Archive for June, 2014

I have been looking to writing this post for over a month now and I am so excited about what I have to talk about. I just completed Father Michael Gaitley’s 33-Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration this past Saturday renewing my consecration to the Blessed Mother. I first consecrated myself almost a year ago on August 24, 2013 using St. Louis de Monfort’s Total Consecration, which was beautiful and required me to re-sight beautiful prayers that I have never heard before, however, it was difficult dive deep in prayer because my focus was on the complicated vocabulary and the constant repetitive nature of that retreat.

25348_WFather Gaitley came to Franciscan towards the end of first semester to promote his 33-Days to Morning Glory book and I had to cover it for the Troub. I hadn’t thought a lot about me consecration since. I bought a consecration chain (a chain worn around the wrist to serve as a reminder of the sins in which baptism and the consecration has freed us from) but I would only wear it every once in a while so I lacked a daily reminder.  Gaitley’s words captivated me as he discussed the beauty of a Marian Consecration and offered an easier and (in my humble opinion) better way to consecrate myself to the Blessed Mother.

When his book was on sale in Franciscan’s Bookstore, I decided to grab a copy and begin as soon as I got home from school. Both Gaitley and de Monfort suggest that you schedule the 33 days so it will end on a Marian Feast Day. I choose the feast of the Immaculate Heart because it was the soonest feast day. The consecration itself is four weeks plus 5 days of preparation and reviewing before the final consecration day. Each week is devoted to a particular Saint with a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. Gaitley reviews that Saints charisms and throws quite a bit of Mariology  (the theological study of Mary) in with the mix. So it’s different everyday versus the constant repetition of de Monfort’s consecration.

At the end of the 33 days, you say a long and beautiful prayer promising yourself to Mary and to Christ. Gaitley suggests you print your own copy of the consecration to sign and date on consecration day and every time you renew your consecration after that.

New Consecration Chain

New Consecration Chain

Consecration Prayer

Consecration Prayer

Despite completing a consecration before, I decided to start fresh with a greater understanding of the significance of a Marian consecration. So I printed and laminated my consecration prayer to hang in my room and I bought a new consecration chain from Home Depot that I liked more than my original and was more permanent so I wouldn’t be so tempted to take it off and avoid the daily reminder of my consecration. Consecration Round 2 (as I affectionately call it) was over all so much more fruitful than my first consecration. It was easier to understand and I felt much more enthusiastic at the start of the retreat than I did the first time because I was better educated concerning what a consecration to Mama Mary was.

So my dear readers, I have a challenge for you; Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Mother. If you are already consecrated, reconsecrate yourself. Do some research and get excited about preparing for consecration. Their are thousands of books devoted to this very thing and Gaitley’s version just so happened to be the way that worked for me. Their are plenty of consecrations written by St. Louis DeMonfort, St Maximilian Kolbe, Pope Saint John Paul II, and more.  Do some research and find a way that works for you whether it be by resiting prayers like DeMonfort’s consecrations, or  by reading about the Theology of Mary like in Gaitley’s version. Read the introductions to have a solid understanding of your commitment (one mistake I made the first round) and enjoy it because Mary is awesome. I’ll be praying for y’all in the meantime!

 

 

I don’t think a lot of people realize that what a huge role church plays in their lives. I’m not talking about THE church as a whole or about the old guys in Rome who seem to know a thing or two about God. I mean the actual structure of a church and the people alive. It drives me crazy when people say “I don’t need a building to worship God. I can worship him quite comfortably at home.” Okay yes, the second part of that statement is true, personal prayer at home with the Lord is so important, but there are some crucial things that a person is missing if they aren’t making a commitment to their church. So I have compiled a list of 4 easy things to do at church (aside from attending mass) in order to make the most of what the Lord has to offer through  your church:

A. Be a family member

It is so tempting to simply rush into mass with your children or your parents then pile back into the car and go home. Catholicism gets a bad rep when people say the church is outdated and full of old people. The church is actually very alive and active, except the people aren’t sticking around long enough after mass to be part of it. Get to know the people in your church. Stay for the donuts after morning mass and get to know that woman who sits behind you with the amazing vocal range. Shake hands with your priest and allow him to remember your name and face so he can pray for you and your intentions.

