Archive for July, 2014

It’s really funny talking to Catholics about confession. Everyone has an awkward confession story. I have two:

1) I went to confession during holy week and the priest was a visiting priest from somewhere in Central America and didn’t speak a lot of English. Not only did I not understand a word he said, but I did not understand my penance and he dismissed me without having me recite the Act of Contrition. I didn’t realize this until I left. Whether or not it counted as an actual confession I have not clue, but I should’ve gone back and tried again because it was, after all, holy week.

2) I went to confession with a priest I have never been too fond of, but he was the only one hearing confession at the time. Everything was going smoothly, I had already confessed the sins that really heavily weighed on my heart and was just getting to the little stuff. I confessed that I had lied and by lying, I meant little white lies that we shouldn’t tell but do to get out of stuff, and he leans towards me and tells me with the most straight face “You are going to get caught.” I was a little shocked and taken aback. But laugh about it now.

I tell these stories because I know how weird confession can be, but believe it or not, I actually enjoy confession. I haven’t always. It always felt so awkward and humiliating. My sins are between myself and God. I didn’t need some old priest to know what I did wrong too. But I grew to like it.

How? I realized that I love the feeling I get after I leave confession. The feeling of a weight literally being lifted off your shoulders and walking on air in perfect communion with God.  That idea of being sin free and no longer feel guilt about what I have done wrong is enough to get me to confession and get excited about it.

Priests are human, so not every experience in confession is going to be perfect. There are going to be awkward moments, but so long as we remember the reason why we are in confession and the joy of being forgiven by a God so beautiful and wonderful who wants to forgive our sins, it’s enough to forget the awkward moments.

Confession doesn’t have to be scary and awkward. It doesn’t have to be well thought out and poetic. I used to go to confession and I made a point o say the sin that really burned my heart last for dramatic effect. But I had someone suggest to me to say the worse sin first so that I won’t have to be distracted by it while in the confessional. I’m here to say it’s right. It’s easier to say what you are most guilty of then let it sit in your throat, then you can confess your other sins with sincerity and without your thoughts distracting you.

Confession is awesome and beautiful. No other church in the world has a practice that comes close to confession and the forgiveness of sins. So take advantage of it and receive His mercy because it is so worth it.

The Holy Spirit is easily the most complicated person of the Trinity. He is hard to understand because it is impossible for our tiny human minds to understand how vast and great he is. I think Christ is easy to understand because he is human. There is concrete proof that he was a real man who walked on earth. We can imagine Jesus easily with hair, ten toes and fingers, a nose. He ate and drank, he smiled and cried, he had a mother and friends. It is easier to understand and relate to him. God the Father is easier to understand because of what we know about him in the Old Testament and what Jesus preached about him in the Gospel.

It’s hard to wrap our head around who the Holy Spirit is, but he has such and incredible role in our lives. Nicholas Sparks has a quote that I’m going to kind of rework to help me explain who the Holy Spirit is. Sparks says, “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it.” This is such a beautiful image and it so perfectly how we can approach the Holy Spirit.

The wind has been a symbol for the Holy Spirit for centuries. There are some days where the wind is light and you can barely feel it when you step outside, but you know it’s there by the faint way it may rustle some leaves in the trees or by a flag flowing on a flag pole. Other days, it’s so strong and overpowering that it is blowing umbrellas, water, and even cars away. It can be harmless one moment, and absolutely terrifying and destructive the next.  I’ve had moments where I am outside and struggle to stay standing up when the wind starts blowing too fiercely.

Very similar to the wind, the Holy Spirit has moments where we can hardly feel him at all, then other moments he is so strong and overpowering in how he works in our lives, we can barely stand. It’s hard to know him. But faith is our eyes.

Even when we don’t feel the wind, we can see how the wind impacts the world around us. Similar to the Holy Spirit, we may not be able to see him work, but faith can be our eyes in seeing how he impacts the world around us, even when we feel nothing. Faith can give us hope in difficult times and help us identify that the changes and events that happen in our lives is by the workings of the Holy Spirit.

There are moments when we can hear the wind whistling in our ears, other times we can’t, but we still know it’s there by hearing the leaves rustle or the chain of the flag pole tapping the metal pole. Sometimes we hear the Holy Spirit in other people whether it be our youth ministers, friends, priests and religious. We can even hear him when we read scripture or when we read an article online or a book that has a powerful impact on us.

It’s hard to understand the Holy Spirit. We weren’t meant to completely understand him because there are somethings that God chooses to keep a mystery until we are united with him in Heaven. This explanation is in no way perfect, however it simplifies such a huge complicated aspect of the church a little bit.

Because this writer is suffering a severe case of writers block, yet tries really hard to write on Monday, she is going to take and easy route and make a list, because lists are easy to write and requires little effort. I’m running on about 4 hours of sleep here people, cut me some slack!

Any who, it’s summer and there is always the super fun question of what to read next, so I’ve compiled a list of really awesome books to read to get your spiritual life fired up. Enjoy!!

Mass
Do I have to Go? by Matthew Pinto and Chris Stefanick
The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
The Bible’s Best Love Stories by Alan F. Wright (I know this one seems out of place but trust me)

Books on Saints or By Saints
Total Surrender by Mother Teresa
A Man of Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati by Luciana Frassati
St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Fr. Godfrey Poage, C.P.
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisueux
The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
The Life of Teresa of Jesus by St. Teresa of Avila
Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert
Dating/Relationships/Theology of the Body
How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Crystalina Evert
Real Love by Mary Beth Bonacci
Man and Woman He Created Them by Pope Saint John Paul II
Anything by Matthew West

Mary
The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort
33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, M.I.C.
Wholy Mary by Chris Padgett
The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics by Raphael Brown

Scripture
The Navarre Bible Series
Ask the Bible Geek by Mark Hart
The Holy Bible by God the Holy Spirit

Discernment
The Meaning of Vocation by Pope Saint John Paul II
What Does God Want? by Fr. Michael Scanlon

Prayer
God Help Me by Jim Beckman
Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft

Apologetics
Truth Be Told by Mark Hart
Yes or No by Peter Kreeft
Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? by Matthew Pinto

 

There are so many other amazing books and topics that I know are missing. Please add the one that are missing in the comments and share the awesomeness of some of these books. So sorry this blogger is feeling a little drained today. And now I sleeeeeeeep 😛