Wednesday, May 30, 2007
So I've never been in England... and in fact I just know ONE english person.... but for some reason I've been reading/learning lots about the Persecution against Catholics during the English Reformation. wow! St. Edmund Campion pray for us!
nothing else to report on the front...
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
It is possible that the best major for you is your 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th listed category, so be sure to consider ALL majors in your OTHER high scoring categories (below). You may score high in a category you didnt think you would--it is possible that a great major for you is something you once dismissed as not for you. The right major for you will be something 1) you love and enjoy and 2) are really great at it.
Consider adding a minor or double majoring to make yourself standout and to combine your interests. Please post your results in your myspace/blog/journal.
WHAT MAJOR IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
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So it seems I got the right major...Mass Communications/Journalism with a minor in art... not that I am currently using it... ARRGHH! Anyone! let me use my skills and get paid for it!! arrghh!
Pentecost was this Sunday. I usually don't pray to the Holy Spirit... but this Pentecost has brought around new graces. He is the Consoler. Don't miss out on having a relationship with Him, He is Beauty, Light and Fire. Talk to Him today...
I was out of the country this weekend so I went to a church that I had never been at. Turns out the priest that celebrated is a "new" priest. It was his first mass in that church and he was also "new" as in extremelly young. And when I say "extremely young" I mean extremely young as in the youngest priest I've ever seen. He is probably between 25-28! (went to minor seminary probably at 14 the approved age for minor seminary in this country.)When he came in I was like "is that the priest?" and he was full of zeal, his voice clear and a great Spirit filled homily. Totally humble. Sometimes I read about horrible liturgical-abuse filled Novus Ordo masses...well, you just have to come down to this church to see a liturgically-correct, rightly incultured Novus Ordo mass. Awesome! So, it was a great Pentecost...
a beautiful thing he said during the homily: Every time we resist temptation, every time we chose good, every time we pray...that's the Holy Spirit! I hadn't realized He is so involved in my life. When I breathe he is sustaining me, I battle temptation every single moment and He is there sustaining my thoughts, being my Light in this darkness...Praise the Holy Spirit!!
Friday, May 25, 2007
I appreciate your generosity so much! but I think it will be best if the article we discussed was given to some religious order/church. I know the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are in England and they are pretty orthodox. Also in the links to the right you will see a bunch of links to Visitation Monasteries (the ones founded by St. Francis). I would LOVE to have this article but the cost to send it where I live would be very high plus I could not assure it gets here in good shape. Thank you again for your generosity! God bless!
Anywho. Its been a trying couple of days. I am exhausted in many ways but some extra-emotional/physical effort has been asked from me. I told Him that I didn't want to do it, that I was too tired...But today at work I received a Grace.
the reading for the Liturgy of the Hours says: "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 9-10 I am truly exhausted and feel I have not strenght to be patient and loving... but by His Grace I TRUST that HE WILL BE STRONG. I can't but He can!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
with yours truly:
for some reason when I click on your name it doesn't let me see your profile or anything, so I don't think I have a way of contacting you except through the blog itself. Could you please send me a link to your blog so we can talk about this? thank you for your great generosity and God bless!
sigh* today I am a little shaken. Just stuff. struggling... but Ok. Now that I am slowing down I am feeling the aftereffects of the earthquake that this last year was...
My Spiritual Director agreed that I need more "God & I" time. He said those were good decisions. Lord, hold me. Console me. Guard me. I trust in You. I am safe in your arms...
I started by seeking chances of solitude and by going jack-rabbit watching in the vast empty lands around here. Those things always remind me that life is funny, awkward and vastly enjoyable.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Now things are finally settling down...
but towards the middle of this craziness life became a battle. I mean, thanks to His Grace I've stayed faithful but prayer became so structured that I felt I was squizing Him into time slots. Spiritual/ emotional/ financial struggles of all sorts started falling on me. Satan saw I was tired and decided to attack...
