Monday, May 31, 2010
I think it's been too long since I've really taken the time to write. Time to change that. Today I will be writing a little bit about the most Holy Trinity. (Perfect timing, eh?)
Let me first ask a question, what is the Holy Trinity? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 3 persons in one. As Catholics, we believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together. There is a perfect unity there. A union that our human minds can't begin to comprehend. It's a mystery how there can be 3 persons in one. No matter how much we research, we won't be able to understand it.
I think the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have different "roles".
God is the Fatherly figure. The creator.
He knows us, because He created us.
Jesus is the merciful Savior and redeemer.
He teaches us how to be in this life we live.
The Holy Spirit is active in the Church.
The Holy Spirit is more of the "educator" --in my opinion.
There are so many fruits associated with the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
This right here is an example of how the Holy Spirit is teaching us how to be. Plus, we can always pray for guidance if need be.
The Holy Spirit is really a mystery because so often we see pictures of Jesus and usually He's suffering. We see pictures of God, and He looks like this wise philosophical man. But the Holy Spirit is different. You see pictures of fire, a dove, a light.
Personally, I've never liked the thought of the Holy Spirit being a Dove, but that's just me.
I've always thought of the Holy Spirit as fire based off the scripture verse Acts 2:3-4 --where the Holy Spirit descended down upon the apostles, and appeared to them "as tongues of fire" .
The more you think about it, and get familiar with how the Holy Spirit works within your own life, you'll probably want to think "fire!"
I recall times where I've said things to people, and they were just like: "wow..."
The Holy Spirit worked through me to proclaim the truth. When you feel the Holy Spirit working through you, it's like a flame of truth, a flame of love, a flame that quickly spreads like wildfire. It's something that makes you strive to proclaim the truth. It's not like a bird that just comes and goes whenever it pleases. The Holy Spirit is present, all the time. We just have to be open to receiving graces from the Holy Spirit.
We read in John 14:16-17: "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with, you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive"
We receive this "truth" these "gifts" and these "graces" through prayer, and through the sacraments. And let's face it...
we will never have a good relationship with the most Holy Trinity, if we don't try.
Faith takes effort, and we have to do our part in it. Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing.
That's hard to do, I understand. I'm still working on it! But you do a little every day, and add more along the way. We are called to know God, love God, and serve God.
Today I've been listening to a favorite song of mine by Josh Groban. "My Confession".
And, it really makes me think of the sacrament of reconciliation and how the Holy Spirit really works in it.
"I have been blind, unwilling to see
The true love you're giving.
I have ignored every blessing."
--We have fallen into sin, and we haven't kept a strong relationship with Christ.
He's there with open arms, but we're ignoring Him.
"I'm on my knees confessing.
That I feel myself surrender.
Each time I see your face.
I am staggered by your beauty,
Your unassuming grace."
---In the confessional, we are kneeling, surrendering.
Admitting that we did wrong.
And each time, we experience the "unassuming grace".
His infinite love and mercy.
"And I feel my heart is turning,
Falling into place...."
--- This is what confession does. It changes our souls.
Our souls can be so hardened by sin, that once we have a clear conscious..
things begin to "fall into place".
It's an amazing thing, really.
I challenge you all to pray an extra 5-10 minutes each day. Eventually, that will become more.
Develop a relationship with the Holy Trinity! You can't say you know someone, without actually getting to know them. And that's what God calls us to do. If your prayer life is practically nothing, it's never too late.
It doesn't matter if you think you're the worst sinner out there, He loves you anyway.
He offers us chance after chance to repent and to get to know Him.
It's when we *DON'T* know Him, we are weak, and get the wrong idea of God.
Satan will try to put bad thoughts into our minds..stuff like: "God is mean and just wants to strike you with lightning. He's just dumb. Forget Him."
That's not the case at all. His mercy is infinite.
It's when we don't follow Him, love Him, and trust in His mercy, we hurt Him.
The sins we confess, He doesn't think about. He forgets them.
He loves us. So, again, just try to pray. Experience that amazing love He has to share.
--I put "My Confession" by Josh Groban on my playlist.
It's the first song that plays once you enter my site. I'll have that up for a while.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Start of retreat:
Today is the start of my retreat! It first started out with me leaving the house at 1:45, and I got lost. I went back home and studied the map more, and called the Sisters to let them know I'd be late. I left the house, and drove around for a while. Finally, I arrived at 3:05.
All the Sisters were happy to see me. My retreat started out with Sr. Philomena Maria giving me a blessing and also giving me some time to pray. There, I just thanked God for giving me this opportunity to be here. Fridays are a day of fasting for the Sisters, so dinner was skipped.
I just had a piece of bread an an apple.
