Do Not Be Afraid.

“Moving is great!” ( – No  one, ever)

I grew up in a military family, so moving has become a norm for me; it’s just a way of life. However, nothing is as difficult as moving by yourself. I know, because I’m doing it for the second time. And as I was wrapping up my fragile items and folding and sorting a mountain of laundry on the living room floor while watching The Proposal, I thought about how perfectly this whole situation ties into the theme of vulnerability.

A year ago, I moved out to Texas after one careless charting mistake resulted in the loss of my job. Now I am out of work again, not for another mistake, but from repercussions from that first gaffe (In case anyone was curious, it is an extremely difficult, expensive, and drawn out process to get a nursing license in another state after a situation like this. Basically, don’t make stupid charting errors).

Talk about vulnerability! I am having to rely heavily on sheer trust in God. I’m moving back in with my family, leaving my friends and awesome coworkers here, leaving my best friend who just had her first baby, and driving 20+ hours to Virginia. I am then going to spend the next few weeks pounding the pavement to find a job.

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster the past few weeks, with my emotions ranging in a single day from sobbing on the living room floor over the wretched state of my “horrible life,” to praising God for his utter faithfulness and love, to laughing hysterically over whatever tickled my fancy at that very moment. I feel exactly like Rapunzel running around in Tangled, one minute ecstatic over her new found freedom, the next bemoaning her audacity to defy her mother and wailing that she’s a terrible daughter (if you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here).

Trust me, it’s stressful stuff, this whole moving thing. Seriously. I texted a friend of mine yesterday, and her response was “You’re so out of line. Get ahold of yourself, and realize how selfish you sound right now.” Which of course pissed me off immensely, but she was absolutely right! (Don’t worry, we made nice-nice after I admitted I was completely in the wrong and that she, as usual, was correct and is still awesome)

So lesson number one from this: remember to breathe, and think very, very carefully about what you say and do while under stress. It’s easy to let it get to you, but no good can come of it when it does.

Lesson number two: “God gives and takes away,” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me….” What do these have in common? They all say the same thing: keep going, breathe, and trust that whatever you’re going through right now will pass away, and when it does your world will be a brighter place than it was before. Every cloud has a silver lining; sometimes they are as obvious as the sunshine. Other times you have to go and find them. Sometimes there are multiple silver linings…But that might be asking for too much… 😉

The biggest lesson is this: never let your stressors and life situations keep you from clinging faithfully to God. He’s the only thing that’s constant, and He’s the only one who can get you through each and every trial and tribulation He allows. He is conditioning you for something; he is testing you, but will never let you out of the palm of His Mighty Hand. He might break you, but if He does it’s only because He needs to heal you and to make you a better person. And He will. He’s a loving father; He will never break you and leave you.

He’s got a plan. We might not see it or know it, and that’s where trust and vulnerability come in.

Cling to God, and do not be afraid. Somehow, sometime, all things will work together for God’s good.

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“Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

(*This post is just as much a reminder to myself as it is to anyone else. I have to slap sense into myself multiple times a day lately.)

(**I am gladly accepting prayers for my own inner peace, for a job, and for a safe and uneventful move, and for no glitches renewing my Virginia license. Please and thanks a million!)

(***I have this playlist. It’s my go-to playlist for when life seems to be getting the better of me. And it’s completely all over the place, but they’re my favorites.)

(****I’m done, I just wanted to see if you were still reading. ;p)

–Virginia

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If you are what you are called to be …

You know that slightly surreal moment when you’ve just been thinking of a song or a quote and the person next to you starts singing or reciting it? (Akin to that little shiver you get in your spine when you’ve just been thinking of a particular person and your phone buzzes with a text from them.) Well, I had one of those moments on Monday evening at Mass.

I pulled into the church parking lot pondering Our Lord’s words: “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” I couldn’t really say why that particular verse had gotten stuck in my head, but it has really resonated lately. In the midst of this joyous Easter season, deeply grateful for the blessing of a new job and trying to get the pieces of my life settled into an ordered, manageable place, I wonder at times if I’m really living “abundantly” (or “to the full” as another iteration of the same verse goes).

