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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Inconveniences of Being a Believer: You Can't Win With Anyone!

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,"  --Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans I, 16

Yeah...Lord, we need to talk about this.  Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful verse, powerful, uplifting, just great!  But honestly...

Let me tell You something:  People hate people that are not ashamed of Your Holy and Life-Saving Gospel and think we're a bunch of crazy people (and You have to admit, a lot of us are and probably scandalize the Church to death because we can so judgmental, hypocrital, and anti-everything to the point that we aren't what people want to be around) and that's not the impression I want people to have of me!

I'ma be real with You, it is not fun living in a world with a conscience that makes you feel guilty about everything that seems fun and helpful and stress-relieving.  Besides, how are we supposed to bring people to You if they can't stand being around us in the first place? 

Most westerners live in societies where anything that has to do with Christianity is frowned upon and cast off as bad, hateful, prehistoric, medieval (although this isn't bad in all cases), etc.  They ain't trying to hear what we have to say about the Church and her Truths and doctrines.  All the waves of the hands in the face, and the deer-in-a-headlight looks (love that expression), and us feeling like we have spiders crawling out of our ears is frustrating with a capital F.

What society thinks Christianity is
 Also, you can't have a conversation about religion with non-believers usually without them giving their opinions about why the Church is wrong.  People are shockingly offended by the thought of Hell (and I love how no one thinks that they should go there personally, but have a whole laundry list full of those whom they think deserve it...).  Maybe it's me, and I'm used to it because I grew up believing that Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory were just as clear and real possibilities as the air I breathe.

See, everyone is focused on the future that they forget the here and now.  It's appalling to people that one can damn themselves to Hell eternally because of one thing, but then when you bring up repentance and forgiveness and just try again, then they're all like "Oh that's hypocritical!"  Shouldn't it logically follow in their minds that if one can damn himself to Hell for one bad thing, that someone can save their soul by one good thing?  (Calvinists, please me your mouths shut here please and thanks).

Society seems hell-bent (no pun intended) on finding the virtue in the ungodly, but also finding the vice in those who are trying to work out their salvation.

People question religion so they can find excuses not to believe and are not always interested in learning, hence they'll create strawmen such as the following:

--If God's real, why did He let the Holocaust happen?
--If God's real, why does He let innocent people die in car accidents and from other painful, agonizing diseases?
--If God's real, why is there poverty?
--How come Christians are so hateful?
--So, I'm gay or I have sex outside of marriage, am I going to Hell?
--I'm not Catholic, am I going to Hell?
--The Holy Scriptures are man-made and people kill each other over that book, your religion is fake, why do you follow that?

You give them an answer, and it's insufficient.  You show them a flaw in their reasoning, and they strangely don't hear what you said...

Then there are the questions of people who are less antagonistic and ask real questions such as:

--If you have to believe to go to Heaven, what about people who've never heard the Holy Gospel?
--What happens to children who die without the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Baptism?
--What if you witness someone trying to kill your family, if you kill that person, is it still murder and sinful?
--I was never taught a religion, how do I know that the Catholic Church is right out of all the religions in the world?
--Where do those go who lived their whole lives as good people and never did anything bad, but just didn't believe?  Are they in Heaven or Hell?

These questions are harder to answer surprisingly and take lots of explanation, but people can generally agree to disagree after questions and answers like this, whereas the antagonistic ones are simple to answer usually, and just feed the hatred and animosity between the believers and the non-believers.  Interessant...

But then again, on the Catholic side, some of Your servants do need to chill for real.  A lot of us can have holier-than-thee attitudes and it's disgusting and they need to meditate on spiritual arrogance (a subset of spiritual pride).  Many of us need to stop belittling others that do not agree with us.  And I hate, absolutely HATE, that some Catholics (usually in the rad trad crowd) will shun you, insult  you, and slander/keep their distance from you if in their mind you're Hell-bound.  Ummm...shouldn't they be spending more time with thsoe people to try and help them?

Basically, Lord, what I'm saying is...help a brotha out!  It's hard enough trying to practice virtue; we don't need to be outcast on the same token that just makes it more difficult.

And yes, I am mindful of these verses:

"Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also."  --Holy Gospel according to St. John XV, 20

"Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:"  --Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew V, 11

Trusting God is Scary Sometimes...

Mother always tells me that "When God closes one door, He opens up a new one."

I hope that is so true right about now.  I'm feeling depressed, but not hopeless really, just frustrated at where I'm supposed to go from here if that makes sense, so much is going on but not enough is going on I'm on a forreal brink at the moment.

This is why I have such a hard time praying the Our Father at the part where it is "Thy will be done."  Everytime I try to trust and submit to God's will, something bad happens and I gotta walk through it alone.  Lovin my life, right?  I just wish He would give me just a tad, tad break and let me enjoy things for once and not always have my conscience preaching at me.

Doesn't He realize that temptation to many things is everywhere (except for maybe in a cloistered monastery)??  If you avoid one temptation, you're confronted with another.  There is no rest.  How many times do we pray and beg in Holy Mass (in either Form) that the Lord grant us peace?  Where is this peace?  That is one of the parts of the Liturgy where my heart is really feeling it and I feel like I beg God.

My eyes are doing some serious rolling right about now.  *sigh*

It's like being Catholic, you can't enjoy anything...ugh!

Happy First Sunday of Quadragesima all

Friday, February 24, 2012

Appreciate What God Blesses Us With

So you know those lovely Lenten resolutions and plans I came up with?  Haven't followed any of them yet.  I'm so mad at myself.

Today, the cafeteria decided to serve some pretty tantalizing dishes...which is surprising because Foster Dining Hall is no gourmet spot, and of course of all days, it's a Lenten Friday, so could I enjoy any of these delicious dishes?  No.  I had a weird veggie burger thing when I wanted the fried chicken, and tonight, I had some pasta that I had tried to spice up, but ended up ruining it.  They had grilled chicken sandwiches...I LOVE grilled chicken sandwiches and the meat looked so tender, so fresh and white, it was still sizzling when I had passed.  Nope, couldn't have it.

And I thought and prayed for all those in the world who do not have food to eat and asked that the Lord provide for them and take care of them.  I bet had this been any other Friday during the year not in Quadragesima, I would have still found something to complain about in terms of the food at the cafeteria.

Things look and seem so much better when you can no longer have them.  Boy, am I getting a good dose of that realization particularly now as I'm dealing with the fact that my ex really has moved on.  We all need to really stop and think about the things we have in our lives, and appreciate and thank God for them because we aren't guaranteed to have them tomorrow.  We have food and water and shelter and clothing.  There are those who are living in the world without basic necessities, and who hardly complain.  Yet, we criticize the oh-so-expensive and poor quality food in our college/university cafeterias...while others are scraping food off of the ground because they're keeling over from hunger.  Think about that.

A friend invited me to the gym to train with him today and it did a lot of good.  I enjoyed his company and he is knowledgeable about the bodybuilding and powerlifting fields as well as the science of exercising.  He's a heavy lifter (did at least 3x as much weight as I was lifting) and I'm glad I went to the gym.  Also, it was good social time that I think I needed and I'm glad that people are trying to support me during this rough time for me.  I thank them all and am trying to appreciate them.

But what can I do for others?  I feel like I'm very selfish and do not help others out as much.  I wish I would be more encouraging to people and give them my shoulder when they need someone to lean on or cry on, but where am I?  Always lamenting what's going on in my own life like I'm the only one with problems.  I hate that about myself.  I'm so self-centered, it's ridiculous.  As Catholics, we should show love to our neighbor, not see how they can show love to us.

God has us all on a mission and I wish I knew what my specific mission/purpose was (other than do God's will and serve Him) so I could go with it.  There are so many paths I could take. 

I do know, however, that I did pray that God would lead me through the desert with Him, but there's one desert that I just do not want to go into...


Today I had mixed emotions.

Part of me was ready to move on, but then part of me wanted to try again and I was going back and forth, forth and back all day, but I'm just hoping for the best really.  The Lord has a plan, I know it, but I'm just scared of what may happen (or lack thereof).

