Joy

When I was in elementary school, I was a part of a Catholic small group called K4J, otherwise known as Kids for Jesus. Each meeting, we would go through a specific virtue or spiritual gift’s presence in our lives, with an activity to go along with a discussion. Although I struggled to remember exactly what we did in those meetings, I distinctly remember the day we discussed how to find joy.

Our leader, Mrs. Pelletier, read us the same lines that we read in today’s Gospel. Then, we went on to discuss the difference between having joy and being happy. Even as fourth graders, we determined that happiness is caused by an outside stimulus and is temporary, while joy is something that you carry in your heart and could always respond with.

She told us that the key to joy, was to always think about people in the following order:

Jesus
Others
Yourself

If you are honestly and truly putting Jesus first then putting others before yourself will come naturally. When you put yourself last, you are able to understand that you are not the center of the world. You can suddenly see that although things may not be going according to your plan, God’s plan is being accomplished.

It’s been over 15 years and anytime someone talks about being happy, I always think, It’s not about being happy, it’s about living joyfully. We have all been happy before. It puts us in a good mood and we tend to act nicer to those around us. We have all experienced joy, as well. It lasts longer than momentary happiness, but can also fade if we do not internalize it.

Internalizing joy means that we allow the joys of life, of love, and of God, to permeate our lives. It’s living life with a brighter, selfless perspective. Living out joyful lives does not mean that everything is always perfect, but instead knowing that although our situations are not the best, although we are flawed, we are God’s creation and each moment, good or bad, is a blessing.

Today, I challenge you to take a look at your intentions. Do you need to unscramble JOY?

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Foundations

As humans, we like to categorize everything we can, right down to our life stages. There are the categories of childhood and adulthood, but even within these two categories, we break them down even further. For adults, there’s young adulthood, B.C. (before children), parenthood, A.C. (after children), retirement, etc. We prefer to have clear-cut lines of when things start and end, and how to differentiate between them.

Quite often, we forget that each “part” of our lives is not a separate book that we close after graduations or milestones, but rather a chapter in our book. Each second of our future builds upon the present, which becomes our past. It is nearly impossible to look at our current situations and not be able to trace the chain of events of how we got there. Be it by gifts from God or decisions we carefully thought out, our past is always with us. It is the foundation that we build ourselves upon, yet we often find ourselves trying to forget the past.

In today’s first reading, we read of the synagogue officials in Antioch asking if anyone has any announcements. Paul stands up and begins speaking to them of God’s mighty hand in their past and goes on to tell them about Jesus, the savior.

Sometimes we can blow our past way out of proportion and tell ourselves that we must forget about our previous experiences to be able to move forward. Instead, I think we should remember that our past has built us up. It is not the mistakes that we’ve made in the past that defines us, but rather what we do after that.

I understand that we might have moments in our past that we aren’t proud of, things that may be hard to revisit, but typically those mistakes and struggles have changed who we presently are. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Even if we do make those same mistakes, that’s okay. We’re learning. As children, we don’t fall off a bike and say, “Well that was a mistake. I’ll never try that again,” but instead try once more.

When you fall, what do you do? Are you ashamed of your past or do you use it as the foundation for better choices?

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the struggles that you have placed in my life.
Help me remember that each mistake I made was for a reason.
Thank you for giving me these moments to learn from.
Help me use these experiences to better serve You and Your people.
Thank you for showing mercy towards my sins.
Help me forgive myself and remove the burden of sin.

Amen.

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


It’s Never Enough

Nearly three years ago, I was preparing to go to my first World Youth Day pilgrimage. I was excited but saw it more as a vacation than anything. At that point, I had begun losing faith and was bargaining with God. My hope was that while I was in Krakow, Poland, I would feel God’s presence and that would mean that He existed. While packing, I remember thinking that if I didn’t feel it, then that was that; I wouldn’t believe anymore.

