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"Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." – Luke 2:19 (RSV)

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blessed sacrament

These are a few of my favourite things

When I’m down, I like to think/do things that give me comfort/pleasure. Doing these things don’t help with my low mood but they do give me small measures of joy that I cling to until my mood ‘normalizes again.

So, these are a few of my favourite things (in no particular order, just off the top of my head)…
1. The Sound of Music
2. Dutch braid crowns
3. Ribbons in dutch braid crowns
4. A good Roman Catholic book
5. Gregorian chants
6. The Blessed Sacrament (in tabernacles, during Holy Mass, during Eucharistic adoration)
7. Latin (such a beautiful language)
8. Mantillas (chapel veils. esp the lace ones.)
9. Lots of cuddles and tender kisses
10. Praying the Rosary

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The Real Presence of our Blessed Lord

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Who, indeed, can humbly approach the fountain of sweetness and not carry away a little of it? Or who, standing before a blazing fire does not feel some of its heat? You are a fountain always filled with superabundance! You are a fire, ever burning, that never fails! 

Therefore, while I may not exhaust the fullness of the fountain or drink to satiety, yet will I put my lips to the mouth of this heavenly stream that from it I may receive at least some small drop to refresh my thirst and not wither away. And if I cannot as yet be all heavenly or as full of fire as the cherubim and seraphim, yet I will try to become more devout and prepare my heart so that I may gather some small spark of divine fire from the humble reception of this life-giving Sacrament.

Whatever is wanting in me, good Jesus, Savior most holy, do You in Your kindness and grace supply for me, You Who have been pleased to call all unto You, saying: “Come to Me all you that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.”

I, indeed, labor in the sweat of my brow. I am torn with sorrow of heart. I am laden with sin, troubled with temptations, enmeshed and oppressed by many evil passions, and there is none to help me, none to deliver and save me but You, my Lord God and Savior, to Whom I entrust myself and all I have, that You may protect me and lead me to eternal life. For the honor and glory of Your name receive me, You Who have prepared Your Body and Blood as food and drink for me. Grant, O Lord, my God and Savior, that by approaching Your Mysteries frequently, the zeal of my devotion may increase.

– Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Recently, I have been reflecting on what it means to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament either exposed or hidden in the tabernacle, and what it means to receive Holy Communion. As a Catholic, I believe that the consecrated hosts are literally our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This has really profound implications.

What this means is that our Blessed Lord is literally and physically present in every Church that has a tabernacle that contains consecrated hosts. What this means is that in Eucharistic Adoration, our Blessed Lord is literally and physically exposed to us just a few meters away from us. What this means is that when I receive Holy Communion, I am receiving through my mouth very literally the physical Body and Blood of our Blessed Lord along with His Soul and Divinity.

The more I think about the implications of this doctrine, the more I realise that we can never be too reverent in celebrating Holy Mass, we can never be too reverent in Eucharistic Adoration, we can never be too reverent in receiving Holy Communion, and we can never be too reverent when we step into a Catholic Church that has a tabernacle that contains the consecrated hosts.

All the genuflecting, kneeling, and veiling in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament are forms of showing reverence to our Blessed Lord. At this point then, I am not bothered by what people think about me veiling in the presence of our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament. Let people think what they want. Meanwhile, I will do everything that I can to show reverence to my Blessed Lord, King of the Universe, the One who Is.

Why I love the Extraordinary (Latin) form of the Mass

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I love the Latin Mass so much! It is surprising to me that I do because the whole Mass is in Latin and I don’t understand Latin at all. But this is precisely the reason why I love the Latin Mass.

Because I cannot understand the prayers that are being said during the Mass, I can say to Jesus “I want to pray what the priest prays”. And just like a child who is unable to speak, I can spend the Mass in silence uniting myself with the prayers of the priest and allowing Jesus and Mary to form my soul.

In the Latin Mass I am able to be more childlike than in the Ordinary (English) form of the Mass because I don’t understand the language! I just have to trust the priest, Jesus and Mary to lead me in prayer to a greater extent than if I did understand the words being said.

And because I can be more childlike, my soul is able to accept more readily and eagerly the graces that Jesus wants to pour out on souls especially during Holy Mass.

The Blessed Sacrament

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O Sacrament Most Holy,
O Sacrament Divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving
Be every moment Thine

Today I realised how much the physical presence of my loved ones makes a huge difference to me. I carry my loved ones with me even when they are not physically by my side, but just having them physically in the same room with me makes a world of a difference.

One of the benefits of unemployment on the part of my dear husband and I is that we rarely have to be physically apart. My husband only works outside of the home 2 days a week and nowadays I am home 7 days a week. Today was one of the days where my husband had to work outside home. I missed him so much when he was away, I only realised how much when we were physically together again. The longing that my heart felt is difficult to explain fully.