I thought about penance and forgiveness today and told myself that if I really love, then I have to set it free like my best friend tells me all the time.  But I am scared to.  Nothing really makes sense anymore.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Random Quadragesimal Thoughts

The Season of Quadragesima is now upon me and it is now time to stop the reflection and preparation of Septuagesima and put it into practice now.

Prayer is where I need to begin while fasting so that I can give alms fruitfully and turn my attention away from myself, but towards others through God.  I am hoping that the Holy Ghost will show me how to do good for others without necessarily expecting something good in return either from that person or from anyone else, but to just be content and happy knowing that I've pleased the Father who sees in secret (Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew VI, 4).  Most people would find it difficult to not see the fruits of your labors, but that's why we have Quadragesima, to show that the fruits of our labors are mostly in Heaven (Matthew VI, 20).

I will receive ashes on my forehead reminding me of my mortality and that because of the sin of Adam and my own sins, I am doomed to die because that's what sin brings (Romans VI, 23) and it should make me think about how I am nothing compared to God's perfection.  How will I pass my life?  I would like to spend the remaining time I have in penance and preparation to meet the Lord of Life, and to do His will.  I'm so easily distracted however because all around me is unholiness and it probably rubs off on me.  Mea culpa.

Also, because so many things have been taken from me recently, it is time that I start thanking God for what really matters and the blessings that I do have.  Those things that He took away in His Wisdom probably were not that necessary anyways or maybe to show me that I was not showing gratitude for them but taking them for granted.  Besides, what can I really with all those things in a desert anyways...

Today I'm going to spend some time thinking about some resolutions and finalizing my Lenten penances and keep looking for other ways to atone and show love to others.  But I feel like loving neighbor includes having a good relationship with yourself as well, umm about that...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God, I Cannot Keep Chasing You

About to head to Adoration soon to place myself at the foot of Christ's earthly throne and ask His help and advice.

I really need Him to uplift me and sustain my soul right now and I want Him to take care of me and to console and comfort me because of my weakness and because I don't really know what to do.  The heart is a fragile thing, and when it breaks, only God can heal it.  None of us are immune to real life (I mean that...none of us), and those particularly in touch with their feminine sides are going to the pangs of disappointment from a guy.  Maybe once, maybe twice or more, but it seems to happen to everyone and it hurts, but God is strong and He knows what He's doing.

My emotions are very unstable and no particular emotion seems to last for too long, but when I experience an emotion, I really experience it with all the intensity and passion one can imagine.  People have often described me as passionate.  But I am like a desert sandstorm in the sense that after the experience, I can go back to nothing.  I ended my first and only rlationship ever a few months ago and this week has been particularly hard because for some reason, it's on my mind again. 

I feel like I have been begging and praying that God give me some superwoman power to avoid feeling this vulnerable and from having the desire to "go back there."  But no, I have to struggle this out like any other woman does. 

Because of my state (SSA and gender problems), God doesn't want anyone else to share my love with anyone else.  He wants to have me all to Himself and wants me to be in love with Him alone, but why won't He pursue me so much that my mind doesn't drift from Him?  Any woman wants her man to pursue her, so why won't God pursue me and why does He leave me wanting to be wanted?  Lord, hear my prayer and heal me...

Satan keeps crawling into my mind telling me how I lost such a great man and won't let me remember all the problems and difficulties he and I had.  He keeps telling me to lament and to pity myself and shows me images in my mind of him being with someone else and happy with that other person while the thought of me sickens him to no end.  I just want God to block those thoughts, I don't want to experience human emotion because it's too hard for me.  I don't want to have feelings or be attracted to anyone anymore nor do I want to deal with temptation in the world because it makes me hate being Catholic knowing that I'm giving up all that (even though what I'm gaining is infinitely greater, but I can't experience it to know).  If this is how Catholicism has to be experienced, then I resent being baptized into this religion because I can't have temporal happiness either way.  At least the Catholic way promises eternal happiness, but who can really contemplate eternity? 

I still am in love, although I hate it because I can't have what I want.  With him I would have a family, someone who cares about me, protection and safety from those who hate me and wish harm to me, companionship, encouragement (sometimes...ha), but I would be confined to Hell and have no access to Grace.  Without Him, I can technically receive Sacraments and do good works and fast and give alms and have it amount to something, but I have to deal with a whole life time of being scared and always wondering what-if, and watching everyone around me have that which I do not have, I hate feeling left out, but then I could technically go to Heaven (or have a shot at it).  This isn't fun and I hate the agony. 

Satan sadistically likes the challenge I give him because I'm always on the brink, on that edge and threshold between Hell and Holiness and it would please him immensely for me to die having just barely breached the threshold so he can laugh in my face and tell me how everything I did was for nothing because I'm his now.  I wish God would pull me so far into the realm of holiness and fill me with so much Grace that it would take lots of hard work for me to even get to the threshold.  Satan won't do the same with the side of evil because if I were so far gone in that realm, I wouldn't be fun for him.  Why torture me if he already has me?

This is one of those times where I sit and wonder what the heck my Guardian Angel is doing...  Hello patron saints??  St. Christopher, St. Dominic, St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Maria Goretti, St. Anthony of Padua, do you all not see what I"m going through??????  Can I have one prayer on my behalf please?  An Our FAther?  Something, unless you guys don't care either. 

All it would take is for God to just alter my feelings just ever so slightly, show Himself to me, and I swear, I would not have any attachment to worldly things. 

While others are strong enough for sanctification through trials and tribulations, I am positive that my sanctification should be lived out in me not having to deal with any of that because I get easily discouraged and start to second guess all this.

Off to Adoration....begging my dear readership to say a prayer for me (Jesse, I know you got this part covered).

Btw, got through the Feast of St. Valentine, Martyr, unscathed and safely....because I actually observed it as the feast day of a Saint whose intercession I begged, and not some secular hearts and candy holiday which has no relation whatsoever.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We Have to have Faith in God's Mercy If We Want Healing

Our Lord Heals the Blind Man
"And they came to him, bringing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four. And when they could not offer him unto him for the multitude, they uncovered the roof where he was; and opening it, they let down the bed wherein the man sick of the palsy lay. And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee." --Holy Gospel according to St. Mark II, 3-5

Excerpt from the Holy Gospel of the Mass yesterday (Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Ordinary Form) but I will also quote part of the Holy Gospel of the Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday (Extraordinary Form) which was yesterday because they're related to what I want to say.

"And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, Saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole." --Holy Gospel according to St. Luke XVIII, 40-42

Two examples from the life-giving and expiating words of the Holy Gospels where those who believe are healed by Faith in God.  Both men were ardently and hastily seeking Jesus that He would heal them and the Lord took pity and told them that their Faith had made them whole or healed.  Their physical conditions (being paralyzed and being blind respectively) are representative of our sinful nature and how we are powerless to do anything about them through our own power, but through belief in God our sins are covered and we are made new.

But why do we continue in our sins?  Well, from what I've experience personally and observed, none of us run to the Sacrament of Penance or go through crazy measures (like creating a whole in the roof of a crowded place and lowering ourselves in just to get to Christ) to be healed.  The blind man was rebuked for crying out to God to have mercy on him, but he cried out even louder.  I think I definitely need to show God much more effort and haste when seeking to be united with Him, instead of wondering whether or not I'm ready for forgiveness etc etc.  If I'm not ready, I'm not ready, but try anyways (our priests are supposed to determine whether or not we receive absolution, not us).

The other important thing is both of these men had Faith, and they didn't hesitate.  That's our problem today.  We hesitate too much because we reason with ourselves how improbable things are instead of letting God be in control.  That, or we dont' want to give up our sins.  Or both.  These are very hard hurdles for me to jump over.  Maybe it's not as bad as it seems all the time; it may be me trying to protect myself from spiritual pride and arrogance. 

"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice."  (Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans IV, 3)

Anyone who has knowledge of what the Scriptures say about Faith and what the Church has taught about it knows that belief in God is not a virtue we ourselves can practice apart from His Grace and God giving the gift.  So we who believe should always thank God for our belief and put it into action otherwise our belief is vain and really not belief anymore...  (thank you St. James the Apostle (whichever one wrote the Epistle, Greater or Less)). 

