Monday Morning Musings

I’ve missed Mass for about three consecutive weeks now.  I don’t like it, really, I don’t.  Half the time, the other five people in my family have prior engagements or decide that going is too much of a hassle.  Yesterday, though, I was home sick while my family went to Mass.  I know it’s not my fault for staying home on a Sunday morning throwing up and feeling miserable, but I still need to make amends.  I’m in luck.  The first week of every month, the religion class periods are spent in Adoration and there are priests available for Reconciliation.  I need that this week.

 

How’s my faith right now?  Good, I think.  No worse than usual, at the very least.  That doesn’t really satisfy me, though.  I want Christ in every part of me, smoothing and refining my rough edges and teaching me to love everyone and everything.  Hopefully, this week will lead me closer to Him.

Advertisements

“To Be Alone with You” – Sufjan Stevens

I’ve been lazy lately, I guess. I’ve been posting songs rather than actual blog posts, but maybe these songs can say more than I can. This one in particular is really beautiful, a song I just discovered recently on accident. In the indie folk genre, you’re, of course, bound to find plenty of religious cynicism and anti-Christian sentiment, but Sufjan Stevens is clearly the exception. A devout Christian, he lets his faith inspire much of his songwriting.

So, listen to this, it’s beautiful. The lyrics are simple and honest.

The Saint That Is Just Me – Danielle Rose

Hey, guys! Happy Friday! Sorry, I know I haven’t posted much recently. Busy.

Anyway, not sure if you guys know who Danielle Rose is, but maybe it’ll ring a bell if I tell you she’s the one who sang “Crown of Thorns” (which she wrote) at the Verizon Center pep rally for the 2011 March for Life. I’ve seen her twice, and I really like her.

This song is called “The Saint That Is Just Me.” I think we can all relate to that feeling that we want to do something BIG to prove our faith to God, ourselves and those around us. We look at the saints and see these great acts, these brutal martyrdoms, and we begin to think that if we want to be true followers of Christ, we have to follow suit.

My patron saint is St. Maria Goretti. Her story is beautiful and very famous in the Catholic world. An eleven-year-old girl is stabbed fourteen times in the stomach and chest defending her purity AND the purity of her would-be rapist. As she lies dying in the hospital, she tells the priest that she forgives her murderer and wants him to be with her in heaven. How incredible. The problem is, for a while, I actually prayed for martyrdom. I prayed that God would let me show my love for Him through some dramatic act of witness.

Then I listened to this song, and the lyrics really opened something inside of me:
“If it weren’t for all my sins and wounds and weakness, then You wouldn’t have married me upon the Cross.”

You guys, God isn’t asking me to be St. Maria Goretti or Agnes or Lucy or any other. He’s asking me to be Katy, and right now, I don’t fully know what that entails. I just have to trust God, swallow my pride, let go of the desire for my own personal glory, and accept that God’s calling me to serve Him in my own unique way.

I’m going to close with a simple but powerful quote from Mother Teresa:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

“Christ is my s…

“Christ is my spouse. He chose me first, and His I will be. He made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”  – St. Agnes of Rome

This is the first saint quote I ever learned, back when I was about ten.  I think it’s so beautiful, and the words, mind you, are coming from a girl of about twelve, right in the face of Roman persecution.  Yes, a twelve-old-girl was martyred over these words in the third century.  All I’m saying, when I get to heaven, God willing, she’s getting a serious high-five.  May we all follow her example.

Tears of the Saints

Sorry, I haven’t been posting much lately. I have half a dozen saved drafts, but I guess I haven’t had the time to really write. Anyway, today during Morality, our campus minister gave a beautiful, inspiring presentation on service.

She ended with this video. The song playing is “Tears of the Saints” by Leeland, and it’s great. The clips in this video just reminded me what it means to be a true disciple of Christ, light to a world in darkness. If you’re struggling to remember your greater purpose, I think this will help. ♥

Letters to a Young Catholic >> Martyrdom (Chapter 2)

Another Tumblr post from last year.  I’m proud of this one. 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hey!

So, as you may know, I go to an all-girls Catholic high school run by the Nashville Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.  I absolutely love my school’s religious curriculum. Juniors take Church History, and we’re all reading Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel.  If you don’t know, Weigel is a distinguished Catholic apologist from my own hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.  Bl. John Paul II actually handpicked the guy to write his biography.  This guy is incredible.  Mind you, I don’t usually read heavy apologist writings.  I mean, I’ve read some stuff from Peter Kreeft, but for the most part, my Catholic supplemental reading revolves mainly around Jason Evert, Mark Hart, and the like. c: You know, light Catholic material intended for people my age.

Anyway, back on topic.

I haven’t yet read any of Weigel’s other dozen or so books (I plan to), but I can see why he, of all the Catholic apologists, won the late and great Pope’s favor.  He has a very unique style of writing that helps him to gently ease the reader toward his intended message.