So when Father read the words from the pulpit not fifteen minutes later, I think my mouth fell open. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is trying to get my attention.

But as I reflected more on the verse, I started to get annoyed. They’re stirring and inspiring words to be sure, but what the heck do they mean? I guess if anyone has “life to the full,” I ought to. I’m blessed in every possible way, I’m living the life of the Church and the Sacraments, but (as I whined to God in the course of that day’s prayer) I don’t feel like I’m living “life to the full.” The more I try, the more cluttered, stressed, and all-out frustrated I end up feeling.

Maybe I’m not cut out for having life abundantly.

I’ve always tied this verse pretty closely to a quote from St. Catherine of Siena (whose feast day is today): “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.” The first time I heard those words, back in tenth grade, I got literal chills. What 15-year-old doesn’t want to set the world on fire with passion for the things that really matter? But I’m twenty-seven now, and I’ve learned to be pragmatic. And the world around me remains relatively blaze-free.

There is a line in St. Jose Maria Escriva’s “The Furrow” that rings so true on the days when the nobility of our calling to greatness — to true holiness — gets lost in the shuffle. He writes, “It seems as if a thousand trifles were awaiting the least opportunity, and as soon as your poor will is weakened, through physical tiredness or lack of supernatural outlook, those little things pile up and excite your imagination, until they form a mountain that oppresses and discourages you. Things such as the rough edges of your work, your resistance to obedience; the lack of proper means; the will-o’-the-wisp attractions of an easy life; greater or smaller repugnant temptations; bouts of over-sentimentality; tiredness; the bitter taste of spiritual mediocrity…. And sometimes also fear; fear because you know God wants you to be a saint, and you are not a saint.”

Christ came that I might have life more abundantly.

And I am not a saint.

But what does having life more abundantly look like? Hearing these words at Easter, our hearts may swell with thoughts of salvation history and the triumph of the cross. And sure, ultimately having life more abundantly has something to do with grace and the state of my immortal soul. But as I go about my day-to-day living, muddling through the mundane details of turning off the alarm, picking an outfit, washing my face, making breakfast, packing lunch, facing DC area traffic, starting up the work computer, writing press releases and op-eds, talking to coworkers, responding to emails, running errands, hitting up the gym, getting to bed on time, etc., etc., etc. … where does having life to the full fit in to all of this?

There are plenty of things I know it is not.

It is not having a packed schedule. I am finally learning the value of that little word “NO,” and I’ve been employing it with more force of late. I do not have to do everything, and I can’t, regardless of how much I’d like to. That includes volunteering, freelancing, partying, and anything else that takes up chunks of the schedule and keeps me out late.

It is not having a frantic workload. I may like to be busy, to feel necessary, to believe that my work adds some measure of value to this planet, but if I’m drowning under a too-heavy workload, I’m simply drowning. (Which is, now I think of it, a closer step to dying than to having life to the full.)

It is not, even, having a full trove of friends and relationships. These are delightful, wonderful gifts, and I treasure every one of my relationships. But there are days where I feel simply stretched to the breaking point, and I have to acknowledge that “having life more abundantly” does not — cannot — consist entirely in my relationships with the people I love.

All of these things can and should be part of an abundant life, of that I’m convinced. The details of daily living done well; the offering of daily work; the pouring out of self (and receiving the same from others) in loving relationships … yes, these all contribute to having life to the full. Yet taken on their own, they become more weight, just more entries on the long list of frustrations that lead to dissatisfaction, self-pity, and that nebulous longing for “freedom” from the burdens of our day-to-day existence.

So what’s the answer? I can’t simply tack “Have life more abundantly” to the top of my never-ending to-do list — that just defeats the point.

Because, as I’m coming to realize, the point is that having life to the full … and setting the world ablaze … and being a saint … are not things that I can do. By herself, li’l ol’ Mabel isn’t cut out for doing much more than sleeping in, whining about her life, and eating too much chocolate. Christ didn’t come to tell us to live life to the full. He came to give us life to the full.

My job, then, is to receive it.

