Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lately I've been Losing Sleep

Keep coming back to the last part of the play "Our Town," the horror and incredulity of the girl that people have no idea of what's going on.

I'm no stranger to shutting out. I shut down when I traveled East. Culture shock, feeling judged, fish out of water…definitely shrank a little bit. I found a group that was cool with hugs. That helped more than you could imagine. I'm naturally a huggy person. Surprised? Here's the other thing: incredibly sensitive. To the point that I've wondered what the hell is wrong with me. Goes well with my Myers-Briggs personality type…but given that it's the rarest of personality types, it's no surprise that the rest of the world would not feel compelled to accommodate the way I see the world. I don't expect it to. But man, it gets lonely, and it's hard to stay true to that identity when the world screams, "NO" at worst and "uh…wha?" at best. So it's easy to shut out. Because paralysis seems the other option. Being overwhelmed and unable to function. Let a little of life in and it all floods wondrously and horribly and overwhelmingly and how can you do anything?

But…how can you not? How can you not stop and just consider everything that's happening every nanosecond? The life that grows, the weather patterns shifting, the split-second thoughts and decisions and habits and evasions and attractions and daydreams and everything in the scope of human interaction? How can you not see the pure miracle of continuing to exist, and how can it not stop you dead in your tracks? How can you not consider the cosmos that twirls and glimmers, of the everything that's happening?

And how can you not be aware of what could be? Of what you could be? If you had the audacity to breathe? To fearlessly live into who you were called to be in spite of the things that stand in your way?

Because cognizance of it leads to being responsible for it, for being accountable to living into it. But what if we lived in a world that encouraged that? that called us out when we don't do that?

Jump headlong down the rabbit hole.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On Self-Sacrifice

As I prepare to dive back into residence hall living, albeit in a very different setting from undergrad and in a different capacity, I find myself revisiting memories of college and high school that I did not anticipate revisiting. Better said, I am not surprised that I'm revisiting memories of groups and friends and experiences just mentioned, but I am surprised by what jumps to mind, what things catch my mind's focus.

Imaginary reader, when I first entered college, there was a drive that I couldn't quite explain. There was a stirring in my heart that arose from beautiful friendships in high school, a strong foundation in personal prayer, a healthy approach to introspection, and I can't even begin to guess what else. Nevertheless, this stirring served as my North, my compass, and it steered me into the group known as Esto Vir. 
Those in my imaginary audience from my college probably know about the group, but for the sake of exposition, bear with me. Esto Vir is a brotherhood of young Catholic men seeking to acquire and gain the tools to discern what it means to be a Catholic man, especially in a college environment. The name itself comes from St. Josemaría Escrivá's writing in The Way "Don't say, 'That's the way I am--it's my character.' It's your lack of character! Esto Vir! Be a man!"

Be warned: I like giving context. I appreciate the richness of the back story, and so I try to fill in the story as much as I can...perhaps it's a vain hope that others truly feel my experience through my verbal barrage. Perhaps it's just my thing. I just want to throw it out there that you may be entirely exhausted by the time you get to the point of this long entry, so skim ahead if you are.

The guys who started this group, 6 years ahead of me, had spent a lot of time hashing out what the guiding principles of this brotherhood would be. The first virtue that jumped out was obvious: Prayer. It was impossible to grow in being a Catholic man without encouraging both personal and communal prayer, liturgical and non-liturgical. Ultimately to be a Catholic man is to be a type of Catholic human, and that holds to the idea that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. Learning to foster, cherish, and strive to develop that relationship with God is necessary in the midst of college's multiple questions and those that persist and appear after college is out.

The second virtue is also fairly obvious in hindsight: Brotherhood. I don't know how much strain went into whether Esto Vir would be called a Brotherhood or a Men's Group. I think that on one level, they took on the identity of Brotherhood to serve as the foil to the stereotypical Fraternity. While we did not live in the same house, we nevertheless assumed the title of brothers. We were committed to each other in recreation, in joy, in pain and difficulty, in prayer, at mealtime, physically and spiritually. I am sure that the group still continues to reflect on this, but to have brotherhood as a virtue and to strive to live by it is to deny the self-serving friendship, the microscopic view of oneself. It invited us to stretch our arms out to each other, both for support and to be supported. It was an invitation and a challenge to see what Christian relationships truly ought to look like. There's a plethora of Catholic Social Teaching extrapolation, but I don't have the words ready to do credit; I'd sound stuffy, academic, and boring. I do that plenty well already.

