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Faith

Yesterday evening I went to an evening retreat to kick off the Year of Faith with Regnum Christi.  I was invited by someone who saw me going to mass everyday and happened to walk out of mass at the same time as me.  There was a speaker, Lucy Honner, who I found very interesting as she spoke about faith and what the Holy Father says about it.  I even got some notes from it!  She took the word ‘faith’ and broke it to five different sections on what faith must be.  I will share with you what I came back with.  The notes were chicken scratch…perhaps they will make sense to you!

F – Firm Foundation

Faith the rock of my life.

Faith my guiding principle.

Don’t just know and believe in Jesus, believe in His message.

Read Hebrews 11.

Actions of faith must be done with more intent.

Be and sustain.

Faith must become firmer and stronger.

A – Alive and Active

Faith is not passive and for ourselves only.

Gift from God, share and proclaim.

Faith evolves and grows, we must maintain it.

Keep the faith real.

Must leave an impression to others of my witness of faith.

I – Informed

Need exact knowledge of the faith.

Don’t be satisfied with limited information.

Pay attention to the content of our faith.

Remain up to date with realities of faith.

It is hard work, it costs, but opens outr minds.

receive and integrate.

T – Tested and Trialed

Faith is a gift to us, but we will be tested.

Can’t just make faith happen with good intent and good deeds.

Acceptance of ordinary things.

Embracing persecutions.

Read James 1.

Letting go, open to grace.

H – Heroic

Must be a hero of the faith.

World needs witnesses.

Be unafraid to stand up and stand out.

Risk and sacrifice own life knowing God’s presence and that He has a plan.

Faith is assurance of things hoped for.

Often times can be uncomfortable.

Be heroic in the way we pray.

Be heroic in ordinary ways.

Be heroic in relationships with others.

Be heroic in humility.

Be heroic in forgiveness.

Be heroic in the way we are called to serve.

Our creed is a summons and a charge to us.  It is like a national anthem

I hope you can find something that strikes your being in these notes.  I know they are not the best, but it is more than I usually get.  For reading on the Year of Faith, check out the Pope’s Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith.  It will be good reading I am sure!

So, is your faith as strong and informed as it could be?  What will you do in this year of faith to strengthen yourself in our Lord?

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Inner Reflection, Retreat Experience

 

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Jesus and Religion

 In case you have not heard, there was a particular video that made its surface not long ago and got millions of hits in just one day.  It is talking about how Jesus is great, but religion is not.  The creator of the video calls it “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus || Spoken Word.”  There has been much discussion and many conversations on this.  Some of our Salesian Novices created a video in response to this, almost immediately after they heard and saw.  They called it, “Why I Love Religion, and Love Jesus || Spoken Word (Response Video).”  I would strongly recommend that you watch the response video.  It is extremely well done and addresses the topics of the original one that was put out.  If you have not seen what all the fuss is about, watch the first one as well to gain some background.  I advocate what the second one is about, the one done by the Salesians, just so everyone knows.  Let me know what you think.

Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus || Spoken Word

Why I Love Religion, and Love Jesus || Spoken Word (Response Video)

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Being Catholic, Videos

 

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Church Hopping

I know that I am traveling a little ways back, but life has finally granted me a moment to catch up with everything I wanted to blog about, at least some of it.  So, here is some of that I wanted to share.  Some of it is taken directly from my journal, some is written now reflecting back.  I do apologize for the longer than normal post, please still read it!

To start off Holy Thursday festivities, the school had a prayer service before the half day dismissal.  As a part of it, there was a dance at the end to “Footprints in the Sand,” by Leona Lewis.  We danced to the first two and a half minutes or so.  It was really good to dance again, and it was not just easy stuff.  I was with two sophomores, one of which choreographed the dance.  Dancing for God was wonderful.  While I was not even close to perfect, I did the best I could.  Here is the song.  Remember, we only went to about two and a half minutes in the dance, but the rest of the song is good too!

That evening we went down the hill to the Provincial House for the Holy Thursday services.  It was odd not being a part of the music in some way or the other.  I blame anyone.  I know there was a better chance of a [former] companion of mine was there.  Let me say though, I say with all that I had with her voice in the back of my head.  I did enjoy being surrounded by the sisters, it was a wonderful family to be with then. 

I have some quotes from the priest who presided over the mass.  They stuck out to me as her was giving the homily.  I wish I would have caught more of it on paper.

We were called not because we were ready, but because we are willing.

We know we are not perfect, but we are willing.

You know what devil, get lost.

