Poor in Spirit

“Like billowing clouds, like the incessant gurgling of the brook, the longing of the spirit can never be stilled”. (St. Hildegard of Bingen)

I love this group of readings! Especially the Responsorial Psalm with the Gospel. We repeat the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!” right before we hear of Christ’s followers. His followers were not perfect people. Mary Magdalene had seven demons driven out of her, there were other women who had been cured of sickness and evil spirits as well. These were women who wanted to be healed, and who had been healed by the love and mercy of Christ. Our tendency when we hear “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is to ask “Why would I want to be poor in spirit? Doesn’t that mean I lack faith?” Quite the opposite, actually. To be poor in spirit is to recognize your own spiritual poverty before the Lord. It is to recognize the need for God and the need for His love and mercy. So indeed, blessed are those who recognize their need for the Lord and live their lives in pursuit of unity with Him! 

The First Reading tells us how to be poor in spirit. That is, we are to avoid anything which goes against the teachings of Christ, we are to avoid riches so as not to distract ourselves from the pursuit of holiness. Instead, we should be seeking “righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness”. We should follow the example of Christ who, in his ministry, exemplified righteous anger, devotion to the Father, faith in the Father’s plan, love for all people, patience with his followers, and gentleness with those to whom He interacted. 

May we, like Christ Himself as well those who followed Him while he was on earth, put our full faith and trust in his love and mercy.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Os Filhos de Maria, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/22422-holy-spirit

The Birth of Our Mother

“Let everything, mundane things and those above, join in festive celebration. Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for him who made all things. The creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for the Creator.” -St. Andrew of Crete

Today we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary’s birthday! Although the Bible does not tell us anything about Mary’s birth, Tradition names today as the day we celebrate her birth. As St. Andrew of Crete says, it is a day which deserves to be widely and greatly celebrated! It is because of the birth of Mary and because of her “yes” to the will of God that Christ became man. St. Andrew calls Mary’s womb a “…divine dwelling place for the Creator”. I often think of how wonderful Mary’s parents must have been to raise a child who so willingly and unquestioningly said “yes” to God’s will. Her childhood home must have been filled with love, grace, and faith. Her parents, Tradition gives us the names Joachim and Anne, fulfilled their role as parents in teaching her the faith. 

In today’s Gospel we hear both the genealogy of Christ and the story of the angel appearing to Joseph to tell him the Good News that Mary was carrying the Son of God, “Emmanuel” in her womb. The genealogy, while sometimes difficult or even boring to read, is important because it shows how Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of a Savior. He is the One for whom Israel had been waiting. Because of Mary’s “yes” to the plan of God, God is truly with us in the person of Jesus Christ. Today, I am especially grateful for Mary’s “yes” to motherhood and Joseph’s “yes” to fatherhood for it is through this Holy Family that we are able to share life with Christ. 

May we, in imitation of our Holy Mother Mary, say “yes” to Christ in every moment of our lives. May our lives be a reflection of His so that those around us may come to know Him through us.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Daniela, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/18361-ella-es-mi-hermosa-madre

The Rocks of Faith

Today’s Gospel has always really stuck with me…especially the first part (up until “…whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven”). I know a big reason for this Gospel sticking with me is that I had to memorize it for one of my high school theology classes. At the time I’m sure I was frustrated that I had to memorize so many words for what felt like no reason. But now thinking about it, I realize how often I refer to this passage in my own personal faith as well as in conversations with others. In reflecting on the two readings for today–the first from Numbers and the Gospel from Matthew, I think I’m coming to understand the passage from Matthew more… I’m sure my high school theology teacher is somewhere saying, “See, Dakota, I told you it wasn’t all for nothing!”

In the reading from Numbers, we hear of Moses’ disobedience. To be completely honest, it wasn’t until someone pointed it out very recently that I understood how exactly Moses disobeyed God in this instance. It’s subtle. God’s command was to speak to the rock in order for it to produce water. Instead, Moses strikes the rock in order for it to produce water. Although it is subtle, Moses’ action makes evident his lack of faith in God’s power and God punishes the disobedience by not allowing Moses to enter into the Promised Land with his people. 

In the Gospel we hear Simon Peter’s profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is after this profession that Jesus tells Peter that he is the rock upon which the Church will be built. The Church, in her wisdom, pairs the story of God bringing forth water for Moses through a rock and the story of Peter being the rock in order to show us that we can choose a path of disobedience or obedience. It also shows us that God can enact good despite man’s sin. Even though Moses did not follow God’s command, God still gave the Israelites water. Even though Peter denied Jesus, our Church is founded upon the leadership of Peter. God’s will and God’s power are not confined by human or earthly limitations. 