Thirdly, the virtue of chastity appeared. This was a tough one for a lot of guys, myself included. Oh, not because we necessarily disagreed with it in principle, but because the challenge issued by chastity is one of much more than simply refraining from certain actions or adopting different actions when in an interaction with somebody of the opposite sex. Changing behavior, adding behavior, cutting behavior, was plenty difficult, and we certainly did strive to change in that regard. The idea of chastity being the way in which we embody and express love by virtue of sexuality (which is so much more expansive than sex!), to change the way we thought...what better place to work on this than with brothers in the fight, seeking and striving to live holy lives, to be good men to their friends, their future wives, to be good models for their children and whatever people watch them as role models? My friend Matt writes prolifically and beautifully on this without overwhelming the other elements of the human person. For his writing, look here:

The fourth virtue is what I want to examine, as the title shows. Self-sacrifice. When I first examined this virtue with some energy, I entered into it with the same disposition that I might have entered into a Lenten fast when I was younger, i.e., without a very deep understanding of what was going on. I trained myself to wake up at 6 AM, to go running, to come back and stretch, get my butt over to Mass at kneel without kneelers as a small act of penance. I went vegetarian for a stretch to train for an "Advent penance," which was going meat, fish, and gluten free. I was exuberant, threw myself into it whole-heartedly, and spent most of that first semester sophomore year half asleep. 

I don't say that to disparage what I did! Gosh, I hope to have that spiritual gumption again...and I'm going to work toward it. The problem that kept coming up, that keeps coming up, that will never STOP coming up as long as I'm living and long after I've passed away, is that the bigger offering is HARD. I was happy to offer that smaller sacrifice up to God for any number of good reasons (and some less advisable ones, like, say, trying to pay Jesus back for salvation). The discomfort of kneeling on the floor was genuine, but I could manage because it was only half an hour plus however much other time I spent praying near a tabernacle that day. Then came the whammy: would doing this ultimately wear my cartilage away faster? Was I setting myself up for knee surgery? Was I hurting my running by doing this? It may seem stupid, hypochondriacal, hyperbolical, but when the greater question came to bear, I was either like, "Whoa, shoot, gotta stop that," or dismissive, "Nah, that'll never happen."

The great blessing and curse of living is advancing in age. I'm hardly old, but accruing more years to my tally brings with it scars, illness, injuries, etc., and I've gotten a greater appreciation of my finiteness and fragility through experience. I can't dismiss things quite as off-handedly as I could even 7 years ago, and there will be more that I can't dismiss when I get to double my current age. 

The problem that I think I began to see, and now see far more clearly in myself, is that when those questions arise and I can't dismiss, I don't have an alternative to "Gotta stop that!" There is less decision and more instinctive reaction, which is...well, as it's instinctive, it's natural. The challenge that Esto Vir's virtue of self-sacrifice tries to grasp more fully is to ask the question of whether to continue on deeper into the sacrifice by the route one's been taking when one reaches that critical moment. It invariably happens. There comes the moment in the small sacrifice that the invitation is made to make a greater sacrifice. Perhaps the greater sacrifice is one of magnitude of short-term discomfort. Many times, though, the greater sacrifices ask something long-term. To accept this kind of invitation is to accept a death. It means foregoing a behavior, a lifestyle, an attitude, a habit of being, a guiding principle, a means of transportation through life, a key to process things. Dive into the invitation, and the world may end up looking a whole lot different through the new key or lens it offers. 

To mindlessly jump in is not laudable. To recognize it for what it is insofar as one can, to discern it as a sacrifice worth making and perhaps even necessary to make, and to commit to it unreservedly--that's where virtue lies, I think. 

And here's why I am reflecting on this: because honestly, something in me for a bit less than a year has been amiss, and I have not had anything other than that instinctive withdrawal from that which represents a death to myself. I was never, ever great at choosing the sacrifice if the discerning really came up, granted. But in the face of the unknown, of the lack of control, I've somehow managed to become so insulated as to lose the wild instinct of trust, of adventure...and the last great and true adventure is fidelity to the vocation to become who I'm called to be...In the midst of looking at Christ crucified as the semi-final result of fidelity to God--even knowing that the Resurrection will follow--belief can be so difficult.

