Finding Jesus In An Ed Sheeran Song

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“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing*
Hearts are never broken
Time’s forever frozen still”

-Ed Sheeran, Photograph

[*ok, technically our eyes are closed in the picture.  But everything else applies.]

I love that picture.  It was taken while Tyler and I were still dating– long before kids, household chores, and mortgage payments.  Back when we were just a couple of college kids listening to music and taking a goofy (if somewhat mushy) selfie.  It was snapped with an iPhone and stored in a “Pictures” folder, to be looked at countless times in the days, months, and years that followed.

“So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans, holdin’ me closer ’til our eyes meet.  You won’t ever be alone.  Wait for me to come home”

Of course, when Ed Sheeran sings that his beloved can “keep him” in the form of a photograph until they meet again, it is only an analogy; and there is a bittersweetness to it. When Tyler and I were separated by a few states after we graduated from college, I probably looked at the above picture over a hundred times.  While it made me happy to see his face in the picture, it didn’t make me miss him any less—in fact it probably made me miss him even more.

At the end of the day we all know that a picture is only a picture.  And the memories a picture brings with it can only go so far.

You Won’t Ever Be Alone

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Well last week I happened to hear Photograph on the radio after leaving the adoration chapel, only this time it wasn’t so bittersweet.

As I listened to the now familiar melody, I reflected on the lyrics and on a lifetime of visits to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel— visiting Jesus present in the Eucharist in times of joy, in times of pain, and even just out of a desire to get out of the house with the kids—and the song suddenly took on a different meaning.

“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host.” (Fulton Sheen)

“Loving can hurt.”

All the times I visited the chapel and brought Jesus the pain my heart was feeling: through teenage heartbreaks, feelings of longing, feelings of loneliness.  “You know it can get hard sometimes.”  The Love contained in that tiny white host was there even in the midst of the hurt.

“Loving can heal.”

That tiny white host has brought my life such healing through the years.  I don’t expect to know the full extent I have been healed through Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist until I behold Him face to face in Heaven, but on this side of things, I know that “Loving can heal,” because in my visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I have truly seen how “loving can mend your soul.”

“Time’s forever frozen still.”

The Eucharist that I visit in the adoration chapel on a weekday with my two small children is the same Jesus who died for me on Calvary.  It is the same Jesus the Church’s greatest saints bowed before throughout history.  He is the same Jesus who was present in the tabernacles of the Churches in the Middle Ages, the same Jesus that faithful soldiers during WWII drew their strength from, and the same Jesus my great-great grandparents received throughout their lifetime.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

“You won’t ever be alone.”

Back when Tyler and I had to do the long-distance thing before we got married, the pictures we had from the times we were together were just as the song says: memories frozen in time that we could visit when we missed each other.  But a picture is just a picture.

In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us so much more.  He is able to actually deliver what the song can only dream about.  His Body, His Blood, His Soul, His Divinity–they are all actually contained in the tiny white host.  There we can keep Him closer until our eyes meet in Heaven.  And we won’t ever be alone.

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

-Jesus

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New Booklet on The Family Available Today!

NEW BOOKLET AVAILABLE NOW!

A Young Catholic Guide To The Family_Cover

Following the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the media has been abuzz with claims that big changes lie ahead for the Catholic Church and Her teachings regarding marriage and the family.

A Young Catholic’s Guide To The Family explores how the timeless truths of the Church’s teachings can answer the questions and the longings on the hearts of families today.  Written with loving fidelity to the Magisterium, this booklet is intended to be an accessible guide for anyone seeking to reconcile their Catholic Faith with their family life.

You can order A Young Catholic’s Guide To The Family on Amazon.com, and through its CreateSpace eStore.

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Media Resources:

 

The Best Way To Keep Your Faith Is To Give It Away – (What I Learned As A Catholic In College)

This week we have been talking about the 4 things I learned as a Catholic in college.  So far we have talked about why:

  1. Having a regular routine is important.
  2. A routine alone is not enough.
  3. Jesus is not OK with lying.

Today:

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The best way to keep your faith is to give it away

This last point comes from Chris Mueller:

Faith in Christ is not about holding ground.  If you go to college thinking, ‘How do I hold onto my faith?’ you will lose it.  The Christian question is, ‘How do I share my faith?’