Personally, when I’m not putting my full trust in God it’s because I’m doubting His power or His will: “How could He possibly make this situation better?” “Why would God want this?” When we fully place our trust in His power, we are able to also submit ourselves to His will. When we do that, we no longer have doubts in why things are happening because we trust that God is enacting His will in our lives. 

May we always have faith in the power of God. May we also look to our Mother Mary as our hope and intercessor because it was her “yes” to God’s will that brought about the Incarnation!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Fr. Fernando, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/11872-llaves-reino

Good Soil

In today’s Gospel we hear Christ’s explanation of a parable that I’m sure we’re all familiar with: the Parable of the Sower. 

He explains that the four different types of soil are representative of four different types of people. The seed that falls on that path but is stolen away is the person who does not understand the Gospel so the Evil One steals what was taking root in the person’s heart. The seed that falls on rocky soil but is scorched by the sun because it has no roots is the person who hears the Gospel and is blessed with great joy but soon falls away because of persecution. The seed that falls among the thorns is the person who hears the Gospel but is preoccupied by worldly things and does not live or share the Word. The seed that falls on good soil is the person who hears the Gospel, understands, lives it, and shares it with others. 

We will all encounter each type of soil, each type of person in our lives. Perhaps we will even act as the sowers and talk to each type of person about the faith. But we will also encounter each type of person within ourselves. 

How many times have we heard something in Scripture, in a homily, or in a talk and not understood it? Do we ask someone more knowledgeable than us to help us understand or do we forget it and not give it a second thought? That’s the seed falling on the path.

How many times have we gone on a retreat and been so on fire with the Holy Spirit and for our faith while we’re there, but then as soon as we return to our ordinary, daily lives and to our routines and the fire dies out a little bit? That’s the seed falling on rocky soil.

How many times have we been afraid to share our faith at work or in our communities? Or how many times have we not paid attention in Mass because something else was on our minds? That’s the seed falling among the thorns. 

But how much joy do we find in sharing the Gospel with others? How often do we find great joy and peace in participating in the Sacraments? What does it feel like when we recognize Christ in others? That’s the seed falling on good soil. 

We are all capable of throwing seed on the path and of being the rocky, thorny, or good soil. If we acknowledge that we don’t understand everything, recognize what our thorns are, and when we have a tendency to shy away from the faith because of persecution, then we are able to overcome those obstacles and replace the thorns and rocks with good soil. 

Today is the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden and I encourage you to read about her life! May we, following the example of St. Bridget, pray for Christ to do His will through us and pray that we may sow seeds of faith in good soil in which the faith is planted.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Ric Perezmont, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/18501-sembrador

The Faith of Paul

In today’s Gospel we hear of Jesus returning to His native place and preaching in the synagogues. Those he encounters, however, doubt and question Him. Mark recounts that “…he was not able to perform any mighty deed there…” and “He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Jesus’ inability to perform any mighty deeds is not a testament to His lack of power or strength, rather it is a testament to the peoples’ weakness and lack of faith. The miracles Jesus performed, be they small or big, were not just His way of proving that He is the Messiah that was sent to heal us of our sins. They were also proof of the faith of those who believed in Him.

The Second Reading stands in contrast to the Gospel in that St. Paul shows tremendous faith whereas the people of Jesus’ native place show a tremendous lack of faith. In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he writes “…I am content with weakness, insults, hardship, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” I think this can be a difficult passage to understand and to digest. St. Paul turns his suffering, the thorn in his flesh, into a means for praising God! He sees his suffering as an opportunity to take refuge in God and His strength. It is Paul’s faith in Christ that allows him to be content with weakness and persecutions. 

It’s easy to read these two readings and recognize that Paul is the one to whom we should look as an example of faith. But how often do we reject Christ in our own lives? How often do we expect Him to perform great miracles in our lives but do not have the faith that He actually can or will? How often do we grow angry at God when we suffer rather than recognizing our suffering as an opportunity to unite our suffering with His?

May we be like St. Paul who, in his suffering, turned to God in humble prayer and allowed the strength of Christ to work through his weakness.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Yael Portabales, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/2845-estatua-san-pablo-extramuros

Noble and Holy Joy

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. We celebrate them together because of their leadership in the early Church and the foundation they set for the Church as we know it today. As the opening prayer at Mass says today, Peter and Paul are examples of noble and holy joy. 

In the Gospel today, we hear Peter’s confession of faith in the divinity of Christ. He says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms the faith of Peter by telling him, “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Even after this, though, Peter denies Christ three times as Christ is suffering in order to redeem us from our sins (Matthew 27:69-75). Peter, although imperfect in his faith, is still of the foundation upon which the Church is built because he repented and then continued to follow Christ. The First Reading from Acts of the Apostles recounts Peter’s time as a prisoner under the rule of Herod and we hear that he is rescued by an angel. The Responsorial Psalm then reminds us that, “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.” During his imprisonment, Peter took refuge in the Lord and by his faith was saved. 

