Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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Happy Solemnity of Peter and Paul

In the Catholic Church calendar, today celebrates the Saints Peter and Paul, martyrs and evangelists of the faith. These two men are great role models of following God’s call even if it means stepping away from what one has come to know. It should be no surprise, then, that their feast is one I know well. On their day is when I have given my faith the greatest of overviews.

I realise I don’t share much of the hymns to which I listen, but YouTube is pale in comparison with witnessing the melodies first-hand and singing them. However, today’s psalm and gospel acclamation lyrics are too beautiful not to share, even in part:

From all my terrors, the Lord set me free. I will trust the Lord at all times, His praise always on my lips. In the Lord, my soul shall make its boast; the humble shall hear and be glad.

They’re very give-all lyrics. One must trust that God has set the right path for one to follow, even if the road ahead is not clear of issues and obstructions. Peter and Paul knew this well – and they eventually died rather than renouncing their faith. That’s amazing.

This year’s feast is particularly poignant for me, as it’s my first as a full Catholic consuming the host, since being confirmed at Pentecost after my conversion. We’ve come far, but we’ve still got a lifetime ahead to trust where understanding must fail.

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The Art of letting go

Alexandrina Brant:

We all know that letting go is a painful, cold-hearted kick to the gut. Here, Loretta Andrews considers letting go and God. The first few paragraphs especially rung true for me.

Originally posted on Loretta Andrews:

Is God a nice God?

Is ‘letting go’ a brave act of surrender or merely giving up?

They say the hardest choice you’ll ever face is whether to walk away or try harder, but what if someone else gives up before you.  Do you let them walk away? Or do we grab hold of their leg shamelessly losing all self-respect and let them drag us a long as they try to get away from us? Do we even have a choice?

I’m pretty sure there is an art to letting go.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have it! In fact I’m certain I’m absolutely rubbish at it!  It says a lot about me I guess.  I am fiercely loyal.  Ask any of my friends, they know full well and from experience, you mess with one of them I’d personally rip the face of the perpetrator if they wanted me to…

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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.


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Trust without wavering

Alexandrina Brant:

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…

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A Christmas Reflection

Alexandrina Brant:

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…

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‘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.


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We Should Go to Daily Mass

Alexandrina Brant:

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…

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