Wednesday, January 20, 2010

discipline, text messages, and gloom, OH MY!

I lack discipline. I really do. I don't get up at the same time every day. I don't go to sleep at the same time every day. I don't do work related tasks at predictable intervals. So, I'm trying something new.

Afternoon prayer.

I already try to carve out the 10-10:30pm time slot in my day to pray the Rosary with the radio. But in the afternoon right when I get home from work, I need something structured and productive to do in order to focus my attention for the rest of the evening. So, I'm going to try to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at that time. I adore this prayer, but I often let it go because I "don't have time." Well, time shall be made.

Today I prayed it. I've decided I want to dedicate it each day to my current romantic relationship and to my future spouse. If they are the same person, well then, double the prayers! Again I state, that if I want a relationship to happen, I need to make it a priority. That means a priority in prayer as well.


Speaking of the love interest, my day started better than usual this morning. Text messages at 5:56am usually don't happen, but this morning I got one from the love interest. A chipper good morning from him just seemed to spark a smile to start my day. Maybe him being a morning person is a good thing! lol. Now, if only he could text me every morning so I can wake up to him all chipper and smiling instead of my alarm...that would be fantastic. ;) Wait...what? Me? Wanting to be spoiled by a man waking me up in the morning instead of an alarm? Noooooo...

Anyway, today was pretty good besides the gloomy fog that has hijacked the St. Louis area for the past week. I drive by several cemeteries each day for work (my work area is like a connect the dots worksheet with cemeteries). The fog made it look really creepy today. Took some video while driving. Not the safest thing ever, but come on. Plus, if you listen, I have Glenn Beck on the radio. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

better than wallpaper

I realized over the weekend that I've been in my St. Charles apartment/townhouse for a year now. Yay! I still love it here, but I also noticed I have not hung anything on the walls yet. Well, okay, I have something above my couch and a cross collage in my bedroom. But that's it! So, here's what I did in the upstairs hallway today.

Much better than wallpaper! The door straight ahead it to the bedroom, the the right the bathroom, and to the left the conservatory (office, craft room, music room, and library). I like it. I know some people may cringe at a lot of crosses in my house (especially in the bedroom), but it's my house. I like it. DEAL.

I also had an unexpected knock on my door this evening. A woman I didn't know was standing outside. Apparently, she got some of my mail. I'm SO glad she brought it by! It was a necklace I ordered from Etsy. It is gorgeous! I love it, check it out on my awesome neck.

Love it! Now I'm off to finish watching American Idol and get ready for bed. My 8:00 session will come very early tomorrow morning.


I love to read. I find that I don't make enough time each day to read what I want to. And, starting next week, I will probably force myself to read textbooks instead of a great pick off of my to read list. Here's what I did in the late afternoon / early evening tonight.

And, yes, my hair looked that crazy. Laying in bed reading something that helps me become a better person with a pen or pencil in hand is one of my favorite activities.

This book is interesting, and if anything, it is a good review of information. I found myself chuckling at the parts teaching you how to "be a good listener." Sure sounded a lot like all the counseling classes I have taken in the past! Reflective statements, checking for understanding, empathy...oh yeah, baby.

On another lovely note, that trip to Europe that is heavy on my mind continues to poke at my heart saying: GO! JUST GO! I feel like that voice inside me, deep down, is screaming it: GOOO!

shutting it down

It's been a long time since I have had problems sleeping because I couldn't turn my brain off. Does anyone else have this problem from time to time? I was exhausted at 10:30pm last night, and I went to bed. But I didn't actually fall asleep until 2:30am. UGH. Thoughts of boys, work, decisions, to-do lists, etc. ran around and around in my mind keeping me awake. Usually, I can turn on talk radio at night to focus my brain on something else, and it will help to lull me to sleep. Not this evening. Even praying the rosary didn't put me to sleep (which, at one in the morning usually does). Then, I woke up sickly this morning. Boo.

There was a time in my life that I could not get my self to sleep at night, but I've been fine for years. I hope this isn't a taste of what is to come. I know too many people who have to use medication for a sleep aid, and I don't want to be in that category.