In the Second Reading, we hear St. Paul’s own words as he writes to Timothy. Paul, knowing the imminence of his martyrdom writes, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” Despite being perhaps only mere days away from his martyrdom, Paul’s tone is one of joy and hope in the Lord. He acknowledges that the work he has put into evangelizing the Gentiles was not done by his own merit, but only through His faith in the Lord. Paul knows that his martyrdom, along with his life, will serve as a witness to others and in that he finds true joy and hope. 

The solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul reminds us that God calls the imperfect to do His will. It is by the faith of those who willingly conform their will to His that the Church exists and that more people continue to come to the faith. 

May we be imitators of the noble and holy joy of Sts. Peter and Paul. May we strive to have the faith of martyrs and live our lives with faith in Christ.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: falco, 5412 images, https://pixabay.com/photos/barcelona-cathedral-spain-4298069/

Seeds for the Kingdom

“If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.” (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus tell the disciples that the Kingdom of God can be compared to a mustard seed. When we hear the words “Kingdom of God”, it’s easy for us to think of Heaven and forget that those of us here on earth are part of the Kingdom of God. In this parable, Jesus includes us in the Kingdom of God and tells us how the Kingdom of God is meant to be home for everyone. 

For the past two years I have worked in a secular environment. It’s the first time I’ve really worked outside the “Catholic bubble” in my life. I love my job, but because I’m not constantly steeped in a Catholic environment, I often feel like the Church is getting smaller rather than growing. I’ve struggled with how to bring others into the Catholic Church, especially when so much about the Church is misunderstood and many people have negative feelings toward the Church. In this parable about the mustard seed and the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus says “..once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade”. I think I would have struggled less if I realized that I do not have the power to make the branches longer in order to shade more people. What I can do is either bring others to the shade that is already there or plant more mustard seeds. That is, I can either bring people to the Kingdom of God or I can plant the seed of faith that will eventually grow to, hopefully, include many more people in the Kingdom. Sowing Truth will yield a great harvest for the Kingdom of God.

As we go about this week, may we pray about the ways that we can bring others to the Kingdom of God and may we strive to be seeds that reap a bountiful harvest.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1530790359200-e2cac35c770d?ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxzZWFyY2h8MXx8Y2hyaXN0aWFufGVufDB8fDB8fA%3D%3D&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&auto=format&fit=crop&w=600&q=60

God of the Living

In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question that reveals their preoccupation with the world. Because the Sadducees do not believe in immortality, the purpose of the question they ask Jesus is to discredit the idea of life after death. Their difficulty with comprehending what life after death would be like stems from their attempt to imagine Heaven using only their earthly experience: “At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” 

Christ’s response reveals that the mistake the Sadducees are making is assuming that the relationships we have here on earth will remain the same in Heaven. Christ tells us that we will be like the angels in Heaven who, in all things, worship the Lord. The purpose of our earthly relationships, especially marriage, is to walk with one another on the way to Heaven. Therefore, being united with God in Heaven will be the “completion” of those earthly relationships. 

God’s promise of Heaven, of eternal life with Him, is not something that we can ever understand based on our experience on earth. We know that our relationships – again, especially marriage – are meant to be an imitation and a foreshadowing of our relationship with God when we get to Heaven but, we do not know a perfect relationship (with God or with man) because we are marred by sin. Our faith and our hope are in the resurrection because it is through the resurrection that we know we will be united with God in perfect relationship with him. As Christ tells the Sadducees about God: “He is not a God of the dead but of the living.” 

May our hope in the resurrection and eternal life with God guide is in all our thoughts and actions. May we remember every day that our God loves us enough to desire nothing more than for us to share eternal life with Him.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Matias Medina, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/10531-creacion-obra-capilla-sixtina

We Follow Him

In today’s Gospel John recounts Jesus’ admonishment of Peter for being concerned with the disposition of others rather than his own disposition. How often do we find ourselves in Peter’s position? It’s easy to fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to others and of comparing our sins to others: “I may gossip but at least I don’t do that other sin.” But the fact of the matter is that all sin puts distance between us and God. When we get caught up in comparison, we can lose sight of our own relationship with God and take it for granted. I think that through His response to Peter’s question, Jesus is reminding us to concentrate on our own relationship with Him. He says to us, “You follow me”. 

The First Reading gives an example of what following Jesus looks like; we hear a little bit about Paul’s time as a prisoner in Rome. The life of a Christian is radical and society will not always accept Christianity. Paul recognized this yet, as the First Reading tells us, “He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul chose to devote his life to Christ and share the Gospel with all people regardless of the consequences. This is what Jesus means by “You follow me”. 

