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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Thursday, May 29, 2014

For the Lord's Glory and Your Salvation. Thursday, May 29. 2014.

Sometimes Jesus might lead us down paths that have seemingly never been traveled.
Or He might ask us to do something that we automatically dub as crazy.
Or maybe we understand Jesus’ plan for us
but the rest of the human race looks at us like we are insane.
Sometimes Jesus’ perfect plan doesn’t fit in with the template that the world has prescribed.

I know that I have be called to do some things in my life that cause people to question,
to accuse,
or to give funny looks.
My response tends to be
‘Jesus told me to do it.’
This response often gets as many funny looks as the action itself.

The reality is,
Christ might call us out of our personal comfort zones,
He might ask things of us that we are reluctant to do,
He very well may challenge every fiber in our being.
But praise God.

The challenge is good.
The challenge will only be for His glory
and for your salvation.

St. Catherine of Siena had some pretty amazing conversations with Our Lord.

Our Lord told St. Catherine that the paths He would ask her to take
wouldn’t be the most traveled of paths,
but rather,
the road much less traveled.

Our Lord said that even those who loved Catherine dearly would doubt her way of life.
There would be those who would formulate lies about Catherine
and there would be those who would oppose of her life choices.

The doubt
and the lies
and the opposition
were not to be an easy load to carry.
Not at all.
In fact,
it was a burden that might cause fear and anxiety
but the Lord consoled Catherine.
He said to not be afraid or anxious for He was to be with her.
He would keep her soul free from evil and from lies.

The doubt
and the lies
and the opposition
that we receive in our own lives
for choosing Christ’s path is not easy.
It’s hard.
In fact,
sometimes it is enough to choose to NOT follow Christ’s path.
Sometimes all the backlash from the world
seems more intimidating than the joy of following Christ.

We ourselves begin to doubt,
we begin to believe the lies,
and we rage this battle within ourselves
one side desiring to follow Christ
and the other firm in opposition.

Even through our own time of doubt and struggle,
the Lord is still using the journey for His glory
and for our salvation.

He reminded St. Catherine that He had a glorious purpose for following His path.

“Carry out undauntedly whatever the Spirit prompts you to do, for through you I shall snatch many souls from the jaws of hell and by my grace transport them to the kingdom of Heaven.”
The Life of St. Catherine of Siena

The Lord was to use St. Catherine’s obedience to His will 
to keep souls from the fires of hell.

We cannot even begin to fathom
the ways in which the Lord might use our lives for His glory
if we are willing to follow His plan for us,
if we are willing to take the path less traveled,
if we are willing to submit to His most holy will.

How might the Lord be able to use your life
for His glory and your salvation?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Purpose of Our Creation. Thursday, May 15. 2014.

In grade school,
I despised memorizing the Baltimore Catechism year after year.
I now see the fruits of it,                                                                                     
seeing as I can spout of the first few questions and answers without even flinching. 

The fact that these questions are well-ingrained into my long-term memory
has given me the opportunity to truly think about what I memorized
and determine what it is actually saying. 

Through much contemplation,
I decided at a young age that the answer to the question:
‘Why were we created?’
was a very boring one.

The Baltimore Catechism proudly states that we were created
to know God,
to love God,
and to serve God.

In grade school,
that did not seem to be a very fun answer.

At that age,
my purpose of existence was to color pretty pictures
and play with friends.

As I got older though,
I started to look at this answer in a different light.

I realized that in order to understand this answer,
I had to look at the answer itself-
as a process.

We have such a negative understanding of serving.
I think that Christian churches are doing a great job of seeing service in a positive light.
However, I think that often we still link serving and service to slavery.

To serve means to give up our own desires and wants.
It means giving up freedom.
It means being self-less and humble.

we are not okay with being a servant to just anyone.

Sure, we might be of service once to a stranger
but constant,
perfect service
is typically reserved for someone that we love.

When we truly love someone,
we are willing to do the impossible to please them,
to serve them.

Our service to them stems from love.
Not be because we have to.
We aren’t forced to.
We choose to.
Because we love them.

So too with God.

If we do not love Him,
then serving Him is a useless
and inconvenient chore.