We did evening prayer & night prayer and I also got to see the Sisters participate in their music class. It was beautiful! Except, it wasn't really singing. It was more like, gregorian chant in the background while the Sisters said the Rosary. Still, it was beautiful. I think they are working on a Rosary CD for people at the soup kitchen, which is really cool.
I remember when I had my first retreat here....I was nervous and scared for most of it. But not anymore. Even Mother could tell that I was more at peace.
Well, it's almost 9:00. I'm going to go pray and go to sleep.
I have a full day ahead of me...
Retreat day 1:
Today was a VERY long day. I woke up at 5:15, got ready, and ate breakfast.
It took me about 30 minutes to eat my breakfast. Not because I had so much food, because I didn't. I was just enjoying the silence. I was having a conversation with God.
Then, I just started hearing "Be mine..." I've been begging God for answers....why would the answers come this soon, though? Could I have been thinking it myself?
And if this is God's call, then wouldn't I know it for sure?
Plus.....for 3 months now....there's been some sort of "unsatisfied" feeling towards everything. Including the Children of Mary. Don't get me wrong, I feel content here. I don't want to leave.
I'm just just really confused now. I don't understand how this could be God's will if I don't have 100% joy about it.
Eh, anyway, today I worked A LOT. It was "Ora Et Labora" day---(pray & work day).
So, after Mass and prayers we worked until 11:30 AM. I was mainly busy with weeding..fun stuff! I kinda enjoyed it, though. I sang songs while I worked. Mainly Catholic songs in Latin. Panis Angelicus....Tantum Ergo.....Ave Maria.
11:30 was lunch. There was SO much FOOD! It was ridiculous!
Hot dogs, beans, chips, desserts..etc. After lunch, we worked some more, prayed more, and I made dinner! (Pizza). The Sisters were having a meeting, so they had me cook. Wish I could write more, but it's almost lights out. Ps. Before I forget, I picked pretty flowers for Mass today. They look beautiful. :)
Retreat day 2
Today I went to Mass at Holy Family. It was a beautiful Latin Mass.
There, I saw my friend Melissa, and after Mass all of us went downstairs to talk to some guys from EWTN. We also ate lunch there, too. (Tuna wraps!)
After Mass, we visited a lady in the hospital that has bone cancer. (Melissa came along).
We said the Divine Mercy Chaplet with her. Wow....nothing seemed to matter anymore
All my problems became nothing, and not because I saw someone with "greater problems"..
but I just couldn't focus on myself. She was my focus.
We got back to the Children of Mary convent, and I had a talk with Mother, which really helped. She thinks that I have a calling, just because I have the desire of religious life.
We also talked about other things that I won't get into, but basically it set my soul at ease.
For so long I've been seeking for a clear sign, maybe this desire in my heart is enough. I truly believe that I am called to persue my religious vocation. Maybe go on some more retreats, maybe visit some other communities, maybe enter the Children Of Mary...who knows.
Does this mean that the religious life will be my whole life? I don't know, but I'm ready to stop discerning. I'm ready to start saying: "yes" to whatever God has in store for me.
I think the religious life is God's will for me, and I'll follow it, unless He takes me a different way.
Mother said something very wise. She said something like: "If you are attracted to a man, you'll date him. If it's God's will, you'll get married." And she spoke about how if I have an "attraction" to the religious life, even the slightest, I should look into it.
Had many laughs with the Sisters tonight at dinner. Even got to watch the last 30 minutes of St. Faustina! I didn't know there was a movie about her.
I have the worst migrane ever, so I'm going to bed. Have to get up 15 minutes earlier. *Le sigh*
Mother says whenever she hears the bells, and has to wake up...she says it's her "heroic moment" haha. You're supposed to spring out of bed when you wake up. This morning, I literally got out of bed like a NINJA! I've never gotten out of bed so fast. I think my alarm scared me, and I was excited for the day.
Well, good night.
Retreat day 3
Today I woke up at 5:15, said morning prayer, then went to Mass in Zanesville.
Came back and started working. I helped by moving a bunch of plants to the green house.
We also had lunch, which was good.
We had recreation after we cleaned the kitchen. Me, Sr. Philomena Maria, and Lynn played basketball. I didn't know how much these Sisters could laugh--especially Lynn! She is hilarious!
Spiritually...I hate this. Sure, I felt more at ease after my talk with Mother...but still....I have this disatisfied feeling. So far, I feel like I've been going through all the motions...but none of it has hit me. I don't feel as peaceful & joyful as I should. I don't feel complete here. Heck, I don't know what I want anymore. If God feels that I should look into the religious life more...fine, I'll do it.
But, right now I just can't seem to feel anything towards it. It's like....the spark in my heart for the religious life is slowly dying. But, that seems to be the story of my life...sparks dying.
Suddenly...things just become less attractive. I don't know, I love the thought of religious life.