Once I got to Poland, I was surrounded by Catholics and people that wanted nothing more than to share the love of God with me. Sure, we had to stand in lines everywhere we went, but it gave us the chance to talk to people about their lives, culture, and faith. At each event, there was always the comforting wave of people singing Ave Maria in multiple languages, their voices rising in unison. The Holy Spirit was all around me, affecting the hearts and minds of us all.

Still…I hadn’t heard the voice of God directly, so I was upset. At every church and every chapel, I found myself praying and begging for a sign until I was in tears. I just wanted to know that He existed, to know that He loved me, but I wanted to physically hear or see it.

It’s so crazy because I look back at that 10-day pilgrimage and wonder how I could have been so blind. I mean if three million Catholics traveling from all over the world, all believing in a God that we cannot see, touch, or hear, wasn’t enough for me to validate God, nothing would ever be enough. How could I ask the world of God when He had already given it to me?

While reading today’s Gospel, Jesus’ words made me think of that summer. “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). The disciples were searching for Jesus because of the huge, physical miracle that He had just done, not because of everything else that they had witnessed or heard him say.

Similarly, at World Youth Day, I was ignoring all of the signs and waiting for an earth-shattering miracle. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks after World Youth Day that I was finally open to seeing the ordinary things around me as signs from God. It was at that point that I had the hindsight to realize that I was given a hundred signs in Krakow, I simply chose to disregard them.

Too often, we are given glorious signs, but they just aren’t enough. We feel the tug in our hearts, but we tell ourselves it’s just a feeling. We see the tiny miracles changing lives every day, yet do not believe.

While we may pray to God all the time, we often forget to listen to his response. Allow yourself to believe in the miracles that God does in our daily lives. Believe in the little signs that are sprinkled throughout your life. Recognize the tug in your heart as the Holy Spirit trying to show you the right path.

Click here for tips on how to hear God’s voice in your life.

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Be Better

We are in the middle of Holy Week, people! Less than a week until Easter! Less than a week until we commemorate the greatest gift of all! Is your soul refreshed? Are your hopes and desires getting you a step closer to heaven? Can you feel the deep waves of forgiveness pulling you into God’s great ocean of peace?  

If your answer is without a doubt yes, then please, do tell me your secrets. I feel like I have done my best to be prepared for the memorial of Jesus’ resurrection, but I wouldn’t say that I’m 100 percent heaven-ready. Luckily, God understands that we are not perfect by default and has given us the Bible as a tool to use.

As I read over today’s first reading, it sounds like just the kind of quick guide that I need. I have a tongue, so I should speak to the weary. I have ears, so I should listen to the true word of Christ. My body, though beaten by people that make fun of me and scoff at my beliefs, has the Lord God at my side to hold me up. Going into the responsorial Psalm, we ask, “Lord, in your great love, answer me,” as we admit to being weak, picked on, an outcast, insulted. We praise him because we are thankful, but our thanks must go further than just words. It should be evident in our actions.

As Catholics, we must understand that we will always have more to strive for. Our God challenges us in everyday situations to step up and live out our faith, whether it is with the people around us or in our own hearts. Instead of seeing our faith as a burden or as an annoyance (because sometimes we do), we should instead see it as an opportunity to become a better person. Instead of trying to please our critics, society, or our parents, we should try to become someone our heavenly Father would be proud of.

So if your Lent didn’t go as planned, know that it’s okay because it is a journey. As you attend each Mass this Holy Week, ask God for what you need. Ask Him to bless your body with the skills and strengths you need. He wants you to succeed and is willing to give you the tools because He wants nothing more than to be in communion with Him in heaven. It is a simple matter of who you want to be and if you are willing to work on it. Do you want to be better? Will you allow your Lenten sacrifice to carry on after Sunday and continue to bring you closer to God? Or will you allow Jesus’ Lenten sacrifice be for nothing?

