A Catholic Teen’s POV: Religious Sisters & Habits

I’ve been struggling to find topics to right about and also the time to write them, so I’m hoping this blog post will be somewhat interesting and detailed enough. Among the many drafts I’ve started, a few of them are related to the religious life. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have the most clearest idea of where this blog post is headed, but I’m sure it’ll be somewhat interesting anyways!

So, this morning I went to Mass and since our parish is the only one with Mass on Saturday mornings out of six parishes in our city, there’s typically a large crowd reaching almost 150 people. As I was looking around (yes, I get distracted…a lot) I noticed there were three different women religious orders being represented. There was a young Nashville Dominican, four sisters in a blue habit and white veil (I still haven’t figured out their order, but our pastor calls them the “blue sisters”), and several sisters belonging to the Rochester Franciscans. While I was observing these women, I gleefully noticed that the ones in habits were probably half the age of the ones without habits.

Now, to explain why that’s significant to me. For those that do not know, I have been thinking about the religious life since about second grade. After writing about that in an essay, my teacher made me pen-pals with a friend of hers– a Nashville Dominican. This Nashville Dominican’s parents are at the same parish as I am, so every summer I’m able to talk with her while she’s home on a home visit. She was and still is such a vibrant part of my discernment. When I grew a little older, there were several years in which I did not want to take part in any discussion about the religious life. My extended family always liked talking about the religious life and would encourage my cousins and I to discern the religious life or holy orders (for men). So through all that discussion, I did not want to hear them constantly talking about the religious life, and tried to get rid of any thoughts of the religious life.

But, I really couldn’t. I started going to immersion retreats at Mater Redemptoris House of Formation in LaCrosse hosted by Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. For multiple years, I went to the retreats, and every year I left with my heart being a little more open to the religious life. And I do have to say, I admire the FSGM sisters a lot, and think they’re really really awesome.

So now, going back to a more general topic! All the schools I’ve attended have all been influenced by the Rochester Franciscans. As I was recently reflecting on which Sisters had impacted my discernment the most, I realized that I had never once thought about becoming a Rochester Franciscan. Many say that the habit does not make a religious sister, and I would agree…but it is the habit that can be a subtle sign of Christ and His love in the world. Also, I’ve honestly understood why someone wouldn’t want to wear a full habit. I mean, you’re basically proclaiming to the world that you’re married to Christ!! But even if it relates to humility or that’s a reason, there’s something about a religious sister in a habit that makes people revert their thoughts to God, even if just for a small fraction of a second.

On the retreat that I go to with about 10-15 other girls in the summer, one thing we all were looking for in a religious order was that they wore a full habit. As we searched through bins of religious orders, we focused our gaze on those with full habits. In this time and age, it’s harder to outwardly show that you love your faith without the fear of being persecuted. I mean, just a few weeks ago, someone related to me that I could be seen as intimidating to others since I talk about Catholicism and our faith too much. Although at first I thought that made perfect sense, I then realized it didn’t. Why should I be afraid to express my faith? After all, should I deny the wonderful Lord just because I wish to be accepted by everyone? No, because God deserves the best from us and the best does not include being afraid of expressing our faith.

Back to the topic of religious habits, I’ve heard people talk about how LCWR orders are receiving the same amount of vocations as CMSWR orders. But if you take into account that LCWR accounts for about 80% of religious sisters, then the numbers going into each CMSWR order would definitely be higher than those entering LCWR order. There’s got to be a reason why right? One thing for sure, is that the youth of today yearn for the truth. Our world is so filled with lies and innuendos about what happiness really is. It isn’t the material possessions or lustful relationships. That’s why those that realize those things bring about nothing but temporary happiness, try to find the Truth.

So what should anyone take from this entire blog post, mini rant (maybe?) of mine? It’s that young women and girls are thinking of the religious life. But to prevent these people from seeing more “traditional” sisters in their full habits, is something that should never occur. Most people appreciate the full habit because it is such a beautiful sign of a bride of Christ! Also, I don’t mean to be negative of any sort, but to share my experience and perspectives on this. Of course, not all religious sisters in one order or another may share the exact same views.

Also, it was another glimpse at my life and my ongoing discernment process. I would really appreciate all your prayers, and please let me know if I can pray for you! I found out this morning that the parochial vicar at my parish passed away, so prayers would be very helpful once again.

