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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I'm the Cradle Catholic

First things first: apologies for not updating recently. I got busy with life and such.
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Recently, I started feeling more and more like I was going through the motions of life. I hadn't gone to church in months and I didn't pray regularly.

I remember randomly thinking about a lesson I was taught in my middle school religion class about how faith is like a roller coaster in that it is constantly going up and going down. Thinking about this made me feel kind of sad.

I can't believe that there is no one out there in the world who doesn't keep a steady love of God within themselves. I started reading the Bible and going over a few religious pamphlets and papers I'd been given over the years. I stumbled across a paper about vocations and being called to religious life. Before I'd graduated high school I considered myself religious enough but now I felt like a "fake Catholic" and that I was undeserving of entering Holy Orders. For me, only saintly people are good enough to become nuns and priests.

But that's just not true.

The reason Sisters and Fathers are so religious is because of their community. They are constantly surrounded by people who believe in Jesus and pray not only by themselves, but with others. That is what I needed to do. It's just that I didn't know where to start.

I couldn't imagine going out into the world and joining a Youth Group. I was way too old for those anyway. Instead, I kept it in the family. For some reason growing up I had an aversion to praying with my parents. It made me uncomfortable. But now I seeked it out willingly and engaged in daily prayers with my parents and that's when things started to change.

I started praying on my own more and God stayed with me and in my mind. I feel kind of silly looking back and realizing that my problems were solved as easily as joining my parents in prayer.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Curse or Blessing?

There is a famous tale about a man who has a beautiful horse. The townspeople say, "My, what a blessing, to have such a fine horse." The man, who happens to be very wise, says, "You don't know if it is a curse or a blessing." One day, the horse disappears and the townspeople say, "I tell you, it was a curse to have such a nice horse." The man replies in his usual response, "You don't know if it is a curse or a blessing." The horse comes back with eleven beautiful horses and the townsfolk say, "We were wrong, it is quite a blessing to have that horse that comes back with more horses." Of course, the man says, "You don't know if it is a curse or a blessing." The man's son falls off one of the horses one day and breaks both of his legs. The people say that it is a curse to have that horse, but the wise man knows better than to announce whether or not it is a curse or blessing. There has been a draft and all the young men are called to war, except for the man's son who had broken legs at the time of the draft. The man finally told the townspeople, "Only God knows if it is a curse or a blessing. It is not for mortals to judge the work of Him."

I have been struggling with an embarrassing habit since I was two years old. I have the urge to pace --and sometimes run-- everyday for at least forty-five minutes. I feel as though this has inhibited me. When doing homework, I can't just start. I will sit down and feel immediately frustrated. When I was eleven, I forced myself to sit down by strapping myself to an office chair with a belt but I began to hyperventilate.

It is not my place to say whether or not my pacing is a "curse or a blessing" but it feels an awfully lot like a curse right now. I'll just wait and see what God has in mind.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Taking a Break from Life

I need to pray. I need to pray at least once a day. If I don't, I become sick and I have to stay home. The other day I was incredibly sick. I didn't go to any of my classes (which is unwise since I'm failing a few). I stayed in bed for a couple of hours until I felt a strong need to recite the Rosary. It was Sunday, so I did the Glorious Mysteries. It's weird that I've only done the Glorious mysteries at the most four times in my life (usually it's Sorrowful mysteries). My understanding of the glorious mysteries is basic at best, but when I prayed that Friday it was an instant pick-me-up. I began to read the book of Habakkuk. It's a small little book from the Bible very close to the Gospels.It is wonderful and short so I recommend it to everyone. It is my new comfort when I am worried about sinfulness taking over and my questions about why God has allowed evil to continue to exist. 

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer." 

I love reading the Bible. It answers all of my questions on faith. I have recently discovered that the Bible works best when you read it throughout your life. People have started to use God as a big Genie in the sky. He is so much more than that. Everyone should maintain their relationship with Him by reading His Word. The relationship you have with the Trinity cannot function if it is one sided. God needs you and you need God, not only when you are in a tight spot, but also when you are at your happiest.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

InSight

I went to three convents yesterday (Saturday). The first was the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters (they're open to all ethnicities but are predominantly Vietnamese because they came to the US during the Vietnam war) and St. Dominic's and Incarnate Word. I've been to Incarnate Word before, but this year I've had an amazing experience. I went as a part of the event called "InSight" which is when high school girls go to different convents to talk to the sisters and get to understand what it means to accept God's call to religious life. This is my third year going. This year we talked about the three vows you must take: poverty, chastity, and obedience.

