Story of a Soul
Way of Perfection
The Diary of St Faustina
and my favorite pick... Dark Night of the Soul
idea from Happy Catholic
living Catholicism and fighting for life in an anti-Catholic, pro-death culture
"Why should we become Catholic?" ((referring to him and his wife))Nick replied with this:
I have really been struggling with how to respond to this question, not because the answers are not abundant, but because it is hard to articulate into words the love I have for Jesus Christ and His Church. plus, I don't want this to just be a list of the usual stereotypical responses. I want this to come from my heart; I feel like you will appreciate that the most. I guess the best way for me to do that is to just tell you what the Catholic Church means to me. You can glean from that the reasons to be Catholic.From this basis I form my own thoughts and opinions but I can assure everyone that it comes so close to Nick's own response that sometimes I wonder if we have the same brain. But I of course know it is simply that we share the same love of our wonderful faith. As I enter Lent I wish to remember always the things that are so wonderful about my faith. I wish to hold fast to things I know and to offer my sacrifices in thanksgiving for Truth. I reflect often on the Mystical Marriage and recall the words of my friend Matt who so eloquently described it. I only wish I could reproduce those words that moved my heart in a way that I can only begin to describe.
To me, the Catholic Church means....
1. a mother who loves me so much, that any words used to describe it are incomprehensably inadequate. This is a love indescribable, a love for the body of Christ, typified in the love that Mary has for THE body of Christ. Notice in The Passion of the Christ, how she runs to Him, how she longs to take all of his pain away. She just loves Him so much. We are the child in the flashback, we are the Body of Christ, who stumble and fall. Yet we have a mother who is always there, who will wipe away our tears and set us back upon the path to righteousness.
2. a Blessed Mother, a Mother of perfect piety and purity, a Mother who looks upon us, lowly and broken in this valley of tears, and brings our heartfelt cries to the Lord. She is the Mother to the motherless, to the abandoned, to the homeless, to desperate and the heartbroken. She is there, caring for us, unceasing in her love and affection. Oh Blessed Mother and Immaculate Queen of Heaven, pray for us!!
3. a father, a priest, my guardian, my shephard, who loves me as his son. A man who has given himself to the Lord to be an instrument of forgivness and sacrifice. "Bless me father, for I have sinned." Humbled and humiliated I come before him. Yet he is not rebuking, not horrified, not aggravated or apathetic. He is loving, understanding, forgiving. It has made his day that I have come to him, and sought that the Holy Father should work through him in reconciling me to Himself. Before I leave the confessional, and walk back into the harsh, cruel world he hugs me and assures me that he is always there for me, just as our Holy Father in heaven is forever at our side.
4. grace unabounding, grace that pours forth like water, that cleanses us and unites us to Christ Jesus. Grace from baptism, which wipes away all impurities, that seals us with the indelible mark of the Holy Spirit and makes us a new creation, a child of God, a member of His Holy Family.
grace from confession, the Lords merciful forgiveness that lifts every burden, that reconciles us with God and man, grace available to every wicked man who ever walked this Earth.
grace from the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Grace that fills us, so that we hunger and thirst no more. Grace that unites us to the one sacrifice for all mankind, for every generation, until the end of time.
grace from confirmation, grace that fits us with the armor of God, with which we are protected for the good fight. Together with the mighty archangels we wage the war against evil and set ourselves apart as sons and daughter of God, and warriors for Christ.
grace from matrimony, grace through which two become one flesh and share in God's role as Creator and Sustainer of Life, grace through which two people call to mind the perfect love that exists between the persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, grace through which man and woman work to aid and protect and guide each other to eternal bliss in heaven.
grace from Holy Orders, in which men, who are called to be set apart for the Lord and servants of His Church, are given power and authority by the Holy Spirit to stand in the person of Christ, to appropriate His unending blessings to His children, to celebrate the perfect Sacrifice of the Mass, to live a life singularly devoted to the work of God on this Earth.
grace from the Anointing of the Sick, grace that strengthens us in our final hours, when we are inundated with fear and despair, grace that comforts us when we need it the most, grace that prepares our souls to be with God, and heals ever infirmity if it is His Perfect Will.
grace, everywhere and all around me, grace to cleanse me, grace to forgive me, grace to feed me, grace to arm and protect me, grace to love me, grace to make me a man set apart, grace to strengthen me until my final breath, grace that pushes me, guides me, points me in the right direction. Without it i would be lost. I would be dead.