 

Vote for Hanoi Vietnamese Catholics!

Recently, on Vietnam’s Got Talent, a group of young Vietnamese Catholics from Hanoi participated in Vietnam’s Got Talent. This is incredible that they’ve made it to the semi-finals! Vietnam is typically known as a country mostly atheist and communist, but there are still very many Catholics strong in their faith.

Here are some of their videos:
Their first audition when they received a gold X: 

Their semi-final performance: 

One thing I especially found moving was their semi-final performance. It was performed the day before the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. I myself am a Vietnamese Catholic, and my parents became refugees in America to have religious freedom. Over the summer at Marian Days, I also listened to a beautiful talk about the strong Marian devotion that Vietnamese Catholics have. I really do encourage you all to vote for these young people who are so courageously living out their faith in a country where it’s difficult. Many have been persecuted for their Catholic faith, so this is definitely a beautiful way they’re evangelizing about Catholicism.

With this opportunity, let’s vote for these young Hanoi Vietnamese Catholics and their choir! Even though you might not live in Vietnam, you can still vote for them. Here’s how:

Type in or click: google.com.vn

Next, type in the search bar or copy and paste: “Tim Kiem Tai Nang”

You should then be able to see:

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The Hanoi Catholic Youth Choir should be the picture with the most people or “Dan Hop Xuong Cong Giao Tre Ha Noi”

Just click on their image and raise the bar to three votes.

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Press Continue.

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Now, do not forget to press “Submit votes!” This is extremely important!

After you’ve pressed “submit votes,” this following screen should appear:

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And there! You’ve voted, and I want to thank you for doing so. I really hope that we can show how beautiful Catholicism is throughout the world!

~VibrantCatholic

A Catholic Teen’s POV: Being a Catholic at a Catholic School

You’d assume this would be easy. “You’re a Catholic at a Catholic school, what’s so difficult about that?!” But my answer to you would be, it’s actually very difficult. Before you wonder how knowledgeable I am about this topic, let me tell you that I’ve been attending a Catholic school ever since Kindergarten…So, yes. I do know what being a Catholic at a Catholic school is like.

There are definitely positive aspects of going to a Catholic school as a Catholic; Mass is offered once a week or a couple of weeks, theology classes, freedom to openly pray, and the list goes on and on for awhile. But, it’s not always positive being a Catholic at a Catholic school. The majority of teenagers that I know at my school have grown to the point where they simply don’t understand Church teaching, and are living in a state of “I’m Catholic, but…”

Just yesterday I witnessed classmates criticizing how the school would not let a same gender couple be in the Grand March if that happened. I heard the very popular, “It’s 2016 now! I don’t understand, they (the Church) need to change.” If you know me somewhat well, you’ll realize that I didn’t leave that alone. Afterwards, I remarked on how the Catholic Church does not need to “change with the times,” as if two thousand years doesn’t testify to the fact the Church does not need to get with the times.

So, what exactly am I trying to pull out from that experience? At my specific Catholic high schools, and possibly others, are either not doing a good job of catechizing the students or there’s something wrong with the students themselves and their faith. But no, the second option would totally make sense simply if many are not able to be catechized well in their Catholic schools. From my own experiences, kneeling during the Consecration might obtain reactions entirely negative, even from the campus minister, too!

I’ve tried to speak to those in charge of campus ministry at my school, and they simply do not listen! All I’ve been hearing is “trust me, I have a lot of experience in liturgy.” But does experience equal correctness? It’s as if I played a piano piece for ten years, but always played it incorrectly. Over time, motor memory would prevent me from correcting the mistake or even realizing I made the mistake. To take in the perspective of the students that you’re serving in your ministry is something that should be the highest in your list of things to do. Disregarding students’ opinions or questions is simply another form of pride, one of the seven deadly sins!

