Hebrews 9:11– Vocation Crisis

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation.”

In our baptism we are anointed to share in Christ’s mission on earth. That mission is as priest, prophet and king.

In recent and not so recent years, the Catholic Church has been using the phrase “Vocation Crisis” as a way to identify the need for vocations to religious life and particularly the priesthood. Without the office of priest, our faith falters and dries up. The priest is necessary to act as the mediator between God and His people. The priest is necessary for the reception of grace.

However, from baptism, we each have a little bit of priest inside us. God is going to draw that out more in young men who are eager to guide and shepherd the flock. A local bishop once said that there is a shortage of priests, there always has been and there always will be. For the rest of us, we join Christ’s mission as priest, and as a mediator between this world and the next, every day in prayer and participation in the sacraments.

God knows what He’s doing when he calls each of us to our vocation. We definitely have faith in that.

So why isn’t He calling more of us to religious life?

Because that’s not what the world needs. Maybe the church needs priests and sisters but the Church needs families: good, holy, loving families.

When the “vocation crisis” exploded in the early 2000’s I remember hearing every day in my Catholic school how we should pray for these vocations diligently. Some of that initial push and panic has since faded and priest vocation are up in recent years but we still hear the cry.

10 years later, in the wake of what we might call a “sexuality crisis” we don’t need more priests. Especially as the supreme court rules that homosexual relationships are good we don’t need priests. Priests can do very little in their office for our country. What we need are vocations to religious family life.

God knew what he was doing when He called His people to married life. Priestly and religious vocation aren’t decreasing; married vocations are increasing.

We are each made a part of this mission in our baptism and we should trust in the Lord that He will strengthen us and call us to be priest, prophet, and king wherever we are need, in whatever vocation He has in mind.

2 Corinthians 1:24– Christian Unity

“Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we work together for your joy, for you stand firm in the faith.”

Every morning I wake up and since the day of my Confirmation (and even before that) I say yes to the Church. I say yes to her teachings, her priests, her traditions, her celebrations. I choose the Catholic Church every day and I gladly live as the Church Militant on Earth. I choose to follow the successor of Peter and fully engage in the Catholic faith.

But why? Do I think that our Protestant, our Christian, brothers and sister are lunatics? That without the sacraments they are damned to burn in Hell. Do I think God turns an deaf ear on their prayers? Maybe I think that their baptisms are less valid? Or perhaps I’m imaging that their understanding of salvation is corrupt and too easy.

Absolutely not.

In fact, after recent conversations I’ve been having with Protestant friends, converts to Catholicism and others striving for a deeper understanding I’ve learned that they’re right. Yep! I said it. I agree (so far) with the concepts and ideas of Non-catholic Christians and I think they’re TRUE. 

So why Catholicism? Initially, my parents chose this way of life for me in the sacrament of Baptism. But now I’ve chosen it as my own. I choose it because it is complete. Our fellow Christians are right when they say that God speaks and guides us in through His word. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105)They are also right to say that only by God’s grace will we enter Heaven. For by grace we have been saved, through faith– and this is not from ourselves but is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). They’re right!

However, the Catholic faith goes the extra mile in our practice of these things. If my protestant friends say they read the Bible nearly literally I remind them that Christ called us to “Do in memory of Him” and that’s what the sacraments are! We are acting as He desired of us!

When they say by faith alone I remind them that faith is more than just their belief that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Faith is commonly illustrated by moving mountains. A powerful tremendous act! Faith itself is an action. God has placed faith within our hearts but by his grace, we act upon in. Anytime the Bible discusses someones faith (Hebrews 11) it’s because of the acts they did through it.

There’s so many other times when Christians have the right ideas and then through 2,000 years of tradition that began with what Christ taught us the Catholic Church fleshes these ideas out and completes them. In the Church, in my universal community my faith is made complete and made whole.

Catholicism is so fulfilling and challenging and enriching. I trust my Church. Other practices just seem to fall short or they just haven’t fully grasped everything that IS. They aren’t wrong, not at all! As Christians we should work together to complete our joy. Together we stand firm in the faith. We all share in the foundation of our faiths which is the Word of God and the ministry of Jesus Christ the Messiah on Earth.

 Let us continue to pray for Christian Unity that we might all share in wisdom from God and the knowledge of eternal life. (1 John 5:20).

1Corinthians 15:39-44– I Have a Thigh Gap

Not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for human beings, another kind of flesh for animals, another kind of flesh for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the brightness of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly another. The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one

I’m a young, active, lady. I’m 5’7″ and weigh about 140 lbs depending on the time of day, and day of the week. About a year ago a lost 20 lbs in approximately 2 months. It was unhealthy and unintentional. I’ve always had a more athletic build and never hurried to call myself slender. So, just like almost any other girl out there I’m working on loving my body. Some of the original weight loss was anxiety induced and some was from my love of bike rides and when the weight began to came off I hungered (pun intended) to keep slimming my waist. I’m not dedicated enough to induce an eating disorder but I became more conscious of my shape never wanting to see the scale hit the 160s or even 150s again.

