Tag Archives: Life

Church, and Other Less Important Parts of My Life

Time for another catch-all update.

Last Monday, I started a 54-day rosary novena. I prayed that particular devotion for the first time last summer, and the fruits were amazing. Our Lady handed my prayers on to God to use in his unique ways. This summer, I’m praying it for my three guy friends who are starting seminary this fall: Alex and Pat Y., who graduated last year and are becoming Dominicans, and Tim, who graduated last month and will be studying for the Archdiocese of Washington. I think the first time I see them in the habit or seminarian garb, I will burst into tears of joy. Mary and her boyfriend Matt are throwing a party for them at the CSC later this month. It’s got a black and white dress code, and I know just what to wear.

I went to daily Mass all last week. On Thursday, Fr. Bill celebrated at 8:30am for the MOEs. I didn’t even try to get up early enough for that and just went to St. Mark’s. I may have only been the youngest person there by 20 years instead of 40 like at home. It was the Feast of the Visitation of Mary. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Magnificat read as the psalm in the style of the LOTH. Cases like those make me wonder why the lectionary is still based on the NAB, or why the NAB isn’t up for revision again. (Maybe it is; I don’t know.) If the NAB translation of the Magnificat and Psalm 23 aren’t good enough to be proclaimed at every Mass, what makes the rest of that translation good enough? I don’t mean that as a wide criticism of the USCCB; I still love Msgr. Malloy and Fishers of Men. The Bible, though, is too important to our faith to let it carry on without being the best.

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I Survived Another One

Finals week is over, and grades are up. I managed to get all A’s again, praise God. This semester, I had something of a scholastic revolution. I usually end the semester tired, depressed, and desperate. This semester, I was just tired. I’m starting to understand that finishing the reading isn’t as vital as I thought it had to be. I discovered a procrastination hack, the 30-10 Rule, that was unbelievably helpful. Finishing classes by the early afternoon gave me a new approach to every day. Even when I used the afternoon to get chores done instead of study, I had my evenings a lot freer for hitting the books.

The “student” aspect of my identity has always ranked very high. In the past, I’ve even dabbed in letting it surpass “Catholic.” That has changed so much. Now, I am definitely Catholic before I am a student. I managed to get even more involved at the CSC than I was before. Martino organized a small group of us to pray Vespers after 5:30pm Mass, which we both attended every day due to mid-day classes. The LOTH is meant to be prayed in community, so it was the perfect setting. I even got better at chanting it.

There were some evenings during Vespers when my inappropriate laughter got the best of me. I have a habit of laughing at the most awkward times. During sharing of graces on Spring Retreat, I shared an image that popped into my head during the sharing time. When I lived overseas, my grandparents would always have to mail our Christmas presents to us. Anything shipped overseas takes at least five days. Packages take even longer, especially at Christmastime. We’d often get the packages a week before Christmas, so my mom would unpack the wrapped gifts and stack them under the tree. I would do my best to walk past them until Christmas morning came and I finally got to open them up. The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit worked like that for me. I received them at Confirmation, but I didn’t open the box. I tucked it away. It was only years later, when I finally truly claimed my faith for myself, that I opened the box. There must have been an excess of joy in my box.

My Bible study group went to dinner at Noodles & Co. to celebrate the end of the semester and say goodbye to Liz (she’s being transferred to the new FOCUS at Vanderbilt). After we dug in, she asked us to share some way we’d grown spiritually this year. I shared first. As I mentioned, I usually have to drag myself through every semester, and I start slipping away from the Lord, and I wind up a complete mess after finals. I used to need a good week to deprogram. This semester was not like that. I had a slightly better handle on schoolwork than before, and I managed my classes instead of letting them control me. And while all that was happening, I managed to get closer to God. I went back to my daily rosary, I consistently prayed three Hours of the Divine Office every day, I went to Mass six days a week, I was a retreat leader for the last time, I never missed a Bible study…. I did good. It feels good, too.

