up to wrap it all up. 

He awarded a couple from our parish due to their dedication to the pro-life cause in our diocese.  Very cool.

Raffle tickets pulled by seminarians.  Closing prayer by a priest.  More mingling afterwards.  Then, I went home.

All in all, a good night.  I'm grateful that I went.  Bonus points because I got some free Catholic swag (a book on St. Therese by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and some other literature) and the opportunity to see my parish family at this event.

Tonight just reaffirms my commitment to my own pro-life efforts, especially since we're in the middle of a 40 Days for Life campaign.  Also, this deserves a future blog post but also a lot of research to in order to give it the justice it deserves...but...I think the other takeaway tonight is the Catholic response to the attacks on faith and reason and women's health.  Because...there are people out there who say Science >>> Faith and that the Catholic Church hates women and the Church is but an obstacle to women's health.  But with the work that Dr. Hilger's just blows those arguments outa the water.  Like, boom roasted.

With that, I end with a quote from a prayer booklet that I use when praying at the abortion clinic while meditating on the Glorious Mysteries:
"To be pro-life is to be pro-woman.  To be pro-woman demands we be pro-life."
- JD

PS Upon looking at my program from looks like Tim Tebow's mom is the keynote speaker for next year.  #NoBigDeal

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

40 Days for Life: Kickoff

Hypothetical Outsider: Psh, those Catholics (and friends) and their mass gatherings! They think they can end abortion through praying?! Riiiiiighhhhhttttt. I'll just sit here and make fun of them for a hopeless cause because they're wasting their time. What a waste of 40 days.

Yes. Wasting our time. Because...ya know...peaceful gatherings of constant prayer for 40 days doesn't cause:

  • Abortion clinic workers to eventually quit their jobs.  Oh wait, what about this former Planned Parenthood director or this former Planned Parenthood manager?
  • The closing of 24 abortion facilities after a 40 day prayer campaign.  Wait, that happened over the course of time [1].
  • Unity between 15,000+ church congregations.  Oops, that happened [1].
  • ~6000 known lives saved through 40 days of prayer and fasting.  Yikes, that happened too [1].
Today begins another campaign for the 40 Days For Life--forty days of constant prayer, fasting, and community in the stand for life.  This is my 3rd year participating in it.  

What's crazy is that this started when I was still in college at the very place where it originated in Bryan/College Station.  But, due to my schedule and lack of a vehicular device, I wasn't able to participate.  I suppose due to my lack of participation and ability to participate yet willful desire to join in college led to my fiery motivation to ensure that I participated after graduating.  And here I am.  

It's affirming to hear the fruits of this campaign and it's spreading like wildfire across the globe, year after year.  Check out the website for more info:   

Anyway, I'm blogging live from the 40 Days for Life kickoff in Ft. Worth.!

Now I'm live blogging from the 40 Days for Life Kickoff rally in Ft. Worth. I see a few familiar faces from my parish, but I'm rather impressed by the attendance right now because I'm not used to seeing this many people in front of Planned Parenthood. Rumor has it that Bishop won't be here but he seems to be busy with things as of late.

I see a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal!!! Or three! Br. Shamus, Br. Stephen, and Fr. Pio! Wait, lies!  Make that all four of them! Yay Fr. Juan Diego! #CFR

JK. Bishop arrived!  He should have brought back a palm tree with him >_>

Let's get this party started!

Friars are good at baby-holding
Bishop Vann gave an opening prayer. Now for a reading of guidelines for this campaign.  Because what makes 40 Days for Life also cool is that all participants must adhere to specific guidelines to maintain charitable peace and prayer.  We ain't like them crazy pro-lifers who take things to the extreme.

David Bereit, the creator of the very first 40 Days for Life was the speaker at this kickoff!  WHOOP! (that's Texas Aggie for affirmation of awesomeness)

He's bringing up how Texas paved the way for legalizing abortion, yet here we stand years later in the biggest 40 Days for Life campaign yet.  He gave us some stats from Planned Parenthood on abortion, then provided a motivational speech on why we're doing this.  He also recounted stories about his journey in doing the 40 Days for Life.  Pretty cool.  Again, it boggles my mind that this all started while I was at college, just a mile or two from where I lived/schooled.  The kickoff rally ended with a Presbyterian minister doing the closing prayer.  Which, to me, is cool because...the pro-life effort is a universal one.


