Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
Thou art the King of Glory, O Lord Jesus Christ; when Thou didst take upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's Womb

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Mystery of the Blessed Sacrament

I posted a status today on Facebook saying that I wanted to understand the Blessed Sacrament and judging from some of the comments, I think I should clarify what I meant.

The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith (I think this is from the Catechism, but it is definitely on the Vatican website and I've heard/seen it many times before) and as Roman Catholics, we believe that Jesus Christ becomes truly and mystically present in the sacred species during Holy Mass.  The Creator of the world is physically and truly present in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Holy Communion; not just mere symbols as Protestantism erroneously claims.

So if that's true, I want to know the power behind this Mystery of God.  What does this mean for pious Christians who approach the Holy Table to receive these beautiful Gifts?  I feel like this is something that is believed in theory among Catholics (although Orthodox seem to wholeheartedly believe in the True Presence), but to me, a lack of Faith seems to prevent us from experiencing the fullness of this amazing Truth.  It's so sad.  These are things that I notice:

People that attend Holy Mass and receive the Lord seem so hasty about it.  There is this crazy idea that we need as many Extraordinary 'Ministers' of Holy Communion so we can speed along the distribution.  And although the Second Vatican Council did not intend this at all, people seem to think this is another role to be filled like ushers, and greeters, and people who collect the offering, and what not.

Not to be judgmental, but the way in which a lot of people receive Holy Communion distressed me to the point where I just don't look (there are other reasons I don't look such as the fact that that is a very intimate encounter to have the personal visitation of our Lord and God and should not be disturbed by my eyes).  These really fast Signs of the Cross, the quick and hurried bows (or nods of the head)...if people even remember to do them (technically, if you're going to bow, it has to be three bows...not just one...).  People walking while receiving Holy Communion.  And also not many people offer prayers of thanksgiving for the Heavenly Food, the Bread of Angels, which they just received.  Even more, many leave the church while processing away from the Communion line before Mass even ends!

What in the world?!  This is just unacceptable and I just want to scream every time I witness these at Holy Mass.  I've never seen anything like this in the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy (actually I love how they receive Holy Communion).  How Communion is received in the Extraordinary Form is more acceptable, but still sometimes seems like a lack of piety.  As judgmental as that sounds, this is what I've observed.

But I think the reason that I'm seeing this (and maybe you all have noticed it as well) is because we don't take the time to ponder what we have in the Blessed Sacrament.  Another thing that bothers me is no one likes to talk about it either (although I can almost always get a conversation about the glories of the Blessed Sacrament from a lot of Orthodox...*cough* Catholics, we need to step it up).  Why wouldn't we want to share and give thanks together (not just as Holy Mass) about these things?

Since we are all trying to get to Heaven and should be trying to encourage each other towards our Heavenly Home, why not speak of these Mysteries and help each other to receive them more reverently?  I can't tell you how many texts I've sent to Catholics trying to engage them to talk about these things to not get an answer back...

Now, about the comments on my status.  Both were from two Christians (one Catholic and one Orthodox) whose piety I greatly admire and thank God for how prayerful they both are and both are very spiritual although the Catholic has a hard time expressing it in words but I know it's there.  Well, he missed the point I was trying to make, and she (Orthodox and very much on fire with the Holy Ghost, Deo gratias..and she has really been accompanying me on this journey and it's always great to hear from her because she gives me much good things to think and consider and sends me some great sermons too) wanted to emphasize the "mystery" part of the Sacrament and just have Faith to accept it which is not exactly where I was going, but she did tell me that no matter what we feel or know or do not know, we must trust that the Lord is working on us and purifying us with His Grace through the Sacraments even if we cannot tell.

I think this is key because I do not really feel "changed" or anything after receiving the Sacraments and it sometimes makes me wonder if I 1) received them unworthily or if I 2) wasn't good enough or something and I would get frustrated because these holy means of Grace are supposed to guard us from sin and despair   yet that only seems to last for maybe hours at best...  And I kinda think to myself, "God must be stronger than that, so maybe the problem is me..." but there's like no help to correct this.  Priests don't seem to take me seriously when I ask.  My knees are probably all crusty from trying to pray for answers on this so much.  Other Catholics don't really know what to say through lack of catechesis (or indifference...I've noticed a lot of traditional Catholic men (I don't know many women) seem pretty indifferent to my spiritual life probably because I don't know as much as they do and as with most guys, you have to show yourself worthy of them ugh), and if I talk to Orthodox men, I'm going to get beaten over the head with the "You need to leave that heretical church and join the True Church so you can get True Sacraments and you won't have this problem!"

Is God torturing me, again, this is another desire that I have that He, for whatever reason, is withholding from me, and what spiritual good is it really doing?  I cannot tell at the moment, but maybe something good will come of it.

So I'm going to be in the Scriptures and in the Catechisms again trying to soak in all these words and maybe read some Fathers along the way about the Holy Eucharist and see if that helps a little more.

I just want to run to my Lord and have Him welcome me with open arms and cast away all my doubts and fears and just be wrapped in His Love and have Him keep me there safe from all the spiritual trauma that I feel I go through (internally) on a daily basis.  Somehow, I'm still in the game!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Hoping to Do It Right

Father delivered his sermon at Holy Mass today on homosexuality and it was really good.  Praise God for his priestly wisdom and for the Holy Ghost giving him the words to say!  It wasn't the easiest sermon for me to listen to, but it was still really good.

I'm going to be starting a book study with my friend and it's called "Beginning to Pray" and I'm looking forward to it.  Prayer is difficult, even though it's something I've been doing my whole life, I still feel like I hardly know how to do it even though there have been times when I would pray for very lengthy periods of time.  I'm not quite sure how orthodox or pious this is, but I'm trying a new thing where when I pray to God (unless I'm reading a prayer), I just talk to Him normally like He's sitting right in front of my face and like He's a guidance counselor or something.  I try to talk to Him as normally as I would talk to them and tell Him EVERYTHING that is on my mind and exactly how I'm feeling, but that's still kinda hard because I'm so used to addressing the Most Holy Trinity very formally and like I'm trying to impress Him with my words.

Father recently told me in Confession that I need to be praying constantly.  This is from the Holy Scriptures after all, so maybe anytime I am having idle thoughts, I should just direct them towards God and tell Him those thoughts.  My goal is to be in constant communication with the Lord and involve Him in everything.  Now, if I'm doing something sinful or thinking about doing something sinful, I don't know how much I will be just talking to Him because that would feel really awkward...  Hopefully if I talk to Him often enough and truthfully enough, I can avoid those occasions of sin and this won't be an issue.  Priests have often told me to pray when undergoing temptation, but if I'm already experiencing the temptation and a strong pull towards it, what good would a prayer really do then?  I have prayed during temptation before and it did not really diminish the temptation at all and in the process I felt embarrassed to even think about God.  It was agonizing because I remember how guilty I felt, but also how angry I felt because I've prayed for Him to protect me from those moments.  In fact, in every Mass offered in the Extraordinary Form, there is a prayer that asks God to deliver us from all sin, past, present, and to come by the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Holy Apostles Peter, Paul, and Andrew and all the Saints.  Also, I've said my St. Michael the Archangel prayers (after all Masses and recitations of the Holy Rosary), so I'm confused as to why I even get tempted.  Do we not pray in the Lord's Prayer (aka, the most perfect prayer) for God to lead us not into temptation??  All these prayers against sin and temptation (even the Ordinary Form prays against these things), and they still happen.

I'll even add that when I pray these specific prayers, that I kick into high gear and really beg God to answer these specific prayers.

Then there is the issue that I do not receive Holy Communion very often, so one could argue that that is why I don't experience this divine protection because I don't taste of the Holy Mysteries often enough and with enough faith...  I don't think people understand how much I have to go to Confession to receive Holy Communion and although I love the Sacrament of Penance (it's healing, it gives Sanctifying Grace, it frees me from the bonds of death), but it is tiring and repetitive and the guilt is stronger with each Confession (but also the liberation more meaningful...) and it just makes Holy Communion not seem worth it...  Also, I'm so used to not receiving Holy Communion that it feels awkward to receive and I always worry if I'm doing it right and if I've prayed enough or fasted with a good enough intensity and read enough Scriptures.  It's like an Olympic sport trying to receive the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, yet the Church encourages her children to receive daily?!  I know that our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters do not share this belief (except for those in monasteries or under the advice of a spiritual father).  But it makes me wonder that since the Sacrament of Penance also confers Sanctifying Grace to save the soul from Hell if that should be my Sacrament and not Holy Communion.  What do you guys think about that?

