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Cold Showers

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“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” – St. John Paul the Great. 
For the past 50 days, some friends of mine and I have been trying to achieve true freedom with something called Exodus 90, you can click on that to find out more. Exodus 90 is a program to help men overcome addictions, build a stronger bond of brotherhood, and grow closer to God. For 90 days, you are supposed to give up a list of about 15 things. One of the things on this list is hot showers. I have always hated cold showers. They make me uncomfortable. I almost didn’t even do that part of the program because of that, but I chose to give it a try. The first week I failed. I would have the water colder than normal but still, it wasn't cold. I didn't see the point. Finally, in week two, I decided that if I was going to do this I was going to do it 100%. So, I started slowly. I would change the temperature of the water every few seconds so by the time I was done i…

Where The Will is Broken

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“Pain is just the place where the will is broken.” These are lyrics to another NeedToBreathe song called “Keep Your Eyes Open.” I think his song is ultimately about suicide and choosing not to, but I thought about these lyrics a lot when I was in Poland this summer at the concentration camp in Auschwitz. 
As I was walking around the concentration camp, nothing really hit me. I read all the signs, I looked at all the pictures. I have seen or heard most of what was around me before. It was nothing new. Nothing really hit me till I looked down at my feet. As I was walking, I just kept looking down at the ground, watching as I made each step. As I walked I thought, I am walking here coming from a nice hotel with a hot shower knowing what is going happen to me the next few day, knowing where my next meal was coming from, having the ability to contact my family at any moment I wanted to. I realized that the people who put their feet in the same place I was stepping, lay their heads in the sam…

Add Three

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This summer I had the opportunity to go all over Europe for World Youth Day. It was an amazing experience and I think about it almost every day. I went with some awesome people and some close friends of mine. One person on the trip with me, Father Preston, was a newly ordained priest, so we got to have mass in some awesome places! It was cool because I got to serve at some of these masses. During one Mass, in particular, something happened that remained me of ways I need to work on trusting in the Lord.
One of the days we were there, we had the opportunity to have mass in the chapel of John the XXIII In the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican.As my friend, Garrett, Fr. Preston, and I were preparing for mass we realized we didn’t have a good count for the number of hosts we would need. Because there were more people than just our group, we couldn’t make a good guess either. When it came time for us to prepare the altar I looked at Father and told him we didn’t really know what th…

Trust

Something that I am working on is trust. I often find myself worrying about my relationships with people. I worry my friendships which I have tried so hard to maintain are going to die or fade out. I have realized that most of this is out of my control and that I need to just let God take care of it. This is true about everything. Sometimes I stress about little things in life, and because I have so much to get done I worry about it. Sometimes this makes me say things l don’t mean like my life sucks, or this is terrible. In the bible, trust in God is a huge theme. In both the new and old testament, God asks His people to trust in Him and they often fail. 
We can see an example of this in the book of Exodus when God is asking Moses to free his people from Egypt. The Lord tells Moses what to do, but Moses doubts in himself and doesn't trust that the Lord will be able to do as He said.  “‘So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ But Moses s…

Testify

Best for last! I don't really have words for this song. Testify is my favorite song of all time. Every time I listen to it, it gives me a sense of peace that I can't explain. The only thing I can relate it to is when I went to Assisi. It’s so peaceful that you don't want it to end. You just want to get lost inside. I've liked this song since I first heard it, but at first, I just thought it was about a man loving his wife as much as he could. But in thinking that, there was a line that didn't make any sense to me: “I will give myself to you as soon as you start to let go.” This didn't make any sense to me because it seems to be contradictory to love. Loving means giving your all to the person being loved and not asking for anything back. Love is a total self-gift. Love is willing the Good of someone. But this line didn’t seem to say that at all. I thought for weeks trying to finger out how this could work, or want it meant. Then one day, I was in the chapel pra…

Happiness

“This song ain't nothing if this song can't set you free.”
This line is from a song called, “Happiness.” This might be the most inspiring song on the album. There are two versions of this song one is acoustic, and it is worth your time. This song is clearly about pursuing happiness to the fullest, and not stopping until you do. “I got a homesick heart, but long ways left to go. I've been doing my part, but I ain't got much to show. So, I'm asking you to show me some forgiveness. It's all for you in my pursuit of happiness.” Like all of their songs, this can be applied to love for people, I think that because I think NeedToBreathe understands what love really is and that it relates to love of Christ and our faith life as well . “I got a homesick heart but long ways left to go.” I have always thought that if the goal is heaven then I just want to get there. Our true home is heaven, and our souls long to be there in unity with Christ. Whether you know it or not you wil…

Stronger after Broken

“But hearts are stronger after broken.”
These are lyrics from a NeedToBreathe song called “Slumber.” I thought of them after a friend and I were talking about our similar situations with relationships. We both had experienced relationships where everything seemed perfect. The other person made us feel like we could do anything when we were with them. They gave us confidence, passion, desire. They made us want to be the best people we could be. It seemed perfect! It didn't work out for either of us for different reasons. If you have ever had a relationship like this, you know how it feels when things end. It doesn’t make sense and you cannot stop thinking about it because it was so “perfect”. My friend kept saying that “it happened for a reason” and “God put those people in and out of our lives for a purpose.” I’m not sure I agree that God wanted it to happen like that because we all have free will. So I had the free will to choose to act or not act. However, I do know that God all…