Hooray for CDA

You know, I never do old-fashioned “what’s going on in my life” posts anymore. Let’s fix that.

It’s almost the end of the semester, so I am dying accordingly. Reading for class still puts me to sleep. I go to class almost every day now having done only part of the reading assignment. As I continue in upper-level classes, the reading volume only increases. Last semester, I got so far behind that I honestly just gave up. This semester is turning out to be very similar. My days are scheduled so tightly that I have very specific chunks of time for studying. Unfortunately, those are often the very ends of my day, so I’m either not awake enough or far too tired to concentrate. I can’t figure out what else to do, though. I don’t know any other way to do school.

We had CDA elections two weeks ago. The nominating committee only picked one person for each office. Attendance dropped so dramatically this year that I’m kind of impressed they came up with that many people. Cathy had mentioned that she would consider a nomination for Vice Regent again if she knew the Regent wouldn’t resign like last year, but I guess they didn’t ask her. So, Kaitlyn will be Vice Regent, Maura will be Recording Secretary, Kait L. will be Financial Secretary, Maureen will be Treasurer…and I’ll be Regent. xD After we finally managed to have a business meeting in October, I realized that I wanted to run for Regent. Cathy isn’t graduating, so I promised myself that I wouldn’t step on her toes if she ran for reelection, but she didn’t. This spring, she herself suggested I consider taking the regency. I told Myca, swearing her to secrecy, and she was all for it. When Fr. Bill told me he hoped I’d become Regent, that pretty much sealed the deal.

On Monday evening, we had what Cathy swears is her last CDA event as Regent. (We still need to do a financial review, though.) Having inducted a whopping three new Daughters on Divine Mercy Sunday, we wanted to try to bring together as many current and new Daughters as possible for an orientation. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to plan enough, so I went to the CSC on Monday evening for Mass as usual with only a very fuzzy idea of what we’d be doing.

Cathy spent Mass in the kitchen preparing dinner. She did a really good job considering that she was working by herself (though Jess N. made the cake). We ate first, then had dessert while Gina led our attempt to go over parliamentary procedure. When you do it right, parliamentary procedure is a really good way to get decisions made with discussion, especially with large groups. We’ve never quite managed to do it right, though. I did manage to get people used to standing when they spoke during business meetings, though. That helps a lot with order, because no one wants to raise her hand and stand up just long enough to say, “That’s a great idea!”

After dessert, we did a (late) icebreaker game of “Do You Love Your Neighbor?” One person stands in the middle while the rest sit in a circle of chairs. She picks a girl and asks, “Do you love your neighbor?” She answers, “Yes, and I especially love people who…” and fills in something about herself. (You can also play it, “No, but I love people who…,” but there is negativity allowed in CDA. Ha.) Then, all the girls who share that characteristic have to change seats. You have to move at least two seats away, and the last person standing starts the next round by introducing herself. Of course Cathy started with me. I picked people who have siblings. Gina needed clarification (“biological or “People who converted” wasn’t thrilling, because there were only two (including my future new roommate, Sarah). Myca picked “I love Catholics,” so that was a complete melee of elbows and squeals. Jess M. couldn’t talk because something was wrong with her throat, so I interpreted her notes.

After the train wreck ended, we played Kait L.’s Circle of Love game. She is a very creative girl. Cathy talked about St. Maria Goretti in the absence of both our Spiritual and Chastity Chairs. We ended by making cards for hospitalized children, and then we all went home. Attendance was pretty good considering our track record; we had about 12 girls (including one who isn’t actually a Daughter). And I got a super-neat saints + JPII bracelet blessed by the Holy Father!

Wednesday night dinner was even more fun than usual because I missed last week, and because we got to eat outside with minimal bug nuisances. It was also the Feast of St. Mark, and I had a wonderfully enlightening Holy Hour.

