Tag Archives: Mother Angelica

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.

Books and Websites I’ve Latched Onto

27 Feb

The Catholicism Answerbook – the first Catholic Book I read. It’s pretty much “Catholicism for Dummies” but that was probably too crude of a name option for the publisher. It’s simple and direct. It follows a question-and-answer format so it’s really easy to find the topics that you want to read about. I’m actually planning on buying a couple copies for when I tell my (very anti-Catholic) family that I’ve joined the Church.

Loyola Press Three Minute Retreats – I. Love. These. Go to the site and go through one of the retreats. I started reading through them before I was even considering conversion. They’re kind of in powerpoint format (and they’re free, so I REALLY love them), and you click through the slides. These retreats are a beautiful reminder of the grace and peace of Christ. They’re absolutely beautiful.

Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality – My sponsor gave me this book as a gift. I’m only about halfway through it (I only got it two weeks ago and I had to write an American Lit. Paper AND do a research project on economic theories!), but it’s a great book. Mother Angelica is one of those people who is truly not afraid of frankness. She’s a real person. She has struggles just like we all do. But she has the God-given ability to turn her struggles into very applicable lessons. I like this book because unlike the majority of Christian books I’ve read, I feel like I can actually practice the things she teaches.

This Blog Post (12 Reasons I Joined the Catholic Church) – these are the words that made me decide to convert. I go back and read this post every once in a while because it really lays out the foundational differences between what I used to believe and what I now know to be true.

Quote

Heavenly Father…

26 Feb

Heavenly Father, we put our weak selves before Your silent presence. You alone know the things forgotten and hidden that lie on the shelves of our memory. We cannot heal ourselves. We find it hard to forgive and impossible to forget. Yet as we are absorbed and surrounded by Your Presence, we stand in that light and watch as the spiritual sores of us lepers disappear. The rotted limbs are restored, and our memories, at one time so ugly, are renewed and rejuvenated. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Mother Angelica’s Prayer for Healing the Memory