5. Truth, perfect and unadulterated. The spirit of truth that casts our fear, protected by the Holy Spirit and the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. truth incorruptable, impervious to the scandal and the imperfection of men. Truth, that sure guide and only way towards perfection in Christ Jesus. Truth that never contradicts itself, truth that never lies, truth set on a pedastle and of which there is only one.
6. One body, united in One profession of faith, in One sacrifice of the Holy Mass, in perfect Communion, in One shepherd on Earth, One Vicar of Christ, One Rock, One sure foundation, One Church, One Body of Christ, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Spirit that is through all and in all.
7. a Holy Body, empowered by the Holy Spirit, filled with Grace, made Holy by the appropriation of this grace through the Seven Sacraments, glorified by the Saints, that clowd of witnesses who have come before us and show us what it is to be Holy, to glorify the Lord and his Church through every word and action. A Holy Body, a spotless lamb, a perfect sacrifice brought before the Lord.
8. a Catholic Body, a people everwhere, spreading the word of God and making disciples of all nations, feeding the poor, providing clothing and shelter for the homeless, nursing the sick, protecting the neglected and abused, everwhere and to everyone saying, "here you have a home." A Catholic Body, universal yet visible, hierarchical, with bishops, priests, and deacons, a body set apart from all others, a body of which the earliest christians provide witness, the only body that deserves the title "Catholic"
9. an Apostolic Body, sprung from the 12 apostles themselves, a body with a perfect line of succession, a body which continuously perpetuates the power, authority, and teaching of the first followers of Jesus, and of Jesus Christ himself. A body for which martyrs have died, and the greatest apologists and theologians in all of christianity have given witness, perfect unity with the One True Church, Christ's Church, from the VERY beginning, a claim that no other Church would dare to make or ever substantiate.
10. the communion of saints, those witnesses in the stands who cheer for me as I run the race, as I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Saints, made perfect by the saving grace of Jesus Christ, who live in the presence of the Beatific Vision, who are alive in Christ, who have fought the good fight and finished victorious, who know my trials because they have lived them to. Saints, our holy brothers and sisters in Christ, who bring rightious prayers to the Lord on our behalf and plead that we may be showered with grace.
11. resiliency, the longest-lasting institution on the face of the planet, the Church that will never fall, never be defeated, never be corrupted, never be overcome, never be overcome by the gates of hell, by the devil and his minions, by the sinfulness of man, and every force that is brought against it. Resilient, finding redemption through suffering, growth in times of scandal, light where there is darkness, healing where there is pain, lifting every burden and healing all wounds. Resilient, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic until the end of time. The Last Man Standing.
12. ST. MICHAEL, captain bad-ass, Mr. who's-your-daddy, Mr. "WHO-IS-LIKE-CHRIST!?!?, Mr. bring it on, Mr. you-cant-hold-me, Mr. foot-on-your-face, Mr. don't-make-me-use-my-sword, Mr. get-the-hell-outta-here, Mr. the-devil-aint-shinobi, the Prince of Heavenly Host, our defender in battle, our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil, the ultimate warror, the soldier of Christ, our bodyguard from temptation and sin, the protector of the Church and enemy of the Devil. St. Michael, the archangel, pray for us!!
13. only the Catholic Church can and does make such lofty claims. It's the only Church that claims to be the One Church of Christ--and can prove it. It's the only Church that is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic--and can prove it. It's the only Church that can say it came BEFORE the Bible--and can prove it. It's the only Church that claims to be infallible in matters of doctrine and morals--and can prove it. It's the only Church that claims direct succession from the Apostles and Jesus Christ--and can prove it. It's the only Church that gives Her believers SEVEN SURE WAYS to receive the grace of Jesus Christ--and can prove it. It's the only Church that shows the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ that honor and reverence that she rightly deserves.
You know, as I re-read my response, I despair over how supremely inadequate it is. Uggh! I think I could re-write and revise this 100 times and never be happy with it. I hope this is what you are looking for, and I am sorry if it is not. Actually, a part of me fears that it will turn you away, as my zeal has done so often in the past. I am remined of my ex-girlfriend, and how my response to the same question by her actually destroyed all hope of her becoming Catholic. However, I must remind myself that it is not all my fault that she has decided to reject Catholicism, and it is equally prideful of me to assume that your initiation into the Church hinges upon my response here.