Once again, we’re faced with the supreme irony of the Christian situation: our biggest challenge is becoming small. Shut up, sit down, close your eyes, and let him work in you. On our own, we can’t do anything. We definitely can’t have truly full, abundant lives. But with him — allowing him to work in us — the world can in fact be set on fire.

–Mabel

A quote

A friend sent me this quote yesterday, and I’m putting it here for safe keeping. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

–C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

This friend  asked me if I thought young adults were more susceptible to burying their hearts than other demographics. I’m not sure I’d phrase it that way. Isn’t any human being of any age susceptible to fear? And isn’t it ultimately fear of vulnerability that would lead to wrapping up the heart and storing it away in a “safe place”?

Still, I would say that the longer we remain single, the easier it is to keep the heart boxed up. We get used to our “hobbies and little luxuries,” we fall into a set routine, and we discover that life is comfortable this way. I’m guilty of this, and I suspect many of us are in some way. It comes out in different ways for different people: in refusing to confront issues that make us angry or sad or hurt with those closest to us; in jumping from one friend or group of friends to the next because we refuse to get “caught up” in relationships (and not just romantic relationships); in constant dating and then finding ourselves disenchanted; or in refusing to date because we’re pretty sure we’re not interested; in insisting we’re fine even when we’re not, because we don’t want to look weak or silly in front of our friends. I could go on and on and on.  

But I leave this post with a question, along with the quote: what are ways in which we catch ourselves burying our hearts on a daily basis to avoid vulnerability? Of course I’m not asking for a WordPress confession, but just posing the question so you can ask it of yourself.

One more thought to ponder: what is the greatest casualty of the refusal to be vulnerable? Every chick flick ever made warns that unless we break down our barriers we’ll end up alone. And while that’s got some truth to it, I don’t think being alone is the real tragedy in this. It’s what Lewis alludes to above: When we let our hearts harden in their coffins, we become irredeemable. If we can’t let the people around us break in, how will we learn to let God break in?

Thanks to good friends who send C. S. Lewis quotes on Monday mornings. You know who you are..

 

Prayers for Boston

Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of the deceased … with the injured and their families … and with all those affected by the attacks in Boston yesterday afternoon.

We pray for our nation as we continue to face these senseless acts of violence–for courage, solidarity, and peace.

 

In particular we pray for the souls of those who were tragically killed. 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

 

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No reason

So it’s my turn to post, and ‘Virginia’ suggested I post something funny. Which must mean — though she didn’t say it outright — that my latest posts have been a bit too heavy. What can I say? Life is serious business, folks.

Still, to please the masses, a funny post you shall have. So I bring you “Mabel’s Weekend in Review: In Which a City Girl Learns Not to Attend Picnics, Parties, or Anything Else That’s Social When She’s Suffering from Laryngitis.”

First there was the Dunkin’ Donuts run. I had to lean in real close to the nervous cashier to order coffee for an event. “Sorry,” I rasped, “I’ve lost my voice.” He looked confused but reassured me it was “all good.”

And it probably means I’m a very poor listener, but social events are simply no fun when you have no voice. I could barely squeak one or two audible words before my voice vanished again, so I kept trying to ask open-ended questions. They must not have been very good questions. Conversation lagged. People who didn’t know me started backing away slowly after about thirty seconds. People who DID know me just laughed at me.

Yeah, you know who you are.

Today I’m living in hope that no one stops by my office to find out how my weekend went. But hey, there’s nothing like a little case of laryngitis to endear you to new colleagues, right? That and my persistent, hacking cough which has got to be driving the guy in the office next to me absolutely crazy.

And related to absolutely nothing, I give you a video that had me crying I was laughing so hard. #bestlunchbreakvideoever

Happy Monday, friends. Happy Monday.

-Mabel

Odds & Ends: April’s ‘theme’ for guest posts

Friends, a brief housekeeping post:

Starting this month, we’ll be focusing on specific themes each month for our guest posts. This is mostly to provide help and/or goading to those of you who have expressed interest in writing for us, but aren’t sure what to write about.