In this book, he’ll start each chapter with a little history lesson or tell us a little about a place that holds significance in the Catholic world.  Chapter 2, for example: “Rome —- The Scavi of St. Peter’s and the Grittiness of Catholicism.”  Weigel begins the chapter with some background information on St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican Necropolis, also known as the scavi, is a series of underground excavation sites that hold the ruins and remains of many early Christian martyrs of of Roman persecution, among them St. Peter.  Archaeologists have uncovered all of Peter’s remains, except for his feet, which lead us to believe that he lost them during his martyrdom at Caligula’s Circus.

Weigel does not, however, aim to simply give us a lesson about history: at this point in the chapter, he changes the subject to martyrdom itself and what it means to give your life for Christ.

Peter…is being told, gently but firmly, that his love for Christ is not going to be an easy thing.  His love is not going to be a matter of “fulfilling” himself.  His love must be a pouring out of himself, and in that self-emptying he will find his fulfillment.

All in all, the chapter is really about the “grittiness” of Catholicism, the reality that faith means suffering and sacrifice.  Weigel tells us that, especially in the secularized modern world, it is vital that we are willing to make these sacrifices to defend our faith.  ”Catholics have relearned that lesson the hard way, in the scandal of clerical sexual abuse and the crisis that scandal caused when it was so badly handled by some bishops—-the successors of the apostles.”  Even today, Catholics face the same persecution that the early Christians faced, and more than ever, we really are called to be martyrs, His witnesses to the Truth.

He closes the chapter with a message that really strikes a chord in me, and hopefully it will inspire you, as well.

“Weakness and failure, too, are part of the grittiness of Catholicism,” but “failure is not the final word.”

A Confession Testimony

I look at my Tumblr, and it’s sad to think how seldom I use it to share my faith.  I have 275 followers, so I certainly would have an audience, but I guess the truth is that I’m afraid that if I “Catholicize” my blog too much, I’ll lose followers.  That’s something I need to work on.

Anyway, I have found a few posts that I feel are worth sharing here.  This first one is about confession, one I wrote last year.  I used to seriously struggle with chastity, but I’ve never, ever told anyone about that, except for the priest and one friend who, at the time, was recovering from the same thing.  I guess it’s really hard for Catholic girls in particular to talk about those problems.  There’s this idea that only guys look at porn, that only guys have lustful thoughts, that only guys masturbate.  It’s not true.

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school after three years at a public middle school.  I had worn a purity ring since 7th grade, and I was proud of it.  In public school, people asked me about the little silver ring I always wore, engraved with “True love waits” and two tiny hearts.  I told them it meant that I was saving sex for marriage.  That’s what I thought it meant.  That was the extent of my knowledge of chastity, and at the time, simply saving sex for marriage seemed like a huge thing to me.  I didn’t care about modesty in dress, speech or behavior.  Freshman year was a huge change for me and my perception of what it means to be pure.

Anyway, that’s like the prologue to my freshman year conversion of heart, but I can talk about that another time.  This is the blog post I wanted to share:

So, I haven’t said anything about it, but I’d been carrying around this giant burden for a while now.  I hadn’t gone to Confession in months because I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to make a complete confession, and I decided that it was better to hold off on confession altogether rather than go and not say everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve witnessed firsthand the miracles, the graces, the joy that comes with Reconciliation.  Just after my 15th birthday, I made the hardest confession of my life, something that had been eating at me constantly for months.  I was really struggling, and I felt I couldn’t tell anyone about it.  I tried to reason with myself that the sin wasn’t that bad, that God would forgive me even if I didn’t try to do better, but I knew I was wrong.  I think that’s the hardest thing ever, accepting that you’re wrong, that Jesus is right, that no matter how you try to justify what you’re doing, you just can’t.  The choice is really, really hard: a) keep fighting an internal battle you’ll never win, or b) put down your damn pride, your need for self-gratification, and ask God for help.

That’s where Reconciliation comes in.  For months, I put it off, I pulled a St. Augustine: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”  Eventually, though, I just had to do it.  I went to Reconciliation, I was shaking and sweating, I confessed to God, through the priest, what I’d done, and I really, really begged Him for help.  I needed help.  I didn’t know what to do, how to stop, I was terrified of falling back into it.  That’s just it, though.  The difficulty, the total humility that comes with making a real, soul-emptying confession.  It’s powerful.  I went home that day, and I think I just cried.  For just over two years now, I’ve been entirely free of the burden I was carrying.  God’s helped to fight the temptations I thought would never end, and I feel free.

You guys, I ramble like crazy, but please, please, please, please understand the importance of Reconciliation.  If you’re struggling with your prayer life, with temptation, internal war, if you feel completely lost and don’t know what to do, go to Confession.

God bless! ❤

Katy