Anyway, I'm pretty excited about this campaign.  I'm still trying to decide how I want to spend my time in prayer during my committed hour of prayer once a week.  Last year, I blogged on my iPhone reflecting on abortion and Planned Parenthood, which I'll "reblog" on this blog since those posts reside on my older blog.

40 days.  Challenge accepted.
- JD

[1] 40 Days for Life, Sept 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rape, Incest, and Abortion

Praise God for women who choose life!  Some people out there like to make a case that abortion is justifiable in the case of rape or incest.  And while you can come up with a bunch of statistics and make a seemingly reasonable case for the woman in her defense, have we stopped to consider that hey, maybe there are people out there who did grow up to find out they are the result of rape, yet their mother's chose life?

Some voices on that matter:

How can anyone say, "You deserve to be aborted because you were conceived out of rape/incest."

And for some education on Catholic teaching regarding that matter, go here:

Tomorrow kicks off 40 Days for Life.  Time to concentrate my efforts on thinking about the dignity and sanctity of human life.

Faith. Hope. Charity. Life.
- JD

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Cost of Unmanliness

When I was in high school, I was a cashier at a chain hobby store.  I worked there starting my senior year of high school up until the summer prior to my sophomore year of college.  In my later years of college and even after I graduated, I worked at local recreation center as a front desk customer service representative.  And right now, I'm an engineer at a manufacturing company of commercial airline seating.  Moving up and up, haha.

But all three of these places of employment seem to share an unfortunate commonality with each other, especially this past week at my current job.

Hmm.  Let's take a look.  At the hobby store, one of my managers was let go, if I remember correctly.  At the rec center, one of my managers was also let go or fired.  This past week at work, two engineers were fired.  But why? For sexual harassment or making inappropriate jokes that could be construed as sexual harassment to or around women.  And the women said something to someone.

I don't deem it necessary for details (mostly because I don't have first-hand details), but that's essentially why these men were let go or fired--for reasons of harassment in one way or another.

Not cool.  

Making such jokes or talking to women in such way is not a good thing because it is rooted in selfish desires. Not only that, but sexual desires are spoken of in a twisted manner rather than its beauty--does anyone ever talk about sexual things in a beautiful way, anymore?  And lastly and worst of all, it dishonors and disrespects the women these jokes are aimed at.  

So...all of us guys need to be wary and cognizant of what we say and do in regards to how we view women on a daily basis.  The temptation to have "guy locker room talk" is definitely out there and sometimes one slip up is enough to cost us a reputation and job.  But!  We're better than that.  We're made for greatness.  Us men are made in the image and likeness of God, and guess what--so are women!  They are our equal in dignity.  If we cannot recognize their dignity, then we fall short of what it means to be men as God created us to be.

From here on out, I'll try to turn stereotypical "guy conversations" around by speaking of the beauty and dignity of the fairer sex.  I've typically tried to avoid such conversations, even among close friends, in order to avoid awkwardness, but that's not standing up for what I really believe in.

Or how about doing something for women rather than objectifying them and using them?  Like, going out of your way to change their tire.

Unmanliness must decrease, so that manliness can increase.
- JD 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So I have a habit of praying in front of abortion clinics from time to time.  Today was one of those times!

I've briefly alluded in a previous blog post (which was a pretty awesome first-hand experience) that I typically go with some youth and adults from my parish to everyone's favorite abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood.  And that's where we went to this morning.  

Due to hanging around back at our parish for carpooling, we arrived at the clinic at like 8:15AM, and the group already there had already started the Rosary.  I rode over with our diocese's Youth For Life coordinator, and when we arrived, she went off to go be a sidewalk counselor.  Another sidewalk counselor showed up later.  It wasn't particularly busy at Planned Parenthood this morning...the Youth For Life coordinator decided to go check out our other favorite abortion clinic to see what was up over there.  We progressed through the Mysteries, and after a while, the coordinator came back saying that some of us needed to go over to our other favorite abortion clinic to provide some prayerful reinforcements.  And some of the adults of our group go off and went to the other clinic while we finished up with our Mysteries and litany.