I spent much time reading the Courage website this evening and meditation on chapter 7 of St. Paul the Apostle's Epistle to the Romans, verses 19-23 (from the Propers of the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost) and thinking about how the wages of sin is death and that I don't want to die (spiritually) and how that frightens me, especially since I reflected (with the aid of a few Saints' writings) on the pains and torments of Hell and how easy it is to find oneself in that horrible abyss of torment, hatred, foul odors, demons, and the loss of God.  And the intensity of the fires...

Lastly, I realize that one of my biggest hurdles in overcoming sin is the anger and bitterness that I have that I will never have a family or a husband or anyone who really loves me and that I'm going to have to live my life alone.  I am afraid I won't be strong enough to emotionally support myself through times when people usually count on their spouse to lean on.  I do plan on being able to support myself financially, but it would be such a beautiful thing to share a family vacation or go to my son or daughter's symphony concert or hockey game or participate in a charity with my husband and have someone to pray every single day with and grow closer to God and help me receive the Sacraments and save my soul.  It's not even just about sex or anything, but more of having a companion and I am trying very hard to just be at peace with the fact that God does not want that for me and that He will bless me something better if I'm obedient to Him, but I cannot see what could possibly be better than that :/

Night y'all

Friday, July 6, 2012

Am I Meant to Hate Life? (serious)

The Lord is good and kind and merciful even to those of us who really do not deserve it. Why does He keep taking me back after I betray Him again and again? One thing that I wish I had was the strength to be what God wants me to be and I'm still looking for that strength. I know I can find it in the Sacraments so maybe it's time to step up my game with the help of God's Grace of course.

I've been going over things in my head lately and things that are keeping me from holiness are thoughts that I may never really enjoy life if I don't have certain things. That's so immature, though and I just want so badly to look past that because nothing in this life lasts forever.

I'm not going to lie, I feel very cheated by life when it comes to a lot of things and I find it hard to come up with a reason why God would let me desire something sooo badly if it was 1) wrong and 2) something I'll never likely have anyways. It's like my whole life tortures me and I've prayed to find relief from those feelings, but it's like the more I pray for them to go away, the more they haunt me. Why is that do you think?

It just seems like basic things that most people around me have or experience, I either hardly have it if at all or don't get to experience them and it makes me have thoughts of env and that makes me think badly of others and then I feel like I'm in a pit alone and perpetually upset.

Couldn't God just make me happy with Himself? I've seen so many people who don't care that they are missing out on this or that but are so at peace and motivated in the Faith or just otherwise content, and I've begged God for that but those "nice" feelings only last a short time. All it takes is stepping out in public and boom I'm back to where I started and it seems that way no matter how hard I pray or try to think positively.

So that makes me wonder about some things: Does God want me to be happy at all? What would the point of "useless" suffering be? Is there anything I can do that I haven't tried already? I just want answers...

I'm not going to make an elaborate list of all these things that I want but I'll talk about one in particular for this post: feeling like I'm part of a church family.

I'm sick of going to Holy Mass or Adoration or any function and being by myself while others are with their families or friends (my friends visit Mass with me but wouldn't attend regularly and they only go for me; not because they want to). I feel like I'm invisible everywhere!! Which is funny because I try to make myself standout a lot while I'm so conscious of other peoples' presence and definitely notice them.

There are a few people at some churches that I attend who do converse with me shortly or see how I'm doing but I've never had the opportunity to get close with them or become friends. I thought Catholics were supposed to fellowship.

I even tried getting involved but that doesn't seem to fruitful either. How does God expect me to have consistent Faith and holiness if I can't even make friends with holy people? I've begged Him for close Catholic friends that would be my primary group of friends and with whom I could offer Mass, pray the Rosary, study the doctrine, and talk about spiritual things and so far they've been with people that I've met in Facebook groups and forums but not people with whom I could hang out.

I don't want to be tempted by sin everywhere but I also don't want to stay cooped up in my room staring at the wall because the alternative is hanging out with Godless people.

Then a lot of people have their Catholic religion-obsessed friends and take them for granted. What?! I love my friends so I'm not going to throw them away because they aren't believers especially when they've been so much more charitable and caring to me than most Catholics (Catholics seem to either just be acquaintances (girls) or they don't like me (guys)) so can you blame me for having such a struggle? It's so bizarre and contradictory.

So am I supposed to hate everything about life because I seem to not be able to enjoy the perks of being Catholic or a heathen, but only get the inconveniences of both. What is that...
When will this end???

Thursday, July 5, 2012


So I was reading the Responsorial Psalm from the Mass of today and this verse struck me:

“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?” Psalm L

It seems that the Lord isn't happy that we talk like we're pious believers but then don't act like it in our hearts especially when He was very serious when He gave His Law to us. It is kinda easy to "say the right things," but we have to ask Him to help us discipline ourselves to live His Law.

It's so important for us to ask for and make use of His Grace so that we can have hearts and words be in union with each other. It's so hard though because feelings get in the way and the "end" (aka holiness) seems so far away so it's like what's the point but I hope that God helps me to understand more so I can be at better peace with things.

Just thought I'd share that <3

The Beach!

Happy 4th of July to all my readers!

Today was absolutely amazing. I went to the beach with my father, grandma, little brother, and best friend and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend this day. Wish Mommy was here too, but I did get to talk to her this morning!

I hadn't gone to the beach in years and it was great to experience God's beautiful creation this way. Normally I hate being wet but the water felt so good and refreshing! It was just breathtaking. Warn and Corey really enjoyed the water and the weather was nice, although very hot ): we were at Tybee Island, GA.

Also, we jet skied and that was such a rush!

At night we went to downtown Savannah to see the fireworks which were kinda lame but it was good to be with people that I really care about and who really care about me.

I was very moved thinking about how God created all this which the Word and it all came into being. And as the Father created all things through and for His Son, He did an incredible job to show how much He cares for Him. Everything was just so nice today.

I just want to thank God for everything I have that the Lord has blessed me with. He is gracious and kind and I hope to be able to thank Him and show Him how much it means. Shouldn't be complaining all the time.

Just wanted to share that with you guys.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grandpa's Salvation

This morning I was fortunate enough to pray the 5 Joyous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Virgin with my grandfather.  I recited the prayers, and he listened, probably praying in his heart.  Afterwards, we chanted some Psalms together (followed by him repeatedly asking me if I was interested in the priesthood and me repeatedly saying, "No, Grandpa, that's not my vocation."...repeat).

I've been wanting and meaning to recite the Rosary with him for some time now as I wonder how much he continues to be able to participate in Catholicism since my parents aren't Catholic and who would take him to Mass and to Confession?  Every time I ask him if he'd like to go to Confession, he says he just went (which isn't true but he believes it to be so because of the Alzheimer's) and I think that I should just pick him up and tell him we're going and that way he'll be more likely to do it.

What I'm concerned about is Christian death here.  Will my grandfather have a Christian burial with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction and Requiem (Mass for the Dead)?  The thought that he may not receive these Sacraments is very concerning to me and I'm to the point where I'm going to call around and see if any priest knows how to offer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction in the Extraordinary Form.  I do not want him to pass from this life without being helped by the Sacraments...  I know that my family wouldn't bother too much about this because they are either not Catholic or are no longer practicing, or are "hardly" practicing and if anything, this would just be a "formality."

How sad that the very means by which our gracious and loving Lord gives His superabundant Grace to us are merely considered formalities now.  How many people receive the Sacrament of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion) and never see church again until (if even) they receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony or are being buried?  How often do priests administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (or Last Rites as they are commonly called)?

Death is a very peculiar time for the demons which torment us throughout our lives and influence us to sin flock to our souls to snatch it to Hell before we have a chance to repent and be saved.  Therefore, the aid of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is extremely necessary.

