A Quarter of the Catechism…

You may remember at about November-time I posted of my desire to attempt to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover-to-cover. (My RCIA leader also prescribed the YouCat, but I’m less keen on the style of writing in that – I feel the actual Catechism explains and touches on the Faith in a much deeper way than the YouCat fundamentally can. Sorry. Not complaining.) This is deemed a huge challenge for me, since I’ve not even read The Bible from cover-to-cover.

Sure, I can recite and explain many of the stories, but I also have giant gaps in my knowledge (called the prophets. I do wish they’d taught us more about the prophets in school, or at least covered a great variety of The Bible. I don’t mind having an acute knowledge of Luke’s Gospel – indeed, it has helped me greatly during my conversion to Catholicism – but I dislike the feeling that I’ve missed parts of this wealthy text that tell me as much and more about God than reading the Gospel over and over does).

Anyway, as you can see, I get distracted. By life. And the blaring sounds my brain. “How,” I asked myself, “am I going to get through a book that is, arguably, longer and more complex, and more directly relevant to modern life, than The Bible?”

The answer came whispered: perseverance.

A few nights ago, I looked at my position through the book as I sometimes do after reading (I hasten to add that this, far from being the sense of ‘how much more do I have to read’, is due to a case of habit when it comes to print books) and was surprised to see that I was no longer at a random slice of the beginning. I’ve managed to read a quarter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Now, I didn’t set myself specific targets. I didn’t think “quarter way through the year I should be at the quarter mark of the Catechism”, nor did I push myself to complete it before my confirmation – because I know that’s not going to happen. But one ‘bit’ per night. One paragraph, one page, one section. Just something read.

And I’m surprised how well that works.

Although I’m not getting confirmed at the Easter Vigil (and due to where I’m living at the moment, I probably won’t even be able to attend any Easter Vigil, which is fine because my attempt to make any Midnight Mass on 24/12 failed as well…), I’m getting really excited about my confirmation and the union of others into our Church. Events haven’t unfurled the way I expected, but I grit my teeth, I wipe away my worried tears and I continue. Because I must.

I read on.

Roll on Palm Sunday...I need a new cross.

Roll on Palm Sunday…I need a new cross.

Trust without wavering

Miss Alexandrina:

I’m feeling filled with the spirit, and this quote touched my soul: even when the world is dark, the sky is broken and fallen, there will be a light for all peoples. There will be Jesus.

Originally posted on 1catholicsalmon:

05_40_4Iamthelightoftheworld_web1PSALM 26

From Biblia.com 

A Psalm of David.

1 Vindicate me, O Lord,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;

test my heart and my mind.

3 For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,

and I walk in faithfulness to thee.

4 I do not sit with false men,

nor do I consort with dissemblers;

5 I hate the company of evildoers,

and I will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence,

and go about thy altar, O Lord,

7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,

and telling all thy wondrous deeds.

8 O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,

and the place where thy glory dwells.

9 Sweep me not away with sinners,

nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

10 men in whose hands are evil devices,

and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I…

View original 25 more words

A Christmas Reflection

Miss Alexandrina:

Writer Victoria Grefer speaks about what Christmas means to her as a Catholic. Merry Christmas :)

Originally posted on Creative Writing with the Crimson League:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

I just wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season, and to my fellow Christians, Merry Christmas!

For me, the Christmas season has always been about remembering the things that really matter in life: catching up with family, renewing friendships, and even taking a breather from all the things that stress me out to simply be grateful for the incredible blessings I’ve been given.

I will be returning to my regular blogging schedule soon. For now, my Wednesday posts for December 25 and January 1 will be moved back to Thursday, December 26 and January 2 because of the holidays.

WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME AS A CATHOLIC

Perhaps more than anything else, Christmas (for me as an adult) has always meant rediscovering the completely unmerited but boundless gift that is God’s peace. I tend to…

View original 251 more words

‘Inside’ the Church

I’ve been looking for a while for a church to which I feel best suited. Yes, the churches around my area are all great, but each just didn’t feel right for me. In an ironic way, I was getting the same set of feelings I’d had when I realised that I wanted more, emotionally and spiritually, than the Anglican practise of faith.

In an essay I had written around March time, my philosophy teacher (herself a Christian) remarked that I seemed to be writing as if from the perspective of “outside the church” looking in; that I distanced myself from the religious view of the philosophical point I was making. Emotionally, maybe, that was true – then.

Now, though, I was simply witnessing my stubbornness and pickiness: none of the churches I’d seen quite meshed with me, for one trivial reason or another.

Until today. I’m not going to rant about the differences – for they were hardly substantial – nor gush about the music, though I felt the combination of band and organ was well done. What really mattered, and what really captured me, was the spirit. For the first time in a while, I’d stepped into a church and felt the atmosphere crackling with faith, hope and joy. Three attributes I felt filling me, as well as my own reserves joining. Since I lost my cold, I’ve found my voice again and I relished the chorality of those hymns.

I listened and nodded to the call: it felt right. Now I actually feel more like ‘inside’ the church.

Today’s homily was about being patient in this last week up to Jesus’ birth. I pride (though I ought not to cherish such pride) myself on being more patient than most, but even my excitement cannot bow to patience…

I know I’ve always wanted to get to the good bits, and I want to rush, to jump headfirst into Catholicism, but Scripture is right. Enthusiasm is wonderful, but we must learn to temper our fires. At this time of the year, patience is key to not rushing the Christmas month and the Christmas message (I have been annoyed by the lack of proper Christmas cards in the shops near me). Yes, I desire many things, but one of the things I have been learning to do is to trust The Lord more and more. We have to wait for His approval.