But my Christ loves me and would not abandon me and has kept me going and now is leading me to green pastures and to quiet waters. The other day I saw a movie based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. And I kept thinking, where did all my zeal go? what happened to all the love in my heart? and I usually don't pray to the Holy Spirit (I know, i know) but for some reason I started asking him to come. To transform me. Yesterday at work for some reason I had to take a time management online training... and one of the activities was to rate how satisfied you are with how the different areas of your life are going ...well... it turns out I am not happy with even one of them. And the conclusion... I am burned out.
I mean...duh! but it took the Holy Spirit's power to order everything so I would realize that I am burned out.
So there you go. I am Ali (now say "hello Ali") and I just found out I am burned out.
So its renewal time. Its time to go to green pastures and still waters. I'm going to drop the church groups I am involved in (how can I give what I do not have?), start swimming again, go back to painting and above all get some solitude, spend time alone with Him. I am always surrounded by people and I am in desperate need of JUST Him for a while.
Its break time. (but don't worry! I'm not stopping this blog!)
I am going to go talk with my spiritual director tomorrow, let's see if he has anything to add. I feel good about the decision to drop things and spend some time/money in myself... I don't think its selfish because I am doing it so I can love Him better.
And I am happy because my Shepherd is truly caring for me. Its great. He is taking me into his arms and telling me to slow down. To rest in his arms for a little while. To let Him do the walking.
I love you my beloved Shepherd. I am the luckiest lamb of all the world for having such a master.
Oh, and to you all who read this blog...cuz I know there is people reading it (yay for site meter) please comment! so I know if you hate it, love it or wassup. In that way I can improve this little blog. Plus, there is people from all over the world reading this little thing and I would love to say hi! and in some shameless advertising, don't forget to visit Catholic Parables my other blog. ok, enough of shameless advertising, ha!
If you are one of those people blessed with stupidly enormous amounts of money and you have a job in which you can take off whenever you want you should think about going in this Salesian Pilgrimage. (The people over there should pay me for doing all this advertising). Its going through the footsteps of Father Francis in France and Switzerland. I bet its going to be amazing, probably they will see the incorruptible heart of Father Francis over at Annecy!
But if you are one of those blessed mortals that live in Europe and have the joy of being a member of the European Union (no visa to travel woo hoo!) you have no excuse to not have visited these places, I've been in Europe, I know everything is really close (compared to stuff in the Americas) so you should go! As for me I might stop eating and live under a bridge for the next five years. Maybe then I can pay for a ticket ha!
And for the sake of randomness.... a jackrabbit:
God bless all the jackrabbits of the world.
p.s. I apologize for the stream of conciousness writing. I seem to be suffering of the effects of a sugar/caffeine withdrawal.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Please say a prayer for an special intention from yours truly. Something really sucky happened this weekend but hopefully it can be solved... thanks.
Now its time for a little Saint Trivia :) Who is the Jesuit most associated with St. Francis de Sales? A clue... without him we wouldn't know about the devotion to the Sacred Heart. give up?
St. Claude la Colombiere, S.J.
He was the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Visitation nun to which Jesus appeared to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Aside from his wisdom in directing souls, he was sent to England during the most virulent anti-catholic period. He was imprisoned and suffered a "dry" martyrdom. Meaning that he suffered everything except death. He was expelled from England and sent back to France where he died of tuberculosis which was aggravated during the harsh treatment he received in imprisonment. Because of his ties with St. Margaret Mary, he is a "Salesian Jesuit" if you want to call him that. He loved the Love of Christ, represented in His Sacred Heart and wrote much including this amazing prayer:
My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.
People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. "For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope." This confidence can never be in vain. "No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded."
I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. "In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded."
I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changeable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.
Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assaults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded."
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I am excited. Not only because of the knowledge but also because of the opportunity of meeting people who know about and love St. Francis of Sales. Also because it's been a year since I am out of college and I miss using my brain to acquire knowledge.
Plus I am in a "Show me Thy Will" moment in life, and it was pretty clear that He wanted me to do this, so I am excited to see what will come out of it. Right now I am not fully...mmm.."satisfied" with what I am doing but then again, like Father Francis says, I should just be what I am and be that perfectly. Right now I am a Catholic, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a receptionist. I should be doing that perfectly, and that's plenty challenging... we'll see what You want after that.