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Be Strong and Vulnerable

This past week, I received some emails from readers that thanked me for sharing with y’all. I thanked them kindly and kind of brushed it off at first, but as I got a couple more, I realized just how powerful sharing our own stories can be. It’s one thing to read about something in a book that was written thousands of years ago, and something entirely different to hear your friends, your colleagues, your children, share their little miracle. Still, as powerful as our own stories can be, we can be reluctant to share them with others.

A year ago, I wrote a blog post that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever written. I shared with you all the fact that I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, something that I had only shared with a handful of family members and friends. I ended up sharing it, knowing full well that my coworkers and family would read it after having a conversation with my friend, Susie.

I talked to Susie about my reservations. I didn’t want to be seen as “that person,” especially since I’d only been at Diocesan for a few months. I wasn’t sure I wanted my aunts and uncles to know this about me. How would my parents feel, knowing others knew? Would my siblings be ashamed of me?

Susie told me that my embarrassment and fear was just the devil’s tools to keep me down. He was playing on my pride and my anxieties, making me feel unloved and unworthy. My coworkers would understand. My aunts and uncles would be happy to hear that I’m doing better and working on it. My parents would love me and know my pains. My siblings would support me. More importantly, she reminded me of why I write for the blog: to bring people to God.

I was still nervous, but I knew that God had given me the gift of writing and the gift of being able to rest in Him. I submitted the blog post.

Once the blog post was published, I realized how true her words were. It didn’t hurt my relationships or even my ego. Just like Susie said, everyone was supportive of me. My coworkers and readers appreciate my honesty. You all either sympathize or empathize with me. My parents and siblings were proud of my strength and faith in God’s plan.

The times where I find myself the most anxious occur when I consider just being vulnerable with people. Allowing them to see your struggles and weaknesses. On my journey, I was depressed and wanted to die, and it’s hard to admit that I had even gotten there. Yet, that dark place is one that so many share, thinking that they are all alone.

It was that same dark place that gave me the opportunity to see God’s glorious light and ask how I could serve Him, rather than myself.

That’s why I share this, and all of my struggles, with you.

How is the devil keeping us down and subservient to our pride? How are we letting our ego get in the way of helping others? Is it keeping us from being honest with even our loved ones? Pray with me, for yourself and others:

Oh, heavenly Father,
You have watched us grow and know the true contents of our hearts.
Help us to resist Satan’s quiet temptations.
Remind us to experience your love and acceptance.
Guide us towards honesty and gift of self.
Lend us your strength to rise above our pride.
Grant us the peace to share your saving grace with others.
Amen.

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Do You Want to be Well?

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus asks a man who has been ill for 38 years if he wants to be well. Your initial reaction to this might be, “Well, obviously. Who doesn’t want to be healed?” And you’re right. It does sound obvious. Still, when it comes to illnesses that are of the mind rather than the body, it can be a more difficult decision.

I tell myself that if Jesus came up to me right now and asked if I wanted to be well, I would say, “Yes, Lord, take away my worries.” It sounds so easy. To just sigh a sigh of relief and say, “God, Jesus, Holy Ghost, take my troubles away so that I may feel at peace with any issues that I may have now and forever. I’ve waited for so long for you to ask me. Just take it all away.”

The funny thing is… He’s already doing that. Jesus has already offered us the gift of peace and hope, we just choose not to take it. Or, at least, I choose not to take it. Why? Why am I fighting so hard against the love that He is trying to give me? Why am I fighting against the peace that he is so ready and willing to give me?

In my Lenten small group last week, we discussed some reasons that we may be so hard on ourselves and forgo God’s peace. Are we skeptical that God could do it?  Is it because we think we need to do everything by ourselves? Is our upbringing or society at fault? It sure isn’t God holding us back, because He knows our hearts and wants nothing more than for us to place our trust in Him.

I know that accepting Our Father’s love can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that he stops offering it. Instead, he is patiently waiting for us to come to Him. He can wait. He knows when we are ready and want to be well, that we can come to Him.