So, I have a thigh gap. It’s not from starving myself; I’m totally healthy. My thigh gap is there just because it is. Some days I’m incredibly delighted that I’m thin and some days I worry about my health. But my body is a gift from God and I will forever use it to glorify Him. My thigh gap is a part of my natural body just as my joy is an affect of my spiritual body. My flesh is not the same as yours so don’t compare the two or attempt to mimic someone else’s. You are your own kind of brightness. Star differs from star in brightness.

God has sown the seed that is your natural body and your spiritual own. Use it to honor him and do not corrupt it.

Matt 14:29- Impossibly Haiti

 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

The first day we arrived in Haiti was relatively uneventful. We took the best nap of our lives and experienced driving through Haiti. We had plenty of time to settle in to our new environment and prepare for what was going to be the most heart-wrenching week of our lives.

My favorite part of Haiti was driving through the streets. Not because I wanted to gawk at the poverty (which I often felt like I was doing) that surrounded me but because when I climbed in that truck and put my faith entirely in the driver without stoplights or seat belts I felt immersed in the little piece of culture that I could experience the way the Haitians around me did. It made me feel alive and it helped me to understand their lives in at least some small way. Riding in the truck was how I came in and went out of the country and it was a constant every day I was there.

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The first day the Gospel was when Jesus called Peter out on to the water. We heard this Gospel twice more that week for a variety of reasons that I’ll just call God-cidences. Of course, this Gospel is MORE than fitting for this past summer when Hillsong’s “Oceans” is every young missionary’s anthem. I had a very unique reflection of the Gospel in the setting of Haiti that came out of fear, trust in God, and a deep desire to give myself to God in every way that he was calling me.

Jesus asked Peter to come to Him across the water. He asked me to also step out on the water in my trip and to trust him. I had so many feelings about the trip and about life. I was worried. But this Gospel reminded me that if I trust God he will help me be brave and if I stumble, he will grab me just like he did with Peter. I couldn’t let the language barrier, or disappointments, or struggles of my heart keep me from answering God’s call to come out on the water. God asked me to set aside fear and to take up faith.

After Peter struggled and doubted, Jesus picked him up and calmed the wind. God knows exactly how much we can ‘handle’ and sometimes he knows we can handle the IMPOSSIBLE like walking on water. God has great expectations for us and I found great value in living up to those by serving in Haiti.

You can’t be all the things.

This is important in remembering that community exists around us, for us. I know that I’ve recently discovered how amazing my friends are and how willing they are to care for me and be there for me. I can’t be all the things but I can be exactly what I’m intended to be and I can be that with my whole self.

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I want to be all the things.

If I am given a space to simply breathe and be completely honest then that’s the truth I choose to share: I want to be all the things.

I want to be a friend. I want to be a good friend. I want to be a best friend to every little human I encounter. I want to be a sister. A daughter. A girlfriend. A wife.

I want to be the person who gets called at two in the morning. I want to be the one who shows up at the door with coffee and a heart that is just ready and amped for whatever truth you want to let sit square in the middle of the kitchen table. I want to take people as they are. I want to hold people as they come.

I want to be the mysterious one— the…

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Daniel 12:3- Literacy

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

One of my favorite things in the world is reading, followed closely by learning; but they’re basically the same thing in my mind. One of my greatest joys is feeling useful. I’ve never really considered myself to have a heart for service, but the more I serve, the more joyful I become. My goal then, is to be useful while reading a learning. This leads me to my passion for literacy.

Growing up, my parents always read to me. I think I learned more things from plots than I ever did in grade school. Occasionally I’ll be able to share some piece of trivia just because I read it in a book. I believe that reading is learning. The more we read the more we know about cultures, about the world, about virtues, and most importantly about humanity and the way minds and characters and personalities function in a society.

Unfortunately, there’s so many children who haven’t had the blessing of parents who read to them. It’s statistically proven that kids who read score better on tests and achieve better grades and are brighter overall. The power of literacy is amazing. As a society I think it’s our duty to educate our children because one day they’ll be in charge. What better way to accomplish this than through reading. Reading is all about using the imagination but it can also be very analytical and therefore works with any type of learner. If we simply encourage kids to read, or read out loud with them, or even read ourselves it will make us smarter and ultimately it will better our world.

Because for any philanthropist, the end goal is always a better world, and for me that world is achieved through books. And through books we can imagine any great number of worlds.

Song of Songs 2:4- Emotional Chastity

“Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”

We’ve all heard the phrase Emotional Chastity and maybe we have some idea of what it means but how often do we actually say that we’re emotionally chaste? How do we practice emotional chastity and how is it at work in our lives?

I spent a good 2 months of my summer exploring the concept of emotional chastity in my own relationship and in my heart. First of all, it’s important to realize that emotional chastity is not excuse not to be vulnerable. Vulnerability and authenticity are the values that drive relationships and meaningful conversations. Emotional Chastity is simply sharing the right things with the right people.

