The Patient Farmer

The other night when I was reading my bible, I came across this in Mark:

“And He said, ‘The Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground, and then continues sleeping an rising night and day while the seed sprouts  and grows and increases – he knows not how. The earth produces by itself – first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.’”– Mark 4:26-28

In other words, the farmer plants his seed in the ground and then continues on with his life, sleeping and rising. Eventually, the ground will produce the crop in its own. The farmer doesn’t know how or when the harvest will come, but he still goes about his life and his job. He is patient with his field and the seed he as sown until he receives the harvest.

Often, I get impatient, frustrated, and anxious waiting for my seed to grow. For example, I have sent out 20+ resumes over the last 2 months and still do not have a job. Another example is support-raising for my year with CCO. I have no idea how I will get 1500$/month in support.  I am continually asking God, “How are you going to make this work? When is it going to happen?” But maybe I am trying to make something happen that only God can make happen. I am hoping for a breakthrough and nothing seems to be working. Through reading this scripture, perhaps I can use the farmer as an example. A farmer never knows when exactly his crop will come in. He just goes about his daily business. He can do things to help his crops, such as enriching the soil, but leaves the rest up to faith that earth will produce something for him. I must learn to do the same. I will put the work in by putting out resumes and establishing contacts for my support-team, and I will try to be patient and trust that God will take care of the rest.

On a different topic….

The IMPACT! mission had their first Courageous Catholic (CC) session on Tuesday night. CC is an 11-week faith study for individuals who are actively involved with their parish. It offers practical training and inspiring teaching to engage them in the work of evangelization. It will equip them with powerful tools to be missionary in their sphere of influence. This will be done by teaching them about the church’s missionary identity, to help them identify opportunities for evangelization, and the practical tools to carry it out. The hope is that the course will act as a catalyst in transforming their ministry and inspiring them to bring others into the joy of knowing and loving God.

Impact 2012 – the Courageous Catholic group meeting at St. Agnes Church

We had over 50 members from 7 different parishes from all over the HRM!

Opening up the tackle box

Ever wonder how certain things bait us in? Perhaps you were watching a commercial about a big, delicious looking hamburger from McDonald’s and decided you just needed to have one. What about sports; did you ever have a coach who convinced you not to quit? Let’s think about famous positive role models like Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela. They have certain traits that are so attractive and inspire us. Maybe you can think of examples closer to home, of people who attract you into their lives. If you are a Christian, how did you come into your faith? I would bet that someone invited you in, and you were “baited” by something that you just couldn’t ignore.

We read in the Gospels that several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen by trade when Jesus walked into their lives (see Mark 1:16-20). You probably know how the story goes, Jesus asks them instead to become “Fishers of Men”. I think Jesus used these men very specifically to demonstrate an important model of evangelization. If you have ever been fishing, you know that there are about a million types of bait you can use to catch a fish. God has given all of us unique skills and talents that no one else possesses in exactly the same way that we do. God pleads with all of use to use these gifts to demonstrate through our lives, words, and actions the blessings of being one of His followers.  Entering my new journey in life as a missionary, it will be very exciting to see how my unique characteristics will be used to draw others into this wonderful, rich faith that I have come to know. Some people will respond to hearing about God, others might respond to seeing my actions that demonstrate His love and grace, and some might see the joy and peace I have in my life.All of these things can be used to draw people into the net of God’s love.

Every encounter offers a new way to go fishing 🙂

Hanging out with Craig and Alora

I consider myself a very fortunate person to have my family live so close to me. Both of my brothers live here in the HRM as well as my Aunt Rosanna. My parents only live 4 hours away in PEI. My older brother Chris has a beautiful wife and family, and it’s amazing that I’ve been here to see my niece and nephew grow up. Craig is 4 and Alora is about to turn 2. It is such a humbling experience to watch someone grow up from birth. Every time I go over for a visit, I am blown away with how much these little people can change in such a short amount of time. For example,  I recently went over to babysit these two and took them to the park. First of all, my niece walked there on her own. I mean of course I held her hand, but I just couldn’t believe that a couple of months ago I was carrying her everywhere. Then my nephew was playing all by himself, and didn’t even need his Aunt Mallory to help him climb up the stairs, or catch him at the bottom of the slide. I think I was even more surprised  by my nephew when it was bedtime. This little guy was caught by his Uncle Josh stealing a cookie before bed. Not only was he capable of stealing, but he felt guilt and shame for it and lied about stealing it. Josh and I weren’t really mad, it was harmless, and he was pretty cute about it. It still surprised me though, that my little nephew, who I was changing his diaper not too long ago, knows what he isn’t supposed to do and can now come up with a way to do it anyways. We all do things we know we aren’t supposed to and do them anyways. Most of the time, we are really good at hiding it from the people we love the most. I wish these secrets were all as harmless as stealing a cookie before bed. I wish my nephew stayed that innocent, when the baddest thing he could feel shame about what making his Aunt Mallory and Uncle Josh disappointing in him for eating a cookie without asking.

I suppose that is a bit of a depressing line of thought, but I was so struck at the innocence of childhood when he did that. I’m so grateful for kids. They remind me not to take my life so seriously.

Here are the little rascals 🙂 For better picture quality visit my page on Flikr

The Vine

 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

John 15: 1-8

Yesterday’s gospel reading really stood out to me. I’ve been busy the last 2 weeks preparing for my upcoming VINE year with CCO. The VINE acronym stands for “Volunteers in the New Evangelization”. If you aren’t familiar with this term, “New Evangelization” was popularized by Pope John Paul II with reference to efforts to reawaken the faith in traditionally Catholic parts of the world, such as Europe, who converted to Christianity many centuries earlier. However, many of these traditionally Christian parts of the world have undergone a process of secularization which  has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Catholic Church. So there has been a movement to reach out to those who have fallen away from their faith, essentially re-evangelizing Catholics, or now commonly known as the “New Evangelization”. Starting in the fall, I will be working with CCO to bring the message to university students who have fallen away from their faith that having a relationship with God is very relevant and will lead to such a fulfilling life.

After reading the words that Jesus spoke in this passage, I love the idea that Jesus is the vine. I am simply a branch that comes from him. During this upcoming adventure on CCO staff, I really do feel as if Jesus will prune me so that I can bear even more fruit. Sure, I may do great things now, but imaging the even GREATER things I will do next year! This will not be because I have magically become better, but because slowly but surely I am learning how to be someone who is Christ-like. Through becoming a disciple, a follower, I am able to be a great person and do great things.

Heck, I don’t even know if that makes sense. I just feel like a few years ago, before I grew in my faith, I never did anything worth mentioning. I drank too much, partied too much, was lazy, was mean, was self-centered. Now that I’ve rooted myself with God, I am a better person. I treat other people better, I treat myself better, I volunteer, I am inspired to do extracurricular projects. I feel that the more I learn how to model Jesus, the more I can contribute in a positive way to the world around me. This faith thing doesn’t always make sense, believing in something I can’t even see. It is hard sometimes. But being a better person and bearing good fruit, that does make sense, and it’s always a reason to keep going in my faith journey.

Hello world!

I have always wanted to keep up a blog. I’ve started  a handful of them in my life, but never stuck with it. I hope this time will be different. I am starting a new chapter in my life. I will be graduating from university in a few weeks and will be heading into uncharted territory for the next year. I hope that this blog will serve to keep my friends and family updated while I begin some new adventures in my life.

Until next time!