We must always pray for those who do not believe that God would put it in their hearts to believe in Him and in His promises.  Say those Apostles' Creeds and make Acts of Faith.

Now pray for me as I try to put this into practice for my self...  Because I hesitate way too much.

Random Thoughts

It's 3 AM and I cannot sleep (not that this is unusual in and of itself), but laying in bed was just not doing it for me because I know I'm anxious and when I'm anxious, I have racing thoughts. 

But I feel like my thoughts aren't really racing, my mind just happens to be in a daze or blur.  Hmm...idk.

I remember that while conversing with my bestie the other day about the state of our lives and how I just feel "different" like not myself, like I'm very numb to so much and almost indifferent to everything.  The fighter spirit and being a "jusqu'au-boutiste" (as we say in la langue de Voltaire) just doesn't seem to be in me anymore, I'm hardly motivated to do anything it seems.  I feel so resigned, but resigned to what (certainly not to the will of God as I wish I were...)?  Still feeling like I'm stuck in some kind of twilight zone and just lost.

I wonder if this is God answering my prayer to prepare me for the 40 days with Him in the desert of Quadragesima because I just feel quite detached, and the numbness probably from over exertion and over exhaustion.  Prayer has been a big part of my life again recently, but like I said before, that's it.  Pray, meditate, sleep.  Repeat.

But that's not right.  Prayer should never just stop at that.  Prayer should move us to action really, especially considering the things I pray for.  It makes me wonder how many opportunities I've missed to respond to Actual Grace and to see an answer to my prayer (or to someone else's). 

Found out at Holy Mass that Father is being transferred.  I won't lie, I teared up a bit during when he was reading us the letter he wrote.  It was very melancholic.  He and I have had our issues what with me being so traditional and him being very contemporary, but the spiritual help he has given me is priceless.  All the encouragement and meeting me with me and the spiritual direction.  It will be hard to see him go becaue he has been the pastor here since way before I started school here.  I don't like change and this will be hard, but I trust that the new priest will also be a caring minister of the Lord.

I can't explain fully why nothing feels the same anymore or why this or that has happened to me, but I give thanks to God anyways because it just feels like I should.  I'm still living.  I have food and a roof.  I have support and because I have Him.  But eventually I'm going to have to come out of my little hiding place and do His work at some point, and I will get to that point with His help.  I haven't lost yet, I just need some direction that's all.  To be more methodical and stop being in wonder so much. 

Lord, just help me pull through =)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why I'm Most Ashamed of Being Gay

I was browsing through Fisheaters trad Catholic forum yesterday for awhile and came across a thread on homosexuality.

I can't particularly recall what the question was but I remember a post by one of the members of the forum whom I admire particularly because he is super traditional and eloquent and usually makes good points and arguments.  He quoted the first chapter of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans and said that homosexuality is punishment for a sin committed earlier in life most likely during childhood. 

This had upset a few other posters, but when I thought about the Scripture he had quoted (which I admit, I had problems understanding the full extent of those verses myself for a long time (it hurts to hear that God has "delivered you up" but just because it hurts doesn't mean it's false)).  So I thought to myself what had I done in my early childhood that could have angered God so much that He, in His Justice and perfect judgment, threw this at me?

I can't really think of anything specifically and I don't really want to ask my mother or father because I don't want to remind of something as painful as realizing you have a gay son (perhaps if I were a girl it wouldn't be as bad) and I feel awful that they happen to be that lucky couple that got hit with this, with me. 

My mother is a very pious believing woman.  Her whole life revolves around God and the study of the Holy Scriptures and she's very kind and charitable and the most holy woman I know personally.  She uplifts me with the Scriptures and always prays for and with me and has blessed with me a desire for holiness and seeking Truth and living for God.  She prays almost unceasingly and is a support to others in their struggles.  She tarries with them, even with her work as a pro-life activist.  She counsels women who've had abortions helping them find healing and forgiveness while defending the right of innocent lives to be born.  My mom takes her faith seriously and strives to be Christian all the time and not just at church.  She has very traditional morals and views that are certainly not common in the Black community even among Christians but she prefers God to culture.  My father is a hard working honest man who is very tired and dealt with much in his life.

What did they do that was so bad and awful that they had to have the gay kid...  They don't deserve that, they aren't bad people at all but I just don't understand why I had to happen to them.  I feel like maybe if I had shown some interest when I was 4 or 5 in what my father was trying to get me to have as hobbies then maybe I wouldn't have grown to be such a sad excuse of a male.  I'm even starting to be disgusted by what I have become.  I shouldn't have been so close to my mother nor should I have admired and loved her so much because she became my role model and I wanted to be like her and it's not healthy for male children to think so highly of their mothers because then you turn oout like me.

My parents support me in ways I can't even describe and I certainly do not deserve to be raised in a Christian household with Christian parents who actually cared regardless of any mistakes that may have happened, but I just don't get why.  Thank goodness I have three other siblings who are heterosexual so they will have grandchildren (actually they already have one! I have a niece).  I am too ashamed and embarrased (and proud) to tell them I"m sorry for becoming this way, I think some things are just better left unsaid. 

I look at my parents' wedding photos and how young and happy they look and how gorgeous they are, almost magical, and then to think that shortly after, I happened.  I hate looking at my baby pictures and I hope they burn those stupid things and also pics of me as a young child because 20 years later.  I get so mad that I just cry looking at them but I don't destroy them because they're really special to my mom.

I know that as a Catholic, I should hate being gay primarily because God hates it and because it's highly offensive to Him, but for some reason it hurts even more thinking that my parents had to live their lives knowing this about me.  It sucks. 

Whatever the reason this has been laid on me, I just hope God the Holy Ghost reveals it to me so that I may repent of whatever it was if that's the case and just be free and get on with the Catholic life that I want so badly to lead.  Kyrie eleison.  And one thing I know for sure, I don't EVER want my mother to ever compromise her beliefs and her relationship with God because of me or loving me or feeling sorry for me.  I want her to have the best possible chances of salvation because she deserves it with the beautiful, Mary-like soul she has and because of her genuineness and because she is the best mother (besides the Blessed Mother) anyone could ask for and I love her.

Dear mom and pop, wish I could have been different and better and regular and I know you both still love me a lot, but just know that I wouldn't have given you me as a son because you both deserve much better.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Discrimination of Pro-Lifers in the United States

Does the government not get it?  The President and Congress should see by now that Roman Catholics and those who support the right to life are very offended and serious about this "death mandate." 

"'Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,' Father Wilde said."

This was a peaceful protest.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd were loud, disrespectful, and carrying on (not saying they didn't have a right to be...), but these Christians were just praying, but they get arrested?  Okay, the priest did state that technically they were breaking the law and that the arrests were legit, but that is such a strong double-standard, and a slap in the face to those who support the right to life that all possess by virtue of the fact that we are born and created in the image of God.  That brings a dignity that must be respected. 

If you do not believe that, fine.  That is your right, no one is forcing it on you.  But at the same time, those who do believe that (including businesses and groups) should not be legally forced to support something that is directly opposed to their morals.  That's criminal to demand such a thing, but who'll come to our defense...

I feel like the separation of church and state is at the beginning of the end...  Soon, churches will be forced on legal grounds to "marry" those struggling with same-sex attraction, to endorse certain political candidates (while others remain free to choose whom they endorse or do not), heck priests may even be forced to conduct the murder of children through performing abortions. 

Seriously, what has the Catholic Church done to this country that was so bad?  I could understand if we were in Quebec, or Europe.  But the Church has never had any real power here nor has the Church influenced much (although I'd like to highlight the hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches (and the things they've offered)).  This is just ridiculous.

The reason is because abortion and contraception (and participating in them directly or closely indirectly) is officially forbidden by the Church and she teaches that all those who do such things bring upon themselves de facto major excommunication (latens sententiae aka automatic) and is said to be in mortal sin and not worthy of Heaven.

