Blog Post

God’s Loving Gaze: This is Us


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I don’t know about you, but I’m totally hooked on This Is Us. My sister got me started on it over winter break, and it is so GOOD! If you haven’t seen the show, I totally recommend it!

This week’s episode was pretty intense, but a few scenes in particular caught my attention.

In this episode, teenage Kate is working on submitting a recording of her singing to try to get into college. Like most teenage girls, she doesn’t she her beauty, and doesn’t even believe she is beautiful. While recording herself singing, her father, Jack, starts videoing her singing. She doesn’t notice, but when she does, she is furious. Jack doesn’t understand because he sees her beauty and wants to capture that moment so she can see it as well.


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After Kate cools down a bit, Jack approaches Kate.

He tells her, “It would break my heart if you didn’t want to be on camera because you don’t realize how beautiful you are.”

Then Kate goes on to say, “….But I’m older now, and I just don’t see myself the way you see me. And you know what, no one else sees me like that either, so you saying it all the time just hurts.”

Later on, Kate watches the video that Jack took of her. Reflected on the mirror is her father gazing lovingly upon his daughter. He tries to suppress his smile while watching Kate, but he can’t hold it back. Kate sees this, and she keeps rewinding the video to rewatch that moment.


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After Kate sees the video she goes to apologize to her father and says something that stuck out to me in a profound way.

“Don’t ever stop. Don’t stop trying to make me see myself the way you see me.”

Jack replies back to her and says, “Okay, Katie. I won’t stop.”

Ugghhh! I have watched this section of the show so many times now, and I love it even more each time I watch it! It is so beautiful and so real.

Sometimes for me it is hard to believe that I am beautiful, but God is always looking down at me and telling me that I am beautiful! We don’t see ourselves the way God sees us just how Kate doesn’t see herself the way her father sees her. Despite what we may think of ourselves, God is constant and He always keeps His gaze upon us.

We might want God to back off, or stop trying to make us see ourselves as beautiful, but He won’t stop.


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Also, Kate kept rewinding the video to rewatch the way Jack looked at her. You might be thinking, “What’s so important about Kate rewatching the video?”

The thing is, she is rewatching it because she can’t stop looking at her father’s expression. There’s no pity and no disappointment. He is totally captivated by Kate. That’s what we all want too, right? Our Father in Heaven looking at us with compassion and taking delight in who we are. Well I come bearing good news because all of this is true.

Take a minute right now and think of one thing that you are insecure about, or something about yourself you aren’t confident in. Once you’ve got it in your head, take another minute to imagine how God looks at you. Even at what you think is your worst. Think about how He still gazes upon you lovingly in your darkest moments, in your weakest moments. God is still there.

Sometimes you might want Him to stop, but I challenge you to tell God to never stop trying to make you see yourself the way He sees you.

 

Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose

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Blog Post

I Stand For Life

“America you are beautiful…and blessed…. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”

-Pope John Paul II


“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? … By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

-Mother Teresa


“It is a poverty that a “child must die”, So that you may live as you wish.”

-Mother Teresa


Abortion was legalized throughout the U.S. in 1973 due to the Roe v. Wade court case. Since then, more than 59,115,995 babies (and counting) have been aborted in the U.S. alone. The March for Life started in 1974, and every year since people have been going to D.C. to stand up for the lives of others. The tradition continues this week as thousands of people from all over the country are joining forces in Washington, D.C. and marching for this most important cause  one very important cause: Life.


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Abortion is an important issue that is not talked about enough. It breaks my heart to see the numbers of lives that have been taken due to abortion. Every life that God has created is precious and deserves to be celebrated. Pope Francis said, “All life has inestimable value.Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”

 

Although much of the focus on the March for Life tends to lean towards the unborn, the Pro-Life movement isn’t just about stopping abortion. The Pro-Life movement is here to defend all life at every stage.

 

So you might ask, “What can I do to help support life?” Because although it’d be incredibly awesome for all of us to attend the March for Life, not everyone can. In my humble opinion, I think the best thing that we all can do is pray. Pray for the unborn babies, pray for the mothers, and pray for our country.  If you know someone who has had an abortion, show them love. Show them acceptance and comfort them. Additionally, becoming more aware and familiar with how to have conversations about respecting the dignity of life in all stages is a vital part of living out the truths we believe as Catholics.


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The end of abortion won’t happen overnight, but in faith, we know that the battle has already been won.


“All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others.

Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing..So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.” –Pope Francis


Just know, whatever you have done, whatever you have been through you are still loved. No matter what, YOU are a child of God.

 

Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose

 


Lord, thank you for giving me life.

I pray for all of the babies that have been aborted.

Wrap your loving arms around their mothers as they grieve,

And show them that there is always someone there to accept and love them.

Help me to stand up for life, Lord.

May I never be lukewarm in my beliefs,

or waver in standing up for the rights of the unborn.

Mother Mary, pray for us.

Amen.


Learn more about the Pro-Life Movement!