Without further ado, the theme for (the rest of) April is vulnerability — inspired by ‘Virginia’s’ post earlier this week.

Guest writers can take that and run with it any way they want, whether it be relationships, friendships, spiritual life, suffering, or some other connection.

From now on, we’ll plan to post themes at the beginning of each month.

Yours Ever,
LifintheGap

Vulnerability: To Be or Not To Be?

Vulnerability is the capability of being physically or emotionally wounded, according to Merriam and Webster. 

Suffice it to say, it’s a hard place to be. Who wants to be hurt? Who wants to be wide out in the open for pain and suffering, just standing there waiting to accept whatever life throws at them? Nobody, right?

But we should be. Why? That’s a good question. Because the statements “Pain is weakness leaving the body” and “No pain, no gain” are disgustingly accurate. 

Think about it this way: When you work out, your purpose is to build muscles and to grow stronger. Yet the very way in which we build the muscles is by first breaking them down, destroying them, and then causing them to revitalize and recuperate, thus making them bigger and stronger. 

The same holds true with life. We must occasionally encounter pain and suffering to learn how to live. We must be broken down to nothing in order to learn how to pick ourselves back up and to continue on in our life journey. 

One of the biggest ways we make ourselves vulnerable is in our relationships with others — family, friends, romance, whatever kind of relationship you have with another person must involve a degree of vulnerability in order to fully grow. Without openness and vulnerability, the relationship cannot grow as it should. 

Think about your best relationships. Are they the ones in which each exchange was trivial and petty, and revolved around more gossip and current news than deep and meaningful discussions or conversations? I’m going to take a wild guess that you probably said no. That’s because the deeper a relationship grows, the deeper you allow the other persons into yourself, into your mind, and into your past. THAT is vulnerability. Being able to let someone get so close to you that they know you inside and out. Vulnerability also demands reciprocity; it cannot be one-sided.

And at this point you’re probably thinking “That’s great, Virginia, but where are you going with this?”

I was thinking about this the other day as I was realizing that vulnerability is a struggle for me. I tell people I “wear my heart on my sleeve,” but after being too open (at least that’s how I saw it) in the past, I think I have become much more guarded. Probably too guarded, in fact. I have no problems with my girl friends and my platonic relationships, but I think my past experience with the constant one-side love affair has jaded my view of romance in a way. It’s as if I have this mental block that I’ve put up to guard myself from falling in “crush” with a man who will never feel the same for me. That’s not altogether a bad thing, as crushes also alter our perception of reality. But the problem comes when you realize that the time has come to let that wall crumble. That perhaps it’s time for you to open up again — and you realize you’ve forgotten how. You’ve forgotten the balance between too guarded and too open. And your default is to be too guarded. 

People won’t try to push too long before giving up, and the only person who can change anything is me. I’m the only one who can let people into my head, my heart, and even my soul. Once they’re there, I’ve heard it’s amazing. 

But am I brave enough to let them? 

Are you?

Be still, my heart…

“I don’t know you,” said the voice on the other side of the metal screen, and I heard his clothes rustle as he shifted in his seat. “But what I’m hearing is a heart that is not, fundamentally, at peace.”

Every now and then a complete stranger says something that forces us to stop in our tracks and reassess. This happened to me during this past Advent, when I stopped in to a parish I don’t usually attend for confession on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t think I’d confessed anything particularly angsty — just the usual “Oops, I did it again” type confession, for which I expected the usual advice and a penance of three Hail Mary’s.

Expected or not, that priest was right, and his comment forced me to acknowledge it. I was not at peace. To tell the honest truth, I hadn’t really been at peace in ages. Juggling a stressful new job, a housing situation that seemed to be in constant flux, and a never-ending calendar of commitments, I was barely keeping my head above water. Unfortunately, acknowledging my lack of peace just added another cause for anxiety — “getting peaceful” had found its way to the top of my ever-growing to-do list.

And there it remains. Because it seems no matter what I cut from the social calendar, no matter what commitments I step back from, no matter how many hours a week I spend in prayer, in time with friends, in exercise, or in quality “me” time, I’m still not at peace.