"In reality, the other side should be afraid precisely because we are humble, peaceful, and prayerful, because therein lies the force that uproots injustice from society."

Brothers and sisters, we all need to be in prayer about this.  If you cannot actively protest or show support by ostensible means, please pray, fast, give alms, light candles, offer Mass, gain Indulgences, receive the Sacraments, venerate a sacred icon, pray litanies, Rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, Stations of the Cross, anything.  There are so many weapons at our disposal it's just a matter of using them.

"Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." --Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians VI, 11, 12

Eastern Orthodox Aerial Toll-Houses + Me Feeling Spiritually Murdered = Hope (sike)

Having a bad day today spiritually.

I've made an appointment with Father to confess my sins, but I don't really know where to begin (my last Confession was during Advent or just before) and I'm struggling to examine my conscience which I've been trying to do over the past week.  Maybe I'll find a good examen online that I can follow because the one in my missal is not hitting the nail on the head... 

There is just not enough time for anything because I have school, work, and my spiritual life (I don't really have a social life right now besides for being with my best friend a lot, but that's fine because I'm worried about more important things).  I've been spending tremendous amounts of time on my spiritual life to the detriment of my academic career because I'm still running in circles and trying to find answers about homosexuality, gender identity, and trying to be a good Catholic in spite of all that.

All I want to do when I'm not researching answers to how to have a more peaceful interior life or praying is sleep.  My life consists of being on the Internet trying to make the most out of Catholicism in my life, prayer (including reading the Scriptures and devotions), and sleep.  I feed myself as well ;-)

Did I mention that last night I finally found out what the Aerial Toll-Houses are?  Eastern Orthodox tradition hypothesizes that the Particular Judgment of the soul after it leaves the body consists in it being carried by the Holy Angels Heavenward where it makes 20 stops at the different Toll-Houses where there are demons who try to steal the soul to Hell by convicting it of sins it has committed in life (or by accusing it of sins it didn't commit) to see if the soul has sufficifiently satisfied for it.  If the soul has sufficiently satisfied for the sin [of that Toll-House] by some good work, the Angels may guide the soul the next one where it is tempted or convicted again by different demons for a different type of sin.  If the soul has not satisfied, the demons snatch it, and carry it to Hell.  If the soul makes it past all 20 Toll-Houses, it may ender the Joy of the Lord in Heaven after the Final (General) Judgment.

The Church Fathers have said that those who commune of the Sacred Mysteries and confess their sins truthfully often are not in danger of the demons at these terrifying Toll-Houses, and that the prayers of the faithful on Earth and the Saints who have cleared all 20 Toll-Houses. 

Although not all of the Eastern Orthodox accept this as doctrine (some say it's a metaphor), it seems that most of them believe it and they have the texts to prove it.  It really scares me if they are real because I always thought that God would be my Judge at my Particular Judgment and that He wouldn't necessarily cooperate with the demons.  Purgatory seems scary enough, but if this is how one even gets there, it kinda leaves me hanging as to how the heck I'm supposed to clear all those Toll-Houses if they even exist.  Now I really see the importance of gaining Indulgences and always trying to be in a State of Grace on this life.  Keep in mind, one can have insufficient "collateral" at any of the Toll-Houses and immediately go to Hell. 

Before, I always wondered why the Orthodox prayed for the dead since they didn't believe in Purgatory, but in light of these Toll-Houses, it makes sense.  But how will I have anyone to pray for me if I'm not a member of a parish community where people will know what to pray about concerning me?  People could easily forget, and if these little "judgment houses" are real, I could be falling to an endless woe, and the fact that I tried really hard in life wouldn't even matter. 

After all, isn't the fear of Hell and the desire to see God the reason that I pray so much, offer Mass frequently, try to share the Truth with others, do good deeds, and believe through Charity?  What's the point if all these demons are just going to make it all go to naught?  I would hope that my Guardian Angel (like the Toll-House believers say) is recording the good things that I do out of love for God.  I would hope that God would remember His Promise to His children, and consider where my heart is at the moment of death. 

http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx (St. Theodora's Journey Through the Toll-Houses)

Something in me just keeps feeling like I'm being set up for failure!!!  And frankly, it is making me not trust God in a sense, but making so scared of Him that I don't feel like continuing. 

Now, I'm not saying that these Toll-Houses in the sky are real or that they're infallibly declared (I've never even heard of them except for a couple times over the past 5 years), but it's just an uncomfortable thought kinda like Purgatory and Hell are uncomfortable, but at least in Purgatory, you're guaranteed Heaven and are sad and tormented by the fact that your sins offended God and the Poor Souls of the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory) actually see their sins for what they really are and are praying to be cleansed of them and satisfy for them.  These Toll-Houses seem like your fate is more or less in the hands of demons and they don't want your good nor have they ever.  Your Angels are supposed to help you, but the demons have the last word.

Aerial Toll-Houses Iconographic Depiction
Everything is just looking like Christianity is just not possible for me because I'm convicted of everything and I feel like I lack the help of the Holy Ghost, but I am praying that this is not the end of the road and that I am destined for victory eventually.  I can't even be of much help to those around me because I don't even really know what to do anymore.  I am feeling so literally crushed by the weight of my sins and how numerous they are (yet, I can't name them to save my life...funny...) that I feel like I just can't get up some times.  I want to win, but without God's help, I can't even lift up a spiritual weapon. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
"Be Thou unto me a God, a Protector, and a house of refuge, to save me:  for Thou art my strength and my refuge:  and for Thy Name's sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.  Ps.  ibid.  2.  In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded:  deliver me in Thy justice, and save me."  --Introit of the Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Cannot I be at Peace with Masculinity?


Just read this article about men becoming women.  I know it's in French, but bear with me (I promise I won't mistranslate), and also it's from the SSPX France website, so my ethos wasn't extremely highly appealed to, but usually I get a lot out of reading what they have to say (unless it's about the Pope, Vatican II, Ordinary Form, et cetera).

Cliffs of the article:  A physics-chemistry teacher "changed" his sex to female.  A lot of students and parents are angry and the administration said that what really mattered was his professionalism, and that his personal life choices need to be respected by others, and so on and so forth.

Fr. de Lacoste SSPX writes how God distinctly created two sexes, male and female.  A male body therefore has a male soul (same with female body and female soul) which he quoted from St. Thomas Aquinas.  What your sex is determines what role you're supposed to play in society and in the family.  The theory of "gender" is man-made and false.  Males are not females.  The presence of the mother is highly necessary in the life of a child (I could say even moreso for fathers...).  Males and females are complentary to each other.  Some jobs should be for men only, others for women only.  The woman's domaine is taking care of the home.  The man's is providing for the home.  And others.  I mostly agree with this article, but it just raises a few questions.

What this Father fails to mention and address is a reality called Gender Identity Disorder and how that comes into play with one's perception of him or herself.  Father assumes that since I am physically a male that I know how to do and have an interest in doing all of the things that the says I should know how to do and be doing. 

I feel guilty that I basically am slapping God in the Face by "living more as a woman," but it's not like all of it is forced.  Most of it just feels "right and natural."  I do not doubt that God created me a man, nor do I believe He made a mistake, but at the same time I don't think that masculinity and femininity as defined by certain cultures is instinctual (some of it is I think), but definitely learned and conditioned.  The parents play a large part in that as I read that children learn how to interact with both sexes from interaction with their parents.  I was always really close to my mother and the women in my family, not so much to my father although I've been trying to change that these days.

What about males who grow up in single-parent homes with just a mom, and her friends and the female relatives on her side, and never had that male role model, but still turn out to be masculine, heterosexuals?  What about people who like me were born in the traditional, conservative nuclear family with males and females (more females though) and who become feminine and gay?  Most of the males in my family are heterosexual and masculine.

No one has an answer, I get it.  Sorry for asking.  Honestly, I'm being the only way I know how to be.  In spite of all the harassment and isolation I've experienced in my youth (I didn't have friends until high school), I still didn't learn.  I figured society could have beat it out of me.  My family didn't encourage it either, in fact I used to get in trouble a lot for being girly (which did lead me to feeling like I couldn't trust my family, they didn't understand, but I dont' think anyone really understands something like this), yet it didn't stop me either.  It made me more fearful, yeah, but I didn't know what to do.

