28 November 2012

Rambling (Part I)

They are so mysterious. Christ, Mary, all the Saints. When I pause my day and realize this, I feel desolate, like a child jumping, straining to reach swaying branches. The leaves which fall are facets of knowledge, graces I can't begin to understand. How lowly am I to dream of knowing. Isn't that where our problems began: wanting forbidden knowledge?

But their goodness--Christ's, Mary's, that of my to-be-determined Confirmation Saint--how could knowledge of them be forbidden? But then, who am I to gain insight? I have pulled apart curtains in my walk toward Catholicism, ruffled wisps of fabric until I meet a wall, like confused children in a wardrobe full of coats, like Alice staring at a locked door.

But haven't I been the one to set up a wall? It isn't that I don't want to learn and grow.  I still let myself get in the way. The question of my persistence is answered by my response: do I stare listlessly at the wall or do I pound on it until it's crumbled and I'm jumping now over rubble into an embrace almost too warm to bear?

The word of God is more piercing than any two edged sword; it is all discerning. God's love, God Himself, must be white hot and glorious, beyond measure or compare. His favor and His love and His mercy: how could I manage to maintain those? I think that is what I am most afraid of. I am afraid of misusing the gifts God has given and may give me. I am afraid my inadequacy will not convert someone, but push them away. I am afraid my unimportant, human issues will weigh more on my mind than the important, eternal thoughts I should have. I am afraid Father (God bless him) will nod off during my first Confession because I will be kneeling there for hours.

22 November 2012


"Soon I was no longer visiting [the old churches] merely for the art. There was something else that attracted me: a kind of interior peace. I loved to be in these holy places. I had a kind of deep and strong conviction that I belonged there: that my rational nature was filled with profound desires and needs that could only find satisfaction in churches of God." --The Seven Storey Mountain (Thomas Merton), page 122

I had a completely different post in mind the last few days but after it failed to save three times, I'm thinking that post wasn't meant for that time.

Instead, inspired by this same quotation I had planned to use, and in light of the day it is in America today, I am thankful.

Above all other things, I am thankful for God and his Church: I am thankful that it has been so welcoming throughout the whole process of my inquisition. I am thankful for the priests and friends I have met who have taught me more than they likely realize. I am thankful for the conversations that have blossomed these last several months: perhaps I have taught others more than I realize. I am thankful for this new world which has been revealed to me in which I can ask my Blessed Mother for her aid and ask St. Christopher for his protection, yet still find myself so astoundingly ignorant of all the lovely saints or any of my Catholic relatives.

I am thankful for all I have learned and all I have yet to learn. I am thankful for my Confirmation Saint, though I know not who they are. I am thankful that my life has led me to this point, ready to bound toward the Sacraments as soon as I can. I am thankful for God's love and mercy, my Lord Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, the faithful throughout the ages.

I can't wait to see what the next year will bring and give thanks for it all.

11 November 2012


Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris tuae, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, mater Dei,
Ora pronobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art though amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.

I remember vividly singing Ave Maria my first year of high school at a Winter choir concert. The arrangement was different from the traditional with four or more parts woven together. The interesting thing about choir concerts is the high use of Latin. I sang songs entitled "Adoramus Te" and "Kyrie Eleison" having little idea what they meant or that some words were used every day in Mass, yet I never sought the meanings behind such beautiful music. Looking back, a lot of my life in relation to Catholicism has frequently been that way. I knew the Catholic Church was there, but I was a stranger to it. I knew stereotypes, but even then, no matter how accurate my assumptions were, I didn't know them well.

03 November 2012

All Souls

Hello! Yesterday (now two days ago: this is what happen when I work late), 1 November, was All Saints' Day, and today (now yesterday) is All Souls' Day, when we think of those who have died. These two days are a new experience for me so I'm still trying to understand what's up with them and what I should be doing to properly recognize them.

As a Protestant I thought Purgatory was a place for the dead to have a "second chance," to try to make up for less than holy lives they lived on Earth. It seemed totally unfair and nonsensical to me. As I've learned more, I've realized it isn't in place to allow people do-overs. The following verse helps:

"For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

At the close of our lives, we will be judged. Jesus Christ is the foundation for salvation and our works--acts of charity, prayers, instruction--exemplify the faith we have. These works are all performed while on earth but are tried by fire to determine their worth. Purgatory is for the refinement of our souls, bringing us to fuller holiness. It is only a temporary state: those in Purgatory will advance to Heaven (collecting far more riches than $200).