One of my favorite lines in Scripture is the one that ends our Gospel today: “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written”. The disciples had the honor of witnessing Christ’s mission firsthand but, because they were human, they were not always perfect in following Jesus. They do, however, serve as the exemplars of how we should dedicate our lives to Christ Jesus and carry out his mission of spreading the Good News to the ends of the earth.

May we spend our lives following Christ wholeheartedly!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Matias Medina, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/22086-apostoles

Christ’s Love

Today’s readings are all about love, specifically love of God. In the First Reading we hear St. Peter tell Cornelius that “God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him”. It did (and does) not matter if a person was Gentile or Jew, all were accepted into the faith of Christ Jesus so long as there was genuine faith in Him. 

In the Second Reading John reminds us that God is love; it is only in Him and through Him that we know love. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for our sins. And why? So we could live eternally with God in Heaven amidst the Trinitarian love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the love of the Trinity that compels and allows us to love others and bring them into the faith of Christ. We are called to participate in this Trinitarian love by bringing others into it. We show others the love of God by loving them. 

We hear even more about this love from Jesus in the Gospel. Christ Himself tells us that the love He shows us in his Passion and Death is the greatest love the whole world has ever known: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. He then tells the Apostles that He is sending them out into the world to share the Good News and to share the love of Christ with others. In the same way, we are called to do what the Apostles did: spread the Gospel that says that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to save us and that what He longs for is for us to take part in that love eternally. 

May we carry the love of Christ with us to all places and share His love with all people.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Gera Juarez, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/15891-sagrado-corazon-jesus

Faith Is the Answer

In today’s Gospel we hear from the Jews the question, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense?”

Even though Jesus does not answer that question directly in the Gospel, we know that the answer is “never”. God has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ and, like He says in the Gospel, it is through His works that we know He is the Savior. Within the context of the Easter season, we know that Christ’s greatest witness to Himself is His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. He tells the Jews, “The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me”. Since we know that He was sent by the Father for the forgiveness of sins we also know that we, His sheep, are given eternal life through that work of sacrifice, forgiveness, and grace. 

I think that all of that is easy to say: “We know Christ is our Savior because He showed us in the Resurrection”; “We are His sheep, we ought to follow His commands”; “The works Christ did during His ministry on earth also bear witness to the Truth that He is the Savior of the world, the Son of the Living God”. What gets difficult is living it without questioning the Truth. I think the biggest question I ask (and I doubt I’m the only one) is how. How did the Father send His only Son? How did Christ’s death on the Cross purchase for us the rewards of eternal life? How do you live a life following the voice of the Lord? How do you even know for certain that it’s the voice of the Lord you are following. There’s only one answer to all these questions: faith. 

Unlike the Jews we hear of in the Gospel, we must have faith that Christ is the Savior. Rather than looking at His works and wondering how or why, what we must do is entrust ourselves, in faith, to the God who loves us unconditionally. It is only through acceptance of the mystery of God’s love that we are able to fully enter into His love and will eventually be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, may our faith in the person of Jesus Christ continue to grow and may we humbly allow the Love of the Father to envelop every part of our being. 

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Luis Ca, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/6677-vitral-cristo-resucitado

Death to Life

“Every baptized person should consider that it is in the womb of the Church where he is transformed from a child of Adam to a child of God.”– St. Vincent Ferrer – 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” and, after Nicodemus expresses his confusion, Jesus continues by saying that “unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.  Jesus is talking about the importance of Baptism. In order to enter the Kingdom of God, we must first die to ourselves and be reborn in the Holy Spirit. This rebirth is not solely our Baptism that only happens once, but it should be a continual renewal of our Baptismal promises. We ought to be rejecting Satan, and all his works, and his empty promises every day of our lives. We should be confessing our faith in God and His mercy – in word and action – every day of our lives. This is what we celebrate during the Easter season. The Risen Lord is always in our midst and our lives should be a reflection of His presence. 

Being born in the Spirit, being baptized in the Christian faith demands a life radically lived. Our faith does not call us to complacency, it does not call us to mediocrity. Rather, it calls us to participate in the radical love the Father has for us. We are made to be part of a love so great that the Father sent His only Son to die for us so that we may be united eternally with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom. It is for that reason that we are to continue to rejoice in the Easter miracle that is the Resurrection of our Savior, Christ Jesus. It is only through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection that we are able to be born again into His love. 

As we continue through this Easter season, may we commit ourselves to continual renewal in the Holy Spirit. May we be willing to die to ourselves in order to be reborn in the Father’s love for us.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Luis Ca, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/7607-bautismo-senor