Choose Joy

Hi there.

So.

This semester began seven weeks ago, and since then I have not had (or have not taken the time) to write another blog post. It’s been a little hectic! Core classes have been completed altogether at this point, so I am only taking classes that apply to my major/minors.

For those who are curious this semester I am taking Christology, Philosophy of St. Augustine, Theological Anthropology, Modern Literature and Composition, Literary Analysis, and Revolution and the New Empires (a course for the honors program). It has been busy to say the least. Each of these classes obviously requires hours of reading, paper writing, and general preparation for class.

On top of my classes I am still maintaining officer positions, odd babysitting jobs, and some semblance of a social life.

People ask me all the time how I do it. My answer?

By the grace of God. 

There have honestly been moments of overwhelming exhaustion, terrifying fear of failure, and weird disconnect from other people. There have been days when time seems hazy and my head is spinning. There have been days when I want to give this whole school thing up and set up camp under a rock for the rest of my life. These past two weeks especially were very difficult academically, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Everyone keeps asking me where I’ve been.

I’ve been hiding in my hobbit hole of a room trying to keep up with everything.

I have been so tired. I have been so drained. I have gone to bed exhausted each night dreading the inevitable early morning.

But so much bigger than the exhaustion has been the encouragement to keep going.

Last week, my friends Lupita and Marie particularly reminded me of my choice to either choose joy or to choose self-pity and sorrow. All too often in my life I have chosen the latter. These two weeks, though they have been turbulent I have chosen joy. It’s amazing what that choice does for you.

My choice of joy is not arbitrary in the slightest. My choice has a purpose, has a meaning. I choose joy for Christ, for the well-being of the world, and for the salvation of souls. That may seem a little broad. What am I rambling about? When I make the decision to stop with the moping and to choose joy instead I can also offer up whatever sorrows have risen to the surface. I can offer the feelings I’d rather dwell on to God. He asks not for sacrifices of our things, but rather the sacrifice of our very selves (check out Psalm 51 on this). I can offer up my physical exhaustion for those who truly know physical suffering, I can offer up my weary heart for those whose hearts are broken, and I can keep moving forward and offer that up for the salvation of souls.

Our trials have purpose. Look, oh look at the Crucified Christ! This is Lent, and we are called to reflect on the ultimate suffering. His suffering was for our good: for the redemption of mankind.

Though we experience genuine grief and sorrow, we do not have to dwell on them and allow them to become self-pity. Instead we can look them head-on and offer them up to God. And then, we choose joy.

Last weekend my school had the blessing to host the Humanae Vitae Seminar on our campus that is put on every year by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. We have two sisters that live on campus, and several others came down to help with the seminar. The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist are easily the most joyful women I have ever met. Last year I was able to visit their mother house up in New England, and I was so struck by their hospitality, warmth, and most of all, their radiant joy.

Two wonderful FSE!

Christ works so very powerfully through these beautiful women! When they came down last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking to them, and the joy of the Lord truly, truly impacted me through them. God bless those who fulfill their vocation to religious life! They work wonders for our world at large and for many individually!

In times where the struggles of life get in the way of my being able to choose joy, the good Lord intervenes through His other children to remind me. How good He is to do this! He also provides time to rest in Him. I would not have made it through the past two weeks without daily Mass and weekly Adoration. His presence in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest comfort and the nourishment needed to make the clear choice of joy.

As my best friend in heaven St. Thérèse said in her Story of a Soul, Everything is grace.

Rough winds or smooth sailing, let us choose joy, especially in this season of papers and midterms.

May God bless you on your way!

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