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I’ll tell you what, I think it is just amazing to see the ways in which God works.
In the last two days, God has plopped in my lap, two very very apparent juxtapositions for me to contemplate.
I swear – the minute you start looking for God in your everyday life, you realize that His presence and His orchestration are ALL OVER IT. Seriously – try it…it’s fun.
But as you read on Monday, I went to the *phenomenal* ProLife film, Unplanned, in NYC, and was the ONLY PERSON IN THE THEATER. I know – crazy, and disappointing and just such a let down. And side note — GO SEE THE MOVIE, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
But, after that film, I was equally fired up about getting out there and changing the world and fighting the good prolife fight, and yet also disheartened that I was seemingly fighting the battle alone. I mean, until you watch a film in a completely empty movie theater, do you fully understand what “alone” really feels like.
Anywho – fast forward now, two days later, to yesterday, when I had such a ~spoiler alert~ spirit affirming experience.
I went to the Young Adult mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Cardinal Dolan had the mass, and Audrey Assad (!!!) provided the music for the hour of adoration beforehand, as well as the music during mass. And the cathedral was standing room only.
It was packed. PACKED! And with people between the ages of 18-35! I mean, what?!?
It was incredible. I shuffled into my pew, and the ~very handsome~ young man behind me was on kneelers praying, and quietly singing along to the Audrey Assad song, knowing every word.
Granted, his girlfriend shuffled in a few minutes later, so…womp womp…but still — what a sight to behold!
But it was such an uplifting, beautiful gathering of young people of faith! I was positively buzzing afterwards.
What an incredible juxtaposition God provided that evening, from my previous movie theater let down just 48 hours earlier.
But Cardinal Dolan’s homily was so powerful. It was about how our memories and dreams are some of the most important things we have in this life. And indulge me for a minute – I want to try to share the message in a nutshell.
We cherish our memories. They shape who we are, and we have this special bond with the past. But the greatest – and divine – purpose for our memories, is remembering how God saw us through trials and challenging seasons.
And sitting there listening to this in the pew, I was nodding my head going — Okay…yes!! This could not be more true for me.
I mean, I have a complicated relationship with my past. Because for as beautiful a childhood and upbringing that I had, my past and my memories are also full of a lot of pain. Seasons of sorrow – from the severe anorexia that nearly took my life, to the Ulcerative Colitis that ravaged my body and had me on bedrest for 11 months, to the sorority scandal, to my mom’s stroke. There’s a lot of pain. But in that pain is also beauty: because as Cardinal Dolan reminded us — those memories highlight God delivering us from those trials. Loving us through the hardships and comforting us in the grief.
Our memories are important, because they point to Him.
Our dreams are a powerful thing. They help shape our decisions, they influence our actions both today, and in the future. They are a truly defining part of who we are.
But when we get down to the nitty gritty — ask anyone on their death bed, and no longer are they dreaming of owning a vacation home, or a fancy sports car. They’re not dreaming of being a movie star or a major league baseball player. They’re dreaming of Heaven. They’re dreaming of eternity with Jesus. That’s what matters. That’s the greatest dream of all.
And the sooner we realize that, the better. Because then we will let that ultimate dream influence our decisions, and the way we live our life.
I don’t know why I was supposed to hear that particular homily, in that particular setting, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Obviously, one of my greatest dreams is to get married and have a family. And, given my recent miracle, I am so beyond grateful that that dream can now physically be a reality for me someday, God willing.
But it’s like that homily was bringing my whole story full circle, right? – Coming to peace with my past, that I – admittedly – feel so much shame and guilt for. Coming to peace and seeing it as a victory of God’s mercy and love and grace.
And then, to consider my dreams. And to confront my dream of marriage, literally in a church that is standing room only with eligible bachelors.
I mean…well played, God. Well played.
Granted, I was also sitting behind a row of young nuns, so there’s that too…
But. I definitely felt God’s hand in that whole orchestration last night. So, thank you, Padre.
Next time, I’ll just have to work up the courage to stick around for the mixer afterwards.
How do you feel your memories and dreams impact your present life? Do you make decisions based off of your dreams? Let me know in the comments!
“This is what the Lord says to these [dry, dead] bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
Hugs and love xox
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Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
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