Granted, I’m getting over a pretty stressful several months in a hectic job. I’m still figuring out the best ways to prune my calendar to include commitment-free days and time to myself. (I’ve had an epiphany, friends: I’m an introvert, and it’s okay. It’s not a problem to be fixed, but a life reality to be lived with.) I’m still working on developing a regular routine of prayer. But I think the lack of peace runs deeper than that, and I think it’s a trait all of us “young adults” share.

There’s a restlessness in the non-committed heart — and this restlessness is actually a good thing as long as we channel it properly.

I’ve spent the past five years focusing on my career and on becoming the woman I’m meant to be. I still believe those are worthy goals, and I intend to keep after them. “Living in the now” has been my mantra, in my personal life and on this blog. Yet in my insistence on living well today, not pining after a rosy future with Mr. Right and a house full of kids, I’ve often neglected the reality that we’re made for something greater. Because I didn’t want to waste my time daydreaming about a life I’m not leading, I stopped hoping (and praying) for my Vocation.

Instead, I’ve gotten comfortable in my single, often selfish life. All told, I have it pretty good. I like working and, praise God, I like my job. I like my roommates and my living situation. I like cooking for myself and running my own schedule. I like knowing that I could decide right now (5:10 on a Friday evening) to leave town for the weekend, and no one would really be affected by it. Regardless of how much I like it, though, this place in life can’t last. I might dig in my heels and insist on staying single forever, but everything else will change regardless.

Already the springtime lovers have started popping up all over the place. Every weekend seems to yield a new couple from among my erstwhile single friends. The engagement announcements continue, slow but steady. Married friends have kids and move to bigger houses farther away. Other friends move closer to home, or plan to leave the area for seminary, school, or new career opportunities. And let’s face it: the years march on, and we’re not going to be young forever.

This is a restless time because we’re not meant to rest here. And my heart remains restless because I’m trying to stop time, because I desperately want things to stay the way they are. I like it here. Why continue marching into a future I’m not sure I’ll like? Why seek to take up the cross when life with relatively few crosses is just so nice?

I’m breaking my number 1 blogging rule* by writing this post. No, I probably won’t want to talk about it when I run into you at parties. But I think it needs to be said: “young adulthood” is a transitory phase, and we are not meant to rest here. Our only real peace comes from acknowledging and accepting that, and journeying on with open hearts to wherever Our Lord is ultimately trying to lead us.

St. Augustine said it best: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

–Mabel

*No soul-searching via internet post

Aaaaand We’re Rolling!

If you were a screen writer writing the story of your life, what kind of story would it be? Would it be a chick flick? Action? Drama? Sci-fi?

I always used to picture my life playing out like a chick flick. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, there’s a calamity or conflict of some sort, they break up, they make up, they get back together, they kiss, and the movie ends happily. Keep the tissues handy, because there would be happy parts, funny parts, sad parts, tears of sadness, tears of joy, and tears from laughter. But it would be MY story, and that would be the best part about it.

 

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The Ultimate Chick Flick.

 

But no. No, my life is actually more like a soap opera. I grew up in a home much like that of Cheaper By The Dozen, filled with goofy shenanigans, yelling matches, wrestling matches, ill-timed piano practicing, lots of fun, lots of noise, but most of all lots of love. I gallivanted around Washington State for a year after high school because I “wasn’t ready for college.” After Washington, I went off to nursing school where I studied and stressed my way to graduation, got a job in medical-surgical/telemetry nursing and quickly became “Super-Nurse.” Less than two years later, I lost said job, and moved halfway across the country to Texas to start a new job as a pediatric home health nurse. Of course all this went on with the usual smattering of friend, family, boy, and circumstantial drama. And that brings us to the present.

 

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This pretty much sums it up! I think I’ve said that very thing more than once….

I always used to try to plan my entire life out ahead of me. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that God laughs at your plans. In my chick flick, I was going to be an actress or a singer or an opera singer. Forget that I can’t act to save my life, I was going to make it work. I was going to be the next Renee Fleming. But I most definitely was NEVER going to be a nurse. Too much blood and guts involved. Nope, wasn’t gonna do it. But now I wouldn’t change my career for anything. I LOVE nursing, and I can’t imagine doing anything else!

