Tag Archives: Holy Week

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.

Advertisements

Contentment

28 Mar

Tonight I attended a Maundy Thursday service for the first time ever. I also spent the day with my sponsor because I didn’t have classes or work. It was a good day of respite for me.

I realized tonight that I am becoming content with myself as a person and as a woman.

I see this happening for two reasons:

1. The Father, Spirit, and Jesus have been lavishing me with grace, strength, and wisdom.

2. I have learned to pray, “God, make Your desires, my desires. May I only want the things that You want.” And I’m finding that when you want the things that God wants He generally gives them to you.

Anyways. I’m so glad that God gave me today. I don’t know if I could have handled another day of being spiritually, mentally, and emotionally on edge.

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?