I feel *content* here. I don't *want* to leave, but at the same time, I wouldn't mind if I did leave. I have felt this way before I went on this retreat. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in my heart has changed. If I am to be God's....why do I feel so...blah about the whole idea?
I always hear God tell me that He is going to do big things with me.....
- But, yeah....could the religious life be it? Is that my calling? I find it hard to believe right now....with this feeling within.
Retreat day 4
Today was pretty much like any other day, except Mass was in the chapel, so we didn't have to go out. Also, for recreation, we got a bit crafty! We made cards! The Sisters save a bunch of pictures from Christmas cards, Easter Cards, calendars, etc, and use them to make cards and stuff. So, I made a (late) Mother's day card for my mom.
Work today was fun, but kind of frustrating.
*I cleaned the main floor of the cloister .. :)
*I cleaned the barn, which went well.....until this dog that has been here lately chewed the duster into pieces. There was feather duster pieces all over the ground---after I already SWEPT!
*I got to feed chickens! Never done that before, but it feels funny.
I had a pretty intense adoration hour today....
I can just feel that God is pretty tired of me not listening/following/trying to avoid the truth...
I only heard the Lord speak 2 things. And, can't quote scripture at ALL. So, I know this is God speaking..
I heard Him say:
What stood out to me in John 6 was the story about Jesus walking on water. And He was like:
"It is I, DO NOT BE AFRAID."
The verse that stuck out to me in Proverbs 22
was: "The sluggard says: a lion is outside in the streets...I might be slain."
This basically is talking about the lack of effort required for doing good.
I think this is one of my problems. I think I'm afraid of losing things...friends, family, etc.
And maybe God is calling me to do the extreme, but I'm not really ....putting much effort into that so far.
Retreat day 5
I went to Holy Family for Mass today. The Mass was in Latin, and beautiful as always.
After Mass, we went to the soup kitchen. Ah, things have changed since the last time I was there. Now, there is a private corner for the Sisters to have Eucharistic adoration.
The corner is surrounded by beautiful gold curtains hanging, so it's almost like a whole different room! Eucharistic Adoration was amazing. It was beautiful to see how Christ worked through people, some wept in front of our Lord. Some were too hardened by pain that they couldn't come to pray. Others had hope. It was hard for *ME* not to cry. It was hard to see people in such pain..and wanting to just take all of it away. In the midst of all of this, had to smile though.
Here's a man that only has food that he keeps in a small box. He's just smiling, and telling *ME* to keep my thoughts on God. How beautiful, to be suffering, and just to have Faith in God.
As he was trying to add food to his box, some of it fell out. I kindly helped him by putting the food back into his box, and it's funny....he said: "Thank you, Sister!" (I had my church veil on.)
And without thinking, I was just like: "Oh, no. I'm not a Sister...yet!"
In my mind I was like: "Yet?!?!....Yeah... that's right...." I felt content with those words.
I don't know why, but I'm having a hard time admitting to myself that the religious life just might be for me. I feel that's the truth, I just find it hard to believe. Me?! A sister?!
I don't know why it takes me by surprise. I've desired this for so long. People have said that I should become a sister. But....practically knowing...is wow.
Pretty soon I'm going to have to go cook. I'm making chicken pot pie for tomorrow, so I have to prepare the veggies and stuff. Right now I'm writing during my "Holy leisure" time.... Mother gave me a bunch of time to kill. Now I can write & read "Mother Angelica".
...I still have to finish cleaning the barn. Gotta move stuff. :(
As Sr. Mary Teresa would say: "A Sister's work is never done."
Yeah, all the Sister's have "catch phrases".
According to Lynn, mine is just a giggle....hahaha.
Lynn's is: "Don't quote me on that."
Mother's is: "Remind me before I forget."
Sr. Philomena Maria isn't sure of hers, but we all think it should be:
"Hey, I have a story to share!" or something along the lines of that.
They make me laugh.
Just got done with evening prayer. Time for holy leisure!
This is probably one of my favorite points of the day...
simply because I get to educate myself in the Faith by reading or listening to a talk.
I'm currently listening to a CD on the religious life.
It's pretty good, so far. Ahh, on the way to Mass today, the sisters turned on the radio. We listened to Fr. Corapi on 1510 (Catholic AM station.)
He was talking about the Rosary, and where the mysteries came from, and how we can relate it to scripture! It was GREAT!
Today I woke up and said morning prayer with the Sisters.
After that, I helped Sr. Philomena in the kitchen. I chopped up more veggies.
Today was a "fun day" so we were talking in the kitchen having a conversation.
Normally, the Sisters try to keep silence everywhere outside of recreation.
So, if I'm in the kitchen, and need instructions on something...I can just whisper.
But they try not to have full conversations outside of recreation.
