- Ontario, Canada
- I am a cradle Roman Catholic, that always had the knowledge of God. I, however, did not have a relationship with him and thus, was empty inside. Now through asking him to come into my life and going to prayer groups etc., I have had a renewal in my faith. Protestants may call it being "born-again". I now find what I thought was a BORING Mass to be the ultimate enjoyable experience that brings me closest to our Lord....besides of course Eucharistic Adoration, which is awe inspiring. The Church Fathers took me deeper into my faith which is when I came back completely-like a boomerang, thus my blog title. I understand why I am a Catholic/Christian. It is not just a religion. It IS God, it IS love. I might not be an English scholar and you might edit me in your head. But, I do have something to share and I hope you will join me on the journey and maybe discover something new to think about. Blessings+
Sunday, April 24, 2011
What did you feel when you visited your friends grave, or family members grave? How about their funeral? I know, this is a gloomy and sad subject. But, how did you feel? Imagine if they they were not there. Their body was stolen? The tombstone was taken? What emotions would you experience? How must Jesus' family and friends have felt that day he was not in His tomb?A great reflection here, from Matt Maher, a great Catholic music artist. Our family can't wait to see him this May in Toronto!
Have we died to ourselves with Christ? Are we experiencing the passion, death and resurrection this season? What a great time in our lives to have a start at new life. To be resurrected with Christ. To be born again in the spirit. We are all spiritual after all. Emotional, Physical, Mental and Spiritual beings.If there is something missing in your life and you don't feel complete, it may be that you are missing that spiritual component-God. I know that I was feeling incomplete and empty...and now I do feel complete:) God filled that void.
In this time of Spring and new beginnings, and in this time of the Easter season (the next 50 days) we have opportunity for rebirth. I think we are always being reborn in spirit. It is a continual conversion of heart and mind and spirit that we undertake as Christians.
I personally, think that this is why Easter is celebrated in the Spring. Just look outside at all the trees with swelling buds. Flowers pushing through the soil. Birds scurrying about looking for debris to make their nests and lay eggs. There is new life all around us. Easter eggs- signify new life. Now, I don't understand Easter bunnies, so, if anyone knows, please share. Anyways, the empty tomb of Christ represents eternal life. We can die to ourselves and live for Christ-eternal life. As it says in John 3:30 "he must increase and I must decrease." Do you chose to live for the world and its ways or the ways of God? Can you die to self? Can you surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit and follow Jesus? He gives us free will. So, you need to ask Him to help you draw closer...and He will. But, only if you ask Him.
Christ is Risen-Alleluia!
Have you ever missed someone so much? Someone that passed away, that was dear to you? Someone that has moved to another country? You miss them so much it hurts?! We have a hard time awaiting their return to us and reuniting with them. For those laid to rest, we have a hard time waiting to be reunited with them, we hope, in heaven. How must it have felt for the early followers of Christ when he died? What a day that must have been, almost 2,000 years ago, when he resurrected!
Well, yesterday, we celebrated Christs resurrection. A great celebration is was. Last night, after the sun went down, we celebrated the Easter Vigil at our Church. The most beautiful liturgy in the RC Church. The church was is in darkness, with only the last bits of light coming through the stain glass windows (that tell stories of the bible). A bowl of fire, at the back of the Church is blessed and lit. The priest lights the Pascal candle (the Christ candle) from the new fire, saying: "May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds". Slowly the light travels, as all members of the Church had their candles lit from this candle. This signifies the light of Christ among his people. We call it the "Service of light."
Then the lights are all turned on and we all exclaim and sing "Glory to God in the Highest." This is a very moving part of the service, as the darkness is dispelled and the Church is filled with light. Symbolically the light of Christ.
Then, during the service there can be up to 7 readings from the bible. Who says we Catholics are not into scripture? *grin* We heard 3 readings from the Old Testament and 1 from the New Testament. I always marvel at how the Old Testament fulfills the New Testament. Readings from Ezekiel and Isaiah (the Old Testament) for example, prophesize the coming of Christ down to His Passion and Crucifixion in the New Testament. Amazing! I never really understood that until the past few years. It is a learning process being Catholic! *smile*
The Easter water is blessed, and new members are brought into the Church through water baptism.The faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.We then got sprinkled with the Easter Holy water. My daughter loved that part! Sometimes my son and the other altar servers have received an extra sprinkle- all in good fun.
