Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Visiting Time

My dad and Ginny visited me this weekend, and we had a great time! They stayed in a guest house, and we got to visit quite a bit in there. We played some games- Scattergories: The Card Game and Rummikub. On Saturday night we invited the rest of formation for a game night. Dad and Ginny taught us Euchre. Before, we had an idea of how to play, but we were confused about some of the rules. Now we know how to play for sure, and we had fun.

Sr. Rita Rose also gave us a tour of the Rare Book Room at Silver Lake College! It was fascinating! Did you know that there really are bookworms? We got to see the effects of them in a couple of the books! It was also wonderful to see the old Bibles. The whole experience made for good conversation.

Oh dear....sometimes so many things happen that it is hard to pick and choose what to write about in here. We got to visit with our Sisters who live at Chiara Convent tonight. It was nice just to spend time talking with them, praying evening prayer with them, and eating Luigi's pizza with them.

Now we are preparing for All Hallows Eve...we are putting the finishing touches on our Saints costumes...I can't say who we are going to be, because it's a "Guess Who?" party. We will also be going door-to-door in the infirmary tomorrow evening to show the Sisters there our costumes....they really enjoyed that last year.

I pray that you have a fun week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come and See

Did you know that another discernment retreat is coming up at our Motherhouse? It will be November 4th-6th and if you are a woman aged 18-30 you can register by clicking here. I would love to meet you. You can find out more about them through the retreat blog. Personally, I found them to be wonderful retreats for spiritual growth as well as a time to hang out with other people asking the same questions as me.

This picture is from one of the retreats I attended.

Tonight, Regina and I are going to help out with high school Confirmation prep, as we do every other Wednesday night. I am looking forward to it! It is an honor to be a part of this journey with the teens. Please keep them in your prayers as they experience God through the sessions and through LifeTeen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Mass Explained (And More About the Changes)

A week ago, us novices, our postulant Regina, and our directresses went to the Gazing on the Face of Jesus Conference through the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. It was sponsored by the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate. We had a great time! While the theme had to do with the rosary, I was also grateful that one of the speakers, Dr. Edward Sri, also talked about the Mass, including the changes in the Mass. Now I can share more about them with you all.

A while ago, I wrote an entry explaining why there are changes in the mass and explained a couple of the changes. You can read that entry by clicking here. Well now I am going to share some more specifics about what will be said. (I will also be describing some of the meaning behind some of the words that we will continue to say.)

Priest: "The Lord be with you." (This part isn't changing.)

Have you ever thought about what that means? I hadn't! It is something spoken by God and His angels  to those on a special mission. To share a few of the occasions in the Bible.:
  • Judges 6:16a: "I shall be with you," the LORD said to [Gideon].
  • Exodus 3:11-12a "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?'  He answered, 'I will be with you.'"
  • Luke 1:28 "And coming to [Mary], [the angel Gabriel] said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.'"
Therefore, when the priest says, "The Lord be with you," we are being commissioned. We are being asked to do something big, and God is with us.

Beginning on November 27th, we will respond to the priest by saying: "And with your spirit." By saying this, we are referring to the core of the priest- his spirit. The Holy Spirit works within him so that he can do what he is ordained to do.

Later on, during the Confiteor, we will confess, "I have sinned through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."  By saying this we have greater acknowledgement that we have sinned. Actually, Dr. Sri wrote the following article about this: "Through My Most Grievous Fault."

Then we will sing the Gloria. The Gloria is a Christmas song.
Wow! I hadn't thought about this either:
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." - Luke 2:8-14

Why are we singing a Christmas song? The Son of God comes to us in the Eucharist! So if we go to daily Mass, it's like Christmas everyday.....

During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest says, as always, "Lift up your hearts." We respond, as always, "We lift them up to the Lord."
The heart is at the center of all our attentions, so when he says this, he is saying, "Give God your full attention." The Fathers of the Church knew it was hard to pay attention. In fact, in his 23rd Catechetical Lecture, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 313-386) preached:

"After this the Priest cries aloud, 'Lift up your hearts.' For truly ought we in that most awful hour to have our heart on high with God, and not below, thinking of earth and earthly things. In effect therefore the Priest bids all in that hour to dismiss all cares of this life, or household anxieties, and to have their heart in heaven with the merciful God. Then ye answer, 'We lift them up unto the Lord:' assenting to it, by your avowal. But let no one come here, who could say with his mouth, 'We lift up our hearts unto the Lord,' but in his thoughts have his mind concerned with the cares of this life. At all times, rather, God should be in our memory but if this is impossible by reason of human infirmity, in that hour above all this should be our earnest endeavour."