So, today I want to remind you to be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. Be sympathetic towards your own situation. Remember that God’s peace is always offered.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
“Yes, Lord, I want to be well.”

 

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Faith Bubble

I was brought up in a typical Catholic home. My grandparents were Catholic, all my cousins were Catholic, my mother has been a catechist for 12 years, my father is a Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus, and my siblings and I were always very involved in our Faith Formation program. Even now, as I work at a Catholic company there are plenty of times that I took my knowledge and faith for granted.

When you’re surrounded by your faith, it’s hard to remember that there are people with no sense of true peace in their lives. You get comfortable and don’t think about the people that don’t know God or don’t like the God that society has portrayed.

It’s easy to tell yourself that someone else has told them about God and believe that they’ve already decided that it’s not for them. We don’t know their background and we don’t want to be rejected or made fun of, so we say it is someone else’s problem.

It wasn’t until I was talking to my boyfriend last year that I realized that he didn’t know what Easter was even about. He shyly asked me what Easter was all about and I laughed. He was so confused as to why Catholics chose to celebrate the death of Jesus. It wasn’t until I explained that we didn’t celebrate his death, but his resurrection, that he learned that Jesus rose from the dead.

This was after a year and a half of us dating.

I felt terrible! How could I call myself a Catholic, say that I proclaim the glory of God, and yet my boyfriend had no idea what my whole religion was founded on? How many times had I just assumed that he knew? How many times had I assumed that everyone around me knew?

As embarrassed as I am, I’m glad I had this experience. It reminded me that living in a bubble is too easy to dismiss. You can surround yourself by Catholics and tell yourself that everyone else’s faith isn’t your problem, but that’s false. It is our responsibility as the people of God to do just that: Evangelize.

Lent is the perfect time to ease into it. With ashes on our foreheads, fasting, and abstaining from meat, the conversation has already been started for us. It now becomes a matter of us choosing to say, “Oh, I’m Catholic,” or doing our research so we can tell people our reasons for fasting. Tell them why we get ashes. Tell them the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

As silly as it may seem to you, they may not know. Don’t get too comfortable in your faith bubble, because that is not what we are asked to do. Paraphrasing Pope Francis, we were not made for comfort. We were made for greatness.

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Community

Last week, I joined a Lenten small group. There’s only five of us and we’re reading “Give Up Worry for Lent! 40 Days to Finding Peace in Christ” by Gary Zimak. As someone with anxiety, this small group was simultaneously calling out to me and scaring me away. What better time than Lent to work on my faithful solution to my anxiety?

At the same time, the thought of a small group was uncomfortable enough without having to talk about our struggles. I couldn’t be alone. I mean, a small group where worriers have to talk about their worries? Hilariously, I just imagined a group of us, sitting there, too much in our heads to actually talk out loud.

The reality of the small group was actually extremely comforting. I was finally surrounded by people that understood what I was going through. I know I am not alone, but sometimes it can feel that way. My loved ones try to understand what I am going through, but they can’t always put themselves in my shoes. You can’t fully understand the illogical feelings of depression and anxiety if you don’t have it.

But these people, these four others that also had the courage to say yes to a small group? They understood.

One of the questions we discussed was what we do when we’re worrying and how we cope with worrying. Personally, when I feel worried about something, I just focus on something else. Sounds great in theory, but in reality, it just means that we find ourselves focusing on anything but the actual issues in our lives, both big and small.

However, this group wasn’t all about agreeing with each other on how to avoid life. It’s about living a spiritually worry-free life through Christ. This meant that we shared how we coped with our worries and how our faith helps us. For example, in college, I found that talking to myself helped me put things into perspective and work through things. Now I talk to God in an out-loud conversation. I know that he is listening and is planting small seeds of confidence and trust while I talk to myself.