The Church was built because Christ brought together a group of extraordinary people and allowed his spirit to work through them to build the church we know today. Allow the same Spirit to work through your relationships with the folks in your church too and you could gain some truly amazing and godly companionships.

Their is a reason the priest uses the words “my brothers and sisters….” in the mass.

B. Be a Servant

Get involved in your church because they are always looking for extra helping hands. Individual churches always need help in their Religious Education and Youth Ministry departments because the children of the Church need people who they can look up to and aspire to be like, thus holding onto their faith into their adult lives.

Be a small group leader in the RCIA program, offer your public speaking skills to the church by reading in mass. Have a deep passion for the Eucharist? Hold the body and blood of Christ in your hands and give it to your brothers and sisters to share the great mystery of Communion.

C. Be a Witness

How have you encountered the Lord in your day to day life? One of my favorite things is listening to some one talk about how the Lord as impacted them in their lives and changed it for the better. I love it because I can hear the story and gain hope because if the Lord does that kind of work in that person’s life, what can/will he do in my own life?

Share your testemony and your encounter with Christ with those in your parish. You never know when you will help them find the glimmer of faith that the Lord has not abandoned them in their trials.

D. Be Understood

Show the members of your parish who you are so they can understand your passion and love for Christ and aspire to do the same. Be real with them and don’t pretend. It does not do anyone any good when you sugar coat when you are having a difficult time because your brothers and sisters in your parish can pray for you and for clarity of mind. Remember to remain humble and honest.

It’s okay to admit that you don’t have it all figured out because nobody does, not even the holiest of God’s creation do. Be unafraid to share how you are still working on yourself with God.

 

Since I got home from school, my sister and my mom have turned me onto house flipping shows on HGTV. What people do on these shows is take a house that is foreclosed that they bought in auctions for ridiculously low prices (without seeing the property before hand) in order to turn around and sell them for a profit. The problem is that most of the time, these houses are in really, really bad shape with tons of mold and termite damage, junk from previous owners, bad pluming and electric systems, poor support structures, and horrible 50s wallpaper that is a pain to take off.

HFORF111H_bare-kitchen-countertop-before_h_lg

Before

It’s amazing to see the transformation that these houses undergo.  There are always the infamous before and after pictures of the house. At the beginning of the show, people walk into the houses going “woah” with their noses wrinkled in disgust, then they work for weeks on fixing it up so people who are potential buyers walk in saying “woah” to beautiful home with their eyes wide with wonder.

HFORF111H_quartz-kitchen-countertop_h_lg

After: From HGTV’s Flip or Flop

Because I’m a nerdy writer who tries to see connections and metaphors to things as silly as a house flipping show, after getting hooked on the show, I had to pinpoint the exact reason why I enjoyed these shows so much. It wasn’t the flippers because most of the time, they are really obnoxious about the unexpected errors that occur in every episode. It wasn’t that they are only on late at night for me to watch instead of going to bed. It wasn’t the fact that they are HGTV shows because most of the shows really annoy me.

I loved the idea of a house being so broken and damaged, yet these people saw such amazing potential in them and decided to get their hands dirty to make it beautiful in ways I never would’ve thought or imagine. See the cheesy predictable connection?

Yes, this is yet another post about God’s incredible healing works and how he is a healer to those who seek him. I talk God as a healer so much because that is how much I believe in it. It is through healing that I had my first encounter with the Lord, and it is through continual healing that I continue to encounter him in different ways.

However, the difference between God and a flipper who works on these abandoned homes is that He is more than just a doctor who fixes us up and sends us back out to the world. He is a God who is a father, a king, a friend, a comforter, a counselor, a savior who is with us no matter what.

So what are the little things in you that are keeping you from being a beautiful home?

Is it the beams in you that are failing to support you because they are rotted with lies and deceit?

Is it the dead grass in the front lawn that isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs from reading scripture?

Is it the dining room that is filled with termite damage and mold because of neglecting to dine with Christ at Mass every Sunday?

Is it the broken roof that is allowing the sin and the damage into the house because it isn’t being strengthened by prayer and conversation with God??

No matter the damage, Christ is knocking on the door with a sledge hammer and hard hat with an entire army of angels and saints as his crew ready to knock down the walls and rebuild you into the beautiful home that you are meant to be.

The question is, are you ready and willing to let him in?

knock