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

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our lady

Vanity

St Elizabeth Ann Seton
St Elizabeth Ann Seton

During Mass today I really struggled with vanity. I usually do struggle with vanity but today was particularly difficult for me. I was so devastated that my vanity caused me to not be able to place my mind and heart before God during Mass. I felt sorrow because of this; like the sorrow of being too preoccupied with something else to really engage with my husband in conversation but amplified.

In a way, I am thankful that I had this experience today. It is a really sobering reminder that I can’t place my trust in myself, only in God; that without God, I have no virtues and all my merits come from God.

Our Lady Star of the Sea, pray for us.

Active, conscious and full participation

mysteries of the rosary.jpg

Today I read Peter Kwasniewski’s article ‘How the Traditional Latin Mass Fosters More Active Participation than the Ordinary Form‘. It is a really refreshing read and the best explanation on this topic that I’ve come across.

It is also a pretty wordy (but succinct) article so I made a little summary for myself:

The Extraordinary form of the Mass fosters more active, conscious and full participation than the Ordinary form.

Active/actual participation: The Extraordinary form of the Mass fosters more active participation than the Ordinary form because it, to a greater extent, fosters an environment of active receptivity where the mind and heart are more free to place themselves before God in prayer.

Conscious participation: The Extraordinary form of the Mass fosters more conscious participation than the Ordinary form because it, to a greater extent, is so obviously directed to the adoration of our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament that lukewarmness is not an option.

Full participation: The Extraordinary form of the Mass fosters a fuller participation than the Ordinary form because it, to a greater extent, throws the worshipers into the worship body and soul.

When I was constructing this summary, my thoughts also turned to how I can participate more actively, consciously and fully in my life.

Active participation: In order to foster a more active participation in life, I can strive to create an environment of active receptivity where my mind and heart are more free to place themselves before our Blessed Lord in prayer.

Conscious participation: In order to foster a more conscious participation in life, I can strive to direct my life to the adoration of our Blessed Lord in a way that makes lukewarmness not an option.

Full participation: In order to foster a fuller participation in life, I can strive to worship our Blessed Lord not only with my soul but with my body as well.

Our Lady Star of the Sea, pray for us.

Immersing myself in God

Mother Teresa prayer.jpg

I sense the urgent need for me to use my University holidays to immerse myself in God; to cast myself into Christ.

It feels urgent to me because once my semester starts again in 2 weeks, I will have to be on placement from 7am to 5pm, Monday to Friday for 18 weeks. This means that I won’t have the opportunity to go to weekday Mass anymore, I won’t have the privilege of visiting the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles Monday through Friday anymore.

I get the sense that the spiritual battle is about to get more intense when semester starts, when the stress hits and the time in front of the Blessed Sacrament decreases. So the seriousness and importance of preparing for this time of more vigorous battle is very much impressed upon me.

When I go back to school again I want to continue to pray always; to adore the Lord in my heart always, even when I don’t have free time on my hands. In order to do this I need to practice praying always now, when I have few obligations and duties.

I know that without God, I can do nothing good. I can’t place my trust in myself, so I place my trust in the Lord.

Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.

The culture war, the spiritual battle

Dear reader,

I don’t normally write for my readers. In fact, this is the first time that I am. I write this because we’re at war; we’re in the midst of a spiritual battle whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Will you fight with us (God, the Queen of Heaven, the Angels, the Saints, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the Souls here on Earth)?

Before today, I never thought much of the ‘spiritual battle’. I think little of the ‘culture war’. I thought of it as someone else’s concern.

A few days ago, I watched Dr. Peter Kreeft give a compelling presentation on ‘How to win the culture war’. While I enjoyed listening to what Dr. Kreeft had to say, I still did not think of the culture war as a very real thing, it felt abstract and something that is distant to me.

Today, however, I came across a set of photos that depicted Our Lady and Christ in the form of cute little kimmidolls. At this moment, I realised how real and close the spiritual battle really was. The evil one would have us believe that Christ and Christianity are cute playthings that are only for little children and to be grown out of. But nothing can be further from the truth!

Let us always remember to never treat Our Lady as a “soft, sugary, sweet, fragile, harmless object of devotion for little old ladies and little old men”. She is “God’s greatest and most formidable weapon against [Satan]. The new Eve who reverses the sin of the old Eve, and whose offspring crushed the head of the serpent [Satan]”.

Let us always remember that Christ’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity is truely and most literally present in all the tabernacles in the world and at every single Holy Mass that is celebrated.

Let us always remember that Christ is risen and reigns supreme with the Queen Mother always close by His side!

The battle is already won, which side will you choose? Be brave! Be bold! Be confident! Forward, into the breach!