One of my peers also told me about how they talk with the people that they are close to. I find it hard to do so in fear of being judged and rejected, but she went on to say that the conversations with loved ones have been the most calming and fulfilling. This weekend, I tried having that conversation with a loved one and she was right. The people that surround me are there because God handpicked them as my family and friends. They have the same beliefs as me and only want the best for me.

This experience made me realize that although I have found a way to use God’s strength instead of my own, I still have trouble asking others (humans) for help. But God did not put me in a bubble. He put me in a community. As Catholics, we are a part of a community of faith, meant to help each other through the hard times that we cannot handle ourselves. Do you rely on your community of faith? Do you help others?

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Remembering the Path

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”

This line, taken from today’s Responsorial Psalm, is something that I have been praying every day since the beginning of Lent and plan on praying throughout Lent. It reminds me every morning that my Lenten sacrifices aren’t for me to become a better version of myself. They aren’t for me to lose weight or wake up earlier. They are for me to become better in my relationship with God — a time to return to walking in the Lord’s truth.

It is so easy to give something up or take something on for Lent and not grow closer to God. I mean what does not eating chocolate really do for my relationship with God? What does waking up at 5:00 am to work out do for my relationship with God? I could easily use Lent as a 40-day trial period. Try getting fit for 40 days and if I don’t like it, then I don’t have to do it anymore.

Kinda defeats the purpose, though.

Lent is not a trial period for you to better your worldly self, but instead a time for us to refocus our goals and to actively work towards our heavenly goal. In a society focused on numbers, we want to believe that it only takes 21 days to form a habit. We want the quick and easy formula that will set us on the path to success. We all want to believe that if we do yoga at exactly 6:15 every morning that we will become flawlessly relaxed and in tune with our bodies. That’s just not the case. And that’s okay.

Our situations are constantly changing and we have tools within our faith to help us. Even if we lose ourselves in the uproar of humanity, there is hope for us. Similar to Levi, the tax collector in our Gospel reading, there is always time to follow Christ. There is always time to course correct.

Tomorrow we begin the first week of Lent, so it’s definitely not too late. If your Lenten sacrifice has nothing to do with God, add a faith element to it. For example, I mentioned not eating chocolate. Instead of just not eating chocolate, say a Hail Mary every time you get the urge to eat chocolate. I mentioned my own Lenten sacrifice of waking up at 5:00 am. I say my daily prayer and then do some scripture reading. It doesn’t have to be going to Mass every day or saying a Rosary every hour (although these are great). It just has to be something that serves as a reminder that Lent is a faith journey and a time of faith reflection.  

Lastly, it’s important to remember that course-correcting does not happen immediately, but instead is understanding that you’re not going the right way and making a step in the right direction.

Which direction are you moving this Lenten season?

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.

Stress and Peace

The older I get, the harder it is to put my trust in God. At the young age of 24, my life is just starting to become increasingly… real. Any young adult knows how I feel. There’s the never-ending student loans, the black hole of paying rent, and the exciting/terrifying purchase of your first home. Your work and romantic relationships become more important and friendships become harder to maintain due to differences in lifestyles. Not to mention that you actually have to consciously exercise and eat healthily.

Gone are the days of handing your parents your problems and here to stay are the years of soul-crushing reality.

Thankfully, the more reality sets in, the more rewarding it has become to put my trust in God. Yes, I have all of these new and overwhelming things entering my life, but I’ve also become better at relying on the strength that is not my own.

I have finally come to a point in my faith that I understand that as long as I trust in God, everything will be okay. I understand through consistent communication with God that His plan for me is so much greater than any plan I’ve had for myself. Yes, everything new and scary is still new and scary, but by putting my trust in God, I have the ability to have stress and peace at the same time.

Still, I am human, so having faith in God is not my initial reaction to my fears. I panic and a million works-ending scenarios run through my mind. The difference is that now when I feel myself worrying, I pray.

I no longer hand my parents my problems and walk away; I talk to them about my problems and listen to their advice. Similarly, I don’t just say, “You can take care of this one, God.” I talk to God about how to handle the situation. I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. I listen to Jesus’ willingness to give everything to God.

