Posts Tagged With: Fears

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 23

 

 

1: Nothing to Fear

I have some outstanding news this week! I officially have a new fear to add to the top 10 list! YES! Ever since I got over my fear of swimming in the ocean, I’ve been worried that an empty spot had been created that would never be filled. However, last Friday, Jennifer shared with us the details of having filters placed in her veins and it really struck a chord with me. I read the description, then read it again, then read it aloud to Scott. Then, I just sat on the couch with my Kindle Fire in my lap, put my hands over my face, and screamed and screamed. I certainly hope the procedure will help dear Jennifer not to have such dreadful issues with blood clots anymore, but I have to stop thinking about it now because my veins hurt and I want to cry.

2: Suffering, Schmuffering

Since Lent began, I have struggled with every one of my commitments, broken every one, and I’ve been hit with one attack after another. A few days ago, while working at The CellPhone Store, I was dealing with a particularly nasty customer. She made it a point to find error in everything I did, demanded that I adjust fees that I could not adjust, threatened to cancel her account if I didn’t do as she said, and stated that she would call in and complain about me for refusing to do everything she asked. I just wanted to bawl. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, so I was already exhausted, and after arguing with her for over an hour on every single step of her phone upgrade, I was ready to just walk out the door. Why? Why have I been chosen to suffer constantly like this??? As soon as I was finally able to get the customer out the door, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk for a pout. Why does everything have to be so difficult? That’s when I pulled up facebook and…

 

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Point taken.

3: Put on Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

Dr. Taylor Marshall is one of my favorite people evah!  I read everything he posts, and I thank God for him, I really do. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a blog. The time and effort Dr. Marshall puts into catechizing the masses can never be fully appreciated.

That being said, I must say he is absolutely obsessed with the Pope’s shoes. I mean, really, really obsessed.

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Can’t a man wear black shoes without causing a fiasco?!?!

 

4: It’s Not a Popularity Contest!

However, it is nice to be popular! And Pope Francis is, with 73% of American Catholics approving of our new Pontiff! The other 27% are apparently C&E Catholics who did not realize that being Catholic was the one qualifier for being elected. Well, that and being male (gender roles!).

See what I did there? I linked to a highly reputable Pew Survey, then in the next sentence, I linked to the highly satirical Eye of the Tiber. Most bloggers couldn’t get away with that, but I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time, so I can make it work.

5: Behind Barsfeet2

Pope Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday by giving Mass at a juvenile prison.  I was delighted to hear such wonderful news! Until I read Simcha’s post which highlighted the ramifications of the pope’s actions.

You see, when we were hearing about the example he set by preparing his own meals, I said, “Yes! That’s something we all need to do!” When they said he lived in a small apartment, I said, “Yes! Downsize! Minimize! When we start looking for a house to buy, we’re going to get something modest and inexpensive!” Even when they said that he washed the feet of drug addicts, I said, “Yeah, I could send them some money I’m sure….”

But to embrace criminals? People who have hurt others? Raped others?
Killed others?

This is why we need Pope Francis. He’s determined to lead us out into the deep.

 

6: Follow the Leader

That leads me into my next pondering. How can I follow, not the mere footsteps of Pope Francis, but the deeper footsteps of Jesus? How can I reach out to the sick and the poor, the addict and the criminal? Within the confines of my constantly changing, completely unpredictable work schedule?

St. Therese????  What was that you were saying about a little way for little souls? Because I feel really tiny right now!

 

7: The Home Stretch!

Can you believe we only have a week left of Lent? It’s been a rough patch, and it hasn’t been at all like I wanted it to be. I gave up all the wrong things, but by doing so, I learned what I should have given up; the things that are coming between me and God. Once again, I’m wrapping up Lent full of regret for disciplines lost, and that’s fine. It’s regret that leads me to ask forgiveness, that drives me to chase after God with greater passion.

Have a blessed Holy Week!