This longing felt by my heart is infinitely more for my Lord Jesus. I am so grateful therefore to have the great fortune of being a Catholic. In most Catholic Parishes there is a tabernacle that houses the consecrated hosts that is the Blessed Sacrament which is the Real Presence of my Lord Jesus.

Today I am so fortunate to live a mere 8 minute walk away from a Catholic Church that is unlocked during school hours on weekdays and Mass times on weekends. So today when my heart was troubled and my mind had great difficulty concentrating, my dear husband commanded me to talk a short walk. While I was preparing to do just that, I thought to myself, why not sit in front of the tabernacle today to pray and study until my husband finishes work in 2 hours? Why not sit in the physical presence of my Lord if I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do so? So I did.

I sat 3 meters away from the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of my Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe to pray and study; and I loved every minute of it. While I know that my Lord is always with me wherever I am, it made such a huge difference to me to be physically present with my Lord, my Beloved, and the One whom I am designed to love above all else.

Trust

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I have been thinking about why I feel stressed lately. I have always attributed the feelings of stress to the fear of not passing medical school (1st year finals are in 4 weeks). There is not much else in my life that I am stressed about, and for that I am grateful.

As I walk (30mins) to the trains station to catch the train to Uni & sit on the train, I have recently taken up praying the Rosary. When I arrive at the train station I usually pop into the Catholic Church next to it and sit in silence with the Blessed Sacrament. While doing all these things, I ask the Lord to form my soul in the way He sees best, like a Papa guiding his little child. I ask Our Lady (Mummy) and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (big sister) to pray for me. I relax (or try to) into their love and their guidance.

I didn’t know what to expect when I did this, all I knew was that the Lord will form my soul in His own time and with His ways. I did these things, entrusting myself to the Lord’s care and into the intercession of Our Lady and Saint Thérèse, with a childlike expectation that my trust and obedience will bear good fruit of some kind in the right time.

To my delight, the Lord has lovingly taken me in hand and has formed my soul, heart and mind. I now realise that I am not actually stressed or scared over failing medical school, I was fearful of not being able to carry out what God wanted me to do. I was afraid that I’d screw up what God wants me to do. This realisation was so radical because it’s the first time that I have thought about the stress in my life in this way.

While contemplating these things in front of the Blessed Sacrament, while praying the Rosary and in my heart as I went about my day, I realise that I can just relax. I can relax because as my loving Papa, God will not give me a task and then not guide me or provide me with what I need to carry it out. God’s help is always there for me and all I have to do is to have open hands to receive it. I can relax into the care of my Papa God and the loving intersession of my Mother and big sister. A child is carefree when she knows her every need will be provided lovingly by her parents. So too can I relax in God’s perfect love and be free to take delight in the simple pleasures that my Papa sends my way. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’ – 1 John 4:18 (RSV)

When I experience fear, it is because I don’t trust in the love of God. I don’t trust that I will receive everything I need to carry out the task that my Papa sends my way. I don’t trust that God’s plan is what will give me the most joy and peace. I want my own plan, not God’s plan. In where I am in my life, it is my attachment to passing 1st year of medical school the 1st time round that puts fear into my heart when I say to myself “What if God’s plan for me is to have to repeat 1st year?”.

The antidote to this fear is just trusting that God loves me so much that He will always nurture my Soul in the best possible way. And if that means having to repeat 1st year then I will (try to) gladly accept because it will lead to a greater joy than passing 1st year the first time round.

Living out Ephesians 5:22-33 (RSV) by trusting and submitting to my husband helps me to practice trusting and submitting to God. A post for another time perhaps.

It all comes down to trust.

Open hands do three very important things: they let go, they receive, and they give…

Like most people, I have a hard time doing any of these things very consistently or very well… my life seems to operate in cycles of accumulating disordered attachments and then releasing them at the behest of the Holy Spirit’s insistent, still small voice—then my disordered attachments clog up the pipes again and I have to do it all over. And it is always painful…

Perhaps the most pernicious bit about those attachments is that they actually keep me from recognizing and receiving the Love of God where it is offered—and in turn, I am inhibited from sharing that Love with others…

Let the Love of God peel your fingers open around whatever it is that is preventing you from receiving it. Let go, receive, and give. Live life with open hands…

– Audrey Assad, ‘Open Hands’

Links:

Contemplation

“Many times when things begin to occur in my life, which I don’t fully understand or accept, I tend to react with a spill of needless words, which only helps to create more anxiety in my life. But when I reflect on how Mary ‘pondered these things in her heart’ it helps me more readily give up the needless words and to spend time in the quiet presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.” –  Connie Beckman

This is me as well…

Source:

http://www.catholic365.com/article/6/mary-pondered-many-things-in-her-heart.html

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