So I pray as I reflect on the fourth virtue that I can indeed conform myself to Christ in order to embark on this adventure. I pray for the desire to resume the adventure, because it lies dormant, or perhaps drowned by other noises and calls and clamors and claims for my attention in life. 

And I pray for the other necessary virtue Esto Vir found so important: Fortitude. Without it, one doesn't get very far at all. I could write more, but it's time to sleep.

It's comforting to know that Esto Vir is still so pertinent to my life, even if I never consciously thought it wasn't. I'm just embarrassed by my colossal fall from these virtues and from disciplined striving in brotherhood. Please keep me in your prayers. I don't plan on giving up. Or to stop praying for you.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This blog hasn't been unused, though the long lapse between thoughts might lead you to think otherwise. It's been a drawing board for any number of incomplete strands of thought. I discarded most of them. Something has been off. Something's been lacking. This something wasn't anything solely external, not anything I could point to or that would magically appear and make everything better once I had it in my life.

I'm used to injury. After several bad burns and any number of sprains and a couple of bouts with crutches, I've gotten used it. I was a sick kid. I don't like it. I can take it, though.

Well, so I thought.

In October, a sneaking suspicion of mine was confirmed: I had mononucleosis. In the great scheme of things, this is nothing. I get that. People deal with so much worse. People have had it hit harder and at much less opportune times. I won't defend how I acted or if I blew it out of proportion, but perspective was not something I was receptive to while it was happening. I was bewildered by my total lack of control. Pain, difficulty breathing, zero control over energy levels, and all learned healthy diet patterns shattered to pieces. The acute throat swelling and fever subsided after a week and change. The aftermath of this lovely illness, as anyone who's suffered it can tell you, is one that endures for months. To describe the experience, it was like there was a destination circled on my map, a place I needed to reach by some period of time, and my only mode of transportation to this already tough-to-reach location was a car whose tachometer and gas gauge were broken and misleading. I could burn through my energy on a given day in 45 minutes and then have to get through the rest of the day on the meanest of fumes. It left me exhausted. It left me short-tempered and emotionally unhinged. It left me empty.

I think that was my first experience feeling powerless to such a degree and so internally. I had little energy to muster toward positive thinking, charitable thinking and a kind sense of humor.

To be honest, I am walking out of that experience with an overwhelming feeling of failure. I am ashamed of how many friendships I put on hold, how many people I hurt either directly or indirectly, how sloppily I did my job, how unintentional I've been toward the activities and habits that will help me feel more and more myself. I'm saddened that there's an element of myself that came to light that was not one of patient suffering and honest dialogue, but of irascibility, impatience with all things, and ugliness. I'm left shaken by the imperfections thrown into such strong relief by that negative experience. 

I won't bore you with any more of my inner turmoil; that's for my prayer life and my personal reflection that finds its way into writings outside the blogosphere. In lieu of that, I offer you something else, hopefully of some meaning.

This will seem a very strange thing, perhaps...but here are some memories.

Firstly, I remember a time when people used AIM.
I remember ridiculous and intense conversations held over AIM.
Like the time my mom walked in and read the chatroom convo with one of my friends repeating something vulgar over and over again.
Or the time I had a conversation that would establish my best and closest friendship certainly for the duration of high school, though extending beyond it, too.
Or the times we would have "away message fights" because we had no delusions about being cool.
I remember how much those conversations have meant to me by virtue of their establishing and/or augmenting formational and foundational relationships in my life.

I remember the countless long walks, coffee dates, conversations held with dear friends, whether I communicate with them or not.
I remember the powerful sense of having people truly like brothers and sisters.
I remember how thinking of them still wrenches my heart in gratitude and joy, if not sadness that drifting has happened.
I remember hanging on friends' words. I remember being awed by their spontaneity, their humor, their selflessness.
As I start being a grown-up, my face remembers the smiles and the immense amount of laughter in its pre-wrinkles and dimples.
I remember the humbled awe that I have had such wonderful friends.
I remember you.

I don't say this as an appeal to pathos. I'm too poor a writer to successfully do that, anyway. I like writing far too long-windedly and with flourishes to be effective. The point is rather...quite simply, while communication might be sparse, and despite my failings made all the more apparent to me throughout this past year, I hold you all dearly in my thoughts and my prayers. Some days it's an interiorly tearful and mangled nonverbal utterance of gratitude. Other days it's more profound. Some days, good and bad, I'm conflicted as to whether to pay it forward or to live it through calling somebody up. I don't do either enough. Regardless, though, for whatever it's're remembered.