Here's hoping tonight brings a good, easy, night of rest.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How He Loves

I adore this song:


He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

That He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

2010 Motto

Some people might think I'm weird. So be it. But sometimes I like to come up with mottoes for myself. I finally decided on my motto for 2010:

Live your life, not your job.

If you look at my track record the past couple of years, you would agree that this statement is not a reflection of my life. For the longest time, I thought my job was my life. Wrong. My job is my job. It is an important part of who I strive to be professionally and who I help with my gifts and education. But it should not be my life nor is it who I am.

So...about living my life. My precious life that God has provided me with for a time on earth should be lived to the fullest. Often, I don't listen to that voice, deep down, that tells me what I truly want to do with my spare time and dollars. Well, I'm considering changing that this year.

Remember in a previous post I spoke about making dating and relationships a priority? Well, I spoke with MOTF about it last night. I told her I didn't want to come off desperate, but that if I want to get married, I should keep that at the top of my to-do list. She all but told me "Finally!" Why the heck didn't she say something sooner?! So, yay.

I haven't been anywhere utterly amazing on a trip since November 1998. That's a while ago, folks! I visited Vienna, Austria, with my family and church choir. It was a wonderful experience. Here's my family in front of the town hall in the midst of the Christmas Market. Each window of the building becomes part of the Advent Calendar...pretty neat!

I really have a longing to visit the holy places of the world and soak in different cultures and scenery. I had thought about visiting family and friends this summer in the western part of the United States, but I'm considering changing my mind. I received this weekend the itinerary for my Aunt and Uncle in Colorado for the rest of the year. They are basically traveling the entire year, but maybe 20 days at home, total, for the entire summer. That probably won't work out... Then my darling sister calls me saying she wants to vacation with me this summer. Cool! I need a road trip buddy. I would prefer a boyfriend for the journey, but sisterly love is awesome, too! The snag: she wants to go to the beach...preferable Florida to visit my Aunt in Ft. Myers. Well, that would be fun, too. I suggested we take a trip to St. Augustine and Key West as well, but she didn't seem too thrilled with that. But those things seem a little "blah" still to me.

So I started thinking to myself, where do I really want to go? I knew the answer immediately. I have been longing to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or Italy for a long time. Really, anywhere that has wonderfully holy places to visit with a spiritual edge along the journey is what I crave. So, I knew my friend Matthew had gone with OSMM to the Holy Land and had positive experiences. I went on retreat with OSMM last March - had an amazing time. So I got on the website...and my hopes were crushed. Just as I thought...the Holy Land trip is always the first 2 weeks of December - a time I probably cannot take off work if I want to keep my job. But to my amazement, there was a summer trip opportunity: Portugal, Spain, and France. It fits in my timeline for work, and it hits some amazing holy places with a priest as our main guide. It seems perfect. It also seems expensive, but when I look at my funds, I have the moolah for it.

I feel like I should just DO IT! How amazing would it be to visit Avila, Lourdes, Fatima, etc.... I'm sure it would be life changing and draw me closer to the Lord, which is the goal of any day.

I should just go. The fear of the unknown is holding me back, but I should just go.

Live life, not my job!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I am admittedly not the neatest person in the world. My home at the current moment is barely livable to me, and I'm going to attack that problem tomorrow. But I must say that there is nothing like having the cleanest, shiniest car in the parking lot. When I purchased my new car in October, part of the deal was free car washes for life at the dealership. My last car was rarely washed. It was silver and the dirt blended nicely with the paint job. Well, I now have a black car, and with the recent snow my black beauty was so dirty I could barely touch it and stay clean. I knew that if I went to the dealer on a Saturday there would be a wait for the car wash. When I pulled in, the nice, cute maintenance guy said it would take an hour and thirty minutes. It was a little longer than I anticipated, but I was prepared with a book to read. Thankfully, it only took an hour. I think I had forgotten how shiny and pretty the car looks when clean, and I felt so proud and happy with my newly clean car. Yay.

While I was waiting, I started reading my new book, "The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition." Most people have heard of the original book, but the new singles edition came out in paperback in 2009 so I broke down and purchased it. I have heard countless references to it and I thought it might be a good read.

