Monthly Archives: May, 2007

Catholic Nerds Unite!

You know you’re a Catholic nerd when…

  • you not only fast from meat on Fridays but you can also list all possible reasons for breaking that fast.
  • you discuss whether you should say grace over the appetizer or wait for the main course.
  • you still sing “saved a wretch like me” and other un-PC lyrics (if you are actually singing you already knew you are an odd Catholic).
  • you pray bits of the rosary whenever you drive, instead of listening to the radio. [Mine is locked after changing the battery, but I’ve turned off the radio to do it before!]
  • you know the words to “Tantum Ergo,” “Salve Regina,” “Ave Maria,” “Panis Angelicus,” and ____________ (fill in your favorite Latin Hymn). [Got those first two in chant, plus “O Salutaris Hostia” and “Regina Caeli!”]
  • you know which Eucharistic prayer is being used in 5 words or less. [Close to it!]
  • you know that if you became a nun, you would wear a habit.
  • you have a desire to say a Glory Be after every prayer [and accidentally do!]
  • knowing that a guy or girl goes to daily Mass is a big turn-on.

Go read the rest!

Catholic Carnival 121

This week’s Catholic Carnival is up at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. I wrote a few posts this week that could have been submitted, but I went with my favorite, “A Booster Seat to Holiness.” These are my favorite posts this week.

K.T. Cat at The Scratching Post (ha!) writes about the typology between St. Augustine’s City of God and today’s society. When I took Language and Humor in the fall, Professor Coleman promised us that such a class could never live up to its title. I was instantly reminded when I read this:

For a book on lust and debauchery, it’s incredibly tedious and dry.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think criticizing St. Augustine is wrong at all. He’s not Jesus. I feel the same way about Dickens as K.T. does about St. Augustine: the stories are great, once you weed out all the extra stuff.

Seminarian Matthew of A Catholic Life writes about the graces of serving at the altar, including a guide for servers that has a great list of Mass vocabulary at the bottom. I’m clearly biased toward women and girls participating as lectors and extraordinary ministers, since I’m the lector coordinator for the CSC. I do wish more boys and young men would become altar servers, though. It is a wonderful way to discern a priestly vocation. I love it when the guys at the CSC serve. When Archbishop Wuerl came for the Eucharistic Congress, we had four servers, Fr. Bill and Fr. Gurnee as concelebrants, the archbishop’s personal assistant, and the archbishop himself as principal celebrant. It was beautiful to behold. They needed Michelle to serve as an EM, and I lectored with Kevin, but we were the only women involved. We both serve well in our positions, though. My old friend Kat was an excellent altar server at only 13 years old. In contrast, I actually saw a young boy arrive midway through Mass on Christmas Day (which was 30 minutes earlier than the usual Sunday Mass) via the doors in front of the church. Fr. Pollard was in front of the pews giving his homily, so he didn’t see anything. I watched aghast as the boy walked up behind the altar, disappeared through the rear doors, and came out vested in an alb. If anyone should be on time, the servers should.

Nick, of PhatCatholic Apologetics, is collecting links for an index of truly Catholic YouTube videos. What a good idea! (Side note: PhatMass is a cool site. I’m using their Hail Mary wallpaper right now.)

Another great batch of Catholic posts–and I’m posting about them on time! Yay!

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.

The Fire of His Love

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you will renew the face of the Earth. Amen.

I first learned this prayer in January, when I began my Bible-in-a-year plan (PDF link). I pray it before and after each day’s readings, so I added it to my prayer repertoire in no time. It’s become one of my favorites.

Those of you who know me in real life probably know that the Holy Spirit and I are good friends. I have a natural talent for public speaking. Sometimes my heart is pounding inside, but it doesn’t show. (Public speaking tip: Don’t ever apologize for being nervous. The audience usually can’t tell.) That translated itself well to lectoring. I have problems with pride, though, so whenever someone compliments me on my lectoring, I always say, “Well, I have good material, and the Holy Spirit and I have an arrangement. I’ll go up to the altar and read the words on the page, and He’ll make them come out right.” And that’s the truth. With His words before me and His gifts within me, I’m gold.