Whenever I speak out in defense of the Catholic Church at my school, half of the time I get eye rolls or sarcastic remarks. No, I am not trying to be “holier than thou,” but because I invest the majority of my time into learning my faith and trying to live it out, I can’t help myself defending the faith when I see it attacked by other students at my Catholic school. From my experiences with other classmates, there’s only about ten to twenty percent of students who are actually invested in their faith to the fullest, although there are others who are somewhat interested, but simply are afraid to do so because of peer opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, my school joins together for the Mass once or twice a month as one school community. There tends to be a lack of reverence at these Masses, and although I’ve brought up these concerns, no one seems to care. Although there is a morning mass before school, there’s about 3 or 4 students that go every time, including me. Since the chapel has windows all around, it’s easy to make judgement about those on the inside. Other people probably label me as a judgmental, traditional, and close-minded Catholic obsessed girl…but, I don’t care about their opinions necessarily. The one opinion that I spend my life worrying about is God’s. That’s why I follow God’s moral laws, not the laws or social norms of the world.

There’s a chapel located in my school as mentioned before. Some students take some time to go in there to pray, while others on the other hand do not. I’ve walked by the chapel seeing couples go in there just to talk with one another or go on their devices. But…they don’t pray. One of my best friends and her boyfriend go in there to pray, and I’m thankful for their beautiful witness to the faith! That’s not the only thing, everyone passes by the chapel every day when the whole school gathers together. Students walk past and across the chapel with no sign of recognizing the Blessed Sacrament is indeed present in the tabernacle located in the chapel. I’ve recently began to bow my head every time I pass, or genuflect if there isn’t a lot of people walking down the hallway.

This might just be a first part since this problem cannot simply be explored in one blog post that I write. Being a Catholic in a Catholic setting today is something that is quite difficult depending on the environment. I’ve been a Catholic school student for twelve years, but not all of those years have been easy since I’ve had to dealt with negative reactions and commentary from those who are supposed to lead me in my faith, not disagree with me when I ask for more reverence, or when I try to promote vocations (maybe another blog post for later)!

And I’m definitely not saying this is something that all Catholic students go through at their Catholic high school. These were just thoughts from my own personal experience of being at a Catholic school who typically focuses on sports and fine arts more than the faith of their students. Also, these were from the perspective of someone who is not as quiet when expressing their faith compared to those who are more subtle about their faith.

A Catholic Teen’s POV: Discernment/Vocations

Discernment…I’m mostly going to focus on discerning your vocation in life.

Once, a very wise seminarian told me, “You’re never too young or too old to start discerning.” And I think that’s something that everyone should keep in mind. Even if you’re only in middle school or already have a stable job, it’s never the wrong time to listen to what God really has planned for you.

I think it’s extremely important for people to understand the process of discernment and meaning of their vocations. Often times, when the word vocation is mentioned, only religious life is thought of. But, that’s not true since vocations includes all states of life; married, consecrated single life, holy orders/religious life.

Discerning a vocation is something I think everyone should spend some time in their life doing. To be honest, I was scared at first of discerning my vocation. What if it’s not what I want it to be? That’s the biggest question I had for a number of years, but through the past year I realized something. True happiness and joy doesn’t come from doing what I want, but it comes from doing the Lord’s will in whatever he wishes for my life. Even if I become what I want, but without considering the Lord, I’ll never be truly happy.

After I got through the stage of fear, it came to the point where I had to consider how much I trusted the Lord. For my confirmation saint, I chose St. Faustina. One of the most important sayings from her is “Jesus, I trust in you!” Taking from that statement, I devoted myself to put less trust in worldly things and trust more and more in the Lord and his incredible plan for my life.

One thing I think is crucial in remembering while thinking about discernment/vocations, is that all these things are revealed through God’s time. There’s a purpose to everything, even if we can’t tell what it is. Discerning our vocation is one of those things that takes time and trust, we can’t expect to get answers quickly. Sometimes the answer might be something we didn’t expect, but it’s the right one.

Some tips I’ve been learning as I’m still figuring out my vocation:

  • Find a spiritual director (most likely a priest, religious sister would be best. But, there’s also great lay people that can really help your spiritual journey)
  • Prayer and trust…always!
  • Adoration and speaking with the Lord can really help you develop communication with the Lord.
  • Mass and the Sacraments are other great ways to develop a better relationship with the Lord.
  • Talk to people! (Discerning the priesthood? Talk to the vocations director of your diocese! Discerning the married life? Talk to possible future spouses that will bring your closer to Christ!)

Well, that’s all I have for today. If you have any other thoughts on this, please let me know in the comments, or contact me! 🙂

Just know I’ll be praying for your discernment and vocations as well! Please pray for me also, since I’m still unsure of my vocation.

