What I’m up to these days…

Final exams are finished, thanks be to God!

However, I can’t make the trek back home yet, as my practicum project has a Christmas Eve service that I need to be at. So in spite of the fact that I’ll be going home ON Christmas Day, I’m enjoying the break and the time to relax by myself for now. I’ve got a knitting project on the go, as well as some books to read. One is a biography of St. Jean Marie Vianney by Francis Trochu and the other is a book on the Eucharist entitled Jesus:  Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano Manelli. In addition to his own personal thoughts, he uses many quotes from the saints and Scripture to emphasize the beauty and greatness of this sacrament. An excerpt (from page 37):

When Jesus is mine, the whole Church rejoices:  the Church in Heaven, in Purgatory, and on earth. Who can express the joy the angels and saints feel at every Holy Communion worthily received? A new current of love enters Paradise and a new delight comes to the blessed spirits every time a creature unites himself devoutly to Jesus, to possess Him and be possessed by Him. A Holy Communion is of much greater value than an ecstasy, a rapture, or a vision. Holy Communion transports the whole of Paradise into my poor heart!

I’ve been taking this book to Mass with me and spending some time prior to Mass reading and reflecting on God’s Love of mankind. In Advent and at Christmastime we remember how God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to become Man and die for our sake. Jesus’ meekness at His birth in Bethlehem was only the beginning of His life of humility, and that humility is likewise made manifest in the Eucharist. The Son of God, King of Heaven and Earth, and Messiah of God’s people becomes present on our altars at Mass and even more! He enters our very selves when we receive Him in Holy Communion. Truly, He is Emmanuel.

I’m not even halfway through this book, but I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a terrific read for anyone who wants to grow closer to Our Lord through reflection and meditation on the love of God. The Mystical Body and Blood of Our Lord is the nearest to Heaven that we can get during our life on earth, so I encourage you to think about this next time you receive Holy Communion.

Until next time, peace be with you and God bless!

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My new patron saint

Dina_Belanger

Learning about new saints is a fun little pursuit of mine. I try to learn a good deal about the saints because  while their lives were not perfect examples, they show us how to rise above the cultural and secular expectations and become holy. That is my ideal.

Anyways, my latest “find” is the Canadian nun and mystic known as Blessed Dina Belanger. You can read her whole story here (the site I have linked to is devoted to the stories of mystics and is faithful to the Magisterium). I find her story interesting for a number of reasons:

1. She was Canadian, like me.

There aren’t a lot of saints (or beatified persons) who were born and raised in Canada, so I find the stories familiar, in a way. When they mention the cold of a winter night or a city in a nearby province, I can sort of see the story playing out in my mind. It becomes familiar in that way and I don’t forget it.

2. She had a temper, also like me.

Just getting it out there: I had an awful temper when I was younger. As a baby I would scream for quite a long time without quitting, and as I got older (being the oldest) I got a little spoiled. So now I also have a holy person that I can relate to in this respect.

3. She chose “death rather than defilement”. 

When she was admitted to the Sodality of Our Lady she took the motto “Death rather than defilement”. This shows what a strong will she had, just like many of the other young saints of the Catholic Church. And finally…

4. She was a pianist.

There have been many saints and holy people who have played an instrument or sung a good deal during their life, but I think Bl. Dina Belanger is different. She didn’t just play piano for a few years. She persevered and became a very accomplished pianist (I can say this as a pianist who has read about her credentials. St. Cecilia is invoked as the patron saint of musicians, but I think that if she is ever canonised, Bl. Dina Belanger ought to be the patron saint of pianists. Just my two cents. 😉

So may God bless you and Blessed Dina Belanger pray for you!

Make 2014 a year for learning!

bookstack

While I was reading my daily dose of Catholic blogs over on Big Pulpit, I came across something cool. Please note, I’m only saying its cool because I’m one of those scholarly young Catholics who like to read more about the Catholic faith (and because Vatican II fascinates me 😉 ). Nonetheless, its good for all Catholics to try and learn more, and what better time than the new year!