After the service, a handful of us climbed into the seven passenger van around eight pm to start the church hopping adventure.  For those of you who don’t know the tradition (and I just learned, so my explanation is a little meh), this is what I am able to explain.  In order to stay awake with Jesus, unlike the disciples who fell asleep and did not keep watch, you travel from church to church visiting Jesus in all the chapels before He is reposed to a special place until the Easter Vigil.  We went to a total of eight stops between leaving at eight and arriving at the last just before midnight.  It was just after midnight when we got back home.  The following in italics is from my journal, written that night.

Stop 1: Oh Jesus, bring me to my knees in adoration of you.  I love you.  Here I wish to pray for Jen and all her intentions.  She is very precious to me.  Be with her.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 2: Oh Jesus, give me humility in adoration of you.  I love you.  This stop is for my parents.  Watch over them, keep them close.  Be with them.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 3: Oh Jesus, give me prudence in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for Renate wherever she may be.  Bring her back to you and keep her safe.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 4:  Oh Jesus, give me wisdom in adoration of you.  I love you.  Watch over Matthew, Molly, and Abby.  Help them to never stray from you and to have a stong relationship with you.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 5: Oh Jesus, grant me courage in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for my Marianist Family, that they are always faithful to their charism.  Keep them in my heart.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 6: Oh Jesus, bring my to understanding in adoration of you.  I love you.  Shower your love on Priyanka as she grows up.  Show her your love and care that she may follow you.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 7: Oh Jesus, help me to love fully in adoration of you.  I love you.  Protect all my close friends.  Keep them close to you.  Let them know all the good they have done, especially for me.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 8: Oh Jesus, give me patience in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for me grandparents.  Let them know how much they are blessings in this world.  Grant them everlasting peace.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

“silently, peacefully, we will rest in you, Lord.”

Home/Bed: Thank you Lord, for the time spent with you.  I pray that these words of mine make it up to you.  All this I do and ask for the sake of my vocation.  It is in you and your Father that I must put all my trust.  What else could there even possibly be?  Jesus allow me to sit at your table so that I continue to learn from you in the way you are with your disciples.  Keep in my heart the experience tonight.  Thank you for everything you have done in my life.

It was amazing to see Jesus in all the different churches in the area.  I am blessed to be here and I cannot wait to share this experience.  Peace.

 

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A Goon full of Roses in the Arms of Christ

This post is one that has taken time and thought to explain what can never be explained fully.  Those who will understand the full capacity may be few, but could be more than I think.  There are some who have experienced this with me, and a couple who know me so well they can understand anything from me.  They may or may not have taken me forever to compose.  Either way, I hope this profoundly influences you or at least brings you to think a little harder about your faith.  (please note: pictures were found online, none of them are ones from what I am about to tell you).  This is a tad longer than my usual posting, but this one is extraordinary.

Since I have gotten here with the Salesians, something has most definitely felt right for this time being.  At the same time, though, there have been things trying to throw me off course and lead me astray.  On the eighth I was drawn to wanting to start the novena to Saint Therese.  Since my Pieta mentioned praying it the ninth to the seventeenth, I decided I would start that next day.  The novena was being said for clarity of my vocation and reassurance that this is indeed where I am supposed to be, at least for now anyways.  In case you did not know, Saint Therese promised to send a shower of roses upon the earth.  In saying the novena, she responds with a rose or some roses that come across your path.

 

Day one of the novena.  When I walked into the laundry room, there on the table with the clean clothes and some sewing machines was a bucket.  It was not just any ordinary round mop bucket with handle, but rather one that had a single huge rose sitting in it.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  Really, how could it be that a rose could already appear on the first day of this novena?!  I was most definitely beyond myself at this point.  When I started the novena, I had made the point to myself for this to be a private thing, but I could not help but share this with some of the other aspirants.

Day two of the novena.  I was not sure what to think after day one.  Part of me expected that what I had seen the day before was all that Saint Therese was going give me.  Then there was something I was not sure I could count.  We were watching the movie Adam.  In there, he had some roses he was bringing to give someone.  He stuck them in his coat to keep them safe (he never did, in the end, give the roses to her).  I was drawn to them, of course.

Day three of the novena.  We went to Stony Point to the Marian Shrine.  There was much to wander around and see while there.  To end our visit there, we went into the chapel that is there to pray our visit before heading back home.  In front of the altar was a beautiful, full, colorful bouquet of roses.  It surely made me smile. 

Day four of the novena.  So you know when you walk down one hallway and someone walks down the other hallway crossing your hallway, there is a limited amount of time that you actually could possibly pass each other.  So Sr. Colleen was walking with her mom one way from her office to her room and I was on the way to my room.  She happened to bring a huge bouquet of roses with her that her mom had brought here.  They ended up at the front dinner table that evening in celebration of someone’s birthday.

