The Universal Call to AWESOMENESS

“Awesome”.  Try to picture that word in your head.  Visualize the most awesome thing you can think of.  The coolest, most amazing, and most astounding thing you have ever seen.  I would’ve told you to close your eyes, but then you couldn’t really read the post.  Ah well.  Anyway, think of what you just visualized.  If you though of JPII holding a Koala, you’d be like me.
682343cd15468f7eba7f4751b9525618You may be cool, but, you’ll never be St. JPII-is-holding-a-koala-cool.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, pure and total awesomeness.  As, you can tell, I like that word.  And not without reason.  The word mean “to inspire awe”.  And to me, the most awe-inspiring thing is God.  Well, He’s not a thing, but you get the idea.  So, anything “awesome” in it’s purest form is anything like God.

You may have heard of the Universal Call to Holiness (I certainly hope so).  The idea is that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you’ve done, you are called to be a Saint.  When I was confirmed, I chose St. Josemaria Escriva as my patron.  At the time he lived, there was a lot going on.  Well, duh, it was the Spanish Civil War.  But it was also a time of struggle in the Church.  Priesthood was seen widely as just another job you could choose from.  But one of the biggest wrong ideas of the time was that only religious (priests, nuns, monks, etc.) could be a saint.  Josemaria started Opus Dei, or the Work of God, dedicated to making saints out of ordinary people.  Not only that, but to do every single thing for the Glory of God.

St. Josemaria liked to get up early in the morning, and say the Morning Offering the moment he woke up.  He asked people how could they expect to win the day’s war if they lost the first battle to laziness?  He would get up and squash temptation before it even had the chance to yawn.  Pretty awesome.  Whatever he did, it was for God.  Now, I don’t expect any of you to be praying a rosary while you take a final exam.  We’re not that good, well, I’m not at least.  You guys might be.  Giving everything to God is amazing, but it is really hard to achieve if you’re not used to it.  So, I propose something simpler to get you on your way.

Here it is.  Whatever you do, be awesome at it.  Do it well.  If you’re a baseball player, swing like Jesus was your coach.  If you’re taking a test, study like Jesus was your teacher, or maybe your mom, that might inspire you not to fail more.  If you are a doctor, operate like Jesus was your patient.  If you’re a babysitter (or just an older sibling, like me), care for the kids like you were holding the infant Jesus in your arms.  If you blog, write like Jesus is going to read it (because He is!).  You get the idea.  If you’ll do that, you can’t go wrong.

Just because that was kind of vague, here are some easy to do and simple ideas for being Awesome, each and every day of the week.  The way this works is that you try to accomplish all of the goals everyday, but focus the most on the one for the prescribed day.  Here we go:

  • Monday: Smile more often.  Frowns take more muscle anyway.
  • Tuesday: Talk to God.  No need for a set prayer.  Have a conversation with Him like you’re sitting at the coffee shop with your best friend about whatever you want.  Tell Him about your day, or about how fun that new video game is, or about how amazing this “Catholic Teen” blog is.
  • Wednesday: Laugh.  Not only does it relieve stress, but it gives you an excuse for looking up memes during study hall.
  • Thursday: Listen to good music.  I mean good music.  I want none of this Taylor Swift nonsense.
  • Friday: Read a good book.  If you can’t think of one, read the Lord of the Rings.
  • Saturday: Try your hardest at everything.  You have no good reason not too.
  • Sunday: Relax.  If you care enough to have read this far, you are probably a hard-working and devout Catholic who is in no desperate need of my advice, except maybe this one.  Humans are designed to need rest, so we Catholics vote an entire day to it (how typically awesome of us).

This isn’t all you can do.  This is more like The Beginner’s Guide to Being Awesome.  It is more concerned about how you are at work or school than how you are at church.  Confession should definitely be somewhere in there, along with Mass and stuff.

You might think that you’re just an average citizen, an ordinary person.  But there is no such thing as ordinary.  You are a child of God!  That is pretty extraordinary!  The saddest thing I see everyday is someone who has forgotten who they really are.  You’re AWESOME!  Start acting like it!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, I secretly was scanning you while you read this article with a state-of-the-art Awesome meter.  Here is what you scored: awesome-meter

Comfort and Greatness

So, if you didn’t already know from some of my earlier posts, I’m part of the Marching Band at my high school.  I started playing the alto sax just a year before I joined my Freshman year (that’s barely any).  I was very inexperienced and unprepared for what I was going to be asked to do.  I couldn’t play the music and I could barely march, so they made me an alternate who just pushes the props around.  It was pretty cool, actually.  I went everywhere with the band and pushed a fake camera around.  I got featured on the jumbotron at Lucas Oil Stadium a couple times.  It was hard, but not that hard.