Well, it's a fast read. I'm typically a slow reader, but in that hour at the car dealership I read 70 pages. And although I haven't read anything that put all this information linked together, so far everything is a review. I'm hoping to finish the book over this lovely three-day weekend so I can move on to something else before my classes begin on January 25th.

Speaking of classes, I'm hoping I'm not setting myself up for failure this semester. After registering last semester for 15 credit hours and 6 classes, I ended up dropping one class and fumbling through another. So in the fall I completed 12 hours, 5 classes. This semester I'm a little less ambitious with 4 classes and 11 credit hours. Keep in mind that this is while I'm working full time! Three of the classes are undergraduate teacher certification courses while one course is an upper 500 level course on assessment and achievement testing. But the upper level course doesn't mean it will be more work. I have recently decided that undergraduate classes require more "work" than graduate courses. I know, I know, that doesn't really make sense, right? It makes sense to me. Undergraduate classes require more "busywork." Do this, do that...blah. Graduate courses have assignments that are more thought provoking and usually have more real world value to me. Usually. I hope this course has enough new information for me that it holds my attention.

Other than that loveliness, I had a great evening of watching another girlie romantic comedy: "Music & Lyrics." I'm sorry, but I really love that movie! The music and romance...oh so cute.

I must get to sleep...lots of cleaning and crafting to be had tomorrow! Thank you, Lord, for a day of productive errands and relaxing, girlie movie time. My romantic dreamer was happy today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

feast or famine

Seriously. This is getting ridiculous.

A little over a month ago one boy began to speak with me online on a popular dating website. We still talk and have seen each other once (it's been 3 weeks now...wondering if it's going to fly much longer). But now I have about 200 hits on my profile a week, and I'm averaging contact from 3 new men a day! Holy crap! It's a lot to keep up with.

This happened once before in the summer of 2006. And what a summer it was. I remember dating four men at once for about a two week period. After that, I determined that dating more than one person at a time was not exactly my cup of tea! One weekend especially, I went to a wedding on Friday with boy1, a date all day Saturday with boy2, and a date with boy3 on Saturday evening. I think about that now and wonder what was I thinking?! I don't want that to happen again, yet at the same time I want to explore possibilities while this current boy is still in the picture. I'm wondering if anyone has some advice on this. I should probably just stop worrying about it - I usually think too much.

One of my girlfriends has always joked with me that my dating life is either feast or famine. This idea seems to be holding true!

Well, whatever is going on, I'm just glad to be feasting at the moment. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the highlight of my week

I may have mentioned this to a few of my friends before, but if I honestly think about it, Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  Why?  I'll tell you why:

Holy Mass.

No matter what I do each week, Holy Mass is always the highlight.  I'm happiest at Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament.  Here's what some awesome people had to say about Holy Mass:

"The Heavens open and multitudes of Angels come to assist at the Holy Sacrifice." ~St. Gregory
 "The Angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass." ~St. Augustine
 "When Mass is being celebrated, the Sanctuary is filled with countless Angels, who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar." ~St. John Chrysostom

We read in the revelations of St. Bridget: "One day when I was assisting at the Holy Sacrifice, I saw an immense number of Holy Angels descend and gather around the altar, contemplating the priest. They sang heavenly canticles that ravished my heart; Heaven itself seemed to be contemplating the great Sacrifice. And yet we poor, blind and miserable creatures assist at the Mass with so little love, relish and respect!"

"All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man." ~St. John Vianney, Cure d'Ars

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." ~St. Maximilian Kolbe

"Words cannot express the perfection of his adoration. If Saint John leaped in the womb at the approach of Mary, what feelings must have coursed through Joseph during those six months when he had at his side and under his very eyes the hidden God! If the father of Origen used to kiss his child during the night and adore the Holy Spirit living within Him, can we doubt that Joseph must often have adored Jesus hidden in the pure tabernacle of Mary? How fervent that adoration must have been: My Lord and my God, behold your servant! No one can describe the adoration of this noble soul. He saw nothing, yet he believed; his faith had to pierce the virginal veil of Mary. So likewise with you! Under the veil of the Sacred Species your faith must see our Lord. Ask St. Joseph for his Lively, constant faith." ~St. Peter Julian Eymard

