So!  As we noted in the past minipost, I’m back!  Safe and sound and so happy to have returned.  But readers, I will be honest with you.  In the last few days before I came back home, I was gripped by a very unexpected fear.

My train of thought went something like this:  My first five months were so incredible.  So joy-filled, so easy. It was a honeymoon… a time of special graces and joy… there’s no way it’ll be that wonderful when I go back.  What if it’s just okay?  What if it’s awful?  What if I’m not strong enough to do it?  What if, what if, what if?

I was having an internal crisis, namely, huge lack of trust in the Father’s love.   I had this sense of having seen this pattern before.  Okay, now that you’ve showered me in your love and given me all these hopes… now’s the time when you leave.  So let me build up my walls, so I won’t be hurt when it happens.

Except.  He’s God.  So basically, all of my fears and doubts… though I understand why I have them… are ridiculous.

Currently I’m reading another one of Fr. Philippe’s books, this one on St. Therese the Little Flower.  (OHMYGOSH speaking of how God loves me—I was in Virginia for all of four days visiting friends and students and guess who happened to be there as well, giving talks at churches in the area?  Yes.  Fr. Philippe.  I almost died.  The man lives in France!  I live in Honduras! I even got to meet him and get a book signed!!).  Anyways.  One of the images from the book that’s stuck with me is that of a child jumping into her father’s arms.   When the father says “Jump!” there’s no doubt in the child’s mind that her father will catch her, so she jumps, not with fear, but with confidence.  So too should it be with us and God the Father.

Then in community right now, we’re also reading the latest Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium aka The Joy of the Gospel.    It’s amazing.  Duh.   As the title suggests, at the core of the document is what Christ and the Church have always taught:

“When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfillment. For ‘here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means’.”

That’s why I’m so happy here.  Why I feel so fulfilled.  Why I don’t want to be anywhere else right now.

And don’t get me wrong.  I have got a looooooooooooong way to go as far as learning to die to my selfish desires and put others first and love God more than myself.  That said… it’s incredible being in a place where learning this is the first priority… where through the generosity of my friends and family back home, I can spend my mornings and afternoons encountering Christ in my neighbors here.   I don’t need to be afraid that these things are going to change.  The option of choosing to love will always be present.   Coming back, I’m truly overwhelmed by what a gift this time here is… it makes me laugh to think that I was scared of it for so long.  Or so scared that the return would be difficult.

And not that there won’t be difficult times.  Life is about taking up your cross after all.  But.  The joy of the Gospel pervades all.  No matter what happens, the Word became man.  Dwelt among us.  Died for us.  My room is literally 20 seconds from the chapel where He waits for me every day.  He’s not going to leave me.

To conclude, in case at the end of all this you’re wondering how the return has been—it’s been great. It’s wonderful to come back and feel at home… to know that you have a place and friends and people whom you love.  We’ll start up the ministries with the kids next week, but I ran into a few of the Casa Misericordia girls when we were at San Benito and seeing their smiles and being wrapped up in their hugs was undoubtedly the highlight of my week.  There have been changes with the new year… people leaving the house to move on to the next stage in life with new jobs or engagements… and, of course, new people are always coming into the house.  Ministries have been changing too; for example, starting in February I’ll start teaching English classes in the seminary.  Yay!  In the end, I have no idea how these next few months will go.  Maybe the honeymoon will continue or maybe it’ll be a dark night of the soul.  Whatever may come, though, He’ll be waiting to catch me.

PS.  Book Reviews coming soon:  The Book Thief, The Power and the Glory, The Jeweler’s Shop


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