Lastly, we have the Mass. The whole church is called to join at the sacrificial table that Christ prepared for us through his death and resurrection. We remember.
We all have special people that have gone to rest that we remember in our lives. That touched us deeply. That we loved deeply. There are those that we miss, that we will see again. I have chosen, during this Easter, to remember someone that died for me, and died an excruciating death as the sacrificial lamb for my sins. No one had a word to describe a pain as intense as a crucifixion , so a new word was created. The word excruciating literally means "out of the cross."
There is no greater love then this.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
As Matt Maher says here in this video, it is a GOOD thing calling today "Good" Friday. I originally thought, how could anyone surmise that the Passion (the suffering of Jesus Christ) and His death is a day to call "Good". maybe Bad Friday, but Good? But, as Matt reflects, it is truly a Good Friday, as He died for our sins so that we may live.
Today, at Mass after a long and reflective Gospel reading we got to see good. We got to see God. God on a cross, crucified. Myself and all that filled the Church today at 3pm had an intimate encounter with Jesus, as we humbly bent down to kiss his face or foot. No, not as idol worship, though some may misunderstand or misinterpret that action. The cross is a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus, of his death and resurrection which was the ultimate gift of love to all creation. The cross is therefore a reminder, to the faithful, of all that God has done for all of us. I brought Kleenex along, because I know that I am going to cry. First, I cried when at the beginning of the service, Father Chris prostrated himself on the floor in front of the altar. Such a form of humility, servant hood and love for Christ. Such a great tradition that lends example, and a role model of true devotion to us all sitting in the pews. Then the tears flowed again, as I solemnly went up to kiss the cross. My son, who altar serves held the crucifix, as I made my way to the altar. I know he held that cross with love. I marveled at this young mans maturity and knowing who God is, and it touched my heart deeply. As I felt that special bond between mother and son, I thought of Mary. How must have Mary felt kissing the feet of her dying son, as he was hanging on that cross? Her love so immense for her son and Lord!
Good Friday is the first full day of the Triduum (Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday follow) and it is a day of meditation, mourning and fasting, and is when Christians remember the Passion and his crucifixion. As a sign of grieving and to show the somber nature of the day, no Mass is held on Good Friday and all candles, flowers, icons etc are removed from churches or covered up.
Every Mass we have an intimate encounter with Christ. When we kneel at Mass for the consecration of the Host/bread (the Eucharist), we are kneeling at Calvary. We partake in consuming His body and blood. I look to the crucifix on the wall and marvel at the gift He gave us. You can't put God in a box. Look at how He changed the water to wine at the Wedding of Cana. He can therefore, change wine into His blood. He multiplied the loaves of bread. Well, He can also make the bread into His body. Look to John 6 and read about the Mass as it happened for the first time at the Last Supper (which was the focal point of Holy Thursday along with the washing of feet).
Some non-Catholics will raise the objection that Catholics believe that Christ is crucified and dies again at every Mass; thus, they will say that we believe that the one sacrifice of Christ was not efficacious, that it was not sufficient. WE DO NOT BELIEVE that Christ is crucified and dies at every Mass; rather, we believe that it is the unbloody, re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The one sacrifice of Jesus Christ was sufficient, and we as Roman Catholics believe this. However, the infinite merits of the Redemption which Christ won for us must still be applied; and this is what occurs in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It was a Good Friday...as I look to the time. It is now the start of Holy Saturday/Easter Saturday. I better get to bed. GOOD night:).
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I have been reflecting this Lent about my faith journey. I am really amazed about the way these past 7 years have unfolded. From a "C and E" Catholic (Christmas and Easter), I have become an "every Sunday I am at Mass and more" Catholic. Actually, those that know me would say I am a little overly excited about my faith. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I can't say that I am ready for Sainthood, but, I humbly will strive for it. Anyone that hangs around with me enough knows that I still sin. But, boy when I do, I know it! The Holy Spirit convicts me regularly, and that is a good thing. Due to being aware of my sins, I have a new found freedom in my life. I know when I am about to make a bad choice or decision. I can stop damage from happening, through Him that strengthens me. There is a lot less collateral damage now. I have been stripped of the chains that binded me. My life is happier and peaceful. The opposite of what my years were previous to this new found love in Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. Trust me, I can see where most people I know, are coming from. I would be on the sidelines too, making the crazy sign by twirling my finger beside my head. You really have to experience this to know it. But, I tell you, walking in my shoes is awesome!