I remember often during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament when I was younger (and I find myself doing this here and there today, but I try not to) just asking God why me?  Lord, how can I bring others to Your Church if they're turned off by me?  Why can't You deliver me from these things so that people will take me seriously when I declare Your marvelous works to them?  Why can't You make me love what You created me to be, instead of letting me be in the anguish of being stuck between two things that are opposed to each other?

Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
 So badly do I want to be a mother and a wife and have a family to try and raise beautiful and devout Catholic children and have a husband to keep me safe and to encourage and strengthen me in the faith and someone to offer Holy Mass with and to pray with.  Someone with whom I do not have to try to defend the Faith and argue religion or teach him about religion, but someone who can be a constant spiritual support for me (and also to relieve myself...if you know what I mean), and to see him when I look at my children.  But that will never happen, and that's okay really.  It's sad, but I have been praying that God help me not to envy heterosexuals and Catholic married couples, but rather to praise God for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  Also, the Lord knows that I couldn't handle certain things like the death or a spouse or children or having children who leave the Church or having the possibility of my husband leaving me because someone better came along and I'd be stuck in the Sacrament alone. 

I consider others and their crosses, and I can see that they are things that they can struggle through while still being in the Church Militant (Roman Catholics that are alive and on Earth), but why are my crosses such that I have to put the Faith on hold until I'm free of them?  How come I can't work out my salvation until I find some way to not have same-sex attraction or gender identity disorder, and then (and only then) may I start to really atone for my sins?  What if I want God to help me and that I want to be in His Church so that I can find the healing and forgiveness I need?  It just doesn't seem to make sense, and that's why I've toyed with the idea of Calvinism and wondered if I am already damned and God is just making sure that I know that now so that Satan can have all the more the joy at my being thrown into Hell.

Part of me knows that cannot be true and is contrary to what Christianity teaches (Calvinism has been officially declared heresy afterall), but I'm just not seeing it.  Perhaps is Faith and Hope are disordered.  A friend (who is actually in seminary!!  Wooot!!!) told me that it's that constant struggle of totally relying on God's Grace, realizing we can do nothing to save ourselves, but then adding in our part as well and cooperating with that Grace.

Lord, I do not know all Your ways, but I do know that they are Truth and Life.  I pray that You never abandon me to the end, but that You deliver me and remember Your promise to me through the Blood of Thy Son, Jesus.  Through the intercession of Your most holy Mother, the pure and ever Virgin Mary, free me from all my iniquity and grant that I may be eternally pleasing to Thee.  Amen+++

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Forgiveness and the State of Grace

The other day while I was browsing through Fisheaters watching the usual confrontations, one poster (an SSPXer) made a great point that has been on my heart the past couple days, especially in light of the theological debates that I've been in. 

She said that all of the pointing fingers and calling so-and-so a heretic/schismatic and saying who is and isn't in the Church should not be determined by us sinners, but that what we should really be doing is making sure that we're in a State of Grace (not guilty of any mortal sin) and seek virtue and piety regardless of what Mass we attend and in spite of our views on "being in-communion with Rome."

I was pretty floored and thought to myself, "Wow, I'm not in a State of Grace, and the arguing to seeing with whom I agree and disagree is not going to restore me back to God's friendship."  It was quite humbling.  Of course her post was ignored by most of the alpha male youngeons who are trying to impress each other...  *rolls eyes*

Protestants and non-believers often accuse Roman Catholics (and the Eastern Orthodox if they even know who they are) of going to the priest for forgiveness instead of going to God directly.  Sadly, I think a lot of us Catholics do have that mindset, but oh how flawed it is and it is such a trick of Satan to delay our seeking the Grace of God.

We need to be begging the Lord for mercy frequently throughout the day, and definitely before we retire to sleep at night because we never know when the Lord will come for us (First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians, V, 2) and should we be guilty or conscious of even one mortal sin at that time, our souls will be lost for all eternity and we will be confined to the endless woes of Hell.

All mortal sins can be forgiven by making a sincere and devout act of Perfect Contrition (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1452) WITH the firm resolution to receive the Sacrament of Penance ASAP afterwards.  If one is truly sorry for his sins, he naturally has the intention of going to Confession if and when he can.  Keep in mind the Perfect Contrition is sorrow for sin motivated by the Theological Virtue of Charity, love for God and extreme anguish of the soul at having offended His goodness.

We should try to make these acts frequently throughout the day and not just when we know we're going to Confession.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity."  --First Epistle of St. John the Evangelist, I, 9)

We can (and should) confess our sins to God at any time if we are truly sorry for our sins and are ready to turn from our evil ways. 

Keep in mind that although we have Perfect Contrition and earnestly ask for the forgiveness of God, we may not partake of any of the Sacraments (Penance excepted) until we have received sacramental absolution through the Sacrament of Penance.  We MAY NOT receive Holy Communion if we have any mortal sins to confess for which we have not yet received sacramental absolution.  This is a Law of the Church.  Case closed.  But this does not in any way remove our obligation to always ask for God's forgiveness.

Another thing to note is even though we have Perfect Contrition and make a sincere act before the majesty of God, we do not receive the Sanctifying Grace of the Sacrament, and therefore do not receive the Sacramental Grace to help us avoid the sin and it is likely that we may fall again very soon.  This is why it is important and necessary to make frequent Confessions (frequent by the Church's standards means at least once a month or more). 

If we do not have Perfect Contrition, we may still receive the Sacrament of Penance provided we have at least Imperfect Contrition (or attrition) which means a distaste and disgust for sin because of how evil it is and because we fear not going to Heaven or we fear going to Hell.  Perfect Contrition is motivated by love for God, while Imperfect Contrition is motivated by fear of His Judgments.  The latter is the minimun necessary to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

Imperfect Contrition will NOT forgive mortal sin even in light of imminent death, so we must get ourselves into the habit of having Perfect Contrition and always pray for the increase in Charity which the Sacraments give.

If we die in a State of Grace, we are promised Eternal Life, although the fires of Purgatory are likely especially if we do not receive sacramental absolution or the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (or Annointing of the Sick).

Please read and pray the Seven Penitential Psalms 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142 (or for the modern Bibles 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abortion Has No Place in a Woman's Life. . .ever.

"Not only do we not need abortion, we do not want it. Abortion does not elevate the dignity of women. It demeans us and forces us to reject our true nature. Rather than celebrating our femininity, abortion forces us to deny our womanhood. It treats our unique ability to bear and nurture a child as a liability."

The true nature of woman being that she is the perfect complement to man and his helper.  While he is deprived of being able to carry and bear human life within him, she can.  By aborting and using contraceptives, the genders become obsolete and humanity no longer can heed the Lord's command to increase and multiply (Book of Genesis I, 28).  Not only do man and woman together have the power to participate in the creative work of the God the Father (other animals, plants, fungi, etc. can do the same), but through the coming together of man and woman, an immortal, eternal soul is brought forth as well.  Abortion purposefully deprives that soul of the chance to be redeemed by the Blood of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism.

"President Barack Obama issued a statement on the 2012 anniversary of the Roe v Wade suggesting that abortion was necessary for the next generation of women to have the same rights, freedoms and opportunities as men."

Interesting...didn't know men had the right (or would ever need) to abort.  All that aside, this comparison makes no sense.  To me, it's the same thing as saying, "The drinking age should be lowered to 18 so that most college students can have the same privileges as construction workers." 

. . . (dot dot dot). . .ummm?  Okay?

Awful and very asinine appeal to emotion. 

"The reality is we will not cultivate a culture of life until all women realize that we do not need abortion in order to be considered as smart, competent and professional as men."

Hmm...I wouldn't say that most who are pro-choice believe that abortion makes them equal to men in that sense, but see it more as a way to "stop a bad situation from getting worse and being able to have recourse to it."  That is the vibe that I get from most pro-abortion people; in fact, a lot of them believe that men shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion on the matter (Whose children are those women carrying?  Excuse me?  They didn't get themselves pregnant)... 