And of course, check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

 

 

 

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St. Michael, Defend Us in Battle

Saturday evening, my sister-in-law and I went to Walmart together, and while we were there, we rummaged through the prayer candles on display. We rolled our eyes at the “Lucky Lotto” candle, and gasped in joy when we found a Fatima candle–then rooted around until we found  another so we could each have one. I ended up with the Fatima candle (I’ve been researching and praying because of my long-time issues with disbelieving apparitions) and the St. Michael candle, just because. Monday, after Pope Benedict’s announcement, and the ensuing press storm, I felt myself praying, “St. Michael, defend us in battle” over and over again and wishing I knew the rest of the prayer by heart.

As part of my research into apparitions, I purchased a Lighthouse CD on Fatima by Fr. Jason Brooks, which I started listening to in the car on Saturday and finished up last night on my way home from the store. At the very end, Fr. Brooks recited the St. Michael prayer, which sent a chill up my spine and reaffirmed that this is a prayer that needs to be said right now!

 

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel001

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

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Guns Have Nothing To Do With It

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There are a lot of high emotions right now around guns. We’ve seen absolute horrors unfold has gunmen have plowed through human lives as if they were nothing. There are those who want to take guns out of the hands of civilians, and those who want armed civilians in every public place.

Does anyone else feel like the conversation has been hijacked? This isn’t about guns.

Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with bombs made of fertilizer. I’m sure you could find a recipe online. If you want to kill people, you don’t need a gun.

Ryan Heber talked down a 16-year old shooter without any sort of weaponry. If you want to defend yourself, you don’t need a gun.

There are plenty of ways to get a gun outside of legal means. Background checks give us no indication of the soul. Arming a civilian does not give them good judgment or create a hero.

More guns is not the answer.

Less guns is not the answer.

Guns are not the problem.

We need to take a step back and consider the fruits of our society. Mass shootings, parents murdering their children, men murdering their wives (even pregnant wives), children who are abused for the span of their short lives, rape, theft, and a never ending stream of violent hatred. We are producing rotten fruit because we are sick. But day by day, we continue to sow the same seeds: violence, pornography, promiscuity, materialism, hatred, abortion, and every other kind of sin that degrades the human person. When there is little or no love to offset the poison, the human person becomes a rotten husk of what it should be.

We sow vile seeds and reap rotten fruit. What a surprise. We can’t legislate our way out of this.

I know a lot of people would not agree, but I truly believe the gunmen, the mass killers are victims, too. They are the product of living in a world of poison without ever knowing enough love to overcome the darkness. What is the answer to this problem? We need to become a society that loves instead of constantly spewing hatred. We need to become a society that values human life above all else, and fosters respect and love for the human person.

3190370532_0b2e71c90bWe can’t legislate love. But if every Catholic and Protestant started living their faith, that would be an outstanding start. We need to be authentic disciples of Christ to break through this darkness.

What can we do? Pray the rosary, fast, practice charity, return to the sacraments. Monthly or weekly confession. These are dark times, and we have to light the way.

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Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa! (Part 2)

Part 1 can be found here.

Denial is a powerful thing. When you think about it, it’s the beginning of so many evils. No one ever sets out to be wicked, to do evil things in the sight of God. When we lie, when we spread malicious gossip, when we pass judgement on those around us, we deny the dignity of our fellow children of God. When we drag the sins of others out into the light of day, we also reveal the leprous fruit of our own hearts. And yet we still consider ourselves spotless, or at worst “basically a good person” but then go about pocketing a handful of pens at work, telling a “white lie,” passing on malicious gossip, judging the ones we love the most, or a thousand other stains we spill on our souls without thinking twice. We get by because we tell ourselves a different story, and we believe it.

Some things do happen by merely by chance, without being predestined. Randomly selecting an encyclical and getting Misericordia Dei: The Mercy of God was not one of those things. It was, without a doubt, an example of God throwing something in my path. For the past 6 years, I never once denied my need to go to Confession. I denied my ability to go and denied what exactly I needed to confess. I didn’t want to go digging around in my past. I thought if I just ignored those sins and avoided committing them again, it was just as good as confessing.