As his grandson and a fellow Catholic, I am concerned about this and feel alone because who can I really talk to in my family about this?  What do I do?  I feel urged to do something so that he has the best chances for salvation that a man of his state and age and with that illness has.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

De Profundis (Out of the Depths)

The Agony of the Garden
Today I am distressed by my sins and just want to atone for them and do penance.  It is particularly fitting for today because the Church commemorates (at least in the traditional calendar) the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Father said in his sermon today that the importance of this Feast is to remind us that it is by the shedding of Christ's Blood that we are saved and given Life.  His Blood was shed because of my offenses and my weakness; being obstinate in sin, how could I ever hope for Heaven unless the Lord come down to sacrifice Himself for me?  When I really think about this, it causes me anguish that I repay God for His bountiful blessings with constant relapses into sin.  He gave me life, a family, friends, Catholicism, knowledge of the True Faith, and in return I spit in His Face, offend His goodness, crucify Him with my selfishness and the evils that plague my body and mind.  I am not a Christian, much less do I even deserve to invoke His Holy Name in time of trouble...  But praise God for His mercy and healing by instituting the Sacrament of Penance.

Moreover, Jesus Christ shed His Blood of His own will and it was His desire to do so and a simple reminder of the famous verse of the Evangelist St. John (III, 16) in his Gospel which reads:

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

These words sum up perfectly why our Lord gave His Life, because He loves us and wants us to be with Him.  He doesn't want any of His children to be cast into the eternal abyss of death and woe, Hell, that dark frightening place prepared for Satan and his angels and which is populated (and continues to be so) by those souls who, like me, have turned their backs on God.  What is more to think that down there are souls who haven't offended God nearly as much as I have, and that is scary and that makes me feel guilty about my persistence in the hatred of God by sinning against Him.

I just want to turn away now and forever, even at this very moment, from all the wicked that I do and follow Christ.  I want to love Him, I want to be like Him, I do not want to be like the heathens of this world and I also want to hate the world, but how?  Yes, I've asked for these before and continue to ask for them, but not actively, not with the intention of having my prayer answered at that very moment (if we pray for something, we should be ready to accept that God give it to us right then and there to see if our intentions are pure).  That's another sin, praying to God in vain.  Who taught me that?  Where did I learn that from?  Certainly not from my parents...  

I keep feeling like I won't be able to live chaste life as long as I remain attracted to males and as long as I feel those attractions, then I will never really be able to cooperate with Grace.  Yes, I have received the Sacraments as "worthily" as I could at times, but like my friend told me, I didn't bring a large vessel to the Lord for Him to fill it with His Sanctifying Grace, but rather a small, fragile one which can easily be emptied and broken.  But how do I bring Him a larger, durable vessel?  Lord, in Thy mercy, please give me one!

What has become of my prayer life?  Has life gotten me down that much that I no longer see the use in [lifting] mine eyes to the mountains from which help shall come to me (Psalm CXX, 1)?  No wonder... In this state, and as immersed in sin as I am, I should be tiring myself out with prayer.  The Saints did.  I just read last night about St. Catherine of Genoa who would spend hours upon hours daily in prayer and atoning for the sins of a short time of her life.  St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua sought God constantly in prayer.  Ste-Therese de Lisieux prayed very passionately yet simplistically to the Blessed Trinity and leaned on God.  What am I doing?  This is embarrassing even.

What should I do?  Have any of you felt this way?  What would you tell someone in my shoes?  While you ponder this, please pray for me and all those who drown themselves in their sins because only the Grace of God which comes to us through the Blood of Christ can save us.  Pray for those who struggle with similar sins as yourselves, form solidarity with them.  Pray for those who do not even know Christ or His Holy Gospel because without Faith, no one can be saved.  Pray for the Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as he works to reconcile fallen away brethren with the Church again, and definitely pray for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory as they cry out to God for mercy.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Homosexuals' Catholic Responsibility

Good evening everyone.  I would like to talk about something that has been on my mind on and off for a long time.

Often when I see forum and blog posts about homosexuality, most of the discussion is about why it is wrong and sinful.  No one ever gives any new answers, so therefore I don't read those discussions too attentively, nor do I really participate in them anymore; what more could possibly be said?  Homosexual relationships are not procreative, sex between two members of the same sex is an abomination to the Lord, it's one of the Sins which Cry Out to Heaven for Vengeance.

What hardly anyone mentions is what homosexuals really should do.  You often hear participants say things such as the following:

  • Homosexuals should regularly receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.
  • Homosexuals should live chaste lives.
  • Homosexuals should have very intense prayer lives.
  • Homosexuals have a heavy cross to bear
Do not these things apply to all Catholics?  What are homosexuals specifically called to do?

Here are some of my conclusions:

Because homosexuals can neither receive nor administer the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, we can devote more time to charity work and be strong members of parish life.  We do not have a family for which to provide, nor a spouse whose soul to save, nor children to instruct in the Faith.  How we can form "families" is to develop strong friendships with others that can be opportunities to witness to the Truth of the Catholic religion and try to set examples for them.  

Because homosexuals cannot receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders (this is fact, regardless of how this rule is ignored by most...), we do not have to carry the burden of guarding the souls of entire flocks of believers from evil, a very heavy charge.  We can rather try to be of more assistance to our pastors because we have neither families nor immediate care of souls to attend to.

Also, some qualities that I have noticed about myself and other homosexuals that could be of use to the Church as far as evangelization are the fact that we are generally pretty sensitive to others' feelings and tend to be more empathetic and know what it feels like to be mistreated, marginalized, discriminated against, and ridiculed (even though a lot of gay activists seem to have forgotten this and have become the ones who do those things to others).  We're very sensitive and caring, and that is what many need to see from the Church and from devout Catholics, people who care and people who try to understand them and not be condescending.  I'd say homosexuals have a soft spot for outcasts and those who desire to be included (because most of us experience it whether overtly or covertly) and that meekness, that sensitivity can be helpful in reaching out to others, speaking out against sin, and trying to show Christ's Love so that more of His sheep can be gathered into the Fold.

There are many opportunities for redemptive suffering for homosexuals to take advantage of that can be profitable to our souls as well as others' and yes, it seems like we have to do the "hard" stuff that no one else wants to do, but I mean, it's better than nothing.  

All of these things (which basically kinda describe a state in life) must be aided by the Sacraments just as priests need to be aided by them and spouses need to be aided by them.  Everyone needs the Grace of the Sacraments to sanctify their states in life to please God, avoid sin, and avoid Hell, but the Grace helps nourish Wisdom and Understand (Gifts of the Holy Ghost) to let Catholics know the best way to live their calling in life.

Again, I could be wrong about all of this, but it could be another way of helping homosexuals feel like we can be of some importance to the Church.  Spouses can raise Catholic kids, priests can help Catholic souls, and religious (monks and nuns) can pray for the world's salvation.  Also, devoting that much energy to helping and serving others would keep us busy and not leave us much time to commit sins of impurity when you figure in the prayer and meditation that we should be doing.

This is the kind of life I wish I lead anyways.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

About My iPhone!!!

Okay everyone, I realize this is extremely off topic but I never got to tell you guys about my new phone that I got a couple months ago and that I absolutely LOVE!!!

I upgraded to the Apple iPhone 4 in white which has iOS 5 on it and this is hands down the BEST phone that the Lord has blessed me with by far. It's sooo beautiful and I just love everything about it!

I had the BlackBerry Storm 2 before this and what a change! I couldn't stand BlackBerry and couldn't wait to upgrade. I never thought I would be getting an iPhone though; I didn't even like iPhone. I was thinking about getting an Android.

What made me change my mind is that the iPhone is really popular at my school and is the most stylish, trendy phone definitely. I am an avid iTunes user and it just would make sense music wise. I remember getting an up-close look at the iPhone and just thinking how beautiful it was and that I really wanted one!!! And I have not regretted my decision nor did I think I'd like it as much as I do. I can hardly put it down (:

I'm gonna do a little bit of a review:

The pros are

•that it is definitely compatible with the technological climate of today and you do not have to be a hardcore computer geek to be able to really enjoy it like Android

•the iPhone gives you quick access to any ways of communicating you need. You have calling, txtng, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, e-mail (you can have multiple), etc all in one place!