What women NEED to realize, however, is, should they ever be in a situation that through no fault of their own a child is conceived, there is counseling and support and help.  In the worst cases, adoption is a viable option (one can have a hard life and still go to Heaven; one cannot enter the Beatific Vision without the Sacrament of Baptism, however).

"In addition to squelching true womanhood, abortion is literally killing women. . .And there is now strong evidence that post-abortive women are more likely to suffer an increase in depression, substance abuse and suicide. Abortion is also linked to a highly aggressive form of breast cancer."

Okay, pro-abortioners, explain me this!  Abortion isn't the magic happy pill most of you (though not all of you) think it is.  It is deadly procedure in more than just a spiritual way and can bring much harm to the body and mind of the mother and others affected.  Planned Parenthood isn't going to tell you all this, but do your research.  Abortion mills are no less dangerous than mothers self-aborting with hangars and what not (although the self-aborting may be more immediately fatal...).

"My generation battled persistent bias to make women in demanding professions and in positions of authority the norm rather than the exception."

I have my views on this but I'll leave that for another post...  Most positions of authority should be dominated by men (not merely males mind you) because I feel like a woman in certain leadership positions does undermine her femininity in a way.  Back to the subject at hand...

Consider these touching words of Pope Blessed John Paul II:

A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her,” always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation. …"

Lastly, consider the words of the Holy Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans:

"For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature."  (I, 26)

Things which are against the laws of nature such as murder (abortion is murder btw) and homosexuality naturally bring along with them a hatred of the things of God and a deprivation of His help (Graces) and the unrepentent start to glory and revel in such things, not ever realizing the error and turning to God. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray us and put an end to abortion...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

SSPX (unofficial) Antipathy, Rad Trads Gone Mad

Read the first couple pages of this forum post in Fisheaters Traditional Catholic Forum:


This is why I have such a hard time with many of those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) especially those who go to SSPX chapels.  Had to make the distinction before someone jumps on me and says that I hate all traditionalists and adherents of the Society of St. Pius X(SSPX).

One of the posters there (my favorite poster actually) expressed something that she appreciated about the SSPX which she normally criticizes for their harsh, scathing words especially when they insult the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) or accuse the Novus Ordo (NO..Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite or New Mass) and its Sacraments as being invalid, heretical, fake, etc.  In response to the kind remark she made about the SSPX, another poster immediately shot her comment down by making a derogatory and blasphematory statement about Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.  She even explained that she was also making that statement of apprecition to kinda cool the air and be more charitable to the SSPX adherents.

The conversation spun out into the usual:  a battle between the SSPX and the in-communion-with-Rome trads going back and forth with the typical name-calling (The NO religion is false and not Catholic, you're not with the Church because you insult the Pope, the NO is to blame for your husband's loss of fatih, etc).  This woman is struggling with the fact that her husband, her spouse, is possibly losing the faith because of the cruel remarks of some SSPX adherents and other die-hard traditionalist Catholics because they're making him feel like he's just "worshipping bread and wine and not Christ's true Body and Blood." 

The Sacraments are Sacraments, they always confer Sanctifying Grace (or increase it) in the soul when they're received worthily and through them we receive the mercy and Grace that our Lord gave by His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  They are not dependent upon the orthodoxy or lack thereof of the priest or bishop administering them, but on the matter (tangible things required), form (proper words used in their administration/reception), and intent (the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and intangible things/dispositions required). 

What is wrong with our Church?  There are all these factions and camps and not enough unity and agreement.  And all the name-calling, are we really in 2nd grade??  (I feel like I just insulted second graders even...).  Radical traditionalists, neo-con bullies, cafeteria Catholics, liberal Catholics, FSSP/ICKSP traditional Catholics, SSPX traditional Catholics, NOers, etc... 

This labeling is getting tired and is making us look bad to non-Catholics, we can't even agree on our own religion, we're looking just as bad as Protestants (although they aren't really pointing fingers at each other...which is funny because they all teach different things, but it's okay for others to have heterodox faith and be saved, but Roman Catholics are damned by virtue of the fact that we identify as such...okay).

I mean, it's not even admonishing a sinner, but just being cruel, impatient, and irritable.  Yes, it is tiring to have to deal with how most people have such a flawed and distorted view of Catholicism that it's like they aren't even practicing the same religion (I'm guilty of this myself; usually I shiver when someone tells me they're Catholic anymore because I am immediately thinking how well do they know our doctrines). 

But it does bother me that SSPX adherents have this "If they want to be saved, they'll come to us" attitude and are not concerned at pushing others away.  In a way, they're right, you don't adjust the Truth just to get a butt in a seat (bishops take heed), but you don't want to insult someone away and give them a bad taste in their mouths either.  Be a good witness, and know that people have feelings too.

On the contrary, people in the Ordinary Form and non-traditional camp need to stop acting like anything goes.  This also sickens me.  Right and wrong do exist.  Truth is important, lies need to be banished.  Educate yourselves and stop doing everything based on what feels right and good and please, PLEASE, stop being passive spectators at Mass like you're watching a concert.  I love how the "Spirit of Vatican II" crowd loooves to harp participatio actuosa *cough* I mean, "active participation" down everyone's throats, but those that assist at the Extraordinary Form seem to be more actively participating where it really counts (the heart) than those at the Ordinary Form, and also most people don't jet out of the church so quickly like they're gasping for fresh air after Mass.

Most of the stupid and ridiculous comments came from trad guys that wanted to argue the NO matter, but most of them didn't say but a couple words about the spiritual distress she and her husband were going through (which she felt was because of them). 

Help those who are in error to try to find and see the Truth, do not just post all these templated phrases and impulsive responses to things (that gets old and you sound like a machine) because we are our brother's keepers (Book of Genesis IV, 9).

This is just really disgusting and I've noticed that I get a lot of criticism too for feeling "left out" or "forgotten" or whatever, but I'm trying lately to just realize that you can't count on ANYONE but God and His Promises because man is feeble, fickle, and are msot likely just as lost as anyone else, but we can also count on the CHURCH because God established it to protect us, the faithful, and guide us always.

Satan Beat Me Today

It seems as the days go by I'm feeling more and more in my spirit the imminence of the desert and the approaching fasts.  I am in exile because of my sins and rightfully so.  The Lord is turning His Face away from me for a reason, and all His judgments are true (Apocalypse XIX, 2) and I hate that I get angry at them and sin by complaining to God to deliver me from them.

Satan beat me again today.  I got up to go to Mass in Pittsburgh, but when I saw the weather, I got scared and then I didn't have enough money to put gas in my tank I realized once I got to the gas station.  I went to another church, St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church, because Mass was starting there in 15 minutes.  I was a little late, but the whole time driving to the church I was very disappointed because I had wanted to go to the Extraordinary Form so badly, and then I felt guilty for wanting to go to one Form of the Mass over another.  God could not be thinking highly of that because in His Eyes, it's one and the same Sacrifice.

I wanted so badly to give thanks and to praise God during the Liturgy, but all I could think of was how I'm making hardly any money, I feel isolated from Catholics and a lot of people in general (I even feel isolated from my friends in a sense), how I feel isolated from my family, my coworkers, my classmates, other Blacks, other gays, men and women, everyone.  I thought about how I really need to try to do homework this week and get my accounting textbook and start studying hard when all I want to do all day is pray and commune with God and get answers.

These were not the feelings I wanted to have during Holy Mass.  I wanted to pray with attention and fervor, but I feel like it was all forced today and I had to try really, really hard to concentrate.  The tone of the Readings was actually helpful.  The First Reading spoke of leprosy and being unclean because of it, and how the priests had to pray it away through the power of God and of course I was yearning to go to Confession after reading it.  The Responsorial Psalm was about crying out to God in times of trouble, but don't I already do that?  What is the point of it?  Since it's from the Holy Scriptures, there has to be some salvific counterpart to it.  Perhaps I'm just not seeing it.  I'm very distressed.  The Second Reading was St. Paul the Apostle exhorting Christians to glorify God in all things and be imitators of Christ.  And the Holy Gospel was the miracle of Jesus healing the leper. 