Have a wonderful day, and possibly just say, “Jesus, I trust in you!” And really mean it.

 

Thoughts on BuzzFeed & Call to Action

Ahh, Buzzfeed. The various videos that cause controversial videos, or just help your procrastinate. But, not today. The video I recently saw from them was more offensive and misleading than anything else. What’s this video, you ask? It’s “I Was Sexually Abused By The Catholic Church.

Now, my thoughts on this video:

First off, wow. Nothing like a liberal video focused on viewing the Catholic Church and Christianity in a negative light. Something that needs to be understood is that the man and woman in the video speaking about their sexual assault experience was not by the Catholic Church. It was by humans that lacked self-control, and couldn’t control their desires or trusts. Human beings that belong to the Church, do make up the Catholic Church, but they are not the Catholic Church. It was the human beings that sinned, and not the Church instituted by Christ.

This may not sound the best, but I think Buzzfeed and others need to be reminded of something. Sexual assault and abuse does not just happen in the Catholic Church, it also happens in families, schools (public or private), etc. To make this video specified only on the Catholic Church is simply wrong.

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As I was scrolling through the comments, there were a few things I read and wanted to address. One of the things I saw multiple times was about celibacy.

Priestly celibacy is something that people misunderstand a lot when thinking about the priesthood in the Latin Rite. I saw some people who were saying that priests shouldn’t be forced to be celibate. But, let’s delve deeper into why priests are celibate. Being celibate is obviously a huge part of a Roman Catholic priest’s life. It is most likely that all men entering the seminary to become a Roman Catholic priest clearly understands he will remain celibate for the rest of his life. So, to say that Roman Catholic priests are forced to remain celibate seems a little misleading.

As Fatherfan wrote in a brother blog,

“…our priests are central to the life of the Church!”

I entirely agree with this statement he made! The Church needs priests, and to say they’re unnecessary is completely depriving us of receiving the sacraments which are “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ, by which divine life is ‘dispensed’ to us.” (CCC #1131) And in order to receive those sacraments, we need our priests.

These days, it is easy for people to choose to insult the Catholic Church because of the recent scandals that have arisen. The worldly part of Catholic Church has made mistakes in the past, but it was those in the Catholic Church that have made those mistakes, not the sacramental sense of the Catholic Church.

It is hard for Catholics to hear of such scandals, and to still remain firm in their faith while defending the Catholic Church. It is crucial for Catholics to strengthen our faith step by step every day in order to be “firm as a rock” when the time is needed for us to defend our faith courageously.

So please, spend time to pray and defend our Church. And remember the words of Jesus,

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” -Matthew 16: 18

CALL TO ACTION: I call on all Catholics, to defend the Faith, especially on the internet. Be willing to become a martyr on the internet! All for the greater glory of God!

A Catholic Teen’s POV: “Appealing to the young people”

(Part 1?)

This phrase is thrown out quite often when spoken by those who believe that “praise and worship” or “glory and praise,” along with interesting and fun things are needed to interest young people about their faith. But, honestly, this is a phrase I tend to dislike.Why is there such a need to “appeal to the young people” about the Catholic faith? In some common circumstances, this leads to watering down of our prime Catholic beliefs.

Honestly, it would incredibly prudent to ask young people themselves what they want. But, if that might be difficult…here’s a few things that would appeal to me as a young person of the Catholic Church. For some, it may or not be surprising to comprehend the things I’m about to list. Maybe you’re agreeing with my thoughts, or maybe you’re vehemently shaking your head. I don’t entirely know.

Gregorian Chant and the Pipe Organ. Yes, young Catholic people actually like these two things very much. (I myself play the pipe organ, so I especially appreciate it). The pipe organ is the “king of instruments!” It seems like other Protestant denominations put more emphasis on the pipe organ than Catholics sometimes. Some might consider Gregorian chant to be boring or too slow for millennials, but honestly, if millennials wanted upbeat music, they might just easily turn on the radio to the nearest pop music station. Many do really think Gregorian Chant is great! The reason? Because it’s beautiful, the immense history and depth of Gregorian Chant is something young people appreciate. In the world today with the busy noise and beats, when someone hears Gregorian chant, it’s possible that they stop a little and take time to think or pray. Just because something may be old in the number of years it’s been around, it doesn’t mean that it’s worse. The Catholic Church has a rich and meaningful heritage, and some of those things include Gregorian Chant and the Pipe Organ. And just a gently reminder that in the Vatican II Ecumenical Council document, “Musicam Sacram,” it is stated:

