THE GIFT THAT THIS DECADE PRODUCED
It’s remarkable that there are only 30 days left of this year – this decade. Well, 29 for the East Coast. See, I really am an Angelino.
Where were you ten years ago? I’m not gonna lie. I’m writing this from my parents’ in Massachusetts and my brain feels so frozen, Elsa could show up at any moment. And this blog could literally be all over the map just like my life. But seriously. To contemplate all the moments of the past ten years is impossible. I’m thinking of Palm Beach, Boston, The Maximus Group and 20 movie openings in two years, the big Boston PR firm and the rocket ship move cross country to LA that broke everyone’s heart in New England. NO one saw that coming.
The reality is the majority of the past tens years have been lived in Florida and in LA. Bookends around this curvy and surprising decade. Ten years ago, I was living and working in Palm Beach fresh out of TV news and in a new territory of Church work and evangelization. It was a time of radical transformation and sacrifice. Above all, I think the last ten years were the years where I have been captured by Love.
My baby Catholicism of my early 20s was refined through sacrifice, mortification and women who became my spiritual mothers to form and re-form me, tearing off by prayer the messy worldliness that likes to attach to you and lay a claim on you. The truth is Heaven wants to claim each and every one of us, if we would only let ourselves be captured by Love.
This time ten years ago I also began my spiritual friendship with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. An unexpected saint-to-be who broke into my life as an intercessor for my work in media and evangelization as well as in the radical formation and preparation for the vocation of marriage. (Don’t worry, he’s coming). Studying Sheen’s words and pastoral instruction on marriage in Three to Get Married reshaped my understanding of marriage. So much of what the world wants to tell us about relationships is not what Glamour magazine says, but rather what Heaven reveals. I think so many marriages and vocations fail because of false expectations. I’m so grateful for the grace of time to refine and purify. This introduction had to occur before other introductions could take place with God’s eternal time stamp.
Even after my season in Palm Beach, Sheen stuck like glue and our friendship expanded in ways that were unimaginable. At the culmination of my encounter with the force of love that Sheen is from the heavens, I asked him to intercede for me before Jesus for 5 impossible intentions – 3 for others and 2 for me. Over the course of these ten years, four have been achieved in the most miraculous and fierce ways. Some instantly. Others like slow release time bombs. One that remains.
The past ten years instructed me on sacrifice, self-offering, going where He leads and laying my own will down. The past ten years solidified my relationship with Our Lady. I was called to a 54-day Rosary Novena that catapulted me to movie work that led all the way to Hollywood. I was instructed to pray for my husband in those 54 days and the earthquake of prayer moved my feet places I would never take myself. Mary and Sheen were behind everything that is happening now. The rear view mirror is spectacular. Co-writers in this decade-ish long love story.
In these final 30 days of this year, this decade, we enter into the liturgical season of Advent to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord at Christmas. This means having a disposition of expectation and anticipation that what God promised, He will deliver.
One of the miracles of Advent in this final 30 days is that we are especially given over to Our Lady, the Mother of God. She shows us perfectly the call of love, the mystery of waiting and anticipation and the fellowship with the Trinity of Love that disposes her to God’s favor and radical service.
Do you have regrets from the past ten years? Do you believe that He can repair and redo things that you missed the mark on?
The miracle of Advent is that everything is made new. Confession washes everything clean. If there is one thing you can do this season, it’s to take an inventory of your life and see where you have fallen short. We all have. The Sacrament brings you face to face with Christ and it’s more powerful than an exorcism. Your soul becomes as new as a newly Christened baby with an honest Confession. I’m talking to you – if you have not been in the past ten months or ten years, this is your call to be made new. The power of God will come over you in ways that you have not seen to set you free from anything that you are in pain over. God is a God of second chances, even in the 4th quarter.
I know. You have your squad and that’s all you can handle. But let me tell you. The most loyal and faithful of friends are the friends that are in Heaven. We all have liked and shared those instagram memes that say something like “if your squad isn’t cheering you on, get a new circle.” #Truth because there are saintly friends behind the veil who will be more loyal than you can imagine. This is a special month not just because of Advent and Christmas, but we honor our Lady with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 and the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. This decade was super special to have two beautiful trips to Mexico that included being under Our Lady’s Tilma. An imprint on my heart and soul like no other. Surprises of this season that leave me wanting more. Expecting more.
Fulton Sheen’s memorial is December 9th AND the Diocese of Peoria announced a few weeks ago that Sheen’s Beatification will take place this month on December 21. The Beatification will fittingly close out the 100th year of the anniversary of Sheen’s ordination to priesthood. (and this decade). No one expected a Beatification in the heartland to take place in the dead of winter, but it’s JUST like this saint-to-be who is all drama as he collaborates to bring about God’s story for humanity. For me it’s uniquely personal that he is completely bookending this decade.
My two greatest heavenly friends of these past ten years have been Our Lady and Bishop Sheen. (JP2, try not to knock them down, you are my #1) This decade. THIS decade is so so unique and nothing I would pick for myself. Not the places. Not the people. Not the heavenly helpers. Our Lord has plans for us over and above anything we could ever imagine. He adds and rarely subtracts and does things to a higher level.
I know that the Blessed Morher and Bishop Sheen are holding me by the hand – one on one side and and one on the other (maybe JP2 is strutting around this posse! Yep, he’s involved..) and walking me to my desitnation. It’s the pace of Heaven and when you walk with them, you are never early and never late. Something to contemplate over the next 30 days. Each piece of the past ten years, even the most broken, confusing or scary paths are leading forward to Love.
I’m believing that these last 30 days will be the best of days. Best for last.
Praying for you+