Catholic, life experience

Pieces of Sunday

Some churches have opened with specific rules, smaller groups, masks.  I have still not felt comfortable to make this journey.  Instead my Sundays looks a lot different.  I do not “honor the Sabbath,” I do chores and grocery shop and pull some weeds in the garden.  I intentionally find time in the Word, with Mother Mary, Jesus in podcasts and prayer.  I cling to my rosary beads with a new passion.  As a new-two year Catholic, I find the pandemic to be incredibly hard, relating to my faith.  I miss the social groups, in-person bible study (not a fan of Zoom/video chats), working in the physical church, praying Adoration on Tuesday, checking out books in the library.  It’s a new normal.  I am not adapting well!

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There will always be prayer that needs to be done, and that can be accomplished anywhere.  I am hopeful for the future, that our entire world can heal from this virus and can find the space and comfort in which to worship.  Me included.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
Catholic, life experience

Conversation and conversion

I like having a good conversation about why I became Catholic, it seems to be what people care about now days, and is the first topic we discuss when we haven’t seen each other for awhile.

What I dislike greatly is the morbid curiosity or judgment kind of conversation about my conversion.  Had one of those tonight at a pancake breakfast!  It was accusatory and put me on the defensive.  In the end I just said that it fed my spirit and let them push their nose up to the ceiling and sigh.  I did the latter and left the table.

Shared this theory with my SIL when we visited her last month, we agreed, it’s not like becoming Lutheran.  I mean – heck people don’t see that as admonishing.  Or Jewish; now I do have a friend that converted to Judaism and she’s functioning just fine and doesn’t seem to get hassled about her beliefs.  (Gypsy, I’m gonna need some feedback from you)!

Catholic is probably the most misunderstood religion on earth.  I should know, I had my high and mighty opinions too, when I was in RCIA (a class to learn more about Catholicism) I asked my many ignorant questions.  Why do you worship the Virgin Mary?  Why is she so important anyway?  What is purgatory all about (I still don’t buy that one)!  Why can’t priests marry?  The amazing thing is, all of my teachers were patient and gave me explanations that helped me understand.

I’m not an expert, trust me.  I attended mass tonight, my first Tuesday night service and felt like a 3 year old.  However, I was able to function and it was a lovely 1/2 hour. When you have conversation with people; whether it’s about lifestyle changes, religion, politics or child-raising, remember the other person is a human being and deserves the same respect you have for yourself.

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Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Catholic, life experience

Pieces of the World

I’ve traveled to Germany, Amsterdam, Canada, Mexico and a few Caribbean islands.  I was born and raised in the United States and at 54 this might seem like a small list.  I am not a world traveler by any means, but I am……becoming one!  We leave in a few days for Ireland and Scotland.

Many well-wishers/have traveled these places suggest visiting the many cathedrals and small churches along the way.  I am looking forward to this because I want to see how other people worship. Catholicism was brought to Ireland in the 5th Century by missionaries, one of the most famous being Saint Patrick.

I am traveling with an incredibly open heart.  I want to see Jesus in a new way; in the centuries-old buildings, the faces of the faithful.

What unusual places have you discovered Jesus?  Would love to read your comments!

Church-interior

St Brigid of Kildare

Catholic, holidays

Divine Mercy

Today the Catholic faith celebrates the Divine Mercy.  What is it?  I didn’t know until I stepped into church today (of course I’m only a week old Catholic, so don’t expect much from me, for awhile!!!)

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History of the Message and Devotion to Divine Mercy

The Message of the Divine Mercy that Sr. Faustina received from the Lord was not only directed toward her personal growth in faith but also toward the good of the people. With the command of our Lord to paint an image according to the pattern that Sr. Faustina had seen, came also a request to have this image venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel, and then throughout the world. The same is true with the revelations of the Chaplet. The Lord requested that this Chaplet be said not only by Sr. Faustina, but by others: “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet that I have given you.”

The same is true of the revelation of the Feast of Mercy. “The Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnly be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy.”

These requests of the Lord given to Sr. Faustina between 1931 and 1938 can be considered the beginning of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion in the new forms.

Through the efforts of Sr. Faustina’s spiritual directors, Fr. Michael Sopocko, and Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ, and others — including the Marians of the Immaculate Conception — this message began to spread throughout the world.

Further information

holidays

Lent Pieces

As a former Lutheran, Lent was never really a big deal.  I cringe to say that.  The church was decorated in lovely purple, there were palm fronds.  The children did an Easter pageant, adults did special readings.  We never gave anything up for Lent, I didn’t even know that was a thing until 15 years ago, when it was discussed at a spiritual retreat.

I’m not revising this blog to convert anyone to Catholicism, but I do have to say — this religion really takes apart the Word of God and applies to life.  You don’t HAVE TO give up meat, or give up anything at all.  But for me, after reading about Lent, what it is, why it’s lived, celebrated and taught; I learned that if something is coming between me and God – then that is what should be given up.

I have a list a mile long of what I should not only give up for Lent, but give up all together!  Don’t we all?  Make an effort.  Pray for sanity and endurance.