If it's agreeable to you, in some little way, please remember me, too...perhaps I don't deserve it, but I need it. And whatever good qualities you've had the grace to see (because I generally don't see them), please pay those forward.

That was fairly self-indulgent even by blog standards...

Friday, July 6, 2012

As I sit in my cell of a room (for which I'm very grateful, by the way), as the thermometer refuses to yield a digit in the 10's place lower than "8", as the humidity is undoubtedly horribly high, I am reminded of my time in Lima in summers. There was less need for sleep, which was good, because sleep was hard to come by in such heat. There was less need for food (generally), which was also good due to the fact that I wasn't able to do much most of the day.

One could be sweating going into the shower, sweat during the coldest shower the water pump could muster, and sweat anew as one stepped into new garb. Walking out of Ciudad was always such a transition. From green and brown to pretty much brown, from a bit of shade to nothing, from the smell of practically nothing (or perhaps the grass on cooler nights) to the smell of dust and exhaust and urine and trash and hot sick...and I miss both worlds. I miss the sanctuary that Ciudad offered from San Juan and Lima in general, and I miss the respite that Lima afforded me from having to be responsible for the chaos that life provided in caring for 20 or so teenagers. Some days I miss it dearly. Many of those days are days I have to walk to the grocery store and don't run into a single familiar face or don't have a conversation with a vendor that lasts more than 2 minutes. My wallet also misses Lima on those days, honestly.
Even in the chaos of Lima, even in the strangely regimented schedule of Ciudad (i.e., they had a schedule and were fairly good about keeping to it), both of which sometimes if not often served as sources of frustration, life moved at a slower pace. It was not necessarily more deliberate. It was not necessarily the best way to live. However, it was a beautiful kind of drifting pace. The craziest day was certainly stressful, but there was a legitimate release of tension in my shoulders after it was done. I breathed deeper more naturally and more often despite the terrible air quality.

And then there were the trips beyond Lima to the ponderous hills of Huánuco, the pockets of paradise in Pachacamac, the glorious sillar buildings and tropical fruits and canyons of Arequipa, the soaring heights and greenery of Cajamarca, the beautiful isolation being near Huascarán in Pueblo Libre in Ancash, the fun retreat house in San Bartolo, the neat shore of Trujillo, the less touristy shore of Chiclayo...

Just like there are songs that remind us of certain times in our life, like that summer anthem or the "theme" of a couple's beginnings, there are some songs that just immediately remind me of my time in Peru. To hear the insistent but patient beat of certain Latin music, to hear Andean instrumental music, is to serenade me. To play them and understand their beauty after hearing me rant about these places for hours and to come to a better understanding of my experience and what it meant and means to me is to win my heart, possibly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breaking for a bit

I find it harder and harder to write here. I think of Peru often, attempt recipes every once in a while, sometimes succeeding, other times failing catastrophically.

Much of what's happening now is of an interior nature. There's academic formation, field placement, community-based growth both in spiritual and academic and professional areas, feeling the subtle transition to being more adult and responsible figuring more prominently into my life and being okay with it.

I know I haven't been incredibly consistent with my writings the past 8 months or so, but I might be taking a break. It probably won't be forever, but it's tough at the moment for me to find words to put here.

A blessed spring to all.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bringing a sword

Since starting in my graduate program, I have had to wrestle with what kind of "health," what kind of "balance," what kind of "fulfillment" I'm seeking. This is something for which I'm very grateful. I wish I could be more grateful by not running from it, but I'm a weak person and it's a tough subject. I've had to wrestle with the question of how much I let "false moderation" interfere with authentic witness, much in the same way that I let false modesty interfere with a true self-knowledge.

See, the problem that I keep running into as I ponder these things is that I have ME as the ultimate end in most of my formulations. I've been alive about a quarter of a century, and while I am sure to have many more reminders in the future, I've received many a message informing me that I won't live forever. Heck, people are starting to believe that I'm 24! What is the world coming to?! Minor tangent aside, I'm not the center of the universe. It sounds so easy to say, but fighting the temptation to put my world back into a framework of everything catering to me and what's good for me as I see it has been, continues to be, and will be a full-time job.

