Category Archives: Personal

The End Of The World

This coming Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the final Sunday of the liturgical year before Advent begins on November 29th.

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed the readings at mass on Sundays have taken a somewhat “ominous” turn.  We have started dealing with end-of-the-world themes and hearing preaching about Jesus’ coming judgement at the end of time.  All of this can be somewhat confusing: As the rest of the world begins its Christmas-time celebrations by singing cheery tunes and indulging in sweet desserts, those of us in the Church might be tempted to think of the readings on Sundays as being kind of a “downer” on the whole holiday spirit.

Just when we are ready to get excited for Christmas along with the rest of the world, the Church has us dwelling on the apocalypse—What gives?

Consider this your heads up.  When you hear in the coming weeks preaching of the Son of Man coming on the clouds, separating the wheat from the chaff, or the coming tribulation of the end-times, it’s not meant to put a collective “bah-humbug” on your holiday cheer.  Rather, it’s a reminder of why Jesus came into the world in the first place.  And as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the first time our Lord Jesus came into the world, it is only appropriate that we also look forward to, and prepare our hearts for, the day when He will return, as He promised.

Jesus Is Coming, And Has Already Come

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

“Parousia” is a fancy word from ancient Greek that means, a “physical presence” or “arrival” of someone.  It is most often used to reference Jesus’ Second Coming.

When Jesus came into the world the first time, He was born in the bitter cold of night, into a poor family, and laid to sleep in the stable animals’ feeding trough.  It sure didn’t look like the King of the Universe had just entered the scene.  As we draw nearer to His Second Coming, or parousia, we are promised to be presented with various trials and tribulations.  In those times, we will likely ask ourselves, “Where is God?”

When we are faced with those trials, let’s remember that it’s not only true that Jesus came long ago in a stable in Bethlehem, and it’s not even just that He will come again.  Jesus has come, Jesus will come, and Jesus remains here with us, present in the Eucharist.

parousiapin

“Every Eucharist is parousia, the Lord’s coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory.”

(Ratzinger, Eschatology)

We need not fear Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, and we don’t need to be anxious about the tribulations that He will lead us through as we prepare to meet Him.  With the eager anticipation of a child as Christmas draws near, we take this time to kneel before Christ present in the Eucharist, and even dare to ask that He might hasten His coming, when the glory and splendor of the King will finally be made manifest!
mary-sig

In Defense Of “Soul Mates”

It has been said that:

Real love is not all feelings.

Real love takes work.

Real love requires choosing your beloved on a daily basis. 

These are all statements that I believe to be true.  But, can I let you in on a little secret?

I believe in soul mates. And [thankfully], I believe that I married mine.

“I have found Him whom my soul loves.”
(Song of Songs 3:4)

It is certainly understandable why so many people want to do away with the notion that those of us called to marriage are predestined to a specific “soul mate.” After all, what if you marry someone who is not your soul mate, and then end up meeting your “true” soul mate five years after the wedding?

For this reason, I did not always believe in soul mates. After all, real love requires work. You are not always going to have that warm and fuzzy feeling about your beloved. I used to reason that as long as I married someone that I was attracted to, and who understood these things, we would likely have had a pretty good marriage and probably live a happy life together.  And that would be just fine.

Then I met Tyler.

To be clear: I do not agree with every part of the common definition of a soul mate. When I say my husband is my soul mate, I do not mean that he is the one who satisfies my heart’s deepest longings or who fulfills my every need. If this is what a soul mate is, then none of us have one, and none of us can be one. As far as that kind of a soul mate is concerned, I agree with Saint Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

On the other hand, I also do not mean that my husband is my soul mate only because we felt some level of attraction for one another, got married, and now we put a lot of work into our relationship. (Even though all of these are of course true statements.)

When I say my husband is my soul mate, I mean that there is a kind of perfection and a peace to our being together that I cannot fully explain— nor take credit for. I think it can only be explained by the grace of God.

When I say my husband is my soul mate, I mean that I believe that I was meant to marry Tyler Pearson, and not just any guy who happened to share my most deeply held beliefs, had similar interests as me, and was easy on the eyes. I believe that God led us to one another, and even though we could have chosen not to, I believe that it was God’s plan for us to get married.

I believe that when I prayed for my future husband while I was growing up, I was praying for Tyler. God knew the name of the man who He would call to lovingly lead me to Heaven through the Sacrament of Marriage. God knew, and it was my job to listen to Him and to discern my relationships to find my soul mate: Tyler Pearson.

If I could tell the younger version of myself one thing about finding my husband it would be this:

Yes, true love will require work and it will not always be easy. But your soul mate will be more than just the result of hard work and similar interests. Believing in soul mates does not mean acting contrary to reason; it just means that you leave some room for grace to lead your heart. Listen to what the desires of your heart are telling you. They are going to lead you to a relationship more wonderful than you can imagine.

mary-sig

“A Family Which Shows The Spirit Is Alive And At Work”

Last week, my husband and I traveled with our two kids to the east coast to meet up with my side of the family.  After a day or so of having fun exploring New York City, all 12 adults and 15 kids piled into a bus to attend the Papal Mass in Philadelphia, which concluded the World Meeting of Families.