So, naturally, Pentecost is one of my favorite feasts. (Who am I kidding? I love them all!) I wore my red skirt (a hand-me-down from Maura’s mom) to match the liturgical colors. We so seldom see red that it’s always cause for celebration, even (especially?) when it’s for martyrdom. I struggled to get out of bed, though. There’s no noon Mass over breaks, so I have to switch to 10am or 7pm. Seven o’clock is really late for me, so I chose 10 this week. Since I wash my hair on Sundays before church, that meant waking up at 6am. Ouch. In my early-morning stupor, I debated sleeping in and just going at 7, but I decided to offer it up for a friend of mine who has all but gone apostate. It was much easier to get going after that.
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A Booster Seat to Holiness

I was thinking a few weeks ago while I got dressed. I had slept soundly, in the manner my mom described as “sleeping like a rock.” Rocks have it good. I had asked my guardian angel to help me sleep, and he/she/it had come through. I started asking my guardian angel to help me sleep a few months ago on Spring Retreat. Pat Y. was escorting me back to Grady House after Compline on Saturday night. (He was staying in the “scandalous” coed house, too.) I mentioned that I’d slept terribly on Friday night, so he suggested praying to my guardian angel that no matter how little sleep I got, it would be substantial, and I’d feel rested. I did; it worked.

So, since my train of thought was on retreats, I thought about Fall Retreat. That was when I finally understood the meaning of grace. God’s grace gives us the help we need to fulfill His plans for us. Grace is like a booster seat to holiness.

It’s an odd image; I thought the same thing when it popped into my head. Then I envisioned a long banquet table, filled with the most scrumptious food, including fruit–the fruits of the Spirit. We in our fallen sinfulness are like children seated at the table. We reach and reach toward the food, but we can’t quite get it. Grace is the booster seat that lifts us up to the table, so we can enjoy the meal. Only God, at the head of the table, can lift us up to it.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

My soul has been unsettled in the past few days. Compline begins with a brief examination of conscience. There’s nothing like a daily examen to keep you aware of your sins. After consulting St. Mark the Evangelist’s website, I decided to go for confession and adoration yesterday.

Confessions started at 3:15pm. Afternoon confessions are so great. I’m as much a fan of reconciliation as one can reasonably be, but dragging myself out of bed on a Saturday morning to go bare my soul before the Lord is asking a bit much for a laywoman.

I left my apartment just after 3:00 and headed for the church. After a few minutes, I reconsidered walking there. I’d made that walk before, when I needed to get back from Northwestern after observation and the shuttle hadn’t shown up yet, but that was before my knees got so bad. I reasoned, while walking, that my knees have been feeling better lately. Decreased Mass attendance and no classes means less kneeling and less walking. Besides, I was on my way to see God for a sacrament much of the church avoids. He wouldn’t let me get hurt on the way.
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Catholic Carnival 120

The day after I finally read 119, here comes Catholic Carnival 120, at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars (of fire and truth, FYI).

At Cause of Our Joy, Leticia quotes from a NYT article about finding strength and trust. The original article is wonderful and remarkably pro-life for the NYT, Leticia notes.

Tom of Fighting Irish Thomas is exasperated at the practice of transferring Holy Days of Obligation. I agree wholeheartedly. Being a busy college student, I know that it’s hard to get to Mass on a weekday…but I do it all semester long, and my spiritual life is so much better for it. Is it really that much to ask people to attend Mass on a weekday twice a year? I didn’t even know the Assumption could be transferred except when it falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Transferring the Ascension hurts the most, though. As Tom points out, it breaks up the Pentecost novena. The Novena of Pentecost is the only one officially endorsed by the Church (not that others are forbidden), and it hurt my heart to start it on a random Friday of Easter instead of the day after the Ascension. Tom’s most important point was the concession that transferring Holy Days of Obligation makes to lukewarm/cafeteria Catholics. Daily Mass is an excellent way to be Catholic on more days than Sunday. Please, dear bishops, don’t keep taking that opportunity from the falling-away faithful.

Redneck Woman at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill offers a detailed and thoughtful reflection on why there are so many Hail Marys in the rosary and so few Our Fathers. All I know is that once I realized that I was supposed to be meditating on the mysteries and not just praying the words, the rosary was so much better for me.

Denise at Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church is a good role model for a mom/catechist. I struggle with self-confidence in my ability to build the domestic Church if I someday marry. I know that my own faith journey is keeping me headed towards that primary catechist role, though. I’m also reminded of Mr. Adkins, by high school AP U.S. History teacher. He was Catholic–the only practicing adult Catholic I knew for a long time. He never tried to convert us, but I maintain that he influenced my reversion. Just knowing that he could be a really cool guy, a practical intellectual, and an authentic Catholic got me thinking again. I should take a trip back to my school to thank him for that.

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