After we finished up, our youth minister suggested we go over to our other favorite abortion clinic to go drop a Divine Mercy bomb by praying the aptly named Chaplet.  So we roll on over there.  The previous members of our group were getting ready to the words of our youth minister, "It looks like a movie out here!" upon noticing both sides of the street divided by pro-lifers and pro-choicers with signs.  (sidenote: I need to blog about this other favorite clinic...)

And in the back corner, away from all of them are our favorite Franciscans! ....two of the brothers from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal!  A relief to see them!  We exchanged greetings and proceeded with the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  

After finishing the Chaplet, the other sidewalk counselor from earlier at Planned Parenthood showed up.  And...she started talking to our Youth For Life coordinator (who was sidewalk counselor-ing earlier, as well) to talk about a "save."


Ms. Other Sidewalk Counselor (I forget her name), told us that there was a "save!"  Apparently a father was outside of the Planned Parenthood frantically trying to convince his daughter to change her mind about going through the procedure.  And she did.

Backup. Rewind.

So, apparently before anyone from our group got to Planned Parenthood this morning, our youth minister was by himself praying on the sidewalk in front.  He had noticed a grandmother, a dad, and a college-aged daughter (evidenced by the sorority shirt she was wearing) walk into Planned Parenthood.  Just an exchange of awkward glances.  No dialogue or whatever.

So, Ms. Other Sidewalk Counselor noticed the dad outside whenever we finished up at Planned Parenthood and she called him over.  She offered information and help.  Which, then caused the dad to try to contact the college-aged daughter inside of the clinic.  And the daughter and grandmother did end up leaving the clinic.  With smiles on their faces! With joy! With relief!  

And as MS. Other Sidewalk Counselor was conveying that...I couldn't help but feel joy too knowing that our efforts today...whether direct or indirect...was enough to help a family reconsider their life-giving options.  Not every woman that walks into these clinics know what other options they have.

Cool stuff.  A "save" indeed.  I give props to the dad for doing the fatherly and manly thing--to protect and to provide.  And he only knew he can do so since a sidewalk counselor was there to provide the resources he needed.  He was able to protect his grandchild from harm, and he was able to protect his daughter from the harm from an abortion.  Awesome.

Stray thoughts regarding pro-lifey things...I've been thinking about becoming a sidewalk counselor myself.  I think I'm scheduled for training coming up in a month.  I'm excited! And nervous!  It's not an easy ministry.
Lastly, the next 40 Days for Life campaign starts this Wednesday and I am signed up for an hour once a week, like last year.  Do expect some blogging as a result of that!

Anyway, please continue to pray for this family that decided on the right choice this morning.  The road ahead will be a challenging one.  And keep unborn babies, mothers, fathers, clinic workers, and abortion doctors in your prayers as well. 

- JD

PS Seriously, the other "save" I've been a part of was pretty amazing.  I detail it here in a previous blog post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Got Served

So last Sunday, I was all suited up for varying purposes for the day, but the cool thing about being suited up is that it is the best I can wear to Mass.  I might not suit up all the time for Mass, but when I do...I try to serve in some way.

I signed up to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for the 11AM Mass I was attending.  Mass was normal.  The usual.

When it came to ministering the Body of Christ to the of the greatest fears for any Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion occurred.  To me.  First time. Ever.

Jesus fell on the floor! :-(   :"-(    T_T

As an EMHC, you usually try to be adaptive to the various postures and gestures people have in orienting their hands/mouth to receive the Eucharist.  But, bless her heart, this little girl came up to receive the Body.  And I tried placing Him in her hand, but she, instead, tried to grab the Body from my fingers before I placed Him in her hands.  And that's when Jesus fell on the floor...

So, our protocol is to pick Jesus up and place the Eucharist under the ciborium and to make note of the place where He fell and to guard it to prevent people from stepping on Jesus.  No sooner had I picked up Jesus from the ground when an altar server immediately appeared behind me with a purificator and water for cleanup in front of Pew #1.  It's like...he was watching and waiting for something like that to happen.  Then boom.  Like a Catholic ninja, he was there.

Shout out to the altar server!  Definitely eased my mind knowing that the situation was rectified and taken care of in less than a minute.  My freaking out only lasted a few seconds, haha.  I know this probably occurs every so often to many an EMHC...but...the first time it happens to you has more of that shock value...But, thankfully, other servers have got my back!

