30 April 2010

En Memoriam

Being from Louisiana, it strikes me anytime there is a tragedy in or around the great state. The explosion of the oil rig hit me a little harder than usual, mostly because my father worked on oil rigs out in the Gulf for most of my early life. He no longer works out on rigs but he still works in the oil industry.

I never thought anything, really, of the long weeks he would be out on the oil rig. I just thought it was normal, something dads did all the time, and it never once struck me that he might not be coming back.

Since the explosion out in the Gulf, I have come to realize just how dangerous a job that is and how much danger my father was in during most of my young life. I praise God for bringing him back home to us safely every time he went out on those rigs to work.

I think of the little children who were expecting 'daddy' to come home and had to be told that he wouldn't be coming home this time. How difficult that must be for a child, especially a little girl, to grow up without a father.

This day, my thoughts and prayers are with those children and the families of those who were lost in the explosion.

While reading the Gospel today, I was struck by the timely words from John 14:1-4:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Christ is with us at all time, through the heartache and the pain. He asks us to allow Him to share this burden with us in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Jesus asks us to take on His meekness and humility. In doing so, we find rest and our burdens are lifted by having faith in and trusting in Him, the only one who can give us comfort and true peace.

For those lost in the explosion, we pray:
"Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

29 April 2010

Anima Christi

I love this prayer! It is such a wonderful expression of desire to always be with Christ. I especially enjoy praying it directly after receiving the Eucharist.

The 'Anima Christi" is a reminder of what Jesus himself said:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." ~John 6:53-58 NAB (c) USCCB available at http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john6.htm
It's a reminder of the holy presence of Christ within us at that most holy moment of the reception of the Eucharist and the desire for Christ's presence to remain in us, that we may be little lanterns carrying the light of Christ to all people.

Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)

Soul of Christ, Sanctify me;
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me;
O good Jesus, hear me;
Within your wounds, hide me;
Separated from you, never let me be;
From the evil one, protect me;
At the hour of my death, call me;
And close to you, bid me;
That with Your saints, I may be,
Praising you forever and ever. Amen

It reminds us of the hope we have in Christ, the promises he made to us, and the life we have because of his death.

This fourth week of Easter, we still sing: Hallelujah! He is risen! Praise be to God!

26 April 2010

Let the old be stripped away...

In the spirit of the Spring, I finally (after nearly 2 years) have been able to go through my storage unit and purge it of unclean things, aka, get rid of a bunch of junk that I've been hanging onto for no good reason.

I cannot take full credit for this sudden desire to clean, however. If my financial peace class wouldn't be having a garage sale, I probably would have avoided the storage unit like the plague, mostly out of fear of collapsing objects but also out of the fear of being reminded of things I didn't want to be reminded of.

I bravely (i.e. with the help of my wonderful boyfriend) attacked the mountain of junk that was my storage unit and can proudly say I no longer posses a bunch of junk haphazardly strewn about a 10x10 concrete room claiming to be a storage unit. I shredded a bunch of worthless papers and reminders of a time when I wasn't so financially responsible and now posses a sense of relief and, oddly enough, freedom.

I think a lot of times in our lives we accumulate junk and hang onto it because we are afraid of letting it go, not because we feel we may need it one day but because we don't know how we will function without it and because we are afraid of facing those issues/ problems/ whatever we want to call it head-on. We don't know the sense of freedom and relief we can feel by just letting it go.

I think this happens a lot of times with Confession. We've been walking around accumulating "junk" in our lives and we just don't (a) want to face the issues or (b) think we have to live with the junk as a consequence of our actions. Fear and doubt are tools of the devil, which he uses to attempt to keep us from the mercy and love of God.

When we fear facing issues, we are, in essence, saying to God "I'm too afraid of telling you what you already know because I don't think you can help me." By the same token, doubt and shame tell God "You can't help me. I'm too bad of a person, and I can deal with this myself." Doubt and shame, seemingly humble, can actually be acts of pride and arrogance, denying the saving power that Christ's death has over our lives.

When we openly approach the confessional and honestly come to terms with all the 'junk' we've accumulated, we're basically saying, "Jesus, I know I've screwed up, and I approach you with a sense of humility and repentance; and humbly ask your help because I KNOW that I can't do this alone. I know that only you have the power to help me overcome all the issues, all the 'junk', all the sins I've accumulated in my life, and I know that in coming to you, your death and resurrection wipes all of that away."

When it comes to junk, we need to clean it out of closets, storage units, sheds, garages, but we also need to remember that we need to clean it out of our lives, too, before we can be renewed and begin to live a life fully in the grace of God. Like the physical junk, we need to realise that we can't do it alone. The grace we receive from the Sacrament of Reconciliation is powerful but equally powerful is the resignation it takes to admit we cannot do it alone; we NEED God. To know that we need Him and need to rely on His grace and mercy and need to be submissive to His will is the most freeing and fulfilling act we can do. We need His grace and His mercy. Without it, we are nothing, we can do nothing, and we leave our role in the Lord's will vacant and like our lives without purpose. The only way to live a purposeful life is to accept the graces the Lord freely gives us through the sacraments, through prayer, through living our lives for him. And, my, what liberation to be submissive to the Lord!

Dominus vobiscum!

Two Reasons I love Latin...

Just wanted to share two of the many beautiful Latin prayers. Latin just flows so well, and I feel as though I am praying and singing at the same time when I pray them. (Both come from http://www.catholicsaintoftheday.com) They had videos of the prayers being sung, but I'm not so tech savvy as to know how to embed them in my posts just yet. I'm learning, though! Enjoy! Dominus vobiscum!

Pater Noster

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:

sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;

adveniat Regnum Tuum;

fiat voluntas Tua,

sicut in caelo, et in terra.

Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;

et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;

et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

sed libera nos a Malo. Amen

Ave Maria


gratia plena,

Dominus tecum.

Benedicta tu in mulieribus,

et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,

ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.