The old priest suggests, "Cross your arms over your chest and rub your chin with one hand." The new priest tries this. The old priest suggests, "Try saying things like, 'I see, yes, go on, and I understand, how did you feel about that?"
The new priest says those things, trying them out. The old priest says, "Now, don't you think that's a little better than slapping your knee and saying, 'No way! What happened next?'"
A bunch of priests from a variety of orders had a retreat together in their Archdiocese to pray for an increase in vocations. One night, while they're praying the evening office, the light goes off in their little chapel.
The Benedictines, having memorized the office long ago, continue chanting as though nothing has happened.
The Jesuits immediately begin arguing about whether this dispenses them from their obligation for the day.
The Dominicans return to a discussion they'd begun earlier in the day about the symbolism of darkness throughout Scripture.
The Franciscans begin composing a hymn thanking God for His great darkness.
The Carmelites go deeply into silent contemplation.
The diocesan priest excuses himself, walks down to the janitor's closet, comes back in, and changes the light bulb.
Monday, May 14, 2007
One thing I love about Father DeSales, when someone would get "entangled" in their own fears, scruples and confusions he would tell them to be faithful but to not force it. He always tought anxiety and fear some of the most hurtfull things spiritually.
"Avoid anxiety and worries, for nothing so impedes our progress toward perfection. Place your heart in our Lord's wounds gently, and not by force; have the utmost confidence that in His mercy and kindness He will not forsake you' yet; for all that, do not relax your hold on His holy cross." Letter to Jane de Chantal on May,1604
prayers would be appreciated as I place myself gently in His wounds...
Friday, May 11, 2007
And I got Commissioned yesterday. Wow.
In this ministry, you must be examples of Christian living in faith and conduct; you must strive to grow in holiness through this sacrament of unity and love. Remember that, though many, we are one body because we share the one bread and one cup.
As Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion be, therefore, especially observant of the Lord’s command to love your neighbor. For when he said to them: “This is my commandment, that you should love one another as I have loved you.” Rite of Commissioning.
I know the grace that I need will be provided... if this is just for a lowly EMHC... what would it be for a priest?! man! there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a holy priest! I believe part of the call of a EMHC is to pray for and promote vocations to the priesthood, so one day EMHCs are not needed. But as long as we are needed we should never allow it to become trivial, and we should fulfill our call:
Are you resolved to administer the body and blood of the Lord to your brothers and sisters, and so serve to build up the Church? R/. I am.
Are you resolved to administer the Holy Eucharist with utmost care and reverence? R/. I am.
Another thought, had a conversation with a friend the other day. I told him about the Three Great Graces I have received in my life.
1) A craving for God since my earliest youth even though I did not receive a good religious education and even though my family was not religious at all. After school I would (instead of going straight home as I was told to) go to the Cathedral in my Mexican hometown and just sit there.
2) A call to attend Daily Mass. In my junior year in high school a nun friend thought I should be going to mass everyday and told me so. I kindoff refused saying that the only mass I could make was at 7:30 a.m. and I didn't have a car. So she said she would pick me up EVERY DAY from my house at 7. Notice that we didn't live in the same town, which means she had to wake up at around 5, go pick me up, go to mass and drop me off at school. A year later she got transferred but I kept going to daily Mass.
3) My Father De Sales... need I say more?
I don't receive this graces worthily many times and I struggle a lot but I rejoice when I remember these Three Great Graces. They are proof that God loves me, is involved in my life and wants me to be saved.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
"The person who has been appointed to be an extraordinary minister of the Holy
Eucharist is necessarily to be duly instructed and should distinguish himself by
his Christian life, faith and morals. Let him strive to be worthy of this great office; let him cultivate devotion to the Holy Eucharist and show himself as an example to the other faithful by his piety and reverence for this most holy Sacrament of the altar. Let no one be chosen whose selection may cause scandal among the faithful." Immensae Caritatis, 1973
I am quite far from that. I do believe EVERYTHING Mother Church teaches (no cafeteria catholic here) and strive to Love Him who loved me first and to love His people. But I know people way more qualified. I am prideful, self righteous, impatient, ignorant, selfish and struggle a lot... but I guess it comes down to the fact that no one is Worthy. But He called. And joyfully I obey. Saint Tarcisius patron saint of Extraordinary Ministers, pray for us!