I certainly can't speak for everybody, but in my experience, when I start appropriating some pop-psychological vaguery and apply it to my spiritual life without discernment about hermeneutic and translation, trouble ensues. Too often a Christian-based retreat has tried to teach me that I'm good, lovable, great, and grand simply because I exist. This statement requires some qualification, because if the implication is that I exist and continue to be of luck or health, that my mode of being is itself the absolute greatest good, then we've got a Cult of Self going on. If the qualification is made that to be is to be good because being comes from God, the ultimate good, there's not so much idolatry going on. I struggled for a while with the notion that valuing myself because of God rather than valuing myself for myself because I felt that this love by association seemed to downgrade my value. I don't think I ever put it into those exact words, but mostly because I knew that I just didn't like having my place at my universe's center taken over by somebody else.

It's a chicken-egg argument when it comes to my self-centered tendencies appropriating neutral terms and words and concepts for its own destructive tendencies or if the ideas behind some of the terms actually promulgate an egocentrism of sorts. In any event, I find myself hiding behind the shield of "prudence" or "health" or "balance" so often when it comes to evading charitable things.

I know that there is a genuine virtue of prudence, and it has to do with the means and the timing and circumstances for bringing out justice. It has a valid place in Christian living. The virtue of preserving one's life and health for the sake of others or for the sake of living according to the vocation an individual is called is clearly not to be condemned in se. Insofar as one must know one's own finiteness and therefor accept limitations in order to best serve, love, etc., striking a balance is something a Christian is called to do.

The thing I forget too often, though it is humiliating to confess, is that one must never be moderate in one's love of God and neighbor. Without that focus, the Cult of Self comes into style, and I become existentially unhappy and discontent, for I have no certain future (save death) and my present unravels before my eyes in light of eventual eternity without any other guiding light.

Matthew's version of the Gospel is rife with discussion about the life of discipleship being tough: the Beatitudes to the other teachings and parables of the Sermon on the Mount to the Passion..."Do not think I have come to bring peace; rather, I have come to bring a sword."
We love thinking of the mustard seed the way that Luke's account portrays it: faith of that size can lift mountains. In Matthew, we see it take on a different angle. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed planted in a field. Mustard was known as the scourge of the farmer in the near-east. It's a weed. It's invasive, hard to get rid of, has tons of minuscule seeds, and eventually birds nestle in it, which means that whatever food manages to grow in the field is probably gonna get et...provided the birds don't eat the seed first. The kingdom of God takes over, both in our spiritual lives and in the world at large. It's impossible to hide completely or eradicate, for it is written on our hearts and it can't help but shout out to us.

While many times Matthew's Gospel reading-times have been times of thinking, "Shoot, I am SO far away from what I should be," and while I still have the feeling that maybe this all seems so uncomfortable or wrong because I'm so far off-target, there's something quite comforting to a mild narcissist like me: He's with me to the end of the age. The one who comes with a sword to perfect the Law and cause division will not leave those in the world, not even me. So when I try to have a balanced life that's all prudent and healthy but lacking in that spirit of self-giving for another's best interest-- the truest indicator of love--and life understandably rings hollow and dull, I can look to Jesus and pray that He deliver me from myself, that I may find God instead, and then find the proper place for a dust-speck like me in the pattern of God's design, that I might love God and neighbor more. That prayer hits a special note in contemplating the Passion and Death Jesus underwent.

That's all I got. The genuine voice of prudence is telling me that I need to cut my losses and sleep! Blessed Triduum to all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pulling Some Strands Together

I was talking with my grandma on the phone the other day and almost used the word "saccharine". I haven't been able to unconsciously bring fancy vocabulary words into everyday conversation in a while. This doesn't mean I ever stopped sounding stilted or pretentious; I'm pretty sure that'll be a thorn in my side for a long while. I joked for a while after coming back that I took the GRE at a great time, because I got a decent score and then traded all that command of the English language in for a greater Spanish share. So it was a shock and disconcerting to catch myself using an uncommon "fancy" word. I guess I had a mini-identity crisis. I mean, really mini. I was distressed and uneasy for about 2 hours, and it was comfortably distant from my mind.

