Every Catholic has a Bugatti Veyron.

I was walking to my car after 5 o’clock Mass at UD last week on a crisp, chilly evening and I couldn’t help but look up at the blue-gray sky, with its flat, stretched out white clouds moving and swirling quickly across its vast dome. I had a strange feeling of being very light as I walked and my eyes were naturally drawn upward. I had not felt such a child-like sense of wonder and awe in a long time. I was so wrapped up in the hugeness and openness of the sky that I stopped in the middle of the Braniff parking lot, gazing upwards with my hands in my jacket pockets, and just smiled in gratitude. My cold breath seemed from my point of view to mingle with the clouds, and I felt a joyful laugh coming on, so I just let it out. This got me a weird look from some people passing by, as I probably looked half-crazy, but I didn’t mind. This quote sums up how I felt:

“When we receive Holy Communion, we experience something extraordinary – a joy, a fragrance, a well-being that thrills the whole body and causes it to exalt.” —St. Jean Vianney

Standing there, I could not “take in” the fact that I that I had just taken into my body the God who created something as majestic as the sky and clouds. Yet those don’t even scratch the surface of the beauty of the entire universe – mountains, trees, flowers, rivers, oceans, stars, planets, galaxies. And even those are mere reflections of the splendor of heaven, which is far above anything we can imagine here on earth.

I was grateful in that moment for how incredible Mass is. God the Father created heaven and earth through his Son – “through him all things were made” as we say in the Nicene Creed, who in turn gives Himself totally to us at Mass through the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is be open to His grace, attend Mass devoutly, and believe with our whole being that the small wafer that we eat is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Son of God.

If you want a “personal relationship with Jesus” there is no more sure-fire way than consuming Him in the Eucharist, or adoring Him in the monstrance. There is nothing better for your soul than taking the Eucharist sincerely and reverently. With His divine essence He will elevate your sinful nature to be more like His divine one. His grace will perfect your human nature, and orient it towards the good, which means seeing the good in everything and everyone.

I was trying to put this divine mystery into practical terms and when I got to my car, a trusty ’98 Volvo S 70, this thought hit me: among other things, the sacraments are like spiritual modes of transportation. They keep the Church running and relevant, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being perhaps the most important one. It is what sustains the Church, because it originates directly from the Cross. It is the one sacrament that is happening 24/7 around the world. This got me thinking: what mode of transportation do people rely on and use the most? In most countries at least, it would be their cars. Mass could be seen as the spiritual car of the Church (cue the “Jesus, Take the Wheel” song by Carrie Underwood). It gets your soul where it wants to go, and in a convenient and reliable manner.

It isn’t just any car though. It would have to be the fastest, most powerful, best engineered car in the world. The Bugatti Veyron fits that description. It has 1,020 horsepower, two V8 engines, a top speed of 253 mph and has been called the “pinnacle of automotive engineering”. The price tag sits anywhere from $2.5 million to $4 million, and this goes along with the analogy, as Jesus paid a heavy price to redeem mankind on the Cross. It has the highest top speed of any street legal production car, but it can also go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.46 seconds, which is mind-blowingly fast. This is precisely what the Mass and Eucharist will do for your soul—they will speed up your spiritual progress. Most Masses are only 45 minutes to an hour long, but their benefits are literally infinite. As St. Padre Pio says, “The Mass is infinite like Jesus…Ask an angel what the Mass is, and he will reply to you in truth, ‘I understand what it is and why it is offered, but I do not, however, understand how much value it has.’ One angel, a thousand angels, all of Heaven know this and think like this.”

However mysterious it seems, every baptized Roman Catholic should know that in the Mass, we have the “pinnacle of spiritual engineering”. Jesus with his Holy Sacrifice has purchased an infinite amount of spiritual Bugatti Veyrons and put them in our driveways. They are freely given and the keys are in our hands. We just have to hop in, start the car, and get movin’ by accepting His sanctifying grace in faith and letting it transform us into saintly people of God.

bugatti veyron

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They didn’t lose.

I know this is nit-picky and unimportant in the long run, but I really dislike when people use the phrase “(Name) lost their fight to (chronic disease)” after the passing of a person who bravely fought an illness for years upon years. I’ve noticed it used a lot when a person with cystic fibrosis or cancer passes.

Using this particular phrase probably stems from the feeling of loss that the loved ones are coping with, and it is a way of saying that the battle with the disease is over. But, the person did not lose that battle.

I think of it like the movie Gladiator. Would you say that Maximus lost the fight to the emperor at the end? Um, no. He died because he was poisoned beforehand. Not only did he put a serious beat down on the emperor, he did it with a bleeding gash in his ribs and with the poison slowing him down. He was fighting for something much greater than himself, for freedom and to honor his family.

People with CF, cancer, or any severe incurable disease are thrown into a proverbial Colosseum every day. If they die from the disease, their loved ones should remember all of the days that the person fought in their honor and smiled through pain for their sake. They have gained the freedom of everlasting happiness, unending bliss in heaven. They didn’t lose. They stared down the enemy, embraced their earthly purgatory, and now share in Christ’s glorious victory over death.

GLADIATOR

Sign of the Cross

If you ever want to pray for my health or for people with cystic fibrosis, a quick little prayer is just making the sign of the Cross. When you make the sign of the Cross, what part of your body is the horizontal section over? The lungs! It’s that easy. Do it with me or anyone else in mind, and BOOM. You just prayed for us.