This year is a whole different enchilada.  I have improved my marching technique a lot, and have also spent time getting better musically.  When they dished out this year’s music, it was twice as hard.  But I practiced and practiced, and soon I only had a couple measures that still needed work.  Yesterday (July 16, 2015), we had an all-day rehearsal to get ready for our all-week band camp.  We were outside marching, and it was the time when they choose who is going to be an alternate.  One of the band directors pulls someone aside during a water break and tells them that they will be an alternate for the season.  I was marching around with my alto, feeling good about my improvements, when the assistant band director tells me to see him at the break.  I got pretty disappointed.  I worked so hard to meet their standards and I still am an alternate?  What stinks the most about it is that usually only one sophomore is an alternate, the rest are freshies.  So its really bad luck to be the one sophomore out of 60 that is an alternate.

At the water break I walked over and stood in front of the director.  He says, “You’ve improved a ton.  Not only marching and music, but also your determination and work-ethic.  I’m very glad to see that you have begun to be comfortable in your position.  But…”  I brace myself for the bad news tat I knew was coming.  “But, we need you to march Bari Sax instead.”

For those of you who don’t know, an alto sax is relatively small, but a baritone sax is about 3x as big.

Alto is the one on the far left, then tenor, and finally bari on the right.
Soprano sax is on the bottom, then Alto is the one on the far left, then tenor, and finally bari on the right.

For some reason I still don’t understand, I agreed to march bari.  Its a lot heavier, more awkward to play, and not to mention that I have never played it before.  Band Camp is this Sunday, and I have two days to learn the music and be able to march with it perfectly.  But hey, it’s only marching band.  Ok, it’s a lot harder than it looks.  However, I do have a history of doing these kinds of things.  I used to play football, and I was really good at it (not to brag).  I played defensive end, but my coach needed me at fullback and tight end.  I said that I’ll play whoever he put me.  I ended up playing almost ever position except Qb and running back.  In baseball, I typically played outfield, but my coach wanted me at third.  I had a terrible fear of getting hit with the ball, but I did it anyways.  And finally, band.  When I took the infamous bari out of the case I was like:3973c399c75172b31e8d7a73982c8c10

But when I took a good look at it after it was fully assembled:IMG_5391  I felt like Frodo when I finally took it off.  c2192f9c1e4c9eb5c17e1f24affe37eb67c08459f991487cc19016e1c660cd73

That night, my band director gave a great speech.  he started out with a quote.

“10% of life is what happens to you, 90% of it is how you respond”

He went on to talk about how he kicked our butts that night (very true, considering I marched with a 20 pound sax for two hours straight).  He talked a lot about getting out of your comfort zone, and taking risks.  No one has ever achieved greatness while being comfortable he says.  If you’re starting to feel good about how you are doing, do more.  Push yourself to do more than you think you can, because I know you can.

I couldn’t help but hear Jesus in his words.  read it over again with God as the speaker.  It sounds like him, doesn’t it?  If you feel comfortable just going to church on Sunday, you need to do more.  If you feel uncomfortable about something, generally, generally mind you, you’re on the right path.  Has anyone ever gotten the girl of their dreams by feeling comfortable and not talking to her?  Has anyone won a Super Bowl without taking a single risk?  Has anyone made it to Heaven, just trying to be “good enough”?  Heck No!  Jesus asks for the impossible, but He rarely requires it.  If you give, 110%, Jesus will give the rest.  If you aim for like 98-ish, your gonna get 9.8-ish.  Give your best, and then some.  At band, we do a breathing exercise, where we fill up our lungs in 5 counts, and then take gulps of air for 15 counts.  Our air wasn’t really full after five, was it?  How about this.  Raise your hand as high as you can.  Higher.  Higher.  You could go farther, couldn’t you?  That’s what we always need to do.

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort.  You were made for Greatness” – JPII

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, I really need some prayers today and for the rest of the week.  Thanks!