•unlike BlackBerry, the iPhone (and to a lesser extent, the Android) is a cross generational phone that all people from different stages in life can benefit from. It's perfect for hs and college students, new professionals, businessmen, parents, clergy, and older people.
••I can particularly speak about how beneficial it is for students. It's a personal office basically. You can schedule meetings, reminders, keep a journal, easy access to school networks and stuff and storing and organizing homework and the app store has great apps for students!!!

•the camera is amazing and HD and the pics look incredible (and the iPhone 4S has an even better camera!)

•it's a stylish and beautiful phone! Very aesthetically pleasing and the feel is great. It is somewhat customizable.


•battery life. I'd say the phone lasts for a day and half without charging. Some apps can drain the battery more than others and it can take awhile to fully recharge the phone. I'd def recommend a car charger...

•feels/looks fragile (especially because of how gorgeous it is) and there you MUST get a cover and screen protectors. I've seen some cracked screens and it makes me shudder seeing an iPhone like that. But this can be a great way to individualize your phone. EVERYONE has an iPhone 4/4S (and I've noticed black seems to be more popular...even Mommy has a black one, but I love my white one), and the case is a great way to mark your case as your own. The first case I got was from Verizon and it was great. Never had any probs but it does get slippery when it's hot out and the hands get sweaty and I'm too afraid to drop it, so i recently got an Otterbox commuter series case and it is great and I recommend them to all iPhone users.

Spiritual advantages of the iPhone are some of the Catholic apps I've found like iMissal and the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible and Prions en ├ęglise and I also have Introduction to the Devout Life and Imitation of Christ as iBooks on my phone and it's great to be able to just read them anytime.

I have a lot of apps (cuz I love apps) and a few games. My faves are definitely Twitter, YouTube, USAA (my bank), iMissal, Abercrombie & Fitch, the App Store, iTunes, and my iPod mp3 player on phone. Most of my apps I only use here and there but these are the ones I use the most.

You guys should get iPhones because they're such blessings when it comes to mobile technology and I don't think I could ever go to any other phone! I even got the blogger app and am actually typing this blog post from my iPhone lol (I can't customize the text from here though).

See ya

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I've Been Up To

Hello again everyone!

Sorry for being away for so long and hopefully I'll be able to update you guys on things over the course of the next few blogs (so much has gone on), but I'm just going to jumpt right into what I want to say...

I've been reading Catholics Answers and this whole EF/OF battle is annoying as usual.  Someone posted a question about how to respond to someone who says "Well, back in the Jesus' time, they didn't have [this and that] for their Sunday worship, so you shouldn't either."  If that's the case, no major Christians worship the way the early Church did.  Church buildings didn't exist yet, and the Liturgy grew organically.  The concept, and the aims and principles remain the same...that's what's important.

Also, EFers need to be careful about being unnecessarily scrupulous about disciplines/practices (while OFers could stand to pay a little more attention...).  There was a little mini-fight about altar cloths and putting your hands under them during the reception of Holy Communion.  Really, who has time to pay attention to that?  Shouldn't what is more important be internal dispositions when receiving the Sacraments?  I honestly believe that if you have the right dispositions and intentions, that will affect your piety and devotion and you will know what to do.  Now that someone mentioned this thing about the altar cloths and hand position (not all of the EFs I've been to even use altar cloths), some of those who read that thread are going to be all in scruples about where there hands should go instead of preparing to receive the Gifts.

I'm reading the Introduction to the Devout Life (in the original French) by St-Francois de Sales on recommendation of one of my friends and hopefully it'll help me with will power and doing Catholicism instead of thinking about it and staying in that potential stage.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Nicholas Robert Watson who passed from this life on May 12, 2012.  He was very dear to me and I think of him everyday.  May the Lord be merciful to His servant.  Amen.  I do not regret meeting him nor the fact that he was in my life for the two years that he was.  I'm not quite still how to deal with his passing, but whatever I do, prayer for him is a must.

I am very homesick for PA here in Atlanta, and miss my friends a lot (especially in light of Nick's passing).  It's great to be here with Tyler and Corey (little brother).  Mom is in Africa for her internship until August and Dad is working in PA a lot.  Grandma is here currently with us and we're enjoying her company.  I'm adjusting to ATL I suppose, but I am having a hard time getting into a prayer cycle or routine since I've been away from it for so long; these things used to seem to natural to me.  I do think Catholicism all the time still.  God has been very gracious in giving me lots of insight on many things.  Sometimes in thought and other times through other people.

The Lord speaks to us all the time, but we do not always listen, and much less do we usually take heed to what He says, and that is very dangerous for the soul and progression in the spiritual life.  The Lord does not waste His words, nor does He give suggestions...  Just sayin'...and that thought has been bothering me a lot.

I kinda went back to wearing the veil during the OF, not regularly during the EF (mostly because the parish I go to down here scares the bejeebeez out of me *cry*), but it just helps me to pray sometimes and other times, it just feels "right."  I don't know.  I feel like I do need to stop faking being masculine and what not (not saying that I have be flamboyant or anything, and go over the top), but just be more natural and stop trying to impress anyone; if God wants me to be more gruff or typically male in my speech and conduct, He will show me how/why somehow.

I've been very disillusioned by homosexuals since I've been here and gays seem to be very judgmental, flaky, fickle, and superficial and that really bothers me and I'm starting to have more anger towards the people than to the actual disorder.  I really hope to God I am not like that and that I have the decency to at least be respectful to others.  Maybe heterosexuals can be like this too, but I don't know it seems like homosexuals are particularly guilty.  In Pennsylvania, I don't have very many gay friends (I literally have 2 besides myself) and don't really ever talk to any others except for reading what many of them say in forums that I read.  And both of my friends are really caring, nice people and do not seem to be either sex-crazed or thinking with their genitals, but it seems to be different in the real world and those are not people I want to be around, straight or gay.

No, I do not know what I'm doing about school in the fall.  I'm still thinking about it, and so far I have no idea what is going on.  It bothers me and I hate not knowing, but we'll just see what happens.

Currently, I'm just trying to concentrate on being grateful for the things that I have and how I can find what is best for my soul and what I need to be doing to make sure that I live my life in the best way possible.  I am trying not to give in to depression and envy and feelings of inadequacy but rather virtuous thoughts and be more positive.  Nick hated negativity and I wouldn't want him to think that I didn't learn that from him.  He did always want me to love myself and be happy.

Well, just ponder that for awhile.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Wrong, but Feels so Right

Spring 2012 semester is soon to come to an end and I cannot say thank God enough...

I need to take this summer to regroup and get myself together before restarting in the fall.  I got my financial aid filled out by the priority deadline and hope that I get a pretty good reward.  I just didn't do well this semester and need to get back to my old academic self.  Since I made so many changes in my life and way of thinking and carrying myself, I think it has left me second-guessing a lot of things.  Adjusting for me is so difficult because I'm such a perfectionist and the Lord did not bless me with the skill of multitasking at all...that is for sure.

For so long I have been concentrating on trying to get others to accept me (and they did, I just didn't appreciate it or realize it), but now I need to learn to accept myself and do things that will help me to achieve that goal without relying on anyone else to make myself love me.  That has been that cliche thing that never really understood how to do; I thought I was accepting myself by just being me, but since I do not really know who I am, hmm...makes that kind of difficult.  To be real, I truly want to find myself and know who I am.  Sometimes I feel like I base myself off of whom I'm around at the time or whatever "reference group" is most appealing at any given moment.  Consistency, my dear friends, that is what I want to achieve.

No, I still haven't gone to Mass yet nor have I really spent any time in prayer except for my usual blessings before meals, prayers for the dead when passing cemeteries, and ejaculations to the Lord when passing churches where He is physically present (I say Dominus meus, et Deus meus (my Lord and my God) when passing churches while crossing myself), and of course invoking the Holy Trinity when getting into a vehicle and at other random times.