To everyone who is praying for me, thank you so much. I will try and return the favor. Miracles can happen, and who knows, maybe a miraculous healing is in my future. But we probably won’t find out unless we keep on prayin’ .

King Arthur

Yesterday, Dr. Roper incorporated this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail into Medieval Literature class in a meaningful way (which shows why I have taken four of his classes). It’s probably my favorite scene from the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvKIWjnEPNY

He said that the first assignment he gave to one Medieval Lit class was, “Describe what you think the term ‘medieval’ means off the top of your head.” Almost all of the responses had the words ‘filth’ or ‘filthy’ in them, and he was shocked at how little his students actually knew about this period. People might have lived primitively back then, but there were very organized and prosperous kingdoms with actual governments and strong gift economies.

Monty Python is always a good way to relieve some tension from finals, papers, projects, timelines, etc. due at the end of the semester.

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!

Hallelujah, no more PICC line!

It’s become a family tradition to go hear Handel’s Messiah at the Meyerson around Christmas time, and we have tickets again this year. The entire piece is Scripture based, including Luke 2:13-14 which says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'” If you want to hear what a heavenly host sounds like in real life, I suggest you go to the Messiah. It’s perhaps most known for the Hallelujah chorus…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pel7uQbhv88

I had a personal “hallelujah” moment yesterday when I got to pull my PICC line. I had it since November 12th, and every 8 hours I would infuse antibiotics directly into my bloodstream. The long catheter goes up my arm and across my chest, and empties the medicine right above my heart. The medicine comes in little baseball shaped sacks, which take about 90 minutes to infuse. It’s out just in time for the last week of classes/finals and Christmas time, so hallelujah!

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I Thirst (Mother Teresa)

I Thirst for You

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev. 3, 20)

Jesus Crucified

It is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.

And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come – always, without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My Spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you, and with a love for you beyond your comprehension – a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father (“As much as the Father has loved me, I have loved you…” (Jn. 15:10) I come – longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.

I know you through and through. I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings. I know every one of your problems. I know your needs and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image. It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed My Blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all that needs changing in your life, and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.

I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations, I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished. But how often have you thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love? “Come to Me all you who thirst…” (Jn. 7: 37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine – to the point of dying on a cross for you.

I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life. – and I will. I promise you before My Father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this? Because I THIRST FOR YOU. All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom. Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you, or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of this life. Above all, do not run from Me when you fall. Come to Me without delay. When you give Me your sins, you gave Me the joy of being your Savior. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal; so come now, and unburden your soul.

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life; there is one thing I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change. I THIRST FOR YOU – just as you are. You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: “I THIRST…”(Jn 19: 28). Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the psalm – verse I was praying says of Me: “I looked for love, and I found none…” (Ps. 69: 20). All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit. “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake. Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock. Open to Me, for I THIRST FOR YOU…”


“Jesus is God, therefore His love, His Thirst, is infinite. He the creator of the universe,
asked for the love of His creatures.
He thirsts for our love… These words:
‘I Thirst’ –
Do they echo in our souls?”

Mother Teresa

Queen my dishes, please.

If you watch Rangers baseball, you have probably heard the joke from that AT&T commercial that was on all the time…

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Queen.

Queen, who?

Queen my dishes, please.

It’s a dumb joke, but it sorta grows on you. As anyone in my family could tell you, my mom likes being called Queen Joan. At the end of this past April was her birthday and I didn’t know what to do for her. After the billionth time seeing that commercial, it was like something clicked in my head and I decided to write a poem about my mom, Queen Joan (which I’ll share below).

Just saying, if you haven’t done it in a while, take the time to thank your mother for the gift of life, and for all she has done in raising you. Every mother should be treated as the queen of her family’s universe!

In Old Testament times, the queen of the kingdoms in Israel was actually a “Mother Queen”, because the kings of the line of David had too many wives for just one of them to be named queen. The Mother Queen was the second most important person in the kingdom, and almost every Davidic king is listed along with his mother in Scripture! That’s why the Blessed Virgin Mary as both Jesus’ mother and as His queen makes sense.

I wrote this poem for my mom, but it is indirectly written to the quintessential Mother, who reigns as Mother Queen in heaven. It’s modeled after “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman.

(note: a Diamond Jubilee is a celebration of a monarch having ruled for 60 years)

For Her Majesty, Queen Joan

O QUEEN! my Queen! seated with poise on a golden throne,
Angels sing in exaltation the name of Joan,
Ambassador of Justice, leading light of Temperance,
Shining star of Courage, paradigm of Prudence,
Worker of the needle in an intricate tapestry,
Each thread an act of selfless good will,
She gifted the world with seven tiny miracles,
Granting them the infinite life of their Creator,
Ensuring God’s love in the garden of their hearts to till.

O Queen! my Queen! her journey’s just begun,
Her vessel guided gracefully in the light of the Sun,
As she enters the years of her prime,
Her soul’s beauty endures through time;
But O Faith! Hope! Love!
O boundless maternal embrace,
Cradled in the arms of my Blessed Mother,
As a child peering upwards to find the divine visage
Written in the majesty of her wise and noble face.

No woman called Queen deserves the title more
Than the radiant Matriarch today turning three score.
Her hair held up in a regally dignified twist,
Her stately brow shaped by many Truths reminisced.
No comparison is there to the spark in her eyes,
Bespeaking a rare strength of soul, unknown to this earth,
To which no Diamond Jubilee could ever do homage,
And that, like the glimmering of a perfectly faultless jewel,
Reflects God’s beautiful Kingdom of unending joy and mirth.