"It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight." ~St. Therese the little flower

Seriously, though.  How can I pass up an hour of heaven on earth on Sunday?  I can't.  But I also think that most 30-somethings wouldn't respond the same way.  I am so blessed in not having to struggle with *knowing* the truth.  Ever since the first time I went to Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in February 1998, I have just *known* it is the truth.  It is difficult for me to explain, and that's why I don't really share it with people on a regular basis.  A seminarian once told me that I had "the sense of the faithful."  A gift and blessing where I hear the truth and know it as such without question.  The best way that I can describe it is that the truth has always been written on my heart, but it is revealed to me in God's time, not my own.  He chooses those moments in my life that I need to know more, and I accept them fully and wholeheartedly without question.

I think that is hard to grasp for most people.  Everytime I learn something new about Catholicism, I don't pour over it and "decide" whether I should believe it or not.  Instead, I pour over it to see how the information revealed has changed me and converted my heart and life closer to Christ.  I don't need to decide to believe, because it "just makes sense."  It feels right.  It's comforting.  It creates joy and more love.

I also think that is one of the reasons I want to learn, ready, and study more about Christianity, Catholicism, and theology.  I thirst for drawing closer to the Trinity.  I crave the Eucharist every week.  The more I learn, the more I love God and others.  How can I pass that opportunity up?  How can I dismiss that?  I can't.  It's amazing and life changing.

More about Holy Mass at another time. 

Making Time

If any of my friends are reading this and get upset that I'm always so busy, please smack me in the face once in a while.  Yes, I try to do too much.  We all know that!  But there is so much more to life than work and school, and I need to carve out more time for play and life instead of work and study.  I guess this fact kinda kicked me in the head today when I was chatting with my love interest.  He's also a teacher, and he said that he's going to get really busy really soon with paper grading and such.  I'm trying to decide if that is a slight and a hint to back off or if he is just really busy.  I probably would have said the same thing, well, 2 months ago.  So, with him I'm trying to find the balance.  I may be ready, but that only hit me yesterday!  I don't want life to pass me by anymore.  I'm going to try to do as much work as possible during work hours, and keep home stuff for home.

This concept only becomes more difficult and complicated, however.  Today I assessed another student who will qualify for services on my caseload.  This beautiful child who requires my service will put my number of buildings at twenty.  I used to joke that I would soon be working in twenty buildings, but now that it is the truth and upon me next week it's not so funny anymore.  I'm not laughing.  I love my Dad to pieces, but I don't want to be that person that works at home all the time.  I don't want to always have the laptop with me writing reports while watching American Idol on the television.  I don't want to cancel plans because I have reports to write after work hours.  And from what my boss told me today, I think it's going to get mighty worse this year before it gets better.

So what do I do in the meantime?

Pray.  Pray alot!  Set limits, boundaries, and know that although I am a wondrous woman, I am NOT wonder woman!  [Okay, we both have an awesome rack - it's true!  lol].  It's okay to ask for help.  Who I am and what my purpose is in life extends far past my job and education.  In fact, I am starting to believe my job and education are a far second to what I really feel called to do - a wife, a friend, possibly a mom.  Ahhh, priorities!  I'd really just like a husband to serve and share life with.  If I make *that* my priority, I would feel like my calling would be fulfilled.  Maybe I should put that on my online profile...

So, as I'm looking at my Christmas tree still up and half decorated and thinking about my schedule of seven sessions, 10 students, and 6 buildings tomorrow, I'm not bothered.  I know I will get through tomorrow.  All that stuff will fall into place.  I'm intelligent, positive, and crafty.

I just wish I was coming home from it all to a sweetheart of my own.

Jesus, I trust in you!  <3

A Case of the Mondays...

Today was a little strange for me.  After pumping myself up to start back at work last Monday, I found myself feeling a blah like I was on winter break from work once again when I had an unexpected four day weekend due to inclement weather.  I seem to have lost that "back to work" momentum.