Day five of the novena.  By now I am starting to go a little more crazy and just not understanding completely what is really taking place.  At some point during the day, I walk into the aspirant community room and stop dead in my tracks, dropping my keys on the floor.  There sitting on one of the computer desks were some roses and some petals from them laying on the desk.  I just stood there semi shocked and semi not sure what was going on.  Halfway through at this point, I could really expect nothing.

Day six of the novena.  So the day is as normal and what not.  I went into Italian as usual with the sigh of here we go again, I really need another way to help me study here and I hope she does not ask me any hard things.  Partway through the class I notice on the table near the door, there was a vase with two roses in it.  I lean toward Megan and pointed them out.  We could not help but laugh.  There also were roses all over this YouTube video I watch, not to mention the ones for Sr. Kim’s birthday.  Mentioning all these incidences of the past days so far to Sr. Colleen, she asked me why I as saying the novena.  To my response she called me a good and reminded me of where I was found in the bathroom…the source of my vocation.

Day seven of the novena.  In the morning, I found out that God and Saint Therese have a wonderfully beautiful sense of humor.  My assistance in the morning is down in the locker room where the high schoolers are.  When everyone is kicked out to class, I go around locking the bathroom that is just outside the area, as well as turning lights off and locking the doors of the locker room.  When I went into the bathroom to turn the lights off and lock it, I found something.  There sitting on the floor so nicely in the middle of the bathroom was a single rose petal.  At that point, I really knew I was going crazy.  How in the world could this be was the question in my mind.

Day eight of the novena.  Not that I was already feeling like I was going crazy at this point, this day topped it off for sure.  It was our quarterly day retreat that was combined with the SDBs (our brothers of the Salesian Family).  I thought for sure there would have to be a chance of a rose here.  It was not that I was looking for one purposely, but rather that when you have received them thus far seven out of seven days, some part of you can not help but anticipate what is coming (yes, I know…participate don’t anticipate).  The first thing is that someone pointed out to me that there was a brother who was reading her book.  Sure, maybe it can count, but it is something that I had for the day.  The second thing came from when we were at mass.  Bear with me here.  I was looking at the huge Crucifix that hangs about altar.  From what I could tell, it was marble.  On the left side, the “cloth” wrapped around Jesus hangs out to the side.  There is a bigger piece kind of going downward and then a smaller one kind of straight-out/up a little.  That little part I kept seeing as a white rose.  I knew it was not as I have seen this chapel before and know it is just the “cloth.”  The thing is, I could not get out of my mind that it is a rose.  I was think many things, “am I crazy and just seeing what I think could be true,” “is this just what I want myself to see,” and “is this exactly what Saint Therese wants me to see.”  During consecration, I cried a tear or two when the host was held up, as well as when the cup was held up.  That is so unusual for me.  I ended the day not know what to think.

Day nine of novena.  This the last day, I was not sure what would happen after the prior day.  When I got up in the morning I knew I had to say the novena right away so that I could go through the day at ease.  I prayed that I just needed one more concrete sign, one more thing, that could really show me that this is now where God wants me.  I said that I know all these roses have been brought to my attention, but just one more will show me that I am supposed to be here, just one more.  This was my prayer because I am not sure how to comprehend what had happened the past days.  The day went on by and nothing.  On Sundays we have adoration in the community.  After the Exposition song, I moved over from where I was (as I was leading) into the main pews.  The first thing I saw was the one red rose in the new bouquet that was place in front of the altar below Jesus.  After prayers, I went and stood in front of the altar staring at that one rose.  There were others around, but all pink and ones that have been there.  Here it was, one red rose.

In that evening prayer of adoration that I just mentioned, I had picked a song that I love to use for exposition.  While this song has always meant something for me and I have always got something out of listening to it, the song hit me in such a different way.  This was, also, before I even noticed the rose.  Take a listen and you may understand why I am so drawn to it and that it hit me is such a strong way.

So, this the days of my novena.  Being that it is now past the last day of the novena, I have had some time to reflect on what has happen. For now, I will let you mull this over.  Keep an eye out for a post about what has come to follow.  This has been something hard for me to comprehend and to explain.  The words I gave you here can not possibly justify what I feel inside with all of this.  Be inspired.  Remember that you are loved and God is watching over you always, ready to protect you.  Peace.

 
 

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The Battle to be Fought

The battle unending

The goal in our sight

How do we stand it

Stick with the fight

Satan yearns for us

We are left unsure

God wants us back

Jesus is the cure

Continue we must

The strive for heaven

With what energy there is

We do what we can

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Creative Corner, Inner Reflection

 

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Penny For Your Thoughts?

