Friday, September 30, 2011

Falling Into You

In all honesty, I'm not sure where to begin with this post.
I haven't written a Faith-related post in such a long time.

Why? For the longest time, I've been dealing with a serious case of writer's block. But, I guess that's because I haven't addressed the serious issue behind it. My spirituality; my relationship with God. I've fallen short in this area. And without it, I fall apart in every which way. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually. When darkness rolls in, I can't think clearly, and I no longer can write. Deep within me, I believe God gifted me with the ability to write, and I've used it to my advantage to grow closer to Him. It's unfortunate, but I've allowed everything to fall apart. I've allowed life to get in the way once again. This is nobody's fault, but my own. I'm not going to lie. I miss the days when words flowed from the tips of my fingers and from my lips. When passion filled my soul. Though I've fallen astray, I'm still that person, deep within. I recall a day when I felt alive, when a whole different level of love was created, when I felt peace, and when I discovered myself as a person. I desire nothing more but to feel this once again.

Sometimes they say you have to hit rock bottom before things get better.
For some reason, this is how i've always been in dark periods. I have to hit my lowest point, before I can turn to the cross again. In all honesty, it has taken a song, and certain situation that I wanted to wake me up.

The first part of the song goes like this:

"Don't wake me. I've fallen asleep. Don't hate me.
I have no relief. This burden is shredding my soul.
This cycle is out of control.
You call me as Your friend, as I drive these nails again.
I'm falling into You....."

This put my spiritual life into perspective. When we dont take time to be with Him, in the stillness and in the chaos, and when we sin, it breaks His heart. He so adrently desires to be adored. When we turn our backs on Him, we drive the nails into Him again. The result only ends up shredding our soul, leaving us vulnerable. As much as I hate to say it, it seems like it becomes a terrible just push God aside. Once we do a little bit, it seems that Satan takes no time to slip through the cracks of our minds. He begins to feed lies, darkness, hopelessness, and you find yourself furthur than ever before. How he loves leading the Faithful astray.

Why does it have to be this way?
Darkness can end when we put an end to it. It doesn't have to stick around.
I seem to have warrior blood in me. I don't give up. And I will fight until I make something right.
I believe God has wanted me since I was young, to be a prayer warrior to defeat evil.
I must pray more. He thirsts for my love, and I thirst for His.

With that being said, I'm stepping out of the dark, and picking up my sword in this battle.
In my soul, I know that He is the source of light, truth, joy, peace, comfort, guidance, and all that I yearn for at this very moment. I wish to immerse myself in His ocean of love.
I want to fall in love all over again.
He's been patiently waiting for me to return, and now I want to come back to Him.
His love is all I want. It's all I need to sustain me.

If you happen to be reading this,
I kindly ask you to keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I get my spiritual life back on I know it won't be easy. It is a battle, after all.

Last, but not least, the song that I was talking about:

Mortuum mundo, vivum in Christo.


Side note:

I received a comment on my last post from someone named Steve...

Steve said...

"It is funny how brighter and brighter people who stand up for what is right become.

I say this in regards to people who 30 years ago said that swearing and porn were bad were kind of run of the mill type of people, average.

But now if you go to your friends and tell them that porn and swearing are bad you are looked upon as strange and kind of weird.

The world has gotten so much dark in the last couple of generations that to stand up for what is right is almost as rare as seeing a shooting star.

But I love how people like you, dave, and patrick (those are the other people who commented on your post) are shedding light into the world and giving the devil a BEATIN!!!!!!!!!!"

This comment actually brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you....for reminding me why I love writing.
I do want to be a light in the world.
I do want to fight evil. Indeed, the world is full of darkness. This is why we need people to pick up their swords in this battle between and evil. We need people that aren't afraid to stand up for what's right, what's good, and what's pleasing to our Lord. Though it may not always seem this way, good always triumphs over evil...

Monday, May 23, 2011

"To live your Faith, is to be a bright meteor shooting across the night sky."

Dear friends,

I apologize for not writing. I have been caught up in other things.
I've been dealing with some personal issues and some health issues. Basically, I was horribly sick for a week. I had horrible back pain that resulted in nausea. It was to the point where I thought I was dying. I'm okay now, though. Praise God! I also lost my job, so I've been looking for another one/trying to find out where God wants me. I just came back this morning from a scouting camp out, too.