My fears are nothing compared to the strength of God. So why wouldn’t I put my trust in Him? Why wouldn’t I borrow the strength that He so willingly provides?  

Today’s first reading reminded me that I don’t have to shoulder the burdens of life alone. Jesus died for my sins, but he also died for my struggles. Our God does not only exist in the clouds… He has not forgotten about us. He is ever-present in each and every one of our lives.

Today, make it a point to have a conversation with God in which you voice your concerns. Tell him about your struggles. Be vulnerable. Borrow his strength. Ask for his advice.

Then, in silence, listen.


Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Go to Him

I found something extremely interesting in today’s Gospel. The first line says that Jesus summoned his disciples and then sent them out. A lot of the time, we may feel that we are being asked to live our lives, but feel unprepared.

As someone that loves a good plan, it can be really hard for me when things go wrong. In life, how can you plan for the unplannable? Well, that’s where Mark 6:7 comes in, because we are not just sent out into the world to magically deal with everything. First, we are summoned by Jesus Christ himself.

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our God, loves us so deeply that if we were the only people in existence, he would create the world all the same. He would do it all over again if it were just you. This is a God that calls us. We don’t spread the message about Jesus because it’s written in the Bible, we spread the message because we have a love so great that it cannot be contained.

I was recently talking about the song Reckless Love and how it makes me cry every time. When asked why I said that the song made me feel so vulnerable and recognize how much I needed God. Right after I said that they that told me that it’s okay to come when He calls.

So many of us are afraid of asking for help, afraid of admitting we were wrong, or even worse, we feel guilty. That shouldn’t keep us from God. These feelings of pride and guilt are feelings straight from Satan. We don’t need to hide our nakedness from God. In fact, we are summoned to him, just for having these feelings so that he can show us just how wrong we are.

We are loved and we are worth it. This is what God is trying to tell us. If we weren’t worth it, then he wouldn’t have sent his only son to be crucified. He wouldn’t have made Jesus a human, someone we could relate to. I don’t even think that God would have bothered creating Adam, let alone Eve, his companion. But he did. Because you are worth it.

So when you are feeling unworthy and unsuccessful, remember that God is not asking you to face the world alone. He is summoning you with open arms. Go to him.

Haven’t heard Reckless Love? Click here to hear my favorite version. (It’s okay to cry.)


Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


It’ in the Air

One of my favorite phrases to hear is, “Love is in the air.” The reason I love it so much is because of today’s first reading:

“Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.”
(1 John 4:7-10)

It’s a short reading, but it’s more than enough to try to take in. I mean,  the fact that God doesn’t “love” us, but just exists and his existence is love?? It hurts my brain a little bit, but I love it!

God is the purest form of love that there is. In fact, we can’t even conceive of love so undoubting, so full, so nonjudgemental, so unending. Can you? I mean, my parents love me with their whole hearts, but you’re telling me that God loves me even MORE? How lucky are we?

Okay, so God loves us more than anyone else and we can’t even compare it. Now, go a step further and try to understand that not only is God love, but anyone that loves inherently knows God.

Let me repeat that. Anyone that knows love, knows God.

What does that mean? It means that the person that doesn’t believe in God is literally an embodiment of God when he loves his wife and when he loves his child. It means that pretty much everyone has encountered God in their lives, even if it’s not on a daily basis. So what does that mean for us, as disciples of Christ?

It means that love is in the air and we need to breathe it all in.

God is all around us and in us and we’re sitting here acting like it’s not totally, mind-blowingly awesome!

Today and every day, the choice to live God’s will, his love, is ours. If God is love, then all we need to do is love and we are being ministers of our faith. Simply be kind, and you will spread the Gospel. People will notice. People know God, whether they are Christian or not because he is already a part of their lives and of their existence.

Spread love – spread God – through your actions

Looking to read something about the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes? Click here!


Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.