Anyway.... our conversation was about songs. She had asked me what my favorite church songs were. Turns out, we like a lot of the same songs. "Tantum Ergo" and "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" being some of them. After we got done working in the kitchen me & Lynn got some flowers from outside.... we're celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Also, Lynn becomes a postulant today..which is pretty exciting.
This weekend should be fun with other girls coming for a retreat. Can't wait!
Debating on staying for the full weekend or not...still have camporee stuff.
Not totally sure what all has been done--aside from the skits. Oh well.
We had lunch with a wonderful priest today. Fr. Antonio.
Originally from Brazil, and studied in Italy for like 10 years. He has a thick accent, but you can easily understand him. He was very interesting.
Since today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, we had a procession for her. We did a crowning for the Mary statue in the forest, in the garden, and by the pond.
It was really weird, though....before we left we saw a butterfly. (Symbol of renewal).
And while procesing through the forest, Mother said she saw a snake--most likely poisonous because it had different colors/patterns. (Maybe a copperhead?) but she said she hasn't seen a snake in like....20 years! And really...of all days? Crazy.
Tonight we're having a cook out, so I'm going to use my scouting skills to build a fire. :)
Bahahaha. The moment I've been waiting for...
Yes, I'm a pyro.
Like all good scouts.
Okay, so the fire didn't turn out as good as I would have liked it to.
Not my fault, though. Too many big logs/news paper. Sister was suffocating the fire.
Oh well. Seeing as we were having a cook out, it didn't need to be a big fire anyway.
We had hamburgers! :)
Afterwards, we played badmitton again. I must be cursed because this time the birdie hit my head. Seriously?! First my eye, now my head. I think Sr. Philomena Maria wants to knock me out. Thankfully it didn't really hurt, though.
Ah, going to take a power nap from 9:30 to 10:45. We're having adoration for an hour to pray for priests. 11:00-12:00.
Retreat day 7
DANGIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't pray for priests from 11:00- 12:00.
I had my alarm set and everything, but it didn't go off! And I WANTED to do it!
I woke up at 12:15, and I was like: "IT ENDED 15 MINUTES AGO? I MISSED IT?!?"
Eh, it's okay. I woke up a 1/2 hr earlier than needed..so I just prayed then.
I can't help but feel like....I'm just going through all the motions with this retreat.
Eat when it's time to eat.
Work when it's time to work.
I'm not sure what I even LIKE about the religious life anymore.
Do I just like certain things---Prayer/silence/going to the soup kitchen?
Or do I like it because I find it something more than just prayer and work?
Eh, with God I'll get things figured out.
I've been fasting all day today. Mainly bread & water & tea. Few slices of pear.
(Except no drinking during the hours of our Lord's passion..12-3)
I'd say I'm adjusting well to the fasting.
Retreat day 8
---Not a whole lot of time to write today..
Talk by Sr. Philomena Maria.
*Thoughts control feelings.
*Story about monks singing and angels being next to each monk writing.
*Angels writing in gold = joy while singing.
* Angels writing silver= some distraction.
* Angels writing in ink= just saying the words.
* Angels writing in water= not saying anything.
* Religious life= You GAIN a spiritual family & a divine spouse.
Talk 2-- Mother Margaret Mary
* Be open to graces at Mass by emptying our whole selves. Body & mind.
There should be no distractions.
* LOVE one another. DO! Don't TRY.
*Hardships can be things that lead us to a path to greatness.
* You wound the heart of God if you don't forgive yourself.
*We are most like Jesus when we suffer.
*We are most like God when we forgive.
*Said morning prayer
*Went to Mass.
-yes, I originally planned for a 10 day retreat.
Came home a day earlier to get camporee stuff done.
---The main thing I found helpful during my retreat was this:
Thoughts control feelings. After my retreat, I had to shun a lot of bad thoughts away in order to feel at peace with the thought of religious life.
If this is what God wants, then alright. I'm fine with it. :)
-- I consecrated myself to Mary, again. :)
After this retreat, I definitely feel more devoted to Our Lady. I want to strive to get a deeper relationship with her.
--I learned some things that you're not allowed to speak about. There's 5 of them, but sister could only remember 3.
1. Your past.
2. Life struggles.
I was kind of shocked when I heard "food" really? But it makes sense. Food can easily dominate conversation, and it's easy to take pleasure in it. They try to keep their minds on God.
--In adoration, I heard Jesus say two things to me.
"My heart is beating with love for you!"
and "You know that I am with you every step of the way."
Now...I don't feel afraid to do His will. I'm not afriad of this journey...
---I learned so many prayers. I can now do the Rosary in Latin perfectly, the Regina Coeli in Latin perfectly, and and other prayers (which aren't in Latin).. haha.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I WILL BE STAYING WITH SOME SISTERS FOR DISCERNMENT!
If you don't see me tweeting/updating my blog...that's why.
Keep me in your prayers.