Earlier this afternoon, I had a phone interview for a summer job. I applied to Johns Hopkins’s Center for Talented Youth Summer Program back in February. I wanted to be a TA, knowing that my chances weren’t great because they’d already been reviewing applications for over a month. I interviewed today for an RA job. I don’t think it went that well. I don’t have much experience as an RA. That aspect of my job with Portz last summer was my weakness. My interviewer asked me what topics I might consider inappropriate for discussing with adolescents as opposed to my peers, and I totally blanked. It’s been a while since I’ve really talked to kids, I guess.

Mary (and Fr. Bill) sent me links to the newest OotP trailer. I’d already seen them, but I appreciated the gesture. It was only a few days ago that I realized that taking this job I interviewed for (if they even offer it to me) means missing out on EVERYTHING Harry Potter this summer. I can’t guarantee I’ll even be able to get DH, let alone read it. How sad is it that Harry Potter is seriously affecting my work this summer, and it’s not even summer yet?

I’ll be leaving for the CSC in a few minutes. The Missionaries of the Eucharist are leading a discussion tonight on the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis. I actually managed to read the right sections of it, so this should go much more smoothly than my classes lately, where I tend to go without having read and then doze off for an hour and a half.

Catching a Man

Last spring, I had my first crush since breaking up with Greg over a year before. I can’t say who it was because I never know who’s going to pass by my little corner of the web world. Suffice it to say that my world was thrown completely off-kilter. I hadn’t had feelings like that in a long time, since before Greg. Having become a devout Catholic since that breakup, though, I had a different perspective on things. I knew God was in charge and I had to trust in Him. I just wished that His plans would look a little more like mine. I did what I could to subtly let this guy know that I was interested. Hana noticed that I wore my hair down for church one morning when I knew I’d see him. “I am not using my hair to catch a man!” I insisted. I kind of was, but only because I was determined to get him to ask me out, and not the other way around. Men react strongest to visual stimulation, so I wanted to make sure the best parts of me—in a completely chaste way—were visible to him. It didn’t work out, and after some nasty moments of anger at and mistrust in God (and his starting to date someone else!), I moved on.

Now, though, I’m in a similar position. Maybe I’m just a victim of spring fever; though, considering yesterday’s sleet and chill, I have no idea what season it is. This guy is equally unavailable, however, because he already has a girlfriend. I wish I had gotten there first. I am now stuck with the task of realigning my heart to respect that relationship. It’s a tricky situation. If he or I were married or engaged, there would be no question: he’d be automatically off-limits. Father Bill suggested I act as though we were; neither married people nor consecrated celibates stop feeling romantic attraction, so it’s good training for my future. On the other hand, dating is not the same as married or celibate. Dating relationships end. If his did end with her, I’d still be interested. How willing am I to harden my heart against him romantically if that is a possibility? Not very.

All of these thoughts remind me of my inconclusive period of discernment. I have gotten closer to God since I decided to make that effort, but I’m no closer to hearing the call. I caught up on my Boundless articles recently, including two particularly good ones on marriage and dating. Carolyn McCulley writes about developing “Humility That Attracts and Encourages” men in the process of marital discernment. Dating is hard, so she has good advice on how to make it easier for Christian men to take the lead. Scott Croft tells his friend, “Brother, You’re Like a Six,” so we should all redefine our expectations for spouses in light of the Bible and our everyday lives. If I do eventually figure out that I’m called to marriage, I have to prepare myself to be a good wife and mother. Boundless has some suggestions on that as well, in Candice Watters’ old blog, Why Family.

Love is complicated. So is God, but He is infinite. Therefore, godly love is infinitely complicated. (Quite the depressing syllogism there.)

Celibacy, Faith, and Life

I’ve started using Google Reader to get a handle on all the blogs I used to read. I also decided to add a news feed from Zenit, an agency that keeps track of all kinds of Vatican news, especially B16’s homilies and other speeches. One that caught my eye was his traditional Christmas address to the Roman Curia (bishops, cardinals—all the people that dress in fun colors). Zenit headlined it his “evaluation of 2006.” Two parts resonated the most with me.

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