This writing, was actually completely unplanned. But, it's based off something I realized after attending this camp out. It's odd. I have been involved with scouting/youth ministry leadership for quite a few years, and I've done so much preparation for each event I've ever taken part in. This weekend, I was working with cub scouts. And the program involved little preparation, but I think I took the most out of attending this camp out. Not by teaching. But by observing other kids that I didn't even teach.

I've gotten to know a lot of kids through scouting, but over the weekend, I was hanging out with 3 guys, and one guy in particular taught ME what it means to live the Faith. To live your Faith, is to be a bright meteor shooting across the night sky. Allow me to explain, Saturday evening, I was talking with the 3 guys. One guy was being rather "immoral" for a Catholic setting with his humor, one guy was kinda laughing at it all, and one guy was shaking his head at it all. The guy that was shaking his head told them to stop, and told them that they didn't need to be acting this way. Their "humor" didn't stop, but nor did he. Eventually, I think the guy that was laughing came around. I think he started to see that the other guy's humor wasn't okay. You may be wondering how this ties into my quote, though. "To live your Faith, is to be a bright meteor shooting across the night sky."

This day and age, we live in a dark world. A world that is very secular. A world that rejects the thought of God and religion. A world that doesn't care about what is holy and pure. We live in a world where abortion is okay, sex before marriage is okay, getting drunk and partying all night is okay. Darkness does not only involve"big" things. It can also involve smaller things like--immoral jokes, impure thoughts, and using bad language. There is a scripture verse in Romans that teaches us to be dead to sin, and alive in Christ. By living our Faith, rejecting what's wrong, and standing up for what's right we ARE alive in Christ. St. Catherine of Siena has a quote:

"If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze."

First off, the main thing we should "be" are good and holy people that are striving to enter the kingdom of Heaven. When someone stands up for what is true, and good, and wholesome....there's something attractive about it. To see someone set the world "ablaze" by standing up for what's right is beautiful, and it's almost enough to make me cry. It gives me proof that there's hope for humanity. So often, we get caught up in the darkness, so it's nice to see light. Christ is all knowing, all good, He is the way, the truth, and the life. And I suppose that's why it's beautiful. When I see someone stand up for what's right, I can see Christ in that person. And it reminds -me- to be a better person.

I have found that you can have hundreds of friends, be popular, and skilled in every aspect. But, if you're not "friends" with all of Heaven and don't care about right VS wrong, it doesn't matter. If you're the one who doesn't have many friends, but is strong in the Faith, and stands up for what's right, then you have ALL of Heaven on your side.
In reality, who is more alone?

The best advice I could ever give someone is this:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” --Gandhi

Monday, April 4, 2011

Divine Providence In My Life

My entry for AlwaysCatholic's "Divine Providence" contest. Won 2nd place! (Thank you!!!)

If one were to walk up to me, and ask me: "What is Divine Providence?" I would say: "It is simply God acting in the world." I believe God acts in this world constantly, but so often we don't open our eyes. We don't look for it. There's a song that I like, and while it doesn't relate divine providence, the main line in the song is: "Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful." And it is, because God blesses us in so many ways. Divine providence is always there, we just have to look. There has been some extraordinary ways in which I believe God has worked in my life, and I do believe it's all been Divine Providence. I will be talking a little bit about that today. I'll take you back in time to what my life has been like. I'll give everyone a taste of who the real Layna is, on a more personal note.

I'll start around middle school and junior high. For me, I've always been home schooled, but during this period of time I was doing an online schooling program. It was through this online program I got wrapped up in the wrong crowd. And my Faith wasn't strong at this point. I was basically going through the motions of my Faith. I went to Mass, I went to confession, and that's about it. Occasionally I would pray, but never devoutly like one should. I had just moved from California to Ohio, and really didn't have any -true- friends. The youth group I had -tried- to get involved with, weren't very "accepting" of me. So, I felt like a complete outcast. I was going through a dark and lonely time. But, it was this that drove me to pray for good friends. I remember praying for months for good friends, until Summer of 06 rolled around.