“Gregorian chant, as proper to the Roman liturgy, should be given pride of place, other things being equal.” (50. a)

“The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lift up men’s minds to God and higher things.” (62)

Mass. Yes, young Catholics like going to Mass. The more reverent, the better. But, of course there are those that are simply bored whether they’re at a Mass with guitars or a Mass with a magnificent choir singing Gregorian Chant. It is more likely for them to find the Mass with Gregorian Chant more fascinating though, simply because it truly takes them closer to the deep beauty of our faith. Please don’t make Mass more focused on community than God. If the Mass is made into a performance or community event, it will be harder for teenagers to understand why they’re even there. Performance? They’d rather be at their favorite artists’ concert. Community event? They’ll prefer hanging out with their friends.

The more reverence those leading the congregation portray and expect, the congregation (even the youth!) will reflect the reverence expected. If the expectations are low, it’s easy to lower those expectations and not receive wanted results. But, I’m pleading all those in charge of liturgy, music, priests, and others trying to engage the youth during the Mass. Let us experience the Mass! Face the correct way (cough cough ad orientem), create a reverent moment through music, and most importantly is to direct our focus during the Mass to Jesus and His sacrifice, not about the people next to you.

Truth. Honestly, please tell us things about the faith truthfully and straightforward. We don’t prefer hearing sugar-coated versions of dogma. We’re all striving for the truth, especially young people who are at a stage of their lives when we hope for authenticity. Sometimes it seems hard to be blunt about something, but it’s better to clearly explain than to glaze over the topic. Yes, it may not sound pleasing to the ears, but that’s not what is important. Truth is important. Two thousand years of Scripture and Tradition shouldn’t be watered down and made to sound less “offensive.”

Value our opinions. I do know many that value the youth opinions, but at the same time, there seems to be some adults who only value certain opinions; those that agree with them. Most of the people that try to appeal to young people are obviously not millennials. Simply put, find out what it is that young people want, not just your own perception on what it is. Please! Just because something is fun or in with the times doesn’t automatically make it attractive to the young generation!! If we looked at a reverent person versus someone shaking their head back and forth, “having fun,” we would easily get bored looking at the second person, but there will continue to be something attractive and appealing about the person being reverent.

Prayer and Adoration. And Silence. There’s the common notion that young people need to be doing something every minute to stay engaged. That’s not true at all, it’s imperative that young people and adults have quiet time to pray. It’s a lot harder to pray and think when there’s background noise, it can become a lot easier during silence or adoration. Although, the mind can tend to wander, it would be wiser to let young people experience the silence that can help them listen to the voice of God.

This honestly feels like a “Part 1” of something. So, that’s it for today, please please please take this message into account!! I’m not only speaking for myself, but there are many other millennials who will think the same, too.

(Also, if anyone would like to correct my citations from the document, please let me know!)

A Short Reflection on Unborn Children

Whenever people ask me how many siblings, I usually respond with, “I’m an only child.” But, truthfully, that isn’t true. I stumbled across an article by a woman that opened my eyes up to something new. The article was about a sibling that a woman had not acknowledged before, since he died because of miscarriage.

Thinking about this topic of miscarriage made me shed tears today, because my parents had gone through one and various struggles. It wasn’t until nine years of their marriage that I was born. I sometimes wish I had an older sibling or younger sibling I could talk to and spend time with. The reason I mostly got really close with my cousins, was because I was longing for a sibling. But, maybe my older sibling was yearning to be recognized by me, and I had not thought of them.

Just a few days ago when I was starting the post, I cried as I thought about this sibling that I had. I felt like a horrible person…I am pro-life, and fully understand that the unborn are human beings, yet I failed to understand that in the most personal way. I’m truly sorry to my older sibling, for being ungrateful and thoughtful. My older brother or sister was someone that I never considered a true sibling before, but this new revelation proved I was wrong in my thinking. I couldn’t be pro-life, and not acknowledge my older sibling to be a human being, because the unborn definitely are human beings.