But I don’t truly and wholeheartedly love someone unless I know them.
Not I just met them so I know them
but really truly know them inside and out.

Truly knowing someone,
and all.

This leads to loving that person.
Which in turn leads to service.

It is a ladder process.
It is through knowing that we may begin to love.
It is through loving that we may begin to serve.

I won’t serve God if I don’t love Him
but I cannot begin to love Him if I do not know Him.

If you have trouble with loving or serving Him,
get to know Him.

Service is useless if you cannot stand behind your Master.
Love cannot truly be love if you do not know Him.   

Get to know Him.
Ask hard questions.
Seek truth.

But be prepared,
you might just fall in love with Him,
and you might just desire to serve Him.
And you might be able to tell your 5-year old self that
maybe, just maybe,
there is more to life than coloring pretty pictures
and maybe that reason for our creation isn’t so bad after all,
it’s pretty amazing. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happiness. Thursday, May 8. 2014.

I like being happy.
I’m sure most would agree.

There are things in life that make me happy.
Usually simple things.

Spending time with good friends,
getting frozen yogurt,
going for a run,
playing at the park.
Those things bring a smile to my face.
Sometimes even to my heart.

But it only last for as long as the frozen yogurt does.
Or as long as the run does.
Or as for as long as my friend can stay.
Then it’s gone.

Even though frozen yogurt is great it’s not enough.
Even though you might have enough to buy the world and all its contents, it’s not enough.

How could we possibly have access to all we could ever need
and ever even imagine
and have it not be enough?

If we are given all we need, how can it not suffice?
Must there then be something else?

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in the world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C.S. Lewis

If we have everything we could possibly need at our fingertips
and it’s not enough,
then there must be more.

We’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places,
yet we wonder why we haven’t found it.

Last night at confirmation class I was trying to explain this analogy to a group of boys.
I told them that it is like a little kid
constantly try to fit the circle puzzle piece into the square puzzle slot.
They had no idea what I was talking about and asked me to explain it again in English.

“Josh, if you ordered a big steak with potatoes and I bring you chicken, are you going to be happy with that?”
“Well, no.”
“Why not?”
“Because I want steak.”
“Right, you have a craving for steak and I brought you chicken. Chicken won’t satisfy your steak craving.”

So too with happiness.
We crave happiness.
We will fill this craving with worldly things that make us happy,
we will never truly be able to satisfy our craving.
We will try and try and try
but will not succeed.

We have everything we could need
yet there is still a craving within us that is not satisfied.

Is there then a chance that there is within us a craving for happiness,
one that cannot be filled by things of the world?

What is this other world that C.S. Lewis was talking about?
Could it hold the key to happiness?
True happiness?

It seems to me that Christ alone can satisfy this craving for happiness that we all want to desperately to be filled.
If nothing in the world has satisfied thus far,
Christ is a logical explanation.

I like logic too. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What I Have Learned from Watching Frozen. Thursday May 1, 2014.

I’ll admit it.
I love Frozen.

The youngest person in my family is 15,
yet we have seen the movie countless times,
we walk around quoting it,
we own the soundtrack which travels from the house to the car,
in fact,
it is in multiple cars right now,
yes, we made duplicates,
and I have yet to tire from it.

I think Jesus is trying to teach me a lesson right now.
I have two new CDs in my car, one of them being Frozen,
and both of them have tracks entitled ‘Let It Go’.

I harbor a strange personality paradox.
I tend to be fairly apathetic about most things.
But the things I care about,
I go full force and often care too much.

While there are some areas in my life where I could learn to care more,
there are definitely some places where I really just need to let it go.

Letting go doesn’t mean apathy though.
Letting go means trust.
Trusting God enough that
He will take our worries and concerns and use them for His glory.

Instead of putting all our
and concerns
and hopes
and dreams into one worldly avenue,
we should just give it up,
let it go,
give it to God.

There is nothing that He can’t handle.
There is nothing that He can’t make right.
There is nothing that you and Him can’t work out together.
There is nothing that He will allow to happen that is not for His greater glory
and for your salvation
so long as we let it go
and give it to Him

and trust that He knows what He is doing.