So, there's my answer. It is what it is.
What a beautiful message! You are such an inspiration and a joy to have around (even if it is just online).
I wanted to share with you some thoughts I had while reading through your message...
Focus is a great thing to work on, though I do believe you already have this. I simply think your focus is in the wrong area. Like you said, you should focus more on what makes you happy instead of what you or someone else has led you to believe will make you happy or happier. Allow Christ to fill you up and to make you happy. Let HIM be your source of joy, for the joy that comes to you from Him is the purest of all joys. He alone can fill every hole or empty spot in your heart. Let Him make your heart whole. Let Him fill you with His love. Let others lift you up to Him even more.
I think before your focus was so much on what you wanted and needed that you might not have allowed yourself the proper time to THANK God for what He has already given you. You might have thanked Him but I think more you asked for things. True joy will come I believe with realizing how abundantly you have already been blessed.
I do not think that simply giving up phatmass will help. I do think, however, that allowing yourself space from phatmass while you readjust ALL of your priorities and your prespectives on things in your life will be very beneficial. Phatmass is a good place with lots of good people. You have to realize though that coming here for fellowship will be nothing if you don't have Christ as your first and most important friend.
I feel as if I am being accusatory but this is what I feel moved to say. Perhaps this quote says it better...
Don't tell Jesus that you want consolation in prayer. If he gives it to you, thank him. Tell him always that you want perseverance. -St. Josemaría Escrivá
Ask Jesus for perseverance not only in prayer but in trust that He can bring you the joy you so desire. Ask Him to grant you an increase in faith in Him and in His ability to console you even when you can't "feel" it. The companionship we seek in others is only a mere imitation of the relationship we have with Christ.
I am so delighted that your mood is changing and that perhaps the depression is leaving you. Knowing that you are more joyful and able to appreciate everything around you more is so beautiful to me. I am so humbled at the fact that the Holy Spirit is allowing me to be a vessel to help you at this time in your life. I pray that the Lord continues to shower you with His grace and mercy.
I was so thrilled to have your guardian angel with me last night. I really enjoyed the thought of him being there with me to guard me and protect me while I slept. I hope we have the chance to do that again sometime.
I thank God for our friendship and I pray that He will forever look with kindness upon it. May the Lord bless us and keep us always. God bless you, Friend! You are beautiful! As always, you have my prayers.
The virtue of humility may be defined: "A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake." St. Bernard defines it: "A virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself." These definitions coincide with that given by St. Thomas: "The virtue of humility", he says, "Consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior" (Summa Contra Gent., bk. IV, ch. lv, tr. Rickaby).
To guard against an erroneous idea of humility, it is necessary to explain the manner in which we ought to esteem our own gifts in reference to the gifts of others, if called upon to make a comparison. Humility does not require us to esteem the gifts and graces which God has granted us, in the supernatural order, less than similar gifts and graces which appear in others. No one should esteem less in himself than in others these gifts of God which are to be valued above all things according to the words of St. Paul: "That we may know the things that are given us from God." (1 Corinthians 2:12). Neither does humility require us in our own estimation to think less of the natural gifts we possess than of similar, or of inferior, gifts in our neighbours; otherwise, as St. Thomas teaches, it would behove everyone to consider himself a greater sinner or a greater fool than his neighbour; for the Apostle without any prejudice to humility was able to say: "We by nature are Jews, and not of the Gentiles sinners" (Galatians 2:15). A man, however, may generally esteem some good in his neighbour which he does not himself possess, or acknowledge some defect or evil in himself which he does not perceive in his neighbour, so that, whenever anyone subjects himself out of humility to an equal or to an inferior he does so because he takes that equal or inferior to be his superior in some respect. Thus we may interpret the humble expressions of the saints as true and sincere. Besides, their great love of God caused them to see the malice of their own faults and sins in a clearer light than that which is ordinarily given to persons who are not saints.from New Advent
"The problem with humility is that every time I see myself make great strides in that virtue, they instantly disappear. Go figure..."Funny, yes, but sometimes, unfortunately, very true. We make great strides in the way of humility and instantly fall back into our pride. We think to ourselves "Hey I'm pretty humble. Look at me. I'm like the poster child for humility." And then we slap ourselves and wonder what just happened. A vicious cycle it seems - that is until we truly adopt this phrase:
"All for the greater glory of God."
