Tag Archives: Easter
1 Apr

Easter Vigil was absolutely wonderful – such an indescribable and great night. Even thinking back on it now…it makes me just want to smile and sing.

I’m so grateful for my sponsor and her family. They have showered me with love, prayers, kind words, books, and gifts throughout this whole process. The night of the vigil they all sat with me and then Easter day they invited me to have lunch and spend the day with them.

One of the books I got as a confirmation gift is The Illustrated Lives of the Saints. Since it separates the saints based on the days they’re celebrated, I’ve decided to just read through it day by day, starting yesterday. I’m excited to get to know the saints and also to have a new saint to ask to pray for me each day. For some reason this book is helping me to let go of some of the stigmas I’ve been holding against the saints…

I also got a Catholic Book of Prayers. I’m super excited for this one, because I was relying on the pamphlets I’d picked up here and there and on a Book of Common Prayer that I picked up at a used bookshop a few years ago. While all of those things were great, I needed something a little more portable and a little more Catholic. I’ve looked through the prayers, and my sponsor put little sticky notes in it to mark the ones she thought would be important for me, but I’m hoping to figure out a way to pray through the whole book. Maybe I’ll just say a few new prayers every day and then start over when I reach the end.

I’ve had a Catholic Bible for quite some time now, and I’ve looked through some of the “new” books, but I have yet to actually sit down and read through them. I can’t decide if I want to just read the whole Bible and therefore have a better appreciation of context, or if I just want to start reading the “new” stuff. I’ll probably end up with a mixture of both.

I also received quite a few prayer cards. I LOVE these! Yet another thing I wish I had had when I was growing up. Today I had a test that I was kind of nervous about and right before it I took out the card with St. Thomas Aquinas‘s picture and prayer on it and was able to pray it right there. I’ve sometimes made up prayers for tests before, but this one was nice because I didn’t find myself stumbling for words – it was a nice quick prayer that said exactly what I wanted to say.

Feelings

30 Mar

When I was growing up I went to a lot of churches who were out to make me cry. I went to churches who existed to evoke emotion – to make their congregants feel something.

In a culture where we are constantly in touch with our feelings, sometimes it’s difficult to actually feel. Emotionally driven books, movies, TV shows, Facebook and blog posts, songs, and pictures bombard us. People respond to emotion, so those who want to be heard appeal to our feelings – and while it works for a time, eventually we become desensitized.

We’ve felt  so much – and our hearts need a break. Years of exposure to emotional appeals leave us needing time away from feelings – a repose from the ups and downs. So we allow callouses to form on our hearts. We allow them to become hard.

I think this is why I’ve seen so many churches that wanted the attention of my feelings. It’s good to feel. It’s good to have catharsis – to purge our emotions. It’s good to be excited. It’s good to have a nice long cry. Churches know this – and they also know how to evoke feelings. They know how to stir up our hearts and get us excited, or how to make us feel as guilty as Hitler, or how to reduce half of the congregation to tears.

And while those things aren’t bad, per se, I’ve seen a lot of churches who made evoking emotion their main goal. If people weren’t running or dancing or crying or expressing some extreme emotion by the end of the service, then the church had failed.

The problem is that when we focus on creating a feeling, we’re not focusing on God.

This Holy Week I’ve found myself feeling. I have felt joy at the grace of God, I have felt uncontrollable sadness over the pain of Christ, and I have felt overwhelmed by the love and goodness of the God I serve. But no one set out to make me feel those things. Rather, in meditating on the Lord and the things He has done, I found those feelings flowing as a natural result.

And you know what? If I had felt nothing it would have been okay – because God doesn’t command us to have a feeling. He blesses us with feelings, but He only commands that we obey Him.

In her book Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, Mother Angelica says, “Spiritual dryness is a gift from God, because it removes the soul from the emotional level and puts prayer on the level of the will, where I am a child of God who does the things of God because I decide to do so, not because I am depending on emotions outside of me.”

These past few months I have been a mess of feelings. (S is worried I have a hormonal imbalance.) I have spent Holy Week weeping for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I have wept for the pain of the Blessed Mother, and I have wept for the sins of humanity. And I am absolutely overwhelmed with excitement for when I enter the Church tonight.

But I know that in a little while these feelings will fade. The dailiness of my spiritual life will take over. But that’s okay. Feelings are not the goal. Jesus is the goal, and feelings may or may not be a result.

Hardest Day of My Life…

27 Mar

At 10 PM last night someone at my school made a website where you can anonymously submit a post. It was supposed to be a secret admirer thing or something. But it turned into a place for people to say all of the racist, sexist, cruel things that tend to come out when anonymity is involved.

I was furious when I heard some of the things that my Christian peers were saying – that they wished someone would get divorced so they could have her, that they wished someone would die, that they it would be funny if the deaf kid walked out in the street and couldn’t hear a horn honking and therefore got run over.

I was also ashamed to be counted as a student here.

This is Holy Week. This is the week when we’re supposed to be honoring what our Lord did for us, and instead I felt like I could only hear echoes of Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

There wasn’t a thing my school could do about it.

So five of us decided we were going to take this website on. We started with posts of our own – about our desire to be a group of people who love others and who desire to respect and be respected, about the need to use humor appropriately and at the right place and time, and about how this is not what Jesus wants.

Our posts were answered with taunts – those directed at me were of course about my conversion.

Then we began to pray that people (especially the site administrator) would think about the things we had said.

And at 4 PM this afternoon, the site was deleted.

I’m happy that the battle is over…but the damage is already done. Over 1,000 posts were made on that site in the 18 hours it existed.

How does our campus begin to heal now?