So, in light of a couple of conversations along with the inner thoughts of my mind and heart, a few things popped up that I would like to ask.

Genuflection

Some people don’t genuflect at all.  I think some sign of bowing or kneeling down is important as a sign of respect, but I am wondering people’s thoughts on when and how often.  There really is no right or wrong, I am just looking for some thoughts.  One way I see it is that people show a sign of reverence when coming into the chapel/church and then again before they leave that place of worship where Jesus is.  The other way I see is that every time anyone moves from place to place or when they cross the tabernacle or anything of the like, they show that sign of reverence.  What are people’s thoughts on either or both, or another of which they notice?

Kneeling During Prayer

This too has come up in conversation.  Most people kneel on the kneelers that exist in churches.  Some people do not use them.  I know that again, neither of them is particularly right or wrong.  I believe that whatever is done is what the believer feels is their way to connect through prayer to God.  I could ask a couple of things here in this topic.  Initially, what are your thoughts on this?  As well, is it right to say to another that they must not kneel right on the ground if a kneeler is provided; this to show good example to others, to not distract them, and that we have to if one is provided, to use it?  If I am correct in saying this, and I may not be, were not the kneelers created so that we might be more comfortable in praying?  So if it is but only a comfort, should not one be allowed to kneel as they choose, even in community with people who have their lifestyle and charism?

Please share any and all thoughts on these topics, answering those questions which I posed, or that of other related topics.  Thank you!

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Fearless: Reflections of Life

I want to share a song that was another TEC theme song, this one for HV 61.  It kind of popped up in my radar of listening to music, so I decided to share!  This is the official video for “Fearless” by Building 429.

No I don’t understand
And I can’t comprehend
This power that draws me to you
But I know for the cross
I’ll consider it all lost
In an effort to tell of the truth

That the world may know
That the world may know
You have been heaven sent to us

(Chorus)
I’ll be fearless for You
I’ll be fearless for You
Take me I’m Yours
I’ll be fearless for You

All the times that I’ve failed
When my doubt has prevailed
These are the moments I’m giving to you
Cause I can’t be ashamed
No I can’t fear the pain
When it comes time to be living proof

So the world may see
That the captives are free
‘Cause you have been heaven sent to us

(Chorus)

Unwilling to bend
Unwilling to break
And Headstrong I’ll stand
No matter what it takes

(Chorus)

Fearless.  How is it that we can become fearless for God and all that He wants for us?  As I try to prepare myself for entering formation, I again am brought to think, and think lots.  Perhaps I ponder more than I should but it is how I am.  As the time draws near for me to leave, my heart pounds more and more with the desires that it holds.  That leads me to wonder if we can ever have everything that heart desires?  If we follow God and His plan for us, then won’t we have everything we need?  Deciphering what I am to do in this life I have here is a task that is difficult to complete.  In my life I have so called “failed” many times.  Be that in school, my health, or standing for who I am.  Looking back on my life, I need to be able to give those failed moments to God and pray that they leave me with but the lessons that I have learned.

So being proof to the world of God’s love for us.  How am I really supposed to be doing this in my life?  In recent one would say of me, entering formation with the Salesians Sisters in hopes of becoming one of them, a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians (FMA – the formal name/abbreviation).  When I first discovered this new found possibility, I was so ecstatic and excited more than most things I have ever felt in my life.  Religious life, living for God, ministering to the youth, the chance of doing retreats, and still staying connected to those I consider my family.  The thing is, is it what I really feel in my heart as the place I can be who I am supposed to be.  I know I am called to something greater and better but I can not tell if this is it or not.  Could this just be that I am waiting for some feeling that I want to have that tells me clear as day the path I am to choose?  Surely in my life does not give me clear answers, but rather has God meeting me in places such as the the 11th page of a Google search or the bathroom at a huge Catholic youth conference.  The consensus against many people, including myself, is that I just need to go into this and see what happens and what God tells me about this time I will be in formation, however long that is.

I can never understand what draws me to where I have been and where I go, the good and the bad.  I can only hope that the good things that God calls me too I will realize and step into with complete faith.  There are many things in my life that mean the world to me as well as are things that my life would be incomplete without.  How do I hold onto them?  I need to make sure I am balanced, unwilling to bend or break from the things that make me who I am.

So how do we go into the world demanding so much and following the one who made us?  “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:30) of what is out there.  I need to be who I am and trust that God will show me His ways for me.  Community is a important part of me life, so I ask you all to pray for me as I pray for you (especially my TEC family and closest of friends).  With me, let’s strive to become one thing for God.  Fearless.

 
 

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