I’ll ‘see’ you on the battlefield.

May the Divine assistence be always with you,

Kecil

The spiritual battle

mary jesus.jpg

The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.

Catechism of the Catholic Church #2729

I have been noticing that even during Holy Mass, the most powerful prayer available to us, I am distracted. Some days are better than other of course but distraction is usually present. I admit that I have fallen into the ‘trap’ of trying to hunt down these distractions with the intention of getting rid of them on my own. What I have discovered is that this never works. What does work is when I turn my heart back to the Lord and offer Him my heart to be purified. The more I pray, the more I realise that I can do nothing good on my own. Instead I have to rely on the Lord’s strength alone and forget myself on the journey towards sanctification.

How extremely necessary to me, O Lord, Your grace is to begin any good deed, to carry it on and bring it to completion! For without grace I can do nothing, but with its strength I can do all things in You…

Let me find grace in Your sight, I beg, Lord, for Your grace is enough for me, even though I obtain none of the things which nature desires. If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evils while Your grace is with me. This is my strength. This will give me counsel and help. This is more powerful than all my enemies and wiser than all the wise. This is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without grace, but dead wood, a useless branch, fit only to be cast away?

Let Your grace, therefore, go before me and follow me, O Lord, and make me always intent upon good works, through Jesus Christ, Your Son.

– Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Finding a hobby

st-augustine-of-hippo.jpg
St. Augustine of Hippo

You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.

– St. Augustine

For years I have been searching for a hobby that sticks around. Often I’d try something thinking that it would be my new hobby because it’s exciting in the beginning, but after a short while it dies off. The reason why it dies off is because it doesn’t satisfy my restless heart. I’ve tried so many things, reading fiction, writing fiction, knitting, playing the flute, colouring, drawing, cycling, running, sewing, etc.

Finally, I found something that sticks; because it satisfies my restless heart. I guess my hobby is to immerse myself in the rich tradition of the Catholic Church. I love reading the beautiful writings of the saints (my favourite so far is ‘a Story of a Soul’ by St. Therese of Lisieux). I love thinking about God and praying always by imitating Our Lady in pondering things of heaven in my heart. Most of all, I love going to daily Mass. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do this especially since I live a mere 8 Min walk away from my parish and am currently unemployed and on Uni holidays.

My heart is restless until it rests in God.

Praying constantly

eucharistic prayer mass.jpg

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (RSV)

This bible verse has long been on my mind. The question I was always unable to answer was, “how am I supposed to pray constantly with life going on?” Like most people, I have many (usually mundane) things to do during my day; lots of content to study, people to serve, chores to do, etc. My understanding of prayer was that I could only pray when I set aside the time to not do anything else but. Because of this I didn’t understand how someone would be able to pray constantly.

After reading ‘A Story of a Soul’ by St. Therese of Lisieux my understanding of what prayer is slowly began to change. I began to understand that to pray is to lift up my heart of the Lord. So in imitating Mother Mary as she kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19 (RSV), I can pray constantly.

Christmas Traditions

Mary of Nazareth
http://www.maryfilm.com/

Today as part of our family’s Christmas tradition, we watched ‘Mary of Narazeth’. I had seen this film before but today I watched it with new eyes because of the recent changes in my spiritual life. It was such a beautiful film (many tears were shed from both my Mum and I). What I loved most about this film is how Jesus and Mary are always gazing and glancing at each other with such tender love. This film reminded me again how powerful Mother Mary’s intercession is. Where we find Mary, we find Jesus, and where we find Jesus, we also find Mary.

mysticalrose
Mystical Rose – Original created in 1937 by Sr. Marie Pierre Semler, M.M. (1901 – 1993) (http://www.sistermariepierre.com/oil.htm)

Hail Mary.jpg

Steady

LYRICS:
I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night–raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

– Audrey Assad

While I was thinking about what to blog about today, I listened to the song that was playing on hubby’s spotify. It was ‘Good to me’ by Audrey Assad. This beautiful song really resounded with my heart so I think I’ll blog about this.

“I’ll steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness” Audrey sings. Steady is that I want to be. I want to be free to love my beloved (my God) with all my being. At the moment I can’t because I’m not there yet. But I entrust myself to my Lord Jesus to form and shape my soul so that I will be able to have this freedom. I entrust myself to Our Lady and St. Therese to pray for me in the meantime.

Sometimes I tell Jesus that I entrust myself to Him but yet I feel worried. So I ask Our Lady for help and she always reminds me that to be childlike is to ask for something and then immediately trust that my Father in Heaven will take care of it in His time and in the best possible way. I’ll practice this childlike confidence in my Father more 🙂

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