Now, I know that many people don't like EMHCs because of all the liturgical abuses that go on in some places, but in the hospital I work at there is one catholic chaplain who is also a Parish Priest and there is a LIST of people waiting to receive Holy Communion. There is a valid need for EMHCs here... I know it would be great if we could have religious doing it, but we don't have them available. I will try to get out of it as much as possible, put if the chaplain asks me to help I'll better be prepared. That is why I requested to be Commissioned and trained, and that is why I am signing up for an online Salesian course on the Eucharist at the Salesian Center for Faith and Culture at DeSales University. (does anyone know about them? are they orthodox? they seems so, but if you know something please let me know before I pay for the course!)
Oh my Beautiful Lord, give me the grace to be faithful to you. Cleanse my heart of any imperfection in my intention of serving you as an Extraordinary Minister. If there is any pride, selfishness or self-righteousness, vanish it Oh Lord. May my only reason of action be the Love of You and wanting to console You and your people by bringing You to them. Amen. Mother Mary, pray for us.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
A possible problem is that you may have a too narrow a view of orthodoxy, and anyway, you are still a youth and not yet mature in your faith.
What is your style of American Catholicism?
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Random Thought: For a while it seemed that my subconscious wasn't aware of the results of this last conclave, until a couple of weeks ago when I had my first B16 dream. We were both sitting in a very comfortable couch in some fancy house (I think I thought it was his) he was reading a book. We did not talk. We were just chilling. B16 and me.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
so, a new blog for all the Catholic "Parables" I've been writing through time: Catholic Parables
I had to clean up my intention, you know, it shouldn't be about '' read my stories!" but for the Glory of God. I realized Christ used parables all the time, story telling has a great power to bring our hearts to Christ. That is why at the end of each Parable there will be an ''explanation of the Parable" coming from writings of the Saints or from the Magisterium that inspired the story. Not all will be from my authorship. I might put some stuff from the Saints. Well see!
so visit, read, comment, enjoy and invite others!
Monday, May 7, 2007
See, He had called me (through St. Francis of Sales) to wake up earlier every morning for prayer. First he presented it to me as mortification. And mortification it became! gosh! the first days were wonderful, the stillness, Him. But little by little I stopped going to bed early, so it became harder and harder to wake up in the morning... now I still put on the alarm... but just to shut it off whenever it rings and go back to sleep.
I lost focus again. Its not about mortification. Not about what I am doing for Him... in every single thing that I think I am doing for Him, I should look and realize what He is doing for me. Its not about just plain obedience. Its about LOVE.
So, surfing the web today I found the writings of Hermano Rafael, a Blessed. He was a Spanish Trappist monk. Died in 1938 at the age of 27. Most of his writings are still only in Spanish (this is when I love being bilingual) I read one of his letters to his parents, one of them talks about how he struggles with sleep and how he fights it... and that's when it dawned on me. Through my good brother Rafael. I think I've found a new friend.
Please pray that I become faithful to Him who has loved me first. That I defeat sleep and encounter my beloved in the early hours of the morning. That He reveals himself to me and quiets down my soul. That we fall in love again.
So for an insight into my little world, we are mission territory (nah, its not a cool exotic mission territory, we just happen to be that cuz there are very few catholics) which means most of our priests are foreigners and missionaries. We got African, Indian, Filipino, Korean, Mexican and Irish missionary priests to feed us the Eucharist. Talk about cultural diversity. Anyway, the Irish Pallotines were the first priests that arrived in our little part of the world...and in two weeks the last of them is leaving. He's been here for most of his life as a priest and now he is going back to Ireland... so for most of us for whom Europe is some far-away land that we've heard of some times this is the final good bye. Yesterday, after mass he said ''my superior has asked me to go back, and well...(he choked up and looked down for a moment but composed himself and said) I've always said yes, and I said yes again." There were lots of tears in our little chapel. I mean, this man has been our Father. And now he is leaving.
