Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New Look.

Nothing really important, I just added a few photos and what not. I figure if I'm going to use this thing, I better make myself feel more comfortable right? And this new look is just in time for the birth of Christ!!! Most excellent! I'm planning on posting another blog soon, probably going to make some people mad again... but not intentional at all of course. I hope everyone is doing well and preparing themselves for the birth of our Lord!

Merry Christmas to you all. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spiritual Communion

This post is going to be honest. So if you want that sugar-coated, I'm ok you're ok, hold hands and sing kumbaya stuff, then avert your eyes and click the homepage button.

After much deliberation and coercion, I am going to talk about something I have noticed has become more of a thing in the past 10 or so years; or maybe I just started noticing it more now than before... and that would be people going up to receive a blessing during Communion.


Ok so I was never told in my life it was ok to go up for a blessing, and to be honest, I never knew that was allowed! When I was in a state of mortal sin, I was to wait in the pew for my family to come back and obviously, everyone else in the church , and then the rest of the Mass goes on accordingly. (like it always does.) If I was however, in a state of Grace, then I could go up of course, to receive Christ Himself fully present in the Eucharist; Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity! That's how I was taught, and that's the way I stayed...for at least a time.

I did however begin to go up for a blessing in high school and part of college. It began mostly because my friends told me I should. And being the passive Catholic that I was, I thought, "Yeah, a blessing from a priest. That's good too." Well I continued to do so, but then something happened. I stopped being passive and dove headfirst into the Catholic Church and all She teaches! I surrounded myself with those that burned with the Holy Spirit and I found myself listening and absorbing all they talked about. I became enthralled with the Eucharist and with the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Something about it never really settled well for me. I never felt comfortable going up and not receiving He Whom my soul loves. I talked to my friend at one point about the whole receiving a blessing thing. He was a bit more militant than I was about it (not always a bad thing).So what was I to do? I stopped. And this is why:

When we go up to Communion we go to receive Christ. For Him to fill us. To give us the graces we need to make it through the day. This is such a privilege! So if we are not in a state of grace what do we do? Just sit there and watch everyone else get these great things? It's not fair! They get to receive Him and I have to sit here while everyone else walks past me and "judges" me because I'm in a state of mortal sin! That is so not fair! My opinion is that people go up for a blessing because they don't want others to know they are not in a state of grace. Or maybe it's because they want to feel included, to be part of everyone getting something. "Well if they are getting something, I want something too" is the mentality. Here's the deal...are you ready for this? ...IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU! And it sure as heck isn't about me! It's about Jesus Christ! I'm sorry, but humble yourself! I see no point in going up for a blessing. it's not as if we are all going to the priest for a blessing. Most people are going to an Extraordinary Minister anyway. They can't give you a blessing. They have not had the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Plus, you can become a distraction to people, whether you know it or not. So why must we insist on a blessing? If we want a blessing, we mustn't leave the Mass early, because we all receive a blessing from the priest at the end (May all might God bless you in the name of...). Is it to acknowledge our sinfulness? We already do that when we say the Confiteor at the beginning of the Mass. Is it because we are sorry for our sins? Go as soon as possible to Confession! Don't let a moment waste! Our souls are at stake. (another topic all together.) So why? There is no good enough reason, unless of course you are below the age of reason(7yrs) and your parents are both going up.

Now I'm sure if you are upset and are still reading, you might be thinking that this guy is a jerk! Who is he to tell me what to do? Well truth be told, I'm only relaying the message which is given to us by Holy Mother Church:

"All those who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with our Lord Jesus and with one another."

This is straight from the Sunday Missal sitting in front of you in the pew. No where does it say, "Come on up for a blessing!" What it is speaking of is, however, a Spiritual Communion. Which in all reality is better than a simple blessing. It is confessing with your heart, mind, and lips that you are desiring Jesus to come inside and dwell within.

St. Thomas Aquinas defined Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.”

Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia:
In the Eucharist, “unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: Here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union.” Precisely for this reason it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of “spiritual communion,” which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. St. Teresa of Jesus wrote: “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you” [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.]. 

St. John Vianney said “There are some who make a spiritual communion every day with blessed bread. If we are deprived of Sacramental Communion, let us replace it, as far as we can, by spiritual communion, which we can make every moment; for we ought to have always a burning desire to receive the good God. Communion is to the soul like blowing a fire that is beginning to go out, but that has still plenty of hot embers; we blow, and the fire burns again. After the reception of the Sacraments, when we feel ourselves slacken in the love of God, let us have recourse at once to spiritual communion. When we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall can shut us out from the good God.”

I could go on and on. The benefits to making a Spiritual Communion are so much greater than we can imagine! So my question is why don't we?! There is so much more to be attained from doing this!

This is the prayer St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote:

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You have already come, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. 
Amen.

Try it once, He may change your life...


In Christ through Mary,
Joe

St. Boniface, Pray for us!


Thanks to the Pieta Prayer Book, ewtn.com, and Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur from catholicexchange.com for the quotations.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Being Bold

Yesterday was awesome. I went to a Catholic bookstore and I was like an ADHD kid in a candy store! I was beside myself at how much stuff they had! So many books! So many things...well, Catholic. I was there for like 2 hours! If I was there any longer I might have drained my bank account... ok, so on to the point of this.

While I was there I was just wandering and not really sure what I was still doing there but then this older guy came in and says to the worker, "Do you have a brown scapular? For the past 3 days I keep hearing this word: Brown Scapular. And figured I need to get one." The worker shows him their scapulars and so the man starts asking questions if he knew anything about them. At this moment I became interested, not because I am the foremost authority on the Brown Scapular, but because I wear my scapular with devotion and love for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The worker was having a hard time trying to tell him about it. Unfortunately, you could tell he himself did not wear one. So the man asks, "do you think you can look it up on the internet?"

At this time, my Guardian Angel and the Holy Spirit are telling me, "Speak up, go and tell him." I just stood there. A few minutes pass and the worker is trying so hard to explain. Finally my Guardian Angel moved me to right where they were, and the Holy Spirit is yelling at me "BE BOLD! SPEAK UP!" The worker at this moment says, "Well some Catholics don't believe in the scapular..." I found this ridiculous, and said, "that's really sad." They both looked over and I was looking for a pamphlet for the scapular. The man looks right at me and asks, "you know about the Brown Scapular?" I told him yes and he wanted me to explain. I prefaced my talk about it by saying I don't know everything, but I do wear it and love it.

As I am telling him, he is asking questions and through the Holy Spirit I am able to answer them. He then shares stories about his life, about how so many times he should have been dead, and walked away from everything unharmed. I was amazed, but not shocked. The Lord has more planned for this man, he is not done yet. Come to find out, he belongs to the Ukrainian Catholic Church (Byzantine) in Denton. We talked for quite some time and it was awesome. I thank God for the opportunity!

So with this story I say this: Be bold! Be bold for the Kingdom of God!
Every single Saint/blessed/venerable in the history of the Church has been as such. St. Francis of Assisi, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasatti, All of the Apostles, The ever Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Maria Goretti, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Damien of Molokai etc. All have been bold in one way or another. Why cannot we do the same? Why must we be so paralyzed with the fear of rejection? What's the worst that could happen? Death? One can only hope! So what are you waiting for? We are all called to Holiness. We are all called to be bold.

SPEAK UP! BE BOLD!

In Christ through Mary,
Joe