We Should Go to Daily Mass

Miss Alexandrina:

Reblogged this short but thought-provoking post from Deus Nobiscum. “Mass is the most important thing on the face of the Earth.”

I’ve always admired those who set aside their other duties to go to Mass on a daily basis. Oddly, since I am not legally Catholic yet, I find God most when I am in Mass and experience the Divine mystery of faith there. I love the atmosphere a Mass gives – and those reasons are enough on their own to want to partake in it daily.

What about you? Is it enough to experience a service of faith once a week if such practise is reinforced by solitude and thought, or is daily Mass/service/gathering of theists an idea more people with a religion should consider?

Originally posted on Deus Nobiscum:

As I sit here waiting for Confession in a parish I haven’t been to in years, but frequented during my college days I wonder what has happened to my life. It’s not that my life is “bad” or that I’m an alcoholic or have burned all my bridges or something like that. In fact by western standards I’m doing well: single, able to pay my bills, eat, spend money on entertainment, and socialize when I want. But when it comes to my relationship with God I am tempted to think and speak about it in the past tense.

And I wonder how I got here. The answer is actually quite simple. Daily. Mass. The reality of the matter is this: Mass is the most important thing on the face of the earth. In the Mass, man and God come face to face. It is not just a ritual. It is…

View original 99 more words

As a Catholic I worship God.

Originally posted on 1catholicsalmon:

602374_474793239208458_1279442040_n

Two years ago I attended a Baptist service celebrating the Dedication of a friend’s baby to God. A  substantial service which consisted of a significant praise and worship segment, prayer, preaching and finally the dedication of little Noah. I was moved by the intense prayer for the baby during this part of the service. Four members of the church community (who seemed to have standing in the community) prayed over the baby. This was followed by tea and then a luncheon.

It was at the luncheon that  my daughter and I got chatting with a couple who were seated at our table. We discussed the service amongst other things and the conversation inevitably led to us discussing which church we belonged to. As soon as we said that we attend St. Joseph’s, an uncomfortable (albeit short) silence ensued and the conversation petered out after that.

On coming across the above poster…

View original 304 more words

‘Blessed are you for Believing.’

Miss Alexandrina:

The Year of Faith and Marian Day.

Originally posted on 1catholicsalmon:

As part of the Year of Faith, the theme of this year’s Marian Day is ‘Blessed are you for Believing.’ 

Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th as part of Marian Day celebrations that will involve the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The statue is normally kept in the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal but will be in Rome this weekend for the consecration which is one of the highlights of the ongoing Year of Faith.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She warned of violent trials in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She urged prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The  shrine at Fatima  where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

The shrine at Fatima where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

View original 178 more words

In Praise of RCIA

Originally posted on Transformed in Christ:

Courtesy of Johnragai

Courtesy of Johnragai

I’m noticing something really interesting in comments surrounding RCIA (on this blog and in other conversations). What I’m noticing is a big gap between the American and the British perspective. I’ll try to summarise this general trend (and be warned – ‘I’m-going-to-be-blunt’ alert – this is generalised):

In the UK, on the whole, I think we’ve had a bad experience of RCIA over the last few decades. Many faithful Catholics in this country rename it ‘Roman Catholics In Agony’ and associate it with watery doctrine, lectionary-based “catechesis”, faith-sharing therapy-style sessions, and lots of para-liturgical actions that don’t mean too much to the participants (or – probably – to God) and make you want to squirm.

OK. I hate all of this just as much as the next person. If it results in people giving up (I know some people who have attempted RCIA three times…

View original 526 more words

Loving Life

I’m afraid it’s simply a short, arbitrary post today, for various reasons – one being my Pitcharama pitch receiving FIVE requests – for which I am incredibly chuffed, but also pretty…well, frightened. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve jumped in at the wrong end of the pool, so to speak.

Anyway, I’m putting posting aside for a few days for this reason. I’m bringing forward the massive, summer edit of When the Clock Broke and frantically trying to invigorate my synopses ideas…

I can do this. I will do this.

Whilst, at the same time, I’m going out and spending the night at brilliant local clubs. C’est la vie.

What can I say? I have ideas – I fulfil them; I thrive on society – and so, I work my way further into it, even with the frantic anxiety disorder that surfaces when I step into a crowded place. I do survive, as weird as it may be.

Even so, I’m happy I’ve arrived. For, what do we have if not the experiences stored in our long-term memory, be it pictorially or through the magic of verbal memory. Even having studied memory, I find it a fascinating maze to maneuver. And maybe, one day, I’ll find my way out to something more perfect.

Yes, this is a post about being victorious and living life to the full everyday just because we can. In the last couple of years, I’ve learnt so much and been blessed with tremendous friends, that I’ve understood my purpose and the epistemic distance from God a little more. Through all trouble, I power on because I must – and when the respite comes, it is more glorious than before.

For that I am certainly blessed.

Picture by B. Self.

Picture by B. Self, July ’10

Anyway,

Alex out ;)

Quote: Ecclesiastes

garden4effect2

Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building…
(Ecclesiastes v.3)

I decided to weave this Bible quote into my post today because it’s one that I hear every year at our Leavers’ Mass – except this year, it’s my class that are leaving, and, as part of my Chaplaincy Prefect duties, I’m, for want of any other title, the Director of Liturgy.

Too, English weather continues to be a downer, though at least it means I’m missing nothing with my mornings inside revision books and my afternoons buzzing around my computer.

It may not be Spring yet, but it will come.