What amazed me is that he is a very elderly man and at a time when most people are slowing down he is once again called to leave everything behind and re-start a life that he left decades ago. They are calling him back to his home country but definitely not for retirement. They are going to put him to work. Plus everyone in his close family has probably passed away. There is no rest for our priests. No retirement. They are priests forever!
At the end of Mass my dad was too choked up. He just took our priest's hand and kissed it and said "see you next Sunday." Father just smiled and sighed. I told Father that I would go to Ireland and visit him. He chuckled. yeah sure... Man... If I marry I wanted him to be the one presiding the wedding... I guess not.
Our priest here have it so hard. They end up in random parishes in the middle of nowhere, they have to deal with cultural shock. Imagine a mostly Hispanic parish with an Indian priest who used to be a monk! Yet they are all wonderfully orthodox, loving and kind.
Today, say a prayer for all the missionaries that leave their countries, family, language, culture and traditions and love their little flock in barren lands.
And say a special prayer for Father Mike of the Irish Pallotines.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Mary went through the small stone room in her parents home, taking some clothes for the journey, putting all of them in a bundle. Packing for the trip. Her back was aching and she felt her son moving. She paused for a moment and looked around the room. A dim morning light poured in through the small window. She remembered. The angel had appeared in this room. The memories of the visit were clear even though it had been eight months ago. She breathed in, trying to go back to that moment. The light. The Presence. But for a moment her mind wandered into the memories of what happened after the angel had gone. The recriminations. The tears. The fear. But she dispelled those memories like a bad dream. It was over. The angel had spoken to Joseph. He had knelt and in tears had asked for forgiveness as her astounded parents looked. Her heart had poured in thanksgiving. After that her parents kept quiet. They never discussed the events. It was as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Mary was married to Joseph. Mary was going to have a baby. Nothing else.
Anna came into the room and without saying a word she started helping her around. Nothing new. They’ve never been many words between them. Mary was done with her packing. Her father came in and in silence took the bundle. Joseph was already outside waiting and they started walking out but suddenly Joachim stopped and turned around. Mary stood there as a pillar. It had been a long time since his father had looked her into the eyes. ‘Mary…’’ he started but his voice cracked. Anna lowered her eyes and stood there. Joachim composed himself. ‘Mary…if we don’t see you again…’’ Mary smiled ‘Oh papa, don’t say such things. The trip is long, I know, but we will be back before the year is over. We are just going for the census. We’ll be back soon.’’ But Joachim shook his head sadly. ‘Mary, if we don’t see you again…well… I just wanted to tell you …that we believe you…’’ Joachim paused and looked at Mary and his whole being trembled. ‘that we do believe you are the Mother of the Messiah.’’ Joachim’s being shook and he felt himself an old man. He looked at his fifteen year old daughter. And she looked tall and strong like an Ivory Column. His knees felt weak, was he supposed to kneel? But before he could decide his daughter was embracing him. ‘Oh papa, I love you’ Joachim sobbed softly. “that’s how I knew it was true Mary, no angel appeared to me. I just saw how you forgave everything and loved us … anyone can lie, but no one who lies can love so perfectly.’’ Mary let go of her father and saw her mother sobbing quietly. Mary approached her and embraced her too. ‘Oh child…’ Anna wept. Mary was surprised at how frail she seemed. Marys heart broke in kindness and love and the thought of never seeing them again scared her. But there was no reason to fear. She knew Joseph would bring her back safely. They would just go for the census, maybe the baby would have to be born in Bethlehem, but they would be back for sure at the end of the year.
Copyright© 2007 ViveJesus! May not be copied in any form (including blogs)without permission
I am leaving the convent.