Then, it struck me, those that are unborn are definitely human beings. Not that I didn’t believe this before, but it suddenly resonated deeply with me. There would be no reason why I would cry over “a clump of cells,” I was crying over a human being. Why would anyone cry for a “clump of cells?” It’s not logical. But, to cry over a human being’s death is something most would cry over personally. To simply state that an unborn child isn’t a human being is entirely false, they are.

It’s now more clear to me that unborn children no matter their stages of development, are human beings fully deserving of respect and love. As the woman stated in post, the next time someone asks me about my siblings, my response most likely won’t be, “I’m an only child,” but instead, it’ll be, “I have an older sibling in heaven.”

 

Music-List Mondays: Anthem

Music-List Mondays: Where VibrantCatholic chooses a song and talks about it.

Song of the week: Anthem by Tom Conry

Listen to it here: Link (although it’s not the full version, it gives you an idea of how it goes)

We are wonderful, we can be weak, but we are created beautifully by God. We are so splendid in many ways, we are each unique, and made in God’s image. We all have a vocation, and we need to discern it.

Okay…did you see that up there. That was me trying to write as many “we’s” as I could. It reminds me of a certain song, and that song is Anthem.

Let’s first look at the refrain:

“We are called, we are chosen, We are Christ for one another,
we are promised to tomorrow, while we are for him today.
We are sign, we are wonder, We are sower, we are seed,
We are harvest, we are hunger. We are question, we are creed.”

There’s an abundance of the word “we” in the refrain. Thinking about this song during a Mass, it would seem that everyone is just singing to another person. Seems like a song used to empower a group to be closely bonded on their mission. But, wait, isn’t our mission as Catholics more than just becoming a community? Aren’t we essentially forgetting the reason as to why we would be at Mass together?

More than half of the refrain deals with us, the things we are, and what we will be. I don’t necessarily understand the meaning of the entire refrain, since how are we question and creed? That’s the one that really stumps me. Although, the refrain seems to bring about a sense of unity, especially trying to state that we are called to be a multitude of things, it doesn’t seem to bring about a good strong message.

Now, the first verse:

Then where can we stand justified? In what can we believe?
In no one else but Christ who suffered, nothing more than Christ who rose.
Who was justice for the poor, Who was rage against the night,
Who was hope for peaceful people, Who was light.

It seems to say that we should only believe in the suffering and Resurrection of Christ, and other aspects of his life. How about other key factors of the Catholic faith, such as Scripture or Tradition? Also, the “no one else” seems to state we shouldn’t believe in anyone else, but Christ. How about the Trinity? This verse raises questions, but does not give the listener a fulfilling answer at all. It does glorify Christ, but it is in a past sense. Christ is “justice for the poor”, He is “rage against the night. He is “hope for peaceful people, and He is light. Not was, but is. 

Second verse:

Then how are we to stand at all, this world of bended knee?
In nothing more than barren shadows, No one else but Christ could save us.
Who was justice for the poor, Who was rage against the night night,
Who was hope for peaceful people, Who was light.

“This world of bended knee.” Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with humility or humility. And I think that’s what this line is saying. We can’t stand if we’re humble or modest? If we’re being reverent, and kneeling or genuflecting? “In nothing more than barren shadows,” is it all just an act that has no meaning. Of course not! There are reasons why do we do certain actions!

Take a look at James 2:14, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” and James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” With that being said, we need works! Not just plain faith. We hope to earn salvation by both our works and faith. The second verse seems to say we don’t need acts of reverence or humbleness, we just need to have faith, no works or anything.

Finally, the third verse.

Then shall we not stand empty at the altar of our dreams?
When Christ promised us ourselves, Who mark time against tomorrow,
Who are justice for the poor, Who are rage against the night,
Who are hope for peaceful people, Who are light.

So I’m still confused on this verse. I hardly have any idea what it means. Let me try to sort my thoughts…What exactly is the altar of our dreams? Is it a physical destination, maybe a point in our spiritual life? Could it be heaven? The wording is confusing and not specific at all to the meaning. The second line is no less confusing. Is it about us having free will? The second part is just terrible grammar, honestly. While the second half of the verse is now in present tense, shouldn’t it be “is” instead of “are?” The “are’s” remind me of pirates…

Honestly, if anyone has any idea of what this verse was supposed to mean, please let me know. I’d really appreciate it!