I also said I was going to be married by age 24. No joke, if you’d asked 14-year old me, I would have said I’d find someone in college and marry shortly after and start having more than 8 but less than 16 kids (What was I thinking?? I work with kids now. I will accept as many as God gives me, but I pray it’s not that many!). Can we say MRS. Degree?? But here I am at 26, and single as Larry the Cucumber’s tooth. So far I’m batting a big fat zero on my plans. God: 1M. Me: 0.

I also never, ever thought I’d live in Texas. In fact I think I used to say that I never had any desire to live in Texas. But yet here I am. Crazy how God works, right? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that stress isn’t worth it and that sometimes you just have to “go with it,” and tell yourself you’ll laugh about it later. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re taking yourself too seriously.

But the hardest things to experience are what teach us the most lessons, give us the most appreciation for the blessings we overlooked, and often lead to the best memories.

I’m going to leave you on that note, but first let me just say how excited I am to be joining this blog! I have enjoyed maintaining my own blog, but a co-blogging enterprise will be so much better! I have been a faithful follower of Lifeinthegap, partially because it’s written by my sister, but mostly because it’s purely awesome. So I’m very happy to be joining her here and I can’t wait to see what happens!

 

Peace out, y’all!

 

–“Virginia”

(In order to distinguish me from a coworker with the same name, I am known as “Virginia” at work. So when coming up with a name to sign my posts with that one made the most sense, as I didn’t really want to use “Steamroller,” which is another story that I might go into at another time.)

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“That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish’, what he meant was, ‘I love you.’ And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.” (“The Princess Bride”)

 

Guest Post: Celebrating the triumph of the Cross at Easter

Guest Post

A reflection on the need for the Cross in the Christian life as we begin this Easter season, under the guidance of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.  

By Anne McGuire

Although the date Wednesday, March 13, 2013, may not immediately sound personally relevant, the significance of the day’s events will long be remembered. At about 2:00 in the afternoon (EST), white smoke poured out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, announcing to Catholics around the world that we had a new pope. We waited in suspense to find out the identity of our new Holy Father, unable to guess who the Holy Spirit had chosen to lead the Church. When it was finally revealed that the former Cardinal Bergoglio had been elected and had accepted, choosing the name Francis, we paused, uncertain of who he was. Yet in the course of hours, it became obvious that the Holy Father was not afraid to depart from the norm, yet his fatherly care continues in a similar spirit to his predecessors.

Pope Francis has charmed the world with his remarkable humility, which is illustrated through such unprecedented gestures as requesting prayers of the people for himself before giving the papal blessing. In his first homily, the Holy Father went straight to the heart of Christianity, which has remained the same from the beginning: the Cross of Christ. He said,

“When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”

Entering the Easter season, we recall the triumph of Christ’s Cross, and all that it has won for us. The importance of the Cross is as old as Christianity itself, and still – no, because of this – Pope Francis’ moving words stir our hearts to remember this life-changing truth of our Faith. The simplicity of the Holy Father’s teaching on the foundation of what it means to be a Christian naturally extends also to respect for human life in all stages, and as a cardinal he acknowledged, “We cannot embrace the culture of life if we do not put our roots in Jesus, if we are not united to Him as a branch to the trunk of the vine.”

Spurred by Pope Francis’ witness, we are provoked to look at our own lives. When we are living our day-to-day lives, do we embrace the Cross, which is the instrument of salvation that Christ gives to us? Do we seek to unite ourselves to Christ, allowing ourselves to be rooted in Him and allowing Him to direct our paths? When we encounter obstacles, challenges, or trials, do we give in to the temptation to wallow in discouragement, or do we allow even those moments to become moments of grace for us, reminding us of our complete dependence on the Lord?

As we begin this Easter season, celebrating the triumph of the Cross, let us take very seriously the Holy Father’s invitation “to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.”

Anne McGuire works in Washington, D.C.Image