Wow...that sounded awfully proud, didn't it? But, after the beat up shoes I was wearing before, I have to say, these new ones are GREAT! The old shoes I wore gave me sore callouses and bruising. As I have pondered the way I viewed life before, and how I felt, did things, treated others and myself, I discovered much. I found that I was a selfish, angry, sad and hurting person. God had a lot of work to do and He STILL does! But, it was the asking, that gave me the key to get out of the prison I was in. I received the new key to the Kingdom of God. Let me tell you, that it sure it prettier here! I don't understand why people don't get it. But, then again, I was one of those beautiful people, so I have to step back and recall that this all does sound strange and bizarre. I guess any foreign land can be unfamiliar and therefore intimidating. I found that you have to ask God for the directions. Let Him know He can be in the drivers seat. Give Him control. Something that is not easy for us to do as humans. But, he can do the supernatural. He can take you to a world you have not yet experienced. It then becomes our choice whether we stay of leave. I like to stay parked at the palace gates. He loves me even when I screw up. He knows when I am sorry for what I have done wrong. He always welcomes me back if the car goes in reverse. I try my best to keep it in park with His help. Would you take His invitation to be a part of something bigger than you? What have you got to lose!?
As Mark Hart the "Bible Geek" said in this attached video- "Unleash the strength inside of you." As you let the Holy Spirit work in you, things start to happen. The Sacrament of Confirmation provides and equips you with the power of the Holy Spirit to have the virtue of fortitude/strength. The fortitude to be a strong Christian. We can be lukewarm or we can be on fire for God. I asked Him to give me the further strength I need to be a Christian. I know He is right there beside me, carrying the load when the ridicule starts. He keeps me focused and firmly planted in my faith even when others misunderstand me. He continues to provide for me in so many wonderful ways. I am happy being a Christian. I am happy being Roman Catholic. If you haven't already, I hope you might someday discover, the greatest gift there is to receive. It even comes with an instruction manual *grin* and His Church and Sacraments. He just thinks of everything, doesn't He!?
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Is it possible? That we don't know what we have sometimes. That we take the Eucharist for granted. Do we take our Savior for granted? He loves us so much! He became a man out of love for us.
In this video, Jesse Romero a father of three children, shares his view and story about a gangster youth and his pit bull. He communicates to this boy about the Holy Eucharist and Jesus in a thought provoking way. Jesse, was three-time World Police Olympics boxing champion, a former U.S.A. middleweight kick boxing champion and a retired veteran of the LA County Sheriff's Department. He is a lay Catholic evangelist that passionately shares his Catholic faith. I heard him speak years ago at a Rally in Toronto. His words ring true to me in this video. Maybe I will share it with my daughter, as she is receiving her first Holy Communion this May. The more I can teach her, the more she will understand what I did not at her age.
When you look at the crucifix at home or in your Church, remember, He is not done giving of Himself to you. This beautiful sacrifice, is not where it ends. He continues each and everyday, during every Mass, through the Holy Eucharist, to renew His love for us-in us.
We are what we eat!!!! Amen.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Early Church Fathers! What brought me 180 degrees back to the Catholic Church. This is not very creative, but, all I can say is I love these guys!!! I wish they could be taught more to all Catholics and non-Catholics alike. They teach about The Church, hierarchy of the Church, unity of the Church, the Eucharist, Priesthood, primacy of the See of Rome etc.
From Polycarp to Iraneaus, Ignatius of Antioch and St. Justin Martyr - I can't get enough of these men and their bravery, wisdom and love for Christ!
You can read their epistles online at "newadvent.org/fathers" and view the many writings of these great saints! They will appear just like the epistles you have read in your bible from St. Paul to St. Peter.Sometimes writing to the same crowd of people like the Ephesians or the Corinthians.
Here is a link to the Saint Ignatius of Antioch to get you started :
He was in the central area that Paul, Peter and Barnabas preached. He was the 3rd Bishop of Antioch and friends with Polycarp that was taught by St. John himself. WoW!
If you feel so inspired, drop me a comment as I would love to hear from you! Blessings, Karen