I sit alone in the office of Mother Superior. She just walked out to attend a visitor. We had been going over the small procedures that have to be taken care of before I leave. The process is simple. After all, I am just a postulant. Postulants leaving are the most common thing in a convent.
The last rays of sunlight fall on the scattered pieces of paper over the desk. The convent, the sisters, my plans, they all walked out of my life when Mother Superior did, and I remain by myself, in the simple office, with the Icon.
It rests on the wall behind Mother’s desk and I look sadly upon it. It is a reproduction of the Icon painted by Andrei Rublev. It recounts the hospitality of Abraham toward three strangers who turned out to be angels. The angels sit around a table, facing me. It is called the Old Testament Trinity because the three angels symbolize the three persons of the Trinity.
It is my God.
A golden image of my God.
I sigh. Since childhood the convent had been my dream. The habit, my goal. Just as my little friends dreamt of a prince charming I dreamt of my final profession. Where did I got that dream from? I thought that it was from God…I guess not.
The monotony is what got me. The schedule, the bells had slowly choked me. A horizon where I could exactly predict what I would be doing at 3 p.m. for the rest of my life terrified me. I blamed the convent, religious life, the whole concept of it, but then I noticed the other postulants. They were beaming. They talked about the freedom they experienced. It was not only talk, I saw them increase in charity and patience day by day. It was real. Their freedom was real. But not for me.
I was sincere. But sincerity is not enough. There had to be a call and surprisingly to me, I did not have it.
Mother Superior had consoled me and encouraged me, but at the end she had agreed. It is time to leave.
It had been my goal. My dream. The place I belonged at. But I was wrong all the time…
I know it will be ok. I know there is a place, somewhere for me. But… I was so sure of where my home was, yet now I’m left alone. The family I was sure I belonged to turned out to be for someone else.
I breathe in, but there doesn’t seem to be enough air in the room.
The three angels look at me from their sea of gold. One of the angels is pointing at the table. The food is served. “Where?” my soul whispers. And suddenly grace arrives, like a wave touching the shore.
There is a free spot around His table.
A free spot…a place.
“With Me” He answers.
And I smile.
Copyright© 2007 ViveJesus! May not be copied in any form (including blogs)without permission
On another note, a reader commented he/she has a relic of St. Francis of Sales...man!! does anyone know what is the process to get a relic? I mean, I know a first degree is kindoff impossible, but how could I get a second or third degree? thanks! Oh! and I read somewhere that in a Visitation Convent in Italy they have his incorruptible heart! That is just amazing!
By the way, I should get back into reading his letters.. I've been kindoff neglecting him cuz' I've been having a hard time spiritually. Which is a stupid thing to do, I have to say...
Anywho, I read in a book of his letters "While feeling a holy envy for those souls to whom these letters were written..." and it got me thinking. Yeah, it would have been great to be alive back then and to be able to meet him personally, but when we think about it, they didn't have 24/7 access to him, I mean, he was an incredibly busy Bishop...but we do!
Also, before he went to Heaven, he was still very much limited by time and space, meaning that even those closest to him (Jane de Chantal) suffered separation from their beloved director... but we don't! It is true that I don't get to go to Confession with him, but most of the time neither did the people who knew him personally. So actually, I think we have it better. 24/7 access! God is so good.who hoo!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Anywho. Now its time for a little rant.
And obtain for me, Oh Mary, love of God and love of neighbor.
These last days I’ve been having some minor revelations which all put together have made me understand so much! They come from His two fold commandment of “love God and love your neighbor.” Somewhere amongst the many things I read, I read that worship and service are the ways in which we love God. I had never though deeply about worship and service and how this two fulfill the Commandment. Its pretty amazing stuff!