The reason that I'm afraid to pray or "practice" the Faith anymore (although in my head I want to) is because I'm afraid things are going to start going to dirt again.  I'm afraid I'm going to be lonely and repulsive to others as I'm really enjoying my social life these days.  I'm afraid I'm going to neglect my studies again at the expense of religion like I have been any time I get really deep into practicing.  I just told my friend the other day while texting her that I get so motivated on some Holy Ghost that I be going full force, but then He leaves me and I'm so exhausted and stuck in the dirt with no ambulance or Water or any help to revive myself.  That's kinda where I feel like I am spiritually.  I'm afraid I'm going to lose all of the guy friends I've been making (you know guys hate religion...how many guys have left comments on this blog?  Two...).  

People say they enjoy me so much more this way, I'm enjoying myself so much more and I'm having so much fun and before it was like fun was few and far between.  The thought of being alone doesn't really scare me anymore and I don't necessarily feel like I need a man to make me feel complete and I feel like I haven't been chasing guys nearly as much.  Sure, I still check them out and notice their fineness, but I don't get depressed wondering whether or not they'll speak to me ever.  

I know, this sounds so messed up.  All the Catholics are reading this and seeing the idolatry clear as day.  Of course worldly things seem appealing and luring and worth it because they can and do feel good, but what will I say to God when I die?  When in all of this am I taking up a cross?  I don't even want to carry one right now because I feel like I've carried one for so long.  Deep down I know that seeking happiness in this life can and most likely will lead to ruin, but I need a break...seriously.  Anyone that knows me intimately will testify to my extreme devotion to the practice of the Faith to the point that it was kind of obsessive.

If there is a way to harmonize these two things (which according to the Holy Scriptures, there isn't), someone please let me know.  I am probably disappointing so many Catholics right now as I'm rejoicing so many heathens.  I can't win.

However, I am happy, and I am having a great day!  I am lamenting my grades, sure, but my stress is low and my motivation to be better the next time is very high.

Alright I think that's enough for right now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Random Thoughts About My Current Life

In the mood to make another post to just get my thoughts out, not really a theme to this post, but just some ramblings...

For the first time in my entire life, I was did not celebrate liturgically the Solemnity of solemnities, the Feast of the Christian people, the reference point of our holy religion:  the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord.  I don't really feel anything because of it either.  Guilt is there, but at the same time, since I feel worlds away from the Church, kind of like I've been ejected with a mighty force, I'm not really sad...  That is kinda worrisome.  I won't lie, I do miss praying and going to Mass and reflecting on how to be a better Christian, but it's not where I am at the moment.

Right now, I want to just figure things out.  I want to figure out a way to do well in school so I can graduate and at least say I have a degree.  For some reason, I cannot consistently concentrate on work and my grades have gone to Hell in a handbasket.  I want to succeed and make something of myself and do not want to be stuck working as a Crew Member at Burger King for the rest of my life.  How do I get some consistency with studying and excelling?  I know I'm capable of getting great grades; I've gotten all A's before, but something has been going on that has just made this semester push me ten thousand steps back.  I owe this to my family and to myself and to Black people, gays, transgendered persons, and those who are marginalized to show that we can succeed and we can be "better" and make something out of ourselves and that we cannot let society tell us that we can't.

Weight gain has been difficult and I haven't gained much and it's expensive to eat more food, but I need to have this body.  It will be the key to my social success and will make me feel better about my own self knowing that if others reject me, at least it won't be because I'm not physically on par.  I'm sick of being skinny and I'm way past anorexia and do not want to ever go back there.  I have been strong my whole life and physically I can be strong and strapping as well.  There really is no reason for me to have to take a back seat to others when I can be where they are and have the same respect that others give them.  I don't want to be that "awww little cute kid" that girls think I am...  Don't pity me, goodness, ughh.

I really like the new outfits I got for my birthday.  I'm finally wearing shorts again!!!  Why hide these legs when they're one of my best features?  I thought I would loath dressing like a straight guy, but it's actually kind of fun.  Granted, I still like the girl stuff as well and still think it's cute, but I don't really wear those kinds of clothes.  I would like to still wear them, sure, and yes, I feel kind of fake and conceited dressing in this new way, but I figure I'll test the waters for a while to see what happens and if I get the attention I want from people, I'll definitely keep it up.  I look really good in these new clothes and must say that I still have my hand at style, I just need to be able to afford these kinds of clothes on the regular.  It sucks not making enough to buy the clothes you want.

Getting an iPhone 4!!!!  My BlackBerry Storm 2 can take a serious hike because I hate the thing, it's old, beat, cracked screen, and it's not really an "in" phone anymore.  The iPhone is much more popular on college campuses and much more enviable and definitely a hotter phone and the technology on it is killer.  At any rate, it can't be worse than a BlackBerry...  I noticed all the cool and popular kids (if you can call them that) have them and it won't be as embarrassing to use my phone I guess.

Next on my list is to save up for an Xbox 360 and a flat screen and start playing Call of Duty and whatever other games guys play these days.  Those video games really are not my style, but I'm all about trying new things these days and even am about to try to start learning about sports and keeping up to date on the stats of popular players and teams and what not.

This whole makeover is kind of fun and will probably give me the boost I need to keep moving forward and achieve my goals.  I don't have to be a loser anymore or that "weird kid" or whatever.  None of that really pays off anyways.  Being nice and a pushover all the time really was getting me nowhere and it was making people take advantage of me which is going to stop.  I'm not a door mat, nor am I someone who doesn't have feelings and wishes and I don't need to be treated like utter crap because I'm different.  I have just as much a right to be in this world as anyone else and I don't need to take bs for it.  I am a strong person and I will succeed and I will be better.

All those who tried to keep me down, discourage me, tell me I wasn't good enough or that I couldn't do it are going to see that I will make room for myself.  If you don't like me, that's not my problem anymore.  I spent too long hurting myself and feeling guilty trying to make those people happy and just led to rejection after rejection, well now it's time for me to stand up and accept myself (with a few nuances...you should always please the customer if they're willing to pay).

God put me on this Earth for a reason and I am going to discover what that reason is.  I need to stay positive and encourage myself even when others will not (although I greatly appreciate the encouragement I do/did get).  I shouldn't settle for anything less than what I want and what I know I am capable of having.

It seems like a lot of people were all too happy to show me the door (figuratively speaking) out of the Church and criticize my every move and never fail to let me know in roundabout ways how much of a freaking heathen they thought I was.... I also would like to point out how hard I did try to get traditional Catholics to accept me and put myself through a lot and denied myself a lot to try to get their approval, but they ALWAYS had something to say, always...  Never looking at any other Catholics' flaws, but just mine.  It's exhausting, I can only try so hard, I can only fail so much until I try something different so now I am.

Yes, I have been receiving e-mails and messages from people telling me that they do miss me at church and are still praying for me and are hoping I come back and what not, but I still have trads screaming in my ears and before my eyes.  When I think of Catholicism, I think of those people that did everything they could to try to keep me away from the Church and feeling isolated.  I'm having a hard time thinking of those kind and holy souls that did so much to try and help me stay in (the screams are louder than the rubs on the back).  It sucks, because I want to reach out to those people and tell them how much I appreciated all they did for me.  I still think the Latin Mass is a beautiful gem of the Church and a holy expression of our Faith and worship, but the people that attend...  There's still a lot of pent up anger that I'm trying to drain out (and once it's out I'm  hoping I'll be able to have the humility to go back to church), but my best friend is telling me how much funner I am as a "non religious" person.  It makes me mad when he says that, but oh well.  He doesn't change his mind either.

Alright, that's enough for now.  My racing thoughts are all over the place and I could write ten more pages, but I'll let you ponder that.  I'll ponder it myself.  I am happier these days.  I don't know.  Class at 8 AM.

Hope everyone had a great Easter and will have a blessed Easter Season.

PS:  I'm STILL waiting to hear from my spiritual director, if he doesn't answer me soon, then I'm done with that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bodybuilding and Crossing My Fingers

Just checking in with everyone, and once again thanks for all the uplifting comments and the encouragement and support.  It means a lot and it shows that people really do care.  I appreciate it.

I still haven't been going to church or praying because every time I get the urge, I have the natural impulse to veil and try to show humility, and since I haven't figured out a good way to internally or externally show humility and piety, I just haven't been doing anything.  Not to mention how foreign it all feels.  I can't believe it's Holy Week!  I did continue to observe Friday abstinence and I still bless my food before meals and cross myself when passing churches or cemeteries and bow my head at the Holy Name.