Before I left for college, one of my brothers shared with me a verse from Matthew’s Gospel,

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)

More than just a hymn sung at the end of mass, this is what it means to be a Christian.  If you aren’t sharing your faith, then you are not living your faith.  And if your faith isn’t living, it’s dead.

Sharing your faith doesn’t have to mean preaching in the student center.  It means that when you go to mass, invite your friends to come along.  It means if people ask why you go to confession on the weekends, you let them know that it’s important to you to keep your heart open to God’s grace.

In short, it means being a genuine person who isn’t afraid to talk about their love for Jesus.  (If that sounds weird to you, maybe your faith isn’t as deep as you think it is!)

The Christian is excited to share his or her faith, because the good news is truly good news!

So that’s it! The 4 things I learned as a Catholic in college.  Be assured of my prayers for all of you headed to college this fall!

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Jesus Is Not OK With Lying – (What I Learned As A Catholic In College, Part 3)

This week I am sharing with you the 4 things I learned as a Catholic in college.

So far we’ve covered why:

  1. Having a regular routine is important
  2. Your faith needs more than just routine

If you haven’t caught on yet, growing in faith really boils down to having a living relationship with Jesus.  This is why, especially in college, it is important to keep in mind: Jesus is not OK with lying.

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(OK, technically, I knew this before college.  But hear me out.)

Underage drinking and recreational marijuana will basically be expected of you as a college student.

As a Christian, however, you are called to more.

The act of drinking alcohol isn’t wrong or sinful; and we can debate the morality of recreational marijuana another time. Where both of these activities will threaten your soul is in the lifestyle that necessarily comes along with them in college. As an 18-20 year old drinking or smoking pot, you have to lie. You have to sneak around. Sure, “everybody” may be doing it, but the fact is that if your college dean found you with beer on your breath, or a blunt in your hand, you’d be in trouble—And you know this.

Making a habit of choosing to lie or sneak around in order to have fun will have damaging effects on your soul and your relationship with Jesus, I promise.  It sends a message to yourself that you’re someone who doesn’t always do the right thing, and Satan will so delight in reminding you of this when you find yourself facing temptation in other settings.

Choose instead to be a person of integrity.  Let your “yes,” mean yes, and your “no,” mean no. And always, always, always bring it to confession when you slip up.

Check back for tomorrow’s post: “The best way to keep your faith is to give it away”

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Your Routine Won’t Save You – (What I Learned As A Catholic In College, Part 2)

This week, as an answer to a reader question, I am sharing the 4 things I learned as a Catholic in college.

Yesterday we talked about the importance of developing a routine while at college, and about giving your faith first priority in that routine.  This brings me to the second thing I learned as a Catholic in college:

2. Your routine won’t be what saves you.  

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Once you’re in the habit of your routine when it comes to your faith, the challenge will be to make sure it doesn’t become merely a routine.

A word to students heading off to Catholic schools- 

This may actually be harder for you than it is for those heading to secular universities (To whom much is given, much will be expected).  The good news is your school will offer you more opportunity for things like mass and reconciliation.  The bad news is that it’s easier at a Catholic school to hide behind these things and not let them transform your heart.

It is possible to check all the boxes–to go to mass regularly, to be a part of the Catholic club, and to generally keep up appearances of being a “good” Catholic–all the while being closed off to grace because we are unwilling to let God into the darker corners of our life.

The Lord searches the heart.  A prayer routine, however involved, won’t be enough to sustain a faith within you.  Jesus alone can do that.  If you want your faith to be more than a routine or a facade, you need a real relationship with Jesus.

So keep at the routine.  But never forget that the routine is there to foster a living relationship with a real Person.  Otherwise, it just becomes a silly waste of time.

Check back for tomorrow’s post: “Jesus Is Not OK With Lying”

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