It wasn’t.

Confess all the sins!

After realizing that I would have to go in and confess everything, including everything I had left out in my previous Confession, and everything I had done since, I seriously started to reconsider. I paused in my Confession preparation and started browsing Catholic websites for a loophole, some verbiage I could use to refer to the sin without revealing what it was. What I found was what should have been obvious: I was just going to have to do it.

Through my browsing, I also found encouragement. Unfortunately, in my anxiety, I did not keep track of the sites I visited, but I wish I could recommend them. Some of the advice I received was that priests have heard everything, and they know we’ve sinned. They know the nature of our humanity, the darkness that we live in, and give in to. When we come to Confession, full of sorrow, and admitting the fullness of our sins, they don’t think ill of us–they think we’ve been brave to confess! With this reassurance, I went back to preparing my list, and praying that once I was done, I would be given the grace to look Father Ed in the eye afterwards.

Despite the large size of our parish, I’m sure Father Ed recognizes me from Mass and knows that I haven’t been to Confession. This is good news, because it means that he’ll understand me bringing a printed guide. No matter what, I wasn’t going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. And I wasn’t going to forget any “major” sins and have to go through this again.

The Rite of Reconciliation

I left work a little earlier than originally expected and arrived at the church just before 3:30. It was very dark–I don’t think any of the overhead lights were on; the only light was coming from the sacristy and the choir loft. There was music coming from the choir loft, and I thought for a moment that perhaps Clint, our organist, was playing. I realized quickly that it was a radio playing classical music. I sure would have liked to hear Clint playing right then, though–it would have been deliciously soothing!

There was a young man sitting in the very back pew. The Confessional is at the back of the church, on the right side, and he was essentially sitting right by the door. I took the pew in front of him and knelt down. I have no idea what I prayed. When I had finished, another man walked in and sat on the left side of the church. I didn’t think anyone was in the Confessional yet, but it was very dark, so I wasn’t sure. After I was done praying, I started going over my list again, and of course, had to add a few things to it.

A third man walked in and sat a few pews in front of me, for a total of 4 people waiting for Confession. Not a very long line, and there was only one person in front of me. It was a few minutes after 3:30 when a short, Indian man walked out from the sacristy, wearing a cassock. I suddenly remembered: Father Ed went to Rome! This must be the Priest who’s taking his place for the week!

I immediately said a prayer of thanksgiving. Knowing I would likely never see this man again made it so much easier. The Priest went into the Confessional, and the first young man followed. I pulled my rosary out of my pocket and kissed the crucifix. I was already starting to get weepy. Almost time.

When my time came, I sat down in the Confessional, face to face, and immediately started to cry. You see, I didn’t want to confess some of these sins because it was embarrassing  but there were others, so many others that I kept in my heart and refused to confess. I lived in denial for so long, always telling myself that what I did couldn’t be helped based. I listened to what society says is right and wrong because I couldn’t bear to admit my sins. Other sins I made other excuses for, but it was all denial.

I’ve spent my whole life building a wall of sin to shut God out and at the same time, desperately trying to see Him through the cracks. But every moment of misery, every bit of pain and suffering I endured, it wasn’t a trial God put me through, a test I had to pass, a challenge to try my faith, it was all my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault!

I could barely see my list, my eyes were so full of tears. Father acknowledged each sin with a brief “uh-huh” and before I knew it, I was at the end. As he began to speak to me of God’s constant forgiveness, I bowed my head in shame. But when I received Absolution, it was all gone, and it was over.

I had to own up to what I did. I could make any excuse I want, but I always had a choice. I suffered, and others suffered because of what I’ve done. Once I received Absolution, it was official. Those horrible, unmentionable things I did in my past are gone. I’ve brought my sins out into the light where they no longer have any claim on me. I’m free.