Since I can't really practice Catholicism for now, I've turned my attention to trying to better myself as a person and in my dealings with society.  If I have drop the whole 'woman' thing, then I guess I may as well do the 'man' thing up.  So, I'm trying to get back into weight training and have been living on www.bodybuilding.com lately.  I updated my body space profile and put in some goals that I'll share with you all as well.

I want to bulk up to at least 125 lbs to start and increase my bench press by 10 lbs, deadlift by 15 lbs, squat by 20 lbs, bent-over barbell row by 5 lbs, and I'm not sure about the overhead press yet, but I'll figure that out tonight when I train.  I've always kinda watched my weight and have been afraid to gain weight for fear of looking too masculine and burly, but now I'm trying to put that aside and try a more model look.

My protein powder arrived today.  Optimum's 100% Soy Protein (I'm lactose intolerant, so whey wouldn't be good...) and I'm going to be ordering Creatine and Nitric Oxide as pre/post-training supplements and trying to increase my calorie intake.

My prayer (kinda literally) is that this helps me to accept myself more and helps me to not be looked down upon by others.  When I would practice religion, somehow I could deal (in a way) with societal rejection (thinking about the Passion of the Lord, the isolation and persecution of the Saints, etc.) but now it's like I have nothing so it's like I need to give myself this.  I really wanted this for a while.  I've always wanted to be considered attractive and cool and not be on the bottom rungs of society (where it seemed like only my mom still thought I was great lol).

I've been focusing on compound lifts since I started taking this seriously last year.  Bench presses, dead lifts, squats, rows, overhead presses, etc. to help gain mass and size and then once I get more solid and advanced in this, I may start working on isolation movements (individual body parts).  Focusing on nutrition for right now.  When I get more money, I'm going shopping to get a new wardrobe and wear hotter clothes and accessories.  Before, I tried to just get by on personality and my little "charm," but that doesn't lead anywhere really.  I have to be honest in the world.  You have to be attractive for people to take you seriously.  Period.

All this stuff has made me quite emotional, but somewhat comforting.  It's like a good escape.  Hopefully it'll help me quit smoking too.  I do miss the Church and stuff, but I just don't feel welcome or "right" in there anymore.  Yes, I still believe in all the teachings, and I don't think there's any other true Church, but I'm not one of those people really.  Who am I kidding...  I just think I needed to finally realize that perhaps.  And my spiritual director still hasn't gotten back to me.  I know it's Holy Week and he's busy, but I think that may be a sign...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Indifferent Again, and Beef with Catholics

So I'm basically back to total indifference about religion and the Church and stuff.  Not totally indifferent, but there's just too much distance between me and the Church at the moment that I'm just like ugh it's not worth it.  Funny, because the church is right next door to me lol.

Anyways, I know I should pray and read the Scriptures and go visit the church and stuff, but there's just no allure or appeal at the moment and I'm feeling very not religious, almost to the point where I don't want to see anyone from church or hear about it or think about it because for some reason, I'm just really angry and this is not what I want.  Total 180 from a couple weeks ago.

I know most of this stems from pride and from anger because I'll never be able to be the Catholic that I want to be or that I'm supposed to be, but whatever.  Things just seem so appealing in the lives of my peers here at school (they don't have to worry about religion and what not) and I'm starting to wonder if I'm depriving myself of a good life and good times for nothing or to get the approval of people who probably more or less don't really care lol.  Ha...

Didn't go to Sunday Mass yesterday because I can't face all those people nor do I even wanna be in there and have that uncomfortable feeling like everyone is staring at me asking themselves questions like they don't have sins either and like they're just so much better than I am, yaaaa totally dude.

Not to brag, but I'm sure I put more "umph" into being Catholic in spite of my flaws than a good 95% of people in there so how dare they stick their nose up at me.

I figured it out though, I want worship alone:  me, a priest, and God because then I wouldn't be beaten with the thoughts and realizations of how different I am from everyone yayy!!!  Wooohooo!!!  Losers unite!

To be honest, another reason I really do not want to go to church anymore is because I actually really don't even like most other Catholics very much.  I mean, I know it sounds awful, but it's true; I can't stand being around most of them because they just seem so fake and stuck up OF and EF alike.  And being around them, like just being in the same room, actually makes me feel really really bad about myself because I know that in their eyes, I will always be a fag and regardless of how passionate I am about the Church and her history and no matter how much I cultivate my spiritual life, most of them won't be impressed that I could probably teach a grad school course on Theology.  I've tried to impress them, epic fail.  Some people are not accepted by their families.  But it won't sound as bad once I admit that most of them can't stand me either so we're even, but it's me versus all of them so I have a little more weight to carry.  *smile*

There are some Catholics who really love me and care about me and do genuinely want my spiritual well-being and they will always be my brothers and sisters in Christ and friends and family to me and I love them.

by the way, I'm speaking of the people, not the religion, I still think the Faith is pure, but we've got some serious issues among the believers...and I refuse to believe that I am the sole thorn in the side of the Church, but I would like to send a huge "nice try" to all those who tried to make me think I was ;-) *wink*

I don't really have anything else to say right now, so I'm gonna peace out.  Oh btw, it's my birthday tomorrow so wish me luck and pray I don't end up in the ER haha

Friday, March 23, 2012

Taking Off the Veil/Stopping Cross-dressing

So I recently made a resolution to stop wearing feminine clothing and I'm kinda regretting it.

My parents had both called me expressing their concern and trying to be supportive, but I could hear the pain in their voices (both had called on different occasions) and I explained things to them and basically told them that I had to do what was right and comfortable for me, and that I was sorry.

After the fact, I had started thinking about how much I love them and how much I do want their approval, and if that I didn't want anything to get into the way of my love for them, so I sent them a pretty lengthy e-mail in which I told them that I would no longer be wearing feminine clothing out of love for them and because they really mean a lot to me and it seems like it's the right thing and that my problems with gender aren't an excuse to sin.

Woman in prayer with a mantilla
It was one thing to say it and I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders, but it was another thing to actually do it.  I included the mantilla (chapel veil) and hijab in this resolution because technically they are pieces of feminine clothing.

Walking outside and being in public uncovered was very difficult and I felt so awkward and could feel the disapproval of others (even at church) but I kept trying to tell myself that I love my parents and that this would make them happy and with all that they have to deal with, at least they can have peace knowing that I'm being more like God wants me to be.  I figured it would take time to adjust and that I would be fine.  I felt very impious and impure without the hijab, it had been my protection from strong lustful thoughts and to remind myself to submit to God and to be holy and not to be exposed to the world, but to practice humility and curving the desire to be seen (which covering my head full time has immensely helped with) and then yesterday it hit me and even today a little...

I went to church to pray a Rosary for priests and for the Bishop of my diocese and to offer prayers for an increase in vocations of holy, orthodox men and women to either the priesthood or consecrated life when entering the nave of the church, I felt this huge awkwardness...  I didn't feel right, I didn't feel like I should be in there and I was trying to just repeat to myself "Christopher, you're obeying God and you're conforming to society; you're doing the right thing.  Relax, relax!" but it just kept getting worse to when I tried to kneel down and pray and struggled slowly through a Pater (the Lord's Prayer) and an Ave (the Angelic Salutation to the Virgin) and just was burning with this feeling like something wasn't right and then it really got deep when someone else came into the church because we thought there would be Mass and upon hearing them, my natural impulse to cover made me throw my hand on my head and then I tried to as inconspicuously as possible get the heck outta there.  Almost had a slight panic attack, but calmed down at which point I had talked to a friend of mine who offered some support and encouragement and posed the dreaded question of why I wasn't covered...  And it was hard to give the answer, but I did tell her.  She didn't agree with my reasoning and encouraged me to reconsider and I really felt even more guilty as I always do when people tell me how my piety has encouraged and helped theirs.  I had a huge headache.

I haven't told my spiritual director yet, although he wouldn't mind either way, even though I've been trying to meet with him but he's so busy and I have like no one to really turn to, so yet again, I feel like I'm struggling alone.  But it's not true, I know a lot of people are praying for me even if they don't know what I'm going through.

