The church needs fewer commentators and more innovators. fewer critics and more creators, fewer imitators and more dreamers.
Begin now…Believe me, don’t wait until tomorrow to begin becoming a saint.
Saint Therese of Lisieux
I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (via thefullnessofthefaith)
Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation—as poet, writer, sculptor, architect, musician, actor and so on—feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbour and of humanity as a whole. Society needs artists.
Blessed John Paul II, Letter To Artists, 1999
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
- Steve Jobs
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
- Vince Lombardi
Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.
- Warren Bennis
After the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory, and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.
- Vince Lombardi
The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.
- Shana Alexander
When I turned 33 years old in 2010, I was excited cause I had made it to the age of Jesus. Jesus was 33 when he made his trek up that hill of Calvary. That year, I said, I’m going to make a Top 33 which was a list of the Top 33 things I was going to do before I died. Yes, I made a bucket list. Here it is:
1. Visit Spain
2. Visit Chicago and climb the Willis (Sears) Tower
3. Ride a Roller Coaster again
4. Do a back flip
5. Get off blood pressure meds
6. Hike Mission Peak
7. Camp at Yosemite
8. Go on a cruise with my wife
9. Own a Macbook
10. Have lunch with Jason Mraz
11. Receive Communion from the Pope
12. Visit the pyramids
13. Perform in front of 15,000+
14. Win a trophy or medal
15. Influence somebody’s life positively
16. Read Catcher in the Rye
17. Go Hot Air Ballooning with my wife
18. Drive a corvette
19. Drive in the Philippines
20. Try surfing
21. Go crabbing
22. Get a Masters or PhD
23. Shoot a firearm
24. Hit a baseball on Oakland’s field
25. Take my wife to New Orleans
26. Get a song published
27. Watch a game at Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley
28. Visit Seattle and climb the Space Needle
29. Learn Fluent Tagalog
30. Seek forgiveness from those I’ve hurt
31. Dance with Zara at her Wedding
32. Drive a motorcycle
33. Help Zara fulfill her dreams
Live life with intention.
I’ve completed 5, and I’m currently working on 2 of them
Why did I make this bucket list? I was prompted to add more meaning to my life; not that I lived a life without purpose, rather, I felt the need to concretely accomplish things and take note of it.
A week ago, I slashed 1 off the list. #6 Hike Mission Peak. The past couple of years I’ve developed problems in my joints because of a condition I have called gout. I’ve talked about this before, as some of you may have seen me with crutches or a cane at times. With each flare up, my joints take a beating and they’ll continue deteriorating if I don’t find some semblance of control. With that said, hiking Mission Peak was not only a task that scared me, but one that I knew would hurt me. But I wanted to do this, and I wanted to do it with people I have served with or will serve with. So last week, as part of our Core team overnight retreat, we hit Mission peak at 4am.
Here’s a pic of the team that morning:
It was a rough experience for me, but I had a lot of help. Everyone motivated me and encouraged me. They waited for me with great patience. Philly, Kyle, Joseph, Nile, Alyssa, Matt, Ryan were amongst those who stayed with me with each step. It was a rather humbling experience and a great feat for me.
As I trekked up the mountain, I was motivated by the bravery of our team in hearing their stories the evening prior, the shared a lot about themselves. I prayed, and I meditated on this one bible verse: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Mt 17:20. My goal was to move a mountain, and I did figuratively and literally.
I share this with you because I believe faith to be like this great journey: we have this big mountain in front of us, literally an obstacle that hinders us. For some, it’s an obstacle that hinders us from simply believing in God, for others it’s an obstacle in living the life God wants for us — a tangible fear. Faith is about moving mountains.
Faith is about moving mountains…and all you need is a little bit of it, smaller than a mustard seed. That is a radical idea, that’s a revolutionary idea in fact.
This year’s theme in Youth ministry at St. Joe’s is rEVOLutionary Faith, I thought to myself…well what does that even mean? As I met with team over the Summer, I thought to myself, we need to really step it up here, take it to the next level, we need to conquer this mountain. Perhaps we need to do things we’ve never really done. The task is huge and prompts us to ask the question: How do we take this faith coupled with a 2000 year old church and be revolutionary? How?
We learned last year, especially with the church experiencing it’s own revolution in the mass, that we do things, we change things, we rearrange things, in our worship of the one constant that simply doesn’t change - our God of love. Then I remembered, Christ was such a revolutionary himself. He changed the way we think, the way we serve, the way we look at life, the way we look at death…He changed the way we love. Today’s Gospel gives us such a great example. Jesus catches his disciples discussing amongst themselves, who indeed was the greatest. They were so audacious. Jesus flips the situation on it’s ear and says, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” If you want to be first, guess what, you have to be last. Jesus was a leader, who led by serving.
We have to change the way we think to truly acquire the greatness we all seek. I’m reminded of the saying that no great glory comes without great sacrifice and desire. My hope and my desire for our teens is to become great people, God’s great glory, fully alive in the grace and in the Spirit. My hope for you is that you become revolutionaries, doing the things necessary to live life to the full as Christ calls us. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
There was once this friend of mine, that no matter what he did, a bad string of things happened in his life. He was borderline depressed, he was always confused as to why things happened the way that they did. I sat with him and said, Bro, you make bad choices and surprisingly he said to me, “tell me something I don’t already know.” I was a bit floored because it’s as if he accepted his life for ending up the exact way he didn’t want. It’s as if he was a walking tragedy, but the sad part was that he accepted it, and had no clue as to how to attain the triumph. That’s what this is all about, dear friends…Triumph. He lacked the ability, the guidance, the wherewithal, the wisdom to make the choice to change. He failed and continues to fail because he can’t climb that mountain in order to be transfigured. The old adage says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you only get what you’ve always gotten.” I’ll say it again, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you only get what you’ve always gotten.”
SO what is this about? This is about a revolution of the body, the mind, and the spirit. This is about being revolutionary in our lives and in our faith so that we can have life and have it abundantly.
WE ARE the rEVOLution!