At Mass on Sunday, I approached the alter with renewed confidence. I received the Eucharist with renewed blessings. Like a child afraid of the doctor, I denied my sickness until the infection was allowed to spread unabated. No more, no more. Now I’ve had the infection cut out, with pain and tears. I’m stronger now, and coming back to good health.

Categories: Chasing After God, What the Catholic Church Teaches | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 5

-1-

This year, I decided to join the Women’s Club at our parish as well as St. Veronica’s guild. We are feverishly preparing for St. Joseph’s 90th annual Thanksgiving dinner. 90th! The last few years, we’ve fed over 700 people. Wow. It takes 4 days to prepare the feast, and there will be ladies working at the church from sunrise to midnight. The process for preparing the meal has been the same for decades, and some of the ladies have had the same responsibilities for as long as anyone can remember. One of the ladies who is 86 years old, fell recently and is unable to help out. No one else knows how to make the stuffing. She’s been in charge of it for probably a half a century at least. It’s just amazing the amount of parish history and tradition is wrapped up in this one meal. I’m considering taking vacation time so I can be there every day.

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The Year of Faith has begun! What are your plans for re-energizing your faith? I still don’t have a specific game plan. For day one, I read the 1-page meditation from Magnificat, and started working on a meditation on one of the Beatitudes. So, not much. It’s better to do a few meaningful things than 100 things you went through so quickly you don’t remember them, right? You can read more about the opening of the Year of Faith here.

-3-

I had a second MRI this week, but this time it was an open MRI, which is significantly better than the closed MRI. For those of you who don’t know, this is a closed MRI.

Allow me to strap you down and cram you into this tiny little tube so I can look at your brain!

This, on the other hand, is an open MRI.

Pretty big difference. So, at the end of the day, it’s still horrifying, but no panic attack! Why is it still horrifying, you ask? Because the darn thing makes a wide array of oh-my-gravy-we’ve-just-gone-into-meltdown-mode noises. All around your head. Each picture the machine takes makes its own unique meltdown mode noise.

For your pleasure, someone was kind enough to document this horror on YouTube.

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Once again, I haven’t seen my husband all week. Well, actually, he went to the MRI with me yesterday and then took me out for a cheeseburger. So, we spent about an hour together. Working nights was great for him in the summer so he didn’t have to work out in the heat, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m single! For crying out loud! Oh well. To maximize our time together, I showed him the correct way to use ketchup cups.

I know. Probably the most jaw-dropping thing you’ll see this week.

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Need another reason to dive deeper into Catholicism?

But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. — 1 Peter 3:15

There you go. You’re welcome.

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Anytime someone says they’re personally opposed to something but politically for it, I get a fright. Is that the state of Christianity in the United States? In the world? “This is what I believe but I’m not going to act on it or allow my beliefs to impact my life in any way?” Is that really what we’re saying? I’m probably not articulating that very well. Canterbury Tales did a much better job of expressing the sentiment. If we are followers of Christ, we have to go where He goes. What are we doing when we won’t allow our faith to impact our lives? Are we watchers of Christ? FOLLOW.

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“If you owned a million-dollar racehorse, would you let it eat fast food? You most likely want to keep that racehorse in top physical shape in order to win races, so no, you most likely wouldn’t be feeding it fast food. But you and I, temples of the Holy Spirit, tend to go straight through the drive through. How much do you value your body? What we really need is a solid dose of discipline. The average person knows the things that are good for him or her, and the things that are not. All we need is the discipline to choose the foods that fuel our bodies and give us energy, strength, health, and happiness.” –Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

Alas, I am still struggling with eating better. I do pretty well at lunch, and even at dinner, but then I just snack all evening. I just keep reminding myself that if I’m struggling, that means I’m still trying.

That was kind of a sour note to end on, wasn’t it? I’m sure the other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary are much peppier!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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