Faith. Hope. Charity. And quick responses.
- JD

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let's Talk About Feelings

Looking in the past at my journey in the faith, I think back to high school. This was the time when I started learning more about the faith and taking a more active role in my personal growth in the faith, because previously I was just "going through the motions." One of the ways I did this was attend retreats, after having experienced them for the first time early in high school.

Retreats are awesome! Even though I didn't like the idea of going to them at first, I realized that they really allowed me to have the opportunity to get away from the crazy world I'm living in and just be in God's awesomeness. What made retreats so great back in high school was all the praise and worship songs (with hand motions!!!), hanging out with new friends or getting to know old ones better, great food typically, really feeling the presence of God through prayer experiences, learning something new, and much more. The thing about retreats is that they eventually end, but the other thing about retreats is that stereotypical "retreat high" I would feel after having an awesome time!
This is what the "retreat high" could look like.  On Spongebob.
The "retreat high" is that really good feeling you get after having such a great time from a retreat. If you've been on a really good one before, you know what I'm talking about--that really happy feeling like you're floating on air or perhaps a slightly more profound happiness that you have never known before. So, I'm not gonna lie--I went on several retreats while I was in high school. I had a great time at my own Confirmation retreat, and I really wanted to experience that "retreat high" feeling again. Therefore, after I got Confirmed, in my later high school years, I came back to help out at the Confirmation retreats, and made it a point to attend Youth 2000 retreats (I even went twice in one semester at two different dioceses!). I even got to go on a few post-Confirmation group retreats too. Every time, I would come back from a retreat with the "retreat high."

And then, I think I got addicted to the "retreat high." Me and my close buddies in the youth group would even joke about being addicted as we went on other retreats!

But the end result was always the same--the "retreat high" goes away. And that's what drove me to try and attend the next retreat because the high goes away, and I wanted to get that feeling again. I felt close to God every time I'd go on a retreat. Rightly so.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about what my faith should be rooted in.  Looking back at my retreat experiences in high school, I can't help but wonder if I let my faith take root in the "retreat high." That begs the question, for all Christians to think about: do I only pursue Jesus because He makes me feel good?

Over the years in high school and college, I've seen quite a handful of my peers fade away from their faith or pursue a superficial understanding of what it means to be Christian because their feelings led them, rather than letting themselves be led by Christ.

Now that I've graduated from high school and college, with a few years of deepening my faith in different ways after college, I've matured enough to realize that my feelings don't matter when it comes to the realities of the faith.

I'm sure you'd agree with me that feelings and emotions can fade away. If I'm feeling hungry, I'll eat, then the feeling of hunger goes away. If I'm feeling bored, I'll go do something to entertain myself so that I'm not bored anymore. If I'm in feeling in love with a girl then I later find out that it just isn't going to work out, the feeling of being in love goes away. I sometimes get sad about something, but the feeling of sadness goes away eventually. On the other hand, there are times I feel really happy, but I'm not happy all the time. Basically, our feelings and emotions are temporary. We can temporarily satisfy those feelings and emotions, but they will eventually come back only for us to try and satisfy once again.

Think about how feelings and emotions are fleeting and temporary. Should our faith be the same? If I'm feeling particularly holy, I'll be diligent in my prayers, but whenever the weight of sin has burdened me greatly, I tend to be lax in my prayer life, which just compounds my restlessness. Sometimes when I go to church on Sunday, I hear a really great homily or sermon that was super relevant to my life and sparked some motivation in me to change something whether it be the world or myself. But some Sundays, I don't get much out of the preaching. Sometimes nothing at all. Then I don't leave church feeling awesome. Also, sometimes I FEEL really close to Jesus because I'm just singing His praises in an awesome way (no AutoTune!) at church or retreats. But sometimes we sing songs that I don't know or songs that aren't my favorite. Sometimes we don't even sing songs. Then, I don't feel close to Jesus because I didn't know the words or didn't sing songs. Then I begin to wonder how close of a relationship I have with Jesus because I don't feel like I do. Hmm. Do I have to FEEL close to Jesus to BE close to Jesus? But feelings and emotions fade away. Does my faith fade because I don't FEEL close to Jesus? I don't feel His love when I'm not feeling awesome with my faith. Perhaps my faith shouldn't be rooted in how I feel in my worship and adoration of Jesus Christ, my savior? Because, He's always there and He always loves me, no matter how I feel, even if I feel abandoned by God.  There are notable saints (I'm thinking Blessed Mother Teresa and St. Faustina) who have experienced "the dark night of the soul," whereby they really strive to live a holy life yet God makes no consolation in making the saint feel His presence.  In other words, they didn't feel His love or presence.

