Writer Victoria Grefer speaks about what Christmas means to her as a Catholic. Merry Christmas
Originally posted on Creative Writing with the Crimson League:
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’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.
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 not just a worship service. It is not just another thing we do as a loving act of God. It IS God becoming completely present to us. Body, Soul and Divinity. Everything that God is becomes present in the Eucharist: truth, love, mercy, justice, wrath, etc.
And for the vast majority of American Catholics there is no good reason not to attend Mass every single day. There is no good reason one can’t attend 6:45 am Mass or drive 20 miles to the nearest church. We may not be canonically obligated to, but we should attend Mass every day.
Originally posted on 1catholicsalmon:
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.
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.
Originally posted on Transformed in Christ:
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.
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.
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…
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.
(Adapted from a piece of classwork)
Oliver Jeffers’ book ‘Lost and Found’ depicts a little boy finding a penguin and setting about returning him to the South Pole. But is that what the penguin wants?
This raises the question of the meaning behind books – especially children’s pictures: is this penguin, with its symbolism of friendship and loneliness, simply imaginary?
To begin with, what does this mean? We know something as imaginary as not physically existing – one might argue that fairies are not real because we do not see them – in the context of the book, the boy may see the penguin, but other people in his world may not. (Of course, theists raise these questions of God Himself, that He exists without being seen.)
Thus, the penguin is an imaginary entity created by himself to satisfy the missing pieces of the boy.
If the penguin is simply imaginary, that is, in itself, one has to take a great leap of a priori faith to believe in the existence of something not verifiable by empirical evidence. The book suggests there is a penguin – how do we, ‘real-lifers’, use science and observation to prove that, outside of the boy, the penguin is in existence?
To us, the concept of penguin exists (and we apply this to the context of the book automatically); I, personally, would argue that this penguin is imaginary, but not simply imaginary. This penguin has a chance of existing – we see that via the picture-prose – but does so only in the boy’s mind in the context of the story. Elsewhere, for instance in a story about a zoo, the same penguin may well exist.
Certainly, whilst the statement is non-cognitive and doesn’t require proof to its being spoken, the statement is meaningful. I know what I have asked – both in the context of the real world (that is: this is a picture book with an imaginary boy and an imaginary penguin and an imaginary journey to the Pole, but I am aware of that, outside the temporality of this created world) and in the inner context of the imaginary world: that is, this physical boy may be conjuring up an imaginary penguin to serve his lonely aspirations.
Is the penguin imaginary? That depends on opinion and how far one is willing to extend into the realm of the fiction.