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life experience

Learning Pieces

For the past fifteen years I have been a spiritual seeker (and hope to continue).  I have attended a variety of churches, Unitarian Universalist taught me how to care for Mother Earth, how to make change with social justice and I met a minister there who challenged my beliefs (in a good way), by asking me to define what I believed and to shake out the old cobwebs of my childhood.  With the task, I created a “mission statement” of my beliefs.  It still involved Jesus and a Christian approach to my life, so “questioning everything” was no longer filling my spirit.

I moved onto Episcopalian, which became a church similar to my protestant upbringing.  But this church was also missing the other part of my life; my husband.  We all reach enlightenment in our own time, but a longtime prayer had been, that one day – we would walk the path together.

The pieces were all coming together.

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Through the many years of soul searching; I semi-regularly attended retreats, classes and an occasional mass; all at Catholic monasteries, retreat centers or churches.  The Catholic beliefs pulled at my heart, I always felt great peace in my spirit when I was in the presence of people from this religion.   It was a calm I had never experienced before.

I began Spiritual Direction late last summer.  I was evolving in more than spiritual ways, I was coming from full-circle from cancer.  I was shaking off the old and injured parts of my psyche, ready for new.   It was there in those gatherings of discussion, did I realize that I wanted what I had always experienced in monasteries and classes, I wanted to become Catholic.

Symbolism, rituals, peace of heart, calm spirit, the focus on prayer, the great love that Jesus has for me, the desire for something so much greater than myself.

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I now attend weekly RCIA classes to become an official Catholic.  It is a place to ask every question pertaining to the Catholic church, faith, “why do they A, B or C.”  I was ignorant in the parts of Catholicism I didn’t know.  There are still questions and I haven’t got the rosary down yet, but I’m a work in progress.

And now, I walk the path; separately and together, with my hubby.  It seems that this “faith thing” is now coming together!

#beblessed  #faithisnotareligion #wisdom

 

 

life experience

Pieces of Change

I have never considered myself a particular religion.  I was baptized and confirmed “Lutheran,” but haven’t attended a Lutheran church in 40 years! Spent four years with the Unitarian Universalist church, meeting amazing people who challenged my beliefs.  Met a new friend who invited me to her church; Episcopalian, new to me, but also similar to the Catholic churches that I had explored, including retreat for more than fifteen years.  Seems that maybe I was heading the way of Catholicism, but never felt the draw to convert and join.  UNTIL NOW.

I’m on a new journey; again.  Thank goodness that God honors and encourages the soul to seek.  At least, that’s what I believe.

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So once again I put my thinking cap and glasses on, looking toward a new future, one that saves my soul, captures my spirit, embraces my faith and brings me closer to home.  Amen.

Uncategorized

Hypocrisy

“No Religion” is the third largest religious group following Christians and Muslims.

The “unaffiliated category” covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.

Hypocrisy is keeping a lot of people away from the Christian church for a myriad of reasons.  I am in no way an expert and due to chemotherapy I have a terrible memory, having memorized scripture as a child, I cannot bring one to memory.  I’m not the person to have a conversation with regarding the history of Christianity, which IS one of the reasons many turn away.

But hypocrisy seems to be a big player in these decisions to not follow a particular faith.

Believing one thing, acting like or saying something different.  Or vice versa.

Part of my spiritual journey was learning whether or  not I could stand on the foundation of my faith.  Did I believe what I felt and said I believed?  It turns out I do, and I do.

Having been through ovarian cancer, a gigantic tumor removed and chemotherapy received; I feel I have been healed by faith.  I love this little sentence so much, I’m having it tattooed on my wrist.

Granted, there are a lot of reasons for not being involved in a church; but my advice to you — is keep going, trying new faiths, churches, go with a friend, etc.  I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran.  I’m now an Episcopalian with ties to the Catholic church and socialization with my UU’er friends (Unitarian Universalist).

For me, I need to be spiritually fed, believe in my spiritual leaders and advisers, feel I could bring ANY friend of mine to the church and learn more about the magnificence of God!

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Uncategorized

Holy Week

What does the word “Easter” mean and does it have the same significance as “The Resurrection”?

According to Merriam-Webster:  Easter is a feast that commemorates Christ’s resurrection and is observed with variations of date due to different calendars on the first Sunday after the paschal full moon.

I’ve answered my own question!  Still, I think the word “Easter” in the minds of many, means bunny rabbits and baskets filled with candy, patent leather shoes, white gloves, floral dresses, and a big meal after church.

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From Palm Sunday until a week later, there is much to be mindful of.  In a period of seven days, Jesus goes from being hero-like, a big parade complete with palm fronds, children waving and smiling — to Crucifixion, death, burial and then the big TA DA day; the big reveal you might say; roll the stone away and Jesus is gone.  He Has Risen!  Hallelujah!  But do we miss the “in-between”?

There is no exact way; it is what you believe and what is comfortable for you.  The following link is common throughout Catholic and Christian faiths.

How to observe Holy Week