And that is perhaps the brilliance of Christianity. That God loves me, and there's nothing I can do about it. Just because I don't feel like He loves me, He still loves me. Without possessing any degrees in theology and lacking the Scriptural knowledge of a Biblical scholar, I would wager that the realities of the faith will always be true, no matter how I feel about it. What's nice about being Christian is that there is a lot of objectivity in the faith (if you dig around enough!), but we live in a tumultuous time as Christians in America where personal opinions and feelings have governed Christian understanding, and this has led us down a very cloudy path to the Truth. Countless times have I seen or heard Christians accept partial Truth and follow, instead, their opinions and feelings. And I've seen people fade away from the faith because their feelings regarding their faith faded away. But none of that takes away from the Truth that God has revealed to us.

So then, if my faith shouldn't be rooted in feelings and emotions because they are temporary and that the truths about being Christian will always be true no matter how I feel...what is my response?

Perhaps I should pray more in contemplative places.  I remember back in college, whenever I'd be going through a rough time and it was late, late at night...I would sit on the steps of the admin building because it was a lonely, quiet place.  The church was closed by this time of day, so I didn't have the setting of church to be immersed in.  It was times like these that I would feel abandoned and didn't really feel God, but I was compelled to pray because I didn't know what else to do.  All I knew is that I felt like crap, and I was nowhere near the church...but I had to pray.  I had to find peace.  There was just no other way to get over whatever I had been dealing with.   Even nowadays, if I need to, and if my church is closed, I'll go to my parish's grotto at night because it is quiet and lonely.  But, by praying in contemplative removes me from that church setting where I associate my faith and really get to core of why I'm faithful.  And even if I'm far removed from feeling close to God, the willful act of prayer maintains a connection, even if it doesn't feel evident to me.

I could also make use of Confession and Adoration.  Such great sacraments of the Church.  I'm no saint, and thus I mess up often.  Therefore, I do go to Confession frequently.  However, I don't necessarily feel like my sins have been wiped if the burden of my sins remain, even after confessing them.  But that's the beauty of being Catholic...that the efficacy of the sacrament does not depend on whether I feel it or not.  My sins are forgiven through the priest, serving in the person of Christ and given the authority by Christ, through absolution and my contrition, whether I feel like my sins are forgiven or not.

And then there's Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I think there are many hurdles to overcome in order to be convinced that unleavened bread becomes the Body of Jesus Christ, truly present.  To be honest, this is probably the ultimate test of feelings and faith.  No matter how I feel, the Eucharist really is Jesus Christ (see John 6).  Over the years, I've gone to Adoration many, many times.  I've gone when I felt tired, really sad, really distracted, really happy, really burdened by sin, etc.  And there were times where I felt really close to Jesus ...not just physically, but mentally...emotionally....spiritually...and there have been times where I felt nothing at all.  But!!! No. Matter. How. I. Feel.  ...  That. Is. Still. Jesus. In. The. Eucharist.  Even if I don't accept it or even if I embrace it... it is still Jesus.  And that's a good reflection to spend with Him ... in the Eucharist, where He is truly present, even when feeble human senses fail.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Emotions are a good thing.  They are a part of what makes us human.  I think they help orient us towards a greater truth, but they should not be what drives us in the faith.  Imagine your life governed by your emotions and feelings--you would never achieve satisfaction and fulfillment because your emotions ebb and flow.  And our faith shouldn't be rooted in  something that can easily change.

And now think about Jesus in His last day from Him praying in the garden to His crucifixion.  Now place yourself in His sandals.  You're going to feel a lot of different things, many of which are terrible, but through the act of your will and your will still go through it all.  Your feelings don't matter.  They won't help with the inevitable--the truth.

And I'll leave it at that.  I feel like stopping here.  ;-)

- JD

PS Feel free to share this with others!