I'm upset that everything that the veil and hijab have done for me seems to have gone to naught.  I was trying so hard to be pious in front of the Blessed Sacrament in church that day when I was about to pray the Rosary, but it was like I couldn't grasp the reality anymore of this central Mystery of the Catholic Faith.  I wanted to be humble and I just didn't feel like I could be, it turned into fear and like I was not showing honor and devotion to God that is due Him, maybe I'm just very sensitive right now because of these changes I'm going through.

As for the hijab, I feel like purity is no longer guarded and that I'm just all out there for the world to see even though my 'guy' clothes, like my girl clothes, are very covering.  I haven't worn shorts in about 8 years and I usually do not wear short sleeves (especially not to church), and I was covered, but I still felt the struggle like I was grasping for purity and then all these thoughts of lust started to come over me again and I went into despair and again I felt isolated from the Sacraments and am having a hard time forcing myself to go to Confession tomorrow.

Another thing I've noticed is now I have a desire to wear shorts and short sleeves out in public in hopes that it will make me seem more attractive to others instead of it just being a thought in the back of my mind.  I feel so vain lately and again want to be seen and am struggling to humble myself in church as well as outside of church.

I want so badly just to cover again, but my parents, I can't let them down and I feel like in terms of the Holy Scripture I'm doing the right thing but why am I not getting Actual Grace from it and I hate that I'm going back to how I was before I started covering and am afraid there's going to be a long stretch of me not going to the Sacraments and wallowing in despair or indifference.  I don't want that, but I don't know what to do right now.  I know my decision has upset a lot of people and probably will upset more people and especially after meeting my Bishop again the other day and after the Pontifical Mass, having that lady come up to me and tell me how beautiful the mantilla was (although that has nothing to do with it), and that she felt called to cover and that she'd been praying on it and that she's hoping to find the strength to do so and thanked me and I told her I would pray and shared my experiences with her about how it deepened my spiritual life so much.  I don't know what to say to these priests who see me reguarly, I just don't know.

As for non religious things, I've been getting some very weird and awkward looks from people now and my one teacher was acting funny towards to me and some of the kids in my calc class were a little rude to me after I had removed the veil (although these were guys that you would think would have been glad because they're the jock/preppy cool rich kid types...) and also a couple people didn't really recognize me and made it awkward in public when they asked why I wasn't covered anymore and I just felt put on the spot and in a little malice, I'm so tempted to just e-mail my parents and be like "thanks..." but I won't because I know Mommy has great intentions and Pop doesn't really care either way, he just said he kinda feels embarrassed about it, but it's my choice, I am grown, and that they both love me so much and I love them, but I'm trying to tell myself if God went through ridicule for doing the right thing, then who am I to think I should not?  I don't really know what to tell people and it's just embarrassing with them asking me and looking at me weird, I don't know, but I'm not going to Stations of the Cross this evening because I just can't be in church right now, but I'm still planning on going to Sunday Mass, maybe I'll sit in the cry room or the nave, I don't know exactly how I'm going to tackle this, but I'll figure something out.  I'm definitely not going to receive Holy Communion until I talk to my priest or to my spiritual director.  Please pray for me everyone.

lastly, I do want to mention that these are personal experiences that I have had with covering and I am not implying in any way that any woman who does not cover either in church or otherwise is being impious or impure.  The mantilla and hijab were ways for ME to help overcome sinful passions and to bring me closer to God, a devotion just like everyone has his or her own way of showing piety and devotion.  The Church does NOT obligate women to cover and a woman CAN be a great Catholic and holy woman without.  Some feel called to covering and others do not.  I've read a lot of commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians and although some see it as a universal law of church and social conduct in prayer, the Church does not say this anymore (although it very well used to be a requirement).

This is just overwhelming, I'm having all these seconds thoughts, I was so confident at first, but then it hit when I went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  Satan works in some weird ways.

Please pray and any feedback is appreciated (even though I know a lot of you don't usually comment, but I could use some advice/discussion).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Confessio of St. Patrick of Ireland

Today is the feast of the glorious St. Patrick of Ireland, and also my patronal feast day (or Name Day).  I try to spend my Name Days by making acts of honor and devotion to my patrons.  I started the day off with offering Holy Mass for the honor of St. Patrick of Ireland.

On the wall of a good friend (for whom today is also a Name Day), I found the following link:

The Confessio of St. Patrick of Ireland

I just finished reading it and wanted to point a few things about this Apostle to the pagans of Ireland.  He opens his letter by identifying himself as a sinner, the very first thing he mentions about himself.  How many Saints do we see that bewail and descry their sinfulness and identify as being worse of sinners, yet were so holy that the Church declares them Saints?  If these people saw themselves as sinners in spite of the virtue they showed throughout their lives, how much more should we see ourselves as sinners?  

These words of St. Patrick of Ireland are so full of humility and joy in the Lord, it's comforting.  He speaks of his lowliness being born poor and taken into slavery and the many trials of his life.  In humility, he speaks of how he rightfully suffered on account of his sinfulness:

"My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many...  ...At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God, and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved. The Lord brought his strong anger upon us, and scattered us among many nations even to the ends of the earth. It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was."

One of the strongest paragraphs of his letter is the following:

"This is because there is no other God, nor will there ever be, nor was there ever, except God the Father. He is the one who was not begotten, the one without a beginning, the one from whom all beginnings come, the one who holds all things in being – this is our teaching. And his son, Jesus Christ, whom we testify has always been, since before the beginning of this age, with the father in a spiritual way. He was begotten in an indescribable way before every beginning. Everything we can see, and everything beyond our sight, was made through him. He became a human being; and, having overcome death, was welcomed to the heavens to the Father. The Father gave him all power over every being, both heavenly and earthly and beneath the earth. Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God. He is judge of the living and of the dead; he rewards every person according to their deeds. He has generously poured on us the Holy Spirit, the gift and promise of immortality, who makes believers and those who listen to be children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This is the one we acknowledge and adore – one God in a trinity of the sacred name."

What a beautiful and profound exclamation of the Mystery of the Triune God!  All the Truths of the Holy Catholic Church of Jesus Christ proceed from the knowledge of the Blessed Trinity and St. Patrick of Ireland enthusiastically and faithfully delivered this Gospel to the pagans and heathens of Ireland.  Our salvation has its origin the knowledge of the Godhead and belief in the unity of the Three Divine Persons, and because we are members of Christ's Body, the Church, we are incorporated through the Sacrament of Baptism into the Life of this Godhead.

St. Patrick of Ireland
This Confessio also serves as a brief autobiography in parts, but overall it is a hymn to the greatness and glory of God.  We should all strive to imitate the holy Patrick of Ireland, who placed full trust in the Lord our God.  His faith was strong and firm, and his witness fruitful.  He performed many miracles in the sight of many and converted a whole nation to Christianity.  It was Pope St. Celestine I who sent St. Patrick to Ireland to bring those there to Christ and the Saint was faithful to his mission.  He was fearless and courageous and even though his life was threatened countless times and he was held captive and prisoner, he did not flinch or give up.

The great thing is that he attributes none of the wonderful things God did through him to himself.  He gives all credit and honor to God Who is the Author of all.  St. Patrick saw nothing that he did as being great in the Eyes of God, but only saw it as being obedient to what he was called to do.  In spite of his simplicity and ignorance (in the world's standards), he knew Holy Scripture very well (evident in his Confessio) and had great knowledge of the Church Fathers.  He may have been ignorant to the world, but he thrived in the wisdom of God.

He was a bishop, therefore a Successor of the Holy Apostles and a defender of the Faith, as well as one to whom God, through the Church, gave charge over the souls of many under his flock.  Bishops are our shepherds and are responsible for our spiritual well-being and possess the fullness of the priesthood.  I pray that our bishops stay mindful of this as they make decisions in their sees (dioceses) and always look out for the best interest of us, the faithful.

I am so glad that I chose him as one of my patrons whose name I bear since my reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation where I received the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost and completed my baptismal initiation into Christ's Church.  I pray that St. Patrick of Ireland help me to follow his example in piety and courage, and that through his intercession, I have the same zeal for the Faith that he had.  As of yet, I have not been successful in converting anyone to Catholicism, guess I'll keep trying...

Later in the day I'll be offering some prayers to the Saint to more greatly honor him on this day and my prayers particularly go out for the Irish people everywhere they may be, for the well-being both spiritual and temporal of their country, and for all those stricken by snake bites.