I bring it up because while "using big words" was something more characteristic of me pre-Peru, it's not one of the things that indicates that I'm not being loyal to living out my experience in Peru. Duh, perhaps. One of the things that happened in Peru was a realization that I was not a good person because I used big words or was good at math or reflections or because I graduated with honors. My inherent dignity as a human person does not have its dignity based on my accomplishments. Thank goodness, too. That doesn't mean that I should avoid or shirk whatever share of intelligence I've been given, but it certainly does put it in the correct framework and gives me a less myopic vision of myself and the world.

Speaking of frameworks, I was perusing some old things I've written and committed to the vast waste of the blogosphere. I was filled with such vocational angst! I wouldn't say that I've figured out what I'm going to do with my life, but the question consumed me so (and I was so impatient!) a couple of years ago. I was so focused on it. It was perpetually something on my "To Do" List, like if I put in a certain number of prayer hours, I would earn my Life Vocation Badge. I doubt I would say that's what I was doing at the time. I was afraid of being called to the priesthood, couldn't understand meaningful differences between them that didn't sound like generic sales pitches or trite theological platitude. Maybe I'm finally taking theology classes that can address these things in-depth like the School of Campus Ministry Theology never could (not to knock CM, because it taught me some very valuable things!). I think it has to do with me, though. I think that realizing that I can't pigeonhole God, that the world is oh-so-much bigger than my concerns and I are, and the nonverbal realization that I have a vocation to be before any other life vocation comes into the picture, gives me the freedom to actually discern.

This brings me to the final thought. Lent. We're in it! The third week is already here. I think about Lent in conjunction with these other things because of the end, the purpose of it. It's a time of solemn preparation anticipating the entrance into the crux of the historical event at the heart of the Christian faith. Yes, event. In Catholic Tradition, the Liturgy of the Triduum is one continuous celebration from Holy thursday to Easter Sunday. It's all the Paschal Mystery. But that's not what I'm looking at here.

Giving stuff up or doing extra stuff for Lent may seem like pointless adventures in asceticism, or a way of showing that Jesus came down and suffered and died because we sucked at life and we recognize in a self-kicking way, "Shoot, I suck at life!"

"Ascesis" means "training." Rather than simply impose a Lenten fast or practice for the heck of it, the important question to ask is, "Training for what?" In my experience, hopefully hinted at in the previous strands of thought, the traditional trifecta of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving point the way toward that training. Prayer seems pretty straightforward: right relationship with God. That's a heck of a statement, though. Fasting might be trickier, even Pelagian ("I earn grace points so I can buy a Salvation crown!") if considered incorrectly. When I have fasted, I truly have had those moments of craving. I once made the mistake of going on a detox (non Lenten) and two days in was having vivid and enticing daydreams about broccoli salad. At the same time, though, I felt a strange focus. That's about the best I can do: I was afforded a clarity of mind and spirit, more able to appreciate that we don't live on bread alone, or broccoli, for that matter. Fasting pulled me into an appreciation of what I was made for more than food or workouts or getting buff, namely, God and human relationships. I gain a window into the lives of those who don't always get food whenever they want. I become more aware of the framework in which I live.
I turn back to prayer, able to talk to God with a little more to say, willing and disposed to what God has to say. I also turn toward others, the tiniest bit more aware that people outside of my immediate experience suffer, and also aware that we're meant to be in communion with each other and God. Thus I give what I can monetarily to help alleviate the injustices others suffer, but also am aware that my two most jealously guarded possessions are my time and attention, and knowing how much I both crave and need it from others to flourish, give it to them, for my flourishing is intimately connected to theirs. And more and more I abstain from what keeps me mired in myself, unplugging it so that I can be more keenly aware of the true framework in which I work, i.e., God's universe. Maybe I can plug it back in after I undergo the training to more properly see. Maybe not.
But if you're floundering for an answer to the question "Why?" or "For What?" in your Lenten observances, I offer you this explanation for the ascesis, abstract as it may seem. You're collaborating in the Spirit's training your eyes to see with the eyes of faith, disposed to the Spirit showing you a deeper truth of things than what is immediately evident. You're letting the Spirit train your mind so that you might reach toward God's outstretched hand and others rather than turning in on yourself. Your training is one of getting plugged into the framework of God's boundless and gratuitous love, free from the obligation of being your own savior, earning your worth, etc. You're being docile to the Spirit working in your heart, that more and more you may truly recognize Christ as he enters your life both regally and humbly and sing with the believers in Jerusalem, the angels, and all the more genuinely every time you're at Mass and sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of hosts! Heaven and Earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"