 

Join me in doing the 9 Days for LIfe Novena! Download the app to get a reminder to take a few extra  minutes each day to pray for the protection of each person’s life!

http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage.cfm

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Here is a link to a website with an estimate of the number of abortions since 1973. Take a minute or two to see how fast the numbers rise. Say a prayer for all of these innocent lives taken.

http://www.numberofabortions.com

 

This is a moving blog post from the Life Teen website about a person’s journey of learning about abortion. This blog had me close to tears!

https://lifeteen.com/blog/pro-life-stance-now/

 

Watch this video from Chris Stefanick about dying with dignity! The Pro-Life Movement is about supporting life at all stages.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nf_rb2qkbE


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Blog Post

The Best of 2017

Happy New Year! 2018 is upon us, and I’ve got a good feeling about this year. Just like how I have a good feeling about every year. All the Instagram pros posted highlight pictures from 2017, so likewise I’ve decided to look back on what I will call the “Best of 2017”.

I keep a Jesus Journal and although I don’t write in it near enough, I love looking back on what moved my heart in the past. I’ve been looking through it and I’d like to share with you my favorite 2017 entries.

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FEBRUARY 8, 2017

All I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.

Although my day to day life may make me tired and weary most days, I know that God is the only one that can get my through the day. Coffee may keep me awake for awhile after a long and late night, but God is the one that’s going to give me Eternal life; the life that cannot end.

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JUNE 14, 2017

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever.

1 Peter 4:10-11

Don’t be afraid to wear out your gifts.

-Father Andrews


JULY 12, 2017

Don’t leave camp (LEAD) with just a good feeling. Leave being a better disciple.

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JULY 29, 2017

We live here on earth, but we were not made to be earthly.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

The role of the disciple is not to just be a good person. We want to be something and someone different. Someone who looks like Jesus (people see Jesus when they see you).

Care enough about the people in your life to become uncomfortable. Humble yourself and go after them even when you are sharing your faith. Don’t be afraid of being awkward or uncomfortable.

What does it mean if I’m not willing to share my faith with anybody?

Father Mike Schmitz Podcast

(9/10/17) Look Like Jesus

 

**DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS PODCAST!!


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DECEMBER 3, 2017

“Even if you live on day rejecting passivity, saying, “I’m going to decide. I’m going to choose. I’m going to live on purpose for Christ.”

One day like that, that would not be a waste.

Father Mike Schmitz Podcast

(What a Waste Series)

 

**FATHER MIKE IS ON FIRE! LISTEN TO THIS SERIES TOO!!


DECEMBER 28, 2017

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen


And there they are! A small snippet of the highlights from my Jesus Journal. I highly recommend starting a Jesus Journal if you don’t have one. Write down prayers, scripture, or quotes that move you. It’s amazing to see how much you have grown you’ve grown in your faith from year to year!

 

Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose

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Blog Post

A Season of Hope

This past Sunday was the start of Advent. A lot of people (including myself) see December and this Christmas season as a time of stress. Worrying about getting everyone gifts, decorating the house, making the treats, and preparing your home for guests. This stress can take a lot of the joy out of the Christmas season.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I love the lights, the Target Christmas socks, and wrapping gifts, but in all of the hustle and bustle of doing these little things, I forget what this season is really about. Advent is a time for us to prepare for the coming of Jesus: to prepare our hearts and others’ hearts.

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This Advent I have told myself that I am going to make it my best Advent ever. My goal is to really focus on the reason for the season: Jesus. I want to be able to share the joy of Christmas with others. To ensure that I do this I have decided to to three simple things everyday:

  • Journal on a selected bible verse/passage
  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Pray a decade of the Rosary for a friend or family member

Though these things aren’t complicated or over the top, I think that setting my mind to do these things will help me to prepare for Christmas. Small things really can make a big difference. I challenge you to also decide on doing three things everyday in preparation of Christmas. Let’s all make this the best Advent ever and spread hope, joy, and love to everyone around us!

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Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose


Advent increases our hope, a hope that does not disappoint. The Lord never lets us down.

-Pope Francis


And just in case you are wondering what bible verses/passages I’ll be journaling about, here is a link to it! 

http://www.creativecommunications.com/Products/APZ/2017-teen-advent-calendar.aspx


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Blog Post

With a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving is this tomorrow. That means lots of food and family (with extra emphasis on food). Aside from all of the food, thanksgiving is also about giving thanks. For the past week and a half or so, I have been realizing how much I have been blessed by being a Christian. And most importantly, being Catholic.

I have been reflecting on how people without God have nothing to look forward to after death. They believe that after you died that’s all there is. Dying only means you are going into a grave 6 feet under. But being Christian, I believe that after I have passed on from this world I have more to look forward to. Heaven is my life after death.

Confession time: my biggest goal is to get to Heaven. Not a big shocker, right? But seriously, I find it so awesome that this earth that we live on is not a permanent home for us. The Kingdom of Heaven is meant for all of us. Isn’t that beautiful? God wants us all to be with Him and live eternally.


“Our Lord does not come down from heaven every day to lie in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another heaven which is infinitely dearer to him—the heaven of our souls, created in his image, the living temples of the adorable Trinity.”