Has God made me to be a "leper" in terms of our society and times?  Nothing about me is really pleasing to anyone, Catholic or heathen, and is there anything pleasing about me to God?  He's still pushing me to persevere even though I really want to just let go right now.  I just need to know and feel that Heaven is a possibility for me and that it is my true home and that one day God will fly me away there swiftly.

Angel ministering to Our Lord in His Agony

These spiritual and temporal chastisements seem very intense, and I wonder if others at church feel the same thing.  Are others out there tarrying in distress and tears but hoping in God all the same?  Do others offer the Mass praying and begging God for deliverance and peace? 

You know, if this is how worn out and despised I feel with the relatively little hard things I have to deal with, what strength hath the Lord that He bore this throughout His whole life feeling the weight of the sin of His creation crushing Him and beating Him to the ground and leading Him to the humiliation of the Cross?  This love I just still do not understand (in theory I do) because it's hard for me to bear my own burdens for myself, how could I do this for another, or even for all flesh that has ever lived?

The Lord commands me to take up my cross and follow Him (Holy Gospel according to St. Luke IX, 23) and I want to.  I want to glory in my struggles like St. Paul the Apostle because power is made perfect in infirmity (Second Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians XII, 9), but what can I really glory in with out the help from God?  I need His Grace so much right now because I want Life and that Life only comes from Him Who is Life, Jesus Christ, glory be to Him. 

For whatever reason, the Lord has willed that I struggle with whatever I struggle with and He knows why and it has to work out for the best (Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans VIII, 28) and I need to trust that He will lead me in His paths and hold me to righteousness because He is my deliverer, my protection, and my salvation.  He's already created me and brought my soul out of death through the Sacrament of Baptism, He's strengthened me with the Holy Ghost in the Sacrament of Confirmation, He forgives me my sins in the Sacrament of Penance, and He feeds my starving soul with His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  There has to be a happy ending but I just need to hold on for just a while longer and really intensify my praying, fasting, and almsgiving because we never know when we will have to face Him as the Terrible Judge, at which point He will no longer be merciful.

O Mary, help of Christians, pray for us

Holy Mass Dilemma: Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form?

Am I allowed to enjoy anything? 

I've been thinking.  So, I've decided a couple weeks ago that for the Seasons of Septuagesima and Quadragesima (Lent), I would try to attend Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Pittsburgh.  Multiple reasons.  The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite fosters and caters to my spirituality much more than does the Ordinary Form.  Being in God's Presence for worship is a very solemn occasion and the atmosphere and "feel" of the Liturgy is very conducive to prayer and meditation.  It's frustrating wondering when the next time I'll be able to go to Latin Mass will be.

There are a few problems standing in the way.  Gas is pretty expensive and the church is a good hour and 20 minute drive from my place.  The roads are awful right now.  Money is very tight, but I have been looking forward to Sexagesima Sunday all week.  I don't want everything to go to waste really.  I should also say that there is a Catholic church next door to me [that I don't hate; I enjoy it sometimes], but it's difficult having to constantly adapt my spirituality and relationship to the Mass on Sundays.  During the week, Mass is fine there, easier to concentrate and pray.

Why would God give me such a desire and thirst to worship Him with the Extraordinary Form, but then place so much distance between it and me?  It's tantalizing.  I'm not unreasonably far away from it, yet I don't go more often.  There is a closer EF in another diocese, but I've stopped going to that church for social reasons.  It was starting to be an occasion of sin for me because I would often leave extremely upset.  I miss that church though because the priest is the best predicator I know.  He's such a man of God and so holy.  He's tough, but that's what souls need.  I always feel blessed just being around him.  Not to mention, the church is gorgeous... 

I usually went to Pittsburgh for the high holy days like the Solemnities of the Nativity and Resurrection of Our Lord.  It's a larger community and I'll be able to blend in more and it'll be a fresh start.  I won't have to talk to anyone and I can pick a corner and be in my own little meditative, prayerful world.  Me and God.  No one knows me.  I don't know them.  I don't have to have the anxiety of making a good impression or not because after I'm done with my Thanksgiving After Mass, I'll be leaving. 

Since I'm Black and gay, like I said in a former post, I do naturally feel uncomfortable and "different" but I try to pray those feelings away and tell myself that I am bought with a price (First Epistle of the St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians VII, 23) and have every right to be there.  They can't really kick anyone out of church unless they're being disrespectful can they? 

It's hard not to wonder what people think of me there.  I'd rather not know honestly.  That's the other thing I wonder, why would God allow me to struggle with homosexuality and gender identity and race and then give me such a thirst for Him and be drawn to a way of worship that is like the antithesis of all those things, traditional Catholicism? 

This is just putting tremendous amounts of stress on me.  I feel like because I want to go to the Extraordinary Form so badly, I'm being unreasonable and really should just go to Holy Mass next door if I really do not disdain the Ordinary Form like I say I don't.  It's not that I hate going to St. Thomas More, it's just I really wanted to do this and experience Septuagesima kinda sorta (I'd need the breviary and what not to really get the whole dose of it).

Which would be more sanctifying do you think:  Go to Latin Mass? or go to Mass next door and offer it up?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Rosary of the Virgin: Spiritual Weapon

Just prayed the Rosary with two friends as we meditated on the Glorious Mysteries (the Resurrection of the Lord, the Ascension of the Lord, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin).

This is the spiritual weapon that Our Lady of Fatima recommends to Christians fighting in the warfare against the powers of evil, and what a weapon it is.  Think about it.  It's composed of the five basic prayers that all Catholics should know:

  • The Sign of the Cross where we mark ourselves with the ultimate symbol of our victory over evil.
  • The Lord's Prayer (Our Father), which is perfect in and of itself because it praises God for being God, states our dependence on Him, and asks Him for everything that we need for spiritual and temporal survival.
  • The Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary), by which we profess the dignity of her Immaculate Conception and ask her to intercede for us through Her Divine Son.
  • The Apostles' Creed (I Believe in God) in which we profess all of the Truths of our Catholic faith, centered around our Triune God and the Mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Redemption.
  • The Doxology (Glory Be) through which we sing a simple, but powerful hymn to God's eternal glory and infinite majesty.
What an immense privilege and blessing it is to pray this devotion with friends because we are all places ourselves in God's presence and covering ourselves with the Mantle of Mary as we meditate on the mysteries of our salvation.  We pray the Holy Gospel through the Rosary.  We are present with the Virgin at the Incarnation (Joyful Mysteries), we sojourn with the suffering Christ through His Passion and Death (Sorrowful Mysteries), and we are witnesses to His power and majesty at His wonderful Resurrection (Glorious Mysteries).  Also, we can experience the charity and manifestation of Christ during His public Life (Luminous Mysteries).

It seems that a lot of people (the few people who actually still pray the Rosary and know what it is these days...) say the Rosary so quickly as if merely reciting the words does anything, instead of praying and meditating on the words of the prayers and the Mysteries it recalls.  If this is to be a useful weapon, we must know how to use it, and its real use comes from the heart and from faith.

My usual intentions when I pray the Rosary are the conversion of the heathens and pagans as I pray the Apostles' Creed, the intentions of the Holy Father when I pray the first Our Father, and for mothers in crisis pregnancies and the helpless unborn with the three Hail Mary's as I rejoice in her Immaculate Conception.  The first Glory Be is just praise and thanks to God for everything He has done for me and for preserving me to this day.

Today, my general intentions for the Rosary were for a friend's boss who is recovering from surgery, for a friend's grandma who is dying, and for our Church as we fight our persecution in the United States with the new HHS mandate (that the government is brown-nosing us about now...smh). 

I recommend the following:  When you meditate on the Joyful Mysteries, ask the Holy Ghost to help you increase in virtue in Christina living.  When you meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries, ask Him to help you be truly sorry for your sins and have a contrite, repentent heart.  When you meditate on the Glorious Mysteries, ask Him to ever increase your faith and belief.  When and if you meditate on the Luminous Mysteries, ask Him to really strengthen your participation in the Sacramental life of the Church and to revere the Sacraments.