I had a simple prayer intention for The Holy Father’s visit to the US last week.  Like many others, I prayed that Pope Francis would be led by the Holy Spirit, and allow the Spirit to do His work through the events of the visit.  So I was happy to read that, in the Pope’s final homily of the visit, the Holy Father reminded me that I am called to do just the same thing in my vocation:

Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong!

The joy of my family–the joy of all families– lies in showing that the Holy Spirit is “alive and at work.”  As far as I can tell, the best way to do that is to actively seek and see the will of God in everything.  

This, of course, is easier said than done.  Thankfully, our God is a generous and loving Father, always waiting for us to turn to Him even after we stray from His commands.  May we always seek to praise God in all that we do!

Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!

 

Here are a few pictures from our Papal Mass adventure:

Yes, matching tshirts were made for the occasion.

Yes, matching tshirts were made for the occasion! (Big thanks to our friend, Nate, for making the design for the back!)

 

IMG_8873

I love my husband 🙂

 

IMG_8872

Pope Francis’ biggest fan!

All glory to God in everything!

mary-sig

 

 

 

Young And Catholic on Life On The Rock!

My interview with Fr. Mark and Doug Barry first aired last Friday on EWTN’s Life On The Rock!  If you missed it on the air, you can catch the whole show online here.

IMG_8459

While in Alabama, my family snuck away for a few hours to check out the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.  Really a beautiful place.  Here are a few of the photos we were able to snap while we were there:

IMG_8439 IMG_8448 IMG_8446

 

mary-sig

 

 

Finding Jesus In An Ed Sheeran Song

IMG_7725

“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing*
Hearts are never broken
Time’s forever frozen still”

Ed Sheeran, Photograph

[*ok, technically our eyes are closed in the picture.  But everything else applies.]

I love that picture.  It was taken while Tyler and I were still dating– long before kids, household chores, and mortgage payments.  Back when we were just a couple of college kids listening to music and taking a goofy (if somewhat mushy) selfie.  It was snapped with an iPhone and stored in a “Pictures” folder, to be looked at countless times in the days, months, and years that followed.

“So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans, holdin’ me closer ’til our eyes meet.  You won’t ever be alone.  Wait for me to come home”

Of course, when Ed Sheeran sings that his beloved can “keep him” in the form of a photograph until they meet again, it is only an analogy; and there is a bittersweetness to it. When Tyler and I were separated by a few states after we graduated from college, I probably looked at the above picture over a hundred times.  While it made me happy to see his face in the picture, it didn’t make me miss him any less—in fact it probably made me miss him even more.

At the end of the day we all know that a picture is only a picture.  And the memories a picture brings with it can only go so far.

You Won’t Ever Be Alone

adoration

Well last week I happened to hear Photograph on the radio after leaving the adoration chapel, only this time it wasn’t so bittersweet.

As I listened to the now familiar melody, I reflected on the lyrics and on a lifetime of visits to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel— visiting Jesus present in the Eucharist in times of joy, in times of pain, and even just out of a desire to get out of the house with the kids—and the song suddenly took on a different meaning.

“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host.” (Fulton Sheen)

“Loving can hurt.”

All the times I visited the chapel and brought Jesus the pain my heart was feeling: through teenage heartbreaks, feelings of longing, feelings of loneliness.  “You know it can get hard sometimes.”  The Love contained in that tiny white host was there even in the midst of the hurt.

“Loving can heal.”

That tiny white host has brought my life such healing through the years.  I don’t expect to know the full extent I have been healed through Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist until I behold Him face to face in Heaven, but on this side of things, I know that “Loving can heal,” because in my visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I have truly seen how “loving can mend your soul.”

“Time’s forever frozen still.”

The Eucharist that I visit in the adoration chapel on a weekday with my two small children is the same Jesus who died for me on Calvary.  It is the same Jesus the Church’s greatest saints bowed before throughout history.  He is the same Jesus who was present in the tabernacles of the Churches in the Middle Ages, the same Jesus that faithful soldiers during WWII drew their strength from, and the same Jesus my great-great grandparents received throughout their lifetime.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

“You won’t ever be alone.”

Back when Tyler and I had to do the long-distance thing before we got married, the pictures we had from the times we were together were just as the song says: memories frozen in time that we could visit when we missed each other.  But a picture is just a picture.

In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us so much more.  He is able to actually deliver what the song can only dream about.  His Body, His Blood, His Soul, His Divinity–they are all actually contained in the tiny white host.  There we can keep Him closer until our eyes meet in Heaven.  And we won’t ever be alone.

“Good child: see how lovers on earth kiss the flowers, the letters, the mementos of those they love…Then you, how could you ever forget that you have him always at your side–yes, Him?”

– Saint Josemaria Escriva

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

-Jesus

mary-sig