Overall, I don’t like this song. Not only for its lyrics, but also because of the way it musically sounds. It doesn’t sound like a song that should be sung at Mass when we are partaking in such a breath-taking sacrifice, and receiving the Holy Eucharist.

Thoughts? Please let me know.

 

Silence Before Mass

Silence. Just that word is intriguing, there’s something different that each person thinks of when they hear that word.

This morning at my school Mass, I was sitting on the risers for the choir watching as classmates, upperclassman, and underclassman all walked into the auditorium. I noticed something…silence and reverence were not there. People came in talking to their friends, maybe about the class before, or the test afterwards. It might’ve even been something completely unrelated to school or the Mass. Even those in the choir were talking among themselves.

I sat there, realizing something I hadn’t before. These people and myself had walked into the auditorium numerous times, with no preparation of our soul for the Mass. It’s recommended to have silence before Mass, but there was none of it. It only quieted down when the cantor welcomed everyone and said the song number.

Something was pulling on my heart, I was apologetic to Jesus. How disappointing it must be for him to see the people He died for not appreciating His sacrifice! It was my determination to spend the rest of the mass in reverence. If the others disregarded the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist during the celebration of the Mass, I wanted to at least be reverent myself.

I found it curious that no one had ever mentioned to stop talking before Mass. Shouldn’t we know the tremendous opportunity that we are able to partake in? Many other Catholics in different countries have to celebrate Mass in secret, but it seems that we’ve disregarded the meaning of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection.

“Mass is so boring,” we’ve probably heard it at some point. I think the problem does not lie within the mass, but the person’s understanding and faith of the mass. If a person truly comprehends the sacredness of the mass as bridging us between heaven and earth, I doubt they’d be speaking about their crush just minutes before Mass began.

Silence gives us the opportunity to listen to God’s voice, our lives are already too filled with constant noise. We need silence in our lives, there’s no doubt of that. So, can’t we spare a few minutes before mass to remain silent and prepare ourselves for the Mass?

I’d just like to end this post with a few quotes/bible verse:

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

“We are realizing more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence.”  [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 209] (Pope Benedict XVI)

” A soul that has never tasted
the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.” -St. Faustina Kowalska

 

A Catholic Teen’s POV: Priest on a hoverboard

Although I wasn’t planning on writing another blog post this soon, I was scrolling through comments about this, and felt that I should write this up.

Ah, where do I begin…

Many comments wrote that the priest might’ve been doing this to appeal to the young people. But, then he was suspended, and people said that the church officials are complaining about church attendance and, “I wonder why…”

As someone who’s considered to be a “young person” at mass…I wanted to say how I felt about this situation. First off, if my parish priest decided to try and do this one day at mass, I would do either of two things at that moment; kneel down and start praying for more reverence, or simply walk outside/away.

To some extent, I can see where people would say it can bring in young people, but I think the idea that the Catholic Church needs to “be/fit with the times” is unnecessary. Just a year ago, I’d totally be on the bandwagon for modernizing things in the Catholic Church, but now I’m more informed.

The mass does not exist for there to be a performance or show of any sort. When we gather for mass, we should be focusing on Christ. I personally do not think a priest on a hoverboard would help us focus on the True Presence of the Eucharist. Some might argue that there are already other distractions in the mass. I agree, but, that doesn’t mean we should allow for more.

When the sacrifice of the mass is made into a performance or a simple event of fellowship, we lose sight of why we are there. Not to hear someone sing, or to see our friend, but we are at Mass to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist.

The priest might be attempting to relate to the young people, but I believe that there is greater power in the beautiful Tradition that the Catholic Church has. For many years, the Catholic Church has stood firm without needing to adjust to the ideals and beliefs of the current times, so, there isn’t really a reason to incorporate popular culture into the liturgy.

I don’t think the diocese did wrong in suspending the priest. It might seem harsh, but I believe that the priest will reflect on having more reverence to the Eucharist. Honestly, I think we all need to! This is a time that we should pause and see how much reverence we actually have and should have for the Eucharist.

There is an increasing amount of disrespect and lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and this is simply another example of one. Many have gone unnoticed, but I’m glad this one was brought to light and dealt with appropriately.

I pray that there will be increased reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.