First, I was about 10 minutes late to every school today.  This so very unlike me!  Then, at the high school I work at, a few colleagues were commenting about some strange noises coming from the outside windows.  I, of course, assumed it was falling ice from the building, but as a joke, I asked them if they had a ghost in the room.  To my utter surprise, I got this answer:  no, that would be the fourth floor.  What?!  Apparently, a student committed suicide on the fourth floor years ago, and there are stories and reports of unexplained things happening in places like the choir room.  Maybe I've just been watching Ghost Hunters too much lately, but it kinda creeped me out!

I was just kinda out of it today.  I had a lingering headache that 3 Aleve in the morning couldn't cure.  But then my evening got much better.  I was able to take a nap, which helped me feel a bit better.  Then, I got a text message from the boy I'm maybe dating?  We've been on one date and have been talking for a month.  Is that dating?  Anyway, anytime someone calls me gorgeous, I just have to smile.  Then I decided to take a 9:30 p.m.  If you know me, you know that I love to take a good drive.  I don't know if it is the vestibular input that is calming or the idea of being in control of the car, or just getting away from the house where I have an unending to-do list waiting for me, but I like driving a lot.  Well, I turned on XM 117, one of my favorite channels, and the Fully Alive radio show was on.  I love this show!  And they were talking candidly about sex.  I ended up driving around until 11 p.m. just to finish listening to the show!  I find the theology related to relationships, marriage, and sex so fascinating.  And, I've been wanting to get some books about it for a long time.  I gave myself permission tonight to order those books since I am unable to attend the lecture series on the Theology of the Body starting in February at my church.  My grad school classes interfere - boo!  So, here is what I ordered:

Who knew that a single, 30-something, Catholic woman thought about sex so much?  I cannot wait for these to arrive!  I will have my own personal study of TOB going on in the midst of my graduate classes.  Very exciting.

Thanks, God, for a great and holy way to end the evening.  Jesus, I trust in you! 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ready. Set. Shine.


After much heartache, loss, pain, and other nasty stuff that mucked up my heart for the longest time I feel like I am finally ready to open myself up for someone else to love again. Wow, that was kinda hard to say!

I think I have been fooling myself for years, thinking that I was ready when I really wasn't. I always try to take care of others and love others with all of my being and soul, but today I finally asked myself the question: what about me? What if there are people out there trying to love me and take care of me the way I want to love and take care of others, but I'm keeping my guard up? Love is a two way road. In order to fully love in this world, I need to allow others to love me, to see the vulnerable side of me.

This all hit me like a brick in the face when I came upon this amazing quote today:

"Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love." ~St. John of the Cross

I've been pouring over those words of the great saint all day. I try and give so much love every day to everyone else when in my heart of hearts all I want is to find someone to love me. And yet, this quote kept telling me to spend a little more time each day loving and taking care of myself in order to have someone else love me also. I had never thought of it quite in that way before.

After this small revelation today, I found myself feeling more feminine, wanting to go through my jewelry box and see what was missing, styling my hair in new ways and thinking of myself in a new and improved light.

I feel renewed and re-energized as a woman. It's so strange. For so long, I just wanted to hide my loving deeds without anyone watching, hoping to not get noticed out of fear of pain and loss like in the past. But now I know I'm supposed to *shine*.

And then I remembered something from eleven years ago. Wow, I really can't believe it has been that long! Before I was Catholic, I went to the youth rally at the Kiel Center in St. Louis when Pope John Paul II was in town for a pastoral visit. I remember this speech so clearly, and I remember crying tears of hope. Please read...

"You are the light of the world. . . Your light must shine before all"
(Mt 5:14.16).

Dear Young People,

Ask yourselves: Do I believe these words of Jesus in the Gospel? Jesus is calling you the light of the world. He is asking you to let your light shine before others. I know that in your hearts you want to say: "Here I am, Lord. Here I am. I come to do your will" (Responsorial Psalm; cf. Heb 10:7). But only if you are one with Jesus can you share his light and be a light to the world.

Are you ready for this?