You know how it is if you go to daily mass for a while. At some point you kind off stop paying attention, your mind wanders, you start thinking about jackrabbits and turtles and all kinds of random stuff. Mass becomes this time to “unwind.” If you are lucky the bells of the consecration startle you and you make a minor effort to pay attention again…wait.. no? you never get distracted? Well, then its probably just little pagan me. Anyway, it happens to me often and sadly I have to say I hadn’t put much effort into fixing the situation. I just hadn’t realized the importance of it. But lately I have been reading all this blogs that talked about the importance of the Liturgy and I also read about their frustration with liturgical abuses. But I kept thinking "c'mon, the love in our hearts is what matters, what’s the big deal?”
Well…now I get what’s the big deal! Thanks to the random discovery of an old Baltimore Catechism I’ve learned that the Mass is our main act of worship to our God, it’s the moment when we are truly before Him offering him the Eternal Sacrifice! Yeah, I know that you all knew this, but people! This is news to me! I’ve probably heard it somewhere before but for the first time in my life these last days I’ve listened!
The love in my heart is expressed through my preparation, attentiveness and thanksgiving in Mass. I might have love in my heart for my boyfriend, but if I don’t pay attention to what he says, or make a minimum effort to prepare for a date or thank him for his kindness then…well… I doubt the truthfulness of that love!
Also, all other forms of worship derive from the Mass. For example Adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, personal prayer, our daily work and sacrifices, aspirations through out the day… our punctual, diligent, beauty-filled, celebration of this acts of worship point to the reality of our Love for Him who loved us first!
But His commandment is not only ''Love your God", it also says ''Love your neighbor," since how can we love God who we can't see if we don't love our neighbor that we see?
I knew this, obviously, but just lately I’ve started to understand what it means.
The first epiphany was about what LOVING means. For a long time I used to think that loving my neighbor was not gossiping, not lying, not being impatient or angry.... but now I realize one thing...that is just not offending my neighbor! I am called to love them, not only to not offend them! I am called to go out of my way to be kind, gentle and truly of service! I am not only called to not get angry, I am called to be patient and loving. I’m not only called to not ignore people, I am called to befriend the friendless, to give that person no one invites to things a call. To do everything with a smile. When anyone leaves my presence he or she should feel cared for! not only not offended! We are held to a higher standard. If right now we are just “not offending’’ our neighbor, then we should be doing more. Going the “extra-mile” should be an every-encounter routine.
My second little epiphany had to do with PROXIMITY. When I was younger I wanted to go ''off somewhere'' and do ''God's work," you know, do the whole missionary thing. Going to another country, doing grand things, write big books, heal the sick, console the poor somewhere far off... but then reality sets in. My obligations to my family have ''limited me'' and I am now in a small city, and it seems I might be here for the long run. But then God slapped me and made me understand. Apart from the pride that was involved into wanting to do ''grand things for God but according to my will," I realized I am to love those closest, because if I don't how could I ever love strangers? If I don't love those that I can see, how could I ever truly love those off in Asia or Africa that I do not see?
If I don't love those closest to me it is almost a sure sign that my love for strangers is false and based on pride. Mother Teresa said: "It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start." she also said "Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."
I think that if we want to Love we should begin with our family. These people are usually the ones that upset us the most, many times if we treated our friends like we treat our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers we would be friendless pretty soon. I know that many people don’t live near their families, but still, these are the people that God, in His plan, has designated to be in our hearts forever, for better of for worse. A friend might stop being one but your father will always be your father.
And when we do ministry (as all of us should) I say, look around the town you are at! There is a reason we are where we are right now. I became surprised at seeing the poverty that exists in my town, the homeless, the poor recent immigrants, the abandoned elderly... they are all right here, right now. I can go and give them a visit, but instead I send money to some far away organization and feel good about myself. I am not saying that you should stop supporting the ''save africa" or ''save china'' organizations... I am just saying that we should focus on those closest to us. These are the people the Lord has put in our path. These are the main people we are supposed to love and serve. Obviously there are those called to be missionaries, but I bet a missionary will never be effective if he didn't love those closest to him before he went off.
So in conclusion. Lets be prepared, attentive and thankful for Mass. Let all our acts of worship be truly fulfilling our call to Love God. And let us love our neighbor, the one closest to us, by not only not offending them, but by loving them to the point of sacrifice.
End of rant.