Wow! To think he preached this in the 4th Century!

Later on in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest says,
"Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."

This is from Revelation 19:9- Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These words are true; they come from God."

This is something really important: we are getting a wedding invitation. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Bride is the Church. When we come for Communion, we are the bride going to be united with our Bridegroom.  It is recommended that we take time after Mass just to rest with Jesus.

After the priest says this, we respond: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." (See Matthew 8:8)

This are the words of the Centurion. A Centurion is in charge of Roman soldiers. At this point in time, the Romans were seen as oppressors, so being a Centurion was even worse. He was saying that he is a sinful Roman Centurion, but had profound humility and faith that God would heal his servant. Great faith is the one thing that amazes God in the Gospels. Jesus had not yet performed a long distance miracle, yet the Centurion believed that He could. May we all have this faith.

As I wrote in my last entry, none of us are worthy. That is the point. God in His infinite love and mercy meets us where we are and heals us.

God love you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Deeper Look into the Trinity and the Eucharist

Well I mentioned in my previous entry that I would write about the conference that we attended in Milwaukee on September 24th. It was pretty awesome. (By pretty awesome, I mean really awesome.) Fr. Bill, a Capuchin Franciscan Friar, gave a talk called Praying the Eucharist: A Franciscan Way.

In one of St. Francis' writings, A Letter to the Entire Order (1225-1226) he wrote:

"Let everyone be struck with fear,
let the whole world tremble,
and let the heavens exult
when Christ, the Son of the living God,
is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!

"O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity!
O sublime humility!
O humble sublimity!
The Lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles Himself
that for our salvation
He hides Himself
under an ordinary piece of bread!

"Brothers, look at the humility of God,

and pour out your hearts before Him!
Humble yourselves
that you may be exalted by Him!
Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves,
that He Who gives Himself totally to you
may receive you totally!"

Fr. Bill pointed out Franciscan life begins with the heart. What you just read is not theory. It is awe! The truth of the Eucharist is that through it God bends low to touch us! That’s how God loves us: not from a distance but from a touch, which can only happen at our level. That is God’s humility: God Who doesn’t need to, decides to. God loves us individually and allows us to experience this through the person of Jesus.

Note above that Francis wrote: "O sublime humility! O humble sublimity!" God is the epitome of humility.

Three examples of God's humility:
  1. The Word of God became human: The Incarnation.
  2. Allows Himself to be arrested and put to death. (Remember the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were crucified through the person of the Son. This brings a whole new dimension to the humility of God.)
  3. The Eucharist. (Again, remember the Trinity: when we receive the Eucharist, we receive the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
Our response to this great love is in the last paragraph, including these words: "Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves." We are called to:
  • look at the various gifts we have and share them with others.
  • love our neighbors; that includes our enemies (“and who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-37)
The Theology of Transubstantiation, or the Real Presence:
  • The Real Presence is not physical (bones, tissues, etc.) It is beyond the physical.
  • The substance changes while the physical properties are maintained (still smells, tastes, feels and looks like bread and wine, except is it now our Lord). Remember again the Trinity: it is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the person of the Son.
 Fr. Bill also spoke about people who continue to dwell on the fact that they are not worthy. He said that God knows we are not worthy, that's the point. We need Him. If you want to be healthy you need to eat and drink regularly, not just when you want it; likewise with the Eucharist.

God's ways are not our ways because God IS love. God treats us as we need to be treated, not as we "deserve." (Matthew 20:1-16) We don't get rewarded for good deeds; God treats us as we need to be treated so that we can do good. That's why the sun shines on everyone.

In other news, the Detroit Lions are undefeated (4-0) and the Packers are also undefeated. (At this moment the Packers are playing the Broncos....but we are in the lead.)