Sadly, too many people today are living apart from the light in a world of illusions, a world of fleeting shadows and promises unfulfilled. If you look to Jesus, if you live the Truth that is Jesus, you will have in you the light that reveals the truths and values on which to build your own happiness, while building a world of justice, peace and solidarity. Remember what Jesus said: "I am the light of the world; those who follow me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (cf. Jn 8:12).

Because Jesus is the Light, we too become light when we proclaim him. This is the heart of the Christian mission to which each of you has been called through Baptism and Confirmation. You are called to make the light of Christ shine brightly in the world.

When you were little, were you sometimes afraid of the dark? Today you are no longer children afraid of the dark. You are teenagers and young adults. But already you realize that there is another kind of darkness in the world: the darkness of doubt and uncertainty. You may feel the darkness of loneliness and isolation. Your anxieties may come from questions about your future, or regrets about past choices.

Sometimes the world itself seems filled with darkness. The darkness of children who go hungry and even die. The darkness of homeless people who lack work and proper medical care. The darkness of violence: violence against the unborn child, violence in families, the violence of gangs, the violence of sexual abuse, the violence of drugs that destroy the body, mind and heart. There is something terribly wrong when so many young people are overcome by hopelessness to the point of taking their own lives. And already in parts of this nation, laws have been passed which allow doctors to end the lives of the very people they are sworn to help. God's gift of life is being rejected. Death is chosen over life, and this brings with it the darkness of despair.

But you believe in the light (cf. Jn 12:36)! Do not listen to those who encourage you to lie, to shirk responsibility, to put yourselves first. Do not listen to those who tell you that chastity is passé. In your hearts you know that true love is a gift from God and respects his plan for the union of man and woman in marriage. Do not be taken in by false values and deceptive slogans, especially about your freedom. True freedom is a wonderful gift from God, and it has been a cherished part of your country's history. But when freedom is separated from truth, individuals lose their moral direction and the very fabric of society begins to unravel.

Freedom is not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and with one another. Remember what Jesus said: "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32). Let no one mislead you or prevent you from seeing what really matters. Turn to Jesus, listen to him, and discover the true meaning and direction of your lives.

You are children of the light (cf. Jn 12:36)! You belong to Christ, and he has called you by name. Your first responsibility is to get to know as much as you can about him, in your parishes, in religious instruction in your high schools and colleges, in your youth groups and Newman Centers.

But you will get to know him truly and personally only through prayer. What is needed is that you talk to him, and listen to him.

Today we are living in an age of instant communications. But do you realize what a unique form of communication prayer is? Prayer enables us to meet God at the most profound level of our being. It connects us directly to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in a constant exchange of love.

Through prayer you will learn to become the light of the world, because in prayer you become one with the source of our true light, Jesus himself.

Each of you has a special mission in life, and you are each called to be a disciple of Christ. Many of you will serve God in the vocation of Christian married life; some of you will serve him as dedicated single persons; some as priests and religious. But all of you must be the light of the world. To those of you who think that Christ may be inviting you to follow him in the priesthood or the consecrated life I make this personal appeal: I ask you to open your hearts generously to him; do not delay your response. The Lord will help you to know his will; he will help you to follow your vocation courageously.

Young friends, in the days and weeks and years ahead, for as long as you remember this evening, remember that the Pope came to the United States, to the City of St. Louis, to call the young people of America to Christ, to invite you to follow him. He came to challenge you to be the light of the world! "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it" (Jn 1:5). Jesus who has conquered sin and death reminds you: "I am with you always" (Mt 28:20). He says: "Courage! It is I; have no fear" (Mk 6:50).

On the horizon of this city stands the Gateway Arch, which often catches the sunlight in its different colors and hues. In a similar way, in a thousand different ways, you must reflect the light of Christ through your lives of prayer and joyful service of others. With the help of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the young people of America will do this magnificently!

Remember: Christ is calling you; the Church needs you; the Pope believes in you and he expects great things of you!

Praised be Jesus Christ!

So I'm ready. Ready. Set. Go. I'm ready to shine and let someone love me like never before. Now, if someone would just appear and be wonderful, that would be fantastic! But I must stay hopeful and consider what is in the works down the road.

Jesus, I trust in you!