Satan is on the prowl and is doing his work (and well) and I cannot stress enough to Christians how we need to be on guard and fight.  Go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray pray pray and fast and pray and always do good when you can.  The Lord has given us the helps!  Pray your Rosaries, read the Holy Scriptures, offer Mass frequently, do devotions, pray novenas, seek the intercession of your patrons.  Do somethinnnng!!!! 

And the Rosary helps with this and it is impossible to not make spiritual progress with strong devotion for the Rosary. 

Also, Catholics, tired of the incredulity of the heathen Protestants, schismatic Orthodox, and pagan religions, pray to Our Lady that they be converted to the True Faith and that they, as well, may have salvation.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Transubstantiation and Irreverence in the Nave of a Church

I'm always glad to see people come to pay homage to the Lord throughout the week by offering Holy Mass.  Daily Mass is not obligatory (unless it's a Holy Day of Obligation, namely (in the US) the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin (December 8), the Nativity of the Lord (December 25), the Divine Motherhood of the Virgin (January 1), the Ascension of the Lord (40 days after Easter), the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15), and All Saints (November 1)), and it is great that people have it in their hearts to worship God during those optional times.  It is the most pleasing thing that anyone can do for the Lord and the most helpful way to sustain the soul of a Christian.

Although it is none of my business, I can't help but wonder what others' motives are for assisting at Mass during the week.  Just curious...

However, it does trouble me how oftentimes after the celebration of Mass in the Ordinary Form, people gather in the back of the "nave" (if you can call it that in the modern style architecure churches) to have friendly conversation in normal speaking voice or louder!  (The sanctuary is where the priest offers Mass.)  Multiply that by however many people are there and you sound like you're in a social hall, conference center, or stadium.  Why can't they do that in the vestibule?  Cannot they see that some are trying to offer their Thanksgivings after Mass and spend time in prayer?  It is very distracting and the feelings of irritation are hardly conducive to the disposition one should have during prayer.

Do not get me wrong, we are a community of believers and we should interact cordially and socially with each other, and should be friends with each other, but the vestibule is not that far of a walk and it is very disrespectful and inconsiderate of those who are praying because that is what the church is for, a place to offer sacrifice, and prayer is a sacrifice.

Do I need to mention that our Lord is present in the Tabernacle?  We do believe in Transubstantiation as Roman Catholics; the doctrine has even been raised to the dignity and solemnity of a dogma binding on all the faithful.  This means that God, in His divinity and humanity, is physically present in the consecrated Hosts which were formerly bread and wine, but have now become His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  God is very much present in Dwelling Place (Tabernacle) where He is enthroned to be adored and worshipped by His people Israel (the Church) just as you and I would be physically present in church.  This is basic doctrine. 

Would we behave so carelessly before the throne of a temporal power such as a king, president, or emperor? 

Anytime we are in the physical Presence of God (we're always in His presence because He fills all things and spaces), our attention should be directly on Him.  Speaking in the nave is not disrespectful in and of itself, but it seems to logically follow that if we believe what we truly profess to believe about Transubstantiation, and knowing that the Lord is dwelling in the Tabernacle, that we would be very peculiar and reverent at all times before His Face. 

That God, the Almighty and Omnipotent, has condescended to dwell among us His creation is a very beautiful thing to contemplate, but can we please give to Him His due?  We should be trying to raise Him up as best we can.  We should watch and be mindful of how we present ourselves before Him, what our thoughts and dispositions are, how we behave and speak.  We are before the Holy of holies and as such, everything should be dignified and reverent, but it has to start from the heart before it becomes externalized.

Many times I have thought about writing to the parish on this matter, but since I already have a reputation as a die-hard rad trad (nothing could be further from the truth), I just don't bother.  Also, I wonder how well I really am praying and how desirous am I to commune with God spiritually that I try to ignore the distractions.  After all, I pray in loud, noisy environments all the time (classrooms, work, driving (not so noisy; I hardly listen to the radio), walking outside, in Wal-Mart, anywhere really), and although I would like the blessed silence of a church (as is usually the case at an Extraordinary Form Mass), I should be able to pray without it. 

For nothing can separate us from the love of God (Epistle of the St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans VIII, 39).

Is Latin Mass really "better"???

A beautiful thought came to me today while discussing Holy Mass with my best friend.  We assisted together this evening for daily Mass and when we got home, he said he really noticed the difference between the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form.  We celebrated Mass in the cry room of the church as there is construction going on in the nave/sanctuary.

He's not Roman Catholic, but he is struggling to try to believe in something (God bless him), and he said he sees why I prefer "Latin Mass" to "that Mass." 

But I told him that I have made some progress in the past couple years.  Realizing how harmful my disdain for the post-Vatican II Liturgy was to my spiritual well-being, I prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (continually) that He help me love the Holy Sacrifice and have great reverence for it regardless of the Form or Rite as long as it is validly (and legally) offered. 

The essence of the Faith is that Christ, the Son of God and our Redeemer, becomes truly present in the Blessed Sacrament through the invocation of the Holy Ghost by the priest, the minister of God and of His Mysteries.  Period.  THIS is Catholicism in its perfect form and this has been a constant since the days of the Holy Apostles.

The Liturgy has organically developed and the solemnity to draw attention to the reality of our Faith and relationship with God has become greater over time (although has greatly diminished [in terms of solemnity] over the past half-century.  But still, the reality is the same regardless of peoples' attitudes toward it:  Christ becomes truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and He always deserves my utmost devotion and adoration (latria).

Regardless of what is going on around me, when I am assisting at Holy Mass worshipping God, I try to keep my mind focused primarily on

  • Adoring the Blessed Trinity as my sovereign God and realizing the Jesus Christ is soon to offer Himself yet again to the Father and that praise is always becoming Him.
  • Thanksgiving for any and all blessings and the right we have to stand before Him in worship because of His infinite goodness.
  • Reparation for my many sins and offenses and for being the reason that He had to die, and to satisfy for my shortcomings.
  • Begging His Grace to assist me in all things (Domine, exaudi orationem mean) and even if He only grants me one or two Graces, that's fine, although I would rather get as many as possible, but I may not always be properly disposed to receive them.
  • Besides those four main things, any other intentions I have for offering Mass.
This I strive to do regardless of anything that may displease me that is circumstantial:  irreverent music, indifferent priest, irreverent atmosphere, adding things to the rubrics, applause, mean judgmental people, etc.  I am at Holy Mass to worship GOD and to be with Him and although I would love to assist at the Extraordinary Form exclusively, that is not currently possible, but I am grateful that I live close to two Catholic churches and Holy Mass is offered basically everyday.  Sure, there are some things that could be done to add to the solemnity, but any and every valid, legal Mass is infinitely pleasing to God.

Latin Mass (Extraodinary Form) is not better than Mass in the vernacular (Ordinary Fom), Sunday Mass is not more Grace-giving that weekday Mass (although the former IS obligatory while the latter is recommended), abuses do not necessarily mean the Mass is invalid (but it does depend on the abuse...), God is not more pleased with one than the other (both can be reverent; both can be disastrous), etc.

The words of Consecration MUST be said by a priest for the Mass to be said and the Holy Gospel must be read as well.  There MUST be a validly ordained priest who has use of his priestly faculties.  The Hosts must be wheat and unleavended.  The Wine must be made of grapes. 

Other than that, no other abuses really cause Christ to not be present, Grace can still be gained, although NO ABUSE should ever be encouraged or tolerated and we should always strive for piety and solemnity. 

In the past, I would have been beside myself to have Mass in locations such as the cry room or basement of a church or in hotels, etc.  But where did our forefathers in the Faith worship?  In tombs.  The externals should testify to the internals of the Liturgy, but sometimes factors arise that make that impossible.  Honestly, I was glad to be able to "fulfill my obligation to [God].(Canon of the Mass, Extraordinary Form)" and it didn't matter where.

That Christ becomes truly and physically present in the Blessed Sacrament is the essence of Roman Catholicism.