-Saint Thérѐse of Lisieux


This quote above is from our beloved Saint Thérѐse of Lisieux. The more I read it, the more I am amazed by it. God wants to touch our hearts and have a relationship with us. We are so dear and beloved to Him, and He longs for us to be with Him everyday.

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I’m thankful that I have been raised Catholic. I am thankful that I believe in something so beautiful, fruitful, and abundant, and I am thankful that I have a Heaven to look forward to.

I pray that you have a blessed, happy, and safe Thanksgiving. Eat as much turkey as your heart desires, and rejoice in the Lord for all that you have been blessed with.

Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose


Thank you Lord for blessing me.

You have blessed me immensely with family, friends, and your love.

I am able to wake up everyday and sing your praises.

Some days I forget all that I have been blessed with.

And most importantly, I forget about others that have less than I do.

Give me a grateful heart Lord.

Bless the ones that are in need of feeling your love,

The ones in need of your grace and comfort.

On my best day I will be thankful for you.

And on my worst day I will still be thankful for you.

Amen.


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Blog Post

Back From the Mountain

I love church camps. I absolutely love them. Seeing the joy of Jesus in people’s’ eyes never gets old.


I had the privilege of being able to go to a Franciscan Steubenville conference in Springfield, Missouri. Prior to the Steubenville weekend, (which was a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday event) I attended the Franciscan LEAD camp. This part of the week was Monday through Friday afternoon. LEAD is a leadership camp for teens who already have an established faith life and want to learn how to disciple to others and develop a deeper relationship with Christ. Preparing for this crazy God-filled week, I had no idea what to even prepare for. Before this I had only attended one other church camp. What I was expecting was not what this camp was; it became so much more.

Everyday during LEAD the facilitators gave talks about how to pray, praise, and disciple to others. In between the prayer and the talks, the 39 other teens and I had lots of time to bond. Sometimes you don’t realize it, but praying with and for others actually helps build a strong bond of friendship so quickly. There were so many dance parties, deep talks, and just plain random things that occurred during LEAD that will forever stay in my heart. (Even the people who smashed a bottle, picked up a dead bird, and threw a banana at the ceiling! ♥)

To be honest, during the LEAD week it was hard for me to actually feel God’s presence. I mean I knew he was there, but I struggled with feeling that He is a personal God rather than a God who watches idly. For me, the most spiritual part of this whole week was after reconciliation during my penance. I was told to pray the Our Father prayer. I decided instead of praying it normally, I was going to pray it in a more intimate way:

 


My Father, Who art in heaven

Hallowed be Thy name;

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven

Give me this day my daily bread,

and forgive me my trespasses,

as I forgive those who trespass against me;

and lead me not into temptation,

but deliver me from evil.

Amen.


 

While I was praying this over and over again, tears were pouring down my face. God is not just someone who does things for everyone, He is someone who does great things for me too. He is focused on us as a group, but he is also focused on me as an individual Daughter of God.
The rest of the week  was just as awesome as that night in reconciliation. And towards the end of LEAD, the facilitators really focused on having us make a plan for when we get back from camp. When they mentioned going back from camp we all moaned and said we just wanted to stay here forever. The facilitators countered back with this bible passage:


About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up to the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

{Luke 9:28-36}


 

From this passage they told us that even though we have this camp “high” right now (much like the disciples did) and we want to stay here with these people who love Jesus as much as we do, we are supposed to go back down from our mountain and share our “high” with others. As for our plan after camp, they told us to write down two goals that we want to keep  when we get back. Two things to do to keep us on track so our camp “high” is just regular living.

After LEAD, my new friends and I went our separate ways and we joined our own parishes for the Steubenville weekend. Steubenville was great. Although it wasn’t as personal as LEAD, I was blown away every time I walked into the MSU stadium and saw it completely full of Catholic teens who were on fire for Jesus! It was so beautiful to see every soul change there by the power of our God. Seeing all of these kids here also made me realize that I am not alone. And if I’m not alone I don’t have to be afraid to share my faith with others.

Coming back from Steubenville, I’ll admit, it was hard. I had just experienced so many spiritual and life changing moments, and then in the blink of an eye I was back in the real world. Back in the place with temptations, people who are against you, and people that don’t believe in the God you do. Staying “lit” for the Lord has been a struggle, but I keep striving to be that same authentic person I was during Steubenville.

Everyone who has gone to a church camp has probably experienced that post-camp-high. Obviously I have. After awhile though, your fire starts to burn out. Usually I would already be feeling that fire burn out by now, but I am determined not to let that happen again. I want my fire for God to be an eternal fire that will last forever and always burn bright.

I set those goals to help me stay on the Lord’s path for me. I have new friends from different states that will pray for me and check in on me. People do care for you and they want the best for you. So does God. Share with them your struggles and your triumphs. Listen to theirs as well. With faith also comes community. We can’t get to heaven alone. I am praying for each and everyone of you readers, and I hope that you will also pray for me as well.

 

Prayers and Blessings,

Marissa Rose

 

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