I was about to start 9th grade, and I remember my dad picking up a church bulletin and it advertised something called: "The Fest" (basically a huge Catholic event with Mass, games, confession, live music, etc.) My dad said I should go, and I was hesitant, because it seemed so out of my element. (This is coming from someone that was into hard rock/dark music at the time.) But, I remember calling the youth minister because he was in charge of this program, and he said he'd love to have me.

For some reason, I was still hesitant to the point where I was basically set on not going at all. But, a force came over me. A force that said: "Go!" and I couldn't say no to it. So, I went, and there I met my friends, and other great people that have changed my life for the better.

Especially one person in particular. He's my best friend. And this person has taught me the true meaning of friendship. I have found that true friendship is not about sharing common interests, or hanging out all the time, that's only a small portion. It's about unity with each other through Christ. We are both discerning our vocation, and we have a special friendship because Christ is the center of it. We're constantly striving to uplift each other. Not always in an emotional sense, but in a spiritual sense. With Christ as the center of our friendship, we definitely see God working in each others lives, and it's a beautiful thing.

I also got involved with the youth ministry program, and later on became active in Catholic Scouting. Scouting is what broke the leadership in me out. And it was Catholic Scouting that "re-perked" my interest for the religious life, because there's a community of Sisters 10 minutes away from where I live, and that's where we used to have some of our meetings. I do believe this is the work of God, because if I didn't move here, meet my friends, get involved with scouting, then I never would have known to take discernment seriously.

From everything I've said, it may seem like my life had been blessed by God, and everything was perfect from there on. But, I've gone through hell to get to where I'm at now. My heart was very divided between good and evil. Especially during 2008 into 2009. I was struggling with a problem on the side, and still had people in my life from my old online school. I was being influenced in a bad way by them. So, it was common for me to go to scouting/youth group, come home, and then basically be a completely different person. There was some sort of "attachment" there.

I remember 2008-2009 like it all just happened yesterday. I remember even though I had finally found good friends, got more involved with the Church, feeling bound in chains by the situation I was in. I wanted to break free, I strived for goodness, I desired change! But it's like I couldn't do any of this. This situation completely distorted my mind, that I remember this darkness took over me at one point while in Church.

I remember running out of the church because I couldn't stand being there. Everything I looked at...the paintings...the statues....everything got twisted in my mind. Never have I felt so far from God in my life. It felt like I had infection in my brain, that had spread. And I hated myself for this. But, this was actually a turning point.

It was from that point on, that I truly prayed for a complete conversion. My friends didn't really know what was going on- I never spoke about it. But they knew I was struggling with something, so they advised me/prayed for me in the best way that they could, and that in itself was comforting. I knew I had their support. I remember praying and the words "Change my heart, Lord" is the main thing I said. Over and over.

In tears, I begged, I pleaded, and it wasn't until September of 09, that I had a complete conversion. September of 09, I went to the Eucharistic Congress in DC. When I went, I wasn't really sure what to expect. But, I went, and there I met so many religious orders. I listened to great talks. I was surrounded by so many Catholic people,including my own good friends from youth group. I remember going to Mass one day, and hearing beautiful music. As I heard the beautiful singing, I was gazing upon this painting of Jesus in the National Shrine of the Basilica. I just started crying.I felt such abundance of love and mercy fill my soul, that with my entire soul, I just said: "I want to live for you, Jesus."

EDITOR'S NOTE; I started this blog before my conversion. Went through a "no writing" period of time, and it was my conversion that "sparked" the creativity in me. Check out my old posts, if you want. before conversion post and then after conversion post

I've realized that this is how God works. Sometimes He lets us fall flat on our faces, in hopes that we cry out to Him, crawl back to Him, and beg Him to have mercy on us. I believe when we beg for God's assistance, and don't hear from Him, He is testing us. That in itself, is God acting through us. He's testing to see how committed we are to Him, and how trusting we are of Him.