When a sister takes a vow of poverty, she isn't going to starve herself per say, except maybe for lent, it just means that she is going to not live in luxury and only to use what they need for day to day life. This is the one thing I think I'd have the hardest time getting used to if God is calling me to become a religious. I usually don't think of myself "lapping up in luxury" but seeing how the sisters live have really opened up how much I have that I don't need. (Explained by Sister Kelly)

The second vow of chastity was beautifully explained by novice Sister Melody from Incarnate Word. She explained how humans are sexual beings and want to socialize. Chastity is not only the physical part of being a virgin, but more of a spiritual one. Humans interact and socialize with one another, but that one must learn their boundaries if they choose that life (ie. If a person feels that they cannot hug or kiss someone else if they feel they are crossing a boundary into temptation). I really wanted more time to speak with her about it and to understand chastity more clearly.

Lastly was obedience explained by Sister Christine from the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters. She referred to obedience as "surrendering love." That is absolutely lovely. Obedience is not about being oppressed, it is a way to be set free. The best example of this is Jesus' death and resurrection. I am sure that He did not want to go through with being killed and tortured harshly, but He did it for the Father. He could have lied to Pilate and said that He was not who they had said He was. God asked Him to go through with the crucifixion and Jesus did. Another fabulous example is Mary saying yes to God. She would endure persecution because no one would understand the Holy Spirit impregnating her, but she said yes. God asked her and she accepted because it was His will. You become mature through obedience. What is so amazing is that we are giving the greatest gift to God that we can give. By offering our human freedom by listening to Him, we are giving the most precious and valuable thing that we can to our Father. And a famous quote emphasized this point by saying that God helps you in your weakest time, so do not be strong, be weak always so that He can be close yo your heart and help you always.

My life is dominated by faith, and it will stay that way for a very long time. It is only a matter of my vocation that determines how my life will continued to be run by my love for God.

[On a side note, if I were to become a religious sister, I'd want to be a part of the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters or Sisters of Incarnate Word. They are both so sweet. Gosh, they are all sweet no matter what order they are in. Pray for me :)]

Mary, Therese, Susanna, and me on the bus going to a convent. :) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conditional Love

I felt sad and enraged when I heard Catholic priests had molested young boys and the vatican covered it up. I was sad at the amount of corruption within my loved faith. I am thankful that someone spoke up before it continued, but it is not something that is easily forgotten. Many people have left the Catholic church because of this.
I stayed.
I couldn't believe that so many of us were giving up on this faith.
But I have allowed someone else to make me lose my faith. I have never been close to my mother. It is because of my hate and my anger for her that I am falling from my faith.
It has started way before I can ever recall my commandments or even say the "Our Father." I was around two or three when my mother said I was pulling away from her. I didn't have the capabilities to verbally express my hate.
I don't even remember what I did, but I did something. I hurt my mothers feelings badly and I didn't feel anything. I knew I should say sorry, but I couldn't bring myself to apologize to the pathetic creature looking at me. She was crying into her cold coffee on the couch at our trailer. I looked at her sniveling at me being my mean self and I turned and walked away. I also felt that her tears were screaming "Pity me." She continues to use this trick today, but not on me. She knows I won't succumb to her feeble attempts to feel loved. My mother blames me for her problems. I just choose not yo listen to her at all and send her to the back of my mind. I'm not saying it's her complete fault that our family is being wretched apart, some of it was me, but he certainly isn't the saint she claims to be.
I have prayed, but I cannot make myself love my own mother. Perhaps there is something wrong with me or it is a phase, but this hatred in my heart is causing me to turn away from my own faith and to hate praying with her, knowing that is something we share.

I can't stand to stay like this.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saint Thérèse of Liseux

First off, I want to apologize. I'm not completely sure I used the right accents on The Little Flower's name.
Anyways...
Before, the Little Flower was just a distant part of my Catholic life. I simply didn't think much of her. I knew of the Little Flower, but I didn't _know_ her. In the corner of my mind I just thought of her as a little saint that is insignificant to my life. I just so happened to one day out of the blue purchase her book online. I read it, and fell in love. It is by far, one of my favorite books. I try to read it everyday (although I've lent it to a friend so it's not possible right now.) Her humility and love is something I aspire to everyday. The way she thinks and sees herself and how close she is to Jesus...there are no words for that. Now, she is a big part of my life.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Self-Grief

I am ashamed. I consider myself an aesthete, and I am always too sure of myself when I put my mind to a weak belief. All of my certainty should be put in God, because He knows that I am far from wise and responsible.

What really embarrasses me is my belief of self-suffering as an art form; in other words, self hatred and sadness for one's own sake as beautiful. I always thought that it was expected, no, encouraged to dislike yourself to persevere through situations or to just give up on life all together.

The thought of hating this life God has breathed into us and wanting to end it before our time frightens me. It causes me to think of everything I have heard in my life and thought of as "normal" or "okay." I once thought it was "fine" for someone to hate herself, I shrugged it out of my mind as if it were nothing. I do not want anyone to cause themselves suffering. Suffering is a part of natural life and it makes us closer to God, but self-inflicting emotional pain on oneself is hurting God. We are Him and He made us. These bodies and this life He graciously gave us deserves respect. It is impossible for me to completely wrap my head around the entire situation!

(I apologize if my writing may be scattered, I lack organizational skills.)