Being open

Happy Easter! What a beautiful season of new life, great joy and peace. I love how nature all around us is coming alive again! Have you noticed the birds singing before dawn? Or the big bumble bees buzzing around? Or the baby geese by the water?

Recently, my favorite has been the tulips in the sunshine. For some reason I have noticed them more this year then ever before. They open so much in the sun that you can see everything in the middle - all the colors and hidden parts. The petals even seem to be falling away! In being so open, the bees are able to get the pollen and nectar. 

It made me realize that's what this Easter season is all about - opening up our hearts to the Son. God wants us to be like these tulips. To be open before Him. To soak in His grace. To be focused on Him alone. To let the walls down. To hide nothing. To share our gifts (pollen) with others. 

So when you're a little down that this Easter hasn't been what you expected, or a little frustrated that you haven't changed as much as you'd hoped, or suddenly feeling how quickly time passes, think of these tulips. Ask yourself if you're open to God. In your soul, are your petal walls down? Are you seeking only His Son?

Yesterday's Gospel from John 6 was beautiful and recounts when the crowd asks Jesus, "'What can we do to accomplish the works of God?'" Here they are, all about doing and how many works. We are the same today. We always want to be doing and funny enough we ask one another "how are you doing?" We forget that we're human beings. We're not human doings. The tulips are so beautiful because they are just being what God created them to be.

We can have that same peace in being what God created us to be. Jesus answers the crowd and says to them, "'This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.'" It's all about Jesus. Do we believe in Jesus? That He can change our lives? That He is truly with us in what we're going through? That He looks at you, with such great tenderness and love? That He is knocking on the door of your heart right now? That He wants you for Himself? That He has great plans for you and your future? That He believes in you even if you don't believe in yourself? That He's calling you by name?

Lord, Jesus, I believe, and I receive all the grace You want to pour into my heart right now. In return, I give You my life. Everything is Yours. I surrender all to Your Most Sacred Heart. Mother Mary, pray for me to be uncompromising in loving Your Son above all else. Help me to do the work of God by believing in in Jesus.

May your heart be open, like a tulip in the sunshine, to The Risen Lord this Easter Season. 

How is it already Lent?!

We've been blessed to welcome our third daughter, Chiara Rose, born on January 10th!

As I'm emerging from the newborn cocoon and getting back to a routine, I'm surprised that Lent is here! Starting tomorrow! I thought had more time to prepare...But then I remembered that it's not about preparing for Lent, it's about preparing for Easter. The season of Lent is to prepare for Easter. So if you're feeling that panic of "Lent starts to tomorrow!" - don't worry. We're embarking on these next 40 days, these days of grace, to be ready for Easter.

Yes, we should focus on ways to pray, fast and give, but let us not forget that Lent is about conversion of heart. It's about putting God first in our lives. It's about being transformed into Jesus.

So what's it going to be this year, Lord?!

Praying this morning with today's Gospel (Mk. 10), the words of Peter spoke to me. Jesus had just said how hard it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, and that all things are possible for God. Peter then speaks to Jesus, "We have given up everything and followed you." Let this linger in your heart for a moment.

We have given up everything and followed you.

As I reflected on this, I was saddened. I saw in myself that I haven't given up everything and followed Him. I realized that things I thought I was giving upwere in fact just things I was offering up. For example, getting up in the night with the baby is something I'm offering up, but would I choose to give up an uninterrupted night of sleep? Probably not! 

Giving up is when we take on something. Like not having coffee or a taking cold showers. Offering up is a response to something. Like traffic or an illness. It's usually something that's out of our hands. Don't get me wrong, it's wonderful to offer up things too! Only God knows the value of these things. But I think many times we excuse ourselves from giving up something because we feel burdened by all the things we have to offer up. 

So Lent really is a season of giving up because we are choosing to take something on. We're taking a leap towards God. We're saying, "God, I want to give up this so I can be closer to you." We're saying, "God, I want to meet you in this area of my life that I haven't let you in." We're saying, "God, I want to do your will but I depend too much on myself."

By giving up something we are doing our part for God, with His grace, to do something amazing. And God wants to do something amazing for you this Lent! 

Lent will be a beautiful journey if we truly give up something we love and for many of us, that might just be giving up "myself." 

Know that whatever you choose to give up will leave a space. Fill that space with prayer. The prayer will overflow to deeds. 

Let us run into God's arms this season for they are wide open and ready to embrace us. Let us pray that in 40 days from now we can say like Peter, "We have given up everything and followed you."