If we are very sincere with ourselves we shall ask Our Lord to stop us finding excuses to explain away our sins and failings, those things that humiliate us and for which we sometimes have to ask other people's forgiveness. from Julie D's post
"An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
You know people always say that girls fall for guys that remind them (consciously or subconsciously) of their father. In the same respect the story goes that guys fall for girls who remind them (consciously or subconsciously) of their mother. I am curious to know if this has proven true with anyone here.
If I am a girl and I marry a man who is like my father, why then would my mother not like him? Would that mean that my father would not necessarily get along with him since we tend to like people who are different than ourselves? After all, we tend to hate most in others what is wrong in ourselves.
If I am a guy and I marry a woman who is like my mother, why then would my father not like her? Would that mean that my mother would not necessarily get along with her since we tend to like people who are different than ourselves? After all, we tend to hate most in others what is wrong in ourselves.
Is the respect and admiration that one feels for a certain type of person conclusive about the type of person they will marry? For instance, I have a strange admiration for Bruce Willis. There is something about his presence that commands my respect and it comforts me. I feel very warm and secure when I watch him. In the same respect I feel very secure and comfortable when I am around my choir director, Michael (whom you will notice I mention on a regular basis). That type of man soothes me and yet my father is nothing like those men. My father is so far from that type of man it's ridiculous. My father and Michael get along wonderfully because they compliment each other so well. Is it odd that I should feel more comforted by Michael's presence than my own fathers? Has anyone else had this experience?
Can we really say that people will fall in love with people who remind them of their source of life? Is it really fair to judge a situation like that? Another question: does this scenario only manifest itself in people who have had healthy relationships (to a degree) with their parents? Or does a strained relationship, in some circumstances, cause a man or woman to long more for a person to fill a certain void? Is the spouse a replacement in the sense that they are presenting on a daily basis an attitude or personality that comforts the individual? Is this unhealthy?
This seems like a very controversial (and confusing) statement. [hugheyforlife](me)
As graced of an existence that we humans lead, I find it difficult to used phrases like "return to the natural way of life" and "when natural roles are restored." Human beings exist in a constant state of change. It is too unclear to me as to what we would be "returning" to. Yes, A lack of appreciation and respect for each sex has become abandoned. Yes, I do believe that the historic push "for women to be the men" plays a part in that abandonment. But we are at an impasse here. The view you have so eloquently put forth is that of men and women as complementary sexes. My effort has been the opposite of your position... men and women as equal. I myself am trying to educate myself about the development and repercusions of both positions so as to better reach my own conclusions. I certainly don't have all the answers! Thankfully only God does. But I am conforted with conversations such as this that search for the Truth. [shortnun]
I think that maybe we have not quite reached the imapasse you claim we have reached. I do respect that feeling and let me say that I too am comforted by such conversations. Instead of completely replying this time I am going to make an attempt at asking questions to first clarify that which I am not positive I understand. First, do you believe that there are predefined roles that men have based not only on what God has commanded them to do but also based on biological make-up which gives them the urges to do certain things (in this case I also believe to be in sync with God's plan)? Would you say the same for women? When you say "constant state of change", what do you mean? (I understand the phrase but I am not sure I understand it in the way that you mean. I too believe we are in a constant state of change but I believe we say that, again, with different meaning.) One last one.. Do you believe that men and women can be equal and complementary at the same time?
I hope that none of my questions has left me looking like a fool, and if they have I thank the Lord for showing me my pride (be it conscious or not). I am enjoying this conversation very much. [hugheyforlife]
"An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."
--Pope John Paul the Great
"I'm also told that it was what the British told their soldiers on the eve of D-Day. The British soldiers (who back in those days knew their Scripture) radioed the mainland and asked what they should do if they were overwhelmed. The reply was "and if not" and that was all. The story goes that the soldiers understood immediately and knew that they would have to press on even if overwhelmed."I feel all this very fitting for these times in our lives -- living Catholicism in the world today. I will expound upon this whole idea in later posts but for now, let it suffice to say that we, the Catholic youth of the world, are making the commitment everyday to press on, crosses on our shoulders and a sword in our hand, to fight the good fight in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.