He is begging that we cry out to Him. Crawl back to Him. Beg Him to have mercy on us, not just with our mouth but our entire being. My job, while it may be tough, and reflect darkness, I look at it as Divine Inspiration for what’s to come, simply because it has made me strive for more in my life. I only see this as preparation for what God has in store for me. Divine providence in my life, has always taken place in times where I've suffered.

I suppose that's why I enjoy talking about suffering so often- because I've been there. All I can say that it's divine providence that I've been given everything to crawl out of the ditches, and climb over the hills. God has given me the right friends. And now I can start anew. There isn’t a day that goes by, where I don’t thank God for all that He has done in my life....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A leader must think before they act, and think before they speak.

Hello everyone.
I apologize once again for not updating my blog on a regular basis. It's hard working 31 hours a week, and coming home each day completely drained. Usually I just want to sleep when I come home. But, now that Lent is here, I suppose I should make more of an effort to write.


Today I will be speaking of something that I feel strongly about. Especially, after getting a job and seeing the world more.

St. Alphonsus De Liguori and life experience has made me realize that our actions and our words have the ability to heal or do harm.
So often we speak before we think, and act without thinking. Especially in the heat of things.

We have the capability to wound ourselves and others with words.

Have you ever said something, or heard something, and you just can't get it out of your head? That's because our words can act as acid. They can burn right through our soul, and through our mind.

It's funny, because I bet nearly everyone reading does the same thing that I do which involves: Sitting at home, typing away, and watching letters appear on.
the screen. Suddenly, you backspace. You change your mind of what you want to say. You think to yourself: "Well, I could phrase this better". There's some part in us that knows how important words are. Yet, sometimes we forget and allow our mouths to speak immorally. Whether it's out of hatred, or out of sexuality. Maybe we can swear at someone during a fight. Or maybe we can say impure jokes. Our surroundings have an influence on us, and it's not always easy to hold our tongue. I've had people mistreat me at work, and I'm sure some of you have experienced this, as well. It's tempting to want to fuel the fire, but it's not the solution. Jesus' passion teaches us the best way to respond to situations. In silence.

I'll use an example: I remember when I used to go to our local YMCA, and when I was there one day running around the track, there was a group of 3 or 4 girls. And one of them came running out and "puked" on the track. (It was just water). They ran away laughing so I followed them out and they came up to me...laughing in my face. But, I didn't say anything. I remember stepping in the elevator, and just smiling as they were laughing. I saw an expression of confusion that began to form on their faces. I could sense they were expecting some sort of reaction from me, and they were boggled that they didn't see that.

God has given us a mouth to give praise to Him. To speak of Holiness, so that we may set the world ablaze. This doesn't mean that we need to constantly be on our knees praising Him and evangelizing. Obviously we have a life. God knows we work, are busy with children, etc. But we must constantly strive to have a certain "light" that shines when we speak and act. As Catholics, we are supposed to be leaders. We are supposed to seperate ourselves from the world. St. Paul tells us to be dead to the world (sin) and alive in Christ-- (Mortum mundo, Vivum in Christo)
To be dead to sin, and alive in Christ, we must think. We must constantly ask ourselves: "Is this Holy and pleasing to God?"

You want to strive to be alive in Christ, so that when you speak and act, you reflect Him.
Instead of going to work, complaining, fighting with people, getting involved with drama, making immoral jokes, be the one that smiles. Be the one that brings light to other workers. Be the one that offers up their work. I've seen how far a smile can go at work. There's a regular customer that comes into work to eat, and when I first started seeing him, he was very pessimistic every time I would ask him how he was doing. But, I never stopped smiling at him and asked him how he was doing. Now I always hear him say: "I'm doing pretty good! How are you doing?" And sometimes we'll even get into a conversation. This is why I say our actions and words have the ability to heal or do harm.

We are in a time of darkness. There are so many people that are wounded spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Because when people are wounded spiritually, it doesn't just affect their soul. It affects their entire being. If one is in the state of mortal sin, one is in such darkness and can't think clearly. With our actions and words, we should not contribute to the darkness of the world, but instead, we should be a light.

Always strive to reflect Christ

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they
shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who has
instructed the hearts of your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant
that by the same Holy Spirit we may have a right judgment in all things and
evermore rejoice in his consolations. Through Christ Our Lord,