For example, if you get on Facebook and share how much a certain guy has broken your heart and how torn you are and how unstable and grief-stricken you are that would be unchaste. It’s important to share those feelings, but Facebook isn’t a proper outlet- 85% of your friends on Facebook don’t need to connect that deeply with you. On the other hand if you develop feelings for someone while you’re already pursuing a romantic relationship with another person you SHOULD tell your significant other about those feelings. To repress them or not share them with that person would be unchaste. So, basically, your emotional state, just like your physical attentions should be shared with the right people.

How does this play into our lives outside of social media and romance? I dated a guy for a year and a half up until this summer. Part of the reason I believe things didn’t work out was that he (and probably me) didn’t practice emotional chastity. He worked at a summer camp based in Christianity and was surrounded by good, valuable Christian people. Being a very open, trusting and vulnerable person, my boyfriend shared the most intimate details of his emotions with these girls at camp. Because he was so busy working we spoke for maybe a few minutes a day and none of that was used as an opportunity to deepen our emotional relationship. From there, our relationship slipped, it probably would have happened eventually anyway, but our lack of emotional chastity spurred that on.

Fast forward to school beginning again. You’ll never a more vulnerable person that a 20 year old girl who has recently been dumped by an incredible guy. This girl being me, I confided in my roommates and also my guy friends (I’ve always gotten along with guys better). Of course because I was being so vulnerable and emotional to my guy friends, I began to think about their emotions, to ask about their emotions. Now, I’m in a place where I’ve told a guy I would date him and he responded the same. But, we’re not dating and if we would, it wouldn’t be for a long time. Because we are incredibly good friends, I still am emotionally very open with him but now I’m beginning to realize I’m becoming emotionally attached (which is okay for many aspects of our friendship). It’s important to remind myself that just like my body, my deepest emotions are reserved for my husband. My vulnerability will build beautiful friendships but sharing my emotions to the core will build a beautiful marriage.

Isaiah 25:7-Restlessness

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.”

I’ve been pretty focused on the idea of Restlessness lately. There’s so much drama that goes on in any place that’s teeming with 20-somethings that I spend a lot of time praying for peace: in myself, my relationships, and the hearts of others. In my search for peace I began to feel that my life was static (we’re all a little hypocritical). So anyway, this brings me to St. Augustine who said:

“Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

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There’s a crazy series of events that then led me to know there is a reason this quote has been on my heart.

  • I was thinking about this quote pretty seriously.
  • In a car ride with a close friend of mine this quote came up (mostly because I’d been thinking about it)
  • In my 1am holy hour that night, I was thinking about it even more.
  • During the holy hour, the book I was reading mentioned it.
  • The next morning, during morning prayer, the first song we sang was Audrey Assad’s Restless.

If that’s not crazy or miraculous or divine intervention then I certainly don’t know what is. So, obviously, this is super important but how does it apply to me? I think that in all my thinking about peace I was searching for something that the earth will never be able to provide me. My friend in the car mentioned to me as we were talking that we are always going to be restless until we get to heaven.

The answer to our search for peace isn’t as simple as focusing all my desires on the Lord and making him the center of my world (all good things). Resting in the Lord is something that only happens when we get to Heaven. Restlessness is good. Adventure and living out my vocation is good. Moving forward and trusting in God’s eternal plan is good. So, instead of focusing on how I can reach inner peace, I need to embrace my discomfort. I need to live out my restlessness until I can finally reach my eternal reward and tell Christ that I did great empowering things in His name and that I wasn’t comfortable. And then, Christ will fold me in his arms and give me rest.

1 Corinthians 16:14- Haiti

“Let all that you do be done in love.”

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About two months ago I went on an incredible journey to Haiti to serve and to love and to give of myself in a very real way. I spent a week working in the missions of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order). Every morning we would run an all boys camp. We fed the boys breakfast, ran several stations of activities, fed them lunch and then sent them home with hugs and love. In the afternoons we would go to either a Children’s Home for sick babies or the House of the Dying. At the Children’s home, we would hold the sick babies or play with them if they were well enough. There was a few older orphans that liked to play (read: destroy) our hair and eat our candy. We sometimes would help with meals and diaper changes but mostly we just loved those babies that didn’t have anyone to hold them. At the Home for the Dying there was a variety of ages. I spent most of my time with two little girls I thought to be about 6 and 8 but later learned were 8 and 13. Many of the women we visited enjoyed having their nails painted or would braid our hair. Sometimes our tasks were as simple as to pray. In every experience, love was ever present and overwhelming from the Haitians.

As lessons in love I learned many many things from the Haitians. I’m sure there will be multiple posts about this trip, each about a different life lesson. But most importantly, I learned how powerful love is. I learned what it meant to give of myself and to serve. But I also learned that the greatest act of service will always be overshadowed by the love I feel in return. I expected to spend nights in tears when I was on mission but I always spent my reflection time smiling and feeling uplifted.

Look for much more to come about this incredible adventure!