Sponges, Barnacles, and Oven Mitts!


This week I resigned myself to my most favorite state of being…“living in sponge-like eagerness ready to absorb any knowledge the Lord wants to send my way.”

Every day I have so much to learn. From the Lord, from the brothers and sisters who surround me, and from all the classes, teaching workshops, bible studies, book studies, and small groups we participate in each day. I am saturated in Truth Himself, in Love, and completely and utterly convicted of the necessity of missions.

The past three weeks has been a whirlwind of transitions, change, learning, and growing. Amidst all of this, it is easy for me to doubt that I am capable of the great task at hand. But the truth is, I’m not. I am far too weak, prideful, and full of fear. However, praise God, that in my inability I am better suited to open my heart to the grace and strength He will work through me. My neediness is His hope, grace, and strength come alive; a simple testament to His Almighty Goodness.

Thankfully, this week I have been reminded so many times of the importance and urgent need for evangelization. This realization turns my fearful, “I can’t do this” into a convicted “I MUST DO THIS!” In St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Mission of the Redeemer, the saint reminds us that our church is missionary in nature. When Jesus sent his apostles out and founded the church, He said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation!” (Mark 16:15) Our response to encountering the Love of the Father and the Freedom and Hope found in the true person of Jesus Christ, should be to go and share this great news! How sad to think of the countless number of souls who are desperately longing for these things; belonging, love, hope, and freedom. And we have the answer. I have the answer, and He even has a name. Jesus is our answer, and I must share this!!!

One of my favorite memories from the week happened during a daily mass I was able to attend on Friday. The church Mary Magdalene in Abbeville, is so incredibly beautiful, and if I can find a ride who is willing to get up and go, The 6:30AM mass is my favorite way to start the day. This Friday, Father Michael gave a beautiful homily about the spiritual life and how there are always times of consolation and desolation, but in the end, as long as we are planted firmly in the Lord, we can weather the storms and struggles of life. As I thought about this, the Psalm we just read came to mind, “Blessed be the Lord, MY ROCK.” At this moment, a light bulb went off in my head…barnacles. That is what I want to be! A little barnacle holding fast to The Rock, who is our Lord and Jesus Christ. Maybe this isn’t the message the priest was trying to convey, but at 6:45AM this is what the Lord was inspiring in my heart, and I am so grateful that the Lord knows me so well, that He speaks to my heart in little simple analogies. I cannot wait to be a little missionary barnacle and pray that the surface of our Infinite Rock is abundantly filled and crowded with more barnacles, more souls, and more followers and believers seeking after His own heart!

Jesus loves me when I’m a sponge, He loves me when I want to be a barnacle, and He even loves me when I dance in the kitchen with oven mitts for hands (this tends to happen on occasion). He loves me when I doubt His goodness. He loves me when I struggle to accept His mercy. He loves me when I’m tired or grouchy. He loves me, not for the things I do, but for who I am. For the mere reason and fact that I exist. What more could I need? What more could I ask for?

The world often tells us to strive for perfection; that we need to be and act a certain way. But Jesus wants us to be the person he created us to be. In all our uniqueness and imperfections, He longs for us to come back to Him just as we are!!

May God remind you this week of your beautiful uniqueness and His passionate and reckless love for you!!

Jesus, you’re beautiful!


In His Abundant Mercy,

Madison Smith



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