The cool thing I found was a reading plan that takes you through all of the Vatican II documents in fifty-two weeks. Each reading is a few paragraphs long (be warned: parts of it can be a little difficult to understand) and you only have to do one reading per day. You can find these documents online, or you can use the handy-dandy link I have included below.

For the reading plan, click here.

For links to the documents, click here.

May God bless each and every one of you!

All in the name of “equality”

So apparently there has been some rumbling and shaking on the earth due to the recent remarks of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. He paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (which is supposedly equivalent to “hateful speech”) and as a result he is being removed from the show. Now the “vast majority” of Duck Dynasty viewers who support gay marriage and homosexuality will get their wish and will finally be able to watch a TV show that supports all of their beliefs with exception.

Ah, 21st century America. Land of truth and religious freedom.

But see, here’s the part that I find ironic. The LGBT community can say whatever they want to the Christians who object to their view.

“You bigot! Christian sucker!”

“Its all about love, man. Can’t you see that?”

“If two people love each other, who are you to say they can’t get married?”

And so on and so forth. Its all fine and dandy for the media because they can show all of these liberated, happy people kissing and having a good time. It all looks really good, therefore it must be good.

But when a Christian says something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t believe that same-sex marriage is right,” the LGBT activists will jump on it with, “Well don’t force your religion/beliefs on us!” Heck, I’m surprised they haven’t accused WordPress itself of being anti-gay just because it puts a red squiggly line under “LGBT.”

Great. So they’re entitled to total freedom of speech and Christians aren’t?

Right. Whatever happened to, “one nation under God?”

No clue. *sigh* And all of this is in the name of “equality.”

Duck Dynasty patriarch suspended from show after anti-gay comments

Duck Dynasty star refuses to back down on ‘anti-gay’ remarks

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

A Psalm for Advent

Out of the depths I call to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered.

I wait with longing for the Lord, my soul waits for His word.
My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel look for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness, with Him is full redemption,
And God will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Psalm 130

Another anniversary…

Today is another special day for me. Not only is the Solemnity of All Saints; its my anniversary with Jesus.

On October 31, 2010, after almost a year of doubt and disbelief in God, I was struck by how much He loved me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I decided to come back into the fullness of the faith and follow Jesus. So the very next morning I started out by praying the Rosary and asking Mary to pray for me, and almost every day since then I have prayed the Rosary. I also promised God that I would remain pure according to my state in life, practice virtue (especially charity), and I would always strive to do His Will. As time went on, I gradually started adding more and more prayers to my daily routine, so that now I pray and read the Bible for almost an hour a day.

After a few months of praying a daily Rosary and a couple of other prayers, I started to see changes in myself. I went to Confession more frequently. Before that decision to follow Jesus, I would only go to Confession two or three times each year, but once I saw myself for who I truly was (a sinner), I realized how much I needed His mercy. Another effect was the desire to learn more about my faith. A new family had started attending Mass at our parish, and I learned that they attended Mass in Latin occasionally. Prior to that, I had never even heard of such a thing! So I looked through all of the Catholic books on our bookshelf, researched on the computer, and found a few answers. One of the websites where I found the most information is Catholic Answers Forum. I met lots of wonderful people on this forum who attend the Latin Mass and could give me a few answers to my questions. Soon, I saw that there were many other things that I didn’t know about the Catholic faith, like that the USA has more holy days of obligation than Canada, and that Saint Therese’s parents were beatified. I will freely admit, though, I still have lots to learn.

God has greatly blessed me, both in the past three years and on this special day. He gave me the life and strength to rise early and praise Him, the sunrise this morning was absolutely glorious, and most importantly, He has given me the hope of seeing Him in heaven someday. Praise the Lord!

More on Humility

I was looking through my journal a couple of nights ago and I found this little tidbit that I had written last fall.

“Humility is a noble virtue; a true prize.

To gain it, you must deeply love Christ and all other people above yourself.

To keep it, you must practice it always [without ceasing].

Always search for ways to show humility.

The dictionary says the humility is humbleness; a modest view of one’s [puny] importance.

If we are to be humble [as children of God], then we must practice humble works! Scrub floors and toilets; do dishes and fold laundry! And whilst you are in the midst of these things, the Lord will show you the way to humility.

God bless!