St. Patrick of Ireland, pray for us!

Click here for more information on St. Patrick of Ireland

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reminder (rant) About Catholic Requiem (funeral) Masses

Read this article about a successor of the Holy Apostles, His Excellency Jaime Soto, Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, who reiterated the proper guidelines for Masses for the deceased.

Requiem Mass (Extraordinary Form)
I am in agreement with everything His Excellency said concerning the proper guidelines when offering a Requiem Mass in the Ordinary Form for the departed souls of our Christian brethren.

Points I would like to make in addition to this article:

1.  When funerals or weddings take place within the context of Holy Mass, the rites are secondary to the Holy Sacrifice.
2.  It is inappropriate to commemorate or celebrate the lives of the deceased in the context of Holy Mass as this can and should be reserved for another time that day or otherwise (like a reception or dinner after burial for example).
3.  No one has the authority to declare that a deceased loved one is without-a-doubt already in Heaven (otherwise, why even offer Mass in the first place for the repose of their souls...) and no affirmations should be made to suggest that they are, whether at the funeral or any time after, unless the Church infallibly declares one to be a member of the Church Triumphant by canonizing him or her.  This is a privilege reserved to the Apostolic See alone.

When we offer Holy Mass, we are worshiping God first and foremost, and all attention should be directed towards Him.  At Requiem Masses, we offer the Sacrifice to God for the salvation of the souls of the departed, begging the mercy of Christ when said person appears before His dreaded Judgment Seat to account for the good and evil said person has done throughout his or her life, and that if they have sins to atone for, that they pass swiftly through the fires and pains of Purgatory so that they may enjoy the Beatific Vision and the company of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints.

Because it is still Holy Mass, the Consecration of the Gifts takes place and the bread and wine which are offered are miraculously transformed by the Holy Ghost into the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Pascal Mystery is re-presented as Christ immolates Himself again (but in an unbloody manner) on our behalf for our sins and offenses, and presents Himself (and us) anew to the Father through the power of the Holy Ghost and we, the faithful, receive the fruits of the Salvation which has come to us.  This is a very solemn thing each and every time it happens (be it on Sunday, on a weekday, a high solemnity or a feast day of a Saint, for a marriage or a funeral), and nothing ever super cedes this Mystery of the Faith, and it is a direct sin against the First Commandment to ignore this fact.

Therefore, anything that shouldn't happen in any other Mass shouldn't be permitted in these "special" Masses. Secular music has no place in Catholic worship, ever.  We should be modest in dress (big reminder for women at weddings who expose the shoulders and the like, regardless of how formal the attire) although this most likely isn't an issue at a Requiem.  We should still say our prayers before and after Mass and any other acts of devotion we do at any Sunday Mass.

Also, if you are a Catholic who only goes to Mass for weddings, funerals, the Solemnity of the Nativity, or the Solemnity of the Resurrection, then do not even think about approaching to receive our Lord in Holy Communion without Sacramental Absolution from Confession as the rules and guidelines for the reception of Holy Communion still apply to you as well.  Sadly, you probably don't know about these guidelines, however the priest should mention them either audibly in the sermon or in the program.

Which brings me to the sermon.  The sermon is an opportunity for the priest or deacon to instruct the faithful by showing the spiritual and doctrinal significance of the Readings or Holy Gospel or another pertinent matter of faith.  It is not a time for him to eulogize the departed, or in the case of a wedding, to joke about how how the wife is going to have to deal with the groom's obsession with COD and Dungeons & Dragons.  Sermons in these instances should speak of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony as a divine ordinance and the sanctity of the married state, or about death being the wages of sin and how effective and pleasing (and necessary) prayers for the departed are.  Also, no one besides the priest or deacon is permitted (ever) to deliver the predication (sermon).

Yes, we should speak well of the deceased and especially of our friends and family members or those close to us, but there is ample time for that and with technology and social media, you can do that on Facebook and through cards and gifts and what not if you are unable to be present at any social reception after the funeral and burial.  That stuff has no place in worship of God and is insulting to Him and to the Church and not at all of any benefit to the departed; they could be suffering in Purgatory (or worse) while you're all smiling and chit-chatting about how great they are.  Talking about how he was the most caring person you've ever met is not going to appease the divine Justice nor help him atone for his sins...

Our attitude towards Holy Mass should be consistent through and through and the reverence and veneration due it does not depend on special occasions (or high feast days for that matter either) or the Form (we shouldn't be more reverent at an EF Mass versus an OF) or the Rite (as long as it's in Communion with Rome, the Sacraments and their Graces may be received (usual circumstances apply))...also, we should be ESPECIALLY reverent when the surrounding is irreverent (God deserves someone's honor and adoration), and we need to stop secularizing everything.

End rant.

NOTE:  This is usually not a problem in the Extraordinary Form as there is hardly any room for personalization or innovation.

But while I'm at it:  Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis:  Requiescant in pace.  Amen+++ (Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual Light shine upon them:  May they rest in peace.  Amen+++)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reflections on God's Law

This morning I went to Holy Mass to offer it in atonement for some sins I recently committed and to thank God for His manifold blessings and goodness to me that, I'll admit, I do not always realize because my mind is so focused on worldly things.  The instruction today speaks of God's Law (it seems to be a theme recently what with us hearing the Decalogue and all), and how important it is for us to keep it so that we may go to Heaven!

"And now, O Israel, hear the commandments and judgments which I teach thee: that doing them, thou mayst live, and entering in mayst possess the land which the Lord the God of your fathers will give you."  --Book of Deuteronomy IV, 1

The Lord has given us His Law so that we may live, and to live with God means to be filled with Sanctifying Grace and do things that are pleasing to Him.  If we keep His Commandments, we will live (as opposed to being dead in sin) and eventually go to Heaven, the land which the Lord the God of our fathers will give us.

Jesus Christ teaches us in the Holy Gospel of today that He came to fulfill the Law and not to abolish it as our Protestant brethren claim.  But it gets tricky talking about the Law because it has multiple meanings, but we can be assured that the Law being referred to here is concerning that of Faith and Christian conduct.  The admonition to observe the whole Law (as best as we can) and avoiding causing scandal is something we should think about today.  It seems like people are full of excuses and reasons why we're either exceptions to the rule or why things are more or less important.  I know I struggle with that...

Hopefully our Quadragesimal fasts will help us to joyfully submit to the Law of God so that we may have life and possess the Kingdom of God.  This is His promise after all, but all relationships are multiple-sided and we need to do our parts as well.  

Another thing I did today was read the biography of St. Thomas More, the patron of my parish here in college.  He is an example of upholding God's Law even in the face of adversity and being in the minority.  King Henri VIII wanted to claim himself head of the Church in England and St. Thomas More knew that this was a direct assault on the First Commandment and to the authority of St. Peter:  There is no other head of the Christ's Church on Earth besides the Holy Father.  Also, St. Thomas More rightfully would not acknowledge the adulterous remarriage of the king and these things ultimately led to his martyrdom.

I want to look to him as an example of believing the unpopular Laws of God that are rejected by the masses, and that life in the spiritual and true sense is much more important.  I'm not in any way a perfect follower of God's Law, but I hope to be and I ask for your prayers that I stand firm in my convictions so that I as well may possess the Land.

It's good that I read about St. Thomas More today because last night I read about Republican candidate and former PA governor (woot woot!!!) Rick Santorum's position on gay rights and "marriage" and initially was offended until I stopped and thought a moment to myself, "Why should I be offended when he is stating clearly what any Catholic should believe in terms of homosexual activity?"  Technically, he was not bashing homosexuals (although that is not to say that perhaps he does not like us in fact, but he is entitled to that), and nothing he said was attacking anyone's dignity.  Yes, his words could be perceived as harsh, and I do not agree with his plans to reinstate DADT (and of course I do not agree with prejudice towards people for their choices or things about them).

I admit that I struggle with whether anti-sodomy laws should be in place.  I guess, it depends on what is defined as legal sodomy, and also, would fornication be considered criminal?  What about infidelity and adultery?  I wouldn't be against anti-sodomy laws if sins against chastity were generally considered temporally criminal across the board as well.